Goldring’s new E4 moving magnet cartridge looks to take advantage of the convenience factor. As exemplified by WiiM with its Mini streamer. Excellent when used with its digital output. Not as good on its analogue output; the internal DAC isn’t up to the same standard. It’s more of a convenience option.
Likewise turntables, particularly entry level ones where the benefits of having a factory-fitted cartridge shouldn’t be underestimated. Setting up a cartridge is a daunting task for most. Are they up to snuff on sound quality though? Does Rega’s lovely Planar 1 merit better than the bundled £33 Rega Carbon for example? Ditto Pro-ject’s £499 Debut Carbon EVO that’s in for review at the moment. Is its Ortofon 2M Red cartridge (£95) getting the best from the deck or might the 2M Blue (£189) be more appropriate? I have both options, I’ll let you know (you swap the stylus over, not the whole cartridge).
Step forward Goldring with its new E4 moving magnet cartridge, which taps into the same thinking. To quote from the press release: –
“Goldring introduces its new flagship E Series moving magnet cartridge: E4. Designed as the ultimate upgrade for any modern budget or midrange turntable”
At £199 / €259 / $299 it’s essentially the same cost as the 2M Blue, perhaps setting the benchmark for a my-first-upgrade cartridge. The E4 is designed to work well on the medium-to-high-mass tonearms typically found on entry/mid level turntables. Existing E1, E2 and E3 users can also just swap the stylus over at a cost of £145 / €185 / $275.
Key features of the E4 include: –
A new super-elliptical nude diamond stylus. Measuring 7.6 x 18 microns it’s cut from a single piece of diamond, meaning it weighs less and is more rigid than ‘bonded’ elliptical alternatives. That improves its high frequency performance. Tracking is also improved, giving lower distortion, improved transient response and a flatter frequency response according to Goldring. The hollow aluminium cantilever further helps in these areas.
Magnetic Duplex TechnologyTM. A cartridge’s stylus tracks the V-shaped groove in your records. A conventional cartridge has a single magnet interacting with two vertically mounted coils (for left & right channels). Goldring positions the magnets at the same angles as the coils, giving better stereo separation and a more accurate soundstage.
Expert adjustment facility. Is your stylus vertical or does it lean slightly to one side? Even minor ‘azimuth’ errors can increase crosstalk and impact channel balance. Only high-end turntables let you adjust azimuth, we mere mortals have to rely on the cartridge manufacturer getting it right in the first place. The E4 is designed to allow micro-adjustments during production, ensuring azimuth is spot on when it leaves the factory.
Which all sounds very interesting, and you won’t have to wait long to find out how it performs in practise. Both the E4 cartridge and stylus are available in June and will be shown at the forthcoming Munich High End Show from 18th-21st May (Atrium 4.1 F110 should you be lucky enough to be going).
If your interest is piqued, find more information on the E4 here (note the diagram showing how a moving magnet cartridge works – pictures, a thousand words and all that.)