[Review & Comparison] Brooklyn's Best the Prestigious Grado PS/GS 2000E

What makes a Grado in my opinion is the slight emphasis they have in the upper mid range, it lends for a very exciting presentation. An that forwardness is where the similarities stop for the GS and PS2KE.

Starting with the GS2000E, I found it to have a beautifully massive sound stage with a slight emphasis on the harmonics present within the individual notes of each instrument, it had a real magic in the mid range to it that made it simply enjoyable! An at the very top, while slightly attenuated, it presented percussive instruments with phenomenal clarity. Overall it had excellent dynamics and micro detail, though it suffered a little with macro detail or ambient noise and I found the bass to be a little softer than hard.

Musical is the word that I felt describes the GS2000E best, regular readers of my content know how much I hate that word. As it’s often thrown at any headphone that has a “warm and smooth” mid range, while those qualities make for an enjoyable listen out of less resolving systems, in a top of the line rig excessive warmth and smoothness can kill music. The GS2000E how ever, had to my ears the perfect balance of warmth, decay and “magic.” It had by all means excessive decay and a soft low end, but it was beautiful to listen to non the less. It never lacked any texture in lows, never lacked any resolve in the mid range, had a nice present edge for guitars and drums! It was by all means a for the music headphone, it quite often glossed over a lot of ambient noise with no shortage of phenomenal micro detail. In every system I pair’d it with it was just a pleasure to experience. Though. electronic dance music wasn’t the best with it but… I don’t typically like EDM without big closed wood cups and copious amounts of EQ.

The PS2000E on the other hand was a far more technical listen, taut punchy well extended bass met with a fast tactile mid range and just enough sparkle up top. While it had the same precision and airiness as the GS2KE it was not as wide and spacious sounding. Almost a little intimate in comparison. What surprised me most though was just how FAST the PS2KE was, fast in the sense that it had a slight focus on the attack of an instrument with a clear but lighting fast decay. While it was well extended it was noticeable drier than the GS2KE. But that lack of body made for a very tactile presentation so much so that it made my HD 800 sound soft and slow! An like the HD 800 it’s quite picky about what your plugging it into. That said, in the right system it’s simply stunning, how ever sadly my system was not just “right.”

In my own system, I really felt the PS2000E wasn’t resolving enough. It had so much aggression and energy that it often overshadowed some mid-range micro detail. A lot of this could be attributed to how cold and clear my system is, and while I’ve worked over the years to remove as much of this coldness as I can… there’s just enough of it left to skew the balance of this very picky headphone. It really felt like a headphone designed to be pair’d with good analog turn table system, that or something “analog-esque” with that warm naturalness that people associate with analog.

That said though, seeing as at this time my system focus more on clarity than it does naturalness or “musicality” I wasn’t as much fan of the PS2000E at home in my rig. But again, the Grado line features two flagships. The musical GS2000E which sounds great in my system that’s optimized for technicalities and clarity in addition to the PS2000E which does better in a system that focus more on naturalness. That said, let’s dig into the specifics.

Lows:

  • The PSKE had the advantage down low, it presented a cleaner mix of both fundamental and harmonic textures. Instruments such as the double bass had cleaner transients, sharper more distinct vibrato after the initial peak of each note as well as more apparent fret and bend noise.
  • Electric bass guitars also found a sharper leading edge with a quicker resolve of action on the frets. An finally larger drums had an excellent sense of not only their weight, size and mass but also their hollowness, there was good slam and umph that was followed by a twinge of that hollowness.
  • The GS2KE on the other hand put a emphasis on the body and harmonic texture of these instruments. So while big drums sounded heavier and fuller… there was a little less of that hollowness.
  • Though as much as I enjoy listening for these more technical notes focusing in on individual instruments does detract from the musical piece as a whole. That said, both the Double and Electric bass had plenty of fret action and punch while not quite as textured as on the PS2KE.

Mids:

  • Overall in my system there was a clearer presentation of transients in the mid range from the GS2KE. Yes there’s a little emphasis on the decay, but it never masked any texture.

  • Horns has a nice touch of bite followed by a full rich body that differed with each breath. An those breath’s taken in-between notes where present, a little subdue’d but always there non the less.

  • Vibrato was more apparent for both stringed and metal bodied instruments as well, the variation in pitch and tone as the notes decay’d were clear but still sweet and lush. Guitars again had a nice mixture of bite, tactility and sweetness.

  • The PS2KE on the other hand, had a sharp focus on the leading edge of these notes in my system. With an intense attack followed by a very well resolved and obvious echo. Though at times this emphasis on the echo of the release masked a little of the vibrato.

  • In Mile’s Davis so what the PS2KE presented a better sense of depth, as the horns lingered on and on, but the intensity of each note combined with this cleaner super resolved lingering release often overshadowed the vibrato ever so slightly.

  • Guitars also had more crunch and bite, in some cases heavy or faster fretting was clearer and more vivid but with acoustic guitars some of the fullness of the instruments body was overshadow’d by the hollow space within the instrument. Again, in a system that’s more natural and lends a little more decay there’s significantly more balance and resolve, but in my system it was just a bit too aggressive.

Highs;

  • Depending on how the track is mastered these two seem to trade blows. In Miles Davis So What the percussion was more lively and had better clarity on the GS2000E with an improved sense of depth, how ever while listening to the Live performance of Hotel California the PS2KE presented the percussion with better clarity.
  • Additionally the sounds of the crowd were more apparent from the PS2KE.

Imaging;

  • Overall the PS2KE was a bit deeper and the GS2KE was a little wider, more intimate recording favored the GS2KE and anything recorded or mastered at a live venue often sounded a little realer on the PS2KE

Resolve;

  • While both had an excellent sense of dynamics, the over aggressive nature of the PS2KE on my system created some de-emphasize on micro detail. Ambient noise was time and time again clearer and more present with the PS2KE.
  • Often times the GS 2KE had the better micro resolve. With cleaner more defined transients. Each had good tactility, with the PS2KE being noticeable more energetic, how ever the combination of resolve and polite tactility of the GS2KE really draws you in!

Conclusion

For those that love music and love the magic of connecting to what your listening to, I can’t recommend the Grado GS 2000E enough. While it’s not the most technical headphone out there, I found it to just simply be a guilty pleasures to listen to! Now the PS 2000E is very much the epitome of the Grado Sound, as on the right system it has both a little sweet magic and amazing speed, clarity and resolve! Certainly the Ps2KE is the best that Brooklyn has to offer, is reversed for those who are ready to spare no expense on such a system. Though if your ready for that endeavor you’ll be rewarded with a truly unique listening experience!

For my tastes though I still felt the GS2000E is a better value and more competitive, as it’s priced closer to the HD 800 in both MSRP and resale value.

For more pictures and even more comparisons, such as to my HD 800 check out the full review here on my blog

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Thanks for your excellent review and description of the Grados. It is a dynamic headphone that I never tried. I did try the low end of the Grado line, the SR-60, and it was decent for the money , but I never entertained the other end of the Grado headphone products.

I guess I have been prejudiced by their cartridges, of which I am not a big fan. Maybe one day I try them out.

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I have the cheap Grados, and have had the opportunity to listen to older top of the line Grados. I really enjoy their sound signature. One day, I will have some examples from their middle range - either higher end on the Prestige series or something in the Reference series.

Thank you for the review.

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Mid range modern Grados aren’t quite worth it to me, the RS1 and RS2E I felt were both out classed by the AKG K702 overall, that said if you want a simmilar tonal presentation but with a slightly more intimate presentation then the Grado R Series might be worth while.

How ever the G Series really distinguishes it self! As do some of the older “vintage” Grado R Series cans

Yes, the older “vintage” R series were the higher end ones I heard. However, I have a known bias for buying things from relatively local companies. VPI and Grado qualify. So does Amplifier Surgery. I’m not a fanatic about it, but other things being equal, if I can support local commerce I will.

That said, if I ever go for higher end IEMs, I’ll want the STAX SR 003 Mark 2’s. Maybe.

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I tried the SR60’s and I liked the sound with the exception of the highs. It felt like a cheese grater across my eardrums. Way too painful. The GS 2000e intrigues me. I like the idea of ‘buying American’, as I do own Audeze LCD-X for my daily drivers. Plus, the GS are gorgeous. Has anyone heard these (GS 2000e) and the LCD-X? I’d love to hear any comparisons.
Thanks in advance.

I’ve got an LCD X on loan now, but GS2ke is gone, but honestly I feel like GS 2KE is simmilar to HD 800 but less detail and more… harmonics! It’s wetter [and looser in the bass] in both the mid range and lows plus it’s not as bright, but it has that nice open presentation like the HD 800

I hate to use the word but “musical” would be a good term to describe the GS2KE especially VS the drier more technical LCD X. So GS2KE would be a nice compliment I feel to LCD X

Though I kinda feel like the Ether 2 would be a good middle ground between LCD X and GS2KE,

I will hopefully have/hear the new Grado White here shortly, it’s around $800 so I’m wondering if it’ll be similar to what the GS2KE can do, especially since there’s a 3000E from Grado now

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Thanks! I was looking for something to compliment the LCD-X, and your impressions/opinions are a welcomed confirmation. I’ve also been looking at the Beyerdynamic T1v2, which seem to fall into the previously mentioned group.

Honestly I heard the T1 and it was way to think for my tastes, I’d think the GS2KE would be a better as even the T1 V2 is a little narrow [lacking the perception of “width” compared to the GS2KE]

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The Grado’s are warmer(thicker/fuller bodied)than the T1? I’m good with some warmth and width.

Which connector was on the pair you listened to? SE or balanced?

I heard the T1 both balanced from a First Watt speaker amp and single ended. More power did help a little but it was in my opinion warmer an thicker than the GS2KE

Or maybe each has the same emphasis on harmonics but there’s better clarity, spacial precision and air overall with GS2KE

Well T1 is a bit flatter in the low end but… I don’t think T1 is worthwhile if you have an LCD X

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Have heard the GS3000e?

Not yet tho I’d like to of course! I’ll also add second hand GS2KE is around $900 or so

I’d want to hear the GS3000E before recommending it, especially given it’s priced even more so than what the original 2KE sold for

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Do you know what the Black Label II is based on? It seems like a black GS2000e, but in black oak. Sorry if I’m asking too many questions. I’m just excited that you’ve heard several of the headphones I’m interested in!

Sadly I’ve no idea about the black label, the White Headphone will be the first special edition I will hear and hopefully maybe own

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Thanks for all of your input!
Let me know what you think of the Grado Whites. :+1:t4:

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I will, I’m a bit worried tho some folks online find it bright an others call it “non fatiguing” so we shall see.

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Grado are known to be bright, but it seems as though the younger Grado (family) are refining the sound. I’m looking forward to hear some of the newer Grado offerings.

Well, I don’t mind bright unless a headphone is ONLY bright… tho bright stuff is bothering me more these days

Still I like HD 800 with SDR Mod quite a lot actually, but the Audio Technica stuff is too bright for me these days

Ideally if the WH1 can beat the K712 I have in detail and overall tonality while still having a similar open presentation I’d be content. I felt the K712 was better overall than the RS2E so I sold it… tho I had an RS1 Button with Square Rods and White Drivers that I miss… it was a touch bright but with worn L Crush pads it was quite nice!

Grado G Crush Pads tend to help that brightness not be AS intense, given the distance they sit from the ears. So here’s to hoping!!!

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