What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

the thin end of the wedge
gattonero
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What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by gattonero » 14 Jul 2019 11:42

This is a spun from the thread about upgrading my P3 (https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 2&t=112869), I've followed some good advice and improved the motor by lubricating the bearings and renewing the o-ring, plus the main bearing has been cleaned again, and filled with thin oil so now it spins very free. There is also a new silicone belt.
Since I was there, the motor has been refitted with a thin sorbothane pad, in between the bracket that holds it onto the plinth. I've also suspended the bracket screws with some thin washers made of the same sorbothane sheet (thanks to the Olfa circular cutter 8) ).

With all this done, a few records have been played, and it all sounds more neutral and very composed. Nice.
It was time to check the cartridge then. I know my Grado Gold1 is old, and will need a new stylus, so in the meantime I took it off for cleaning it better.
Oh, my.... what was inside! See the pictures? Yes, this is what came out of it! :shock: :shock: :shock:
I don't smoke and my house does not have mould or damp, so where this cr@p comes from? :roll:

I sat down and with the due care, a cotton bud, a sewing needle and methylated spirit I've removed all that could be removed. I was thinking that this may be some sort of damping compound used by the manufacturer? The cartridge sounds more open now, David Gilmour's strat comes alive, and Lisa Gerrard's voice too :D

However, the tracking is still not perfect, and there is something missing in the very top end.
Next step, an 8MZ stylus, I think!
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H. callahan
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by H. callahan » 14 Jul 2019 12:53

That stuff is meant to be there, it is some sort of damping material and it is also meant to hold the stylus-assembly in place. Consider yourself lucky you didn´t break a wire of a coil, as these also are covered by this black stuff.

Your cartridge now is more prone to vibrations, if you tap the housing for example.

Back in the day there was a notice in the instructions to not remove this stuff, but to put as much as possible onto the new stylus-assembly when changing the stylus - this info might have been lost during the years.

In case you decide to put it back in be veeery carefull not to break the wires of the coils.

gattonero
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by gattonero » 14 Jul 2019 13:06

That's good to know, thanks.

Like said, I didn't simply "scrape off" the thing but I've been careful doing the job. I have not gone into the body, I can see the coils are small and prone to be damaged so I stayed away from there.
There was a lot of fluff, as you can see in the last picture (which is actually "as removed", so should be the first in sequence), and I cannot see why some compound should be over the four poles and around the base of the stylus? The stylus assembly can be refitted snug and stays firmly in place even without that stuff.
I've only done a quick run with the HiFi News test record, the tracking is very much like before but the sound is definitely more open.

Later on I'll try some more records as it is, then I can put back that gummy compound where it was, though I'm not thrilled of putting some fluff inside the cartridge. Perhaps there is a substitute? Blu-tack seems too thick for the purpose.

BMRR
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by BMRR » 14 Jul 2019 15:03

H. callahan wrote:
14 Jul 2019 12:53
Back in the day there was a notice in the instructions to not remove this stuff, but to put as much as possible onto the new stylus-assembly when changing the stylus - this info might have been lost during the years.
That notice still appears in the instructions for the current Prestige2 series, and it appeared in the instructions for the previous Prestige1 series as well.
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lenjack
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by lenjack » 14 Jul 2019 15:26

Apparently, you prefer the undamped sound you have created. Either that, or you have talked yourself into it. You should have checked here first

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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by H. callahan » 14 Jul 2019 17:32

@BMRR:

Thank you, i wasn´t sure if this info still is supplied.

@gattonero:

The black stuff isn´t totally necessary, as the magnetic field of the permanent magnet does a pretty good job at holding the stylus-assembly in place. And yes, there shouldn´t be any of the black stuff on the poles, but it is intended to further increase linkage of cartridge body and stylus assembly - and as it also does some damping it can affect sound.
In the end there´s a reason why the manufacturer does put that stuff inside, so when removing it you´re "leaving safe ground"; meaning you´re altering something and by that you change the performance of the cartridge. If you´re happy with the sound now you can leave it that way, if you´re deciding to put it back in here´s a picture which may help you:
Grado%20Cartridgecv-.JPG
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Red arrows showing the thin wires going from the coils to the pins.

pivot
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by pivot » 14 Jul 2019 18:48

BMRR wrote:
14 Jul 2019 15:03
H. callahan wrote:
14 Jul 2019 12:53
Back in the day there was a notice in the instructions to not remove this stuff, but to put as much as possible onto the new stylus-assembly when changing the stylus - this info might have been lost during the years.
That notice still appears in the instructions for the current Prestige2 series, and it appeared in the instructions for the previous Prestige1 series as well.
Old saying, "When in doubt RTFM".

lenjack
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by lenjack » 14 Jul 2019 19:31

Read the fried manual? :wink: :roll: #-o

gattonero
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by gattonero » 14 Jul 2019 19:59

pivot wrote:
14 Jul 2019 18:48
BMRR wrote:
14 Jul 2019 15:03
H. callahan wrote:
14 Jul 2019 12:53
Back in the day there was a notice in the instructions to not remove this stuff, but to put as much as possible onto the new stylus-assembly when changing the stylus - this info might have been lost during the years.
That notice still appears in the instructions for the current Prestige2 series, and it appeared in the instructions for the previous Prestige1 series as well.
Old saying, "When in doubt RTFM".
Uh, after fifteen (or more) years, moving to a different country and three or four different houses, the manual it's got to be very hard to locate! :(

Either way, the cartridge is all but "damaged".

gattonero
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by gattonero » 14 Jul 2019 20:06

H. callahan wrote:
14 Jul 2019 17:32
@BMRR:

Thank you, i wasn´t sure if this info still is supplied.

@gattonero:

The black stuff isn´t totally necessary, as the magnetic field of the permanent magnet does a pretty good job at holding the stylus-assembly in place. And yes, there shouldn´t be any of the black stuff on the poles, but it is intended to further increase linkage of cartridge body and stylus assembly - and as it also does some damping it can affect sound.
In the end there´s a reason why the manufacturer does put that stuff inside, so when removing it you´re "leaving safe ground"; meaning you´re altering something and by that you change the performance of the cartridge. If you´re happy with the sound now you can leave it that way, if you´re deciding to put it back in here´s a picture which may help you:

Grado%20Cartridgecv-.JPG

Red arrows showing the thin wires going from the coils to the pins.
Hi, thanks for this picture, but I've not gone that far :oops:
As you can see from the pictures, I've removed the compound from the bottom of the stylus receptacle/cavity, and especially from the tip of the poles. You can see the compound was rather unevenly spread, and contaminated with fluff.

There is a reason why
A- I've not disassembled the whole cartridge and messed around with the poles
B- the useful compound removed has been kept aside, the contaminated one had to be cleaned with the methylated spirit

Interesting fact is that when re-aligned in the same way, the cartridge had performed in the same with the HiFi News test record: before and after I got a lateral resonant frequency of 11hz, and a vertical resonance of 12hz. Tracking force is set to 1.65gr, the antiskating is set in the middle value.
The cartridge had and still has a faint hum when gets closer to the center of the record, I've been told it's common for Grado cartridges. It does not pick up noise, or at least nothing more then before.

cafe latte
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by cafe latte » 14 Jul 2019 21:27

gattonero wrote:
14 Jul 2019 20:06
H. callahan wrote:
14 Jul 2019 17:32
@BMRR:

Thank you, i wasn´t sure if this info still is supplied.

@gattonero:

The black stuff isn´t totally necessary, as the magnetic field of the permanent magnet does a pretty good job at holding the stylus-assembly in place. And yes, there shouldn´t be any of the black stuff on the poles, but it is intended to further increase linkage of cartridge body and stylus assembly - and as it also does some damping it can affect sound.
In the end there´s a reason why the manufacturer does put that stuff inside, so when removing it you´re "leaving safe ground"; meaning you´re altering something and by that you change the performance of the cartridge. If you´re happy with the sound now you can leave it that way, if you´re deciding to put it back in here´s a picture which may help you:

Grado%20Cartridgecv-.JPG

Red arrows showing the thin wires going from the coils to the pins.
Hi, thanks for this picture, but I've not gone that far :oops:
As you can see from the pictures, I've removed the compound from the bottom of the stylus receptacle/cavity, and especially from the tip of the poles. You can see the compound was rather unevenly spread, and contaminated with fluff.

There is a reason why
A- I've not disassembled the whole cartridge and messed around with the poles
B- the useful compound removed has been kept aside, the contaminated one had to be cleaned with the methylated spirit

Interesting fact is that when re-aligned in the same way, the cartridge had performed in the same with the HiFi News test record: before and after I got a lateral resonant frequency of 11hz, and a vertical resonance of 12hz. Tracking force is set to 1.65gr, the antiskating is set in the middle value.
The cartridge had and still has a faint hum when gets closer to the center of the record, I've been told it's common for Grado cartridges. It does not pick up noise, or at least nothing more then before.
The hum means your turntable has an unshielded motor, nothing to do with the cart. Grado are open sounding as they are not shielded themselves so they can pick up EMF if turntable motor is not shielded which really they should be IMO. The two most open sounding carts I own are Grado and Decca, both unshielded carts. Re what you have done, if you want better high buy a grado gold 2 they are a far better sounding cart than a gold 1, dont worry about changing the stylus on the gold 1, gold 2 is the way to go.
And leave damping in place.
Chris

H. callahan
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by H. callahan » 15 Jul 2019 02:38

gattonero wrote:
14 Jul 2019 20:06
Hi, thanks for this picture, but I've not gone that far :oops:
As you can see from the pictures, I've removed the compound from the bottom of the stylus receptacle/cavity, and especially from the tip of the poles. You can see the compound was rather unevenly spread, and contaminated with fluff.

There is a reason why
A- I've not disassembled the whole cartridge and messed around with the poles
B- the useful compound removed has been kept aside, the contaminated one had to be cleaned with the methylated spirit

...
I didn´t mean you to disassemble the cartridge and take off the metal housing. I only wanted to show you where the wires usually are, so you know where to be carefull when putting the black stuff back in. Leave the metal housing where it is.

gattonero
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by gattonero » 15 Jul 2019 12:29

H. callahan wrote:
15 Jul 2019 02:38
gattonero wrote:
14 Jul 2019 20:06
Hi, thanks for this picture, but I've not gone that far :oops:
As you can see from the pictures, I've removed the compound from the bottom of the stylus receptacle/cavity, and especially from the tip of the poles. You can see the compound was rather unevenly spread, and contaminated with fluff.

There is a reason why
A- I've not disassembled the whole cartridge and messed around with the poles
B- the useful compound removed has been kept aside, the contaminated one had to be cleaned with the methylated spirit

...
I didn´t mean you to disassemble the cartridge and take off the metal housing. I only wanted to show you where the wires usually are, so you know where to be carefull when putting the black stuff back in. Leave the metal housing where it is.
Thank you. I didn't meant that in a bad way :)
Maybe just trying to look less foolish then what I've been :oops:

gattonero
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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by gattonero » 15 Jul 2019 12:37

cafe latte wrote:
14 Jul 2019 21:27
---snip---
if you want better high buy a grado gold 2 they are a far better sounding cart than a gold 1, dont worry about changing the stylus on the gold 1, gold 2 is the way to go.
And leave damping in place.
Chris
Good info there, thank you :)
May I use your knowledge a bit more? Do you know if an 8MZ stylus will fit well on the Gold2?

Cheers

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Re: What's this stuff inside my Grado Gold?

Post by derspankster » 15 Jul 2019 12:54

gattonero wrote:
15 Jul 2019 12:37

Good info there, thank you :)
May I use your knowledge a bit more? Do you know if an 8MZ stylus will fit well on the Gold2?

Cheers
I'll jump in here. Yes, the 8MZ will fit the Gold2. I own the Gold2 and really like it. I owned an 8MZ, never tried it in the Gold2 but had it in my Black2 (which is a GREAT $75 cartridge, by the way) It seemed to improve the Black2 a bit but I don't think I gave it a good trial. The 8MZ is now bonded and not nude mount as before. Mine was a bonded stylus. Some say nudes are better. I don't know. I have nude mounts in my Denon DL-110 and a nude JICO SAS in my Shure V15 Type IV. Totally different animals from each other and the Grados. So, it's difficult to compare sound improvement to mount type in my opinion.

Personally, when I need a replacement stylus in my Gold2 I'm going to go with the Gold2 stylus.

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