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Grado HF-2 Impressions Thread


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The mids and treble are spot-on, neither being too much, to little or having any irritating flaws and the bass is just the right amount of strong, punchy and tight that music becomes fun.
Good call, they don't err on the side of too in your face, as I have found other Grados are wont to do.
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awesome midbass is such a Grado strong suit. As much as I love the RS-1, I would sometimes find myself disappointed with its lack of punch on certain tracks. Then you had the MS2i, which had plenty of punch but was too smooth, not enough treble energy. The HF-1 was really the best compromise I found, though it lacked the resolution and soundstage of the RS-1.

But now the HF-2 is king of the Johns. More resolving then the HF-1, with that kick ass midbass, perfect treble energy, and happily a bit more deep bass, which is what really wraps up the package nicely.

Still would love to experience a PS1000 in my own rig with my own tunes one day. Or even at a meet where I had more time and my own tunes (didn't get a real good listen at Canjam because someone unwittingly was fucking with the volume control of the 307A, and the ensuing blast into my ears made me want to remove all headphones for a while. I never got back around to the PS1000).

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The bass tightens up and the rough mids and treble come good after 50 or so hours of use.

They are, by far, the most fun dynamic cans I've ever owned. A surprise was listening to classical music with them and finding them unexpectedly very enjoyable to listen with. The mids and treble are spot-on, neither being too much, to little or having any irritating flaws and the bass is just the right amount of strong, punchy and tight that music becomes fun. The best bit is that they sound good out of anything, even an iPod.

That's comforting. I've listened to 'em maybe for 5 hours the last couple days and had them on pink/whitenoise about 20 during the same time when I'm not home. Still hear recessed treble, though I'm beginning to wonder if any treble will sound right to me after the ER4S...

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Finally got mine today but neither have an amp nor an adapter to hook it up to laptop. It's very pretty to look at though. The hf2 also took forever to ship, and email response time has been absolutely horrible, but at least Todd was kind enough to eat up the additional shipping costs to China.

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So far, the thing that kills listening with HF-2s for me is listening with HD-800s first. Some of that is definitely because of the different treble between both.

Yeah, the HF-2 don't sound too bad if it's the first headphone you put on for the day, but the HD800 make the HF-2 sound bland and veiled.

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Yeah, the HF-2 don't sound too bad if it's the first headphone you put on for the day, but the HD800 make the HF-2 sound bland and veiled.

I feel that way and they are the "nicest" headphones I've heard besides my ER4p/s... I feel like there's no treble compared to my earphones... :eek::o:(

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Figure I can safely weigh in on these, finally.

I've owned three pair of Grado phones, including the HF-1, and auditioned at length many more. I really want to like them, but it just hasn't happened for me. Combination of the perceived SQ (meaning with my ears VS yours), and the typical supra-aural VS circumaural design comfort issues (again, for me at least), I just haven't been able to enjoy them.

Despite these past experiences, I felt compelled to give Grado yet another shake, again without any audition, as they were not out yet. After trying a pair at the NY meet this spring, I felt comfortable with my decision initially, as the HF-2 seemed to have a more balanced presentation than the former sets I've used, and they were also notably lighter than 325s. They felt reasonably comfortable, but it was a brief tryout.

I got another chance to give them a more thorough audition at a mini-meet hosted by hopstretch over the summer, just before my pair were due to be shipped. It was a lot quieter there than it was in Queens, and of course, more relaxed/casual. Not only was the pair I tried (Ian's?) more comfortable than any previous Grados I've owned or used, the sound was still really nice and well balanced. None of the harsh grattle I had come to associate with the general design. I spent a good amount of time with them on both my Dynalo, Mapletree, and a shorter bit of time on the Menace. I was feeling better still for my decision.

The cans arrived very late, a good 5 or 6 weeks beyond the original projection, but I had them at last. Unfortunately I was also in the middle of putting a new roof on my house, coincident with a bonafide heatwave lasting more than 5 days. I finally got that task behind me and had some time to try them out. Washed the pads, as they were pretty crispy-starchy feeling out of the box. They sounded as nice as I recalled. A bit tight on the clamp factor, but I gently flexed the headband a bit, and fiddled endlessly with the driver positioning over the ear. I did end up washing the pads another time a week later, and they feel pretty nice now.

Since then I have worn them for about 120 hours, and am much relieved to say that not only do they sound excellent, they are quite comfortable as well. No, they do not feel the same as the circumaural Senns, but I can easily listen for a few hours, which is something I could never do with Grados in the past. I used Senn pads on my 225s, which were more comfy, but I never cared for the sound, for instance. Highly modded RS1s were pretty nice sounding, but still uncomfortable, and a slight bit harsh sounding TO ME. I know they are wonderful cans, but maybe my ears are very sensitive. After all, I hear no veil with Senns, for instance. smily_headphones1.gif

Of the 120 or so hours spent listening, probably 20-25 has been through the computer, the rest through the Mapletree. Nate has my Dynalo for now, which has been sitting idle for years, as it just isn't a happening amp when paired with Senns. Fortunately the Mapletree amp does a great job with Senns, and arguably even better with Grados, or so I've been told. I've been told on several occasions that the amp is very, very good with Grados, and I always felt bad because I just couldn't cope with them. Although the Senns are excellent with this amp, the HF-2 are more forward, but not smashing you in the face with a tennis raquet forward. They are NOT laid back for sure, but they offer a much more plausible presentation than other models have offered. The Senns are nicer for some content, particularly acoustic or vocal-heavy pieces, where there is a more airy or analog quality to the production, whereas the Grados are just a bit tighter and more impactful on electronic, or more heavily-produced work. They still sound great on other pieces as well, but they really shine with faster, edgier stuff. And the bass is really cool. The Mapletree is remarkably fast and tight with bass handling, not bloated at all. People seem to associate tube amps with tubby bass response, but it isn't always the case.

I'm not into constantly swapping out gear, or falling for the FOTM, but I do enjoy auditioning anything new. To adopt something into my rig is another story though, I have to really like it a lot, otherwise it's just a fun visit. I'm really digging the HF-2, and hope to enjoy them for a long time to come. Highly recommended, even for Grado skeptics.

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