Can i do better for $700 than Grado RS-1?

This Christmas i am planning on buying headphones and a headphone amp.I will have a 1k budget for it.Should i go Grado amp/headphones combo or can i do better for 1 k?
Both will be used for Ipod Video with a lossless compression.Thanks a lot for your advices.
I won't pretend to know what is best for you but here goes...1) RS-1 is a great can. So are Sennheiser 600/650s, Shure E5/E4/E3s, Grado RS-2s and Prestige series, Etymotic ER-4s...etc. They are all different! Don't threaten to drop a boatload without hearing at least a few of these using the source and music of choice. 2) iPod > amp > headphones is a very cool and convenient rig (I use mine several hours every day!) but has its sonic limitations even with lossless compression. It is possible to just irritate yourself by coupling an iPod with an amp and cans that are TOO revealing. 3) An iPod is inherently portable. Consider a portable amp if you want the upgraded sound capacity where ever you go. 4) There are lots of great careful to mate properly with cans of choice. 5) Leave yourself an upgrade path. You WILL get addicted!

That being said...if I had $1000 to spend...

Home rig: iPod > Naim i-Supply power supply > (good IC of choice) > Channel Islands VHP-1 > Channel Islands VAC-1 power supply > Sennheiser HD600. Just under $1000. Save up for a better source.

Portable rig: iPod > (good IC of choice) > Headroom Total Airhead or Bithead > Shure E4s. Way under $1000...go spend the rest on music!

Try visiting for more info. Good luck!
The Grado RS-1 and RA-1 amp are great. They are my favorite and second to that is sennheiser hd600 (works good with tube amps). I have them both.

If you are going portable, I would highly recommend shure or Ety's. Simply because you can block outside sound, and you're not wearing big headgear moving around.

Good Luck!
Too much to spend on this headphone, unless you know you like it better than the Sennheiser HD 650, which can be had new on ebay for around $300 (list $499). For what it is worth, most people (by a fairly wide margin) who are into headphones prefer the HD 650s. But those who like the RS-1 do so with a passion.

I agree that The Senns 580, 600, 650 are what most people consider the best or one of the best headphones.

The HD 600 can be had for around $150 on the street, and I actually noticed only minor improvements if that going to the 650.In fact, I was ready to buy them, had the money in pocket, but felt like I would actually prefer my 600's to it. I walked away keeping my 600s.

The Grado's are clearly more musical (their strong suit), but they are pricier (by a wide margin), and bright with certain material unless you get flat pads.The Senns have a flat frequency response, but are considered analytical or boring to some people. Like I said I like both, but the Grado (musical - incredible transient reponse, and realistic sound of wooden instruments - because of the mahogany) will always be my choice.

In other words, don't just take our opinions or following what most people get (unless your a follower, then by all means).

Listen to the Grado's and Senns. The sound of both is sooo different.
I actually have owned two pair of HD 650's so far, as well as a pair of HD 580's, and I am quite familiar with their line. I am less familiar with Grado, but I have heard several of their cans (but only as high in the line as the SR 325) with the RA-1. For me they were just too warm, too far off an accurate representation of the music. Perhaps I would really like the RS-1 specifically, but given the Grado house sound, I suspect not. But that is just my taste, and I have no problem with you or anyone else differing. As I said, people who do like the RS-1s seem to like them passionately.

I agree that the Sennheisers are not without problem - I find them quite laid back, and for some people that can equate with boring if paired with the wrong amp and source. But I would stick by my recommendations for Overhang not to buy the RS-1 unless he has heard it and knows he likes it better than the much cheaper Sennheisers. This just makes sense, especially given that many people I know of who have heard both the RS-1 and the HD 650 prefer the latter. And if you buy the HD 650's for $300 new on ebay, you can unload them for $275 used on audiogon if you don't like them. I don't think the same opportunity exists with the RS-1. This is the jist of my argument for someone just getting into high end headphones.

Oh, to Overhang I would also say if you don’t buy the RS-1, then definitely look at some other headphone amp options. The RA-1 was designed to mate with Grado phones, and other amps do substantially better with Sennheisers, at least to my ear.
Thank You.
The problem is that i need a battery operated amp for porable use on the go.I intend on using it while commuting,travelling or just sitting in the park.

From my experience you are right on. It would be more reasonable to get a $300 650. It would allow some money for a cable upgrade also which would help give some more detail to the Senns. I use my Senn 600s with ASL MGhead (black plate tubes), and it has very good synergy. The RA-1 is a must for the RS-1.

But given that the 650 is so low in price compared to the RS-1 and a lot of people still will pay the money to move up to the RS-1, I think it's worth a listen at the very least. Whether you like the Grado house sound is a personal thing, which is why it's good to listen if you can. When I was shopping, I couldn't live without the more accurate Senns, and I couldn't live without the musical, toe tapping, Grados, so I bought them both and the appropriate amps for each and listen about 50/50, so I'm really a fense sitter, but if I had to give one up it would be the Senns.


How about looking into a Shure e4 and a portable amp from headroom? It would be easy to stick the whole setup in your pocket, and the sound is very good - on par with the headphones mentioned - minus the bigger soundstage.
Head over to for more info but the general consensus there is that

A large ammount of People listening to Rock/Blues/Jazz enjoy the Grado sound and the RS1 is the best they have

A large ammount of people listening to Classical/Jazz enjoy The Senn sound and HD650 is the way to go.

These are generalizations (you may prefer one sound to the other) but represent the jist of how many people feel. If you get Grado's you will want some upgrades (pads and such) probably.

Also a note on your ipod with lossless ...your battery life is going to suck ...instead of the ipod seeking and buffering 5MB songs it will be constanly accessing the disk (since your files will be ~50MB a song in lossless). This means the drive is always turning/wearing and the battery will get sucked down real quick.

Given the limitation of the ipod's internal dac/output and that this is a portable system I would say you could probably get away with 256/320 compression if you want to use the ipod.

The nano is all solid state and will actually get better batter liffe with lossless but you can only fit about 10 lossless albums