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Grado GR10 review



  • Recommended by TR
Grado GR10


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Grado will happily tell you that the GR10 earphones are an evolutionary improvement over their predecessors, the excellent but expensive GR8 earphones. More importantly, however, they are indisputably among the very best of all of the earphones we've ever had the chance to try out. Alas, though yet this new offering is much more expensive at almost £400, for which money a lot of compelling alternatives can be had. So at one and the same time you really should buy a pair of Grado GR10 earphones, but also you really shouldn't buy a pair of GR10 earphones.

This quandary is evident even in the packaging of the Grado GR10s. Like the GR8s, the GR10s come is a simple goldish-brown box, containing only the earphones themselves, three pairs of silicone tips (small, medium and large) and some replacement filters. There's no carrying case, no aeroplane adaptor and no 3.5mm to 6.5mm adaptor - nothing you might describe as a value add.

Some might call that stingy, especially given the price of the GR10s, but the minimalist bundle does have an air of classiness to it. Indeed, other than a cutaway view of one earpiece, the company's name and tagline - "truly the world's finest" - on the front, and the product ID on the bottom, there's no text or imagery adorning the packaging. There's something refreshing about a product being allowed to speak for itself. You don't need fanfare and a parade to explain why you would buy a Faberge egg, after all.

The design of the earphones is the same as the GR8s and, as we remarked of those, elegant in its simplicity. We preferred the blue of the GR8s to the Green of the GR10s, but the latter do boast a pleasant enough shade at least. The presence of a slight notch on the left earpiece will prove useful if the GR10s L and R labels rub off as quickly as the GR8s' did. Although erring on the large size, the earpieces nestle comfortably in the ear, and the tips give a surprisingly good seal for silicone, though not as good as foam. The cabling has a pleasant-feeling, very slightly rubberised finish, and feels resilient, although not as much so as that of, say, the Shure SE535 - and with nothing as clever as their detachable, swivelling connectors.

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January 12, 2011, 11:30 pm

Being the old cynic that I am, I always wonder how companies such as Grado 'design' their prices. "Reassuringly Expensive" or just plain daft, I can't tell, pleb that I am.

One things for sure, in our consumerist world many will think the higher the price - the better the product. Numerous years on this earth have taught me that is an over simplistic view of technology. Good luck to those who decide to pay this kind of dosh (bankers? maybe). As delivering the suggested quality level will need a pretty decent setup and original recording to deliver er, value for money.


January 13, 2011, 12:23 am

Thanks for the review, I just wish there was more of a comparison with the Shure 530/535 or perhaps a more relevant comparison is the Senheisser IE8 with its single speaker system. Either way, I have to say I am tempted with these having owned Grado headphones in the past, they are just so unique!


January 13, 2011, 10:13 am

Maybe you can tell the sound quality of Shure SE 420-425 (i read they are almost the same in sound) according to the sq of Grado GR10? If Grado rated 10, what's the number for Shure? Old reviews need to be upgraded to new standards.

By the way, i never liked Shure 420 sound. Much cheaper and newer single driver Shure headphones sound better for me.


January 14, 2011, 1:14 pm

So are we saying the iPod DAC isn't good enough for these headphones but is good enough for the Arcan rCube?


January 14, 2011, 4:06 pm

Chocoa - dartboard.

Meenaxi - I don't have the SE535s to hand so I'm going by memory (and a notepad with the word "wow" in it a lot) for the comparison.

stranded - I prefer the GR10s, but you'd hope they'd sound better given the price difference. Mind you, I liked the SE420s enough to buy a pair back in 2007.

Marko - It's the DAC+amp combo in the iPod that really sucks. High bit-rate files on a dock-connected system sound fine from an iPod as it's pretty much just a repository.

Michael G

January 14, 2011, 5:47 pm

Am I the only one who finds the idea of paying this amount of cash for a pair of in-ear headphones...frightening? The most I've spent is £70 and I felt ridiculous then. They were Shure's and to be honest, I struggled to hear the difference when compared to the headphones bundled with my Walkman. I am sure these sound unbelievable but I can't help but feel Trusted Reviews are getting a little out of touch with reality giving a £400 pair of in-ears a 9/10 value rating.

I suppose it's all relative though.


January 14, 2011, 9:59 pm

Chocoa & Michael G: I'm with you. I can tell the difference between bundled headphones and £20 Sennheisers; I can differentiate between those and a £60 set but the difference is far less obvious. Beyond that the increase in price proportionate to the detectable increase in quality seems insane to me. But then I suspect that unlike "audiophiles" we simply have rubbish ears ;)


January 14, 2011, 11:21 pm

@MrGodfrey: The law of diminishing returns in action. I suspect even audiophiles would agree that the more you spend, the less you get for your money. It's just a matter of how much that last 10% is worth to you.

I'm not the best example of restraint. As I type this I'm listening to an iBasso D2+ via a pair of SE535s...

Alex 11

January 15, 2011, 1:14 am

Do you guys have any plans to review Westone earphones? I know that they are bit hard to come by in the UK but I have an UM3X and they sound great. They do sound quite a bit different (I can’t say that they sound conclusively better, both have their weaknesses and strengths) compared to the Shure SE530 I had earlier and seem to show a lot less wear. You have to be very careful when using high-end ear in-ear phones; I say this from experience, I have broken a pair of SE530s and lost another.


January 16, 2011, 4:55 am

@ Alex, Westone are overrated in my opinion, far too much bass bias. Had them for less than a day and had to get rid, stuck by my awesome SE530s though for more accurate sound reproduction I use the Sens IE8s, equally fabulous headphones! Wonder where these GR10s fit in the overall scheme of things.


April 30, 2011, 9:59 pm

Very interesting that negative comments I posted about the Grado GR10s have disappeared from the thread. Was it because I perhaps implicitly criticised Mr Jobling of falling for the Grado hype (or the emperor's new clothes)? That really isn't on Trusted Reviews. Come on, put it back, or I'll have to write it all over again.

Suffice it to say I was also taken in and I find the Grado GR10s thin, splashy and strained with little or no depth or body. And that's with around 100 hours of burn-in. They are far less detailed than the Westone UM3X and the latter gives the music a three dimensional presence that the Grados don't even hint at.

ohm image

November 6, 2014, 7:35 am

I reckon your ears needed a cleaning. The GR10 is detailed, but not strained. It is one of the best-sounding earphones out, at any price. That is, as long as you aren't really into tripped highs or big big lows.

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