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 our 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, we have the best cartridge in the Timbre Series.
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.
To make the Timbre Series work as a whole, we created a way for Jarrah, diamonds, and a twin magnet system to integrate with our Flux-Bridge™. We modified our four piece OTL cantilever technology to achieve a 5% tip mass reduction over the Prestige Series and use ultra-high purity long crystal (UHPLC) oxygen free copper wire in the coils. The Reference3 uses a specially Grado designed true ellipsoid diamond.
In the Details.
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 we build.
The Sound of Wood.
Built from Jarrah
After the Reference3 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 Reference3 is hand-built by our 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. We started building cartridges on a kitchen table in 1953, and every experience since then has led to the creation of the Reference3.