Grado Master-1 MC cartridge

Low output cartridge with Nude Elliptical stylus.

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Grado Master-1 is neither a moving coil cartridge nor a moving magnet cartridge! It uses the manufacturer's signature operating principle: Moving Iron. But with the low output version here which is similar to a moving coil cartridge and so it requires an MC preamp or a transformer.


It uses a five piece OTL cantilever technology. In this case, it is a modified and lighter (- 5%) variant of the Sonata or Platinum models. The cartridge - especially the coil and stylus/cantilever assembly - have had a facelift and are now 17% lighter. UHPLC (Ultra High Purity Long Crystal) conductors are used for the internal cables. The box is hand built in Jarrah wood. This hard and light wood stems from a tree native to Australia and gives the cartridge good sound neutrality. The stylus inherits a Nude Elliptical profile. The shape and polishing are very similar to the original 'chisel' profile used for recording. The contact surface is improved, increasing tracking and minimising groove wall wear. As typically with Grado, this model is mounted onto a brass cantilever. Like all Grado products, it is assembled and tested in the company's historic workshop in Brooklyn, USA.


This cartridge requires a careful setup phase. Once it is aligned, it needs a slight angle. According to its importance, the timbre and dynamics are modified. This implies that the tonearm needs to be easily adjustable in height. Do not use tonearms that are adjusted with spacers… Once the setup is optimised, this Grado Master-1 cartridge will do a great job! The timbres are full-bodied, punchy and authentic. The midrange is present and blends in perfectly with the other registers. Musicality clearly takes centre stage with this cartridge. So if you want 'over definition' and detail, it is not certain that the Reference Master is for you, but if you are a music lover with exacting standards you will adopt it without regret and for a long time……


Bob Ludwig wrote about this cartridge: 'it is the best cartridge that I have heard to date at home or in the studio' 


Frequency response: 10 Hz 60 kHz
Principle: Moving Iron
Channel separation: 40 dB
Input load: 47 K
Output: 0.5 mv
Recommended tracking force: 1.5 g
Inductance: 2 mH
Resistance: 2 ohm
Compliance: 20 Compliance CUs
Weight: 6.5 g

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Grado Master-1 MC cartridge

Grado Master-1 MC cartridge

Low output cartridge with Nude Elliptical stylus.

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