Grado Red & Blue Cartridges

Grado Red & Blue Cartridges 


Grado Red & Blue moving magnet cartridges


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[May 05, 2010]
Audio Enthusiast

I've had the Grado Blue for about a month now, and in this time, my opinion has shifted to each side of the positive and negative spectrum. I had read plenty of reviews and so I knew the pro's and cons. I'll reiterate what others have stated about the Prestige line that I find true:

Pros: Vocals are amazing and so detailed with subtleties.Acoustic instruments are so revealing and warm, but also can be sharp (in a good way) with its resonation and timber. Third, the "infamous" Grado midrange is well deserved for it's notoriety: so revealing that i would imagine it is close to those high end carts that is always the comparison. Finally, because of the amazing midrange the sonic depth of field is unparalleled at this price, and is my favorite aspect of this cart, that, it is hard to listen to cd's after it.

Cons: The hum: it's there if you have a direct drive table (I do: Luxman PD-272). The hum cannot be heard through speakers while music is playing at decent cranked levels (only when your head is at the table or speakers).
Secondly, people have said the soundstage is narrow and sounds "mono", it can at first. Coming from a Ortofon OM20, on first couple of listens to the Grado Blue, I was disappointed by this, and almost returned the cart. The OM20 has a wider stage, but lacks depth, which is the reverse for the Grado. After listening, some of the contrary critiques of the narrow soundstage is true: Grado fills in the middle so it sounds more natural, and along with the depth, gives you a "you are there feeling". Also, there is some inner groove distortion on poorly pressed/condition records and complex/dense string and brass arrangements, but never with vocals, but this is hardly a deal breaker because it is 1 out of 50 records that this can happen.

The finally "drawback" is that it does NOT do well with modern electronic music, although 70's analog electronic music sounds f$%king awesome!

What people don't talk about:

The Grado Blue is so thick and musical it is exactly why I wanted to start buying records again. I'm not really a proponent of "neutral flat" sound, I listening to vinyl for the rich warm sound, otherwise I'll stick to my cds and PS3.

Drums heard through this cart are second to none. You actually believe the drums are in the room!!!! Snares sound so nice.

You can hear the reverb in the room of the recording, hence it's legendary depth, THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR OLDER RECORDINGS.

This cart actually tracks really well ( 1.65 grams, not the recommended 1.5). Secondly, it will be forgiving of scratched/old records. I picked up a mono copy of The Byrds "Younger than Yesterday" and it was completely worn and scratched all over; cleaned it, let the Grado do it's thing and I don't even hear the damage.

This cart is not for everyone, it's definitely one half of the cartridge solution. The other half is a faster, wider cart that can transpose modern music (like electronica, and studio heavy rock). It's a keeper, but I will be saving for that other half.

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