Grados are musical cartridges, although not the last word in detail retrieval. They can hum in the wrong turntable, but if it works in yours, happy listening.
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I've been using a Master Statement 1 in rotation with an Ortofon Kontrapunkt H for the last year. Before that, I used the Reference Sonata and before that, the Platinum. Grado's have a uniquely sweet and harmonious mid-range and that accounts for the bulk of their appeal in my opinion. It's not that their bass and treble are overtly deficient, it's just that the frequency extremes aren't their forte. In comparison with my Ortofon, the Grado's bass is a little more mellow and less taut, the leading edges of notes are less defined, brass instruments have a little less "blat" and metal, and the highest frequencies have a tad less sparkle and extension. However, the Grado's have a really nice gestalt and "rightness" about their way with music. If you want a cartridge that you can settle back and sink into the music with in a non-analytical immersion, Grado might be your bag. However, all your components seem to be of the "less analytical" school and the Grado might be too much of a good thing. I was less enamored of the Grados on my "warmer" VPI Scout than I was on the more incisive and taut Acoustic Signature Final Tool I use now. On the VPI Scout, I preferred a Garrot Optim FGS by a fair margin over the Grado Sonata FWIW (You have to order that marque from Australia, Decibel Audio is a good dealer.) It's repeated ad nauseum, but balance and synergy do have to be worked out to everyone's idiosyncratic preferences.
Very good feedback guys. Thanks so much. I'm mostly asking because I've got a chance to buy one cheap, from a friend who has only used it a couple of times and just doesn't go with his system. I guess I'll just have him ship it to me to test it out for a bit. I totally agree It definitely is something one knows when they hear it. Guess I'll give it a try. Cheers!
If I could get one of those cheap I'd sure jump on it. If it doesn't work out and you want to continue exploring high output MM/MI carts, look into the Audio Technica AT150MLX. It's not voluptuous the way the Grados are, but it is very transparent, dynamic, excellent at low level detail esp. for a MM, with excellent clarity and transients. Because it extracts so much music from the grooves I also find it to be *very* musically involving. And the stylus is user-replaceable for around $225. It was The Absolute Sound's Cartridge of the Year for 2011.