Bob Seger recorded the song “Old time rock and roll” and with the main lyrics being “I like that old time and rock and roll” it will be as current today as it was back in 1979.

The first mainstream music distribution format was the success of the record, or more formally, the Gramophone record. By introducing a small spiral groove with side-to-side, or up and down variations into a shellac, or later vinyl disc, a record could be listened to by having a small needle travel in the groove and in return, output a sound for a speaker to reproduce.

For years, bands all over the world recorded their music and placed it onto a record to be sold in local stores. One of the largest music groups to take a major interest in records, were the bands who sang the popular Rock and Roll tunes. Recordings by bands such as AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and many, many more were some of the most iconic records of their time.

In 1991, records lost popularity in favor of the compact disc (CD) and its small form factor. Today, we rarely hear about a physical record or even CDs, but their attributes remain with us. Even though most of the music recorded today is purchased through online services, we still find creative album artwork, a left over from when bands would decorate their record album cover.

There’s nothing better than firing up the old record player, finding your favorite album, and listening to that “old time and rock and roll” and for those who use their record players, what better way to get the most out of your favorite tune, than to listen to it with the highest of quality?

Welcome to my review of the Grado Prestige Gold Cartridge. Throughout this review, I will take a look at the overview of the product which will include the looks and sound quality, as well as my final thoughts of the product. A special thank you to Grado for providing this cartridge.

The Overview

As with any product I review, I always pay extraordinary attention to the details of design. The reason for such is because the design of a product is what we see and it’s what we judge the product by. A BMW M5 is a magnificent looking car, therefore, we have higher expectations for it.

Many record players typically have a glass or plastic top that allows the user to see the spinning record and the cartridge moving about on the record. Therefore, the cartridge is always visible and taking this into account means the design of this Gold glass is top notch.

The front of the unit has the Grado logo and name in gold lettering as well as the word Grado on the top of the unit. Inside the plastic housing is the gold housing that gives it more finesse. Record players are all different and depending on your record player, the Grado cartridge comes in two major styles, one being where the pins are offset, and the other being where they are aligned.

Then, the main jewel is the diamond tipped needle that runs across the record to reproduce the sounds. Before using this Grado cartridge, I used an Audio Technica cartridge on a Sony PS-LX430 turntable and this upgrade was like the difference between night and day.

With just about a hundred different records to choose from, I picked out some classics and played them on the player to get a baseline with the Audio Technica cartridge. Then after a quick switch over to the new Grado unit, within seconds I noticed a significant boost in quality.

Music is controlled through a JVC amplifier, then played through two Polk standup tower speakers. I cranked the speakers to eleven and sat back to what I would call CD quality music. Notes and instrument sounds that I had never heard before became more noticeable, voices were crisp and were clearly understandable.

Being a brand new needle, it allow the speakers to pick up even the finest of details in the songs. It flowed and sounded clearly on any record I wished to play. If I had an event in my living room with music playing through the record player, I would wager highly that the listener wouldn’t know the different between the radio and the record player.

Grado appeared to have given my records a second life, a life that allows me to listen to that “old time and rock and roll”. Just as most people today, my phone and computers store my digital music collection, but when the time calls to bring out the records for some classic music, there isn’t any other way I’d want to listen to it.


Gold1 & Silver1:
Frequency Response: 10-60 Hz
Principal: MI
Channel Separation at 1KHz: 35
Input Load: 47K
Output at 1KHz 5CM/sec.: 5mV
Recommended Tracking Force: 1.5
Stylus Type: E
Inductance: 45mH
Resistance: 475u
Compliance CUs: 20
Stylus Replacement: U
Mounting: S/P
Weight: 5.5g

My Final Thoughts

Grado began their company working, designing, and developing record player cartridges. As shown here, it’s what they’ve established themselves on and even though they are now a part of the headphone market, these handmade New York cartridges are some of the best I’ve ever come across. Depending on your turntable, expect to find the Gold series between the prices $70 - $250 and it’s a price I find more than reasonable to bring life back into an old art.

Buy it Now:

© 2015 Justin Vendette