Grado Sonata V2 Reference Wood Body Phono Cartridge
Grado Sonota V2 ReferenceOptimized Transmission Line (OTL) Cantilever/Stylus Assembly Grado's OTL provides an ideal transfer of the signal from point to point, e.g., stylus to cantilever to magnet to coils, etc. This has been achieved by eliminating resonance at each of these key junctions. The transmission line cantilever consists of separate sections that are telescoped into each other. All sections are made of different alloys, some sections hollow, other sections solid. These sections are bonded together with materials that act as dampers, and are coated with a black proprietary material which controls and absorbs resonances that travel on the surface of the cantilever (known as skin effects). The OTL stylus/cantilever design will make your records sound quieter, improve the height, width, and depth of the soundstage, and offer more detail than previously obtainable. Cartridge Holography does exist...and that is what Grado's OTL technology is all about, more performance. Pivoted-Fixed Axial Cantilever/Stylus Generator This design feature is basically quite simple. The "OTL" cantilever shaft is brought to a fixed axial pivot that supports the entire cantilever assembly. A miniature element attached to the end of the cantilever is allowed to move freely within the lines of flux of a stationary magnet and coil structure. This system of support is mechanically more accurate (more linear) than conventional "teeter-totter" designs that utilize an iron armature to balance the mass of the cantilever. The teeter-totter design is supported in the center with a rubber donut mounting. The fixed axial design has a very low tip mass, which results in lower distortion, improved transient response, and longer record life. Flux-Bridger Generator System The Flux-Bridger design uses four separate magnetic gaps that the miniature element of the cantilever bridges. The miniature element moves between opposing flux gaps creating an increase in flux in one gap while reducing it in the other. The four separate magnetic gaps create a highly efficient and perfectly balanced system. This design requires fewer coil turns than conventional designs. The Anatomy of a Grado Phono CartridgeHand-Built in the USA With 100% Quality Control Each individual cartridge manufactured by Grado is hand assembled and tested for frequency response, channel output, channel balance, phase linearity, inductance and resistance. This meticulous care in design and construction lavished on each Grado cartridge contributes to an unchallenged consistency of performance and guarantee of reliability. The Reference and Statement Series Cartridges These series of wooden cartridges are a fixed coil design, hand-crafted at our labs from a specially selected species of mahogany. An intricate procedure of curing is done between production steps to achieve optimal sonic quality. Unlike the Prestige series, these series generator/stylus module is not replaceable allowing a redesigned one piece magnetic circuit and a reduction of chassis resonances. The Statement and Reference series utilizes manufacturing and assembly techniques of fantastic accuracy and precision, the result is virtual perfection in a phono pickup resulting in the finest pickups in the world without exception. Should be used only with the finest equipment. Recommended tracking force 3/4 to 2 grams. The Latest Version, the Sonata1 The newly redesigned Platinum1 and Sonata1 have had their coil design reconfigured, and the effective moving mass of their generating system has been reduced by 17%. All this is hand-assembled within a machined, new processed, Australian Jarrah wood housing. The Platinum1 and Sonata1 models use a modified four piece OTL cantilever technology achieving a 10% tip mass reduction over the Prestige series and ultra-high purity long crystal (UHPLC) oxygen free copper wire in the coils. The Platinum model uses Grado's specially designed elliptical diamond mounted on a brass bushing, and the Sonata model uses Grado's specially designed nude elliptical diamond. Comments on the Grado Sonata "The Sonata is a refined and dynamic cartridge. It offers performance ahead of what you might expect for the price. Above all, the Sonata encourages you to play more of your LPs – and what greater recommendation can there be?" -Michael Jones / AudioEnz "I'd go so far as to say that the Sonata reminded me more of my Koetsu Urishi ($4000) then of my 8MZ." "No cartridge reproduces a female voice better than this." "For the extra money, the Reference Sonata represents a leap of performance beyond the Platinum and hints at what an expensive moving coil can do." -Stereophile / Robert Reina Vol.21, No.6 "After a week of warm-up, during which the Sonata was most notable for the solidity of its bass and power of itÕs subsonic bass, the sound started to become very musical." -Andrew Marshall / Audio Ideas Guide / Canada Stereo Times Review of the Grado Sonata
Ratings & Reviews
Updated from the Music Hall Mojo that came with the MMF7. Right away it was noticeable the musicality,detail and warm sound of the Grado. Listening to 180g 45 rpm of female singers like Diana Krall and Jacyntha I have to agree that it works wonders with female voices as noted by others reviewers. I can't wait till it is fully broken in, but so far I'm very pleased with the sound. Great job Grado!
I moved from a Ortofon 2M Black to this Sonata V2 (5mv) on my REGA P3-24 (2010). The 2M Black was clearly a great cart, but I wanted to try something different. With that cart, I kept thinking how amazing it was that the sounds I was hearing were coming from vinyl. So clear and revealing, kinda like a CD. With the Sonata, it's more apparent that I'm listening to vinyl, and I mean that as a real compliment. This thing is indeed amazing for tone and lushness. Probably not a great cart for speed metal or EDM; amazing for classic rock, synth stuff, acoustic, solo instrumental classical, etc. Other reviewers I read were not kidding when they talked about this thing doing wonders for female vocals: you have to hear Joni Mitchell on this thing. Simply unreal. Jaw on the floor kind of thing. So yeah, this cart has a flavor. But I listen to vinyl for a reason. (I dig my DAC and CDs and bandcamp too, though!) Analogue sound can be amazing. This this is kinda the vinyl lover's cart. I might try a Soundsmith in the future (pricey!), but for right now, this cart is really doing it for me. Pair with some tubes and get smooth.
by Scott Boyce
Grado lives up to it's reputation. No tracking issues. Set-up and installation was simple with my Music Hall 5.1 turntable. Vertical tracking angle tilted slightly back. The performance and compatibility recommendations provided by the staff at Needle Doctor were honest and precise. Thanks again.
I just purchased Grado Reference Sonata 1 for my new turntable VPI classic 1. this is a great cartridge. Only half hour warm-up, the sound is amazing. it is real Grado style. The sounds are warm and sweet, fuller bass and pretty treble. It also creates deep sound-stage precisely. By the way, I appreciate Needel doctor's professional services.
Went from a Sumiko Blue Point #2 to this one, and while the #2 was great for detail, this one matched my system better, has noticeably more warmth and presence. The Grado Phono Stage was a nice upgrade as well (from my preamp built-in phono stage) that worked well with this cartridge.
I spent many hours spinning old favorites and discovering extra detail and nuance in the best of my vinyl collection. The sound is precise, lyrical and engaging, the stereo image solid and dimensional.
Running a project rpm 10 carbon with the sumiko blackbird I switched to the Sonata and what a difference. It's not neutral and I could care less. This set up is incredibly musical. Absolutely no fatigue, it's warm and lovely. Vocals stand out and drums really kick you in the chest. You lose some upper detail coming from the blackbird. My speakers and phono preamp are dead neutral so if you've got a warmer speaker/phono this may not be the cart for you.