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Into the Woods?
Achieving fantastic accuracy and control, the Reference3 does everything the Master3 can do - but does it better thanks to specialized intricate processes while being crafted.
Top of the Timbre
While similar to its younger sibling in a few aspects, the Reference3 has a much longer build time since it undergoes extremely unique processes only a few of Grado's cartridges go through. This longer, more intricate practice produces a more colorful and deeper sound. When working in tandem with the special curing process and individual calibrations, you get the best cartridge in the Timbre Series.
To make the Timbre Series work as a whole, Grado created a way for Jarrah, diamonds, and a twin magnet system to integrate with their Flux-Bridge. Grado modified their four piece OTL cantilever technology to achieve a 10% tip mass reduction over the Prestige Series and use ultra-high purity long crystal (UHPLC) oxygen free copper wire in the coils. The Sonata3 uses a specially Grado designed nude elliptical diamond.
Grado has combined newly developed coil winding techniques with decades-old disciplines. A new two-step shielding process brings not only exact unison between the four coils but an unobstructed path for a cleaner signal. The music is allowed to travel undistorted through the coils, greatly reducing mechanical noise while improving tracking. There is an extreme clarity over the full frequency range, with absolutely no stridency or shrillness. Precisely hand tipped with a diamond, a great amount of care go into each cartridge Grado builds.
Built from Jarrah
After the Sonata3 cartridge is crafted, it is then placed inside a Australian Jarrah housing. Jarrah is necessary for the majority of Timbre Series with its ability to produce surgically precise clarity without losing any depth. Through a variation of thermal aging processes, the housing gains the ability to better dampen and control the resonant frequencies.
Hand-Built in Brooklyn
Each Sonata3 is hand-built by Grado's team in Brooklyn, as it has been for decades. After a specialized process that brings it to life, they are fine tuned for everything from entry-level turntables up to the highest-end stereo systems, the solid mass of the wood helps keep the Sonata3 steady and producing the Grado signature sound. They started building cartridges on a kitchen table in 1953, and every experience since then has led to the creation of the Sonata3.
The arrival of a cured mahogany cartridge identical to the one I already owned found me unprepared for the next vaulting leap in my listening education. Within a week of auditioning the 0.5 mv Statement Reference, I began to believe that both my new and vintage vinyl had received a rite of purification, cleansed and made better than new. It was also as though the tiny hairs in my inner ear had been degunked, and in a stroke my hearing was perfectly clear.
|Body||Australian Jarrah Wood|
|Cantilever||Machined Boron / Diamond Tip|
|Input Load||10k-47k ohms|
|Cartridge Weight||10 grams|
|Tracking Force||1.6-1.9 grams|
|Channel Seperation||Average 30db - 10-30k Hz|
|Controlled Frequency Response||10-60 kHz|
|Capacitive Load Sensitivity||None|
|Builds||High Output, Low Output, Mono|
High/Low Output Comparison
|High Output||Low Output|
|Output||4.8mV @5 CMV (45)||1.0mV @5 CMV (45)|
|Resistance||660 ohms||70 ohms|