The Good Retro-styled, over-the-ear model; sounds swell with portables; big bass; lively sonics.
The Bad Not the slickest-looking or most comfortable 'phones you can buy.
The Bottom Line Grado's cheapest headphones belt out big sound with pint-size portable audio devices.
Grado Prestige Series SR-60i
The Grado SR60 headphones are made in Brooklyn--and they look it. Their black-plastic design doesn't exactly exude high tech, but as soon as doubters hear the SR60, their objections usually melt away. Converts gush about the headset's rock-solid bass, extraordinary detail, and clarity. The SR60 has been on the market for more than 10 years, perennially garnering raves in audiophile magazines around the world. It retails for $69.
The SR60's earpieces have large cushions, but we're not about to claim that these headphones set a new standard for wearability. After spending a few hours with all that foam clamped over your ears, you'll need a break. If comfort is a concern, check out AKG's sleek , which is less physically fatiguing. It's too bad that it sounds canned next to the wide-open SR60.
For listening on the go, the SR60 is our hands-down favorite among sub-$75 headphones, and it worked fine on our home system, too. For a mere $30 more, you can enjoy better bass and detail on Grado's SR80, which uses a slightly higher-quality cable and larger ear cushions. The SR60's cord is fitted with a gold-plated miniplug, and Grado supplies a gold-plated 1/4-inch adapter.
The SR60 stomps all over the pathetic little earbuds that come with iPods. After a one-minute comparison test, you'll never want to go back to that tinny and distorted sound. And here's more good news for owners of portable MP3 players: The SR60 is extremely efficient, so you'll be able to listen to your files at louder volumes than on other headphones.
The spunky Grado SR60 has attracted a fanatical following. Listen, and you'll know why.