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Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

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larason2

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Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostSat Mar 19, 2022 9:55 am

I recently decided to buy a pair of Grado Prestige series SR60’s. This as a decidedly non audiophile, but long time Hauptwerk user. The open, non powered design appealed to me, and I thought I would take a chance on the 20-20,000 Hz promise that I would be able to hear the bottom of the 32 foot ranks appropriately. They are at the very bottom of the Grade range, but as such are also the most affordably priced, and have the same driver as all of their other more expensive options. For context, aside from cheap headphones when I was a youngster, I’ve only ever listened to Hauptwerk on a now decade old pair of Bose Quietcomfort 2 noise cancelling headphones, or more recently my pair of Beats Studio 3 that I got for free with my computer. My non headphone setup at home is 2 Yorkville NX25p monitors hooked up to an aging but still very good USB2 Steinberg UR22. It may be that these headphones may not be applicable to most users here, but I thought I would share my experience, as Hauptwerk focused headphone reviews are hard to come by, particularly among more affordable headphones.

Opening the package, the Grado SR60 comes in a paper package with some plastic foam packaging to hold it in place. All that’s included in the box are the headphones, and a gold mini plug to 1/4 inch adapter (which is very nice!). The cables are covered in braided plastic, which feels very substantial, and tends to coil just perfectly. There is a split point and a cable that goes to each driver, which is a change from my previous headphones, in which only one plug goes into the left side. The headphones feel really light, especially after using heavy noise cancelling monsters for so long, and the fit is quite comfortable on the ears with the plastic foam, even for long periods of time (by contrast, the Studio 3’s get tired and hurt my oversize ears after only 30 minutes of playing). The band fits suprisingly comfortably, even for large heads such as mine. The build is quite solid for something so small and light, with the earpiece frames being very sturdy and well built feeling. Adjusting the positions of the earpieces on the band is a bit stiff at first, but they hold position well, so once they fit you don’t have to continually do any fiddling, and adjustment is silent (compared to the Studio 3’s, which click loudly every time you adjust them!)

Putting them on your ears, they definitely feel a lot more open and silent than either of the noise cancelling headphones I had before. Listening to organ recordings, the equalization is definitely very flat, that is to say the balance between high, medium and low frequencies is very precise, almost clinical. There is quite a lot of definition to the sound, so that all stops almost sound “stringier” than I am used to. The flatness of the top end makes it sound a bit sharper than headphones that naturally fall off in the top end (like the Studio 3’s), and the bass is a lot less boomy than the Studio 3’s (which have quite aggressive bass!). However, you can clearly hear all notes down to the bottom of the 32’s, which I would say fulfills the Grado’s promise that you can hear down to 20 Hz! Because they are not powered, adjusting the volume doesn’t do as much as on the powered headphones I am used to, but even if you crank up the volume, these headphones never sound harsh or painful like my powered headphones do.

I tested these on Hauptwerk using the Notre Dame de Metz and Salisbury Willis sample set, plugging them into the headphone port on the UR22. The Notre Dame de Metz was recorded a bit louder than the Willis (and also has less dynamic range), so you don’t have to turn up the volume quite as loud for the Metz. Both 32 foot stops on the Metz sound quite distinct, though not overpowering at the bottom note. The Willis 32 foot stops sound similar, though you have to turn the volume up quite a bit more (but not to max). The 32 foot Willis Bourdon is clearly discernable, but fainter than it seems when using the powered headphones, even at high enough power to clearly hear the quietest stops on the swell with the box fully closed. That being said, full power on the great and pedal isn’t painful even at that volume setting, so there is no need to be constantly adjusting the volume, which is nice. That’s one complaint I have about the noise cancelling powered headphones, I’m always reaching for the volume knob.

Strings are stringier than I’m accustomed to, but the flutes still sound very nice (though they seem to have less power than on my headphones with more bass). That being said though, the blend is a bit better than on my Studio 3’s, probably because of the more discernable string tone. The sound is sometimes not quite as exciting, but that may be a plus if you prefer very balanced, flat and detailed sound. That being said though, there is more detail in the middle and upper range, but I think less detail in the bass compared to the Studio 3’s.

So, overall, I’m happy with the purchase, and I think these are exactly what I’m looking for, especially for the price! They deliver on the promise of going all the way down to the bottom of a 32 foot stop, and that is more than I would have expected! They may also be a good budget conscious option for some Hauptwerk users. However, they may not satisfy someone with more expensive audiophile type headphones with a flat response (particularly in the bass), or anyone who prefers the mellower upper ranges and bigger bass found in most commercial non-audiophile type headphones. If using with Hauptwerk, I would use them as I did with a dedicated external audio interface that has a good degree of amplification, or you may have trouble hearing the softest stops on a big organ.
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marcus.reeves

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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostSat Mar 19, 2022 3:23 pm

I can second these, they are fantastic headphones for the money and well reviewed by audiophiles too. You have to not mind the retro looks though, and being open backed they aren’t suitable for use anywhere but at home. I also have a pair of GW100s, Grado’s first wireless headphones. They are equally as good, but with slightly better build quality, and when using a dedicated Bluetooth transmitter, they work with no discernible latency with Hauptwerk. Highly recommended.
Best wishes,
Marcus
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mdyde

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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostSun Mar 20, 2022 4:54 am

[Topic moved here.]
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostThu Sep 14, 2023 7:14 am

marcus.reeves wrote:... I also have a pair of GW100s, Grado’s first wireless headphones. [... ]when using a dedicated Bluetooth transmitter, they work with no discernible latency with Hauptwerk. Highly recommended.


Sorry for resurrecting an old thread but I'm thinking of getting hauptwerk cranked up again after years of not having the right kit / house layout / setup.

Because my PC is in the far corner of the room from my keyboards and there's no easy / non-ugly route for wiring, I'm wondering about a wireless setup, and am intrigued by the suggestion that marcus.reeves made regarding using Bluetooth for HW with no latency. I'm just discovering bluetooth audio (new phone has no headphone jack...) and would welcome some more detail if Marcus is still on the forum?

Or perhaps if others have experience with this setup?

What does Marcus mean by 'a dedicated bluetooth transmitter"? Don't you just pair the headphones with the PC as you would with any bluetooth device?

I'm also wondering if anyone's had any experience using wireless MIDI devices - eg this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B08F8F57JX/ - this to hook up the keyboard to the PC of course.

Lastly, I'd probably be RDPing into the PC from an android tablet for stop control. Is that mad? It's only for occasional / casual use at the moment (unless I get hooked of course .....)
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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostThu Sep 14, 2023 7:29 am

ps. Regarding the SR60s. I was given a pair as a present fifteen years ago. They do sound wonderful - best of any headphones I've ever had, but the build quality is well below par and mine, while they have limped through fifteen years, have had various bits replaced and are now mostly unusable - loose connections inside the enclosures and on the cables, buzzing / rattling etc). I wish they'd just make them with a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left enclosure so you can use your own cable.

BTW I found much better aftermarket earpads on, I think, ebay, than the stock ones.

Sigh, they sounded so good when they were new though. Hmmm I think I might just have to replace them like for like.

pps. I got the chance recently to ask two of the top classical record producers in the UK what affordable headphones they'd recommend; they said Sennheiser HD600s @ £350 ...
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marcus.reeves

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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostThu Sep 14, 2023 12:21 pm

SomeChap wrote:Because my PC is in the far corner of the room from my keyboards and there's no easy / non-ugly route for wiring, I'm wondering about a wireless setup, and am intrigued by the suggestion that marcus.reeves made regarding using Bluetooth for HW with no latency. I'm just discovering bluetooth audio (new phone has no headphone jack...) and would welcome some more detail if Marcus is still on the forum?

Or perhaps if others have experience with this setup?

What does Marcus mean by 'a dedicated bluetooth transmitter"? Don't you just pair the headphones with the PC as you would with any bluetooth device?


Hello SomeChap, I'm definitely still here!

Most Bluetooth transmitters and receivers have some kind of inherent latency unless you can force them to use a suitable codec such as aptX Low Latency. The GW100 support aptX Low Latency but quite a lot of computers do not, hence the need to use an alternative transmitter. I use one of these: https://www.sennheiser-hearing.com/en-UK/p/bt-t100/ and it seems to work really well, for me. The audio comes out of the computer via a 3.5mm jack and in then transmitted via Bluetooth as you'd expect. You just need to pair your headphones with the transmitter and not the computer.
Best wishes,
Marcus
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SomeChap

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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostMon Sep 18, 2023 7:32 am

Many thanks, I'll look in to that Sennheiser gizmo!
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josq

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Re: Grado SR60 Hauptwerk Review

PostMon Sep 18, 2023 9:46 am

Here is another review of the Grado SR60, which includes frequency response and distortion measurements:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... one.28177/

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