Grado Prestige Series SR80e review

grado 1The Grado prestige Series headphones are open back on-ear headphones designed in the USA. You probably won’t find them in the shops as they are still manufactured by hand by the family business in Brooklyn, but in the world of music production and audiophiles they made themselves a comfortable place, especially due to the high sound quality for the tiny price.

Even if they are not my first first choice when it comes to studio headphones ( I’ll explain why later ) and I hesitated to put them in list at first, I was thinking about how worth they are considering their price. As I know many beginners or even more advanced producers are tight on budget.


When it come to price/quality they are almost unbeatable! Most of the headphones I presented so far, are more expensive and maybe too expensive for some of you.

The Grado’s are not THE best headphones on the market but definitely one of the best headphones under 100 $.

Pros & Cons


  • treble is amazing
  • well balanced, nuanced sound
  • Mids & highs
  • price/quality


  • Plastic built, solidity
  • comfort of headband and cushions
  • bass response
  • soundstage could be wider

rating 4 on 5




USA: $99.00  

UK: £89.95  

EU: EUR 131,90


Best place to buy




Grado’s can look cheap ( and they are).. when they come out of the box. They are made completely out of plastic and have a vinyle headband. The headband can feel a bit tight at first and you will need to loosen it up a little so it adapts to your head.


grado 5

They come with adjustable ear pads that can swivel and rotate a 360 degrés. The ear cups are made of foam. They are not the most comfortable ones and feel a bit scratchy at first. They are on- ear and not circaumural to surround your ear. Some people like it and some don’t.


grado 7


You will also get a long cable with wire to split in the cups and a standard 8 inch mini jack.


The built quality isn’t the best and you can really feel it when you hold them. They are not solid headphones and the plastic  built won’t last for years, but again for that price you can’t expect headphones made of titanium.


How do they sound?

The Grado’s are not powered by traditional  drivers like most headphones are. The open back lets the sound pass through and acts like mini speakers. The sound you hear is powered by the air that surrounds you. This can be a good thing but it also means that the isolation is close to none. You are still able to hear your surroundings and they are able to hear what you are listening to. Lots of leaking and not the perfect headphones to listen to your music to on a train or bus.

grado 4

The soundstage is good, but not amazing because you get the feeling of emerging into the music BUT more in front of you and on the sides. Gives you a bit of a feeling like being at a concert. It’s lacking sound coming from the back to get that all-in amazing emersion feeling you can get from Sennheisers or Audio Technica’s.

The sound quality is very good for the price though. It’s well balances and nuanced. The treble is really impressive and extended with no peaks.

The frequency spectrum and how frequencies are reproduced makes it enjoyable listening. Especially the mids and highs are coming out well and the vocals sound  crystal clear.  The bass response is satisfying but may lack depending on you music style., which seems to be overwhelmed by the sometimes too aggressive mids.


The sound is flat but has been colored a little bit. Not in way that it changes completely the intent of the song but enough to maybe consider an other option for mixing . Audiophiles will appreciate the nuance for enjoyable listening.



  • Impedence: 32 Ohms
  • Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
  • Operating principles: Open air
  • Type: Dynamic
  • SPL 1mW: 99,8 dB
  • Driver matched: .1 dB
  • dimensions:7.48 inches x 3.15 inches x 6.69 inches



I told you in the start they are not my first choice when it come to studio purposes. Although the color of the sound is enjoyable when listening , I’d rather have the most flat possible sound when it comes to mixing. They are not too much colored , like Dre’s beats for example, nothing to excessive like that, but just a little too much for me.

Also the fact that they are open and that every body can hear what you are listening to makes them not the best portable headphones but they are designed for home studio purposes so doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t need them to act as a 2 in 1 headphones .

This is a personal opinion and they still have absolutely great value for the price. Certainly about the best you can get for under 100$.


Hope this helped!

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