Grado Labs Prestige Black2 phono cartridge coming to me for review. List price, $75.00.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Nielsoe

    Nielsoe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Aalborg, Denmark
    Right on! That’s what I did with my Statement Platinum (well almost no anti-skate) and it sings.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  2. EposLab

    EposLab New Member

    Location:
    Greece
    The more "precise fitment" you have , the more "resolution & channel seperation" you get!
    I'm a Grado fan and i have retipped many cartridges, in some case to original specs or upgraded with boron cantilever!
    You can have a look on my instagram as "eposlab"!
     
  3. Diablo Griffin

    Diablo Griffin Synthpop, City Pop, and Rock Enthusiast

    Location:
    United States
    I have the Black2, and while I think it sounds more better (ie - warmer) than my AT95E, it doesn't track as well on the inner-grooves. IGD is more prevalent and sounds worse on the Black2, and this is after using Stevenson and Baerwald protractors on both carts. With the AT95E, IGD was still present for the most part, but not to the extent of the Black2. Should I try lighter or heavier tracking force/anti-skate? I've got both set to Grado's recommended 1.5 grams. BTW, I also have to put the stylus on the record very carefully with the Grado since it sometimes skips when laying it on the lead-in grooves (otherwise, it never skips during playback). Never had this problem with the AT95E, either before or after getting the Grado. I guess this is the Grado dance that gets mentioned so much?
     
  4. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    You might consider a Shibata, Vivid Line, or SA stylus for the AT95, OR consider the newer VMAT95ML. Ultimately, it is the stylus shape that reveals the distortion on the inside grooves. The finer stylus will lessen that. MicroLine may be the best choice in this regard.
     
  5. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Try tracking at 1.65 grams. Also try less anti skate.
     
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Most Grados including ALL of the Prestige series use an undamped suspension by design. What this means is that you either need a perfectly matched tonearm or a tonearm that has some kind of silicone damping or similar feature. Otherwise, it will not track well. Combine that poor tracking on most average quality tonearms and the stylus shape itself (Grado uses a cheap bonded elliptical on all these cartridges) and there will be IGD. The AT95E will also have IGD (another cheap bonded elliptical stylus) although since the suspension is made with a pretty good rubber damping mechanism it will be less bad than the Grado Black on most average tonearms. To completely get rid of IGD on nearly all records you need a different cart than either of these. You can fiddle with VTF and AS till the cows come home and you're not going to get more than a marginal improvement.
     
    bluemooze and Diablo Griffin like this.
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Right, the stylus shape matters a lot but so does the suspension design. Between those I'd just just with a ATVM95ML, assuming it is a good match for @Diablo Griffin's tonearm and phono preamp. Not sure what they are using. The 95ML is a better option than the aftermarket Shibatas or VL styli. You can AT OEM quality and a nude stylus on a lightweight aluminum cantilever. The aftermarket stuff are bonded, and although they may be better than a cheap bonded elliptical they will fall behind the nude AT ML both in stylus profile and tip mass. The AT ML will have a lower tip mass and better profile than those.
     
    Diablo Griffin and HiFi Guy like this.
  8. thxdave

    thxdave Forum Resident

    What causes the "Grado Dance"?
     
  9. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I think it's matching the arm to the cartridge as general knowledge would have you do. The Grado is fairly compliant so you'd think you'd want it on a lower mass arm.

    I've seen the Grado dance once- a P Mount model on a P Mount Technics arm. Truly, shockingly horrible. It was visible and audible- you could see the cartridge wiggle laterally.

    I'm running a Grado Gold2 on my MoFi Ultradeck which has an above average mass 10" arm. Tracking is 1.65 grams. It tracks beautifully. As @patient_ot pointeed out the Prestige series has an undamped suspension. I'm thinking the extra arm mass helps keep the stylus "planted".

    I also checked with a test record and got 9hz resonance both laterally and vertically.
     
    zombiemodernist and patient_ot like this.
  10. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The MOFI arms are something of a mystery as I'm not sure they ever came out and said what the true effective mass on them is? In any case if the arm truly is on the heavier than average side, a 9hz resonance on a heavier arm would indicate that the damping properties of the arm are insanely good. This is assuming the factory spec of the Gold2 is what Grado says it is, @20 cu with not too much variation from sample to sample.

    The other thing I've noticed is the mods people do to them, e.g. VPI special version with the metal weight on top and "Longhorn" to mitigate "dancing".
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  11. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Zero IGD or dancing in years of using Grado carts, from Red to Sonata range.

    You guys must have some tough setups to make these easy to run carts run afoul.
     
    SpeedMorris and Fiddlefye like this.
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    They're a love/hate thing, work well in some systems (for some users) and not in others. This is pretty widely known, you only need to do a little bit of digging to figure it out.

    I'd never run one personally for two reasons:

    1) I've not been impressed with the sound on the ones I've heard.

    and

    2) I consider the suspension quirk a design flaw. I wouldn't buy a car with no shocks and expect the seat cushions to absorb the bumps in the road either.

    Not for me. Leaves more for the people that love them I guess :D.
     
  13. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    It's pretty common, particularly if you buy used records. I wonder by what magic you've been able to not hear the issue? I have a basic Rega arm. Nothing special.
     
  14. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    I guess we'll have to disagree on Grado carts. I don't love or hate them, I just have a lot of experience actually owning and using them.

    Also the suspensions are made of rubber, which means they are damped. Not sure why you believe they are undamped.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    "Undamped" may be wrong, but they are certainly damped differently than most other cartridges from major manufacturers on the planet.

    This patent gives some clues:

    US4174111A - Compressive pivot suspension system for an electromagnetic cartridge - Google Patents

    They have technical reasons for doing things their way but it can cause problems with their cartridges on some arms, as is well documented. Likewise, the poor shielding of the cartridge design can also cause some problems on certain turntables. Also well documented.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  16. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    MoFi never said what the effective mass is, just "above average".
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  17. Diablo Griffin

    Diablo Griffin Synthpop, City Pop, and Rock Enthusiast

    Location:
    United States
    I ended up purchasing the AT-V95ML and it should be arriving on Saturday. I'm looking forward to hearing it.
     
  18. dartira

    dartira rise and shine like a far out superstar

    Please let us know what you think!
     

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