Every once in a while, a headphone comes along and does something radically different. Whether it’s a new technology, or a new design, or a product first for a brand, these kinds of headphones tend to captivate the headphone community. The Grado GW100 may be one such headphone. Marking Grado’s first foray into wireless headphones, the $249 GW100 offers a new wireless listening experience, thanks to an open-back design. But is this bold new headphone a wireless wonder or miscalculated monster? MajorHiFi investigates.
Inside the GW100 are none other than our signature Grado drivers. These speakers are the same ones we build for our wired headphones, which are finely tuned for the different enclosures we use. Grado Labs' first wireless headphone is no different, with drivers configured specifically for them. The desired sonic capabilities of the GW100 would not be possible without decades of experience in driver design.
I wants! I think the GW100 would be an excellent replacement for my ageing[^1] H/K Bluetooth headphones and would look good next to my Grado Labs SR60.
Rather than being built with the snapped-together, machine assembly process used to make other high-end headphones, Grados are built primarily by hand and fused tight with special glues and bonding agents that John painstakingly tests to make sure they don’t hurt the sound quality. He is fanatical about prototyping, always rechecking new models against the same three tracks. One of them, from Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album, begins with a round of applause. "With some headphones, that moment sounds like one giant clap," he says. "I’m not happy until I’m able to hear each person clapping."
I bought my first (and only) set of Grado Labs headphones, SR60, several years ago. I love them.