There’s no topping wired audio, but high-end headphone makers are doing their best to get the most out of Bluetooth. As the latest example of this, Grado is now shipping its $249 GW100 headphones. These are Grado’s first wireless headphones. As with the rest of the company’s lineup, these are open-back headphones — so you’re not going to want to use them for commuting on the subway or in noisy surroundings.
Grado says these are the first open-back Bluetooth headphones on the market. It’s a mixture that doesn’t seem ideal for all listening situations, but the open-back design allows for a wide soundstage and greater detail, according to the company. “Some might think wireless and open-back are an odd pairing, but now you can enjoy audiophile quality sound untethered,” the company’s website reads. “Whether you’re fly-fishing or just cleaning the gutters, you don’t want wires dangling. But you do want awesome Grado sound.”
Grado says these headphones were built from the ground up to reduce noise bleed by 60 percent. So outside noise will get in, but hopefully your tunes won’t be quite so obvious or annoying to people around you.
Inside the GW100 are none other than our signature Grado drivers. These speakers are the same ones we build for our wired headphones, which are finely tuned for the different enclosures we use. Grado Labs’ first wireless headphone is no different, with drivers configured specifically for them. The desired sonic capabilities of the GW100 would not be possible without decades of experience in driver design.
The GW100s feature Bluetooth 4.2, and for codecs they support apt-X and AAC but not apt-X HD or LDAC. Battery life is rated at 15 hours. There’s a power button, a volume rocker, a 3.5mm jack if you want to go wired, and a Micro USB port for charging. You can also purchase a stand or case for the headphones as well.
Here’s the rest of the nitty gritty audio specs direct from Grado:
Bluetooth Version: 4.2 with apt-X
Battery Capacity: 320mAH
Working Distance: 10m
Battery Life: 15 hours**
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz
Mic Sensitivity: 42dB +/- 3dB
Transducer Type: Dynamic
Operating Principle: Open Air
SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB
Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
Driver Matched dB: .05 dB