When you listen to your favorite music do you crave an exciting frequency response, or extremely neutral playback? If you live and die for the flattest response possible, you probably don’t want to stick around until the end.
If these open back cans aren’t flat and neutral – what do they sound like? Are they better for at-home listening or can they be used as a walk-around pair? We will do our best to highlight both the best and worst features these cans have to offer.
If you’re anything like us, you probably agree with the importance of having all the facts before you draw any conclusions! Keep reading our Grado SR325e Headphones Review to see why they’re still a popular choice among both audiophiles and casual listeners!
Features & Technical Specs:
- Supra-aural (on-ear) open back design
- Built-in non-detachable (5 ft.) headphone cable
- Features 360° swivel ear cups
- Includes 1/4″ adapter
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Frequency Response: 18 – 24,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 99.8 dB/mW
- Dimensions: 1.97 x 6.69 x 7.09 inches
- Weight: 0.52 lbs.
Before you move on, take a quick look at the links below that you can use to navigate our review. Each section will provide an in-depth analysis for each individual performance aspect.
Here are the 5 most important performance features you’ll want to consider before making your decision:
- Build Quality & Durability
- Comfort – Long-Lasting or Short-Lived?
- Sonic Performance – How Do They Sound?
- Who Are These Cans Perfect For?
Now that you’ve taken a quick look at the technical specs, let’s start by examining two of the most important features – build quality and durability.
Build Quality & Durability
As you can probably tell from the picture above, these cans are made of 3 separate materials – leather, metal, and foam. They are the first headphone in the Prestige Series to feature the all metal, powder-coated aluminum ear cups (and grills).
Although they do looks very similar to past models from this company, there are a few differences you’ll want to consider. First, let’s take a look at the open back ear cup design.
Open Back Ear Cups
Looking at them from the outside, the open back ear cups appear to be almost identical to past models. Most of the Prestige Series ‘phones feature a very consistent build, quality, and overall design.
One difference with these cans is the amount of sound leakage. Both ear cups leak quite a bit of sound which probably isn’t very surprising considering their open design. How much sound leakage can you expect?
If someone else is in the same room where you’re listening to your favorite music, they will easily be able to hear exactly what you’re listening to. This makes them less ideal for a walk-around pair of cans and better-suited for at-home listening in a quiet (and possibly solitary) environment.
Another feature worth noting is that both ear cups swivel a full 360° in either direction. Unless you’re a DJ or working in a recording studio, the swivel ear cups are mostly convenient for storing face down on your desk or table. Is there anything you should know about the headband design?
The headband itself has very minimal padding although noticeably more than other Prestige Series cans (like the SR80e seen in the picture directly below).
They have a fairly light clamp which is even more important when you’re wearing on-ear ‘phones. As you can see in the picture at the top of the page, these cans have a proprietary sliding adjustment headband design. As you adjust them to find the right fit for you head size/shape, you’ll notice that the slider is firm but not too tight.
This allows you to make smooth adjustments without any notches or clicks. (If you can’t live without a satisfying click while making your headband adjustment – these probably aren’t the right pick for you.) Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, you’re probably wondering what kind of cable is included.
Non-Detachable Headphone Cable
Keeping it consistent, these cans also have a non-detachable cable design. The cable itself is almost as thick as most standard microphone XLR cables. (If you’re not familiar with those, picture a cable that’s nearly as thick as an extension cord.)
As you can probably imagine, the cable is heavier than most due to its bigger size. This isn’t necessarily a major issue since it is non-detachable and can be tucked away (or stored on a headphone stand) relatively easily. They do not come with a carrying case which may be a little bit surprising since their ear cups do swivel all the way around.
Things To Consider When Listening With Your Phone
About 1.5 – 2 ft. down from each ear cup, there is a y-connector split in the cable. This ultimately allows you to have more freedom of movement. One possible downside to the thicker cable is that you may have a harder time plugging the 3.5 mm connector directly into your smartphone.
If you have a case that leans towards the bulky side – you could consider getting a cable extension, or try removing the case while you’re listening to music. In most cases (and for use with most other audio equipment), the thicker width just above the 3.5 mm connector allows for better cable durability.
Thinner cables can sometimes start to come apart where the 3.5 mm connector meets the actual cable after a year of tugging on the cable to remove it from your DAP, laptop, or DAC/amp. Another way to completely avoid any issues in this area is to pair your phone with an amp.
If your amp’s connector easily fits in your phone while the case is still on – it’ll be much easier to use these that way. (Not to mention they’ll sound a lot better.)
While the build quality and durability is significantly better compared to less well-built cans (like the Monoprice Monolith M1060) there is slight room for improvement. If they don’t have the best build – are they at least comfortable?
Comfort – Long-Lasting or Short-Lived?
Since these are supra-aural cans – the foam ear cups will sit on your ears (instead of around or over). You might be a little bit skeptical about how comfortable the headband is since it does look pretty thin. Are the ear cushions and headband more (or less) comfortable than other Prestige Series models?
L Cushions – Pros & Cons
These cans come with the ‘L cushions’. Depending on who you ask, some people will tell you that they are slightly less comfortable than the ‘S’ or ‘G’ cushions. That being said, there are a few things that we can all agree upon.
One, the included ear cushions are made of soft and lightweight foam that provides great ventilation. Two, they are fully-removable and can be replaced if you deem it necessary.
Let’s say you put them on for the first time and keep them on for a few hours. Around hour two you start to notice that they’re digging into your ear lobes just enough to cause noticeable discomfort.
If that happens to you and you’re not satisfied with how they fit and feel on your ears, you can always replace them with the ‘S’ or ‘G’ cushions. Once again, this minor possible drawback only occurs in a few cases and is usually due to our individual ear shapes and sizes.
Some people also choose to replace the ear cushions in order to minimize any excessive sharpness and/or sibilant peaks in the mid to upper range (which we’ll cover in more detail below).
During longer listening sessions, you may find yourself readjusting the ear cup placement more than usual. Having to constantly readjust the ear cups is pretty common with most on-ear cans and these are no exception.
One last feature you’ll want to consider is the close distance between your ears and the actual driver. There have been a few minor complaints about the driver slightly rubbing against some people’s ears since there isn’t much room between your ears and the drivers.
Overall, the included lightweight foam used to cushion both ear cups provides about average wearing comfort and ventilation.
Minimal Headband Padding & Weight Distribution
As we briefly mentioned above, the headband itself doesn’t have very much extra padding (especially compared to the Philips Fidelio X2). One feature they do have compared to other similarly-priced cans is an extremely lightweight build.
Less weight means less pressure pulling down on the top of your head and therefore better overall comfort. The width and shape of the headband does a decent job at evenly-distributing most of the weight, especially considering the fairly minimal padding. So far, you know what to expect in terms of build quality and comfort, but how do they sound?
Sonic Performance – How Do They Sound?
These cans are specifically known for producing a bright, energetic, and lively response that makes them very fun to listen to. Their slightly forward profile and above-average vocal clarity are just two of the main reasons they’ve been able to remain a popular choice among both audiophiles and casual listeners.
While they do remain somewhat flat compared to ‘phones like the Beats Studio Wireless – they definitely aren’t flat or neutral. Let’s take a closer look at the lows, mids, and highs to see where they excel!
Lows – Extended or Accurate?
In the low end, you’ll notice that the bass response is very crisp and clear. Although the lows fail to produce extreme depth and extension – the highly accurate and detailed response is a fair trade-off. Of course, this will largely depend on your preferred genre of choice.
For example, if you only listen to EDM, hip-hop, or other genres where the bass is at the forefront – you will most likely be disappointed by the subdued low end presence. Are the mids also toned down, or do they pick up some of the slack?
Mids – Detailed or Hazy?
As you’re listening to the first few songs you play through these cans, you’ll notice that the mid range instrumentation is very detailed. This helps reveal the nuanced subtleties on a multi-layered or chaotic track.
Mid range detail that you may have previously missed out on will be brought to the forefront. You will not only catch the smallest of detail, but will also notice how clear the vocals sound. A fairly-represented vocal presence is often overlooked, which is a major reason why these cans are still a popular choice.
While they are very crisp and detailed, some recordings tend to become slightly sibilant at higher volume. This is part of the reason why you don’t necessarily need to pair them with an amp. (If you can catch the sibilant peaks without an amp – they’ll only become more noticeable with additional amplification.) Are there any sharp peaks in the highs, or are they rounded off and clean?
Highs – Sharp or Crisp?
As we briefly mentioned at the beginning of this section, the bright sound signature that these ‘phones produce is mainly due to the upper range presentation. Frequencies in this range are extremely bright and almost verging on the edge of becoming sharp.
If you do find that the highs are sharper or brighter than you’d like – replacing the ear cushions with either the ‘G’ or ‘S’ cushions is a quick and easy way to take care of any distracting sibilance.
At first, it may be slightly overwhelming if you’re used to using extremely neutral and well-balanced open back headphones like the Sennheiser HD 600. The spacious and wider soundstage these cans provide is one of the most noticeable areas that sets them apart from the HD 600.
Soundstage & Imaging
They have a significantly wider soundstage that’s complimented nicely by the forward-sounding treble. Due to the detailed but slightly subdued low end and extremely crisp vocal quality – these cans excel in any and all genres that don’t require a skull-shattering bass response.
Do You Need A Headphone Amp?
If you plan on using these ‘phones with a DAP like the FiiO M7, you will not need an amp to fully experience everything we just covered. If you do end up wanting a bit more power and volume, keep in mind that you may experience slight sibilance at higher volumes.
As long as your laptop, smartphone, or PC has a 3.5 mm port that’s easily accessible (unlike some phones with bulkier cases), the standard wired connection should be more than adequate. If you made it this far into the review, you’re probably wondering who these cans are perfect for.
Who Are These Cans Perfect For?
If you’re looking for a pair of extremely well-balanced and neutral reference cans for critical listening or use in the studio – these probably aren’t the best choice. Since they feature a bright and forward upper range response, they perform much better for pure listening enjoyment.
These cans would be perfect for you if you prefer a bright, forward, and slightly aggressive sound signature. Although you can wear them for a few hours straight, remember that the on-ear design and foam ear cups have gotten mixed reviews.
All things considered – the extremely lightweight build, exciting sound profile, and signature Prestige Series build make these cans a dependable option for at-home listening.
Take a quick look at the review table below to see the criteria we used to calculate our final rating out of 10. There, you can also see the most important pros/cons to consider before you decide if they’re the right pick for you.
Now that you’ve read our Grado SR325e Headphones Review what do you think? Are they worth seriously considering? Do you prefer extremely neutral playback, or a more exciting sonic presentation?
If you’d like to see more information such as customer reviews or star ratings on Amazon, use the link below!
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below! If you have any questions about anything else we covered here, feel free to ask below! We always do our best to respond as quickly as we can! Thanks for stopping by to check out this review, we hope to see you here again!
Sonic Elevation: Ride The Waves.
Grado Prestige Series SR325e Headphones
Build Quality & Durability8.5/10
For At-Home Listening9.5/10
Use With/Without An Amp9.0/10
As A Reference Monitor7.5/10
- Bright & Exciting Sound Profile
- Vocal Clarity & Nuanced Mid Range Detail
- Wider Soundstage Than The HD 600
- Lightweight Build & Fairly Even Weight Distribution
- Built-in Cable Is Very Durable
- Bass Response Isn't Ideal For Exclusively Bass-Heavy Listening
- Headphone Cable Is Non-Detachable (Or Replaceable)
- Minor Complaints About The On-Ear Fit