Grado's Reference Series gets an update: RS1x and RS2x launched with new fourth gen drivers

Cam Bunton


Grado has launched newly updated versions of its iconic Reference Series headphones called the RS1x and RS2x. Each with their own combination of woods. 

Think of Grado and - if you're aware of the brand - there's a good chance you have a strong mental image of a rustic looking pair of headphones with wooden ear cups. 

The new open-back Reference Series cans feature that same instantly-recognisable wooden ear cup. The RS1x features a combination of maple, cocobolo and hemp wood while the RS2x uses maple and hemp. Both models are also built with a more durable cable and headband. 

Apart from the specific woods used, the difference between the two models is size, dictated by the size of the driver. RS1x has a brand new fourth generation 50mm X Driver, while the smaller RS2x has a 44mm X driver. 

The X Driver, of course, first made an appearance in the updated Prestige Series launched earlier in 2021

In its press release, the company states the drivers have been specifically tuned for the wooden enclosure they're built into, which means subltle differences to tuning between the larger and smaller. 

What's more, compared to previous RS models, the driver's magnetic power has been increased despite a smaller coil mass, plus a tweaked diaphragm. 

Remarkably, in the 27 years since the original Reference Series, Grado Labs has only upgraded its drivers twice before now. This is just its fourth generation of headphone driver, with the company stating it only upgrades when it feels there's a real need for it. 

Grado Reference RS1x and RS2x are available from today with prices set at £799/$750 and £599/$550 respectively.

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