Review: Goldring GR 1.2 Turntable

Category: Analog

The latest version of the Goldring GR series of tunrtables,this being the GR 1.2 that replaced the GR 1 of 2004.

Lets be candid here the Goldring tables are nothing more or less than Rega clones. The 1.2 is same as the Rega P 2, which is now discontinued,replaced by the Rega P 1.

The GR 1.2 comes with the Rega RB 250 tone arm with an installed Goldring Electra MM phono cartridge.


Belt drive turntable
Functionally identical to Rega 2 turntable
Super-rigid, one-piece cast aluminum, RB-250-based tone arm
Factory-installed Goldring "Electra" quality cartridge
Handmade British product
Simple, stylish design
Easy to set up and operate
Precision 12-pole synchronous motor
Manual speed change 45 rpm / 33 rpm
Adjustable counterweight
Anti Skate setting
Low resonance MDF platter
Clear, hinged dust cover included
Phono cables installed on arm
Finished in grey and black

Countless reviews and lavish praise has been written on the Rega P 2 and its predecessor the Planar 2. Much the same can be said of the Goldring GR 1.2 .

This table lends itself to all the Rega aftermarket upgrades in the market place today. For instance the tone arm can accept the latest counterweights, the sub platter can be replaced with the Deep Groove Ruby Bearing sub platter and one can add the Rega Glass Platter or an acrylic platter. Tone arm can be re-wired with a number of aftermarket wiring sets. This is one of the great things about Rega tables and their spun off clones. A clear and concise upgrade path is available, when time and dollars present themselves.

The Goldring GR 1.2 was evaluated with the following LP's.

Bob James - Hands Down (Columbia FC 38067)
Hiroshima - Self Titled - (Arista MFSL1-525)
John Coltrane - Blue Train - (Blue Note BST 81577)
Wes Montgomery - Bumpin' - (Verve V6-8625)
Rickie Lee Jones - Self Titled - (Warner BSK 3296)
Wynton Marsalis - Live Blues Alley - (Columbia PC2-40675)
Eric Gale - Forecast - (KUDU Records KU 11)(CTI Records)
Kenny Burrell & Grover Washington Jr - (Blue Note BT 85106)
Earl Klugh - Finger Painting - (Blue Note MFSL 1-025)
Larry Carlton - Friends - (Warner 23834-1)
Sadao Watanabe - Autumn Blow - (Inner City IC 6064)
Doobie Brothers - Minute by Minute - (Warner BSK 3193)
Santana - Zebop - (Columbia FC37158)
Pat Metheny Group - American Garage - (ECM 1-1155)
Frederick Fennel - Cleveland Symphonic Winds - (Telarc 5038)
Paul Desmond/Jim Hall - Complete Recordings - Mosaic(MR6-120)
Time Out - Dave Brubeck Quartet (Columbia CS 8192)
Paul Desmond - Self Titled (Artist House AH - 2)

Used a Herbie Platter Mat as opposed to the standard included felt platter mat. That was just a preference of mine and used it as it was here. In my opinion the only weak point of the GR 1.2.

All selections were played with a verve and authority that would belie it's price. Just could not find fault in any playback selection. It is embarrasing to call this unit a budget or entry level turntable, so I won't go there with that assessment. It overall performance clearly puts the GR 1.2 as an audiophile table at a giveaway price.

Over the years countless turntables have gone through here,some very good and some that should have never been produced. For the price/performance ratio of the Goldring GR 1.2 I know of no other turntable currently available that can match the GR 1.2. And that includes the likes of Music Hall,Project,Acoustic Research,and a host of others. This is not to disparage those makes as they have their niche. But with in the parameters of price/performance ratio and the ability to upgrade for additional performance, puts this Rega clone, the Goldring GR 1.2 at the head of the list.

The Rega RB 250 tone arm that comes with this table,is worth the price of admission alone. This tone arm in its on right has adorned some very lofty high end tables over the years. And with good reason, as to do better than the RB 250 will cost dearly,with only a modest improvement. Plus the RB 250 can be used with a very wide variety of phono cartridges, from budget to esoteric and do justice to both.

One of my associates was here the day the Goldring GR 1.2 arrived. His set up is an Oracle Premiere with a Hadcock arm. Roughly five times the price of the GR 1.2 if not more. I was busy setting up another system and he wanted to know if he could set up the Goldring GR 1.2. Sure why not? and let him have a go at it as he is very knowledgeable about analog. A couple of hours later I came back and we was having a blast with the Goldring GR 1.2, going through my vinyl library. You know he said, while the Oracle is decidedly better, this GR 1.2 is not that far off the pace. I may get one of these for everyday playing. How can you go wrong with the GR 1.2? You can't, it just goes about its business and reproduces one glorious presentation after another. Plus it is not near as finicky as the Oracle. I can see the Goldring GR 1.2 satisfying a lot of analog mavens among us. From the casual vinyl user to the most jaded analog users among us. Here is an analog product, you just don't have to make an excuse for. It will be equally at home in any serious audiophile set up. From someone that just wants a plug and play unit,to someone that wants to add tweaks and upgrades,one will be hard pressed to do better than the Goldring GR 1.2.

The included Goldring Electra MM phono cartridge that is included is a gift. Retails for $99.00 by itself. Elliptical stylus with 5.0 mV output and weighs 4.2 grams. This was my first experience with this cartridge and I am impressed. Far better than some of the other cartridges that come factory installed on competing turntables. Tracked at 1.75 grams and was very quiet in the grooves,surface noise was all but absent,separation was very wide and the soundstage was quite deep. Overall presentation was more than impressive. I wasn't expecting much with the Electra and ended up being more than impressed.

Now here is the good part. Price wise it was delivered here for $299.00,that was freight included, some $126.00 less than suggested retail!! This is without doubt one of the over the top values in analog playback I have seen. Even at suggested retail of $425.00 it is an outright bargain. This is a superior value not often found and has surpassed the Music Hall and Project tables that have come through here and in my opinion a much better build quality than those tables. Certainly has a sonic signature that is difficult to exceed.

This unit has been set up and running for about six weeks now. The Goldring GR 1.2 just keeps impressing each day of use. To this point has about 300 hours of use time and the performance has been rock solid, no glitches encountered or outright problems. Nor is any expected.

No this is not a VPI Scout in sheeps clothing. With that being said add the upgrades and tweaks and you can approach and equal the VPI Scout, at less cost than the VPI Scout. I firmly believe in a blind fold test the GR 1.2 vs VPI Scout it would be very difficult to hear the difference,with all else being equal.

Upgrades would include the following.

Rewire Tone Arm Orgin Wire - $219.00
Iron Audio Acrylic Platter - $120.00
Tecno Counter Weight - $125.00
Deep Groove Sub Platter - $175.00
Total - $639.00

So add the price of the table at $299.00 you come to $938.00. The VPI Scout is $1,595.00. You save yourself $657.00 and approach if not equal the VPI Scout,which in itself is one of audios great tables.

Or leave the GR 1.2 stock out of the box and let it rip and you still have one great turntable to spin that vinyl. The choices are clearly there with the GR 1.2.

If there is better out there at the price/performance level of the Goldring GR 1.2,plus the upgrade path it has, I have yet to see it.

Associated gear
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Nice review but the P2 has not been discontinued. It has been updated.
I stand corrected the P2 is now once again listed in the Rega catalog. Although it will cost more than the Goldring GR 1.2. Thanks for the update.