You probably need to get a headphone amp. Have a look at this website. headphone.com. Its a very good resource for anything headphones.
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I use a Marantz SA 8004 as my source...I've never heard a review comment about such distortion. I suspect my headphones are very "sensitive" to input. I may try replacing the cables first and see if that cures it. If not, then a headphone amp. I've read several reviews of some of the popular moderate priced head phone amps (<$500) and reviewers feel that the 8004's playback is at least equal if not superior. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of auditioning my equipment locally.
I have the Grado 1000s and I don't think they're really made to play very loudly. I mean, they'll play louder than I want to listen, but they're not for headbangers. I've never heard mine distort like you're saying, so maybe you need to try them through another source to see if the same thing happens. I use that little Audioengine USB DAC with my computer and they sound great.