Missing your Stanton 680/681, Empire 2000Z, ADC or other sweet MI cartridge?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by needlestein, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I finally got around to trying a Grado wood body cartridge. This is an old version, used Reference Sonata, nabbed on ebay for about what you can still pay for one of the cartridges listed above new or used at auction. The current version sells for $600.

    986CB35B-E027-48B5-AB53-ACBFA8143B77.jpeg

    First of all: there is not even the slightest hint of the dark Grado sound that I can hear from the Prestige and Prestige1 line. The Prestige2 line is not as dark as those, but this has NONE. It’s delicate, smooth, airy and detailed with a huge soundstage and and depth. Easily up with some of the best moving coil cartridges I’ve heard. High end is as effortless and any magnetic cartridge gets.

    Note: Mine even has sort of a crushed cantilever (couldn’t see it on the auction photos) which may even hamper performance, so I’ll be sending it back and definitely looking for another one or maybe I’ll get a new V2 version. But I really want the low output version, which is more spendy.

    Secondly—it’s very easy to set up. What’s more to say there? No fiddling with long horns, no negative SRA, no futzing with VTF—I just set it up at 1.5g level with the playing surface and that was it.

    As for Grado dance, I don’t see any, but I’ve got fluid damping and, well, this cantilever is compromised.

    Oddly for Grado, bass could be a little better, but this might be where having a flattened cantilever is causing problems. I’d retip it, but I’m going for a refund. I didn’t expect to write a report since it was broken, but darn, it sounded good! Couldn’t help myself.
     
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  2. Ilikevinyl

    Ilikevinyl Cool Breeze Subscriber

    Glad your really liking the Grado woody. :thumbsup:

    Grado dance comes from arm mass being too light. Grado does best with an arm mass of 14 grams.
     
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  3. Pronto

    Pronto Active Member

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    Ordered a Grado Prestige Red2, but bought a Gold2 because the dealer(ten minutes from home) had it in the shop. Have played it for about 25 hours and it sounds really good. Slight hum on my Lenco L75 but nothing that disturbes me. Highly recommended and a bargain for its price.
    Sensitive to correct settings (also on AS).

    Edit:I forgot to mention that this was my third gold in a week . . . the first one had a quiet right channel but the resistance measurement was ok, the other one measured infinitely on the left channel.

    Edit 2: Just want to say sorry for my posting in the wrong thread.:oops:
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  4. fiddlefye

    fiddlefye AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I have one and enjoy it thoroughly. They do seem to be somewhat dependent on the pre they run into whether they turn out to sound good or astounding, more so than other carts I've run.
     
  5. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Joseph, ( @needlestein ) does the wood body have any affect on the sound, or is it just window molding so to speak?

    [Later edit to add the "@" sign}



     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  6. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The equivalent in the plastic body would be the Signature MCZ, however that is a lower output body. The two certainly have the grado house sound, but the Sonata, in the right arm, is the better cart.
    I had the original Sonata, grandsond damaged it. sent it to grado for a retip and they sent me a new Sonata-1. Which is a better cart than the original Sonata. 1/3 bigger soundstage, better and deeper bass that's very controlled

    you can hear sound samples on DaveyW's website of the Sonata-1, and various signature models
     
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  7. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Your quoting my message makes it look like you intend to answer my question, but when I read what you wrote, I don't find an answer to my question.

     
  8. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    well, yes there is an answer. In that the closest Plastic body grado cart, in lineage to the Sonata, is the MCZ. That's as close apples to apples as i can give where the main difference in carts (construction parts/quality) is plastic vs wood. Again, there are sound samples of my MCZ cart, and my Sonata-1 cart on DaveyW's website. Listen for the similarities, differences. It may come down to just the wood, or it may be the Sonata was pushed past the entry level Signature line.
     
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  9. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Your saying that the plastic body version was lower output, suggested to me that, aside from the body composition, it's internals were not electrically or mechanically identical to the wood body. If that's the case, what would listening to samples (especially over my computer as opposed to a stereo system) tell me?

    I guess I thought that an answer to my question would come in the form of something like one of these:
    a) Grado says the wood body enhances the ________________________ of the cartridge.
    2) A wood body is superior to other cartridge body types because it does/doesn't do _______________________________ that they don't/do.
    3) Needlestein has transplanted the internals of a metal body cartridge into a wooden cartridge body and observed ______________________________.


    .
     
  10. Pronto

    Pronto Active Member

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    I do see that you have no Grado in your underliner . . .;)
     
  11. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    I see that the thread title doesn't have "Grado" in it.
     
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  12. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    @needlestein , aren't you going to revisit this thread you started. I'm sure all of the participants would like to hear more follow-up comments about your experience with this wood body Grado.

    As you will notice, early on, I asked whether you thought the wood really makes some of the positive differences in the sound, or whether other features are really what make the sound the way it is and the wood is decoration. If the wood is instrumental in improving the sound, what Shure, Stanton, Pickering, or other brand cartridge might sound better if someone whittled a wood body for it?

    If the wood is merely decorative, I thought I might try sticking some wood-grained contac-paper on one of my Shure M75 clones to spiff it up! ;)
     
  13. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Super Bowl weekend, man! Showing a lot of impatience for a guy who gets up and just walks off the face of the earth for about a year and a half, Steve! :whip:

    All kidding aside, I don’t believe it’s just window dressing. The cartridge sounds totally different than any metal-bodied Grado I’ve ever heard. That dark sort of mollassesy slog that Grados can impart is absolutely nowhere to be heard. This cartridge really does sound almost like a Doppelgänger for the Empire 2000Z in my system, but not quite as soft to the touch. Almost like a Stanton 681EEE-IIS, but perhaps a tad less smooth and dynamic but even more midrange texture.

    Even with the beat up cantilever, the diamond is sitting straight and at the proper angle and I’m tempted to keep it anyway. But I do detect some leaden bass that I think is probably due to the flattened midsection of the stylus tube.
     
  14. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    Nope! Have Dynavector moving coils and Stantons and everything else you mentioned don't come close.
     
  15. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

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    Which Grados are metal bodied? The RF cage doesn't count if the rest is plastic. I consider metal bodied to be at the interface of cartridge and shell, and embracing the generator (like the Stanterings, Shure Vxx, etc.) Since the Grado's RF cage isn't grounded (accounting for their notorious hum), I consider it's effect on SQ inconsequential beyond the hum.
     
  16. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Since I'm not a pro football fan, I had time this weekend to read the long thread about the new Grado Black2. In the obligatory discussions of the "dreaded Grado hum" it was mentioned that Grados aren't shielded (which I took to mean didn't have grounded metal around the outside), so I assumed the non-wood Grados were all plastic bodied. The RF cage didn't get mentioned, unless I missed the reference to it. Could it help other cartridges to be wood bodied? Maybe I could carve a new case for a Pick-Stant-ering. Black walnut would look nice.


    .
     
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  17. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

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    It's helped the Denon 103/103r. An entire cottage industry of wood or metal bodies has grown around it. I'm sure it's an improvement even with the Grado.
     
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  18. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    @Pronto , okay, I just ordered my first Grado cart, a used F3+ that needs a stylus. It's on a Dual 1200-series cart holder that I can use, so if it takes me a long time to get a stylus for it, I don't have to delay all gratification from the purchase. I guess I won't put Grado in my signature line until I have a stylus and can listen to the cartridge.
     
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  19. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well, I meant the Prestige line. Yes they are plastic in front, but the sides are metal, right? Should I have said metal and plastic? I mean, there are basically two types of Grados off the shelf. The wood bodied ones and the metal sided with plastic fronted ones.
     
  20. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    the metal body part is just a coil cover. The EMF issues with the cart are at the stylus gap area
     

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