If you’re on the lookout for a lightweight headphone which won’t completely shut you out from your environment, Grado's SR60e and SR80e can be good choices.
They are, however, so similar in design, build, and features; purchasing one of them can be difficult (which is probably why you're here).
In summary, if you’re looking for high-quality, lightweight, and wired headphones you can use inside a relatively quiet environment like your room or studio for audio listening and video watching, the Grado SR60e is the best choice. And if you’re willing to pay a bit more, the Grado SR80e has the same quality features with a better mid-range sound and is more compatible with gaming consoles.
- Grado SR60e is lighter at 0.48 lbs compared to the Grado SR80e, which weighs 0.51 (but both are still lightweight)
- The Grado SR80e plug is more compatible with most gaming consoles
- The Grado SR80e has a better mid-range, which means audio and vocals sound better at a higher volume
- The Grado SR80e is $35 more expensive than the SR60e
Design and Build
Grado is a brand known for its unique, high-quality headphones handcrafted using industrial materials including metal, wood, and leather. They have an old-fashioned retro style that they have remained consistent through the years.
The Grado SR60e is an on-ear type of headphone, which means it doesn’t cover and seal the entire ear. The open back still allows you to hear outside noise, so you are not entirely oblivious to your surroundings.
The headpiece connects to a 6 feet cable measuring from the plug to the “Y” cable split. It is not meant for use with portable devices because the cables are long and bulky. These are best used inside a room, plugged into a computer, audio player, or other consoles. The wires are long enough to move around comfortably inside a room without having to remove the headphones.
The product measures 3.15 x 6.69 x 7.48 inches and weighs 7.76 ounces or 0.48 lbs which is very lightweight. The lesser weight makes it ideal for long-time wear and is very comfortable around the head.
The Grado SR80e is similarly an on-ear, open-back type of headphone. The aesthetics and measurement of the Grado SR80e are no different from the Grado SR60e. It even has the exact measures of 3.15 x 6.69 x 7.48 inches. However, it is slightly heavier at 0.51 lbs.
The Grado SR80e has the same 6 feet durable cable. Grado’s strong cable is one of the best features of their wired headphones because it lasts longer and it’s not sensitive to pulling.
Both have similar quality ear foams and come with a mini-plug (3.5mm) and a ¼ inch adapter, and that’s it. Grado is a straightforward, plug-and-use brand that is not big on accessories, so there’s none to expect from these two models. They are true to their traditional audiophile roots that focus their upgrades on better sound and technology than frills.
Check out Grado's Limited Editions and Collaborations on their website.
The SR60e and the SR80e are part of the Grado Prestige Series headphones. The e-series is the 3rd generation of drivers, although it is essential to note that they now have the X-series or 4th generation.
When it comes to audio specifications, both headphones are very similar. They both have:
- Frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz (the range of the treble, mids, and bass)
- A normal impedance of 32 ohms (the higher the impedance, the better sound)
- Dynamic open-air operating principle
The only new thing about the Grado SR60e and the SR80e is that they have an updated driver design and a better damp resonant distortion.
While it may seem that both headphones are almost identical, there is still a slight difference in their driver treatment—a difference in sound quality.
The Grado SR60e is full-spectrum audio with excellent bass and mid-range, emphasizing full instruments and vocal sounds. Mid-range frequency headphones are ideal for listening to music with different genres. It is also great for watching videos, movies, and anything with vocals.
The Grado SR80e has a bit of improvement when it comes to driver treatment. It has a deeper bass and better mid-range frequencies, which is evident when you increase the volume.
Based on reviews, the Grado SR80e seems to tolerate higher volume and frequencies than the Grado SR60e. However, for the average listener, the difference is not that noticeable, and it is mostly the sound enthusiasts who can tell the distinction.
For an on-ear type of headphones, both the Grado SR60e and the SR80e headphones are very comfortable. They have similar foam pads that are replaceable.
The headband does not have a cushion. Instead, it is a solid piece of aluminum with leatherette stitched on it. Surprisingly, it is bendable and easy to adjust to the contour of your head for a more comfortable fit.
It is normal for the headphones to feel uncomfortable initially because the fit is something you should adjust according to your preference. You can lower the clamps, bend the headband, and adjust the ear cups.
As of writing, Grado seems to be out of stock everywhere. Supply has been scarce apparently because of the restrictions of the pandemic.
While other headphone brands have their parts and products manufactured in big plants, Grado products are specially hand-built in a workshop in Brooklyn, New York, limiting their operations and production.
Since there is no significant difference, the overall winner is the Grado SR60e when it comes down to value for money.
It is difficult to identify the difference between the two headphones if you are not an audiophile. The distinction comes down to the user’s listening ear.
The Grado SR60e is excellent in overall sound quality, but the Grado SR80e has deeper bass sound and better mid-range. You will only hear the difference when listening in higher volume or playing music with different frequency ranges. Otherwise, the Grado SR60e is already considered a good buy.
Here’s a rundown of our winner by comparison:
- Weight: Grado SR60e (lesser weight by a small margin)
- Comfort: It’s a tie (both have comfortable ear pads and bendable headband)
- Design and build: It’s a tie (there’s no difference in style and design)
- Sound quality: Grado SR80e (it’s clearly a preference in sound, but the SR80e is more well rounded)
- Price: Grado SR60e (value for money)