It may seem somewhat overdue for a headphone brand to start considering smartphone listening in 2016. But then Grado’s history in pricey open-back over-ears hasn’t exactly lent itself to on-the-go markets.
Better late than never though, and the Grado ige are the company’s rst in-ear headphones with a “Made for iphone” inline mic and music controls. They sit at the entry level to the company’s bijou in-ear oerings, and replace the previous ve-star igi buds we tested back in 2012.
Grado says it has improved the driver response in this model, but the design remains similar, with a rubbery outer casing that’s easy to grip for good in-ear placement. The cable is long and exible, while the threebutton inline remote feels sturdy enough to take any amount of clicking. It controls volume and playback/call answer on Apple devices – Android users have more limited playback controls.
“The sound is one we are used to from Grado, an expressive character that is upfront and exciting”
Coarse female voices
The sound is one we’re used to hearing from Grado, an open and expressive character that’s upfront and exciting. Presentation is on the bright side of neutral, with enough bite to keep drum snares on their toes and enough attack in the mids and highs for a fast, agile performance. There’s enough scale so big orchestral pieces, like Hans Zimmer’s The Red Capes Are Coming from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice soundtrack, are able to rise and fall with conviction.
Detail levels are good too, with a transparent midrange uncovering all the sass and attitude in Erykah Badu’s vocal on Bag Lady. We’d like to hear more bass in the mix though. It is controlled and agile, but the balance is tipped away from it a touch too much. It doesn’t make the Grado ige sound thin or unsubstantial, but they are harder work over long periods. That bright signature can sound a little coarse, particularly with female voices.
There is still much to love about the Grado ige in-ears, but a better balance would make them superb. If you prefer your in-ears on the brighter side, however, these deserve serious consideration.