There's no escaping from the fact that the Grado PS500 headphones are an expensive set, but then this is no ordinary set of headphones. Part of the company's professional series, they're designed to produce stunning audio quality from all sources.
They're also built using a lot of the same technology found in Grado's top-of-the-range PS1000 headphones. In essence, then, you're getting a lot of the same audio quality for a third of the price.
Everything about the headphones is built for quality and comfort rather than looks, although there's a certain charm to the industrial studio-look of the cans. The housings use a hand-crafted mahogany inner sleeve with a non-resonant aluminium outer housing to eliminate distortion. Each custom driver is designed to give a wide frequency response and are matched to within 0.05db of each other.
For these models the impedance is just 32-Ohm, making them suitable for portable media players, although you'll need a 3.5mm to 1/4in stereo jack converter to use these headphones on an MP3 player. Another consideration is that the drivers are open for the best quality making them incredibly leaky and not well suited for use on crowded transport.
That's the specs out of the way, but what's really important about these headphones is the absolutely incredible sound that they produce. There's one word that sums it up: detail. From deep thumping bass to delicate and light treble, the PS500 has it all in spades. That's all thanks to the massive dynamic range of the drivers, which let the PS500 produce every genre with superb detail.
Although part of the professional range the 32-Ohm resistance means the PS500 headphones will work with MP3 players.
It's quite normal for a set of headphones to be better suited to one genre, but that's not the case here. From loud and raucous rock through pop and rap to classical, the PS500's produced every single track in stunning beauty. Every subtle nuance is reproduced in breath-taking clarity, even bringing out detail that you may not have heard in tracks before.