Here is the factor: open-back headphones are usually the only protect of audiophiles who crave this design’s usually superior audio high quality above all else – above comfort, above maintaining your playlist personal, and above portability. However wi-fi connectivity means a downgrade on audio high quality, so… is combining the 2 ever a good suggestion?
Nicely, if it got here from any audio specialist apart from Grado we would say “no”. However these are Grado cans and actually, if anybody can marry these two considerably conflicting options and concepts, it is Grado.
Grado (or to offer the Brooklyn family-run agency its full identify, Grado Labs) has created among the best headphones I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, together with the excellent and inexpensive Grado SR80x, so when Grado goes wi-fi (because it did with the Grado GT220 earbuds in October 2020), I’ll all the time sit up and take discover.
The product is the GW100x open-back wi-fi headphones and they’re really the third version of the corporate’s award-winning wi-fi sequence. We actually preferred the 2018 Grado GW100 upon which these on-ear headphones are constructed – a wi-fi open-back product that Grado claimed was the primary and solely open-back Bluetooth headphone available on the market at the moment.
Clearly, there have been some key upgrades for this 2022 launch, together with a “newly enhanced fourth technology X sequence driver design”, Bluetooth 5.2 wi-fi know-how with aptX Adaptive assist, a vastly improved 46-hour battery life (up from round 15 hours when listening at a “average” quantity within the GW100), and a USB-C connection for charging.
Grado tells us that the re-engineering of the voice coil and a extra highly effective magnetic circuit improves the effectivity of the corporate’s personal 44mm drivers whereas decreasing distortion.
And the speaker housings and internals have been designed from the bottom up too, now working in tandem to notably diminish escaping sound by as much as a claimed 60% when listening at 50% quantity. This explicit declare is big because the important draw back of an open-back design is sound leakage.
Opinion: if Grado has diminished sound leakage inside its latest wi-fi choice, I am in
Earlier than we even get to the audio high quality, I like the look of the GW100x. Wires or no, the design language is unmistakably Grado and this has modified little or no since 1991 – sure, a 12 months I bear in mind vividly thanks very a lot. (Simply to make clear, I wasn’t round in 1953 although, and by that time Grado was.)
There are additionally controls on the earcups to supply full performance, though you’ll be able to management the GW100x from a related machine, too – it is 2022 in spite of everything.
And the GW100x come equipped with a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging and a 3.5mm headphone cable for a wired connection if you happen to simply need to really feel the wind beneath your wires.
The Grado GW100x wi-fi headphones can be found now, priced $275 / £249 (opens in new tab).
It’s possible you’ll or could not know this, however I discover open-back headphones each a pleasure and an issue. Why? I like (love!) the open, expansive soundstage, however I dislike the truth that different folks on my prepare carriage will hear my chosen songs (perhaps I like having an 80s kinda day – what of it?)
To clarify the difficulty: in closed-back headphones, the audibility of any playlist I select to stream is essentially trapped contained in the ear cup, which retains my alternative of music personal however can result in a slim soundstage the place audio feels as whether it is coming immediately from inside my head – hardly a pure expertise.
Nonetheless, the free motion of sound out and in of the cups in open-backed headphones means the soundstage feels far wider and fewer “closed off”, nearly as if I am at a stay gig. The problem is that different persons are being subjected to the digital gig too.
In conclusion: I need to attempt them. I actually do. There is no ANC in fact, and I do not count on any Black Friday headphones deals from Grado, however none of that bothers me. I think I’d as soon as once more put apart my bashfulness if the sonic chops are Grado good.