New Grado Reference Headphones Boast New X Driver, Multiwood Construction

Posted on 9th November, 2021

New Grado Reference Headphones Boast New X Driver, Multiwood Construction

Grado Labs' new Reference Series introduces the company's fourth-generation X Drivers and some wood combinations that promise to sound as good as they look.

The RS1x and RS2x from Grad Labs sport the latest 50mm and 44mm X Drivers, respectively, inside housings consisting of maple, hemp and cocobolo woods.

Grado Reference RS1x 4th-gen X Driver

In thirty years since John Grado built the first RS1 headphones in Brooklyn, the company is only on its fourth iteration of its X Driver. The company eschewing the annual upgrade cycle, stating that it only places new drivers inside their headphones “when there is a significant upgrade”. This explains the gap since 2014's third-gen announcement.

The X Drivers bring a completely redesigned speaker and new harmony to the inner workings of the RS1x and RS2x. Furthermore, Grado says that each one is specifically tuned for the wooden enclosure they're built into.

Grado Reference RS2x 4th-gen X Driver

Grado claims it has increased the magnetic power of the speaker while decreasing the effective mass of the voice coil. The upshot apparently is that, along with the reconfigured diaphragm, this unison creates a speaker that represents the most authentic presentation of the original source. Along with the superior sound these new drivers produce, the RS1x and RS2x are now built with a new durable cable and new headbands.

Grado Reference RS1x 4th-gen X Driver

The redesigned RS1x combines a 50mm driver with a housing made of a maple sleeve, hemp core, and cocobolo outer ring. Grado says it builds with wood for its warm and embracing tonal abilities, but finding the right balance of three distinct kinds of wood is no simple task. The result is a set of open-backed headphones with a claimed frequency response of 12–30,000 Hz, 1mW: 99.8 dB SPL and a stated 38 ohm nominal impedance.

Meanwhile, the RS2x focuses on maple and hemp wood to bring out the most they have to offer, along with a 44mm driver, which is a 14–28,000 Hz frequency response and 1mW: 99.8 dB SPL. The RS2x also has a nominal impedance of 38 ohms.

Grado Reference RS2x 4th-gen X Driver

In addition to the new X Drivers, the RS1x and RS2x are now built with new durable 8-conductor cables and white-stitched leather headbands.

The Grado Reference RS1x (£799.95) and RS2x (£599.95) are available from December.

Visit Grado for more information

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    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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