Grado Black2

the thin end of the wedge
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billshurv
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by billshurv » 18 Jan 2018 10:17

I wouldn't call Grado sub-par. Yes they have an odd policy of making you pay $$$$ for the nude diamonds, but the technology is interesting and they are (I think) the only people doing a low impedance MI design, which doesn't suffer from FR issues in the way the high impedance designs can. In return it's a bit more finiky with hum, which has a number of fixes.

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by cafe latte » 18 Jan 2018 13:03

BMRR wrote:Good question. I don't have an answer, but I would point out that there are many shielded carts that have easily outperformed Grado carts, both from a lab test perspective and a real world perspective. A good comparison would be the Stanton 680/681 series and the Pickering XV-15 series, which are also Moving Iron designs and very well shielded. As far as mass is concerned, if you set aside the brush, the 680/681/XV-15 weigh almost exactly the same as the Prestige series (5.3g for the Stanton/Pickering vs. 5.5g for the Grado).
Dont agree here at all.. I have a 681 and two Grado's and the Grado's are way better. The biggest issue with the low end Grado's is the stylus profile. The design of the Grado gives it a wideness and free flowing that few carts at ANY PRICE have, but the low end ones suffer with muted top end and ponderous bass due to the stylus. Having bought a higher end Grado and owning other MI carts like the 681, IMO the lack of shielding seems to be important factor as no other MI I have heard comes close to a Grado. Actually the top end ones beat any MC I have heard so something is right about the design..
Chris

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 18 Jan 2018 14:01

I guess it depends on which specific Grado cartridge you're comparing the 681 to...? It's not fair to compare a single cartridge (681) to an entire cartridge lineup ("the Grados").

Conversely, one might say that it's not fair to compare the 681, which at one time was Stanton's flagship cart, to the Black1 or Black2 which were/are Grado's BOTL cart, but the reason I made the comparison is because 680/681/XV-15 bodies can be easily found for less than $20 these days, and generic styli of good quality are currently selling for $25-$30, so that puts the total at about $50. I've done back-to-back comparisons of my 681 + EVG stylus vs. Grado Black1 (which I paid $75 for), and the 681 + EVG absolutely clobbers the Black1 in every way.

My statements and observations are not meant as Grado bashing, and I certainly don't mean to rain on the OP's parade! On the contrary, I hope I can try a Black2 someday soon. And, as I've said many times in the past, I'm happy that Grado is still making phono cartridges.

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by rich12 » 18 Jan 2018 14:35

buffy_boy95 wrote:Aren't Grado known for irritating hum? I would never buy something with such negative reviews. Been there, done that and regret it dearly.
Grado cartridges don't hum. Grado cartridges are unshielded and pick up turntable hum. Turntables shouldn't hum.

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 18 Jan 2018 14:47

And cartridges shouldn't pick up hum. We can go round and round on that subject all day. The vast overwhelming majority of cartridges from other manufacturers do not pick up hum from turntables or from anything else. Grado made a conscious decision to be different than everyone else and that's OK, but let's not pretend that Grado is right and all the other cart manufacturers are wrong. Refusing to shield their cartridges is not something that is patented, and if it was such a great improver of sound quality, all the other cart manufacturers would have stopped shielding their cartridges, and then it wouldn't be only Grado who garners thousands of forum posts about hum.

Bottom line, Grado makes a boutique product for a tiny sliver of a niche market. As such, it's not for everyone.

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by shOo » 18 Jan 2018 15:19

cafe latte wrote: Dont agree here at all.. I have a 681 and two Grado's and the Grado's are way better. The biggest issue with the low end Grado's is the stylus profile. The design of the Grado gives it a wideness and free flowing that few carts at ANY PRICE have, but the low end ones suffer with muted top end and ponderous bass due to the stylus. Having bought a higher end Grado and owning other MI carts like the 681, IMO the lack of shielding seems to be important factor as no other MI I have heard comes close to a Grado. Actually the top end ones beat any MC I have heard so something is right about the design..
Chris
What kind of Grado's are you talking about? The higher end of the prestige series, or the ones with the wooden bodies?

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by rich12 » 18 Jan 2018 15:25

BMRR wrote:And cartridges shouldn't pick up hum. We can go round and round on that subject all day. The vast overwhelming majority of cartridges from other manufacturers do not pick up hum from turntables or from anything else. Grado made a conscious decision to be different than everyone else and that's OK, but let's not pretend that Grado is right and all the other cart manufacturers are wrong. Refusing to shield their cartridges is not something that is patented, and if it was such a great improver of sound quality, all the other cart manufacturers would have stopped shielding their cartridges, and then it wouldn't be only Grado who garners thousands of forum posts about hum.

Bottom line, Grado makes a boutique product for a tiny sliver of a niche market. As such, it's not for everyone.
There's no good reason for cartridges to be shielded. Correctly designed turntables don't hum. The problem is with the turntable, not the cartridge and it's not a cartridge manufacturer's responsibility.

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 18 Jan 2018 15:26

So the other cart manufacturers do it just for fun?

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 18 Jan 2018 15:30

I guess the other question would be: How do you respond to the unshielded carts from other manufacturers that don't pick up hum? I have a bunch of unshielded Audio-Technicas in my collection that don't pick up hum on the same turntables that cause humming with Grado carts, for example. Is there something other than lack of shielding that is unique to Grado's design that makes it especially receptive to hum?

billshurv
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by billshurv » 18 Jan 2018 15:36

I still say the fault is on the phono stage. Balanced input, no hum :). Maybe we need a limited run of VE 'humnot' phono stages!

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 18 Jan 2018 15:40

I have one phono stage, and 70 cartridges. Three of those cartridges are Grados. The only cartridges that hum are the Grados (and the Grados only hum with certain turntables). None of the other carts hum. I'm not sure how that can be the phono stage's fault?

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Re: Grado Black2 { JUST BEING SILLY!! }

Post by plyscds » 18 Jan 2018 18:06

{ JUST BEING SILLY!! }

Grado hum?
I have no problem with a good strong Grado hum... :(
As long as it's in the same key as the music I'm playing. :wink:

No, my real problem with Grado's Prestige series is it's appearance. :shock:
Yes, really! They're just long skinny narrow blocks lost in the shadows under a typical wide universal headshell. No physical personality. Except for the tiny color spots on the sides of the stylus. And the 8MZ stylus can't even give you those, unless you like black on black. :(

No, sir! I do much better with those Shure M97xE's. =D>
Now there's a cartridge, mostly amorphous, and radiating personality!! You have something to look at. Lines, contours, light and shadow! True, it has a limited top end, but at least it isn't humming along with the music out of key!! And you'll spend so much time mesmerized by it's inherent physical linear complexity... which is so hard to describe except to say that it's a work of art, and music is all about art, isn't it??... that you won't even miss the rolled off top end while enjoying your Best Of John Philip Snooza stereo recordings.

{ JUST BEING SILLY!! }

(In reality I have both Grado Prestige's and M97xe's, and both types sound fine.)

billshurv
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by billshurv » 18 Jan 2018 18:34

BMRR wrote:I have one phono stage, and 70 cartridges. Three of those cartridges are Grados. The only cartridges that hum are the Grados (and the Grados only hum with certain turntables). None of the other carts hum. I'm not sure how that can be the phono stage's fault?
As you may be aware I have a very low opinion of nearly all commercial MM stages. Almost none of them do a decent job of interfacing with the cartridge. This is not a popular view, but who knows maybe one day people will start demanding better performance from their electronics...

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by cafe latte » 18 Jan 2018 23:43

BMRR wrote:I guess it depends on which specific Grado cartridge you're comparing the 681 to...? It's not fair to compare a single cartridge (681) to an entire cartridge lineup ("the Grados").

Conversely, one might say that it's not fair to compare the 681, which at one time was Stanton's flagship cart, to the Black1 or Black2 which were/are Grado's BOTL cart, but the reason I made the comparison is because 680/681/XV-15 bodies can be easily found for less than $20 these days, and generic styli of good quality are currently selling for $25-$30, so that puts the total at about $50. I've done back-to-back comparisons of my 681 + EVG stylus vs. Grado Black1 (which I paid $75 for), and the 681 + EVG absolutely clobbers the Black1 in every way.

My statements and observations are not meant as Grado bashing, and I certainly don't mean to rain on the OP's parade! On the contrary, I hope I can try a Black2 someday soon. And, as I've said many times in the past, I'm happy that Grado is still making phono cartridges.
You are not going to get the best out of a 681 with a 20 dollar stylus. I tried similar on my 881 and it sounded terrible, the minimum is a Jico which costs well over 100 bucks to get a 681 singing, mine too has a Jico and still not that impressed. So really a fair comparison would be a black body with grado 8MZ stylus which is a similar price to a Jico, I am sure the Grado then would be the far better cart of the two. Re carts not being shielded, Grado are not alone, Decca are the same ie not shielded. I have a Decca super gold too which also sounds stunning with that same super wide sound stage which makes me think the conscious decision some manufactures not to shield is for good reason. If the turntable is made correctly cart shielding should not be needed. My Commonwealth idler drive which was made in the 50's has a can on the motor for shielding and my Decca works silently as do my Grado's. They knew in the 50's that a turntable motor should be shielded, no excuse for them not to be now.
Chris

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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 18 Jan 2018 23:54

OK, well we're thoroughly off-topic now and I suspect the OP is feeling a bit like his thread has been hijacked...

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