Grado is known for their open back sound performance and the PS500 is one of their newest in the professional series. The PS500 is the little brother of the top end PS1000 headphone. It is the same size outside as the prestige series, SR60i-SR325i, but features a metal outer body and wooden inner body. This body style is designed to reproduce natural sound while maintaining a good bass response. This is the audiophile pair of headphones I’ve had the longest now and I’ve made some modifications to my pair. The modifications that I have done are purely for comfort but I will go over the original setup and my own setup in the comfort/fit section.
The PS500 is by far the most vocal forward headphone I own. It really does give a sense of being in the front row of a show. That being said though its not nearly as spacious a sound as some of the other headphones I own either. It feels a bit confined like all the music is coming from right in front of you. One of the things you can do to change the sound of these headphones some is to change the pads. Grado makes three pads that fit on the PS500 the S, L, and G. The S cushion is the smallest and an on ear pad that gives you a little less treble and a little more bass. The L cushion is the most balanced overall and probably the best choice for most, also it is what they come with. Finally the G cushion is the largest and brings out a bit more treble and can make them seem a bit bright. I really enjoy these headphones for live recording for that front row sound. If you are listening to something that should have a lot of openness or space to it though there are other headphones that convey that sense better.
Comfort is probably Grado’s weakest link when it comes to their headphones. The ear pads aren’t particularly comfortable, and the headband isn’t very padded. Also I find that the swiveling ear cups are always trying to rotate off my head. They aren’t bad so much as they just aren’t great. You can change out the pads like I said in the sound section but that does effect the sound not just the comfort. For sure the fully around the ear G cushions are more comfortable but I don’t like the way they change the sound of the headphone. I’ve replaced my headband with the one off of the Marshall Majors headphone. I also use the S cushions most of the time as I think they are a good balance between comfort and sound. This band and pad combination also makes it so I can fold the headphones up to pack them away into a small package.
These headphones are fairly versatile musically though they don’t have the bass needed to be a hiphop, dubstep, or electronica headphone. They are easy to drive so you don’t need an amp to take them places with you. They are going to come with a 1/4 inch cable though so be sure you get the 1/8 inch adapter if you do plan to use them portably. These headphones are also very open, meaning they leak a lot of sound. These will not be good for a cubicle but if you have a private office you’ll love them for the sound. They fold flat with the supplied headband and pack down fairly easily, moded the way mine are they pack down to a very small package. One of the great things about Grado headphones is you can find many forums online about how to modify them and they lend themselves to this very well due to their simple design.
These headphones sound amazing and for $600 are well worth it. They were my first venture into this price range and I can’t say that I regret the decision at all. If $600 is a bit steep for you, there are many other headphones in Grados line that have a similar sound for less but these are some that really shine in the line. No amp is needed to make these sound great but you will be buying a 1/8 inch adapter if you plan to use them with any sort of portability.
I love the sound of these headphones. It is detailed forward and exactly what you expect from a pair of Grados. Unfortunately with Grados you can also expect to sacrifice some in the way of comfort. These are a light headphone and won’t get warm but you may find the ear pads to be uncomfortable until you get accustomed to them. They are very versatile musically and can be carried with relative ease but they leak a lot of sound so you won’t be using these out and about. Overall these are one of my favorite headphones in my collection and I would highly recommend them to anyone.
- Sound – Phenomenal
- Comfort – Good
- Value – Fantastic
- Versatility – Fantastic
- Overall – Fantastic