Born in New York, Joseph Grado left vocational high school at age 16, where he had been studying watch-making and had been at the top of his class. He went to work for Tiffany & Company and also taught the craft of watch-making in the evenings. When he discovered hi-fi sound in the early fifties, he visited Saul Marantz to get help in improving the sound of his audio system. Impressed by Joseph’s gifted ear, Marantz sent him over to Sherman Fairchild’s floundering hi-fi division. With Saul Marantz making the introductions, Joseph promptly landed a top position in the company. As soon as he came up with a design for a viable product, he went out on his own. Scraping together $2,000, Joseph began to produce phono cartridges. In 1953 he started production of his cartridges on the kitchen table. In 1955 Joseph opened a factory in Brooklyn on the site of his Sicilian born father’s grocery business which, to this day, has been the home of Grado Laboratories.
In the late 1980s Joseph began the development of what was to become the first true high-end dynamic headphone. The introduction of the Joseph Grado Signature Series of headphones was a major event in the evolution of headphone design. Joseph’s painstaking design process, combined with nearly a half century of experience manufacturing precision audio devices, astonished even the most critical reviewers. Joseph extended headphone performance to levels previously attained by only the very best full-range speaker systems in areas of dynamics, pitch control, harmonic accuracy and bass quality. In the process, he once again created a new category – true audiophile quality headphones.
John Grado (son of Joseph Grado) also decided, with the urging of his sons Jonathan and Matthew, to enter the in-ear headphone market. The boys realized the importance of this booming segment of the headphone market and that the third generation of Grado would be a part of it. Jonathan and Matthew were both instrumental in the process of voicing of the iGi, GR8 and the GR10.
Jonathan Grado is now Vice President of Marketing for Grado Labs, and in charge of the launch of the third generation of headphones… the ‘e’ series… in 2014. Although the new headphones look suspiciously similar to the older models, everything about them is improved. From the housings to the wiring, to the cones and coils, The ‘e’ Series represents our third generation of audio excellence.