For your consideration we have the flagship model from Grado's Statement Series of cartridges, The Statement V2. This unit was a demo model with less than 20 hours on it. The cartridge comes in original packaging. Note that this Moving Iron Cartridge is a low output unit and needs to be paired with a compatible phono stage. See reviews below for some suggestions. Please inquire if you have any questions.
You can feel confident in purchasing from us as we have been an authorized Grado Dealer since 2007
Statement 2 Review review by Karl Sigman of Audiophilia
Most audiophiles have a similar story to tell as the one I hereby offer as the lead to this review: One day some months ago, a friend came by excited to play on my turntable what he said was a very fine LP. When the tone arm dropped, all we heard was a loud screeching sound, no music. Close inspection revealed that ‘someone’ had meddled with the diamond tipped needle, and like an acrobat it was now in a most contorted configuration, bent 180 degrees with some cute wiggles too. The needle cracked off shortly after.
Although my 3-year old daughter admitted that she was to blame, she had such a logical and endearing explanation for her action that of course I could not take her to task except to make her promise never again to 'mess around with Papa’s stereo system'. [I introduce to you, fellow audiophiles, Karl Sigman, the most patient man on the planet - Ed]
My audiophile friends commiserated with me, but they also argued that I take it in stride on a positive note–I now had a reason (excuse?) to upgrade my cartridge. I became a believer in no time. And so began my careful consideration of what such an upgrade might be. This lead me to the subject of this review: Grado Labs Statement v2 Cartridge. It is their top-of-the-line at $3,500; the jewel of their Statement Series 2 cartridges. (Others in the Statement Series 2 line: Reference2 ($1500), Master2 ($1000), Sonata2 ($600), and Platinum2 ($350).) I am most grateful to John Chen, Director of Sales for Grado Labs, for loaning me the cartridge and handing it over personally to VPI Industries (who I am also very grateful to) whose Director of Electrical Engineering, Michael Bettinger, expertly mounted it for me on a turntable (VPI Prime, to be reviewed soon) and gave me some advice/tips for its proper use.
The Statement v2 is unusual in looks, construction and specifications. Hand-crafted at Grado Labs in Brooklyn, New York, USA, it is a wooden-body cartridge of a fixed coil design, but using a small bit of iron (instead of a magnet) in between the coils, a design referred to as moving iron (MI) as opposed to moving magnet (MM), and different from moving coil (MC) in which the coils are on the stylus cantilever and doing the moving. The iron bit is lighter in weight than when a magnet is used in the MM case, thus lowering tracking force even further and increasing the tracking accuracy. Because it has a relatively low output of 1.0 mv as compared to MM, the Statement v2 needs a minimum of 56 db of gain, thus requiring the MC mode of a phono stage, but the Statement v2 also requires a high resistive loading of 10k ohms–47k ohms, as opposed to the much smaller (say) 100 ohms of MC. So this indeed is an unusual cartridge somewhere between MM and MC in its requirements for use, and also different from standard MI types (my description above is a very basic one of what MI is; the Statement v2 is much more sophisticated in its use of MI). The use of wood in their cartridge started in 1996 with their ‘Reference Series’; its purpose is to control resonance.
The earlier version of this cartridge was the Grado Statement Series v1, and according to Mr Chen, the new and improved v2 has a chassis of higher mass, which due to a hefty investment in state-of-the-art coil winding machines by Grado Labs allows much more effective distribution of the mass within the chassis. And all internal components have been improved, especially the precision of the parts. According to their website ‘It utilizes four reconfigured coils, a precision machined ultra-low mass generating system (lower than any moving coil cartridge), a boron cantilever and a diamond cut to Grado’s strict specifications. All this is hand assembled and housed in an Australian Jarrah wood enclosure’.
When new, the Statement Series 2 cartridge is displayed in the center of a green velvet back- ground within a wooden jewelry-like box that is very reminiscent of a small-sized old style Cuban cigar box. On the box top sketched in the wood is ‘Grado and ‘Brooklyn, New York’. I should add: once the cartridge had been mounted, I put that box in a safe place, with a plan–in case I ultimately decided to acquire this cart–to put a special piece of jewelry in it for my wife for some future celebratory occasion.
The history of Grado Labs is itself very interesting. Joe Grado founded Grado Labs in 1953 in Brooklyn and is the originator of the stereo moving coil (MC) cartridge, and although he held the patent for it, he eventually concluded that moving iron was a better way to go for sound quality; he died recently, in 2015. Since 1990, the company has been run by his nephew John Grado (President and CEO), and recently (2013) John’s son Jonathan became Vice President of Marketing. Since the 1990s, exceptional headphones have become a highly regarded addition to the Grado products line, which today is probably what they are mostly known for; recent headphone models use wood too. The company is still located in Brooklyn, NY. And if you are wondering: The 'JMJ’ on the front of the wooden case of the Statement cartridge? John (J), Matthew (M), Jonathon (J); John the nephew of Joe Grado, and Matthew and Jonathan the sons of John. A real family run business.
OUTPUT: 1mV @ 5 CMV
CONTROLLED FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 8-70 KHZ
CHANNEL SEPARATION: AVERAGE 45 DB - 10-30 KHZ
LOAD: 47,000 OHMS
INDUCTANCE: 30 mh
RESISTANCE: 72 OHMS
NON SENSITIVE TO CAPACITIVE LOAD
CHASSIS MASS: 10 GRAMS
TRACKING FORCE: 1.5 - 1.9 GRAMS
Choosing an appropriate phono stage
Because of its unusual design and specifications, one must be careful to choose an appropriate phono stage for the Statement v2. Many very high-end phono stages, some with prices even exceeding $10,000, focus only on MC cartridges and hence do not offer the high impedance loads (47k Ohms for example) that are necessary. On the other hand, the few phono stages that I came across offering moving iron options only offered a gain at most in the 40dB range, not high enough for optimal use of the Statement v2. Appropriate matching of the required high gain (at least 56dB) with the also required high impedance load is important and one should experiment to optimize the sound for their system.
Here are some things that Harry Weisfeld of VPI had to say about The Statement V2:
The new G-S V-2 is a completely new design and melds the speed of a moving coil to the renowned smoothness of mid-range of moving iron. I will not go into the usual marketing BS that accompanies so many reviews, but will instead concentrate on a few things that really matter.
The new Grado has the lowest background noise and lack of groove noise I have ever heard. It is lower than the Atlas, Etna, Hyperion, etc. The sound the cartridge produces allows the low level information from the record to leap out to great effect from a jet black background.
Most people remember reel to reel as a noisy but smooth medium. It is not. With a good machine and the right equalization, 60 year old tapes are relatively quiet while new 15 ips 2 tracks are “spooky” quiet. The Grado gives you a feel of what this is like, while tracking like a train on steel rails, as stylus chatter is virtually non-existent.
The most important part of this presentation is the ultimate smoothness this cartridge can produce without breaking a sweat. When listening to the Hugh Masakela disc the explosion of transients from a black background is absolutely tape like and gives rise to that old reference “goosebumps”! This is only possible if you load the cartridge at 10K or more ohms. I tried it at the normal MC loadings and found it to be good but constricted. The use of 10K or 20K loading opens up the upper mid-range and top while still keeping that smoothness and lack of grain. I found 47K to be a bit bright, but if you have a treble control on your preamp or speaker, this is easily fixed.
I found the best match for the cartridge to be a standard 12” JMW 3D arm. The cartridge requires the second outrigger pivot point to track at its best and to completely remove any of the Grado “dance” and produce tight clean bass and very stable images. The oscilloscope representation of a stereo signal was an almost perfect 45 degree line that varies slightly with frequency but remained stable over the run from 50 to 10K. It tracked the Shure test record very well, only slightly missing the toughest band. I used three rubber weights on the anti-skate for the test but none for listening. There were no issues of mistracking or cantilever displacement not using anti-skate.
My favorite test is the UA Steve Lawrence “Till There Was You”. This cartridge put Steve in the room between the speakers and a full soundstage way past the loudspeaker (KEF Blades) boundaries. It felt like I was listening to a tape with 55 db of separation instead of a cartridge with a promise of 30+ db of separation. The record jacket explains and shows how the microphones and instruments were laid out and the Grado accurately placed them in the same position as the drawing.
The special cut on “Hatari” where they spaced the grooves to let the bass get cut into the vinyl without any compression put you in the jeep with John Wayne chasing that rhino! The Atlas has more dynamic power, but the Grado was no slouch and dynamic enough to give you rattled teeth fillings. On the JBL Everest and the Genesis Maestro, the low end was stunning, so the Grado will only be limited by how much air your speakers can move.
Last but not least, the Grado on the 45 RPM reissue of “Take Five” was as smooth and natural as the reel to reel tape, only missing that last ounce of power, solidity, and speed in the top end that the Atlas can provide for 3 times the price.
The Grado Statement V-2 is very highly recommended and I could live with it the rest of my life!