shopping 12.6.06

Grado Headphones

Listen up, music lovers. Whether it's Dvorak's "Serenade for Strings in E" or The Knife's "Silent Shout" or T-Bone Walker's "Complete Imperial Recordings," it's all going to sound better with a pair of Grado headphones on. Possibly Taylor Hicks will sound better, too, but no promises there.

Brooklyn may not be known as a hotbed of electronics companies but Grado Laboratories has been producing audio components in Sunset Park since 1953. Founder Joe Grado began by making phono cartridges at his kitchen table. Two years later, he opened a factory; 48 patents later he was inducted into the Audio Hall of Fame. After the demand for cartridges dwindled, the company began producing headphones under the direction of John Grado, Joe's nephew, who had been working at the company on and off since he was 12.

The secret to the company's success is that every aspect of a Grado headphone is chosen for its acoustical properties, calibrated to the fine-tuned ears of John Grado, and then hand-assembled. Their top-of-the-line headphone is the Statement Series GS 1000 (perfect if you have an extra $995 to spend) but check out their SR60 model ($69) which has won Stereophile's Product of the Year award and has famously jaw-dropping sound at an incredible price.

And good news for iPod owners: the company has introduced the iGrado headphones in both white and black, designed to turbocharge the sound quality of your portable music. $49.

If you're looking for high style, Grado's not the company for you. But if you want high fidelity, they're a good name to know. You can find Grado headphones at audio stores around town and online, but for more info on the full range of products, go to their website.


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