Grado HP-2 Headphone Reviews
||Cable Length (cm)
|Frequency Response (Hz)
||18 - 20000
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Review by Senior Member j-pak on 25 Mar 07 07:11
Grado HP-2 using Joseph Grado Signature Ultra-wide Bandwidth Reference cable
Melos SHA-1 amp w/ NOS tubes
Lavry DA10 DAC
Bass extension - deep. Very deep, goes down to 30 Hz without any effort.
Bass impact - designed with flat pads in mind so drivers rest very close to the ears. Bass impact gets second place, first place going to the Grado PS-1. John Grado bassy headphones like the HF-1 might have more impact but it's due to the midbass bump. Plenty of PRaT.
Bass quality - bass is very textured, the best bass I've heard for any type of jazz or rock. Bass is almost flat throughout the FR, tiny midbass emphasis.
Midrange - very natural. Not forward or recessed. Free of any grain or metallic sheen. Unlike current high end wood Grados there is no emphasis on any particular frequency so I find I'm able to listen to these for hours with out any fatigue regardless of volume. These are not your typical "low volume listening" Grados, they're enjoyable at any volume.
Highs - extension is excellent. Less emphasized than my reference headphones (AKG K1000). Again free of any grain in my system. Very transparent in that it doesn't lend itself to sibilance. Sibilant only when it's present in the recording.
Headstage/soundstage/imaging - typical for a Grado these do not have the soundstage of many circumaurals. Headstage is exceptional reminds me of the Stax Omega 2- sounds go outside the head and it doesn't feel like it's being reproduced by a dynamic driver. However soundstage is still average not the best headphones for large classical works, but very intimate for jazz and rock. One part that really impressed me about these headphones is that they have a lot of depth to the sound. I have never heard so much depth in any other wood Grado. On imaging they do their best for the small space they have to work with. Sounds are well placed and have their own space, in this regard they leave any other Grado trailing behind.
Detail - very good. I have not heard any details that weren't present in the K1000 and vice versa. I have ranked it below the K1000 since the K1000 lends itself to having details presented in a much more "in your face" style. This will come down to personal preference/mood/music, but I really enjoy this about the K1000.
Portability - like Grados the cups swivel, and it also has rod locking/position locking with thumb screws. If you were crazy enough the only thing keeping these from being truly portable is the weight.
Isolation - N/A
Comfort - With the headband bent out (and every single pair I've seen for sale has the headband bent out) and flat pads these are actually very, very comfortable. I have a small head so the pads gently rest on my ears. Weight is an issue for many, but I also use the K1000 (heavy!) and K340 (super heavy!) so these do ok. Again ranked it below the K1000, since the K1000 gently press on only one area of the head and doesn't have anything touching the ears.
Durability - if you have read anything about these you'll know how durable they are. Designed for studio use they are built like tanks. All aluminum construction, NO plastic anywhere. Drivers are not encased in plastic. Leather headband. Thick cable with Grado's high quality connector. JGSUWBR cable is very thick does not coil or twist. Red lettering has a tendency to rub off if they are handling by the lettering too much similar to the silver paint on the SR series.
Amp/source dependency - I find them more slightly more source dependent than amp dependent. Tried it with my DA10 vs a cheap EMU1212 and it's like listening to a lower end headphone vs an upper end. Very transparent of source. As for amp I tried it with an M3, headphone amp in the DA10 and a Melos SHA-1. The M3 and DA10's amp do an acceptable job driving them. Nothing to complain about. But they improve in every way with a better amp. The SHA-1 was designed with the HP-1000 in mind so this isn't surprising. HP-2 demand tons of current.
Value for the money - if you can find a good deal on them and you like a clean non-colored sound the HP-1000 might suit you. They have got quite expensive on the used market, but find a good seller and these are headphones to hold onto for a long time. Given the time and money required for a good source and amp these aren't the best bang for the buck headphones.