We're also disappointed that the headphones don't have a built-in microphone or remote control for modern smartphones. As iPhones and Android devices continue to evolve into the de facto standard for listening to music outside the home, we'd like to see future versions of Grado earbuds come with accessories that cater to this growing market.
On the other hand, we were pleased that the nonstick rubber coating on the 51-inch cord makes the headset nearly impervious to tangles. The same material also shields the wire from amplifying the sound of clothing rubs, and a straight plug at the end should fit with a variety of cases.
You might be surprised that the GR8s feature a single moving armature design, since we usually see dual or even triple drivers pumping into earbuds at this price level. A good example is the Westone UM2 Dual Driver True Fit Earphones, which cost the same, but the GR8s' architecture is restricted to a single driver in order to bypass driver crossover.
The result avoids the harsh transitions between woofers and tweeters that reproduce inaccurate notes and can sound different from the intended recording. Instead, the GR8s generate the level tones and even image separation across all directional frequencies that audiophiles have come to expect from Grado headphones.
The GR8 headphones are also excellent at creating an imaging experience that sounds natural and lifelike between your ears. Their versatile sound profile makes them an excellent candidate for a variety of genres, although we found the sub-bass slightly lacking in lower frequencies. Still, the balanced sound levels produced by the single loudspeaker in each ear will certainly satisfy even the most discerning audiophile.
We can't imagine many consumers considering the Grado GR8 headphones at their current price, despite their excellent sound quality. Unless you're absolutely dedicated to Grado, you can spend less and still pick up an excellent pair of headphones in the Klipsch S4s.