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Grado GW100 Wireless Series

Open-back Bluetooth® headphones

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Item # 786GW100

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Overview

Our take on the Grado GW100 Wireless Series

The Grado GW100 headphones are the company's first wireless model, and also the first open-back Bluetooth headphones I've ever seen. And Grado figured out a way to play music wirelessly from your phone — the way many of us listen these days — while still preserving their legendary sound quality. I got my hands on a pair, and I think fans of the company will be pleased. These lightweight, industrial-styled headphones are ALL Grado.

Grado's first wireless headphones

The Polycarbonate enclosures are designed to leak less sound than typical Grado open-back headphones.

Grado's vintage look and sound — on the go

The Grado GW100 headphones are the company's first wireless model, and also the first open-back Bluetooth headphones I've ever seen. And Grado figured out a way to play music wirelessly from your phone — the way many of us listen these days — while still preserving their legendary sound quality. I got my hands on a pair, and I think fans of the company will be pleased. These lightweight, industrial-styled headphones are ALL Grado.

Old-school sensibility, new-school functionality

If you're unfamiliar with the Grado story, it is one of my favorites. This family-owned business has operated out of the same shop in Brooklyn since 1953, building audio gear by hand. Their time-honored approach has helped them deliver some of most well-respected open-back headphones ever, notable for their refreshing, spacious sound. 

Still, the company couldn't survive this long without looking forward, too. That's why they've included a built-in mic for taking phone calls and on-ear controls for music. Plus, the GW100's enclosures and acoustic chambers have been redesigned from scratch to better suit listening in public. So while you enjoy some of the acoustic advantages of the open-back design, Grado claims 60% less sound will leak out compared to their previous designs. 

My hands-on experience

The GW100s felt really light in my hands, but they had a tighter clamp on my head than I expected. It was snug around my crown, but the oversized foam pads kept them from feeling unpleasant on the ears. I tend to move around more than usual when there's no connecting cord holding me back, so it was nice to have the headphones stay in place.

I could definitely hear my surroundings with the headphones on, but my office neighbor said he barely noticed when I turned on the music. Even when I listened to a Migos hip-hop track and bumped the volume up, he said that it wasn't obtrusive. He couldn't even pick out which genre I was playing from his seat. 

Listening impressions

I pulled up an album from yMusic — an orchestral ensemble whom I recently saw live, backing Paul Simon on his farewell tour. Their music has a lot of interesting stuff going on in the upper mids and highs with the viola, violin, and various wind instruments. Grado headphones tend to be revealing in that area, so I worried it might be too much sparkle for me to handle.

Instead, I found the extra detail helped me appreciate what the musicians were doing. The fast-paced song "Bows" was a particular highlight. I could imagine this track sounding grating on less-nuanced 'phones, but it sang beautifully through the GW100s. One of those rare musical moments where I'm both wowed by technical ability of the performers, and caught up in the emotion of it all. 

Next, the classic Talking Heads album Remain in the Light helped show off these headphones' full range of strengths. The soundstage is huge, way outside of the head, and one of the largest I've heard from a set of wireless headphones. Imaging was spot-on. Each instrument sounded properly placed, and the vocals popped out of the mix. And since the drivers were so close to my ears, it felt like the Afrobeat-inspired percussion bounced with an extra liveliness.  

Product Highlights:

  • on-ear, open-back wireless headphones
    • chamber designed to prevent sound from escaping while still offering the spaciousness of an open-air earcup
  • built-in Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless music listening and phone calls
    • aptX® decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices
  • dynamic drivers deliver mids-forward sound with extended bass
    • special "de-stressed" diaphragms for enhanced inner detail and a more open sound
    • driver pairs matched to within 0.05 dB for better stereo imaging
  • rechargeable battery provides up to 15 hours of wireless use
  • earcup buttons offer easy controls for music and calls
    • built-in microphone for phone calls
  • earcups fold flat
  • flexible headband and large, breathable earpads
  • detachable cable with 3.5mm plug for wired listening
  • frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • impedance: 32 ohms
  • weight: 6.1 ounces
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • On-ear wireless headphones (black)
  • 24" USB charging cable (Type A USB on one end and Micro-B USB on other end)
  • 48" Audio cable (3.5mm plugs on each end)
  • Owner's Guide
  • Grado Story sheet
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Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

General
Fit Style On-ear
Earcup Type Open
Earcup Width x Height 3.11" x 3.11"
Noise-canceling No
Mic For Taking Calls Yes
iPhone Control Yes
Lightning Connector No
Android Control Yes
Frequency Response 20-20k Hz
Sensitivity N/A dB
Impedance 32 Ohms
Weight 6.1 ounces
Cord Length 48"
1/4-inch Adapter Included No
Storage No
Charging Case No
Volume Control Yes
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Grado e series: The GW100 is the first Bluetooth wireless headphone from Grado Labs. The on-ear, open-back GW100 uses the same drivers as those found in their wired headphones, providing the classic Grado sound signature. The drivers are configured specifically for the enclosures, and are voice-matched to each other to within 0.05dB for a consistent sound. The headphones include a 3.5mm audio cable, and a micro-USB charging cable.

Bluetooth 4.2: The GW100 wireless headphones have Bluetooth version 4.2 with apt-X for high quality sound and reliable wireless performance. You can listen to music wirelessly from your smart phone or tablet, as well as make and receive phone calls. The wireless range is approximately 33 feet (10 meters). The headphones are powered by a 320mAh rechargeable battery, which provides a life of approximately 15 hours. A 4' audio cable (with 3.5mm plugs) is provided to let you listen to your device when the battery is exhausted, or you choose to not to go wireless.

Open Air Design: The headphones feature an open air design to provide a wide open sound stage. The speaker housings and internal components were designed from scratch to dramatically reduce the amount of escaping sound by up to 60%, compared to Grado's wired headphones.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Sound Pressure Level: 99.8 (@ 1mW)
  • Normal Impedance: 32 ohms

Our Product Research Team

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