Grado RA1 headphone amplifier review: Grado RA1 headphone amplifier

  • 1

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.3
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Audiophile-grade headphone amplifier; elegant solid mahogany case.

The Bad You'll hear a loud pop through the headphones when you turn the RA1 on or off; only the RA1-HG model plays loud with non-Grado 'phones.

The Bottom Line This remarkable little amplifier brings out the best sound from your headphones.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

Grado RA1 headphone amplifiers

We're going to let you in on a secret: the headphone amplifiers built into most A/V receivers deliver only so-so sound quality. Brooklyn's premier headphone manufacturer, Grado, has a solution: a dedicated high-performance headphone amplifier, the RA1. The amplifier's electronics are discreetly housed in a solid, real mahogany cabinet fitted with an aluminum volume-control knob. The device is blessedly simple to use: connect it to an audio source, turn it on, plug in a pair of headphones, and adjust the volume level. That's it. The battery-powered DC version retails for $350; we reviewed the AC-powered version, which goes for $425.

With measurements of 5 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep, and 1.5 inches high, the RA1 is tiny enough to fit anywhere. It weighs just 12 ounces. Connectivity is restricted to a pair of RCA analog line-level inputs and one 1/4-inch headphone jack. Buy a Y cable, and your RA1 will drive two sets of headphones; likewise, an 1/8-inch adapter (also not included) can be used to connect standard minijack-equipped headphones.

Editors' Top PicksSee All


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Grado RA1 (AC)

Part Number: RA1-AC
Low Price: $350.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Functions headphone amplifier
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Type headphone amplifier