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Humorem, what's all this about the Grado mistracking and wiggle?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Beagle, Apr 2, 2002.

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  1. Beagle

    Beagle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Did you actually advise someone to ditch a great sounding cartridge because it may wiggle on a couple of warped records? Or are there other problems? I'd like some more details on this if you care to share any comments. Sounds like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The only consistent flaw I've found with Grados is a bit of hum (w/Rega) and unease with tracking of sibilants.
     
  2. Humorem

    Humorem New Member

    Location:
    LOS ANGELES
    Grados don't make the grade.

    Hum? Wiggle? Mistracking? Three strikes and you're out, baby!

    I went to a Benz, same price, the lo 4, $1200 list just like the Grado Reference I replaced. Better sound from top to bottom, including the midrange, no wiggle, no hum, no mistracking.

    I wouldn't wish a Grado on my worst enemy. Record playback is a difficult proposition under the best of circumstances. Starting out with known major problems going in is nothing but a recipe for disaster.

    I've learned my lessons the hard way, like most of the things I have learned in audio: by suffering my way through them. Finally when the pain got to be too much, I acted. Every time you detect that hum in a quiet passage, every time you can't get the first 30 seconds of a record to track because it's not perfectly flat, every time a difficult vocal passage mistracks and throws a nice six foot wide image of spit across the soundstage, that's PAIN.

    Get yourself a Benz. (Or a Helikon; they're neutral sounding and excellent, as I'm sure dozens of other brands are.) The only time you will look back is in anger, wondering why you suffered all those years for your art.

    Like Monk says, "Well, you needn't."

    TP:eek:
     
  3. mazort

    mazort New Member

    Location:
    San Antone
    Grado Man disagrees

    Must disagree with Humorem, not with his taste in cartridges he cites, but believe low output "The Statement" with 1/10 the moving mass of the less expensive Grados is an amazingly musical device with none of the problems he mentions.

    I was also quite fond of the high output Grado Sonata I had, which cost $500 and also had none of the problems Humorem mentioned. It had wonderful tone, no mistracking and no sibilant problems used in an Ittok LV II tonearm on a Linn LP-12.

    I personally just haven't had any of these problems in my setup.
     
  4. Humorem

    Humorem New Member

    Location:
    LOS ANGELES
    Might be! Only $2500 too!
    TP
     
  5. Beagle

    Beagle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Re: Grados don't make the grade.

    Sure. I agree. 100%. I hate sitting there, tense, bracing myself for the next vocal sibilant. Why does Grado just sit there, not acknowledging the existence of these things and worse, not doing something about them?

    Instead you get something like "Oh, we could fix all those things but it would ruin the sound".

    Which is like a friend saying "Sure, I could stop leaving blood and vomit all over your furniture, but I'm not bringing any more Peruvian flake for you anymore".

    As I am not a doctor, lawyer nor surgeon nor baseball player, a Helikon is not an option. Nor do I believe in spending big bucks to get a 5-10% improvement. Any suggestions for some uh, more "affordable" items, perhaps the Benz-Micro MC20II? Jeff indicated this one was pretty good bang for the buck. I currently use a Grado Platinum, Grado MCX, Blue Point, Shure V15MR and an Ortofon OM40.

    But I like records, that's why I'm here. And I appreciate advice (or guidelines) from people who know their records and playback equipment.
     
  6. landlord

    landlord New Member

    Location:
    Fly Over Country
    I’m the one who Tom advised to ditch the Grado, The conversation went like this:

    Tom it’s Chris

    Hello, how can I help you today, sir?

    You know that last $10 Andre Previn record I got from you

    Yes sir.

    Well the first track on both sides won’t track, sounds like a warped record but it’s not warped

    Do you have a Grado?

    Yes

    Get rid of it man, I can sell you a Benz Glider for cheep.

    Ship it

    Ever since I bought that cartridge, I’ve been able to play all the piano trio records in my collection without any wiggle. The Benz even plays slightly warped records! I don’t miss the Grado at all.

    For what that’s worth

    Chris
     
  7. Humorem

    Humorem New Member

    Location:
    LOS ANGELES
    Yes, I'm on a one man crusade to rid the world of Grado cartridges!

    In fact, I'm on a one man crusade to do a lot of things that some people think are the equivalent of tilting at windmills, but that doesn't stop me!

    Seriously, Beagle, get that Benz. Even though I've never heard it, I have quite a few friends with Benzs, and I hear no complaints, ever. I can get you one if you like. Drop me an email.

    TP:)
     
  8. kim kerwin

    kim kerwin New Member

    Location:
    Agoura Hills, Ca
    the grado

    I can tell you this, I heard that grado over at Toms plenty of times and there was always a problem. It wasn't tracking properly or as it got closer to the end of the record the hum became unbearable. We'd bring the same lp over to my house with my Benz and nooo problem. That's been my experience with the Glider as well as the MO9. Since then they've improved them as well, I can't wait to have mine upgraded. I'll be calling Tom as soon as I get my refund from the IRS
     
  9. Brian D.

    Brian D. New Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Re: the grado

     
  10. Sam

    Sam Senior Member

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Can someone describe the mistracking sounds that you are hearing with the grado. Would it be something that one would hear on EVERY record for the first 30 seconds? Why are Grados prone to this? I have a Grado Master. Sometimes I hear the "spit" sound that Tom mentioned. (that's the sound I was describing to Tom when we kind of went down a wrong road--but he never mentioned the Grado thing.)
     
  11. Beagle

    Beagle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Sam: You might be referring to the "Grado dance", which happens during the first minute or so on records with "flutter warps". Since the Grados have no damping, they are subject to vibration and wobble which is created by the warps. The record doesn't even look warped, but if you shine a flashlight on the area of the record, you will see the image vibrate at a high frequency. This is what causes the wobble and mistracking at the beginning.

    I own about 4000 LP's and this has happened about 4 or 5 times. For these records I used a rubber mat and the problem went away. The obvious case was my MOFI DSOTM which had a flutter warp during the opening heartbeat part. The combo of the warp and the low bass caused brief mistracking.
     
  12. Sam

    Sam Senior Member

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Would using a clamp (as I have on my VPI) eliminate this as your rubber mat does? Maybe the clamp is why I really have never noticed anything amuck at the beginning of all my records.
     
  13. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Senior Member

    Location:
    A New Yorker
    Sam,

    Maybe use a test record and do some tracking and compliance tests. Those tracks may give you a clear picture of what's happening with the Grado.

    Todd
     
  14. Humorem

    Humorem New Member

    Location:
    LOS ANGELES
    Take any record with a solo piano opening. Any suspended note. That's where you will hear it most clearly.
    TP
     
  15. Sam

    Sam Senior Member

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Hey Todd. Have you heard this mistracking yourself Todd? I really can't detect anything wrong with the Grado (other than the "slight" hum -- and small at that since I have the 1.5 mv version).
     
  16. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Senior Member

    Location:
    A New Yorker
    No, I haven't Sam but I've read about it in the past and again with this post. I was suggesting the use of a test record to see if you encounter any strange tracking results with any of the record's more aggressive tracks. Also, any possible compliance issues. I thought it would be a more controlled way of testing the cart/arm rather than using warped records. My Dynavector 10x4 has difficulty with the 4th bias/anti-skate groove (torture test) on the Hi-Fi N&RR test record. Everything else seems to check out fine. This is a great test record. Do some tests and post the results.
     
  17. Ronflugelguy

    Ronflugelguy Resident Trumpet Geek

    Location:
    Modesto,Ca
    Yep, the wiggle problem went away when I got rid of the grado. I've since had a Benz Silver and when it wore out I traded for a Clearaudio Beta A . No problems and no hum! Haven't missed my Grado. The only time I did, was when I had a BLUE POINT. Sounded like a bad CD player!
     
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