Grado Green Phono Cartridge
I can't imagine being more impressed with an $80 tweak to my admittedly lower mid-fi system. As soon as I installed this new cartridge on my Technics SL-D303 turntable, the sound difference was noticeable over the older model Audio-Technica cartridge that was on the table.
For me, the Grado achieves the right level of warmth and detail. The sound is not harsh at all and it has a tremendous depth to it. The soundstage on my system opened right up and this cartridge seems as if it was made for my vintage KLH 17s. The blend of warm mid-range and smooth highs is perfect for these speakers and also is well suited to what appeals to my own taste and ears.
In listening to three of my favorite albums, I heard an increased detail and richness in the music that I hadn't heard before with other cartridges. The sound of cymbals and brushes on snare drums was especially noticeable on all three records–particularly on the Vince Guraraldi Good Grief record I listened to this morning. The surface noise on this older record was also noticeably lower with the Grado than it had been with the AT cartridge it replaced.
Overall, for me, I have to say Grado is a winner. I can only hope to win the lottery someday and get a Sonata!