Grado Black2

the thin end of the wedge
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derspankster
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by derspankster » 01 Jan 2019 15:23

Jorlsafar wrote:
01 Jan 2019 14:57
I recently bought one of these. I first had it set up on a Rega arm. It sounded very good but there was some inner groove distortion and other issues that was difficult to address, considering that the arm does not allow for VTA changing and has a fixed head shell. Moved it to a stock Sl1210 and set it up very carefully with a Baerwald protractor at 1,75 grammes. It sounds fantastic, absolutely fantastic.

I played a Mozart clarinet concert on DG and Grace Jones' Island Life. The clarinets and orchestra on the former sound natural. The solo clarinet sounds like real clarinet. The crescendos of the orchestra and high violin parts never "spills over" into harshness but feels lifelike and natural. The Grace Jones LP is very well recorded with fantastic musicians. There's air and bass and separation between the instruments. I also played Kill Them All by Metallica, which confirms derspanksters statement that the midrange is wonderful. Those guitars came through like chainsaws.

I played the Gold2 alongside a Black 2M through the same system. The 2M has a higher output, sits on a rega P7 and has been my only deck for abt 7 years (with various cartridges). In comparison the 2M was a bit more airy and had a more pronounced bass. It was different but not necessarily better. The Grado2 is easier on the ear. The Gold costs about one third of the 2M Black. It's a bargain.

Last but not least it's very, very quiet. All of the above mentioned records are favourites of mine and have been mistreated to various degrees. Its quietness was especially notable on the Mozart LP; the cracks did not come through and in order to hear them you needed to listen to them carefully. Never once was i distracted by any noise.

All the best!
Good review. I concur with your evaluation. I am confused though because you speak of both the Black2 and the Gold2. Do you have both? I own both myself and I would add that the Black2 is not that far behind the Gold2. The Gold2 is a bargain and the Black2 is a steal.

Happy New Year to all.

der

Jorlsafar
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by Jorlsafar » 01 Jan 2019 15:31

Thank you!

It's an Ortofon 2M Black!

derspankster
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by derspankster » 01 Jan 2019 15:44

Jorlsafar wrote:
01 Jan 2019 15:31
Thank you!

It's an Ortofon 2M Black!
I see. Thank you.

der

BMRR
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 01 Jan 2019 16:29

Jorlsafar wrote:
01 Jan 2019 14:57
It sounded very good but there was some inner groove distortion ...
...
Moved it to a stock Sl1210 and set it up very carefully with a Baerwald protractor at 1,75 grammes. It sounds fantastic, absolutely fantastic.
Did the IGD go away when you moved it to the Technics?

How much antiskate are you using?

rewfew
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by rewfew » 01 Jan 2019 17:01

I listened for the first time to my new Grado red 2 on my 1200 yesterday. I went middle of the pack, figuring the 4 piece cantilever had some improvement over the black and green's 3 piece cantilever, and the red's about a hundred bucks cheaper than the gold. They all use the same stylus diamond from what I could discern. Anyway, so far so good. No IGD, (using minimal bias). VTF set at 1.5 per info sheet and VTA with the tail up a bit per Cafe Latte's investigational recommendation. I don't have any specific qualms or blatant admiration yet, but it seems satisfying and hopefully promising good things to come with some time on it. Still, I would admire Grado more for having an upgrade in stylus tip like Audio Technica does. S'way it goes though.

Jorlsafar
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by Jorlsafar » 01 Jan 2019 17:33

BMRR wrote:
01 Jan 2019 16:29
Jorlsafar wrote:
01 Jan 2019 14:57
It sounded very good but there was some inner groove distortion ...
...
Moved it to a stock Sl1210 and set it up very carefully with a Baerwald protractor at 1,75 grammes. It sounds fantastic, absolutely fantastic.
Did the IGD go away when you moved it to the Technics?

How much antiskate are you using?
There's no IDG now. But I did not set it up very carefully on the Rega. I use the same A/S as the VTF, 1,75. I like to settle that by ear later as I get used to the cart and it has been broken in.

Jorlsafar
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by Jorlsafar » 01 Jan 2019 23:28

I'm really sorry, my review was for a Gold2, not the Black!

cafe latte
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by cafe latte » 02 Jan 2019 00:31

The new gold 2 is a stunning cart, over the holidays I have trying different carts on different turntables, then from time to time putting my Grado gold 2 on as I suppose my budget reference and also as i wanted to see how well the gold 2 stands up to my other carts. The gold 2 every test made me smile, nothing was really better as said here some carts are just different. What is not to like with the gold 2 open sweet detailed with great mids and good bass? :D
Chris

Drewan77
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by Drewan77 » 16 Jan 2019 18:51

I've been running the Prestige Black 2 on my SL1200G for the past two days & had forgotten how thoroughly enjoyable this lowly cartridge is (hadn't used it since last summer).

After reading several scare stories about quality issues, I bought it last March when I was in Idaho & a kindly forum member let me try it out on his Technics 1700 in case I needed to return it before going back to the UK. Checking with a multimeter, channel balance was very close L-R & it sounded great (although it does have a barely visible diagonal crack on one side which doesn't seem to have any effect). We compared to to a well run-in Black 1 - the 2 was certainly brighter though not in a harsh or fatiguing way. Very well balanced overall.

This little cartridge also taught me a slightly embarrassing lesson. Since the '70s I've been through more turntables & cartridges than I care to admit & had stubbornly stuck with Baerwald alignment because I 'knew' it would result in the lowest average distortion across the sort of LPs I listen to. However when I visited Idaho I took a spare head shell, screwdriver & the Technics gauge so I could do a quick & simple alignment just to check things out. Returning home, I lazily played a couple of albums with the intention of re-aligning properly. Then I played a few more & decided that there was no need to change anything - zero distortion or sibilance so I left it alone. I have since re-set around a dozen of my favourite cartridges using the Technics gauge & an engineering square and I now 'prefer' this to Baerwald on this table.

Once again, 'manufacturers know best' - you live & learn!

It's a real credit to John Grado & his team that something costing less than 3 new LPs can produce music of such quality & with the added bonus that surface noise is lower than any other cartridge I own (...I have a lot!). It's one of those cartridges that you can listen to for hours at a time and get lost in the music. Not perfect but in no way clinical or analytical (as we vinyl obsessives tend to listen out for during our more paranoid moments!)

This thread focuses on the Black but I have since purchased a Gold 2 and that is just 'more so' of everything the Black possesses but with greater air & image separation within the soundstage.

jkasch
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by jkasch » 16 Jan 2019 20:58

That's the exact same conclusion I came to after many years of Baerwald. The Technics alignment is so much easier to achieve on a Techie, too.

AdlerW
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by AdlerW » 17 Jan 2019 17:38

So is there a special gauge to use with Technics? Is it made by Technics? As a Technics fan, I wouldn't mind having that.

Either way I can't use a Grado Prestige on a Technics direct drive because I do hear hum when it gets near the center. It's subtle and it's not the same constant hum that you hear on some tables, but I can hear the motor (mostly as a pulsating noise) when it gets toward the middle (I listen with headphones so it's more noticeable). Sucks.

BMRR
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by BMRR » 17 Jan 2019 17:57

It's called a Technics Overhang Gauge, and yes it is made by Technics. Back in the day, it was supplied with the turntable. A lot of people threw them out, not knowing what they were for, or tossed them in a junk drawer never to be seen again. You can still buy them online though. Here's one direct from Japan for $4.10:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Panasonic- ... :rk:2:pf:0

Or if you don't want to wait that long, Amazon has them for $6.20:

https://www.amazon.com/Technics-Needle- ... 198&sr=8-1

PioneerFan
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by PioneerFan » 17 Jan 2019 18:02

I have that overhang gauge- two of them, actually. It will get you in the ballpark, for starters.

Jorlsafar
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Re: Grado Black2

Post by Jorlsafar » 17 Jan 2019 19:45

Drewan77 wrote:
16 Jan 2019 18:51
zero distortion or sibilance so I left it alone. I have since re-set around a dozen of my favourite cartridges using the Technics gauge & an engineering square and I now 'prefer' this to Baerwald on this table.

Once again, 'manufacturers know best' - you live & learn!

It's a real credit to John Grado & his team that something costing less than 3 new LPs can produce music of such quality & with the added bonus that surface noise is lower than any other cartridge I own (...I have a lot!). It's one of those cartridges that you can listen to for hours at a time and get lost in the music. Not perfect but in no way clinical or analytical (as we vinyl obsessives tend to listen out for during our more paranoid moments!)

This thread focuses on the Black but I have since purchased a Gold 2 and that is just 'more so' of everything the Black possesses but with greater air & image separation within the soundstage.

I made exactly the same conclusions re my Prestige Gold 2. Went from Baerwald to the Technics gauge and will not go back. Since my last post I have also gone from 1,75 grammes tracking weight to just shy of 1,5 grammes and corresponding anti skate. I have a lot of love for this cartridge. It's complete, meaning that nothing is lacking in the audio band, while at the same time it's easy on the ear. It's some achievement, as I (and perhaps we), change cartridges often and endeavour to set them up perfectly and therefore are prone to listen to the cartridge instead of the music.

I just forget this cart when playing records.

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