Paradigm Atoms vs. Grado SR-80s?? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-02-2006, 12:00 PM
I know, one is a speaker set, the other is headphones. Apples and oranges.

But I have a very small apartment (~400 sq. ft.) and I'm looking for the best value solution to improve my music sound quality.

Would you get the really good value impressive headphones or the really good value impressive bookshelf speakers??

(also, most of my music right now is being streamed from my computer in mp3 format...I don't know if that makes a difference.)

Thanks for your help!

01-02-2006, 05:51 PM
I feel more attached to my Atoms than I do to my SR-80s.

01-03-2006, 01:32 PM
If I were in your shoes, I'd go for the speakers, but that is just my preference. As a general rule, do you use headphones more or speakers more? If you listen to loud music, the headphones might be an option, especially being in a small apartment. If you listen to music at a moderate level, I'd consider a pair of nice bookshelf speakers. Are you playing music strictly through your computer or are you playing music streamed from your computer to a receiver or amp?

01-03-2006, 03:11 PM
Apples and Oranges (or, Oranges and Lemons if you are an XTC fan), indeed. In my opinion, mp3s just don't sound very good when played on decent audio equipment. I think it depends most on what bitrate you encode your mp3s in. If you are buying most of your mp3s off of Napster in 128kbps format, I don't know if you would enjoy much better sound than with a decent set of PC speakers. I think the sound-dock product popularity are kind of testament to this. But it is my experience that 320kbps files sound quite good with a decent (SR60) set of headphones (but still lack compared to the original CD ripped from). So, headphones might help more than a set of bookshelf speakers. However, the headphones don't really help anyone but the wearer enjoy the music. Get them both from a store with a decent return policy and take back the one you don't enjoy. Or, just get them both...

01-03-2006, 03:55 PM
I had Grado SR-60s (the SR-80's little bro) for 4 years when I was in college, and used them primarily for computer mp3 listening. I used them lovingly until they fell apart--literally! I was always very impressed with the sound, even when listening to mp3s out of the cheap soundcard amp. They sounded even better through my Yamaha receiver. My roommate (in the dorm, ha) could always hear what I was listening to when I had the volume up a decent amount. That's the only gripe I have about them. Other than that they really opened up my eyes to what audiophile quality sound is really like. I recommend them, and they're not even that expensive, so why not get both??

01-04-2006, 03:56 PM
i stream from my computer...and i encode everything to 320 kps. i'm also upgrading my soundcard. i guess i listen mostly at moderate level and don't want to be tied down to headphones. on the other hand, i want to get the sound quality as high as i can without breaking the bank. i'm not just trying to crank up the volume...i listen to a lot of trip hop and indie music that you really want to sound as good as possible.

01-04-2006, 04:42 PM
Well the headphones will be your cheapest solution for sure. Then again, you wouldn't need much power to fill a 400 sq/ft apartment. I set up some energy C-3 bookshelfs for my in-laws a few days ago and they sound so good I ordered some for myself. They can be had for about $300 now since Energy is discontinuing the line. Still, with trance music you're gonna be wanting in deep bass power if you get these. With the Grado's your bass will sound deep and tight. I listened to a lot of techno/trance mp3s with my SR-60's and the power of the bass was fabulous.

One thing I do remember reading about comparing the 60's with the 80's: The 60's smooth out the harsh sound of a cheap amp (soundcard, portable CD player) better than the 80's and play louder with said amp than the 80's. With a nice amp, however, the 80's sound better. Just some food for thought.