Grado Consolidates & Upgrades "Statement" and "Reference" Series as "Timbre" & Intros OPUS3 Cartridge

Grado Labs just announced a new "Timbre" series of cartridges that consolidates under one "roof" the previously separate mid-range "Reference" and "Statement" wooden bodied phono cartridges. Grado also introduced a new $275 OPUS3 cartridge. All, including the budget Prestige series, now incorporate techniques developed and incorporated into the top of the line Lineage series.

A new Grado engineered process better shields the generating system by isolating the coil's wire turns, resulting in a cleaner signal path. Grado claims less distortion and greatly reducing mechanical noise among other benefits.

The wood bodies in the Timbre series go through various thermal aging processes said to enhance the wood's damping capabilities, which better controls resonances, while the Lineage series innovations have "trickled down" to the " max bang for the buck" Prestige series, though how was not specified in the press release.

According to VP of marketing Jonathan Grado, "We have been working on these upgrades over the past year, and thought now would be a great time to reorganize and bring new structuring to the cartridge line-up...“Combining the Reference and Statement Series into the Timbre Series now gives listeners a better understanding of the types of cartridges we hand build, and the Opus3 bridges that gap between Prestige (entry-level) and Timbre (mid-range).”

TSOP's picture

I'm sure the Prestige improvement is evolutionary, but looking forward to a review.

Vinyl On Tubes's picture

Grado used just state the output voltages rather the splitting them by lineup nomenclature with the MkI iteration. Looks like we're back to the old system with MkIII. They're not using the simple wood body titling. But, it's clever they're using a pun with timber and timbre.

cement_head's picture

Hi Mike,

Love to hear a "budget" focused review of the Opus3 vs the Prestige Gold3 - which are both in my price range. I have a Gold2 now, but am curious as to the improvement of the Gold3 and/or the Opus3. TIA

AnalogJ's picture

According to Jonathan Grado, they'll make their $275 model in a true mono model. I'm in.

However, he told me that the 2x7mm elliptical stylus they're using on it is designed for 1960s mono records onward. I'm curious as to what happens when using it to play one of the classic mid- to late '50s albums from Verve, Capitol, and EmArcy?

Is there a good budget mono that might be more versatile, such as the Ortofon 2M Mono or Quintet Mono?

my new username's picture

... We'd take say, 3 turntables (for example, $500, $1000, $2000?) and listen to several of the new models on all 3 turntables.

I bought my SOTA Comet with a $200-ish 8MZ (Signature Series) in the mid-90s. Our host here gave that cart a so-so review way back in the day but it was my intro into a more pleasant world that none of the cheaper Grados that always get all the press couldn't deliver for me.

And when Grado said the Gold1's stylus was the replacement for the 8MZ's stylus, I knew I was in trouble since the materials weren't even as good. And none of the transfers I've ever heard using a Gold1, regardless of setup ever really impressed me.

The hunt for a decent $200-ish cart to pair with this older turntable remans, but I suspect I should just spend more on a cart today.

So yeah, the Opus 3 is interesting to me (although, again, I suspect I should upgrade the tonearm first. Even SOTA eventually moved on to better arms for the Comet, which seems to remain a strong platform.)