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"Highly Commended" - Hi-fi News, October 2008
Newly Upgraded for Even Better Performance
A musical sounding cartridge for under $150? Sounds impossible - until you ask The $ensible Sound's James T. Frane, who gushes about the Grado Prestige Red.
"More expensive cartridges may well provide incremental improvements in one or more areas," observes Frane, "but the Grado performs at a level where such improvements will be small."
Newly Redesigned Red1
The newly redesigned Red1 and Blue1 cartridges have had their coil design reconfigured, and the effective moving mass of their generating system has been reduced by 17%. This decrease in stylus mass allows for enhanced tracking with improved imaging, giving a quicker, more accurate reproduction of the music.
The Red1 and Blue1 models use a four piece OTL cantilever technology, oxygen free copper wire in the coils and Grado's specially designed elliptical diamond mounted on a brass bushing.
The Red1 model is selected from the Blue1 production run and meets higher test specifications. Approximately 10% of the production run meet these standards and become Red1 models.
Grado has recently made a number of upgrades to the Prestige series to take cartridge performance to the next level.
In the cartridge body, Grado has cut back on the number of turns of wire in the coils. The resulting shorter signal path increases the speed and lowers signal distortion, thus improving the accuracy of the signal.
Grado has also improved the control of the resonance of the coils. The company's engineers took the lessons they learned from Grado's wooden body cartridges and found a way to incorporate the benefits into the Prestige series. The 'potting' of the coils decreases vibration, lowering noise and distortion within the coils.
All of these enhancements have contributed to the world famous Grado sound: the warm, smooth, full bodied, non-fatiguing, and rich sound qualities.
"Pulls Something Magic Out of the Bag"
The October 2008 issue of England's Hi-fi News magazine awarded the Prestige Red its "Highly Commended" status.
Steve Harris reports in the magazine's cartridge 'group test' review that "the Grado was the cartridge that conveyed the feeling that drummer Les DeMerle was sitting right up there." According to Harris, "The Grado would come back from match point down and pull something magic out of the bag."
Hand-built All the Way
The hand-built Red uses a four-piece OTL cantilever technology, standard oxygen-free wire in the coils, and Grado's specially designed elliptical diamond mounting on a brass bushing.
A proprietary "flux-bridger" generator system requires fewer coil turns for lower cartridge mass and electrical inductance. This contributes to a frequency response to 50 kHz and beyond, plus tracking forces from one to two grams.
The $ensible Sound's James T. Frane, who gushes about the Grado Prestige Red writes, "There may be some recordable response difference between this cartridge and its more expensive brethren, but it's difficult to imagine a more pleasing and musical performance. The Grado Prestige Red is proof that one does not have to spend large amounts of money for good sound from a phono cartridge."
Frane continues. "More expensive cartridges may well provide incremental improvements in one or more areas, but the Grado performs at a level where such improvements will be small."