is the Grace F9L cartridge. equal to the newest MM, like Ortofon, Clearaudio, Rega, etc?


I was offered a Grace F-9L  cartridge for about $300. I was informed by the seller that Grace cartridges work well with Thorens TT....However,  Grace has been out of business for years   So I am a little wary of its viability.

Therefore, need some info as to what its last retail price may have been??  And whether its reputation and performance is worth the investment     BTW, there is no possibility of retipping it with Grace out of business   I have  a Thorens TD-145 which is crowned with a AT 440MLB moving magnet. Good, but not great

Note:  I have been considering 3 used tables. Rega RP6 with an ELYS 2 cartridge; A Project 2Xpression with a low output Blue Point Speical Evo III cartridge, and a VPI Scout Jr. with a Quintet Red low output MC ( which is the most expensive of the three.   

There is also another table under consideration I would purchase  new: The: Project RPM3 prepacked  with a Sumiko Blue Point 2 high output MC .

My gut tells me that any one of  the 4 tables mentioned above would be a better investment than Grace F-9L and  the Thorens.  Therefore,  any info and comments will be greatly appreciated.   Thank you 


sunnyjim
The L stands for Luminus Trace Stylus, which I have no experience with but it should be very similar in sound signature to the F9E and F9 Ruby which are my favorite Moving Magnet carts, owned them in the 70s and still own a F9R just rebuilt by Soundsmith which is the only MM I still own. The 300.00 asking price seems to be in line if cart is new or near New condition with a Grace stylus. 
The retail price for the Grace F9L was $225.00. BTW,that was back in 1988!
@sunnyjim from what i’ve learned about Grace i’ll tell you that F9L (Advanced Luminal Trace) is a lower model compared to affordable elliptical F9-E (Extended Range 4). Grace F9-L is not only cheaper, but it has higher tip mass, narrower frequency response, lower compliance and higher output compared to F9-E. The price you have mentioned is normally is an average price for F9-E in perfect condition which must be a better choice.

Grace F9 Ruby was their top of the line model, very expensive, i have not tested yet.
The next to Ruby is F9-F (Discret 4) with Shibata Stylus that can track stereo and quadro records with frequency extreme up to 60kHz!

I have few samples of F-9F and it’s terrific cartridge easily compete with top quality vintage MM. This is not so expensive as Ruby, but much more expensive than F9E and L. Anyway this is a top choice cartridge! Next to F-9F is F-9U with special U/Utility stylus instead of shibata. I have it too. This is rare cartridge and not easy to find as popular F-9E.

I doubt any modern MM cartidges in this price are close to wonderful Grace F-9-F or F-9-U (can’t speak about Ruby).

Retip is not a problem with Axel in Germany. As far as i know Jico Sas stylus is also compatible (waiting for Neo Sas).

P.S. Those Grace must be loaded at 100 k ohms (not at 47 k ohms) according to the manufacturer recommendations. Honestly, i have never tried to load them at 100k ohms, i believe it will be an improvement.


I think anyone who cares about MM/MI cartridges should try a Grace F9. I bought an F9 body with a broken stylus for $70 on ebay and added a Soundsmith F9 OCL Ruby stylus/holder assembly. It is a fantastic performer by any definition and holds its own with the best vintage MM/MI and some great new-production MCs I’ve recently compared including AT ART7 and Accuphase AC-5. I just finished comparing the F9/SS OCL Ruby to a well-preserved Signet TK100LC-- Signet’s top $1200 cartridge in the ’80s. I give the Signet a slight edge over the F9, but both are astonishing. The Signet is more seductively rich, the F9 more neutral and maybe more resolving. The comparison is apt as both have ruby line contact styli.
Depends on the arm, the f8 is a better choice for ultralight arms like the Grace G707, Infinity Black Widow, etc. The f9 is actually based on the older f8, but improved to work on a wider variety of arms, but it's really not compliant enough for those light arms I mentioned earlier.

Currently running a NOS Grace f8 L'10 on my Grace G707. I can tell you it's something special to hear a cartridge installed on the arm it was designed for by the same designer and manufacturer of the arm. I was blown away by just how much I seemed to have been missing, had many a late listening night since lol.

Martin 


Thank you to the members who responded so far I appreciate your time and advice.

 You all gave me a schooling about Grace cartridges I needed.  However, the seller I mentioned sold off all his NOS Grace cartridges; and so, I decided to just hunt for a new table or used table on AG

NOTE: I did mention 3 or 4 tables selling on AG that I am considering, and include a Linn Sondek LP-12 to the list which looks clean, and I believe employs a Grace  tonearm;  Though seller claims the drive belt looks tired

Please feel free to provide comments about all or one of these tables under consideration.  Thanks