I'm done with Grado [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : I'm done with Grado

10-28-2006, 03:55 PM
I have been recommending people to get a Grado cartridge for a while now. Go Buy Grado Green. Blue is good, but Go for the Red. blah blah blah. Grado can offer some good sound, but damn they are more high maintnanced than girls I hang out with.
Since I started getting sick of my previous Grado Silver, Iopted for a Denon DL110. This thing sounds remarkably good. I've probably tracked over 150 hours, and I have yet to come across any problems. I went from 5mV to 1.6/2.0mV and havent noticed too much of a difference in soundpressure.

I reinstalled my Grado Silver yesterday I had sitting around. Well since yesterday, I have spun maybe a dozen records. Hiphop, Jazz, Classical, and some 70's progressive Rock. Grado produced a bit more bass that is tighter than DL-110, but that's not enough for me to sit thru narrow sound stage. That;s coming from a person who loves BASS!!! Everytime I dropped my needle I'm thinking "well the hell is the sound?". DL-110 on the other hand has much more fuller sound. It's like I have somehow turned on a virtual 3D surround mode. DL can fill my room with rich sound. Grado on the other hand, I'm chained to a certain spot on my couch.
I have observed this after tinkering with miniscule adjustments on Virtical Tracking Angles, Virtical Tracking Force, and Antiskate settings. Grado just doesnt track well at all. I can hear high frequecy breaking up, especially towards the inner groove(s). I dont think this is caused by a damaged needle. I have a small Microscope from 20-100X and everything looks great. I've always thought I was preserving my records by using Grado. I would rather use VTF of around 2.0 grams with Denon than unstable 1.5 gram.

I must say Grado cart is easy to align. It's narrow square body makes it a breeze to correct on my Turntablebasic alignment tool.

Like I said, I have recommended Grado alot. If anyone has took my advice and found similar results then I apologize. If you are satisfied with a Grado then congratulation and happy listening.


10-29-2006, 06:24 AM
I have never been able to get a Grado to perform well in my Rega arm.

10-29-2006, 07:54 AM
I've been very happy with my DL110 on my Rega P2

10-29-2006, 09:01 AM
If a Rega couldnt handle it then it might be hopeless. I'm sure someone one on this site can tell us about their success.
Dont get me wrong, When Grados get it right, the sound is phenominal. Grado can digout some soundd DL110 cannot and vice versa.

DL110 can stop you from guessing whatta hell is going on. I've never been a huge fan Denon products, but this thing can sing. I may try one fo their low MC carts one day, but finding an extremely quiet phonostage can be costly.


10-29-2006, 10:33 AM
I just switched back to DL110 with success, and couldnt be happier. Wide sound stage really makeup for their lower rated output level.

I like to point out one thing. I've found that Grados produced more bass. I dont think that was the cause of Grado producing unstable sound. I have tried this with subwoofer turned down and off. Even with my sub turned off, Grado was breakingup at times, espeically with female vocals and higher.


10-29-2006, 12:28 PM
The Grado does not reveal the inner details of complex music as well as the Ortofon OM20 amd my Sumiko Blue. I always think I am missing some of the performance but I love how they do vocals.

11-03-2006, 02:42 PM
I've always been curious about the Grados, but my understanding has always been that they don't work well with a lot of turntables. For example, with ARs and Duals, the Grados are known for picking up a lot of interference from the motor. They also don't track as well as other MM carts such as the Shures and Ortofons, which creates issues with lighter weight tonearms.

But, if you have a turntable/tonearm combo that works for the Grados, they are purportedly one of the best performance values on the market.

11-03-2006, 02:58 PM
Hey Wooch.

Perhaps Grado isnt too great with Pro-Ject carbon fiber arms. I can't remember that tonearm compliance formula, but I do remember that Pro-Ject didnt reveal too much info for me to calculate. I keep reading about Longhorn modification, but I'm a bit skeptic about that. Has anyone here tried it?
I used to have my TT right next to my 32" Sony. Whenever TV was on, Grrado used to pickup considerable amount of hum. Also, closer it go to the spindle, more hum it produced. That's and it's inablilty to track towards inner groove makes it a nightmare. I've read some great stuff on Statement/Reference carts. But if people are spendning more than $500 on a cart, chances are their system sounds great no matter what.

I'm kinda curious about Shelter 201 MM. Could that become a budget cartridge of the year? Not sure how long it's been around, but I've never seen it anywhere until today.


11-15-2006, 10:25 AM
I have used a Grado Reference Platinum and a Grado Black for awhile now. I just purchased the low output Denon DL103

I hope the difference is as dramatic as your experience.

11-15-2006, 01:53 PM
Wow... I just purchased a Denon DL-103R myself. Was getting tired of the Shure M97xE and was looking online to buy an Ortofon 20... Not quite sure what happened to that idea... jrhymeammo being so happy with the DL-110 definitely had something to do with it...

Hope these 103s work out for us!!!

I paid extra for the R version because my MC preamp only has a fixed 100 ohm impedance setting and it seemed like the best match. Many people seem to prefer the sound of the original DL-103 though.

11-15-2006, 04:02 PM
103s huh? I've been looking at them too. I really dont need a different cartridge right now, but I can get a 103R in Japan for about $200USD. I figured that wont be too bad of a deal. I'm visiting Japan for Christmas anyways, I might as well pick one or two up. I wanted to pickup Benz Micro Ace for Around $450, but not too great of a deal. Wish I could get a Ruby3, but dont have $2100.
I hope they'll sound great for you guys. Let us know how they are if you have some time.


11-18-2006, 08:18 PM
103s huh? I've been looking at them too. I really dont need a different cartridge right now, but I can get a 103R in Japan for about $200USD. I figured that wont be too bad of a deal. I'm visiting Japan for Christmas anyways, I might as well pick one or two up. I wanted to pickup Benz Micro Ace for Around $450, but not too great of a deal. Wish I could get a Ruby3, but dont have $2100.
I hope they'll sound great for you guys. Let us know how they are if you have some time.


Actually that would be a terrible mismatch, assuming my tonearm mass is 8.5gs should be somewhere between (8-9grams).
Resonant Frequency would be around 17hz.

I dont see how 103R would work on alot fo arms, unless arms are on the exterme side of high mass. Compliance on 103R is 5, right?


I would greatly appreicate it, if I can get some advice.

BTW, My Pro-Ject tonearm and grado compliance was very good. 9.35hz (it is said to be great if it's between 9-11).

11-18-2006, 09:04 PM
You are 100% correct. The 103s are best used with a higher mass tonearm. They are said to sound particularly good on older higher mass tonearms with detachable headshells, etc... which is exactly what I have going on with the old PS-X5. I have also read about people liking them on lighter arms and people saying Denon's compliance specs are low...

The Denon DL-301II sells for the same price as the DL-103R in Japan and is designed for lower mass tonearms. http://www.audiocubes2.com/category/Vinyl_Cartridges/product/Denon_DL-301II_Moving_Coil_Cartridge.html Also has a more modern stylus shape / tracks lighter. From what I've read, it's said to sound almost exactly like an Audio Technica AT-OC9. A little brighter than the 103, but not harsh, great detail. Can be bought a for a little less than the OC9 in Japan.

11-18-2006, 09:23 PM
Thanks RoyPhil,

DL-301II seems to be a better match. Of all the cartirdges I looked at, Benz Micro Ace seems to be the best match.

Denon DL-301II 11.4hz
BMS Ace 9.74hz.

AS for OC9, they recommend about 20ohms load impendance. My MC setting is 150. I dont want to get too caughup in that so-called arbitrary specs, but do keep it in my mind. That's something I may consider if I change my phono preamp. I've been thinking about going SS phono with more flexibility. I love tubes, but I believe SS wouldnt effect too much since I already own tube integrated. But with my current cart, it wouldnt make sense for me to upgrade my phono-stage.

Vinyl rigs are so :devil: , arent they?

11-18-2006, 09:33 PM
Vinyl rigs are so :devil: , arent they?

LOL... Ain't it the truth!!!

I've read the Benz sound is a little more laid back which I personally prefer (hence my 103R purchase). More than I'd probably ever let myself spend on a cartridge though, barring a lottery win...LOL.

Hope my 103R makes it here next week... Can't wait!!!

11-18-2006, 09:47 PM
Yeah $550 for a cartridge is crazy. I need to start reevaluating my thought process. $550 is starting to look not too expensive in this hobby, and that's the "fact". I mean when I go to a 7-11 and see a single banana for $0.39, I'm thinking 'WHATTA HELL!!! I can get it for $0.49 a pound at a grocery store."


11-18-2006, 10:30 PM
It's crazy for me anyway... I've heard some of what you can get for more money than I have and it seems worth it. Would have no problem spending more if I had more to spend.