Grado Labs Prestige Red3 Cartridge

Continuing with our mission this week to help audiophile newbies join us here in the analog-centric listening family without breaking the bank, we now turn our attention to looking at cartridge-upgrade options — and who better to do that with than Grado Labs?

For those who may not know (and, yes, I do know the AP faithful are well aware of the following company background info, but remember that we’re in education mode here today, so feel free to share and share alike with the newbies in your own listening circles), Grado Labs has been making products since 1953, having been founded by Joseph Grado in Brooklyn, New York. Grado both invented the moving coil (MC) stereo phono cartridge and innovated in creating high-end dynamic headphones. Headphones, cartridges, and related accessories continue to be the primary product category focuses for the Brooklyn-based company to this day.

And now, let’s look at one of Grado’s more affordable cartridge options, the Prestige Red3. This cart, which currently shares space in the Prestige line with the Gold3 and the Green3, uses a four-piece OTL cantilever that has a Grado-specific diamond mounted on a brass bushing.

According to Grado, their OTL (optimized transmission line) technology is said to “provide an ideal transfer of signal from the surface of the LP to the generator of the system.” This tech, Grado continues, “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.”


Red3 cartridges are hand-assembled by Grado in Brooklyn, and they add that some of their builders have well over 25 years of experience. Their coil-winding techniques use ultra-high-purity copper wire, something that was honed during the development of the company’s Lineage series. This is said to enable the electrical circuits to “achieve unison” between the four coils in each cartridge, allowing for a “precise balance between channels and accurate stereo imaging.”

The Red3 cartridge is powered by a twin magnet system that “optimizes” the balance between stereo channels. Grado points out that their 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.”

Finally, the Grado Labs Prestige Red 3 cartridge has a quite affordable SRP of $199.

For more about Grado Labs, go here.
To find an authorized Grado Labs dealer, go here.



Specs & Features
Frequency response: 10-55,000Hz
Channel separation (at 1KHz): 30
Input load: 47K
Output (at 1KHz 5CM/sec): 5mV
Recommended tracking force: 1.5
Inductance: 45mH
Resistance: 475
Compliance CUs: 20
Weight: 5.5g


mp's picture

guyjoseph isn't wrong.

Also, is it really "Weight: 5.5lb?" Mistakes like that cause satellites to miss. e.g.

It's difficult avoiding the conclusion there's less there than meets the eye.

volvic's picture

It's a budget Grado cartridge, it's a nice, concise write-up, a quick read, and allows me to get on with my day. Perfect!

Neward Thelman's picture

It's not a review. It's not even a brief assessment or overview. It's a sales blurb. That's all it is. Every factoid written in this short presentation comes a manufacturer's spec sheet, or other promotional materials. It's not an independent evaluation or test.

You utterely lack critical thinking skills. So what? Who cares about some one hominid on a planet crawling with more than 8 billion of them?

Cause your auttitude towards audio is consistent with the predominant way that the predominant number of audiophiles and the 'audio-interested' approach audio.

And, how's that? Exactly the same way that you do - without a shred of analytical thinking skills. All that today's "audiophiles" require is audio happy talk. Every review's breathlessly positive, no weaknesses are probed or explored to any meaningful degree, and everything's "highly recommended".

That's how audio magizines get away with being essentially sales and promotional arms of the audio industry. They publish what today's audio-interested readers want to read - not what they should read.

What the audio publications - whether print or online - are not are actual consumer advocates who place consumer interests first and foremost. What's first and foremost for the audio review business today's fostering and maintaining relationships with audio manufacturers, their sales representatives, distributors, and the like.

Heck, as you've unequivocally demonstrated here, so-called audiophiles today'll happily eat up pure sales material in place of actual review work, and not bat an eyelash. Actually, as you said - you even prefer sales presentations.

Sell it to me, baby. Rock on.

Mike Mettler's picture
Satellite crisis now duly averted... ;)
Anton D's picture

This ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around. Cosmic consequences at stake!

Tom L's picture

"Five and a Half Pound Satellite Crashes into Former Home of CBGB's, Killing One Elderly Punk"

Diogo's picture

Grado carts are particularly sensitive to system-matching to sound their best. Every cartridge needs a tonearm that's a good match compliance-wise, but the Grado Prestige series was made for tonearms that aren't so common these days.

Grado carts like tonearms of low/medium effective mass with damping mechanisms. The good news is, most modern-day tonearms have some sort of aftermarket damping trough available, and most budget turntables are fitted with medium mass tonearms, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get the Prestige to sound good on most beginners' decks.

When set-up correctly, the Grado delivers a lovely, unique sound that digital simply cannot replicate. So it's well worth the hassle!