As I have to say frequently, I listen to a lot of headphones, and although I like many of them, to find something that really stands out is quite rare. Few have stood out quite as much as this pair from Grado, an old family firm in Brooklyn, NY. Grado makes some of the world’s best high-end headphones, which can cost upwards of £1,000. The new GW100s, its first Bluetooth wireless phones, are priced at £200 but have the quality of something much, much more expensive. I was quite shocked when I first heard them. They are loud as heck, even when fed by nothing more than an iPhone, and my word, they sound deep and detailed and sweet.
The GW100s, in typical Grado style, contain no fancy electronics beyond the aptX Bluetooth – so no noise-cancelling or sensing when they’re on your head or not. And they are open-backed and noisy to others, so not for use in public. They are light on the head, at around 170g by my measurement, and claim to be able to play for 15 hours at 50 per cent volume, which is impressive as battery life goes. One caveat: Grado’s finishes can be iffy. Even its top models have some cheap, plastic fittings. Try not to be put off. They are remarkable.