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This is the fourth in a series of reviews dedicated to the concept of 32Ohm Audio as embodied by the store of that name in downtown Portland/Oregon and described here - Ed.

Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric UX-1, Yamamoto YDA-01, iPod Classic 160GB, Wadia 170iTransport [on review], Meier Audio Corda StageDAC [on review]
Headphone amplifier: Yamamoto HA-02, Woo Audio Model 5 with EML 5U4G and EAT 300B, KingRex Headquarters [on loan], Trafomatic Audio Experience Head One [on review], Red Wine Audio Isabellina HPA w. Wadia battery power socket [on review], Burson Audio HA-160 [on review]
Headphones: AKG K-1000 with Stefan AudioArt wire harness to the voice coils, Sennheiser HD800 with ALO Audio custom cable, audio-technica W-5000, Grado PS1000
Headphone stands:: Sieveking Sound Omega
Cables: ASI LiveLine power cords and interconnects
Powerline conditioning: Walker Audio Velocitor S
Review Component Retail: $1,695

With their SR60 now in i iteration, Grado Labs in New York City has been the patron saint to the music starved but cash strapped. To this day, Grado's SR60 is considered the cheapest top quality headphone to plug into portable audio devices. It's far from fashionable however. The emphasis is ear, not eye candy.

For many long years, Grado's Mahogany-encased RS-1 from the Reference Series ruled the roost as the best Grado on the high side of the line. Eventually that spot was ceded to the Statement Series GS-1i. That sported similar wood bodies but was scaled up in size and performance.

Eventually the heavy aluminum-alloy bodies from the lower-priced SR 325 model found themselves grafted atop the RS/GS-1's wooden housings. This hybrid solution of metal outers enclosing wooden inners became the platform whence the PS1000 launched as the new king of Grados. This naturally also included the across-the-board i-gen cable refinements.

Cosmetics remain pure Grado however. This means a leather-shrouded metal headband; simple metal posts for slide 'n' rotate adjustments to your head; and jumbo but raw foam cushions without any leather or velour pretensions. Those foamies are fittingly dubbed salad bowls by the cognoscenti. Despite their crass no-nonsense appearance, they're very comfortable. They also increase driver spacing off the ears to widen the soundstage.

Compared to Sennheiser's and audio-technica's finest HD800 and W5000 flagships respectively; and considering the PS1000 sticker which trumps the HD800s and nearly doubles the current street price on the Japanese; I'm forced to say that Grado's cosmetics and trim level are quite bare-boned and pedestrian. The captive 1-meter Y cable in fact is dressed exactly like a freebie power cord. It feels that cheap too. It's a far cry from the slinky fabric cover and wooden plug housing of my ATH-W1000s. Granted, these are trim and not sonic items but if you want to play with the big dogs, some would say act like a big dog. Grado does however include a 15' non-coiled extension cord and a short mini-to-regular adaptor tail.

Like all Grados, the PS1000 uses neodymium-powered low-mass polymer diaphragms which have been 'destressed'. Those drivers are vented into large air chambers to lower their resonant frequency and increase bass response. The voice coils are wound from slow-drawn long-crystal oxygen-free copper. The machined metal alloy on the PS1000 and SR325 has been processed to increase porosity. This is said to undermine ringing of the metal. Specifications for the PS1000 includes a frequency response of 8 to 35,000Hz, sensitivity of 98dB, nominal impedance of 32 ohms and driver matching to 0.05%.