Grado The Hemp Headphone Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Oct 01, 2020 at 10:12 am
Grado The Hemp Headphone Picture
4.6
Mixed Usage
7.5
Neutral Sound
3.4
Commute/Travel
4.7
Sports/Fitness
4.0
Office
3.9
Wireless Gaming
6.0
Wired Gaming
1.3
Phone Calls
Type On-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Grado The Hemp Headphones are limited-edition on-ears with an eye-catching hemp and maple build. However, these premium materials don't really translate into a premium build quality as the foam earpads feel a bit cheap. Some users may even find their on-ear fit uncomfortable. As they're designed for neutral sound, their open-back enclosure means they let in a lot of ambient sound and in turn, leak a lot of audio. Some may find their wired-only design, lack of microphone, and companion app limiting. That said, they're very well-balanced in the mids, and their sound profile is a bit warm overall. If you're just using them to listen to your favorite albums or if you like to collect limited-edition drops, they're a good choice for the discerning audiophile.

Our Verdict

4.6 Mixed Usage

The Grado Hemp Headphones are poor for mixed-use. They're purposely designed for audiophiles and it shows. Since they don't have a microphone, you won't be able to use them to take calls. While their open-back design helps create a spacious passive soundstage, you hear pretty much everything else around you, which makes them less than suitable for the office or your daily commute.

Pros
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • No microphone.
  • Some may find on-ear fit uncomfortable.
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Bad noise isolation and leakage performance.
7.5 Neutral Sound

The Grado Hemp Headphones are good for neutral sound. While they struggle to produce a thumpy low bass, their mid-range is outstandingly neutral and balanced, resulting in present as well as clear voices and lead instruments. However, their treble also takes a bit of a dip, so sibilants sound dull. On the upside, they have consistent audio delivery and their passive soundstage is decent.

Pros
  • Outstandingly balanced mids.
  • Decent passive soundstage.
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Some may find on-ear fit uncomfortable.
  • Mediocre build quality.
3.4 Commute/Travel

The Grado Hemp are poor for commuting and traveling. They don't isolate almost any noise, so you hear all sounds from bus or plane engines as well as commuter chit-chat. They're also only passably comfortable, as some may find their on-ear fit puts a bit of pressure on the ear, especially if you're wearing them for long plane rides. On the upside, their wired design means you don't have to worry about battery life.

Pros
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Some may find on-ear fit uncomfortable.
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Bad noise isolation and leakage performance.
4.7 Sports/Fitness

The Grado Hemp Headphones are poor for sports and fitness. While they can fold up to make them a little more portable, they're still bulky on-ears that aren't designed for sports. They can easily fall off while moving and their non-detachable audio cable can snag on something and yank them off your head. They also don't have any controls, so you won't be able to quickly manage your audio or calls on-the-fly.

Pros
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Some may find on-ear fit uncomfortable.
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Not very stable on your head.
4.0 Office

The Grado Hemp Headphones are poor for office use. Their on-ear design can put pressure on the tops of your ears, which may be fatiguing when worn throughout your workday. As they're also open-back, they don't isolate almost any ambient noise so you hear most noise around you such as background chatter and they leak a lot of sound. On the upside, since they're wired, you don't have to worry about battery life.

Pros
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Some may find on-ear fit uncomfortable.
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Bad noise isolation and leakage performance.
3.9 Wireless Gaming

The Grado Hemp Headphones are wired headphones and can't be used wirelessly.

6.0 Wired Gaming

The Grado Hemp Headphones are unremarkable for wired gaming. While you can use them with your PC, PS4, or Xbox One, you can only receive audio as they don't have a microphone. Due to their on-ear fit, some users may find them uncomfortable, especially for long gaming sessions. Still, if you're only using them to listen to your game's soundtrack, you may find them a bit lacking in the bass, so sound effects sound a little weak.

Pros
  • Can be used to receive audio on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
  • Decent passive soundstage.
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • No microphone.
  • Some may find on-ear fit uncomfortable.
  • Mediocre build quality.
1.3 Phone Calls

The Grado Hemp Headphones don't have a microphone and can't be used for making phone calls.

  • 4.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Neutral Sound
  • 3.4 Commute/Travel
  • 4.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.0 Office
  • 3.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.0 Wired Gaming
  • 1.3 Phone Calls

Check Price

Hemp and Maple The Hemp Headphone
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Grado Hemp have a unique wooden design. These limited-edition headphones have a hemp and maple wood housing on their ear cups and a sleek leather padded headband. They have a retro look that some users may find charming.

6.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.48 lbs
Clamping Force
0.5 lbs

These headphones are passably comfortable. Their on-ear design tends to put a lot of pressure on the top of your ears and they aren't really comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. On the upside, they don't feel too heavy on the head and their headband feels nice.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones don't have any controls.

6.2
Design
Portability
L 7.4"
W 7.4"
H 1.5"
Volume 82 in³
Transmitter Required No

These headphones are adequately portable. The ear cups can swivel and lay flat to help save space but they don't fold into a more compact form. They also have a thick non-detachable cable, which could make storing them a little more difficult.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones don't come with a case.

6.0
Design
Build Quality

The Grado Hemp have a mediocre build quality. The ear cup housings are made with solid maple wood and hemp while the headband is a metal plate covered in leather. However, the ear cups' foam-like padding feels loose, which feels fairly cheap in comparison to the rest of the build. The logos on their ear cups also aren't straight and the hinges feel a little weak.

5.0
Design
Stability

The Grado Hemp headphones have disappointing stability. Since they're not designed for sports, they move around with small and large head movements. Their audio cable isn't detachable either and if it gets hooked on something, it could pull your headphones off.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Grado The Hemp Headphone
  • 1/4" to 1/8" adapter

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-4.1 dB
Treble Amount
-2.51 dB

These headphones have a very balanced mid-range, which is great for vocals and lead instruments. However, the bass and treble are a bit recessed, which produces insufficient thump and rumble as well as a dulled, but still slightly warm sound overall.

8.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.37 dB

The frequency response consistency is great. You should get a consistent listening experience every time you wear them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.95 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
58.23 Hz
Low-Bass
-8.16 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.18 dB
High-Bass
0.89 dB

These headphones have satisfactory bass accuracy. They really lack low-bass, and aren't really able to produce satisfying thump and rumble, which isn't great if you like to listen to EDM or hip-hop. They're a bit better in the mid-bass range, but it's still underemphasized, resulting in slightly less punch and body.

9.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.01 dB
Low-Mid
0.01 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.07 dB
High-Mid
-0.59 dB

These headphones have outstanding mid accuracy. The range is fairly flat, resulting in present, clear, and detailed vocals as well as lead instruments.

5.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.82 dB
Low-Treble
-1.03 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.53 dB
High-Treble
-8.76 dB

The Grado Hemp have disappointing treble accuracy. It's mostly underemphasized across the range, resulting in a slightly veiled as well as dull and lifeless sound.

6.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.93 dB
Dips
1.73 dB

These headphones have okay peaks and dips performance. There's a peak across most of the bass range that produces a punchy, boomy sound. The peak in the low treble tries to cut through this by making vocals and lead instruments sharper and more present. However, the dip in the mid-treble really dulls sibilants, such as the S and T sounds in voices or a clang of a cymbal.

7.8
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.3
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.52
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.42
Weighted Phase Mismatch
22.64

These headphones have great imaging. Their weighted group delay is within good limits, ensuring a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit are very well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate localization and placement of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. That said, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

7.2
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.45 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
1.94 dB
PRTF Distance
12.09 dB
Openness
9.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
7.7

They have a decent passive soundstage. These on-ear open-back headphones are designed to let ambient noise into the ear cups to help create an open and spacious soundstage. However, since they don't interact a lot with the outer ear, their soundstage is perceived as somewhat small but almost coming out from in front of you, rather than from inside your head. However, they're still more open-sounding than closed-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

These headphones don't have a virtual soundstage feature.

7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.304
WHD @ 100
0.128

The weighted harmonic distortion performance of the Grado Hemp is good. There are a couple of spikes in the treble range but they shouldn't be too noticeable for most listeners.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid for these settings.

Isolation
1.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-1.59 dB
Bass
0.06 dB
Mid
1.44 dB
Treble
-5.99 dB

The Grado Hemp have bad noise isolation by design. Since they're open-back, they don't isolate you from almost any sound. They can help slightly reduce the high-pitched whine of an AC unit, but that's about it.

3.3
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
56.85 dB

The Grado Hemp have poor leakage performance. They leak a lot in the treble range and you can disturb those around you, even if you're listening to your audio at a moderate level.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Grado Hemp don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

These headphones don't have any active components and don't need a battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't have a companion app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

The Grado Hemp are wired and don't have any Bluetooth connectivity.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones are wired-only.

9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 5.8 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones have a non-detachable 1/8" TRS cable. They also come with a 1/4" adapter.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

When plugged into a PC or PS4, these headphones only receive audio as they don't have a microphone.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

When plugged into an Xbox One controller, these headphones can only receive audio as they don't have a microphone.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don't come with a base or dock.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Grado The Hemp Headphone are limited-edition on-ears. They're made of premium build materials such as maple and hemp on their ear cup housings that help them to stand out against other similarly designed Grado headphones such as the Grado SR80e/SR80. While some may find their wired design a little limiting and they don't have a microphone or app, they're a good choice if you're looking for a unique pair of on-ears for neutral sound. However, they struggle a bit more to produce a thumpy low-bass. If you're looking for more, check out our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, the best audiophile headphones, and the best headphones for music.

Grado SR325e/SR325

The Grado SR325e/SR325 and the Grado The Hemp Headphone are two similarly designed on-ear headphones. The SR325e/SR325 have a metallic design that are more comfortable, while the Hemp have a maple and hemp build. Both struggle to produce low-bass sound, but the SR325e/SR325 sound much brighter overall.

Grado SR80e/SR80

The Grado SR80e/SR80 and the Grado The Hemp Headphone are both on-ear headphones that have slightly different advantages. While they have similar designs, the SR80e/SR80 are more comfortable. For the most part, they're able to produce more bass, although it's still somewhat underemphasized. Unlike the Hemp, their treble is also overemphasized, which makes them sound piercing and sharp. However, the Hemp have a better passive soundstage. They also feel better built.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless are more versatile on-ear headphones than the Grado The Hemp Headphone. The Beats are more comfortable, they have controls so that you can answer calls as well as manage music, and they feel significantly better-built. They're more stable, and their sound profile is more neutral. The Beats also have a great ANC feature as well as a mic, and since they're wireless, they have 24-hour continuous battery life. However, the Grado have a much better passive soundstage, thanks to their open-back design.

Audio-Technica ATH-M60x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M60x and the Grado The Hemp Headphone are similarly performing on-ears for neutral sound. The Audio-Technica are more comfortable and have a better build quality. They have a more neutral sound profile. However, the Grado have a significantly better passive soundstage and they deliver audio more consistently.

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