Grado Prestige Gold1 phono cartridge Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Rega Planar 3 turntable & RB300 tonearm; Linn LP12 turntable, Naim Aro tonearm; Thorens TD-124 Mk.II turntable, EMT 997 tonearm; Denon DL-103, EMT OFD 25 & OFD 65, Ortofon SPU 90th Anniversary, Rega Exact, Shindo SPU cartridges.
Digital Sources: Sony SCD-777ES SACD/CD player, Wavelength Cosecant v3 USB DAC (with Apple iMac).
Preamplification: Auditorium 23 Hommage T1 step-up transformer, Shindo Masseto preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Shindo Corton-Charlemagne & Haut-Brion.
Loudspeakers: Audio Note AN-E/SPe HE.
Cables: USB: Kimber B Bus. Interconnect: Audio Note AN-vx, Shindo Silver. Speaker: Auditorium 23. AC: JPS Labs The Digital (Sony SACD/CD player).
Accessories: Box Furniture Company rack (source & amplification components), Keith Monks record-cleaning machines.—Art Dudley

COMPANY INFO
Grado Labs
4614 Seventh Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 435-5340
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COMMENTS
Et Quelle's picture

Well you gotta like the "G" on the front? cheeky

stereophilement's picture

Hey Art why'd you go all the way into the city, was'nt there a Harvey Sound in White Plains? There used to be anyway. Thanks for the review. For myself I am impressed with Grado Gold 1 sound with Rega. I think the Grado cartridge and the Rega arm is a special combination to play and enjoy records. Grados are among the more divisive cartridges around. There seems to be a camp that really like them a lot, and others that adamantly hate them...the hum due to lack of shield, the less than superior tracking etc. From an objective measurement standpoint, they are a little compromised. Technically and sonically they have some weaknesses along with some class beating strengths. For those reasons I myself confess to having a somewhat rocky relationship with Grados, but yet I've long held one in my stable. Why? There are a few things Grados do exceedingly well...they do this better than other cartrdiges in the class, and even on into higher sectors. Acoustic instruments and voices can be captivating with a Grado (play Michael Hedges solo acoustic guitar on title track "Aerial Boudaries" Lp or listen to Joni mitchells voice on "people's parties" from "Court and spark" Lp. Incredlbly natural tone and harmonics on Hedge's guitar, and Joni's voice sounds more real than any cartridge I've used). Grado also work wonders with old prestige and blue note jazz recordings. With classical music they have a nice "woody" tone, but lack the uber resolve a coil might bring. I have a Rega, I also have a Denon DL 103. And this listener finds the Grado gold 1 to work  better than the the Denon 103 with Rega arm/table. The quick and slightly lean Rega sound being almost perfectly tempered by the Grado cartridge. While there are some upper range details that both cartridges don't get (at least in part to their diamond profiles). The denon is more clear and "delineated" on top, while  the Grado has a beautiful and "lifelike" midrange. The Grado bottom is slightly loose, but full and punchy. Transients will seem slow compared to "fast" cartridges, but not really any slower than live music sounds to me. In short I think the Grado sounds more like live music than the Denon. Grados moving iron design does some things that are to use a stereophile qualifier "musically satisfying", stuff that other budget coils and magnets don't manage to quite match. While there is "information" Grados leave out, the music is still presented with plenty of heart. This is why Grados are known to "move" listeners (either by the music being played or onto another cartridge lol). Grado's are sometimes called "music lovers" cartridges, and I'd say that's true, you are'nt going to get razor transients, detail and stage out of a Grado. At the same time I find Grado's to have that undefinable "it" factor, they can bring some moments of bliss. But as you said the tracking and hum are  yellow flags. Apart from those caveats, musically I give the Grado/Rega combo the green light.

As an aside I was a little puzzled by your statement that the newer Grado Gold 1 is much more warm and thick than older Grados. I have'nt heard a great departure in tonality- Grados always sound like Grados. Grado actually claims to have made steps in the other direction with less mass and wire in the "1" incarnations.

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