Grado cuts the cable for first open-backed Bluetooth headphones
Family-run audiophile favorites Grado Labs isn't one to blindly follow fads and fashion. The rest of the audio world may have been pumping out wireless headphones for ages, but Grado has resisted the urge to join in. Until now. The company's first Bluetooth headphones are on sale now.
"Our first wireless headphones are a major milestone in our six decade history, and is a stepping stone for what's to come," said Jonathan Grado. "We've also spent 65 years perfecting our sound, so why not spend some time polishing up our edges? Luckily that question struck a chord with my dad and he agreed. This design project was just as exciting, and important, as building our GW100s."
Unusually for portable headphones, the GW100 cans are open-backed, meaning that listeners can look forward to a more spacious soundstage than can be had with closed-back headphones, but fellow commuters may get irritated by sound leaking from the earcups. Grado does say that its managed to reduce escaping sound by 60 percent though.
The signature Grado dynamic drivers inside the cups have been tuned to match the enclosures and form factor, but the open-backs mean no noise cancellation.
The GW100 headphones feature Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX support for CD-quality streaming from up to 10 m (33 ft) from a music source, and a 320 mAh battery is reported good for 15 hours between charges – which is well below what many of today's wireless closed-backs can manage. The frequency response and SPL are reported to be 20 Hz - 20 kHz and 99.8 dB, respectively.
The GW100 wireless headphones are available now for US$249.
Product page: Grado GW100