The Grado SR125e are subpar headphones for everyday casual use but have an above-average and open sound reproduction. They are comfortable and lightweight but will easily fall off your head. Their open-back design also does not block much noise and leaks a lot, which is distracting to the people around you even at moderate volumes.
The Grado SR125e keep the same retro design as the SR60e and SR80e but with slightly larger ear cups. They are comfortable headphones for an on-ear model. Sadly, the lack of tension in the headband makes these headphones easily slip off your ears and their build quality feels cheap and not as durable as some other on-ear headphones.
The Grado SR125e are comfortable for an on-ear design. They are lightweight and don't apply too much pressure on the ears. They lack padding on the headband although it's not too noticeable because of the lightweight design. Unfortunately, the padding used on the ear cups is a cushion-like material that's susceptible to wear and tear and doesn't feel as good on the skin like a faux leather padding would.
The Grado SR125e are moderately portable headphones. Like the SR80e, They will easily fit in a backpack and the ear cups that lay flat to take up less space. Unfortunately, they don't fold up into a more compact format and the thick cable is also a bit cumbersome. They also don't come with a carrying case or pouch, which is disappointing.
Build quality is subpar. The SR125e are lightweight, and their ear cups are dense enough, no to get damaged by a few falls. However, these headphones feel cheaply built and not as durable as some other on-ear models. Sadly, the plastic used for the ear cups and joints feels cheap. The joints, especially, look poorly glued together and very susceptible to moderate physical stress. The cushion-like padding on the ear cups is prone to wear and tear.
These headphones like the SR60e and the SR80e do not have enough tension in the headband to provide a tight, stable fit. They will quickly fall off your head while jogging and the thick, and long cable can easily get hooked on something, yanking the headphones off your head. They are somewhat stable during casual listening sessions but leaning or tilting your head while listening will make these headphones slide and potentially slip off your ears.
The Grado SR125e are an average sounding pair of open-back on-ear headphones. They have a good bass, a very good mid-range, but a poor treble. Additionally, their bass lacks extension and sub-bass, and their treble is noticeably harsh and sibilant. They also have elevated distortion in the treble range which makes their sound piercing. On the plus side, their performance doesn't vary much from person to person, and have a relatively open soundstage, both due to their open design.
These headphones are not designed to isolate listeners. Their open-back ear cups do not block any noise, which is not ideal in loud environments. The leakage level is also very high. They will be distracting to the people around you at moderate volumes even on a bus. They are best utilized in a quiet and isolated environment where you can enjoy their nice and open sound reproduction.
Poor isolation. Due to the open-back design of these headphones, the isolation is poor. These headphones do not isolate below 1KHz, and the isolation provided above 1KHz is negligible.
Poor leakage. Being open, these headphones are loud and leak a lot of sound. The significant portion of leakage is between 100Hz and 20KHz which is a very broad range. The leakage on these headphones sounds loud, full and present, and therefore could bother the people around you.
No active features.
No compatible app.
The Grado SR80e are pretty much identical to the Grado SR125e. The SR125e have slightly thicker and more durable cables, but have the same design and build quality as the rest of the budget Grado line up. The SR80 are, therefore, a better value for your money since they have the same performance at a cheaper price point. They also do a bit better in the treble range, although both headphones are a bit too sharp and may sound piercing on already bright tracks. Also, the difference in the treble is within the margin of error for our sound test, since its consistency varies from person to person.