2022 comes with important upgrades to our popular aluminum sets. Firstly, we decided to change the coating process to conventional anodizing. Parts are now much better protected against scratches and dents. And secondly, we also decided to start adding threadlocker glue to each aluminum set to allow the user to lock the gimbal pins and headband screw in place to prevent them from unscrewing. These changes will allow for higher durability and better comfort of use. Below you’ll find an updated instructions on how to install our aluminum sets in your Grado Labs headphones.
Contents of the package
Inside the parcel you’ll find:
2 rodblocks *
a bunch of spare screws
and silicone sliders,
an allen key for installation
a syringe with Loctite 243 threadlocker glue.
* (or just rodblocks or gimbals, depending on what you’ve ordered)
What are these spare screws
and silicone sliders for?
are there in case you lose any while tinkering with your Grado’s.
What about the tiny
These are actually one of the most important parts of our aluminum sets, and a secret to why our rodblocks move so smoothly on the rods.
We include four spares, because there are two inside each rodblock, behind the pressure screws.
They will wear over time, but very, very slowly
(you won’t need to replace them for at least 6-8 years).
plastic gimbals *
First you need to disassemble your headphones a bit.
Start by removing your earpads.
After this is done, remove the rubber caps on the tips of the rods of stock gimbals and slide the stock rodblocks off them.
* most Grado headphones, i.e. SR series, GH series, RS2/i/e/x, PS500/i/e, Hemp
Next you’ll need to remove stock gimbals from the cups.
To do that, grab them close to the pins that go inside the cups and bend outwards slightly, since they are plastic, they should come out of the holes and come off easily.
Now it’s time to separate the rodblocks from the headband,
and this is probably the hardest part in the entire process as it requires quite a lot of force and persistence.
You’ll need to grab the headband next to the rodblock firmly with one hand and the rodblock itself with the other hand and then move it left and right, back and forth, until it loosens up a bit.
Keep doing it while pulling the headband and rodblock in separate directions until the headband comes out completely.
metal gimbals *
If you own Grado Labs headphones with circular metal gimbals, it’s a bit trickier to remove them, but it’s also possible to remove them in home conditions.
To do this you’ll need small pliers and a bit of rubber or a heatshrink
* (higher Grado models, i.e. GS series, RS1/i/e/x, PS1000/i/e, PS2000/i/e)
Put the rubber/heatshrink around the head of the gimbal pin, grab it firmly with pliers and unscrew.
Pictures in these section are at courtesy of ChijiroKuro from Head-Fi forums, thank you! :)
After these three steps your headphones are fully separated and ready for the new aluminum set.
To install it begin with unscrewing the screw that goes through the slit in front of the rodblock.
Then mount that pointy screw on the allen key and apply a bit of threadlocker on it.
Careful! If you push the syringe plunger too hard, you can eject all glue from it at once, so go slow, especially that you only need a tiny bit on the screw.
Next insert the metal headband into the slit and make sure that the holes in the rodblock and in the headband are aligned and screw the screw back in to lock the headband in the rodblock.
It can be a bit tricky, so the easiest way to do this is to place the rodblock on the table, then slide the metal bit of headband inside it, press the headband and the rodblock against the table with one hand and screw with the other.
When you finish screwing, you’ll notice the excess glue that has come out from the thread.
Wipe it dry with a paper towel, as it might leave a stain.
After completing these steps you’ll have a headband assembly ready to be installed on your Grado Labs headphones, the only step left is to mount the gimbals on the cups.
Before you start this step, make sure you know which headphone cup is left and which one is right to mount them on the headband correctly.
After you do this, unscrew the gimbal pins a bit, enough to see most of their thread on the outside of the gimbal.
Next apply a bit of threadlocker on the gimbal pin and align it with the holes in the cup.
Then screw the gimbal pin in, until it’s flush with the gimbal and wipe the excess glue dry, like you did with the rodblock.
Repeat this step for each of 4 gimbal pins and that’s it, your Grado Labs headphones are now successfully upgraded with our aluminum set!
Installing just the rodblocks
IMPORTANT – if you ordered rodblocks only, you’ll also need to insert silicone sliders inside the pressure screw holes on your own (when ordering a rodblock/gimbal set we already do it for you). Remember to do it before you put the pressure screws, otherwise you’ll scratch your gimbal rod.
Principles of operation and possible adjustments
There’s no rocket science involved in how these rodblocks and gimbals work. Grado’s idea is probably one of the simplest in the industry. And while being so, it does pretty good job, allowing the cups to move in all directions.
Unfortunately it has some flaws, like free 360 degree rotation of the cups that causes the cables to twist and headphone users to rage, or stock plastic rodblocks to wear out rather quickly and loosen up causing the cups to slide of your ear (and rage obviously – or is it just me and my short temper?).
And that’s where we come in.
It was very important for us that our aluminum sets not only are more durable than stock ones, but also improve on the comfort of use.
That’s why we introduced silicone sliders and pressure screws in them.
Combined they allow to tighten the rodblock around the rod while maintaining the smooth movement of the latter.
Depending on how tightly they are adjusted, rod can move completely freely like in stock parts or can be even locked completely in the position without risking any damage to the rod.
For the most comfortable use of headphones I suggest adjusting the headphones vertically on your head to its size, and then tightening the pressure screws to the point where rod won’t move vertically, but will be able to twist horizontally.
This way the rod will only move horizontally when you want it to, and you’ll say goodbye to twisting cables and earpads that fall off each time you take your headphones off.
Unfortunately this is not ideal when you want to share your headphones with someone who’s head is different size than yours, as the vertical adjustment will likely require the allen key we include in the package.