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Grado Labs SR-80: RIP

My precious Grado SR-80 headphones died today. :( I hardly new thee.

This picture may not be suitable for small children or those with a heart condition:


These headphones sounded really great, best I've ever owned. They should, for how much they cost. But they were designed so so so poorly. The cups can rotate 360 degrees, which means no matter how well you take care of them, the cables from the cups to the Y-splitter will get twisted. Once I realized this I electrical-taped the cables together to avoid some of the twisting, but it didn't help. No matter how carefully I wrapped the cords up and stored them in my briefcase, 10 minutes later I'd pull them out and they'd look like a tornado hit.

Today I plugged them in and the left cup was sputtering and hissing in its death rattle. I immediately put the headphones on life support and performed emergency surgery, but the left wire snapped in my hands. You can only twist copper so many times before it gives. What followed was a good 45 minutes of hacking away at the plastic Y-splitter to get to the wires. But it was no good. I think something broke in the cup too, and that thing is impossible to get apart no matter how much force I applied. I tried heating it up to melt the glue but that didn't work either. I made it hot enough that the working parts are probably a puddle in there.

I'm almost glad this DIDN'T work, because then I'd be wearing that mess on my head for another year. Now at least I can justify possibly buying a replacement.

I absolutely need music while writing code. Depending on my mood, either angry German music or cheerful Japanese music. Foreign-language music seems to be just the right mix of brain-stimulation without the distraction of needing to pay attention to the lyrics. So yeah, I'm now in dire need a of replacement. I have backups but they're the in-ear bud sort and aren't the comfiest thing for an 8-hour session. Plus they cancel noise too well and I can't hear my boss talking to me.

It took me MONTHS of research to find these, but I can't justify buying another set after these broke in a few short years of heavy daily use. I need something sturdy and comfy that sounds really good. I need good bass in particular. Back to the drawing board I guess.

EDIT: Crap, I fixed them. :(

October 05, 2008 @ 4:00 PM PDT
Cateogory: Hardware


Bleys Maynard
Quoth Bleys Maynard on October 05, 2008 @ 4:20 PM PDT

I have a buttload of angry Russian music if you ever get sick of the German stuff.

Quoth Hypnos on October 05, 2008 @ 4:36 PM PDT

If you are willing to spend ~$100-200, consider Shure and Etymotic. Rugged construction, good isolation with in-ear design, professional grade sound quality.

Quoth Brian on October 05, 2008 @ 4:38 PM PDT

Yeah I have some Shure in-ear ones, I like them. But I need something hopefully circumaural and comfier to wear all day.

Bleys: Artist names?

Quoth jwickers on October 05, 2008 @ 5:10 PM PDT

I've got my Sennheiser for years now, and in fact although i bought some 300$ sound system is still find myself constantly using the headphones as they just sound better.

Most of the padding disintegrated a few years ago, but they are still comfortable enough.

Matija "hook" ?uklje
Quoth Matija "hook" ?uklje on October 05, 2008 @ 8:08 PM PDT

Ouch. If I had so much money to spare on headphones, Grado was also high on my wishlist. But after what happened to you, no thanks.

I'm also looking at some higher-end Sennheiser or AKG.

Quoth Brian on October 06, 2008 @ 5:07 AM PDT

Unfortunately all of the headphone-obsessed audiophiles on the internet love Grado, especially if you like bass-heavy rock or metal as I do. And they do sound amazingly good. :( Maybe there's a way to secure them so they don't break. You could always rewire them.

Quoth David on October 07, 2008 @ 3:25 PM PDT

You might be able to get them serviced or get some replacements:

Quoth David on October 07, 2008 @ 3:28 PM PDT

Sorry, to be specific, look at the last paragraph of the review. It's kind of long.

Quoth Brian on October 07, 2008 @ 3:37 PM PDT

Wow, that's good to know. Thanks.