Latest news & PR.

Keep updated on the latest armour news and press announcements

Astell&Kern’s Grado launches new Reference tri-wood headphones, the RS1x and RS2x

Grado Labs is introducing the new Reference Series, which brings fourth generation X Drivers to the RS1x and RS2x. The RS1x combines maple, cocobolo, and hemp wood, while the RS2x’s housing marries maple 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 our 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 brings 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.

Along with the new X Drivers, the RS1x and RS2x are now built with new durable 8-conductor cables and white-stitched leather headbands. 

The Grado Reference RS1x is available from and independent retailers in December priced £799.95/$750

The Grado Reference RS2x is available from and independent retailers in December priced £599.95/$550

Technical specification

Grado Reference RS1x

  • Housing materials: Cocobolo/Maple/Hemp wood

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic

  • Driver: 50mm

  • Operating Principle: Open back

  • Frequency Response: 12 – 30,000 hz

  • SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB

  • Nominal Impedance: 38 ohms

  • Driver Matched dB: .05 dB

  • Ear cushion design: L Cushion

  • Cable type: 8-conductor

Grado Reference RS2x

  • Housing materials: Maple/Hemp wood

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic

  • Driver: 44mm

  • Operating Principle: Open back

  • Frequency Response: 14 – 28,000 hz

  • SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB

  • Nominal Impedance: 38 ohms

  • Driver Matched dB: .05 dB

  • Ear cushion design: L Cushion

  • Cable type: 8-conductor


Supreme Sound: QED Unveils Supremus Zr - Its Latest Next-Generation Flagship Loudspeaker Cable



Download assets from our media centre

Product images, awards logos, print advertising, brochure and more available



We're Hiring

Interested in a career in audio developing products for our award-winning brands?

See our vacancies »

Sign up to our newletter

Stay up to date with the latest available assets, news and awards our brands keep winning.