Grado Reference Series

There is difference of performance between these two cartridge?

Grado Reference Series - Reference1 & Master1

I have owned both, and the Reference stayed in my system for about 10 years. The two cart's you ask about sound very much alike, although the Reference has better detail and dynamic response. From the wording in your letter I'm assuming you don't own either of these cart's. Be aware that both are "warm" sounding, and are not "analytical" at all. However, if you want to just kick back and let beautiful music take you away, Grados are very seductive. If you want to really want to get inside the music, you probably need to choose another brand. Also, Grados (to my ear) are best suited to classical, jazz, etc., but not to hard rock. Just my 2 cents...

Hi Sdcampbell,

many thanks for the detailed reply.

Kind regards

i am currently braking in my reference1. I have about 10 hours in so far. I am moving up from an original ref. sonata. I cant tell you about the difference between the master and ref1 but what I can say is that im glad i went all the way instead of going for the master. isay that because the differences between the Sonata and reference1 are improvements in detail, spatial stuff, and seperation that are not subtle and should probably get a notch better as it breaks in, but its not as much a difference as id hoped. If I would have went withe master i think any improvement in detail from sonata to the master with its lower grade stylus might have equated to a little better than lateral move. my opinion could change as to the overall feeling I have about the ref1 as it apparently according to grado needs 20 to 40 hours of breakin.

Hi Fourwnds,

thank you and kind regards
sdcambpell's response is spot on. I have a ref sonata, I love it for small combo jazz. Tight bass, great midrange tone. drums (solos) sound magnificent and very real. For more complex music (say prog rock) it can't really hold it all together as well as some other carts.

also, the value of Grado is very high, IMHO.
Just an update for nic10 or anyone interested. Turns out the cart is meeting my expectations and exceeding them and I am enjoying it very much. With that said I think there may be more of a middle ground level of improvement for someone looking to jump up to the master. Gkirkos I agree with what you said about the combo stuff vs. not holding it together with other denser music and should you be interested the Ref. is doing what I think we both love about it as well as keepin more complex stuff from getting smeared. I think I'll pull out some King Crimson tonight if I can get to it before the boy goes down
I had a Sonata.....had a curious brown character and a smearing that I didn't like.
I have Sonata with about 50 hours on it now and I hear no smearing or darkness. It could be your set up; it took me some patient alignment and adjustments to get this one to sing.