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John Grado answers 10 Questions

10 QuestionsWith…

Name: John Grado

Company: Grado Laboratories

Title: President

How did youget into the High End Audio business?

MyUncle Joe let me start work as a 12 year old sweeping the floors. My motivationwas not to become a titan in the industry but to earn some cash so I’d be ableto take my older, 13 year old, girlfriend to the movies, sit in the back rowand hope to have a chance to make out. It was money well earned. And, as theysay, the rest is history.

Did or doyou have anyone who has influenced you in your business?

Therewere a number of people who have influenced me in my work ethic. First mygrandfather, who had his fruit store on the same location as I have thebusiness. He would tell me how he got to his vendors an hour before everyoneelse in the mornings so he’d be sure to get his pick of the best fruit andvegetables, because he felt if he had the best product to offer his customershe’d be successful. This is the same philosophy we follow today.

Alsomy father Angelo and his brother, my uncle, Joe. Both gave me life lessons thatI continue to live by till this day. My Dad taught me how to problem solve andthe confidence to work and build with my hands. While my Uncle allowed me, withhis guidance and teaching, to grow in the business over the years withcontinually taking on more responsibility and ultimately the confidence to leadthe company into the next generation.

What productdo you think is the best you have in your companies’ catalog?

Now,the two best performing products we have in our product line are our PS2000eheadphone and the Epoch phono cartridge. These were designed to create thepinnacle of audio excellence with cost no object. To present what has becomewell known as The Grado Sound at itsultimate. Both are the culmination of years of work and products we areextremely proud of.

If you wereto recommend one product of yours for someone looking to get started on theirjourney to high end listening, what would it be and why.

Thisis easy, it would be both of our entry level headphone and phono cartridge.

TheSR60e headphone, at $79, and the Prestige Black2 phono cartridge, at $75, areboth products that outperform, and we feel, can’t be beat at their pricepoints. They are products that give the consumer a taste of what high end audiowill be all about.

Weget many calls and emails from customers telling us that one of these was theirfirst purchase of a headphone or cartridge and that it got them serious abouttheir audio system. We are one of the very few companies that have a full rangeof products, entry to high end, and people enjoy the voyage as they move up ourproduct line.

If you couldonly keep one product in your current system what would it be?

Thiswould have to be the turntable. The turntable has been a part of my systemsince I was 12 years old. The first record I ever bought was the 45rpm versionof the Beatles Eight Days A Week, in1965 and was my first personal relationship with the audio system.

What do youpersonally prefer - Digital or analog? Solid state or tubes?

IfI had to choose it would be analog and tubes. I don’t believe there is a rightor wrong answer to this question, everyone has their own taste and opinions andI believe as long as you can enjoy what you’re listening to, great.

Now,I’d like to say that what is most important to me is the music itself, that ismy joy, whether it be analog, digital, tubes or solid state, I’m happylistening to my car radio, the songs are what I enjoy.

What is yourfavorite genre of music?

Beinga product of the 1960s, growing up it’s been RocknRoll. But as I’ve matured (????)I have learned to enjoy all types of music. A good friend sent me a specialtest pressing of a Frank Sinatra album and I’ll listen to that with greatpleasure, and I must say Frank, when he was young, had a great voice. My Uncleenlightened my with opera, Othello being my favorite. And I’m open to allmusic, my two sons, Jonathan and Matthew give me the opportunity to hear allthe current music and there is a lot that I really enjoy, like Tame Impala andRex Orange County. But all the genres just lead to Happy Listening.


Again,being a product of the 1960s, like most people of the generation, my favoriteband would be the Beatles. Their album MeetThe Beatles, and the song from that album Little Child were my favorites. So much so for Little Child, that whenever I call my lifelong (61 years) friend,Mark Rivera, he picks up the phone singing that song. Also some of my greatestthrills were having the chance to meet John Lennon, Ringo Starr and having a signedautographed to me Beatle album collection from George Martin himself, given tome by his son Giles Martin, nothing I could have ever dreamed of growing uplistening to their albums.

Now,my two favorite live shows to attend where Ten Years After with Alvin Lee, andJimi Hendrix, two great guitar players. I’ve seen them both multiple times.

What did youwant to be growing up?

Well,I was not like most, who wanted to be a fireman, policeman or an astronaut.When I was young, under 5, I was extremely shy and quiet and wanted to be awashing machine because then I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody. Then inkindergarten I got introduced to young ladies, Andrea to be specific, anddecided it was worth communicating with other people.

Notsure exactly what I wanted to be, but knew I enjoyed running things. As apre-teen I set up a local youth police department, would run small carnivals, Iset up a milk box scooter company and even had my version of a Good Humortruck, the truck was built on my red wagon. All these adventures were done withmy friends and when we get together today we still speak of them and have agood laugh. And I think it all shows that I wanted to be in business.

Do you playany musical instrument or sing?

Itook piano lessons for two years, and can’t play a thing now and was happy whenmy Dad bought a player piano. I was in a Beatle cover band back in the mid-1960sand played rhythm guitar, and can’t play a note now. And was in the glee cluball through gramma school and still sing till this day but no one is interestedin hearing me sing. And music is still one of the things I truly still enjoy.