Grado Gold Cartridge Review

The Grado sound is unique, and the Grado Gold epitomises this sound. An interesting, "love it or hate it" cartridge.

The Grado Gold sits at the top of the Grado ‘colour’ cartridges. In this sense, the Grado Gold cartridge epitomises the sound that Grado is renowned for: a warm, full sound that tends to match especially well with vocal, jazz, classical and other forms of music that have rich arrangements. The Grado Gold is a ‘pick of the bunch’ version of the Grado Silver – one that is judged to be made with excellent quality and care.

The Grado Gold cartrige has a very warm, dark sounding midrange that results in your vinyl sounding like vinyl. It is extremely synergistic with an all vintage system. It can be characterised as having a relaxed, romantic sound that lovers of ‘easy-listening’ music will thoroughly enjoy.  Fans of heavy rock are more likely to enjoy an offering from Denon, amongst others.The warmth really assists in negating listener fatigue, and therefore people who enjoy marathon listening sessions will find the Grado Gold capable of travelling with them for hours on end.

This cartridge can be a little susceptible to hum. The Stereophile Grado Gold cartridge review suggests that this is due to the design of the cantilever (the metal arm that has the stylus at the end of it). When playing music the hum is not audible, but it will detract from some of the frequencies and result in less detail throughout those frequencies. On the plus side, it is a good cartridge for ignoring surface noise, so old collections of deteriorated vinyl will likely sound better using the Grado Gold than with other cartridges in this price range.

Versions of the Grado Gold

There is a latter model of the Grado Gold called the Grado Gold1.

Grado Gold Cartridge Review

There is also a p-mount version of the Grado Gold, which is one of the best p-mount cartridges available across any brand.

Grado Gold Cartridge Setup

The Grado Gold’s cartridge setup process is sensitive, and first time cartridge-setter-upperers might find the results disappointing initially. Time will need to be taken to fine tune all aspects of the cartridge alignment in order to get the best out of the gold’s sound. The Grado Gold is not the most spectacular tracker. Especially sudden changes such as sudden loud chords or grand detailed crescendos might result in some tracking errors. This tracking ability is not common to the entire Grado line-up, as the Grado Black (at the bottom of the ‘colour’ range) is quite a good tracker.

Matching the cartridge to the tonearm is important as always. The Grado Gold cartridge is high compliance and low weight and thus matches well with low or low-medium mass tonearms. The Grado Gold cartridge matches especially well with the Technics series of direct drive turntables for some reason. The thousands upon thousands of 1×00 owners will get a lot of joy from this cartridge. DJs who use Technics 1200s can easily swap a Grado Gold in instead of their DJ cartridge for home listening to more mellow music.

Though not for leather-pant clad rockers, The Grado Gold cartridge will definitely suit listeners of the aforementioned styles of music that match its warm, relaxed sound and beautiful midrange.


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