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bierfeldt's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 days ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
Soundsmith SMMC4 or Ortofon 2M Blue or Grado Gold 1 Prestige with Pro-Ject Xpression III

There is no way I can demo these in advance. 

I know that the Ortofon 2M Blue is a pretty typical upgrade from the Sumiko Oyster.  No one hates it but no one really raves about it as I have read the reviews. 

I have read reviews on the Grado Gold 1 Prestige.  Either it is the best thing since sliced bread or it seems to have a hum and people hate it.  Something about an unshielded design causes issues with certain tables.  Would I be likely to have that issue with a pro-ject? 

I haven't seen any reviews on this particular Soundsmith, SMMC4 and it is their entry point cartride.  The higher end cartridges get rave reviews but I am not sure if this one stands up.  It does not offer a replacement stylus which the Grado and the Ortofon do.  However, my understanding is that is good for sound but bad once you have hit 400 hours and it is time to replace.     

My gut tells me to go with the Soundsmith but my gut is frequently wrong. 

Any thoughts would be helpful as I am going to be placing my order in the next few weeks. 

dbowker's picture
Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: May 8 2007 - 6:37am
I have the Grado Platinum-1 MC...

So given how they all sort of are in the same family, I can say the hum aspect IS there, but not overly so.

It sounds extremely natural and has great range. I can be more on a warm side, so if you like that, you love the Grado. On the other hand, I'm not sure I'd pair it with an already warm system- could be too much of a good thing. Tracking is good generally, and it can pull out serious fine detail, and handle very complex passges, be they symphony or noisy rock.

If you were able to go up to the Platinum BTW, they have an upgrade path to the other wood-body carts in the line, which might be something to consider.

I had a GRado Black, and Gold way back when and also really liked those. They can hold their own on a Rega 1 and all the way on up to a bigger rig TT and not seem out of place.

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