Published on March 25th, 2015 | by Greg0
Grado GR10e: Old School Meets New Style
New York City has given a lot to the world- from Broadway theater to comedy icons, fashion and architectural designs to culinary and gastronomical delights. And the five burroughs have certainly made a mark on the music industry as well. And sure, it’s easy to think of bands and venues, shows and performances, records and even labels. But today we’re focusing on a different side of the business, a NY audio icon that’s been keeping it real in Brooklyn for decades.
Grado has been creating well-regarded gear since 1953, when the founder started it in his kitchen. Yes, they still produce phono cartridges, in keeping with their origins and history, but we know them better for their headphones- like the Grado SR225es that we checked out last year. Breaking with tradition, their latest lineup (just announced last month) features sleeker aesthetics, smooth curves, and shiny metals- a very modern look. The new Grado GR10e in-earphones definitely take some visual cues from the broader industry, but they still feature the signature sound quality that sets them apart from the crowd.
You’re not getting anything too fancy here, don’t worry- no Bluetooth wireless, not even a remote or a microphone to complicate matters or mess with your sound. The overall appearance might be new, but the build quality is still classic, just utilizing a fairly new driver technology called moving armature. Most earbuds and in-ear monitors use balanced armature or dynamic drivers, but the moving armature system aims to capture the best of both worlds. They are sensitive enough to be enjoyed without requiring a headphone amp, at 32 ohms (compared with their GR8es, at 120 ohms), and weigh in at a super-light nine grams. Three sizes of tips are included, but they are all silicone- no flanges, and no memory foam.
Still, few earbuds of any shape, size, or variety can match the detail we found here- the GR10e in-ears offer clarity and highs that pierce, have a fairly natural curve, not too bright, and are less boosted and warmer than most models this size. They sound far bigger than they look or feel, spacious and precise, even compared to dual- or triple-driver models that we’ve tested. Even bass lovers will find the low-end pretty impressive, especially once you find the right size tip and get the fit right. Basically, if you want audiophile quality in the smallest possible package, and don’t mind spending extra, then the Grado GR10e in-earphones should grab your attention. They’ll be available widely soon, and run just under $400.