Grado Sonata & Platinum - Reference Series Cartridges

4/5 (5 Reviews)

Product Description

Moving coil cartridges from the Grado Reference Series (The Sonata is also known as the Signature.)

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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Polhemus a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 20, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Grado Reference Platinum, can buy new for $300. Very,very,very sensitive to VTA and then overhang. Tweaking anti-skating recommended. A high mass S arm will require 2 grams of tracking (my situation). Detailed highs. Decent but not great bass. Neutral midrange. Fair sounstage. Mediocre tracking. With shallow VTA very bright and edgy and lame with a lot of surface noise. Get the VTA right and this is a very quiet cartrige. Very detailed at the high end.Get the overhang right and more detailed.This cartridge requires precise alighnment! From horrible to excellent depending on alighnment. If you can't install with the proper VTA, don't waste your money. I don't see how anyone can claim this to be a warm cartridge! It's neutral to bright depending on the room. Not recommended for a bright room. Fine with a warm one. Can do better for less money. Maybe the sounstage would open up tracking at 1.5 grams. My Denon 160 and my BenzMicro M20E more "musical" with a better sounstage and cheaper. However, they weren't as quiet with surface noise nor as detailed at the high end.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   E-Bay

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tino a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 14, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Hey Guys!

I bought this catridge GRADO PLATINIUM WOOD in February 2003 in Germany and paid 350 Euro/350$. I put it on a REGA RB 300 tonearm and on a ACOUSTIC SIGNATURE SAMBA (1600$) turntable. I have it now only a few days but I can say that the sound is excellent so far. Warm and soooo smoooooth. I do not listen to techno or heavy metal music but to avantgarde and independent music and to many italian music, as I'm a italian freak. I'm no expert but I have not noticed until now the weaknesses on the inner circle that Marc has in his review below. I do not think that it depends on the GRADO but on the wrong settings of the tonearm. I have to admit that if I would have the money, I have bought a VAN DEN HUL catridge, which is 700$ the cheapest one, but I do not have the money. So for that price I can really recommend it to you!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Marc Bratton a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 5, 2000

Bottom Line:   
As you can see from the list of similar products I've used, I'm familiar with a lot of what's out there in this price range.If you're familiar with the Grado "house sound" (warm, rich, a little sweet) this one still has it. Add to that a great sense of dynamics, more air, and somehow, a much greater sense of ease, and you'll have a sonic picture of how this cartridge sounds. It's limitations are those of seemingly all moving magnets-you're just not going to get those little microdynamic bursts that whisper "live music"'ll probably need one of those foo-foo expensive moving coils for that. You know the kind-the ones that cost $500.00 to retip, and will bust a cantilever if you look at em wrong. That's fine if that's your gig...I'll put my money elsewhere-like more records. Still, you do get some of that expensive moving coil cachet with this cartridge. It comes in a nice mahagony box, lined with green velvet. You keep this cartridge permanently, and send it in for retipping-just like a moving coil. Retipping cost $200.00-a bit high, but not really out of line. It costs as much to retip a Sumiko BPS, or to get a replacement stylus for the Shure V15VMR. Since I brought it up, how does it compare to those two cartridges, both highly recommended? Very well, thankyou...more musical than either-the Shure is a little clinical by comparison, and the's hard for me to remember, as it's been awhile. Let's just say the Grado has that certain musicality-like Conrad Johnson's gear-that makes it a keeper. Do make sure your preamp has a high overload margin, as this thing has a high enough output(4.5mv)to overload some. With my Bryston BP1 phono preamp(review forthcoming), that's no prob. After reading Paul's comments below on this cartridge's trackability (or lack thereof!), I have to say this sounds more like a tonearm/cartridge mismatch. This thing tracks like a champ with my Well Tempered Record Player's tonearm. Using Shure's long discontinued trackability test record(which is biased guessed it-the Shure!), this thing did about as well as the Shure. Real world, I hear no problems with tracking, but I am running it at 1.8grams. Unless you're a no-holds-barred analog idiot (more power to 'em), this is probably as good a cartridge as you'll ever need. I'm giving a 4 overall (there's always a lot better out there), but a 5 for value.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by floyd a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 4, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Just picked up my Sota Star with a brand new Grado Platinum professionally mounted. When I hooked up the table and played the first record my ears were immediately treated to pure sonic bliss. I am sure their are better cartridges out there...for under $300 i don't know how one can spend big money on a cartridge. after an extended listening session i found that there was little to no cartridge fatigue and absolutely no ear fatigue on my part. this cartridge mates well with bright speakers... the highs are spatial with dynamic seperation and a beautiful soundstage. the bass is plentiful and solid...the mids could be a little more clear and i mean a small little...the treble is perfect. vocals come out tender and pure...i feel confident that i am set for a's the firts grado i have ever listened to and i love it.
anyone looking for a new cartridge should definitely try this one before spending more than $300 on a cart...

it's moving magnet with a none replaceable stylus...

my ears love it...though nothing is ever a five.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Paul Guy a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 21, 1999

Bottom Line:   
For the money this is a very good cartridge. It tracks high velocities reasonably well, although many albums will give it trouble on highly
modulated passages on the inner grooves. The high frequencies are a bit
'zingy', I was able to tame that by adding an extra load of about 6-10
kilohms (with a little inline adapter). That modification uses the
inductance of the cartridge to reduce (and maybe damp) the higher frequencies.
The modification brought the tonal balance of LP's much closer to
transcriptions of the record on CD, so I knew I was getting closer
to the 'right sound'. By no means does this cartridge give a CD sound,
just the same balance of bass, mid and treble. It works very well
with violin music, traditionally a very difficult thing for pickups
to reproduce.
You may have trouble with hum, this cartridge is more susceptible
than most. Move your power amps, motors, fluorescent fixtures around
for minimum hum pickup.
On the outside record grooves, or albums with moderate to low lateral
and vertical velocities, this cartridge sounds fantastic. On the inner
grooves, especially with loud music, you'll hear some break-up. Still,
it's better than most of the other similarily priced competition.
Oh, watch out for the high output - some preamps will overload with
the 4-5 mv. output signals. If you preamp won't take that, it's very easy
design a little circuit that will reduce the output. Any decent preamp
should be fine.

My setup: Linn LP12 (Valhalla). Shure SME type III arm, stylus
pressure: 1.75 grams, anti-skate set to 2.0. Home-brew preamp, Linn
LK100 amp, PSB stratus Gold speakers.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile

Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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