Grado Statement series carts


I've always wondered about these and I'm just hoping someone can share how you set up your phono stage or SUT you use and what brand you like for your Grado. They aren't the standard mi/mm and have a mc like output of .5mv but with a standard mi/mm input capacitance of 47kilo ohms. Thank you. 

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You need a phono stage with a minimum input sensitivity of .5 mv. My Quicksilver phono has that. Grado makes two versions of cartridges,one with the low .5 mv ( statement) and the other with the high 5 mv output ( reference ). If you get the low output one then you will need a phono with a high gain !
I would definitely avoid the use of a SUT with most or all Grado cartridges, as well as avoiding the use of most phono stages which utilize a SUT internally as their input stage for low output cartridges.

If a SUT is used the load impedance seen by the cartridge will be the load impedance that is applied to the output of the transformer by the phono stage (typically 47K) divided by the square of the transformer’s voltage step-up ratio. Typically a 0.5 mv cartridge would be used in conjunction with a voltage step-up of approximately 10x, which would mean that the cartridge would see a load impedance of 470 ohms. Way too low, at least for results that are anywhere close to being optimal.

So if you choose to go with a separate phono stage you would want to choose one having a solid state or tube input stage, providing in the rough vicinity of 60 db or so of gain assuming the gains and sensitivities of the rest of the components in your system are not unusually high or low.

The lower gain version of the highly regarded Herron VTPH-2 ($3650 new) would be a great choice IMO/IME.

Regards,
-- Al

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Hi Al, 
Do I add the gain on my linestage preamp ( 18 db ) to figure out the total gain of my phono stage ( 47 db ) ?
Thanks much
Yogiboy
Hi Yogiboy,

It’s not possible to define a simple "yes" or "no" answer to your question, as there are many equipment-dependent variables that are involved.

Phono stage gain of 47 db is a little bit on the high side for most high output cartridges, and significantly on the low side for most low output cartridges. It might be just about right for some Grados that are spec’d in between, at 1 mv.

With a higher output cartridge (e.g., one rated at say 4 or 5 mv or more) a risk would be that in combination with the relatively high 18 db gain of your line stage you might be forced to use your volume control at undesirably low settings, depending on the gain of the power amp and the sensitivity of the speakers, and on the characteristics of the volume control mechanism. Or, if the design of the line stage is such that active circuitry is "ahead" of its volume control in its internal signal path, depending on the line stage’s maximum input spec it might be overloaded on the high volume peaks of some recordings. Or there might be some cases in which the phono stage itself may be overloaded by a cartridge having particularly high output, on the high volume peaks of some recordings.

But it’s entirely possible, and perhaps probable, that none of those risks would materialize in many cases.

With a low output cartridge one risk would be that to achieve satisfactory volume on some recordings you might find yourself wanting to turn the volume control higher than its max setting, depending on the gain of the power amp and the sensitivity of the speakers. And depending on the sensitivity of the power amp you may not be able to turn the volume control high enough to utilize a good deal of the amp’s power capability, should you want to do so. Although the relatively high 18 db gain of your line stage works in the direction of minimizing those risks, unless the cartridge has an especially low output (e.g., significantly less than say 0.5 mv). Another risk, though, that is perhaps more significant, is that a phono stage designed to provide 47 db of gain may not be designed to provide noise performance that is good enough to be suitable for use with many low output cartridges.

So as I say the answer to your question is complex, and involves many variables that are specific to each system.

Regards,
-- Al

Thanks guys. Super helpful. I've always wondered about the sut's with Grado s. Yogi your question is also one I've been asking myself. 

Hi AL,
Thanks for the information! My problem is too much gain with a 1.5 mv output Grado.To lower the gain I replaced the 12AX7 tube with a 12AT7 and it seems to do the trick.
Yogiboy
Yogi, that is interesting, after talking with Mike S. I got the impression that gain in the phono (still running the Quickie?)was there to provide homc's enough gain. He mentioned one in particular that he liked very much. I don't see a system posted on your profile what is the rest of your rig. It seems like with your set up a .5mv statement series would be right in there synergistically. 
Hi fourwinds,
I use the 1.5 mv Grado Sonata and TLZ ( vpi version). I use the new Quicksiver phono with  a Quicksilver linestage and Quicksilver amps. I replaced the 12ax7 gain tube with a 12at7 and the gain is lower like I like it. The new Grado statement V2 has a 1 mv output. I like the volume control at the upper end. Thanks for the reminder,I will post my system.Yogi
Cool thanks! Which amps and what is the sensitivity of your speakers?
Quicksilver 70's and the speakers are Harbeth P3esr's with a sensitivity of 82 db. Thanks for reminding me, I just posted my gear!
Yogi, did you notice that the Grado has the statement series 2 output listed as both .5mv and 1.0mv

http://www.gradolabs.com/cartridges/statement-series-cartridges

This is has me shaking my head. Are they measuring the output two different ways? 
That is very strange. If you take a look at this you will see that many of the wood body Grado’s come in two versions. I am looking at the reference V2 and below. I’m scratching my head too!
http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Store/Grado-Phono-Cartridges
The Statement 1 apparently had a rated output of 0.5 mv. My suspicion is that the reference to 0.5 mv in the description of the Statement 2 is simply a mistake, perhaps the result of the person who created the description of the Statement 2 doing that by working from the description of the Statement 1. Or perhaps the description of the Statement 2 was written early in its development, when it might have been anticipated that it would have an output similar to the Statement 1, but in the end it turned out to be a 1 mv cartridge.

But yes, in many cases Grado has over the years offered both low output and high output cartridges under the same model designation. Although in most or all of those cases the high output version has been rated considerably higher than 1 mv., and the low output version considerably lower than 1 mv.

Regards,
-- Al