About the Grado SR225x
An affordable audiophile starting point
An affordable audiophile starting point
Grado's SR225x headphones are a great step forward if you're looking to break into the audiophile world. The earcups use Grado's new F-cushions to open up the sound and reveal more texture, giving the headphones a leg up on their little sibling, the SR125x.
The '225x headphones deliver Grado's signature sound: they're quick, warm, and well-balanced. To achieve that, they use Grado's new X Series drivers. The new driver design has a lighter voice coil, redesigned diaphragms, and a more powerful magnetic circuit. All that culminates in a pair of headphones that can keep up with any tunes you throw at them and heighten your musical experience.
Grado redesigned the headband and beefed it up with extra cushioning to improve comfort. They also made the cable more durable on the outside by thickening the jacket. On the inside, its super-annealed (heat-treated) copper wire improves signal transfer and purity.
These headphones offer stellar performance for their price. You can drive them off your smartphone, tablet, or computer easily. For even more clarity and detail, you can pair them with a good headphone amplifier.
Some firsthand listening impressions
I usually prefer over-ear headphones, but I've been a fan of Grado's Prestige on-ear cans since their SR225e headphones won my heart a few years ago. Those earlier headphones effortlessly sounded like a more expensive pair without straining the drivers or artificially enhancing the bass response. I was excited to try this newer iteration, the SR225x, and see how they compared.
I've always enjoyed the classic style of Grado's headphones. The ‘225xes have some welcome "quality of life" upgrades over the older version — for instance, I found the extra cushioning on the headband to be a welcome addition. The new F-cushions on the earcups were deceptively comfy despite their flat design. That, coupled with the headphones' lightweight design, made them almost disappear as I started listening.
Re-creating the simplest listening setup
I seldom listen to headphones without a DAC or headphone amp, but given the ‘225x's high efficiency and modest impedance, I wanted to see how they performed in a “real world” scenario, where one might not have access to a DAC/amp. I drove them directly with my Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and I seemed to have power to spare. I kept the volume at around 60% or 70% — any louder and I risked damaging my hearing. Even using the stock DAC in my phone, the headphones sounded wonderful.
There was a haunting airiness on the track “Pneuma” from Tool's Fear Inoculum album, which is what the song was going for. Maynard's voice was nicely textured, throwing in some subtle grit from time to time, which I hadn't really picked up on before. The open-backed design gave the cans a wide soundstage without being overly spacious.
Ed Sheeran's “Bad Habits” had plenty of fun, bouncy bass to it and it was easy to bob my head to. Little stylistic choices, like spurts of breathiness and vocal distortion, came through loud and clear. Grado's signature sound kept things warm, involving, and detailed.
The last track I played, “Bob Lennon”, came from a manga (Japanese comic) written by Naoki Urasawa. Urasawa eventually brought the song to real life and recorded it acoustically on an album in the early 2000s. I was able to get my hands on a 16-bit/44.1kHz rip of it. The headphones did a great job handling all the nuances the song has, with all of Naoki's singing quirks lovingly put on display. The guitar was rich, and the strings were vivid and clear.
Even better sound with a separate DAC
Next, I wanted to see how the Grados performed when hooked up to a DAC, so I pulled out a Sony portable DAC that I own and played “Bob Lennon” again. The headphones made me literally say “wow” within the first twenty seconds. The guitar sounded more full-bodied, and Urasawa's voice was more punctual and forward. Driven by the separate DAC, the 225x headphones re-created a more cohesive, immersive, and articulate mix. I even heard some subtle studio echo that I hadn't picked up on before.
Hand-built in Brooklyn
Grado started making world-renowned audio equipment in Brooklyn in 1953 and continues to do so today. The SR225x headphones are hand-built in Grado's hometown headquarters on 7th Avenue, just like all of the company's wired headphones.
- open-back, on-ear design
- new 44mm X Series drivers provide better performance and harmonic resolution
- "de-stressed" diaphragms provide enhanced levels of inner detail for a more open soundstage
- driver pairs matched to within 0.05 dB for better stereo imaging
- eight-conductor connecting cable with super-annealed copper wire for improved signal clarity and control
- cable terminates into 3.5mm plug
- 1/4" plug adapter included
- adjustable headband with extra cushioning for a comfy fit
- optional 15-foot Grado headphone extension cable available
- frequency response: 20-22,000 Hz
- sound pressure level (at 1mW): 99.8 dB
- impedance: 38 ohms
- warranty: 1 year (does not include earpads)
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # SR 225x
What's in the box:
- On-ear headphones with attached 68" cable (straight 3.5mm plug)
- 3.5mm-to-6.5mm adapter (installed)
- "Three Generations of Sound" sheet
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More details on the Grado SR225x
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||2.494" x 2.494"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||No|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Frequency Response||20-22k Hz|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Overview: The Grado SR225x on-ear headphones are part of the Prestige Series of headphones that are hand-built at the Grado Labs facility in Brooklyn, NY. The headphones are equipped with a 44mm X Series driver, the 4th Generation of Grado drivers, specifically tuned for the SR225x. Along with new drivers, the SR225x sports a newly redesigned cable and headband for better sound and comfort. The SR225x moves up to an upgraded ear cup cushion for added comfort. Grado Prestige Series headphones have a retro look, and a Signature Sound that is the result of over 65 years of heritage and dedication to quality. Grado Headphones are covered by a 1-year warranty.
Construction: The new 44mm dynamic drivers have a more powerful magnetic circuit than past versions, along with a voice coil with decreased effective mass and a reconfigured diaphragm. This combination makes the headphones more efficient, reduces distortion, and prevents unwanted coloration of your music. The SR225x features "de-stressed" diaphragms that offer a smoother, more open sound quality. These newly-designed drivers are matched to within 0.05dB for optimum stereo imaging. The SR225x features an open back design that produces a full, more realistic experience. The new rugged body helps to eliminate resonances that can cause distortion. This new Prestige Series headphone includes a new headband with more cushioning for a more comfortable listening experience.
Cable: The SR225x has a high-quality 68" 8-conductor audio cable with a 3.5mm gold-plated plug. The cable has been improved with a tougher braided jacket, and a super annealed copper wire for better purity. The plug has a sturdy molded sleeve with ample stress relief. A gold-plated, snap-on 6.5mm (1/4") adapter is included for use with your home audio components.
Note: The size of the plug sleeve may cause interference with some smartphone cases.
Replaceable Cushions: The high-quality foam rubber ear cushions can be removed for cleaning, if needed. If they show signs of wear, you can replace them with the Grado Replacement Cushion L.
Note: The headphone's ear cushions are not covered in the manufacturer's one-year warranty.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 22kHz
- SPL (1mW): 99.8dB
- Nominal Impedance: 38 ohms
The Grado SR225x replaces these items
- open-back, on-the-ear design with replaceable ear cushions
- "de-stressed" diaphragms and an eight-conductor connecting cable for more detailed sound
- large ear cushions, precisely matched drivers, and increased air flow deliver a large soundstage free from coloration