Let me pick up here, because I am the lucky purchaser of @MCM 's RS1E. I think they do still have more than just a bit of the signature Grado sound - but they are much much more refined than my SR-60e’s
I may have to try the L-Pad tape mod, but I think they are pretty good with the L-pads. Not sure about the G-Pad. It’s so big that it seems kind of clunky, not the Grado aesthetic. I could see them with the larger Statement line, certainly.
So far, I have listened to the RS1e streaming from Tidal, through iFi xDSD to Lyr 3 and coming of my iPhone’s Tidal app through the Dragonfly Black/Jitterbug combo. The RS1e is efficient enough that it certainly doesn’t need the volume boost. I will have to try with direct output of the iPads and iPhones also.
The BIG discovery was SANTANA’s new Africa Speaks album. Only heard a few tracks, but they sound wonderful on the RS1e, and I can tell I will be listening to this music a lot. I got to see Santana live in Allentown about 2 years ago (front row), and his drummers are astonishingly good. The on-ear presentation by the RS1e takes me right back to the front row. (unlike the 60e entry level phones which while great for $79 show their limitations).
I think there is a less sound leaking through the open backs of these phones than I hear with others. I know the Senns and the HiFiman are both significantly louder in the room.
Just a quick first impression. It was interesting to compare them closely with the entry level SR-60e. Aside from materials, and electronics, the headphones are remarkably similar. I like the 40’s radio operator aesthetic, although it grows up a lot when done in mahogany and leather. Exterior dimensions are quite similar.
I may get a carry case for these phones, they are quite good enough to be my go to phones when on the road.