As a technology enthusiast and audiophile, I am always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in audio gear. When it comes to headphones, I search for a seamless blend of comfort, performance, and innovation. In the world of high-quality audio equipment, few names command the respect that Grado Labs has earned over the years. When I first heard about the Grado GW100 wireless headphones, I knew I had to get my hands on a pair to experience them for myself. In this review, I will dive into the details of these remarkable headphones and explore how they stand up to the rigorous demands of today’s audiophiles.
As the first wireless offering from Grado Labs, the GW100 headphones had a lot to live up to. Grado is known for its dedication to detail and precision, so I was eager to find out whether they could maintain that same level of excellence in a wireless format. From the moment I unboxed these headphones, I could tell that the company had not strayed from its commitment to quality. From the design to the audio performance, the GW100s delivered on all fronts.
Table of Contents
Grado GW100 product information
Grado Labs has a rich history dating back to 1953, when Joseph Grado, a master watchmaker, founded the company in Brooklyn, New York. With his keen sense of detail and a passion for music, Joseph embarked on a journey to create some of the finest headphones and phono cartridges in the world. Over the years, Grado Labs has become synonymous with exceptional craftsmanship and unparalleled sound quality, making it a favorite among audiophiles worldwide.
As the years passed, Grado Labs continued to innovate and evolve, while remaining true to their original commitment to quality. With the rise of wireless technology and the growing demand for convenience, the company decided it was time to explore the possibilities of creating a wireless headphone that would live up to their legendary reputation. Thus, the idea for the Grado GW100 was born.
Development of the GW100 was led by John Grado, Joseph’s nephew and current CEO of Grado Labs. The design and engineering team worked tirelessly to ensure that the GW100 would deliver the same high-quality sound signature that Grado was known for, while also integrating the latest in wireless technology. After years of research, experimentation, and fine-tuning, Grado Labs finally unveiled the GW100 in 2018.
The GW100 is a testament to Grado Labs’ commitment to excellence and innovation. Combining their signature open-back design with state-of-the-art Bluetooth technology, the GW100 offers a truly unparalleled wireless listening experience. These headphones represent a significant milestone for Grado Labs, as they successfully bridge the gap between traditional audiophile sound quality and modern wireless convenience. With the GW100, Grado Labs has once again proven that they are at the forefront of audio technology and innovation, staying true to their founding principles and continuing to delight audiophiles around the world.
|Year of Manufacture||2018|
|Fit Type||Over-ear, open-back|
|Item Dimensions||7.8 x 3.2 x 7.5 inches (L x W x H)|
|Item Weight||9.6 ounces|
|Special Features||Open-back design, wired and wireless capabilities|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Bluetooth Version||Bluetooth 4.2|
|Bluetooth Range||Up to 33 feet (10 meters)|
|ANC Modes||Not available|
|Audio Codec||SBC, aptX|
|Battery Life||Up to 15 hours of listening time|
|Charging Time||Approximately 2 hours|
|Quick Charging||Not available|
|Controls||On-ear controls for volume, playback, calls, and pairing|
|Price||$249 (price may vary depending on the retailer and time)|
What is included in the delivery set?
The Grado GW100 wireless headphones delivery set includes:
- Grado GW100 Wireless Headphones: The main attraction, featuring Grado’s signature open-back design and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Micro-USB Charging Cable: A standard micro-USB cable for charging the headphones.
- 3.5mm Audio Cable: A detachable 3.5mm audio cable, allowing you to use the headphones in wired mode if the battery runs out or if you prefer a wired connection for any reason.
- User Manual: A comprehensive guide on how to use and maintain your Grado GW100 headphones, including pairing instructions, control functions, and safety guidelines.
- Warranty Information: Details about the manufacturer’s warranty, which typically covers any defects in materials or workmanship for a specified period of time.
Note that the exact contents of the delivery set may vary depending on the retailer, region, or any additional promotional offers. It’s always a good idea to double-check the contents of the package before purchasing to ensure you’re getting everything you need for a smooth and enjoyable experience with your Grado GW100 headphones.
What about design, materials, assembly?
The Grado GW100 wireless headphones feature a distinctive design that adheres to Grado Labs’ longstanding commitment to quality and aesthetics. These headphones stay true to the classic Grado open-back design, which not only ensures a natural soundstage but also adds to their visual appeal.
Grado has utilized premium materials in the construction of the GW100 to ensure durability, comfort, and optimal sound quality. The ear cups are made from a high-quality plastic material, making them lightweight yet sturdy. The headband is constructed from a combination of metal and leather, providing strength and flexibility while maintaining a comfortable fit. The soft, plush ear pads are covered in a breathable foam material, ensuring maximum comfort during extended listening sessions.
The assembly of the Grado GW100 headphones showcases Grado Labs’ meticulous attention to detail. The headphones are hand-assembled in Brooklyn, New York, ensuring that each unit meets the company’s stringent quality standards. The metal headband is adjustable and can be easily fine-tuned for a perfect fit. The open-back ear cups are securely attached to the headband, allowing for a degree of swivel to accommodate different head shapes and sizes.
The on-ear controls, integrated into the right ear cup, are intuitively placed and easy to access. These controls allow for volume adjustment, playback control, call management, and Bluetooth pairing without having to reach for your device.
Overall, the design, materials, and assembly of the Grado GW100 headphones reflect the company’s dedication to creating high-quality audio products. The thoughtful design choices and use of premium materials contribute to a comfortable, lightweight, and visually appealing product that offers a superb listening experience.
What about ergonomics and usability Grado GW100?
The Grado GW100 wireless headphones are designed with ergonomics in mind, ensuring that they are comfortable to wear for extended periods. The lightweight construction, combined with the adjustable metal and leather headband, allows for a customizable and secure fit for various head sizes and shapes. The ear cups have a degree of swivel, which helps to evenly distribute pressure and conform to the contours of your head.
The plush foam ear pads, covered in a breathable material, provide additional comfort and reduce pressure on the ears. However, it’s worth noting that the open-back design of the GW100 may not be suitable for noisy environments, as they provide minimal sound isolation. This design choice is intentional, as it contributes to the headphones’ natural soundstage and immersive listening experience but may not be ideal for all use cases.
The Grado GW100 headphones offer a user-friendly experience, thanks to the simple and intuitive on-ear controls. These controls are located on the right ear cup and allow users to adjust volume, control music playback, manage calls, and initiate Bluetooth pairing without having to reach for their device.
The headphones are equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 technology, which ensures a stable connection and smooth wireless experience. Pairing the headphones with a device is quick and straightforward, and the Bluetooth range of up to 33 feet (10 meters) provides flexibility in movement while staying connected.
In terms of battery life, the Grado GW100 offers up to 15 hours of listening time, depending on usage and volume levels. The charging time of approximately 2 hours ensures that the headphones are ready for use in a relatively short period.
While the Grado GW100 does not feature active noise cancellation or quick charging, these headphones excel in their primary purpose: delivering an exceptional listening experience with comfort and ease of use. Their ergonomic design, intuitive controls, and wireless capabilities make them a fantastic option for audiophiles seeking a high-quality open-back headphone with the convenience of wireless technology.
What about connection, control and software?
The Grado GW100 headphones utilize Bluetooth 4.2 technology for wireless connectivity, providing a stable connection and compatibility with a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The headphones support a Bluetooth range of up to 33 feet (10 meters), allowing for flexibility in movement while maintaining a connection to the paired device. In addition to wireless connectivity, the headphones also come with a detachable 3.5mm audio cable, providing the option to use them in wired mode if desired.
Grado has integrated user-friendly on-ear controls into the right ear cup of the GW100 headphones. These controls enable users to manage volume, control music playback, answer or end phone calls, and initiate Bluetooth pairing without having to access their device directly. The control buttons are intuitively placed and easy to access, making the headphones convenient to use in various situations.
As a dedicated audio device, the Grado GW100 does not come with any proprietary software or applications. However, the headphones are compatible with a variety of music streaming services and audio playback applications available on your paired device. The GW100 supports SBC and aptX audio codecs, ensuring a high-quality wireless audio experience regardless of the software or platform you choose.
While the Grado GW100 does not offer a companion app or software suite for customization, the headphones excel in delivering an outstanding audio experience straight out of the box. The combination of seamless wireless connectivity, user-friendly controls, and compatibility with a wide range of devices and applications make the Grado GW100 an attractive choice for audiophiles seeking a high-quality open-back headphone with wireless capabilities.
How’s the sound quality?
The Grado GW100 wireless headphones deliver an impressive sound quality that stays true to Grado Labs’ reputation for providing exceptional audio experiences. The detailed analysis of the sound quality can be broken down into various aspects:
The bass response on the GW100 is tight, controlled, and well-defined. While it may not provide the extreme low-end rumble that some bass enthusiasts crave, it offers an accurate and natural representation of the lower frequencies. This results in a bass that is punchy and impactful without being overpowering or muddy.
The midrange is where the GW100 truly shines, delivering a rich, detailed, and transparent sound. Vocals and instruments are rendered with exceptional clarity and presence, allowing for an immersive and engaging listening experience. The midrange is well-balanced, ensuring that no particular frequency range dominates the overall sound signature.
The treble on the GW100 is crisp, detailed, and smooth. The high frequencies are extended and airy, without becoming harsh or fatiguing. The headphones provide an excellent level of detail and resolution in the treble, revealing the subtle nuances and textures of various instruments and recordings.
Soundstage and Imaging:
The open-back design of the Grado GW100 contributes to a natural, spacious soundstage that gives the listener a sense of immersion and depth. The imaging is precise, allowing for accurate placement of instruments and sound elements within the soundstage. This results in a three-dimensional audio experience that brings music to life.
Overall, the Grado GW100 delivers an exceptional sound quality that will satisfy the demands of most audiophiles. The headphones provide a balanced, natural, and detailed sound signature that is both engaging and enjoyable. The open-back design contributes to the expansive soundstage and immersive audio experience that Grado is known for. While they may not be suited for those seeking an exaggerated bass response or noise isolation, the GW100 headphones excel in delivering an authentic and accurate representation of music across a wide range of genres.
What about the energy efficiency and battery life?
The Grado GW100 headphones are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Utilizing Bluetooth 4.2 technology, these headphones provide stable wireless connectivity while consuming less power compared to older Bluetooth versions. The GW100 also supports the aptX audio codec, which delivers high-quality audio streaming with lower bitrates, contributing to energy efficiency without compromising sound quality.
The Grado GW100 offers up to 15 hours of continuous listening time, depending on usage and volume levels. This battery life is respectable for wireless headphones and should be sufficient for most users in daily usage scenarios. The headphones can be charged via the included micro-USB cable, and the charging time is approximately 2 hours. While the GW100 does not support quick charging, the relatively short charging time ensures that the headphones are ready for use in a reasonable time frame.
In summary, the Grado GW100 headphones demonstrate a good balance between energy efficiency and battery life. With up to 15 hours of listening time and a charging time of around 2 hours, these headphones provide a reliable wireless audio experience that should satisfy the needs of most users. Although quick charging is not available, the overall battery performance of the GW100 remains competitive in the wireless headphone market.
Comparison & Review
What are similar headphones in features and cost?
Two similar headphones in features and cost to the Grado GW100 are the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC headphones are wireless over-ear headphones that offer a closed-back design, as opposed to the open-back design of the Grado GW100. They feature Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and support aptX for high-quality audio streaming. With active noise cancellation, these headphones provide an added level of noise isolation, making them more suitable for use in noisy environments.
The HD 4.50 BTNC offers up to 19 hours of battery life with active noise cancellation enabled, and up to 25 hours without it. The headphones also support NFC pairing for compatible devices, making the connection process even more convenient.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC is priced similarly to the Grado GW100, with the price varying depending on the retailer and time.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT:
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT headphones are a wireless version of the popular ATH-M50x studio headphones. They feature a closed-back over-ear design and are equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology for stable connectivity. Like the Grado GW100, the ATH-M50xBT supports aptX for high-quality audio streaming.
The ATH-M50xBT offers an impressive battery life of up to 40 hours on a single charge, making them an excellent option for those seeking longer usage times between charges. The headphones also come with a detachable 3.5mm cable for wired use, similar to the Grado GW100.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is priced in a similar range as the Grado GW100, with the price varying depending on the retailer and time.
Both the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT offer competitive features and pricing compared to the Grado GW100. However, each headphone has its own unique strengths and design choices that cater to different user preferences and requirements.
Compare with similar items
|Specification||Grado GW100||Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC||Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT|
|Year of Manufacture||2018||2017||2018|
|Fit Type||Over-ear, open-back||Over-ear, closed-back||Over-ear, closed-back|
|Item Dimensions||7.8 x 3.2 x 7.5 inches||7.1 x 3.9 x 10.2 inches||10.1 x 4.3 x 9.8 inches|
|Item Weight||9.6 ounces||8.4 ounces||10.9 ounces|
|Special Features||Open-back design, wired/wireless||Closed-back, ANC, wired/wireless||Closed-back, wired/wireless|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 20kHz||18Hz – 22kHz||15Hz – 28kHz|
|Impedance||32 ohms||18 ohms||38 ohms|
|Bluetooth Version||Bluetooth 4.2||Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Bluetooth Range||Up to 33 feet (10 meters)||Up to 33 feet (10 meters)||Up to 33 feet (10 meters)|
|ANC Modes||Not available||Yes||Not available|
|Audio Codec||SBC, aptX||SBC, aptX||SBC, aptX, AAC|
|Battery Life||Up to 15 hours||Up to 19 hours (ANC on), 25 hours (ANC off)||Up to 40 hours|
|Charging Time||Approximately 2 hours||Approximately 2 hours||Approximately 7 hours|
|Quick Charging||Not available||Not available||Not available|
|Controls||On-ear controls||On-ear controls||On-ear controls|
|Price||$249 (price may vary)||$180 – $200 (price may vary)||$199 (price may vary)|
How do Grado GW100 users describe their experience with these headphones?
Grado GW100 users generally describe their experience with these headphones positively, highlighting several key aspects:
- Sound Quality: Many users praise the exceptional sound quality of the Grado GW100, citing the rich and detailed midrange, crisp treble, and controlled bass. The open-back design contributes to a natural, spacious soundstage that users appreciate for its immersive and engaging listening experience.
- Comfort: Users often mention the comfort of the Grado GW100 headphones, thanks to the lightweight design, adjustable headband, and plush foam ear pads. The breathable material on the ear pads ensures that they remain comfortable during extended listening sessions.
- Build Quality: Users appreciate the build quality of the GW100, noting the premium materials used in their construction and the hand-assembled nature of the headphones. The combination of metal, leather, and high-quality plastic materials contribute to a durable and visually appealing product.
- Wireless Connectivity: The Bluetooth 4.2 technology in the Grado GW100 offers a stable wireless connection, which users appreciate for its convenience and freedom of movement. The on-ear controls are also well-received for their ease of use and intuitive placement.
However, some users also point out a few areas for improvement:
- Noise Isolation: Due to the open-back design, the Grado GW100 headphones do not provide significant noise isolation. Some users find this to be an issue in noisy environments or when privacy is a concern.
- Battery Life: While the battery life of up to 15 hours is sufficient for most daily use scenarios, some users wish for longer battery life or quick charging features, especially when compared to competitors’ offerings.
Overall, the Grado GW100 users’ experience is predominantly positive, with most users appreciating the sound quality, comfort, build quality, and wireless connectivity. While there are some minor concerns, the general consensus is that the Grado GW100 headphones deliver an exceptional listening experience for audiophiles seeking a high-quality open-back headphone with wireless capabilities.
Pros and cons of headphones Grado GW100
|Positive Aspects||Negative Aspects|
|Exceptional sound quality||Limited noise isolation (open-back)|
|Rich and detailed midrange||Battery life could be longer|
|Crisp treble and controlled bass||Lack of quick charging|
|Comfortable and lightweight design||Not ideal for use in noisy environments|
|Adjustable headband and plush ear pads|
|Premium build quality and materials|
|Stable wireless connectivity (Bluetooth 4.2)|
|User-friendly on-ear controls|
|Spacious soundstage due to open-back design|
|Compatibility with a wide range of devices|
In conclusion, the Grado GW100 headphones offer an exceptional listening experience for audiophiles seeking a high-quality open-back design with wireless capabilities. Boasting outstanding sound quality, comfortable and lightweight design, premium build quality, and user-friendly controls, these headphones stand out in the market. The open-back design delivers a spacious and immersive soundstage, while the compatibility with a wide range of devices adds to their versatility.
However, potential buyers should be aware of some limitations, such as limited noise isolation due to the open-back design and battery life that could be longer. Additionally, the absence of quick charging may be a concern for some users. Despite these drawbacks, the Grado GW100 headphones are a worthy investment for those seeking exceptional audio performance and comfort in a wireless open-back headphone.
Overall, the Grado GW100 is an excellent choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts who prioritize sound quality and comfort over noise isolation and extended battery life. These headphones deliver an impressive audio experience that stays true to Grado Labs’ reputation for providing exceptional audio products.
Grado GW100. Basic questions, basic answers
Which headphones are better, Bose Quietcomfort 35 II or Grado GW100?
Choosing between the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Grado GW100 depends on your personal preferences and priorities when it comes to headphones. Both headphones have their strengths and cater to different user needs. Here’s a quick comparison:
Bose QuietComfort 35 II:
Active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, offering excellent noise isolation
Comfortable and lightweight with plush ear cups
Up to 20 hours of battery life in wireless mode (40 hours in wired mode with ANC)
Suitable for use in noisy environments, during commutes, and traveling
Balanced and natural sound signature, although not as detailed as the Grado GW100
No active noise cancellation, providing limited noise isolation
Comfortable and lightweight with adjustable headband and plush ear pads
Up to 15 hours of battery life
Offers a spacious and immersive soundstage due to open-back design
Exceptional sound quality with rich and detailed midrange, crisp treble, and controlled bass
If noise isolation and the ability to use headphones in noisy environments are important to you, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II would be the better choice. On the other hand, if sound quality and an open, spacious soundstage are your top priorities, the Grado GW100 would be more suitable.
Keep in mind that the Grado GW100 is best suited for quiet environments and may not be ideal for commuting or traveling due to its open-back design and limited noise isolation. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II, with its active noise cancellation, is a more versatile option for various listening scenarios.
As the author of this article, I truly value your feedback and thoughts on the Grado GW100 headphones. Please share your comments, experiences, and any additional insights you might have. Your input will not only help others make informed decisions but also contribute to the broader conversation around audio gear. Let’s discuss and learn together!