Are Grado's or Audio Technic sibilant?

I see them always being referred to as ‘bright’…especially the Grado’s. is it so bad that they tend to be sibilant? I’m very curious about the Grado GW100’s, wireless and open back. reviews say they’re good sounding, but still bright.

I have shied away from considering Grado or ATH headphones because of a sensitivity to high pitched sounds and a 24/7 headache (consequences of head trauma 20 years ago).

I listen to a lot of classical / opera and ambient electronica…but my tastes are eclectic overall and I sample enjoy something from almost all genre’s.

thoughts? wisdom?

Grados usually have peaky areas around 3-5k and upper treble spikes in the sibilance range that can make them sibilant or fatiguing to some. This pretty much carries to most of the grado lineup

Some audio technicas have issues with treble spikes, but I would say it depends on the model

I think it’s personal, one mans detail is perceived as another’s sibilances, but saying that a highly ‘sibilant’ source can become fatiguing for most.
Guess you need to find your level of torrence or have a few different headphones with different frequency responses?

Well, thats true, but fatigue can also come from the 2-5k range where most clarity and presence lies, but boosting that range can also be fatiguing to some, and most grados emphasize that area

I second this it really does vary model to model with audio technica. But as a whole I would say they lean in the bright direction. I will say that eqing and swooping lads on my m40xs fix them for the most part for me.

Yes, I would agree that the audio technica house sound leans towards a more bright and airy sound throughout the range with a couple of exceptions

I would assume you can EQ out the peaks…do swapping the pads help at all or are there other known mod’s to tame their treble without affecting the rest of the sound profile?

There are mods and eq options available, and some of the really large over ear pads help with the sound, but inherently most grados suffer from the sibilant and fatigue issues for people because of their house sound. TBH the only grado’s that I think would have less fatigue and silibalance issues would be the PS500e or other ps series

Should also mention that I think grados do better at lower listening levels, just something to add

Now don’t freak out. The following is not rocket science.

  1. Click on this link:
    GW100 at
    This will show you a graph that looks like this:

  2. ALL you need to see here is whether any part of the solid wiggly line rises more than a smidgen above the dotted straight line on the right side where I’ve circled in red.

  3. Now use the dropdown box on the top left to change from one headphone to another. All the headphones that has measured are on the list.

Easy as 1, 2, 3. is a good Canadian company. You should be proud.

Pretty much, grado emphasizes it alot, so it’s pretty easy to spot

I’ve never heard a sibilance with Grados. But sibilances are kind of different for different people. As far as I understand they happen when certain kind of resonance amplifies high frequencies. Grados are completely open and the design reduces resonances at minimum. They are bright but I don’t think they are sibilant.

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It’s more of the fatigue aspect in the presence range rather then sibilance for me, but I’m not usually bothered by sibilance

Do note that swapping pads can kill the sound quality of the cans so before you do try and look up what pads other people are using. It is trial and error.

I bought SR60e’s years ago… I can’t. Just can’t use them.

-In most frequency response graphs, especially with higher quality headphones, you’ll see a little 2khz dip, because this frequency can be annoying.
-Grados? “Let’s put a 5dB peak there”.
-10khz is also where cymbals and “esses” are.
-Grados? “Let’s put a 15dB mountain there”

The GW100s are strange, too. All this plus bass and sub-bass… so what, they’re “W-shaped” ?! The graph looks a bit like a rollercoaster… but I’m still interested by them too.

Subbass also is pretty lackluster. Grado’s are a love hate relationship, and you really need to hear them first lol

Grados are tunned by ear, you will like them if you share their perception. Also I don’t think companies are targeting a perfect frequency response graph. If you want something flat check If you want something near the harman curve check mrspeakers, neumann or AKG.

The value of Grados is the design philosophy, and that only Grados sound like Grados.

Pretty much. You pay for handmade in brooklyn with classic design, and that’s what you get

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Wasn’t super impressed with the ollo S4, as it looked really nice on the measurements, but imo when I tried them, they were flat, but didn’t sound realistic. It’s like they traded flat freq response for detail and timbre. It’s fine for mixing, but for music listening or multi use it’s not really something desirable. I would be curious about the closed back though and how it would hold up

Yup, I like that they’re hand made, and they’re the same since, like, the 70’s. But… they’re not for my ears. They’re for old people :stuck_out_tongue: kidding.

I don’t want them to be precision reference mastering headphones (etc.), just… Well, when you have 15dB peaks/holes in your (harman-corrected) frequency response graphs… I think “defective by design”, or “dangerous tinnitus-triggering machines”.

The GW100s, at least, have bass and sub-bass, and I have hope for them, and I’m actually interested by them, because the peaks at 2k and 10k are at the same level as the bass. On a rtings graph. So maybe, maybe, they’re not sibilant. They’re just kinda… W-shaped, like I said.

They’re not dangerous either, but I believe the SR60s are. You want to hear the bass in a band and your ears bleed…

“but… but… these no longer makes the blood come out, how will you hear da music?” -Zeos about Beyerdynamics

I modified my previous comment about the “rollercoaster” graph, by the way… I saw way worse, I just looked at the graph too fast and wrote everything too fast, sorry.

Yeah, I agree. :slight_smile: