Evaluation of Grado Stock and Modified Ear-Pads

This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Promises Kept
My first post was an exercise in getting all the bits-and-pieces together to create content. In many ways this is my first real post here ... and I want to keep a promise: For years I've said I would measure the effects of the various headphone pads on Grado headphones ... well, I am very glad to say finally, here it is.

To the best of my knowledge, there have been five basic types of stock Grado ear-pads over the years. From left to right in the photo above:

Small Flat Pad --- Originally the stock pad for the SR80; no longer available.
S-Cushion --- Commonly called the "Comfy Pad," this cushion comes stock on the Grado SR60i ($79), SR80i ($99), and SR125i ($150).
Flat Pad --- Now not manufactured by Grado; Flat Pads available at TTVJ ($35) are identical to the originals, and manufactured by the same source.
L-Cushion --- Commonly called "Bowls," this cushion is standard issue with the SR225i ($200), SR325i ($295), RS2i ($495), and RS1i ($695).
G-Cushion --- Commonly called "Bagel Pads" or "Salad Bowls," this cushion is standard issue with the GS1000i ($995) and PS1000 ($1695).

In addition to the above, numerous after market cushion and DIY modifications have been made for Grado headphones and a few have been included in this series of tests:

Reverse Bowls --- Normally mounted bowl on left; reversed bowl on right. Simply put the bowl pads reversed with the flat part towards your head.

Comfy Hole --- Cut a quarter-sized hole in the center of a comfy pad.

Taped Bowls --- Apply tape to the outer circumference of the bowl pads.

Goo Bowls --- Apply silicon sealer sparingly to the outer circumference of the bowl pads. (This is one I've been meaning to try.)

In this article, all the above pads were tested on a pair of Grado SR225i headphones. Listening tests and objective measurements were performed. Read on for the results...

Grado Labs
4614 Seventh Ave.