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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 27 reviews
on January 23, 2014
I am very happy with this purchase, despite the fact that the expense of the RS-1i is beyond my comfort level. I feel there's two kinds of luxury product: one where all the "luxury" is in the initial design, and the actual product can be stamped out in mass production. I'm wary of overpaying for that type of luxury. Then there's luxury in a product that emerges from the time spent by skilled artisans on the individual product that I'm buying. If my tastes align with the artisan, then the luxury can, despite a high price, still be an "excellent value." That is the Grado RS-1i for me.

The tangible nods to "luxury" are the air chambers of mahogany, but the expense (for Grado) is really in the time they spend "curing" the wood to achieve the sound they want. There's no shortcut to that time.

The result is that these headphones are able to deliver a crisp treble when the cymbal clashes at the same time that you hear the lyrics perfectly while still being able to follow the bass as it dips down low. That ability to articulate the entire audio spectrum simultaneously is difficult, rare and yet achieved by this Grado.

My set came with an extension cable (Concert DVD listening!) and the adaptor from 1/4 inch to mini-plug (iPod, yay). These phones are lightweight, but not loose; comfortable enough where it touches you without feeling "silky." The ergonomics are thus good but not out-of-the-park -- except for mahogany, of course. As for sound...

Quadrophenia, The Who: Frankly, I usually let Entwhistle's bass move underneath my conscious listening, sharklike, dangerous and often murky. Not with the RS-1i. That shark has teeth and a flash of quicksilver fin that I now perceive, no matter how deep below me.

Captain Jim's Drunken Dream, James Taylor: Crisp mandolins, beautiful voices so clearly defined that I could hear where each rose and dipped instead of just sensing that it was "pretty."

Sorry-Grateful, Timothy Nolan: This male vocal with piano accompaniment rendition was as lovely as could be hoped, and yielded two unexpected tests: precise soundstage as Nolan slightly moved position relative to the mics, and lack of "chestiness" in the male voice (as Julian Hirsch used to say).

Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Harry Connick, Jr. Hadn't listened to this track in quite a while, and got so caught up in the opening solo voice and piano that I boosted volume and quite forgot about the big band waiting for its moment. When the horns bit in I jumped - but did NOT wince. Normally, at that volume with other phones, including the Grado SR-80 I own, I would have winced. But with the RS-1i all the sonic bite was "natural" to the horns, no added distortion. Wow.

Debussy: La Cathedrale Engloutlie, Erich Kunzel: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (on Telarc): OK, here's where a headphone is a headphone and not a subwoofer. The dwarf-king-low pedal note of the organ is heard clearly, but can't be felt in the gut, of course. Crucially, it did not interfere with the clarity of the notes above it. A thought: long ago I read that the ultimate listening experience configuration consists of quality headphones AND a subwoofer playing at once. With open-air phones like these, that scenario makes sense (once the family is out of the house. Go run some chores, family!)

Bravo, Grado!
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on May 28, 2016
The best sounding headphones I've ever had. I also have Denon AH-D2000 and AH-D600 and have listened to a lot more headphones like Sennheiser HD-650, AKG K240, AKG K701, etc... I like its clean, linear, very live and natural sound. The problem is that these HPs are no more manufactured. I've had it for > 6 months now. The only problem with them is its physical properties - the way it sits on the ears: very uncomfortable comparing to both Denon HPs I have, but what the heck, I'm listening to them pretty much all the time at work, sacrificing its 'uncomfortable' part for its sound quality.
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on April 6, 2013
Hi,I experienced many headphones through my adult life and let me tell you this is the best one so far. These are what I use to own before I stop at these RS1i, Sennheiser hd650, Gradoi, Grado 225i, Grado 325is, Grado PS500, Westone 4R.

As you can see I am a Grado fan ever since I own my first 225i, It's just amazing. Especially the ps500 i listen to it for a few days straight without really taking any big breaks and sleepless nights LoL. My music preference are alot of Electronic music such as dub steps, trap, sometimes pop and hip hop. I think these RS1i sounds the best with fast tempo electronic music. So it's the best for my taste. Lets talk about the lows,...there are a lot of Bass but not to much to over muffle you or anything its just right, the mids...are a bit foward but thats what make it sounds so fun to rock out to. The treble are just right unlike the PS500. The ps500 treble was killing my ears after long listening session of dubsteps. I guess you can say that the treble are less roll off on the RS1i from my experience. I heard the opposite for PS500 saying it high is more roll off than the rs1i, but i don't think that is true from my experience. Oh yea I'm using a Asus Essense Xonar STX for my sound dac and amp. Anyways If this fit your budget than go for it it's best headphone for the price. Emphasis on the word price...of course there are always something better, I may upgrade to the PS1000 one day when I'm ready for it, but for now I say the RS1i is a keeper for years to come
, I wouldn't sell it for anything. I made the mistake by selling my PS500 so early, I'm not going to make that mistake again. The PS500 are a step under the RS1i but from my experiences its also an excellent headphone. The RS1i are just a bit better. I truly recommend the ps500 if you can't get the rs1i. But you can't go wrong either way. 2 Best headphones in my book. Rs1i better for me. Thanks for reading!
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on June 7, 2012
These phones sound fantastically stunning! I cannot believe the sound quality. Years ago I bought my first Grados, the SR-80's and I love them to this day. Recently, I bought a pair of SR-225's which sound leaps and bounds better than my SR-80's but they are too fatiguing for me. The highs were too high. Now, I am the proud owner of the RS-1's which should be displayed in a glass dome with a golden halo floating above while the heavens open up and heavenly voices sing! LOL. I won't compare them to the 80's or the 225's because I just don't think they are comparable. They are in a totally separate class. I will say that the detail and resolution are phenomenal. While listening, they have a very "you are there" sound. I can imagine the entire stage where every instrument is and even begin to imagine the actual musicians themselves. Get into the zone...turn the lights off, sit back, close your eyes and listen. You can truly imagine yourself being right there listing from your seat in the theatre while looking at the stage. I was hesitant to buy these, because I wasn't sure if they would sound $500 better than the $200 SR-225's (I assumed at least the fatiguing highs would be gone). They ABSOLUTELY sound $500 better - they are worth every penny. They are warm, rich and elegant sounding. I can't say enough about the detail. When I bought the SR-80's, I was blow away by the detail and didn't think there was much left that another headphone would be able to extract - I thought the 80's got just about all of it out . The RS-1 pull an abundance of detail out of recordings that I never imagined (or heard) was there. Also, I do love bass, but not at the expense of a detailed and a well balanced sound. the Rs-1 has that wonderful Grado sound with a good healthy dose of deep tight bass that is never out of control. If you do decide to buy these, you must make sure that you have a very high quality amplifier in order to enjoy the full potential of these headphones. Don't get me wrong, they will still sound great if you just plug them into an I-Pod or similar device, but if you are going to own them you must allow yourself to hear the greatness they are capable of. I bought the Quinpu A-6000 MKII ($279) for a headphone amp and the combo is stunning.
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on December 10, 2012
I approached these Grado RS1i headphones from a different perspective. My number one goal was to get the richest, most accurate sound for the buck from higher end phones for my iPhone 5. Didn't want to be tied down to a desk or extra expense of a headphone amp. Cost wise that meant it was between the RS1i, the PS500, and the GS1000i. - I do use the Grado G-CUSH cups, which opens the sound stage up almost identical to the GS1000i's. Have also tried the yellow Sennheiser HD414 replacements, but they are like having a fog descend over the music.
They are efficient enough to play reasonably loud, but are also dependent on the original source material. (Most of mine is pop/rock at 320kbps.)

All the Audiophile accolades you can read in the numerous other reviews, these Grado RS1i's certainly live up to, and deserve each and every one.
-dm / FL

Update 7/13
Added a SONY PHA-1 headphone amp a couple months ago.
The feed is Line level digital in (bypassing the iPhone amp).
Still a tight, portable package.
Major improvement in sound top to bottom - VERY highly recommended!
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on December 12, 2012
Design, comfort and sound quality - all 5 stars. Just a fantastic set of headphones. The RS1is open backed/vented design which both lessons listening fatigue and adds to the overall comfort. Yes you will hear ambient noise due to the open design so do not purchase with the expectation of listening while on an airplane.

My a-ha moment was when I paired the RS1i headphones with good vinyl through a decent headphone amp. Simply amazing 3d-like sound that allowed me to hear nuances of the original recording that i was unable to hear with my current speaker setup. Although these headphones are expensive, they repay you by reproducing amazing sound that only gets better the more you play them (burn them in).
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on September 12, 2009
This pair of cans sounded great out of the box. It'll sound even better after a couple hundred hours. Bass seems better than earlier RS1 versions. I bought this can because it can play rock and roll convincingly. What I did not bargain for was the mid-range, which is fantastic. Because of its speed and immediacy, it's very good on rock and pop material but it's even better for audiophile vocal recordings where midrange is king. Another strength is detail retrieval. You will surely hear a few things on familiar songs that you never thought were there.

I rate the Sennheiser HD650, which I also own, over the RS1i when playing classical and orchestral music, where soundstage is important. But in virtually all other music genres, the RS1i gives the superior listening experience. Comfort-wise though, the ultra-snug HD650 is 10 times better. The foam on the RS1i feels abrasive to my earlobes after a few hours on.
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on May 3, 2014
Amazing detailed headphones, nice looking and build quality, no very comfortable for large periods of time. Easy to drive without amp.
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on June 14, 2011
Yes, these are on the expensive end, but if you are looking at them seriously you are ok with that. I don't like the vacuum feeling of high-end closed headphones so I decided to take the plunge on these open-backed headphones. With these phones, you will hear all the intricacies of the music without being too over-bearing. If you have the funds, these are second to none.
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on July 27, 2012
The Grado R1si has been a legendary headphone for many years. This new R1i improves on the sound of the old RS1 with more detail and better bass performance. I bought these after sort of lusting after them for MANY years. Probably 15 years or so or whenever these were released. I already owned the newer PS-500, which are 5 star phones without question. The R1si arrived and my 1st thought was "wow, the packing box is nicer than the PS-500" - then when I opened the box the beauty of the headphones struck me instantly. They are absolutely gorgeous. AND they are incredibly light. MUCH lighter feeling in my hands and head than the PS500. I was, even if these sound awful I will keep them for the looks as they look great with my RA1 amp.

Yes, I own the RA1 amp paired with a DAC feeding high res files from my mac. The amp is a perfect mate for my PS500 so I assumed it would be even better with the R1si.

My 1st listening test ... I was hugely disapointed. Gone was the rich, liquid, sensual and full sound of my PS500. It was replaced with a sharp, dry, and hard to take midrange that was excessively forward. I let then burn in for a while..and each time I came back to them they sounded a teeny bit better but even still, they were no match sonically for the $100 less expensive PS-500. They look better, they feel better and they come with the extra cables and better box but for sound, the PS500 rule the roost.

PS500 at $595 is a steal of a deal. They provide a rich, detailed but warm, thick and sexy sound while giving a nice wide soundstage (though not as wide as the PS1000 or HD800). The R1si's seem a bit closed in, lack the soundstage and are a bit sharp. Female vocals turned up loud will pierce through your brain. Rock is too bright. If i did not have the PS500s to compare i would not know any better and I would probably get used to the R1si sound and be happy but side by side it was no contest.

I appreciate the RS1i's for the look design and style (which I love) but you can do better for less. If you want them partly for the wood and look then they are worth it as they do sound good, just not as good as others.


Gorgeous dark wood color
Details are there
Great for acoustic guitar
It's legendary :)
Conversation starters
Nice thick cable
Easy to drive


Fragile build
My copy had the drivers reversed so I had to disassemble to correct this. 2 minute job but where is the QC?
Fatiguing sound, even with the matching RA1 amp and burn in (when compared to the $100 less PS-500)
$200 to expensive IMO

If you like a sharp forward midrange sound these are for you. If you like a warmer but detailed rich sound with soundstage, the PS500's can not be beat for $595
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