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Grado RS1 headphones
By: Eric Broyles

It is probably the best headphone ever developed. It cost 1/5 the price of a Stax Omega 7 and can stand toe to toe with it all day long in sound quality. The first time I put on a set of Stax omega 7, I thought mankind had finally achieved the epitome in headphone development. But sure enough, a small company out of Brooklyn New York by the name of Grado Labs proved the world wrong. The first time I put on and listened to a set of Grado RS1 headphones, I thought I had finally gone to heaven. It was better than being in the land of milk of honey. The sound and tonal quality of the music is just completely indescribable. If left this listener completely speechless. The clarity and resonating warm tones from these mystical cans truly cater to the palate of ones ears. Talk about being at a live concert. It is like having the concert come to you at home when you put a set of RS1s on.


Vented diaphragm

Wooden air chamber

UHPLC copper voice coil wire

UHPLC copper connecting cord

Buy Grado Direct from
Tranducer type
Operating principle
open air
Frequency Response
Normal Impedance
Driver matched db

What does the i stand for in the new RS1i from Grado? Improved, thats what! Featuring a new species of handcrafted Mahogany earpieces made using an intricate curing process; Grado has been able to optimize the tonal quality. The RS1i uses new upgraded dynamic transducers and the new 8 conductor cable design all in an open-air configuration, the cups being open-backed. The result is a smooth, controlled and coherent sound with detailed dynamics. Frequency response ranges from 12-30 kHz and the drivers are matched to 0.05dB. Weighing 9oz, the headphones are an example of the wonder of Mother Nature with a gorgeous, dark-colored Mahogany look.

The RS-1 is the Masterpiece of the Grado collection, the Top Of The Range product which oozes class both in looks and sound.

"We've always had bit of a headphone fettish at What Hi-Fi? We're often talking about how they can create your own private universe, plug directly into your favorite piece of music. Now we've heard the Grado RS1s, and our fettish has become an epic, full blown love affair. Ooooh..."
— What Hi-Fi
"I'm very impressed with it" said Wes Phillips, an editor at Stereophile magazine who is evaluating the headset for next month's issue. "John introduces things that monster companies can't produce."
— New York Times / 8-18-96 / Mark Cohen
"I can honestly say that there is no better sounding headphone than the Grado RS1"
— Corey Greenberg, Home Theater Vol.3, No.5
"If you value headphone listening enough to consider buying a reference dynamic, then you should audition the RS1's."
— Wes Philips, STEREOPHILE Vol.19, No.7
"The RS1 offers something so stunning that price becomes irrelevant."
— Gavin Isaacs, Audio Video
"One of the years awesome high-end audio achievements."
— Ken Kessler, Robb Report
"I would urge any serious headphone listener to audition this Grado RS1."
— John Borwick, Gramophone
"It's rare that any audio product can come along and simply bowl me over. In this case, I yeild."
— Jack English, STEREOPHILE Vol.19, No.7
"Rated Class "A" on STEREOPHILE'S recommended components list."
"I say that the RS1 is a Masterpiece."
"The RS1's are the only product ever nominated by STEREOPHILE for their "PRODUCT OF THE YEAR" distinction, two years in a row!"
"From their honey-hued mahogany earpieces to the ultra-pure, oxygen-free copper voice coils, the RS1 headphones ooze old-world craftsmanship. These headphones offer a sound that's warm, smooth and dynamic, revealing otherwise-hidden detail."
— James Willcox, Mercedes Benz Magazine
"EDITORS' PICK! The chassis on these audiophile classics are handcrafted from cured mahogany, making them both light and dynamic. Amazing sonic detail, marvel at the clarity of your Steely Dan records. And thanks to a fully open design, you can have a conversation without reaching for the volume knob."
— Paul Boutlin, Wired Magazine
"...offer what many audiophiles consider the most accurate sound quality available in headphones. The low end is warm, the high frequencies are crisp and clear, and there is never any distortion. This is, quite simply, the way music is supposed to sound!"
— DETAILS magazine
"Even in the heady group of contenders the Grado RS1s luscious sound scores an immediate wow response. But over the months living with the three headphones, I gravitate to the RS1 more than the others. I love these headphones."
— Steve Guttenberg / Robb Report
"RS1 is at its best with instrumental, vocal and small-scale groups, particularly if you like your music up front and personal. The Grados are clearly a music lovers component, trading a little accuracy and detail for warmth, presence and tonal color a trade most tube lovers would make any day. Try them on for comfort and sound, youll not be disappointed."
— Phil Gold / Inner Ear Magazine
"Grado's RS1 has been able to utilize the natural resonance of wood to produce - in our humble opinion - the finest headphones in the world. In fact, the word "masterpiece" was bandied about frequently in the edit meetings"
— Kenny Booras / Industry magazine
"...the Grado RS1 adds up to a resounding no-brainer recommendation. Some refer to it as foot tapping, or pace and rhythm, I prefer the term kinetic energy. Whichever term resonates with you, be aware that the RS1 brings all of the above to the musical table."
— Dick Olsher /
"A ludicrously pricey pair of headphones but the sound is that good really!"
— What Hi-Fi / England
"But there must be a winner and so based on the time we spent with them and our almost compulsive desire to use them over any other headphone (even to listen to the iPod), the Grado RS1i stand up as test winners."
— AVReview / Group Test of ATH-W5000, AH-D7000, RS1i & HD800 / England