Grado Labs have earned themselves a reputation for offering products that are well balanced, yet lively; dynamic and refined. We are pleased to find that this standard of sound reproduction is upheld by the GR8 headphones.
Having tested some 8 different pairs of in-ear headphones in recent weeks, it is understandable that we would suffer some listening fatigue. Different sizes, weights and hours of listening can wear even the most enthusiastic listener down over time. To be frank, when we first listened to the GR8 headphones, we didn’t leap out of our listening chair in excitement. Having endured some pretty overblown sounds over the past few days, our ears had become desensitized to a degree. Fortunately, we heed our own advice and take a few days to let our ears relax to a neutral position before scrutinizing anything audio related.
After a brief respite, we approached the GR8’s with an open mind and open, rested ears. What we experienced reinforced our assertion that one’s ears will desensitize themselves as they are overexposed to certain sounds. This time around, the sound we experienced had us sitting up and paying attention.
True to Grado’s style, the GR8 exhibited an open, uninhibited sound that offered a remarkable amount of texture and detail. The high, mid and low frequencies were very well balanced. The dynamic range of these in-ears was also impressive. The GR8’s were able to go from an extremely quiet moment to an extremely loud one with the sort of finesse that you would only expect from a large pair of over-ear headphones. They also showed a remarkable capability of exposing harmonic overtones.
We found that the stereo separation and resulting “sound stage” was three dimensional and realistic. High frequencies were balanced and honest. Midrange frequencies were effortless in their appeal. Vocalists sounded very natural and didn’t suffer from coloration. Bass response was tight and accurate, but we wouldn’t necessarily describe it as deep or profound. If big bass in your face is what you crave, you might want to consider a different set of cans. If , however, you like honest, accurate sound that is true to the recording, we think you’ll be delighted with the GR8’s.
The Grado GR8 in-ear headphones might best be described as the audiophile’s in-ear headphone. Unlike their multi-driver counterparts, the unique design of the GR8’s allows them to offer an extremely coherent sound that rivals larger, on-ear or over-ear designs. When well sealed within the ear, the GR8 offers a respite from most of the noise around the listener. They are as comfortable as they are great sounding and may be the lightest set of in-ears we’ve ever tested. To get the best fit, however, some listeners may have to look into an alternative ear-tip. Though we can’t recommend this set of in-ears for those who like to listen while moving around a lot, we know those searching for a super comfortable, superior sounding earphone will fall in love with the GR8.
- Highly accurate sound
- Solid performance to price ratio
- Lightweight and extremely comfortable
- Lightweight cord tangles easily
- Limited selection of ear-tips
- No carry case or adapters
- Thin, feeble feeling cord
- No cord clip