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They may not look impressive, but it’s the sound that counts.
Aside from a gargantuan hard drive to hold all of our tunes (and movies), our favorite iPod accessory is a good pair of headphones. More than anything else, decent cans give us the most bang for our buck in terms of increasing our enjoyment of our media collection. For commuting, we prefer in-ear models for their small size and ability to block out external noise, but we reach for larger headphones for when we’re sitting at a desk or even relaxing next to the stereo at home. Serious audiophiles have been known to drop hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars on a good pair of headphones. Grado’s entry-level SR60 ’phones represent a good balance between audio quality and affordability.
Grado is known for high-end headphones and cartridges for your turntable. Fortunately for Joe Consumer, they’ve put a lot of the same tech and experience from years of hand-building high-end ’phones into the SR60s. While they lack the mahogany or aluminum air chambers and premium wiring of their more expensive siblings, the sound quality is impressive. Higher-end models sport leather headbands and metal or wood chambers, but the SR60s use much more affordable vinyl and black plastic. While they don’t look particularly slick, we found the build quality excellent. The cable ends in a standard stereo mini-jack, perfect for your iPod or MacBook, and Grado includes a 1/4-inch adapter for use with home stereos. Our SR60s have put up with heavy daily use for months and don’t look any worse for wear. The open-air design makes them great for use in environments where you still need to hear things going on around you—but it also means that people nearby will hear snippets of whatever you happen to be playing, even at medium volume levels. Consider that before indulging in your secret Air Supply obsession.
We listened to everything from reggaetón to classical to straight-ahead rock and were impressed with the SR60’s consistency. While other ’phones tend to accentuate the high or low end—and coat everything else in sonic mud—we discovered that these Grados offer accurate sound reproduction across the spectrum. We wish these headphones were more comfortable to wear for extended periods, but for the price, the quality is hard to beat.If you’re not quite ready for the price tags normally associated with audiophile gear, Grado’s SR60 headphones represent a huge leap in quality for not that much cash.