More expensive cartridges may well provide incremental improvements in one or more areas, but the Grado RED 2 performs at a level where such improvements will be small. I recommend that you consider this $ensible cartridge, as it is good value for the price. Sensible Sound Review
Hi-fi News Prestige Red its "Highly Commended" status. Steve Harris reports in the magazine's cartridge 'group test' review that "the Grado was the cartridge that conveyed the feeling that drummer Les DeMerle was sitting right up there." According to Harris, "The Grado would come back from match point down and pull something magic out of the bag."
The Red2/Blue2 series of cartridges offers excellent tonal balance, dynamics, and realism, for a most rewarding reproduction of vocals and instruments
The Prestige series of cartridges are designed for high output and excellent stability under severe use. A considerable tip mass reduction results in a frequency response to 50 kHz and beyond and tracking forces from 1-2 grams. Acclaimed by experts as virtually the finest pickups in the world at their price.
Prestige models available in both 1/2" mount and P-mount. All styli in the Prestige series are user replaceable.
The Red2 uses a three piece OTL cantilever that has a Grado specific diamond mounted on a brass bushing.
What's the difference between Blue2 and Red2?
Approximately 15% of the Blue2 production run meet higher specifications. These are hand selected from the batch and designated as Red2.
Grado’s OTL, or optimized transmission line, technology provides an ideal transfer of signal from the surface of the LP to the generator of the system. This technology rejects unwanted resonances and lowers distortion preserving the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of the music. This also helps keep noise generated by the motor system in the cartridge to a minimum.
Grado’s OTL stylus/cantilever design makes records sound quieter, improves the height, width, and depth of the soundstage, and present more detail than previously obtainable.
The Red2 is hand assembled by Grado's team in Brooklyn, with some builders having over 25 years of experience. This updated series of cartridges offers excellent tonal balance, dynamics, and realism, for a most rewarding reproduction of vocals and instruments. The coil winding techniques using ultra high purity copper wire, which were honed during the development of the Lineage Series, have let the electrical circuits achieve unison between the four coils in each phono cartridge. This allows for a precise balance between channels and accurate stereo imaging.
As in all Grado phono cartridges the Red2 is powered by a twin magnet system that optimizes the balance between stereo channels. All internal magnetic circuit parts are held to extremely high tolerances creating the desired stereo imaging. Grado’s patented Flux-Bridger design allows the Red2 to have one of the lowest effective moving mass generating systems while creating an excellent balance throughout the full frequency range.
Frequency Response: 10-55,000Hz
Principal: MI ( Moving Iron )
Channel Separation at 1KHz: 30db
Input Load: 47K
Output at 1KHz 5CM/sec.: 5mV
Recommended Tracking Force: 1.5
Stylus Type: E
Compliance CUs: 20
Stylus Replacement - Yes
All Grado cartridges use a derivation of the moving iron principle which features patented optimized transmission line cantilever technology, pivoted fixed axial stylus-generator module, and Grado's flux-bridger generator system.
GRADO'S STATEMENT AND REFERENCE SERIES PHONO 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 … truly the world's finest. Should be used only with the finest equipment. Recommended tracking force 3/4 to 2 grams.
GRADO'S PRESTIGE SERIES OF PHONO CARTRIDGES
The Prestige series of cartridges are designed for high output and excellent stability under severe use. A considerable tip mass reduction results in a frequency response to 50 kHz and beyond and tracking forces from 1-2 grams. Acclaimed by experts as virtually the finest pickups in the world at their price. Prestige models available in both 1/2" mount and P-mount. All styli in the Prestige series are user replaceable.
HAND-BUILT IN 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.
OPTIMIZED TRANSMISSION LINE (OTL) STYLUS/CANTILEVER
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 GradoÕs 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. This proprietary design allows the implementation of the Flux-Bridger Generator System!
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.
Fewer coil turns allow Grado cartridges to have lower mass and lower electrical inductance, making them insensitive to tone arm cable capacitance. The four gap design is perfectly balanced and eliminates magnetic residue which contributes to increasing distortion over longer time periods. Grado cartridges reduce distortions that cause listeners fatigue.