Review: Goldring Electra Cartridge

Category: Analog

This Goldring Electra came with the Goldring GR 1.2 turntable with Rega RB 250 tonearm. Got this setup little over a year ago,late November 2006.

This was purchased as my daily driver. This is basically nothing more or less than a Rega P2 on a Goldring plinth. And it came with a factory mounted Goldring Electra phono cartridge installed.

The topic of this review is the Goldring Electra phono cartridge in and of itself. The Goldring GR 1.2 has been reviewed earlier.

When I first received this, I almost immediately removed the Goldring Electra phono cartridge to install a higher end phono cartridge. Note, said almost. I was way behind in my LP evaluations at this time and decided to let the cartridge change over wait awhile.

One of the few times I have been wowed over by a factory installed phono cartridge. For the most part cartridges that come part and parcel of a complete turntable, are for the most part quite pedestrian and not offering much in the way of a musical performance. Just something to get you started with until a higher performance phono cartridge comes later on.

Not so with the Goldring Electra, which in itself is a $100.00 cartridge. At least thats what Needledoctor sells them for. I have to admit now a year or more later that this is one very good and musical phono cartridge.

Not only is this cartridge a musical performer,but has excellent trackability and is one of the most durable performers I have ever used. This setup primary purpose is to evaluate vinyl LP records for suitability before being placed for auction or added to my library. With well over 300 hours on its stylus, it shows no discernible wear on the diamond!! Thats amazing when one considers the many Lp,s that come through here and some of them not suitable for auction or library. Like the old Timex commercial "takes a licking and keeps on ticking".


Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20 Hz
Channel Balance: 2dB max @ 1KHz
Channel Separation: 20dB min. @ 1khz
Sensitivity: 5.0 mV
Vertical Tracking Angle: 26
Stylus Radius: Elliptical
Stylus Type: Replaceable
Replacement Styli: D152E Stylus
Weight: 4.2g

As jaded as I am after 50 years in this hobby/business I am more than impressed with this budget performer. Don't let the low price or the specifications dissuade you from choosing the Goldring Electra, its performance far surpasses it friendly price. At the $100.00 price it is in my opinion one of audios over the top bargains, not often found today.

By far 99% of my listening is Jazz with some classical thrown in from time to time. Labels such as Columbia,Blue Note,RCA,Prestige,Cadet,Milestone,Argo,Galaxy,Uptown,Verve and many more to numerous to list. Regardless of the label and pressing the Goldring Electra turns in one musical presentation after another. And while many of these pressings are from the early 50's to the late 80's, the Electra goes about retrieving the music from the grooves with a total authority that belies its modest cost. Being a huge Bill Evans fan I am continually amazed at the way the Goldring Electra handles piano music, with its many octaves and tonal balance and just seems to get it right each time. Very impressive for a budget entry phono cartridge. I have heard and I have some highly praised phono cartridges here, that have a very hard time with piano music.

Based solely on my observations of the past year, I can whole heartedly recommend the Goldring Electra MM phono cartridge. Yes it remains in the system and when its time to replace the stylus, may just go that route, instead of replacing the entire cartridge with something else.

No, the Goldring Electra is not one of those cartridges that reviewers gush over, or is it in the elevated company of the finest MM phono cartridges that get all the press coverage and reviews.

What you really have in the Goldring Electra is one fine musical performer,that is durable with excellent trackability and at a price that will astound you. To do better then the Goldring Electra, you will need to move into the $200.00 plus range and I dare say even at that level the additional performance may be marginal indeed.

If looking for a replacement phono cartridge for your turntable set up,and provided of course you don't give a damn about snob appeal, give the Goldring Electra a try. I am now convinced of its overall quality in analog playback. How in this day and time Goldring can offer a cartridge of this value is a mystery to me.

As a final thought - if the Goldring Electra had not been included with the turntable, more than likely I would have passed over the Electra for something else. I am more than happy it was chosen for this package as it has open my eyes to a level of phono cartridges I did not believe exist in todays market.

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

Similar products
Shure,Denon,Ortofon,Grado,Audio Technica,Stanton,Pickering,etc
I'm really curious how you would compare this cartridge to the same-price Sumiko Pearl, which you also reviewed.
In fact I was looking to use the Sumiko Pearl on this table. These cartridges are quite similar in sonic signature. And if push really comes to shove I would have to give the nod ever so slightly to the Sumiko Pearl. With that being said the trackability of the Goldring certainly appears to be better and near in performance to the Shure M97Xe in that catageory. Surface noise is near even with the Goldring and Sumiko. However the surface noise with the Shure is more pronounced until about 75 hours of use, then it seems to calm down.

All three in my book are solid winners at their price points and have the magic of price,performance and sonic signature well in hand. If the Goldring had not come installed, I would have used the Sumiko Pearl and never looked back.
I whole-heartedly agree with your review !! I have a Goldring Elektra as the "stock" cartridge on my NAD 533 table/Rega RB-250 arm set-up, and I am quite happy with its musical presentation. I too listen mostly to jazz, and own many LP's of the same labels that you mention. I recently replaced the stylus with another Goldring, (from KAB Audio, an exact factory replacement), and also replaced the stock MDF platter of my table with a Rega glass platter. Now, all I can say is WOW !!! The analog rig is playing incredibly smooth, sweet music, and I am thrilled. Please see my "system."

I'm thinking of upgrading to a new front end in the future, but for now, I sit and listen to Coltrane and Miles with a big, sloppy, ear-to-ear grin.
Happy Listening !!