As a technology enthusiast and audiophile, I am always on the lookout for the latest…
Grado Labs, an American company known for its high-quality headphones and phono cartridges, has a fascinating story that traces its roots back to the 1950s. Located in Brooklyn, New York, Grado Labs has been family-owned since its inception and still operates out of the same building where it was founded.
The story of Grado begins with Joseph Grado, who was born and raised in Brooklyn. Joseph was a talented watchmaker but had a profound love for music and audio quality. In 1953, he decided to follow his passion and started Grado Labs in his kitchen. His initial focus was on phono cartridges, devices used in turntables to convert mechanical energy from a record’s groove into an electrical signal.
His cartridges soon gained a reputation for their superior quality and exceptional sound fidelity. The Grado cartridges were not just a product; they were a work of art, each one hand-crafted with meticulous precision.
In the 1980s, under the leadership of Joseph’s nephew, John Grado, the company decided to expand its product line to include headphones. Using the knowledge and expertise gained from years of developing phono cartridges, Grado Labs brought the same commitment to quality and sound fidelity to their headphones. The company’s first headphone model, the SR80, quickly became a hit for its excellent sound quality and affordable price.
Grado headphones are renowned for their distinct, open-back design and their exceptional sound quality. They are known for their warm harmonic colors, rich full-bodied vocals, excellent dynamics, and an ultra-smooth top end. These characteristics make them particularly well-suited for genres such as jazz, blues, and classic rock.
All Grado headphones are hand-crafted in Brooklyn, New York. The company is still a family business, now headed by John’s sons Jonathan and Matthew. Despite the company’s growth, the Grado family has maintained their commitment to quality and their dedication to hand-building their products. This gives each pair of Grado headphones a personal touch that sets them apart in an industry dominated by mass production.
Today, Grado is recognized worldwide as a leader in the audio industry. Their headphones are loved by audio enthusiasts and professionals for their unique sound and hand-crafted quality. Despite their success, Grado has remained true to their roots, continuing to hand-build their products in the same Brooklyn building where it all started. The story of Grado Labs is a testament to the power of passion, craftsmanship, and the love of music.