Grado GW100 v2 Bluetooth headphone assessment: A wireless marvel

The firm’s first wireless headphone sounds and feels tall, but it has no ANC or passive noise isolation.

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  • Grado GW100 v2 Bluetooth headphone

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In 1950, Joseph Grado began making phonograph cartridges at his kitchen table in Brooklyn, NY. Once he exceeded the limits of that table, he moved the operation to a more loyal venue close by and founded Grado Labs in 1953. Now, three generations later, the firm is peaceful family owned and flee, continuing to make extremely popular phono cartridges moreover as headphones, which had been added to the product catalog in 1991, by hand at its Brooklyn space.

The GW100 is Grado’s first wireless Bluetooth headphone. It change into once first launched in 2018 and change into once nowadays upgraded to version 2. The firm minimize no corners and took its time to glean the sound appropriate correct, and the final consequence change into once well price the trouble.

This assessment is segment of TechHive’s protection of the acceptable headphones, where you’ll net reviews of the competitors’s offerings, plus a purchaser’s manual to the capabilities that you simply can perhaps presumably presumably peaceful receive into story when browsing for this create of product.


The GW100 v2 is a gentle-weight, on-ear, launch-attend kind with foam earpads and that yell, critically retro Grado styling. It contains particularly designed 44mm dynamic drivers within a finely tuned enclosure. As well to, the firm claims to own diminished sound leakage from the launch-attend earpiece by 60 p.c with careful placement of circuit boards and other inner substances.

grado gw100 with player Grado Labs

The Grado GW100 are a tall accomplice for a high-stop digital audio participant, but their launch-attend kind will seemingly deter you from using them while you’re out and about.

The frequency response is specified to develop from 20Hz to 20kHz (no tolerance given), and the drivers in each and every unit are matched to within 0.1dB of 1 another. And to allow them to play a lot loud—up to 99.8 dB SPL from 1mW.

This is the principle Bluetooth headphone I’ve encountered that doesn’t additionally provide active noise cancellation (ANC). Fixed with Grado, ANC can degrade the sound quality—which is completely handsome with many but no longer the total headphones I’ve examined—so the firm made up our minds to omit it altogether.

As another, Grado involved in offering the acceptable that you simply’re going to net a blueprint to imagine Bluetooth skills. The GW100 v2 implements Bluetooth version 5.0 (as against 4.2 in the authentic GW100) with lend a hand for the aptX, AAC, and SBC codecs. It ought to work up to 10 meters (33 ft) a long way from the source instrument due to an upgraded antenna.

The updated 850mAh battery bills in two hours and provides up to 40 hours of play time, which is in accordance to a 50-p.c quantity surroundings. Other upgrades embody a USB-C charging connection rather than micro USB (valid coast!).

As well to to omitting ANC, right here is the acceptable wireless headphone I’ve blueprint upon that doesn’t embody a onerous-shell carrying case. That you can perhaps net a blueprint to carry one from Grado for $39.95, which brings the cost to $288.95 for what you’d glean with appropriate about every other comparable headphone.

grado gw100 controls Grado Labs

The controls are found on the lower attend of the left earpiece. The ability button additionally initiates Bluetooth pairing, performs and pauses tune playback, solutions and hangs up mobile telephone calls, and activates the mobile telephone’s allege assistant. The amount up/down buttons additionally skip to the next or old song.

User interface

All controls and connections are existing in the lower half of of the left earpiece. The ability and quantity up/down buttons are physically clear, making them straightforward to search out by with out a doubt feel. As well to to their necessary capabilities, they additionally operate other tasks. The ability button additionally initiates Bluetooth pairing, performs and pauses tune playback, solutions and hangs up mobile telephone calls, and activates the mobile telephone’s allege assistant, while the amount up/down buttons additionally skip to the next or old song.

As mentioned earlier, a USB-C port is old to cost the battery, and a 3.5mm jack helps you to connect the GW100 v2 to an audio source with a primitive audio cable (which is integrated, along with a charging cable). If that is the case, the headphone gifts a nominal impedance of 32 ohms.

A bicolored LED subsequent to the 3.5 mm jack signifies charging/battery space moreover as Bluetooth pairing. In a roundabout blueprint, a hidden microphone captures your allege for mobile telephone calls or allege commands.


The GW100 v2 is well-organized-ecstatic—very gentle-weight with low clamping stress. Being an on-ear kind with foam earpads, it provides no passive isolation from ambient sound, meaning you obtained’t hear its plump seemingly in a loud ambiance.

One runt ergonomic teach is the skinny wires that emerge from both ends of the headscarf and fasten to the earpieces. As I assign the headphone on and took it off, I thought there change into once a probability I would accidently hit the wires with my fingers and smash their connection. I own it’s a barely low probability, but it’s something that caught my consideration.

As long-established, I listened to a unfold of tune from Tidal’s Grasp library of lossless high-res tracks on my iPhone XS. First up change into once “Sleeping on My Desires” from Jacob Collier’s Djesse Vol. 3, which capabilities some somewhat deep synth bass. The GW100 v2 produced a in reality launch sound with top imaging and wide sound stage. The synth bass change into once well-defined and abundant, and the vocal change into once correct up entrance where it could maybe perhaps presumably peaceful be.

With the unique passing of jazz memoir Chick Corea, I needed to hear to one amongst his traditional tunes, so I cued up “500 Miles Excessive” from Gentle as a Feather along with his band Return to Without end. Chick on electric piano, Stanley Clarke on bass, Airto Moreira on drums, Joe Farrell on sax, and Flowers Purim on vocals—man, what a lineup!

grado gw100 back Grado Labs

On this shot, you’re going to net a blueprint to glimpse the skinny wires emerging from each and every stop of the headscarf and connecting to the earpieces. I felt a bit apprehensive about unintentionally breaking these wires by a slump of the finger when inserting the headphone on and taking it off.

The GW100 v2 had a nice, launch sound with a wide soundstage and tall imaging. Every instrument change into once clearly delineated, though the bass change into once presumably a bit indistinct and the piano change into another time forward all over other solos that I would own most popular. Every of these observations had been doubtlessly because of the combine in settle on to something else the headphone change into once doing. (I confirmed this all over my comparisons; more in a moment.)

One of my favorite tall bands in high faculty change into once the Don Ellis Orchestra. I discovered finest one amongst his albums in lossless Grasp quality on Tidal, Stay at Montreux, so I listened to “Wearing Dance,” a stuffed with life tune that capabilities implausible dueling trombone solos. As I had system to ask by now, the GW100 v2 had a wide-launch sound with valid tonal balance and imaging, and the trombones had been very well rendered and separated in the stereo combine.

No longer too prolonged ago, I’ve with out a doubt been taking part in Lee Ritenour’s solo guitar work on Dreamcatcher. The title note capabilities some shining taking part in on processed electro-acoustic guitar, which sounded mostly top on the GW100 v2. The low midrange gave the impact a bit thick, which will had been the combine. Otherwise, the guitar sounded nice and well off.

For some country rock, I listened to “It’s ‘Field off I Am” by Callista Clark from her album Exact to Me. It’s a dense, comely combine, which sounded tall on the GW100 v2. It had an launch sound with a great deal of bass—presumably a bit too powerful, but no longer overbearing.

grado gw100 flat Grado Labs

The earpieces swivel to a flat location to slot in the elective carrying case.

As I change into once making an are trying spherical Tidal for some classical tune, I came across an album of trombone concertos entitled Concertos & Fairytales that contains trombonist PK Svensen and the Malmö Symfoniorkester from Sweden. The album change into once recorded by critical engineer Morten Lindberg for his high-res audio imprint 2L, and the recording quality is clearly evident. It change into once well-organized-dapper on the GW100 v2, with a wide-launch sound, tall imaging, wonderful rendering of the trombone, and clearly delineated orchestral sections.

The orchestra on Concertos & Fairytales is barely modest in dimension, so for something bigger, I grew to turn out to be to one amongst my favorite symphonic pieces of all time, “Pines of the Appian Methodology,” the fourth movement of Respighi’s The Pines of Rome. There are diversified tall recordings of this massive symphonic tone poem; on this case, I selected the Philadelphia Orchestra below Riccardo Muti. As I had heard sooner than, the GW100 v2 had a tall, launch sound with a wide soundstage and top imaging. As well to, the headphone’s dynamic fluctuate did plump justice to the fragment, which grows from a divulge to a mutter.

Comparability with Cleer Float II and DALI IO-6

Sadly, I didn’t own every other launch-attend headphones on hand to compare with the GW100 v2 all over this assessment. The closest I could perhaps presumably blueprint via cost change into once the Cleer Float II ($199.99) and DALI IO-6 ($499). Every are over-ear, closed-attend, wireless Bluetooth headphones, and both provide active noise cancellation moreover as passive isolation with earpads that seal the ears. (DALI additionally provides the IO-4, which doesn’t provide ANC and lists for $399.)

I listened to every note on all three headphones, making clear the ANC on the Float II and IO-6 change into once deactivated. As that you simply can perhaps presumably ask with closed-attend, over-ear designs, the sound of the Cleer and DALI change into once powerful more “inner” my head with a smaller soundstage. The Float II peaceful had a definite, launch sound quality but with reasonably much less bass than the GW100 v2.

The IO-6 had a hotter, richer, creamier sound than either of the choice headphones, with a reasonably closed in, congested quality on some tracks. The bass change into once absolutely more pronounced than on the Float II and presumably even a bit bigger than the GW100 v2. Also, I confirmed that Chick Corea’s piano change into once certainly blended too forward all over other solos on “500 Miles Excessive.”

grado gw100 beauty Grado Labs

Grado Labs believes active noice cancellation compromises audio quality, so it doesn’t manufacture it into its headphones.

The GW100 v2 is basically the most ecstatic of the three, particularly for prolonged listening classes, due to its low clamping stress and on-ear foam earpads. The Float II has a equally top sound, but its earpads are too runt for my barely well-organized ears, making them a bit tricky to seat well. Also, the clamping stress is simply too high for prolonged-time length comfort. The IO-6 has bigger earpads and lower clamping stress, so it’s more ecstatic to assign on for extended periods.

Base line

For a lot of years, I old the Sennheiser HD 414 SL on-ear, launch-attend headphone in my home recording studio, and I cherished its sound very powerful. The Grado GW100 v2 feels and sounds powerful comparable to my beloved Sennheiser, with a dapper and launch sound, wide soundstage, pinpoint imaging, and top tonal balance from deep bass to certain midrange to airy treble. Add wireless Bluetooth functionality, and likewise you’ve got a winner.

The necessary caveat is that it provides fully no mitigation of ambient sound, either with active noise cancellation or passive isolation. Grado made the acutely conscious decision to omit ANC in declare to handle sound quality, which is fully practical. The firm additionally made up our minds to coast with an launch-attend, on-ear kind, which is a valid segment of why its sound is so launch. The tradeoff is that your listening skills will seemingly be very a lot degraded in any noisy ambiance.

At $249, the price is completely no longer out of line for this level of quality. On the choice hand, you’ve to fork over another $40 for a onerous-shell carrying case, which is integrated with appropriate about every other headphone I do know of, bringing the price shut to $290. The Cleer Float II sounds nearly as valid for $200 (albeit with a bit much less bass and a narrower soundstage), and it provides ANC and valid passive isolation, but it’s blueprint much less ecstatic than the GW100 v2.

Whenever you happen to want a tall-sounding, well-organized-ecstatic, Bluetooth headphone strictly for amassed environments, I extremely counsel the Grado GW100 v2.

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  • Grado GW100 v2 Bluetooth headphone

    Grado’s first Bluetooth headphone sounds wonderful, and it be well-organized-ecstatic, but it doesn’t provide ANC or acoustic isolation, so it be no longer well-suited for noisy environments.


    • Shipshape, certain, launch sound
    • Highest tonal balance
    • Huge soundstage, tall imaging
    • Mighty-ecstatic for extended listening classes


    • No mitigation of ambient noise
    • Difficult-shell case charges extra

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