Prior to its release, I (Todd) had the honor of testing the new top of the line Epoch Phono Cartridge from Grado Labs. The Epoch was mounted to my VPI HRX rig and I proceeded to break the Epoch in. With each passing day, I became more and more impressed. It was good out of the box and it just kept getting better.
The Epoch possesses the ability to communicate music effortlessly and naturally. Never boring, the Epoch's bottom end is deep, solid and full. No bloat and plenty of energy. Midrange is beautiful and sweet. This portrays the music as it would sound live. Highs are detailed and unlike its MC competition, never is strident or dominating. The detail is there in its natural proportion.
Soundstaging and imaging are excellent with the Epoch. Each instrument has its place and there is good spacing between instruments.
The Epoch is a serious contender for the best cartridge available. It is by far the best MM/MI cartridge I have had the opportunity to hear.
So, this one remains on my table for my ears to be treated to! The Epoch is worth the price of admission and will keep the band playing in your room until you turn off your stereo. Simply an awesome cartridge! Kudos to John and his team for the Epoch and the joy it will provide to those who listen to it!
From Grado Labs...
Grado Labs is proud to announce a major step forward in phono cartridge design, the all-new Lineage Series. The first two cartridges to join the series are the Brooklyn built Epoch and Aeon. For the first time in the family’s sixty-four year history, sapphire, gold, diamond, and cocobolo wood join forces to produce the finest hand-built cartridge ever.
The Epoch and Aeon, which see final assembly by John Grado himself on his workbench, are two cartridges that offer exceptional reproduction of vocals and instruments, with superlative tonal balance, dynamics, imaging, and realism. Grado’s coil winding techniques, which have been honed throughout the decades, have let them achieve exact unison between the four coils in each phono cartridge. This allows for a precise balance between channels and accurate stereo imaging. Each Grado is wound with the finest properly sized and annealed 24-karat solid gold wire, which is the ultimate conductor for the transmission of the music from your record.
All of the internal magnetic circuit parts are Swiss screw machined or molded metal, which have tolerances on the order of the best Swiss-made watches. The specially designed diamond stylus, for the first time in a Grado, is mounted on a sapphire cantilever that connects to the stylus generating system. The Epoch and Aeon feature a unique system that has the lowest effective moving mass of any cartridge, while Grado’s patented Flux-Bridger generator design creates a superior balance throughout the full frequency spectrum with superb resolution and clarity, which produces an overall truer picture of the music. This is all nestled inside a cocobolo wooden housing.
Output = 1mV @ 5 CMV
Controlled frequency response = 6 Hz - 72 KHz
Channel separation: avg. 47dB - 6 Hz - 72 KHz
Loading: 47,000 ohms
Inductance: 30 mH
Resistance: 91 ohms
Non-sensitive to capacitive load
Chasis mass: 12 grams
Tracking force: 1.5 - 1.9 grams (we like it at about 1.75 grams!)