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*Grado 225i* Earpad Mod Review

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
For those who are unaware, I have worked for a number of Audio Magazines/Websites and also as a consultant for a number of Hi Fi manufacturers.

Personally, I believe the Grado 225i is one of the best buys in the $100 - $200 price tier. A lot of people complain about Grado's earpads. They are simply very stiff, very flat and very uncomfortable. For around $10, you can purchase Sennheisers 414 yellow earpads that slip neatly over the Grado headphones.

Grado headphones measure poorly on the low end. However, with a simple layer of scotch tape around the circumference of the bottom area of the stock pads, you can drastically increase bass performance. Most people simply end the mod there and never look back, but I've come up with a different mod which yet further increases bass performance from a measured standpoint, as well as sonic bass quantity and quality.

I call it " The Sunflower Mod ".




This mod acts like a hybrid of the expensive $45 Gcush pads, the stock pads and the 414 yellows. It is the best of all worlds that increases soundstage coherency but at the same time increases bass output. This cannot be achieved with any one set of pads alone. All you need are the stock black pads and a set of 414 Yellows. To begin, wash your stock black pads in hot water with some soft soap, let the pads sit inside the water for 15 minutes and air dry them for a few hours. Once dry, very gently stretch them outward by pulling both sides outward. Slip the 414 yellows onto the headphone. The idea is to stretch the black pads just enough to slip over the Yellows without much effort. Be careful, too much stretching is bad and you will need to repurchase new stock pads to achieve this mod.

Once the black pads slip nicely over the yellows, you want to fiddle with the black pads just a bit to make sure those black pads are not crushing the yellow pads too much. Gently pull the black pads to allow the yellow pads face area to become un-pinched and symmetrical. You want to make sure everything looks like it does in my pictures. The Yellow pads should be in tact and not squished by the black pads. Once this step is completed, gently maneuver the black pads upward to create some space between the rims of the black pads, and the flat face of the yellows. You can get creative here and use glue or velcro to position the black pads firmly in place at 50% up the length of the yellow pads. These black pads will pop off the yellow pad base frequently if they are too high. Too low and closer to the bottom of the base of the 414s and the black pads rest flat on your ears, so you might want to find a way to keep them in place. Its not required, I don't use anything to keep mine in place and after each listening session end up reattaching the black pads if they have moved too far upward. You want to position the black pads at the correct distance to allow them to become circumaurial and rest over your ears. The result is immensely comfortable.

This mod achieved the best of both worlds and the measurements proved it. There is a noticeable leveling out on the low end of the headphone graphing and the bass quantity output is VERY audibly heightened. But, the best quality of this mod is the coherent sound stage that appears over using just the stock black pads, or just the yellow pads. Both of which are very uncomfortable on their own. However, both used together can replicate the Gcush over the ear fit. The Grado headphones are not properly dampened and need extra padding over the driver faceplate. The Sennheiser 414 Yellows provide just the right amount of dampening, in my opinion. If you own any Grado headphones with the 414 yellows, please try this mod and let me know what you think. This mod seems to work best on my 225i and the PS500. The increase in bass quality and quantity on the PS500 is simply amazing.

The results:
- larger, more spacious soundstage without loosing coherency
-bass quantity
-more comfort

( As you can see here, the black stock pads rest about half way up the yellow pad base. Too high up and they will pop off, too low and they will cause an " on ear" experience )

Edited by Portal - 3/15/13 at 5:35pm
post #2 of 8
Not sure I can personally be bothered following the directions you've laid out, but they definitely LOOK nice. Much better than the Senn pads.
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Very Wolverine or Bumble Bee Looking. Buy the 414 and put them on the headphone. Stretch the Black pad gently to slip over the 414 pad, make sure to not slip it too far down the body of the 414. Done. It is a cheaper, better sounding, better measured experience over the $45 Gcush and the uncomfortable flat face of the yellows or the stock black pads.
post #4 of 8
Have you tried socket modding the HD414 pads and then doing the same? I haven't just curious if you have.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've tried a few things, including that. Best way is to cut a small strip of velcro and apply it to the side of the yellows and position it in your desired placement, then place the reverse side of the velcro to the black pads. Takes a few seconds to get right, but definitely the best way to go about it. Incredible sound quality on the PS500. I've reviewed, consulted and worked on many headphones with most of the larger companies....the Grado PS500 takes the cake for best overall value with no mods. With my mod, the value increases drastically. I also had mine recabled with a detachable cable mod because those Grado cables are just so awful. Installed a nice IEM style thin cable onto it that is detachable with 3.5mm plugs. Its awesome.
post #6 of 8
Nice mod.

I wasn't sold on the bowls when I tried out the 225i's. They're too stiff in my opinion (I know that will change over time, and I can wash them to help them out), but I was able to get the salesman to give me a set of comfies as well with my purchase. I really like the comfies with the 225i's.

That may change once I wash the bowls and have them soften up a bit.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
The Gcush pads ruin the bass but drastically increase sound staging. Try my mod out anyway, you might enjoy it more. I sure do. My Gcush pads remain in the box ever since I figured this mod out. $9 for the yellows is worth the try.
post #8 of 8
I just tried this out with my PS500s. I just happen to have the 414s for pair of SR60i that I have. I have yet to do a long stretch with this mod but am very optimistic so far, since the stock ones are very uncomfortable after an hour or two.. Great idea! Thanks!
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