After a number of years of good and faithful service, Grado's 'Wood' range has been discontinued and replaced! All 'Reference' models now feature the suffix 3!
Naturally, the 'Reference' is called Reference-3!
Grado Reference-3: body
From the outside, the difference with the former version is obvious!
The body is carved by hand from a beautiful block of Australian Eucalyptus wood. It undergoes a process that hardens and stabilises it, thus reducing resonance.
This new variant is quite bulky and its dimensions (1.5 x 2 x 3 cm) also justify its weight of 10 g. Against the 6 grams for its ancestor!
Grado Reference-3: features
Grado designed a new generator based on the OTL principle. It uses 5 OTL pieces, combined with ultra high-purity long crystal (UHPLC) OFC copper coils.
The generator/stylus module of this series does not allow for stylus replacement like on an MC cartridge. It enables the development of a magnetic circuit designed in a single piece, allowing for a significant reduction of chassis resonance.
The stylus of this Grado Reference-3 cartridge is cut specifically for Grado in a real diamond to an ellipsoid profile. It is supported by a boron cantilever that reduces the weight of the stylus/cantilever assembly.
The manufacturing and assembly processes use very tight tolerances. Each cartridge is produced and tested individually.
Grado Reference-3: listening and review
With an output level of 4.8 mV, this Grado Reference-3 is compatible with all MM phono inputs on the market.
It features the qualities that have made the Grado Reference famous: timbre quality, dynamics and swing!
The tonal balance emphasises the substance and presence. The length of the bass notes and their articulation are quite amazing. The colouration is not as present as with the former series.
However, the definition and transparency are way superior across the entire spectrum. The mids are just as rich and full-bodied, which delivers a highly authentic sound.
The treble is very subtle, soft without over-brightness.
This Grado Reference-3 MM cartridge truly epitomises the manufacturer's expertise! And in that respect, it is definitely one of the top MM cartridges ('Moving Iron' actually!) available to date! Franck
Output: 4.8 mV @ 5 CMV (45)
Frequency response: 15-60 KHZ
Channel separation: 40 dB 10-30 KHZ
Resistive load: 47 KOHMS
Capacitive load: Insensitive
Inductance: 40 mH
Resistance: 600 OHMS
Weight: 10 g
Tracking force: 1.5 to 1.9 g
Recommended force: 1.75g