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Earlier this summer, Grado Headphones announced that it would once again be exploring a new type of material for its popular over-ear headphones. While hemp may be thought of for its other use-cases, Grado says that the material is precisely what is needed to create the “brilliant, warm, and precise sound” its headphones have often been associated with. However, bringing hemp into the mix and blending with Grado’s favorite maple wood is a new adventure. I’ve been testing these new headphones for a few weeks now, and you can find a quick overview down below in the latest Tested with 9to5Toys.
Grado looks to hemp for new headphones
If you’re not familiar with Grado, these Brooklyn-made headphones feature a design that differs from many other over-ears on the market. Most notably, the open-air design is made to allow the air and audio to escape from the headphones as opposed to bouncing around and echoing. Noise-canceling headphones, these are not.
While Grado has made some in-roads on wireless headphones, its bread and butter continues to be an old school wired approach. Grado points to the compressed hemp as providing a “damping effect” that produces a fuller soundstage. Inside, you’ll find the usual Grado drivers that have made their headphones famous for so long.
More details on Grado Hemp Headphones:
- Transducer Type: Dynamic
- Operating Principle: Open Air
- Frequency Response: 13hz-28kHz
- SPL 1mW: 98
- Normal Impedance: 38 ohms
- Driver Matched db: .05 db
Tested with 9to5Toys
In a world filled with wireless headphones, stellar active noise cancellation, and prolonged battery life, Grado has managed to stand apart with a great backstory and high-end materials sourced from the United States. You can learn more about Grado’s backstory in our previous coverage.
As noted off the top, these hemp-made headphones aren’t going to check the boxes for everyone. In fact, with many smartphones ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a partner for traditional over-ears.
That said, Grado has won the prize again with a stellar-sounding pair of headphones. It’s difficult for me to pin the technical benefits of a hemp-based pair of headphones, but it’s easy to hear how good of quality this headset is. Grado has long prided itself on a quality listening experience without artificially-enhanced sound. These hemp headphones win the day in that regard.
Leaning on high-end materials equates to a price that matches. Grado headphones are made in the United States and use local labor along with materials, so the $420 price tag isn’t just a nod to the product name, but also a justifiable MSRP. Certainly, these headphones won’t be for everyone, but for the audio-head looking for an upgrade, they might just fit the bill.
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