Grado GR10 - Verdict

By Hugo Jobling



  • Recommended by TR
Grado GR10


Our Score:


The GR10s certainly have no problem going loud. There's no distortion at any volumes that could be considered safe for the human ear to be prolonged to for any length of time. The result is a reproduction that is forceful, but not forced and there's a particularly good punch to the low-end, which doesn't have the same uncomfortable 'kick-in-the-head' feel of many bass-heavy earphones, and sounds all the better for it.

Unsurprisingly these improvements make the GR10s an exceptional-sounding pair of earphones. Bearing in mind how highly we praised the GR8, it's not a surprise that we're impressed by their successors. That shouldn't detract from the technical achievement of the GR10s, though The GR10s may have a single, moving armature in each earpiece, but they'll happily go toe to toe with triple-driver earphones in the same price range from the likes of Shure and Westone.

It's not just accuracy that the Grado GR10s offer up, though, they also have a huge soundstage for an IEM. That the drivers are sitting in your ear limits the width of this soundstage - music is still definitely coming from within, not without, your ears. The depth that the GR10s produce is nothing short of brilliant, though, and if you're listening to tracks recorded to be played on a real sound system, the benefit is tangible. Live recordings especially benefit from this, with big epic pieces (Space Dementia from Muse's Hullabaloo soundtrack, for example) sounding, well, big and epic.

What really appeals about the GR10s is that, like Grado's high-end headphones, such as the oft-lauded RS-1s (described by many as the best you can buy from any manufacturer), the GR10 earphones are downright fun to listen to. The Grado GR10 earphones they deliver what we can only call a sense of energy, a sense that you want, nay need, to be moving along with whatever music you're listening to. For want of a better description, the GR10s make music sound alive in a way we can't remember any other earphones managing.


We can't ignore the price of the Grado GR10 earphones, they're inescapably expensive, but so are rival earphones such as the Shure SE535s, and we have no qualms about recommending them either - quality never did come cheap. What's more important is whether anyone paying £400 for a pair of Grado GR10s would feel cheated and we simply can't see it happening.

Overall Score



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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