For the first time ever, we’ve built a headphone out of hemp. Grado has been experimenting with different woods, metals, and materials for decades – a pursuit started by our first wooden headphones, the RS1. When we saw the opportunity to work with hemp we had to see how it would go. What would the sonic capabilities be like? How would it be building the first hemphones?
Our family has a habit of building headphones out of whatever materials and woods we can get our hands on. Though we’ve been building with wood for decades, mahogany specifically, that itch to constantly experiment started around 2013 when Bushmills Whiskey and Elijah Wood asked us to build headphones out of whiskey barrels (white oak).
Fast-forward seven years and we’ve built headphones out of a fallen tree in Brooklyn, houses in Norway, and even a motorcycle. Still, this is one of the most exciting projects we’ve done.
Throughout those years of building with anything and everything we could, we would throw out ideas around the dinner table of the next material. At some point hemp came up, and became that far fetched “what if…” It probably wasn’t possible but it was fun to think about. Then about two years ago while on a business trip Jonathan Grado got a text from his dad with a photo of a wooden housing and a HEMP engraving. Looking at it he thought, “wow he is really committed to this bit.”
When he got back to Brooklyn around two weeks later, John Grado asked if if had any thoughts on the photo of the prototype he had sent. Both laughed, then it was silence until Jonathan realized he was serious. We figured out a way to build hemp into a headphone and were going all in on it.
Over next two years we quietly worked on this headphone, experimenting with different combinations of wood to balance out the hemp (we landed on pairing it with maple), and tuning the drivers to work with hemp in the first place.
We were all surprised when what started off as a “what if” around the dinner table turned out to be one of the best sounding Limited Editions we’ve built.
Check out the Hemp Headphones here to see a lot more.