Grado Labs Aeon Phono Cartridge

Grado Labs Aeon Phono Cartridge

Two years ago I reviewed the Grado Labs Statement v2 Cartridge ($3500), at that time the highest priced Grado cartridge—the top of their Statement Series. Reviewed using my VPI Industries Prime Turntable, I was so impressed, it has remained as my reference since—it further pulled me into vinyl. After that review, I concluded that besides speakers (which are in general large and heavy), phono cartridges (always tiny and light) are examples of a component that can significantly change the sound quality of an audio system in a way that is immediately noticeable.

The $6,000 Grado Labs Aeon Phono Cartridge debuted this year. The Aeon and its sibling, Epoch ($12,000), are two products in a new, higher-end ‘Lineage Series’. The Epoch, which was the first released, and with a very hefty price tag, has been highly praised. Grado Labs now promotes both these cartridges as their flagship models. On the Grado website it is stated that the Epoch and Aeon feature a unique system that has the lowest effective moving mass of any cartridge.

Kiseki Purple Heart NS Moving Coil Phono Cartridge

Kiseki Purple Heart NS Moving Coil Phono Cartridge

As soon as most vinylphiles see a trapezoidal nugget in wood, stone or metal with some delicate Japanese Kanji, our moving coil hearts skip a beat. I’m a Phasemation guy—Japanese made, but no Kanji. Just a beautiful hunk of Duralumin. How many of us have lusted after a Koetsu Jade Platinum or Blue Lace? Hand made gems of the very best audiophile jewelry. And the heart of a fine analog front end.

The Kiseki Purple Heart NS (New Style) is the modified version of the Japanese cartridge that made the turntable rounds thirty years ago. These new models are made by hand and in small numbers. They originally sold for $3499 but can now be purchased for $3199.