Monday, September 11, 2006

Grado SR60 

Pure Audio bliss.

Over the years I've tried on, loved, and discarded dozens of headphones. The Sony MDRs which came with my Walkman in the early 90s, the Sony Fontopias I had bought from grey-markets in Nagpur and Bombay, the Philips earbuds that saw me through 2000-2002, the Philips HD800 that was sweet sounding but horrible to wear for long durations....the list goes on.
I remember gawking at a pair of Sennheiser electrostatic headphones that retailed for about 20,000 INR and wondering which FD to break to get my hands on those. Luckily for me, at that point I was very far from any bank and the moment of insanity passed.
Still, the quest for a continued.
Recently I bought a pair of JVC HA-FX55 earphones which gave me above average sound experience for a decent price. It is a sound-isolating headphone...much better in my opinion than any sound cancelling headphone. I find the hiss of the sound cancelling headphones to be fatiguing and prefer the near-perfect seal of calm silence of a sound isolating pair. Of course, at first you get jarred by the enhanced sound of your heartbeat but after a while it's reassuring.
And then...on impulse (after reading the reviews on a few sites), I ordered a pair of Grado SR60s. 4 days later, I finally understood what audiophile insanity (the urge to splurge thousands of dollars on hi-fi equipment) is all about.
You may have heard of headphones that make you think that you are in the first row of the auditorium in a rock concert. Well, with the Grado SR60s, you ARE right on stage in the middle of the musicians.
The clarity and soundstage seperation is absolutely mindblowing. You can hear the softest cymbal beat at the same time as the meanest riff in Hotel California-Live version. You can hear Jagjit Singh spit out a P before he goes on to say "Phir...". You can hear the violin players moving from centerstage to the rear and then back again to the forefront in crystal clear clarity in Tadap Tadap Ke. Hot For Teacher by Van Halen...remember the start? the layered effect brought on by the bass drums never sounded better. Listening to Live performances is astounding because you can pinpoint each performer in your head.
The construction of the headphones is straight out of a 50s movie but it has panache because it's so functional. It's style is its performance. I would'nt want it any other way.
The only minus points of these headphones are that they leak a lot of sound...so it's not exactly what you can use in the office. Have my sights on a pair of Shure E2c now for office listening :)



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