Grado Labs is introducing the new Reference Series, which brings fourth generation X Drivers to the RS1x and RS2x. The RS2x combines maple and hemp wood, while the RS1x combines maple, cocobolo, and hemp wood. These newly built speakers are the fourth generation of drivers the Brooklyn company has designed since the introduction of the first Grado headphone in 1991. Along with the superior sound these new drivers produce, the RS1x and RS2x are now built with a new durable cable and new headbands.
Leading the way for a new fourth generation X Drivers, the redesigned RS1x combines a 50mm driver with three species of wood for the first time into a ‘vivacious and elegant’ headphone. The housing is made of a maple sleeve, hemp core and cocobolo outer ring. Grado builds with wood for its warm and embracing tonal abilities, but finding the right balance of three separate woods is no simple task.
The reward is an RS1x that opens Grado to a new level of sound. Their little brother, the RS2x, focuses on maple and hemp wood to bring out the most they have to offer with a 44mm driver. This is the first time X Drivers are built into wooden housings and needed to be finely tuned for their specific environments. This combination is designed to bring out harmonic colours, a rich vocality and the mid-range Grado is known for.
“In 1994 my dad (John Grado) went downstairs in the middle of the night to build our first RS1 headphone”, says Jonathan Grado. “It’s kind of extraordinary that this middle-of-the-night idea is now evolving into an even greater headphone 27 years later.”
In thirty years Grado Labs has only released four generations of drivers, the speaker inside the headphone. Avoiding yearly update cycles ‘just because’, Grado has made sure to only place new drivers inside their headphones when there is a significant upgrade.
The X Drivers bring a completely redesigned speaker and new harmony to the inner workings of the RS1x and RS2x. Each one is specifically tuned for the wooden enclosure they’re built into.
Grado has increased the magnetic power of the speaker while decreasing the effective mass of the voice coil. Along with the reconfigured diaphragm, this unison creates a speaker that represents the truest presentation of the original source, says the maker. Along with the new X Drivers, the RS1x and RS2x are now built with new durable 8-conductor cables and white-stitched leather headbands.