Grado GS1000i

Update (8/30): Thanks for all of the entries into our first Small States giveaway, @omar_cruz is our winner and he has been contacted.

Small States is a new series on 9to5Toys that features small companies that design and manufacture within the United States. 

The first time you pick up a pair of Grado headphones, you know that something is different. The first time you speak to John Grado, you know why. Hearing this man tell the story of the headphones, the handshake agreements with men he’s worked with for 50 years and the passion for what they do, it is easy to fall in love with their product. The simple packaging, the smooth wood of mahogany and the clean look all bring you in before you ever plug in a pair of Grado headphones.


It all starts with John. He bought the company from his uncle in the 80’s, and designs each headphone on the top floor of the factory in the listening room. Carrying on the Grado tradition of “good ears”, he sits listening to three carefully selected songs, his self-described reference points: Red Garter by Duke Ellington, Night in Tunisia by Ella Fitzgerald and Before You Accuse Me by Eric Clapton. By utilizing the same equipment since he began his craft 25 years ago, John Grado knows what he’s listening for and sometimes it just takes him a while to find it.

After waking up in the middle of the night, he was struck with the idea of creating headphones made from wood. “I woke up one night, and thought ‘let’s try wood’ so I came downstairs from the apartment and tried to make a set.” as John tells the story with a chuckle. “We tried a number of different woods, starting with walnut before we eventually settled on mahogany. Maybe walnut would sound good to you, but it was not what my ears told me were best.”

That’s where Mark enters. He has supplied mahogany wood to the Grado family for decades. Brought down from northern New York to the heart of Brooklyn, this wood represents the start of a refined process with one purpose: creating a beautiful listening experience. From there, the rest of the headphone begin to come together in a tiny factory that was once a brownstone. Each piece of the puzzle is put together by one of the 20 Grado employees, even Vice President of Marketing (and son) Jonathan spends a chunk of his week putting together cartridges for vinyl.grado-phono-cartridge

Behind the Scenes

Relationships are what drives the Grado family, and Jonathan carries the torch of his father and uncle before him. Hearing him tell the history of the company, even at 23 years old, you realize that he understands the importance of these special bonds.

“We are not looking to be market beaters, we like who we are and having 18-20 people here,” says Jonathan “I like that we not only have good sounding headphones, but a story behind it.”

John feels the same way, “In my younger years, I marched around saying Grado headphones are the best. As I’ve matured (laughs), there is a headphone for you and one for me. We make a headphone we like, and thankfully other people like them too.”Legacy-Grado-Generations

Impressions and Giveaway

We were lucky enough to get a pair of the GS1000s, which are the flagship wooden model from Grado. It feels almost out of place, like these headphones come from a different time – listening to GS1000s are the combination of old school craftsmanship and precision technology. More than a visual statement,  it’s an enriched listening experience. The first time you hear these open-air headphones you’ll realize you’re hearing your favorite song in a whole new way.

The beautiful thing about Grado is that it is an experience that goes beyond a business transaction, you are joining the family. So we are giving away a pair of Grado RS2e ($495 value) and a personalized bundle from Grado. To enter, simply follow 9to5Toys on Facebook or Twitter, then share this article on either social network and we will pick a winner next Saturday, August 30th.

Grado headphones are available at many local record stores across the country, and nationwide from Amazon. The Prestige Series headphones start at $79, with the $325 SR325e coming in as our favorite of the lot. The GS1000s mentioned in this article are available for at $994.99, they include a 1/8-inch plug adapter and 15 foot extension cable. For more information and some pretty cool video tours of the factory, head over to Grado Labs.

If you are interested in having your business featured, email or tweet at us @9to5Toys.

Photo credits: Grado Laboratories and Jonathan Grado


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44 Responses to “Small States: Inside the world of Grado headphones, giveaway worth $495 dollars”

  1. Would love to hear, look, feel and touch these pieces of art.

  2. I am very much deserve to WIN this supreme headphones a 5 star headphones,
    today on my pages

  3. entered, liked , following, (@joannwinborn) shared and saying a prayer. My son would LOVE to find these under the Christmas tree this year!

  4. tweetyscute says:
  5. Yes! Shared on twitter, google+, stumble upon!

  6. Fantastic company, fantastic cans. I already own a pair of SR325i which are A. MAY. ZING.

  7. Bob Waltman says:

    Shared on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck to everyone else!!

  8. Max Salman says:

    Woohoo! Congrats on your first post, and thanks for Supporting a great company like Grado Labs, who are helping people one by one rediscover the power of music, through awesome sounding and awesome looking headphones!!!

  9. Shared. Good luck to me!

  10. This is very interesting, I shout it thru my pages..

  11. My husband sparked my love for fine audio many years ago. It is inspiring to see a company like 9to5Toys continue producing quality products rather than make nostalgic reference to their glory days! Liked and shared!

  12. Read, followed, and retweeted. Great headphones!

  13. Toni Moore says:

    *whistling* Those are beyond impressive… happily shared! ;D @VectoringMomma

  14. Read and shared, love Grado!

  15. David Ernst says:

    read, shared, liked –

  16. Great article on a great company, much respect. Tweeted and fb shared with 2100+ friends!

  17. CJ Sheets says:

    Awesome giveaway! Followed, liked, and retweeted.

  18. Varun Narula says:

    hope this is a global giveaway ….. following on Facebook and shared :-) good luck everyone…

  19. Fantastic company…. True Quality!

  20. beautiful headphones!

  21. wow another fabulous topic today plus fabulous giveaway. your grade or Grado for me is 10/10 I know this headphone. I heard a superb sound on my ears.

  22. What a great company and a great family!

  23. Colleen Boudreau (Collifornia) says:

    I like 9to5Toys on Facebook (Colleen Boudreau)

  24. Joseph White says:

    Great Giveaway guys! It would be nice to win a pair of these, been a while since I’ve used some really nice headphones.

  25. PS500 FTW! Grado makes rare headphones for truly enjoyable musical experience!

  26. Saw a review on techzilla of grado and right way felt the need to get myself a pair to experience!!! Greate stuff!!

    Shared on Facebook and Twitter

  27. Who would have thought something this nice could come out of America in this day and age. That is so refreshing. Please don’t sell out to Apple or anyone else for that matter. You make an amazing product….keep doing it.

  28. You guys should do a small states article on Peachtree Audio. They are doing some amazing stuff with digital amps and bluetooth. Phenomenal products!