The Grado SR325E is one of the premium headphone models from the Prestige series which inherits the strengths of its predecessor and possesses award-winning sonic performance. It is also highly regarded by many of its satisfied users, thanks to its exceptional sound quality. Pairing the Grado SR325E with a high-quality headphone amp will certainly benefit the headphones.
We should be looking for headphone amps that are matching and will have complementary effects when paired with the Grado SR325E. We will be working on a list of such amplifiers (will be shared with you later on) by learning more about the SR325E headphones’ sonic prowess, and so without further ado, let us start.
Sonic Characteristics and Merits of Grado SR325E
Grado SR325E doesn’t look comfy at first glance but when wearing them, you can feel that they are lightweight and the clamping force is not really tight. The same goes for the earpads, they feel just nice on our ears and it doesn’t feel too warm after wearing them for hours. Still, the lack of tightness does make them a bit less stable than some of the other headphones in the same price range. You probably shouldn’t be moving too much while wearing them as they might just fall off. You can use the adjustable leather headband for a tighter fit if you find the Grado SR325E is too loose for you.
All in all, the Grado SR325E is comfortable to wear and you hardly feel fatigued after long hours of use. This is an open-back design headphone with replaceable ear cushions. Due to the nature of its open-back design, the SR325E is not really meant for outdoor use. Even indoors, the environment needs to be quiet or the environmental noises will interrupt your music listening experience. The lack of noise isolation coupled with poor sound leakage makes the Grado SR325E headphones less than the ideal choice for outdoors. It is best to be used casually in a private music listening session.
Open-back designs tend to have lesser bass output but this didn’t stop the Grado SR325E to sound exciting and lively. The engaging music presentation of the SR325E immediately made us feel like dancing and if it wasn’t for the stability of the headphones, we would have done so. The music presentation sounds full-bodied and energetic but without sounding disorganized. Grado SR325E agility is impeccable as it dances through the music with confidence and never loses its footing. Musicians are highly defined with ample spacing and this allows us to hear each of them distinctively.
It is not without details, and there are high amounts of them. The level of clarity is impressive as we are able to hear subtle details without the need to strain our ears. These rich musical details filled the stage which is open and spacious, as expected from an open-back design headphone. The stereo imaging of the Grado SR325E is amazing as well. Its bass performance is kind of lacking, the low-ends delivery is tight and agile but lacks the weight and punch. This is also as expected and bass fanatics should look elsewhere for a fuller and punchier bass performance.
They are rather bright sounding and fortunately, it doesn’t reach a level of cringe. Even so, we still need to be careful when pairing with amplifiers that will excite the headphones treble even more. This headphone is fast and has remarkable music timing, along with its dynamics handling, the Grado SR325E is really an enjoyable headphone to listen to. It may not be suitable for headphone enthusiasts who want a more relaxing music listening session though. We have prepared a list of the best headphone amps which you can choose to go for and match with your Grado SR325E.
Grado SR325E Specifications
- Type: Open-back
- Frequency response: 18Hz-24kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Nominal SPL: 100dB
- Weight: 236g (0.52lbs)
Best Headphone Amps to match with Grado SR325E
The DarkVoice 336SE will be an excellent choice to match with the Grado SR325E. This is an OTL headphone amp that will bring out the midrange even more and make them sound alive without adding more brightness. Instead, the DarkVoice 336SE will add some nice tube warmth into the overall sound reproduction and give us a smooth music delivery with fuller sound quality. This also makes the sound quality easier on our ears and we can listen to the Grado SR325E without worrying about listeners’ fatigue. If you decide to change the sonic characteristic of this OTL headphone amplifier, you can do so by tube rolling.
Schiit Audio Valhalla 2 is another high-quality tube headphone amp to go for and pair with your Grado SR325E headphones. This triode OTL headphone amplifier will enable you to enjoy your music and its spacious soundstage will complement the Grado SR325E headphones really well. The sound reproduction of the Schiit Audio Valhalla 2 is clean and has a low noise background. It also adds warmth and eases down any harshness, the Grado SR325E lively performance will ensure the music presentation stays engaging and prevent it from sounding too dull.
The FiiO K5 Pro is an ideal choice for listeners who need a headphone amplifier with a high-quality DAC. FiiO K5 Pro is capable of supporting up to 32-bit/768kHz and decodes native DSD high-res audio files. It is compact and does not take up much space on your desktop. It is also powerful enough to drive the Grado SR325E with ease. The bass performance of the K5 Pro will add a bit more weight to the low-end reproduction and give us a slightly punchier musical performance. FiiO K5 Pro doesn’t sound harsh when pushed which will work well with the Grado SR325E open-back headphones.
If you are looking for a warmer-sounding headphone amp alternative with a built-in DAC, the Aune T1 MK2 will be a fine choice to pair with the Grado SR325E headphones. This is a tube headphone amplifier with enough power to drive the SR325E efficiently and has the capability of supporting up to 24-Bit/192kHz and DSD64. This is a compact size tube headphone amp/DAC and is suitable for listeners who are facing space constraints. The full-bodied sound reproduction of the Aune T1 MK2 can be altered by tube rolling and this can be a really fun process.
Chord Mojo is a high-performance headphone amp with a built-in DAC and its award-winning sound quality will match well with the Grado SR325E open-back headphones. This is also an ideal choice for headphone enthusiasts who are looking for a portable headphone amp as it is so small that you could actually put it inside your pocket. The Chord Mojo has the rhythmic drive and amazing dynamics handling which will complement the Grado SR325E energetic sonic characteristics, giving us an engaging and exciting musical performance without sounding overly harsh when pushed.
For headphone enthusiasts who have a tight budget and/or do not want to spend too much on a headphone amp. The Little Bear B4-X will be up for the job. This is a portable dual-mono vacuum tube headphone amplifier and has enough muscles to efficiently drive the Grado SR325E. It is affordably priced and has an innate ability to provide its listeners with a warm music presentation. Little Bear B4-X also slightly improves the scale of the soundstage and while providing us with a smoother music delivery without sacrificing the dynamics. For a tube headphone amplifier at this price point, it is really hard to nitpick.
To Sum It Up
You should work out a budget that you are willing to spend on a headphone amp and use it to shortlist the ones on the list. The shortlisted headphone amplifiers should be auditioned and from there you can decide which of the amp sounds the best to you when partnered with your Grado SR325E headphones. To make the auditioning more accurate, you should only use music/songs which you are very familiar with so as to easily spot the sonic improvements.