Grado Labs has only released four generations of headphones drivers, with this latest revision seeing the new X Drivers get a complete redesign.
The RS1x and RS2x also mark the first time that Grado’s X Drivers have been built for wooden housings, each one specifically tuned for the wooden enclosure they’re built into, while maintaining Grado’s unique design aesthetic.
The intention with the new tuning was to bring out harmonic colours, rich vocality, and mid-range that Grado headphones are known for in concert with the wooden earcups around the new drivers.
The RS1x is the bigger of the two headphones, featuring a 50mm driver and combining three types of wood in maple, cocobolo and hemp wood. The RS2x keeps things a little more simple and goes smaller with its 44mm driver, using maple and hemp wood as Grado looks to wood construction for its “warm and embracing tonal abilities”.
Tweaks to the tuning of the headphones include increasing the magnetic power of the speaker while decreasing the effective mass of the voice coil. Grado says that this, along with the reconfigured diaphragm, “represents the truest presentation of the original source.”
Other upgrades see the RS1x and RS2x built with new durable 8-conductor cables, as well as a new white-stitched (real) leather headband.
On the announcement of the new Reference series headphones, Jonathan Grado said: “In 1994 my dad (John Grado) went downstairs in the middle of the night to build our first RS1 headphone. It’s kind of extraordinary that this middle-of-the-night idea is now evolving into an even greater headphone 27 years later.”
You’ll need to save some pennies to afford either one of the Reference series headphones. The RS1x goes on sale in December for £799.95 / $750 on the Grado website and independent retailers. The RS2x is available for purchase at the same time for £599.95 / $550.