The Grado Sonata-1 cartridge is a Moving Iron cartridge. The New York-based manufacturer's operating principle uses four OTL pieces. In this case, it is a modified and lighter (- 10%) variant of the Prestige range. 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 departs from the Platinum-1 by its 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.
As always with Grado the sound quality is really impressive! It adds a unique swing to the music. It works wonders with acoustic instruments and vocals, giving them a lot of texture and presence. With jazz quartets, the timbre and dynamics give the music great authenticity. It is also good with classical music, delivering a very precise and detailed sound. The timbre is precise and full-bodied without any harshness. The sound stage is wide and deep and player placement is quite precise. Compared with the Platinum-1, the treble is a lot higher and more precise. The dynamics are greater and the transients a lot shorter and tighter. But like its little sister, its charm definitely resides in its musicality.
This cartridge is first and foremost meant for music lovers with exacting standards who don't want to spend a fortune and don't have an MC input on their phono preamplifier. It is compatible with most commercially-available tonearms. Franck
Frequency response: 10hz 60khz
Principle: Moving Iron
Channel separation: 40 dB
Input load: 47 K
Recommended tracking force: 1.5g
Stylus type: Nude Elliptical
Compliance: 20 Compliance CUs
Weight: 6.5 g