Grado Master-1 is neither a moving coil cartridge nor a moving magnet cartridge! It uses the manufacturer's signature operating principle: Moving Iron. 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.
The setup phase of this cartridge is a bit complex. Once it is aligned, it needs a slight angle. According to the angle, 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 are looking for 'over definition' and detail, the Reference Master may not be right for you. If you are a music lover with particularly exacting standards you won't regret this choice any time soon... Franck
Frequency response: 10 Hz 60 kHz
Principle: Moving Iron
Channel separation: 40 dB
Input load: 47K
Output: 5 mV
Recommended tracking force: 1.5g
Stylus type: Nude Elliptical
Inductance: 45 mH
Resistance: 475 Ohms
Compliance: 20 CUs
Weight: 6.5 g