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Grado RS1i Reference Series Headphones Review

The Grado RS1i Reference Series Headphones were designed and constructed with one goal in mind: to optimize tonal quality. With improved dynamic transducers and the Grado RS1i Reference Series Headphones introduction of the new 8 conductor cable design, Grado has done exactly that. The overall sound is remarkably smooth, with superior clarity throughout all of the frequency ranges. The vocals soar above the music without losing any sonic definition along the way.

To further optimize tonal quality, the RS1i features an open-air configuration with open-backed cups. What the configuration lacks in isolation, it more than makes it up when it comes to resonance and tonal quality. Every piece of the high quality set is handcrafted and mahogany is used in the construction of the earpieces. When you combine the open-air configuration with the mahogany, the sound resonates within the headphones in a way that sounds natural and acoustic.

While you won’t want to bring the Grado RS1i’s out on a gig, they are noticeably comfortable for extended listening sessions and in studio monitoring/mixing. Engineers, DJs and audiophiles in general all agree that nothing beats the comfort of these headphones. If you are used to an over-ear cup, it may take a few sessions to get used to, but in the end you’ll love the difference and appreciate what the Grado earcup brings to the table sonically.

Overview of the RS1i headphones

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Main Design Features For the Grado RS1i

The Grado RS1i headphones have a vented diaphragm design that incorporates a large, wooden air chamber for the sole purpose of eliminating distortion while extending the bass. Its dynamic transducers resonate in full swing to achieve an improved low frequency response. The signal flows through a UHPLC copper voice coil wire to produce high fidelity audio.

Grado-RS1i-3aIn addition to choosing the finest materials for sonic quality, the headphones themselves are quite comfortable and lightweight. They weigh only about 9 ounces and with the leather padded headband, they can sit comfortably on your head for hours at a time. Made with extended listening sessions in mind, the RS1i’s won’t weigh you down while delivering excellent audio.

Despite the other design features, the mahogany ear cups are really what drives the RS1i’s into a higher class of headphones. As you move through different genres of music, the headphones continually respond in a way that makes them feel alive. It might be the all natural wooden construction, but these cans resonate with an acoustic feeling, not just an acoustic sound.

Sound Capabilities

With a frequency response range of 12 – 30,000 Hz, the headphones cover the entire spectrum without comprising sonic quality in any of the frequency ranges. The mids stand out especially with smooth, dynamic audio. The treble is similarly smooth, were well-extended and neither buries the vocals in a wall of sound. The low end, as with most high end headphones, could be a little more pronounced, but the clarity of each individual frequency is remarkable. The headphones are low-impedance, however, so the amp you pair it with will affect the sound.

Additional Features & Accessories

The headphones come with an attached ¼” gold plated cable that is particularly heavy in weight due to its heavy construction. When you open the package you’ll see the headphones with a ¼” extension cable and a ¼” to 3.5mm adaptor. Both cables are of high quality construction with 8 conductors so they are a bit heavy compared to other models.

Grado-RS1i-4a Grado-RS1i-5a Grado RS1i

If you want a leather carrying pouch, you can buy one separately but it doesn’t come with the package. However, that does hold true to the goal of the headphones, which is to create the highest possible audio fidelity. It’s not about gigging, it’s about listening. This is a testament to the goal and design of the RS1i’s to be the ultimate headphone for the audiophile, not necessarily for the gigging DJ.

Final Thoughts for the Grado RS1i Headphones

The Grado RS1i’s are well worth the price for the superior audio quality they produce combined with the comfort provided for extended listening sessions. The open-back ear cups that don’t situate completely over the ear may seem tough to get used to at first, but when you hear the sound they produce you will be completely on board. Plus, the rich mahogany look will have you looking like the true audiophile that you are.

Click here to get your pair of RS1i headphones today on


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