Your favorite moving magnet and moving iron cartridges

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
The Grado loves the human voice and really works best there, accentuating what’s going on in that range. Of course this is not a surprise considering Joe’s tenure as an opera singer.

And as you suggested, the Technics (and the Signet) play it very straight- a very neutral hand across the whole frequency range, more detailed and more of the soundstage magic. Extremely fast. Nuanced.

Cartridge approaches and the path the designer chose usually presents itself as some form of trade-off. The Signet and Technics gives you the full clear picture, exciting with all its detail and fleshed out presentation. Plenty of “wow” moments that stop you in your seat, leaving you slack jawed.

At the same time, it’s such an effort of honesty, there are moments you’re picking out the aspects of the recording coming through- tape hiss, limitations of the mic, recording errors- so all this wonderful detail reproduction also gives you cues of limitations of the recording process.

The Grado burnishes the edges. Details are slower, not as crisp or delineated- but while this may hide some inner detail, it also reduces the distractions some of the music background elements, or recording technique glitches may present to you. The focus is on the meat of the performance, and it’s fleshing that part out- it may be smoothed over in regards to some fine detail, but it’s a very emotional experience, more focused on the human connection of the recording and less on the details.

I love the details- it’s thrilling to hear all kinds of action going on that the mic picked up. But live, I don’t remember or focus on the guitarist bumping into the mic, the singer licking their lips, the audience members chairs to the side shuffling about. I remember the main performance and the emotion it conveyed. So in that aspect the Grado is maybe better at conveying the listening experience of the recording, as heard in a group setting, as a member of the audience. The Signet and Technics really puts the recording under a microscope which is rewarding in a completely different way- a level of intimacy with the performers that make it feel like you’re there on special invite and sitting within the action, or working the mics, the board, witnessing choices in recording technique and equipment, catching the human limitations, foibles and fissures up close, personal, and as noted, incredibly intimate. Not something you’d focus on in a live setting perhaps, but thrilling in its own right to have fleshed out, presented and accessible to.

Jeez, I just rambled on quite a bit there. In a nutshell the Grado lets you enjoy an emotional connection to the music at the cost of ultra detail. I felt the powerful singing of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin conveyed in an emotionally convincing way in a relaxing way. I felt the soul.

The Signet and Technics left no stone unturned, with every detail clearly and quickly conveyed. Less focused on the emotional purity aspect of the performance, nonetheless a fantastic and exhilarating, exciting experience, giving every nuance in etched relief, nothing missed- I took in the room as an entity, I got to study vocal and instrument technique, I picked up on the differences instruments of varying pedigree put forth, the influence of all these choices made.

Interesting. Thanks!
The hardcore Grado Signature fans apparently like the TLZ more then the XTZ just because it the lesser detail. They find that the extra detail gets in the way of the musical flow. I never found that to be the case. Or maybe, I was just used to getting more detail from a cartridge, so the XTZ fit better into my comfort zone.
Wish you were closer. I'd lend it to you to try out.
 
I have a Shure V15 III with a new JICO Sas stylus mounted to my Dual 1219 and the power, energy and clarity that comes form that setup stopped me in my tracks.

When compared to my Grado gold, their is a night and day difference. The Grado gold being more delicate and vocal focused.
 
I have a Shure V15 III with a new JICO Sas stylus mounted to my Dual 1219 and the power, energy and clarity that comes form that setup stopped me in my tracks.

When compared to my Grado gold, their is a night and day difference. The Grado gold being more delicate and vocal focused.
That's good to hear, re- the Shure. I have a 4 and 5 here, both with unused Jico SAS for them.

Your comments regarding the Grado mimic my experience with the general performance of Grado carts.
 
That's good to hear, re- the Shure. I have a 4 and 5 here, both with unused Jico SAS for them.

Your comments regarding the Grado mimic my experience with the general performance of Grado carts.
Yeah, I like both, but if I had to just have one at this point it would be the Shure with JICO SAS.

I'm bought to venture into MC land, so we will see how that compares. Off topic, I know. 🙄
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
That's good to hear, re- the Shure. I have a 4 and 5 here, both with unused Jico SAS for them.

Your comments regarding the Grado mimic my experience with the general performance of Grado carts.
As much as I love Grados, you do have to get really high up their food chain to get a decent level of detail with their midrange magic. I find their lower level cartridges a bit dull.
 
I like the V15 type III, Goldring 1042, Nagaoka MP11, Garrott K2 is a good budget choice.
Surprisingly the Ortofon OM10 set up properly sounds really good too.
All in my opinion of course.
 
The hype around the Audio Technica VM95ML is deserved, it's really special for the price. Sounds great on my SL1200 with a 9g headshell.

I loved my old Shure M97XE, but can't imagine paying the current secondary market prices I've seen (upwards of $200). Haven't tried too many other MM or MI.

Would love to try a Denon DL-109D, but haven't pulled the trigger since I've a couple MCs I'd rather re-tip first.
Finally got a DL-109D and it's the best MM I've heard to date (not that I've heard that many). Worth seeking out since JICO is making the replacement styli again.
 
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