Originally Posted by heretic
The stock Grados really aren't comfortable (at least back when I tried them a couple years ago), but the cans sound great. You can get any number of replacement pads that are more comfortable. Search around on head-fi's forums for replacement suggestions.
There's no need to bother searching through Head-Fi - in my sig I've provided a link to my personal guide for Grado pad selection
So... < $250:
- Denon D2000. Performs very well with all genres; my personal favorites to use this pair with are Techno/Trance, Classical, Jazz, Acoustic Guitar, Post-Rock/Indie, and the very small amount of HipHop/R&B that resides in my collection. Perhaps not as laid back as a pair of Sennheiser HD580's/600's or AKG K701's, but at the same time I would argue that this pair is more involving than the others. Every piece of the instrumentation is blended together in a very musical, non-mechanical way. Bass is excellent, treble is decent, mids are maybe a little lacking.
- Sennheiser HD580/600. Very smooth, somewhat distant presentation. I have only heard the 600's, but it sounded absolutely stunning with Jazz, Classical, and Broadway/Orchestral pieces. Apparently these do surprisingly well with rock; Nammy can better vouch for this claim. Decent across the entire freq. range.
- AKG K701. The absolute KING for a mellow presentation. Soundstage is massive, and you feel like you're sitting a good 100 yards away from the band. I really like this pair of headphones, but feel that the Denon D5000 was superior, especially in the low-end. Good treble, good mids, and lackluster bass.
- Grado SR225. The best pair of high-energy, fast-paced headphone I have ever heard (and I've demo'd the much more expensive RS-1's, HP1000's, etc.). You like rock? This is my quintessential pair for any genre that utilizes a guitar (in any form). Acoustic is mesmerizing. Metal is brutal. The only two knocks I have for this pair would be bass and comfort. Both can be easily remedied if you want to delve into modding. Great treble and an astounding mid-range.
So yeah, you can see my bias I suppose
. I might mention that the D2000, HD580/600, and K701 all really need an amp to sound as they should. Grado does fine even with an iPod output. The SR325i is an extremely bright pair of headphones (meaning that the treble is severely extended), and as such the SR225 is commonly regarded as the real sweet-spot in the Prestige Series lineup.