Cartridge & Arm Review

Goldring E3 Cartridge: toting a super-elliptical stylus

Goldring has been in business since 1906, so it’s about time Paul Rigby reviewed one of its products then, eh? It has waited long enough! In this review, he tackles the new E3 cartridge

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 11.02.57

The company recently announced the launch of its E series of cartridges. All relatively low cost and all of interest to either budget users or those looking to upgrade their introductory cartridge with something rather more interesting.

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The three units in the E series are based upon Magnetic Duplex Technology (you can add a ™ in there, if you wish). The idea behind the technology is to improve stereo rendition. Both the E1 and E2 models include spherical styli with a choice of cantilevers. The E3 model, which I look at here, has an aluminium cantilever – the same unit used on the E1 and E2 – but adds a “superior bonded”, super-elliptical stylus measuring 0.3 x 0.7mil. This is what attracted me to the E3, I was looking for a blend of value and high frequency groove detail retrieval as well as sibilance reduction. Especially as a basic elliptical stylus measure around 0.4 x 0.7mil. Compare those measurements too with the E1 and E2’s spherical tip at 0.6mil.

Azimuth Crosstalk diagram

According to Goldring, “The E Series cartridges use a specially designed adjustment screw to locate the cantilever, rather than the standard xed pin, allowing micro-adjustments during production. This pre-set azimuth means crosstalk is already optimised and the cartridge can be safely installed in a typical turntable with no correction required.”

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During the record mastering process the cutting lathe records stereo information as a ‘V’ shaped groove which has perpendicular side walls angled at 45°, “Conventional moving magnet cartridges,” added the company,  “use a single large magnet that interacts with two vertically mounted coils to produce a stereo signal from the groove. This can introduce crosstalk and so only offers a modest amount of stereo separation.”

Magnetic Duplex Technology diagram

This is why the Goldring E Series cartridges feature a dual magnet arrangement, “Magnetic Duplex Technology uses two low mass magnets which interact only with their partnering pickup coil, angled at 45° to match the cutting head arrangement. This enables the cartridges to more accurately trace the record groove because they precisely emulate the geometry of the cutting head, making for better stereo separation and a more accurate, involving and musical soundstage.”

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I was happy to see that the Goldring chassis features threaded screw holes inside the chassis itself. This is a £100 moving magnet cartridge and thus will feature in the hands of beginners or cautious vinyl users possibly unfamiliar with regular cartridge fittings. The last thing you want to do to a nervous hi-fi installer is tell them to juggle tiny screws that dangle outside of a chassis, adopting odd and scary angles depending on how you hold them, with tiny nuts that threaten to ping off into a dimension occupied solely by cartridge nuts, pens and odd socks and then try to tighten the entire thing with a tiny screwdriver while, at the same time, avoiding the cantilever! It’s bad enough asking an experienced hi-fi journalist to do such a thing, never mind an uneasy music fan. Goldring have got this part of the design right.

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Fitting the Goldring to my tonearm (with 2g of downforce) was intriguing mainly because, once in there, it looks absolutely enormous! It reminded me of some of the cartridges used on hi-fi in the 60s or even the 50s. The Goldring chassis is obviously a nostalgic reflection on times when men were men and cartridges were the size of an articulated lorry. Yet, the very largeness of the thing also helped in terms of installation. It imbued more confidence during handling.

SOUND QUALITY

I began by playing the original pressing of Nancy Sinatra’s LP Country, My Way, produced by Lee Hazelwood and the track, It’s Such a Pretty World Today, a wholly romantic, even twee song.

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The initial impression was an over-whelming sense of focus from the Goldring. This track had Sinatra’s voiced pushed down a classic echo chamber and so, even the slightest midrange smearing combined with excessive noise will puff out the voice in a cloud of nasty distortive attack. The Goldring took immediate control of any potentially wayward frequencies and reigned in the Sinatra voice to give her delivery a rather playful and wistful quality. The echo chamber obviously still remained as an effect but Sinatra’s voice presented welcome femininity instead of Goldzilla in a skirt.

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This focus also leant itself to aiding the backing singers. Their harmonies tended to rise in the higher registers which only added to the smeared mids. The new level of precision, though, added welcome harmonic textures that gave the vocals a layered richness.

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Another element that could have suffered from the loose upper mids was the notable twangy slide guitar. The Goldring provided a sense impressive detail from this instrument. Speaking of which, the Goldring’s lower noise performance meant that the piano popped out of the mix, giving a tonally realistic performance. The piano, on this track is an adjunct to the main song but its an important one that gives breadth to the soundstage.

Percussion and bass also now had a greater sense of recognition because the lack of bass bloom drew them both from a blacker background. Hence, the new level of clarity enabled the ear to pick up a new sense of impact and strength from this area.

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Another notable aspect of the soundstage were the acoustic guitars, the attacking strumming on the right channel and the subtle strumming on the left. Both offered tremendous midrange insight and musicality that added a sense of speed to the performance.

I then turned to the post punk vibes from Die Werkpiloten via Germany’s Vinyl on Demand label from 2012.

This is a drum-heavy LP, fast paced percussion and high energy to boot and I was impressed by the organic nature of the drums. The Goldring gave the music impact and power and a real sense of pace but kept in touched with the humaneseque nature of the drums, rounding their edges just enough to prevent and sense of the clinical.

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The low noise approach to the Goldring also enhanced the instrumental separation along the soundstage, giving each instrument a sense of space to perform at its best. The soundstage never felt crowded or stilted and the lead vocal thus provided an emotional yet flowing performance.

CONCLUSION

Sensibly designed for use by beginners or vinyl fans with minimal hardware experience, the considered design of the E3 provides a sense of clarity and midrange purity with a bass that delights in terms of information and character. In terms of the inherent sound quality from this cartridge, the E3 provides exceptional value for money. In fact, it is one of the best budget cartridges, at this price point, currently for sale on the market.


GOLDRING E3 CARTRIDGE

Price: £100

Web: www.goldring.co.uk 


GOOD: focus, precision, clarity, midrange control, bass impact, design, price

BAD: none 

RATING: 9

Award1


REFERENCE

Rega RP3 turntable

Ortofon 2M Red

Trichord Dino phono amplifier

Rega Brio-R amplifier

Spendor S3/5R2 speakers

Tellurium Q cables

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components
All vinyl was cleaned using Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner

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93 Comments

  • Reply
    Dermot Bell
    30th July 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks for the insightful review Paul. Looks like Goldring have a winner on their hands. They’re a lovely company to deal with too and I really wish them the very best of luck with their new range of cartridges.

    Now for the 6 million dollar question : Reading your review and the various design elements at play leads me to believe that this is a really special design. However, as I currently use a 1006 series cartridge from the same company, would it be worth my while to ditch it for the new breed? In other words is this new range only for the beginner and, for want of a better ward, not for the experienced Connoisseur? I’ve had my 1006 cartridge some twenty years now having started with the 1042 and worked my way down actually preferring what I use now. I don’t like ultra transparency or unnecessary sibilance (a pet hate of mine) or even tight bass. My system is valve based using a hybrid design from Croft and Castle Howard’s going on 23 years old! I use two turntables – NA Spacedeck with original Space arm and a beautifully built first edition Analogue Works One turntable with a recently acquired Ace Space arm. I have a Goldring 1006 installed on both decks. Boring I know but I love that Goldring sound!

    Anyway I hope it’s not too difficult a question. My first impression when I first found out about Goldring’s new cartridge range here was to simply bypass them as I felt, rightly or wrongly, that I’d be better sticking what I have. Now your review has thrown the cat among the pigeons 🙂

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      30th July 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Hmmm, this is a tough one. Partly because I don’t have your ears. My instinct is to tell you to stick with what you have for now because you’re talking about a cart at double the price. I would say that, in the £100 region, the Goldring E3 is about the best you’re going to get. In essence, it’s low noise output means that there is a great focus and precision with a lovely open and airy midrange. I tested it on my valve system and it sounded excellent. I must admit, I have not tested your cart on my system so cannot directly compare, I’m afraid. Things have moved on since your cart was released and, no doubt, sound quality has improved. Yet, I would hedge by bets in advising you…do you have a nearby dealer who might be persuaded to grant a home demo or even if you take your Goldring in to compare it with an E3? That’s a suggestion if you feel determined to check out the E3. Bottom line, though? Keep what you have for now. What you might want to do is wait for me to investigate more Goldrings. This is something that is now on my radar. I’m due to look at the 2000 series soon-ish. Not sure if you might want to check those out first before you finally decide?

  • Reply
    Dermot Bell
    30th July 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Paul. It is a difficult one isn’t it? Trying one out is not going to happen anytime soon and wouldn’t be worth the hassle for a budget cartridge. I’ve also been advised to stick with what I have so you’re not the first. Maybe, just maybe it might be an idea to get one for either of the turntables anyway. At least it would be bring a little extra colour into my music room 🙂

    I remember the 2000 series being reviewed in HFW a while back. I concluded then that they weren’t for me due to their analytical nature among other things.

    Actually the only other cartridge that was more forgiving than the Goldring 1006 cartridge was the Nagaoka MP110. I tried it out on a new arm I was demoing at the time – the Goldring was a complete mismatch – and it was a revelation. Unfortunately I experienced massive static problems while playing a record. Loud bangs were the order of the day. Long story short : I blamed the arm, sent it back and waited almost 4 months for the Ace Space. When I reinstalled the Nagaoka on the new arm the bangs started again within the first hour. I was aghast to say the
    least! So I reinstalled my trusty Goldring and, luckily enough, it was a perfect match…..plus the static bangs disappeared into the ether. A very frustrating experience and a first in nearly 40 years of hi fi madness. So there it is……

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      30th July 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks for your note, Dermot. Do you remember which 2000 series was reviewed in HFW? I’ll try and grab something different, for variety’s sake. 🙂 Who did that? Was it Tony Bolton? Be interested to know how a 2000 series sounds on my reference… Glad your tribulations worked out in the end. Sometimes we have to go through these things to find the sound we like, though.

  • Reply
    Dermot Bell
    30th July 2017 at 10:33 pm

    No Paul I can’t remember which one. I’m sure Noel reviewed it. Ah poor Tony! I loved reading his reviews. He’s sadly missed. I remember he was settling down to the best he ever heard his system sound with the Isotek mains conditioner he was using at the time. I also remember one of his last review assignmenst, a pair of Epiphany Acoustic interconnects. I actually bought a pair in his memory and I still have the review! Sad to hear too that the company ceased trading.

    You’re right you do have to go through tribulations from time to time when upgrading. That’s why I detest demoing equipment even though it’s the only way to find out. What works for me, even though it’s not blindingly obvious at the time, is when you’re not aware of the system anymore and the music just flows glorious towards your ears. It’s only then you realise that it’s working and blithely doing whatever magic it’s conjuring up……and the same word keeps popping up : Balance; in terms of frequencies anyway. My music is so eclectic that my system has to deliver on all counts whether I’m listening to Wire, Lemon Kittens, Young Marble Giants, anything on the Editions Mego label, Beatles, Elvis, CCR, John Fahey, Anthony Phillips, Jimi Hendrix, Hedvig Molestsad Trio, Scorch Trio etc etc etc…….

    Just to let you know you, yourself, are a great asset to the HFW team with your music, hi fi and views column. I always turn to the back page first to see what music rocks your boat. Best hi fi magazine on the racks by a mile 🙂

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st July 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Dermot.

  • Reply
    Rob Stevenson
    31st July 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I presume this is based on an Audio Technica?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st July 2017 at 9:11 pm

      I’ve asked Goldring the question, Rob. Waiting for them to get back.

      • Reply
        Paul Rigby
        2nd August 2017 at 1:34 pm

        Hi Rob, Here’s Goldring’s reply, “The Goldring E Series are indeed manufactured in Japan (as it states on the carton btw) by Audio Technica. Costs in the UK are generally too high to be ideal for budget cartridge manufacture. Goldring choose to manufacture their more upscale models in the UK. AT were an idea partner and willing to include Goldring’s ideas – like the adjustment screw and the easy stylus replacement – into the models as well as of course working with us on choice of cantilever and diamond profile. Acceptance of the new models has been superb and Goldring are delighted to be working with a partner that cares as much as we do about quality and consistency.”

        • Reply
          ROB STEVENSON
          21st August 2017 at 11:52 am

          Thanks for the reply Paul, interesting, sounds like a very good partnership. I hope they do well and look forward to hearing one.

  • Reply
    Dermot Bell
    2nd August 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I had the same suspicions but elected not to say anything. Sounds like a good partnership. I also like Goldring’s idea re: the adjustment screw. You’ll have to review an Audio Technica now Paul 🙂 How about the new VM530EN which has an elliptical stylus profile. Anyway I have a very funny feeling that these new E’s are going to really upset the apple cart…

  • Reply
    Karl Walker
    28th August 2017 at 9:53 am

    Hi Paul – firstly, great review! I notice that your ‘reference’ setup is a Rega P3 with Ortofon 2M Red. I have an older P3 with RB300 arm and am looking to change the cart; before I ‘discovered’ the Goldring E3 and your review, I was going to plump for the 2M Red as the [almost] de-facto standard £100 cart for the P3. In your opinion is the Goldring a better choice than the Ortofon? I’ve read varying reports that the 2M requires 2-4mm of spacers under the RB300 tonearm for the correct VTA. The Goldring blurb almost seems to imply that it has been designed as a drop-in replacement for medium to high-mass arms. Obviously, my question is, “is the Goldring E3 sonically better than the Ortofon 2M Red?”.
    I was never a fan of the original Rega Elys that I had fitted to the P3, as it always sounded a bit flat and lifeless to me, preferring the more dynamic sound of the AudioTechnica carts (I currently have an ageing AT450E-OCC fitted). Any advice appreciated!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th August 2017 at 9:39 am

      Hi Karl

      In short? Yes, the Goldring is superior. I still recommend the 2M Red, it’s an excellent cart. The Goldring pips it, though.

  • Reply
    Cyrille
    10th November 2017 at 8:27 am

    It looks like it is a really good cart for the price.
    I own a Luxman PX-101 and i was wondering if that E3 could feet right on it…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th November 2017 at 11:06 am

      Hi Cyrille – yep, the Goldring would work well with the Luxman I reckon.

  • Reply
    Cyrille
    10th November 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Thanks for your answer. I will test it.

  • Reply
    John
    9th December 2017 at 10:33 am

    Would any of the Goldring E series suit a low mass arm such as the ADC alt-1 which I have on an old Ariston RD80 deck? If not how about the Rega Bias 2 or carbon? I currently have an ageing Rega RB100 fitted.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      9th December 2017 at 10:56 am

      If you like the Ariston and wish to persist with it, then a Golding would be a decent choice. Try to go for the E3. If and when you change/sell the RD80, take the Goldring with you for your next deck. : https://theaudiophileman.com/goldring-e3/

  • Reply
    Alberto
    23rd December 2017 at 10:20 am

    Hi Paul , thanks for the interesting review.
    I own a Rega P2 equipped with the standard Rega carbon catridge that I’d like to replace for something superior but without spending a fortune.
    i thought about the goldring 2100 but this new E3 model intrigues me.how would you compare them?
    I wonder if It fits on the Rega tonearms without spacers under the tonearm itself , as It is known Rega cartridges like Bias or Elys are 3/4 mm less high than the other brands.
    Many thanks and kind regards

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      24th December 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Alberto – I used spacers because the E3 spans around 18mm in height to the stylus tip (as does the Ortofon 2M Red which I also used) whereas the Rega is about 13mm. If you’re able, I’d be interested to hear what you think of the E3 without spacers on the Rega. I have heard, more recently, that the Rega with a taller cart works fine and all of this spacer malarky is not what it’s cracked up to be. Haven’t tested the theory myself, though…
      I haven’t tested the E3 with the 2100, I’m afraid. Both are excellent on their own, I know that. I would go for the best deal.

  • Reply
    Peter Bower
    4th January 2018 at 11:13 am

    Hi Paul, I have an AT-LP5 deck with a AT95E fitted as standard, great sound and clarity from the AT95E but I was wondering if the Goldtring E3 would be a good up grade or would it just be a side ways move, or one of the new AT VM series around the same price or even an Nagaoke MP-110?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th January 2018 at 3:47 pm

      To be honest? The better upgrade would be the turntable itself. Are the LP5’s features very important to you or is sound quality the main thing? If it’s sound, then I would head for a Rega Planar 3 or a decent Pro-Ject at a low price than the Rega. Pro-Ject can also offer the same toys as the AT but done so in a far more elegant and socially superior fashion.

  • Reply
    Alan Kirschbaum
    9th February 2018 at 2:18 am

    Hi Paul

    How would this work with a Thorens TD 160 and a SME3009 arm? I was thinking a 2m blue, but the local shop is recommending the 3E.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      9th February 2018 at 8:40 am

      Hmmm, I would venture to say that the E3 has a more insightful midrange than the Red/Blue engine. It’s close but you’d be saving cash going for the E3 and you won’t be disappointed. To be honest, though, I wonder if your under-selling the deck. Unless cash is the issue, I’d go for something better than both. A 2M Black, for example.

      • Reply
        Alan Kirschbaum
        9th February 2018 at 5:30 pm

        Hi Paul

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Sadly it is a cash issue. The shop, Planet of Sound in Toronto, is very honest. They were suggesting the Goldring 1006. I was thinking the Nogoaka MP 150 (a tad cheaper than the 1006). The rest of the system is an original Rega Brio and Totem Mites. Great soundstage, imaging and detail. Are we talking a noticeable difference between E3 and the more expensive cartridges?

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          9th February 2018 at 5:59 pm

          Hi Alan – If cash is the thing then the E3 is the best budget cart out there for the price. It also worries higher priced models so, yep, go for that. Here’s a review link, in case you need it: https://theaudiophileman.com/goldring-e3/

          • Alan Kirschbaum
            9th February 2018 at 6:58 pm

            Hi Paul
            Thanks for thinking about my budget. Last email. If there was an appreciable difference between the Goldring E3 and the Goldring 1006 or the MP 150 I would go for the better cartridge. I don’t have your experience in this area. My TD 160 currently has an ortofon VMS with a third party stylus on it. Any of the above would be an improvement.

          • Paul Rigby
            10th February 2018 at 12:41 pm

            All good quality carts – go for the MP150 if you can afford it, Alan.

  • Reply
    Brian
    20th April 2018 at 5:13 pm

    hello Paul,
    Nice review. I was looking at replacing the cartridge on my Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB DC turntable and had been looking at putting a 2M Blue on to replace the stock 2M Red. But then I started reading about the Goldring 3E and it sounds like it produces a nicer sound for roughly the same cost.
    I’m not sure if you’ve used the table I have or not, but would you recommend the 2M Blue or the Goldring 3E or would that table benefit more from a slightly pricier cartridge like the 2M Bronze or the Dynavector DV-10X5 or Denon DL-110? I am just not sure at what point the cartridge just won’t make that big of a difference and a new table is the way to go.
    For example, assuming I win the lottery, would a Koetsu Blue Lace Onyx Platinum cartridge (a $22,000 cartridge) be completely pointless in the Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB DC (a $600 table)? I imagine so, so I also expect there to be some upper limit with the table and likely tonearm. But I’m still relatively new to all this stuff and just want things to sound nicer.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th April 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments Brian and you’re spot on in terms of limits. Hence, for your turntable, I’d avoid MC carts. I don’t think the Esprit’s bearings can cope. I prefer the E3 to the Red but the Blue *should* really be better still (although I have yet to compare the two). Try to seek a demo, if you can.

  • Reply
    Felipe
    17th May 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your thorough and great review of the E3.

    I’m having a bit of “dilemma”. I currently run a AT440mla which I love for its tracking but also which I don’t love so much for its thin sound.

    Been reading about the Goldring 1042 and the 2500 because I’m looking for a microline stylus on a cartridge that produces a “fatter” sound than the AT. I like the AT a lot, but it can be too bright sometimes.

    But reading your review about the E-3 and listening to some videos of it on YouTube (of course I know it’s not ideal) I was amazed with the sound quality and the punchiness of the cart.

    I know that I would be downgrading from a stylus tip point of view, since the microline is much more refined than the ellyptical.

    So my question is: how does the E3 track? Do you think that, being used to the at440mla, I would suffer too much with sibilance?

    Thanks for any advice!
    Have a great day.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      18th May 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Felipe – I had no issues in tracking or sound quality or brightness with the E3. I would heartily recommend it. That said, you’re At is, what £200? What is your budget for the new cart?

      • Reply
        Felipe
        30th May 2018 at 11:34 pm

        Hi Paul, thank you very much for your answer! My original budget is around 300 pounds, but if someone actually guaranteed me that either the 1042 or the 2500 track as well as the 440mla with a fuller sound, I’d definitely be willing to spend a little more.

        Good to know you had no tracking issues with the E3, as it seems to me a very good option if I don’t want to spend as much. “problem” is that I have a lot of old records which sound lovely with the microline stylus of the 440. And I’m afraid I’ll have that dreadful IGD back with an ellyptical… What do you think? did you have the chance to play any old record with the E3? How did it go?

        Thank you so much!

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          31st May 2018 at 9:26 am

          Most of my collection are old records, Felipe 🙂 There’s more to tracking than just the stylus tip shape. The entire design plays a part so please don’t make a judgement based purely on the ‘tip’. For example, here’s a very expensive cart which showed tracking issues but the overall design of the cart was the issue: https://theaudiophileman.com/van-den-hul/
          For £300 – this example with a nude fine line stylus might be one to consider: https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/products/2M-Bronze?DepartmentIds=1&BrandIds=1

          • Felipe
            10th July 2018 at 10:56 pm

            Thank you very much for your enlightening answer, Paul! Yes, maybe I’ve been worrying too much about the tip and not so over the whole cart. I considered the Bronze in the past, but I’ve already had three ortofons and didn’t like them very much, the 2M red on my table was a disaster… OF COURSE the bronze is another league, I’m sure, it must track as well as the AT. But after viewing lots of reviews and forums – and I know I’m changing my original opinion here, but… what do you think of the Goldring 100 series? I’ve just watched a video of the 1006 and even though it’s the “budget” elliptical only (my mistake again!) of the line, it sounded very cool and apparently tracking well. So what do you think> The 1042 seems to be a beast, but also very expensive. Should I try something like the 1006 or 1012? Have you had any experience with those carts? Thanks again!!

          • Paul Rigby
            11th July 2018 at 10:44 am

            I would get the most expensive cart on that list that you can afford, Felipe. They are all good and have increasing abilities governed by cost so you need to discuss the issue with your wallet 🙂

  • Reply
    Joel
    6th June 2018 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for the review. I’m also interested in knowing about the spacer question. Don’t want to mess with them if not necessary.

    In the US, the E3 is $175, which is just shy of an Ortofon 2M Blue. The Blue uses a nude elliptical vs. a bonded elliptical on the E3. So at least on this side of the Atlantic, it’s probably not price-competitive. But sounds like a good deal for you guys.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th June 2018 at 11:06 am

      Hi Joel
      I tried the E3 on a Rega and used spacers during my review because the E3 spans around 18mm in height to the stylus tip (as does the Ortofon 2M Red which I also used) whereas the Rega cart is about 13mm. If you’re able, I’d be interested to hear what you think of the E3 without spacers on the Rega. I have heard, more recently, that the Rega with a taller cart works fine without spacers and, for a turntable at that price, all of this spacer malarky is not what it’s cracked up to be. Haven’t tested the theory myself, though…

      In addition to the above, Rega does say this, “Arm height or V.T.A adjustment can be a controversial subject. Rega believes that the integrity of the arm fixing onto the arm mounting board is much more important than the questionable facility of arm adjustment. The arm should be reasonably parallel to the record surface or slightly lower at the mounting. The only time a spacer is necessary to raise the arm height is if the rear of a cartridge is hitting the record whilst playing.”

      Hence, Rega is saying that spacers don’t really matter. Or that spacers are not as important in their arms as many users think they are.

      I’m 99% sure that the E3 does *not* hit the record so, if you follow Rega’s advice, buy an E3 and forget all about the spacers. If the spacer is important to you, check out this link: http://www.rega.co.uk/arm-height-adjustment-spacer.html.

  • Reply
    Erkan
    10th July 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Paul thanks for the review, excellent insight of this cartridge, totally sold and will be buying one. I will be replacing it with my 4 year old AT100E which is good but wanted something new for the price, but also it will go on my 1978/79 Pioneer PL-514X which i will not be upgrading now as its still a lovely entry vintage turntable. I also want to buy a new separate phono stage that will replace my Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20 with built in phono stage which also is good but need to turn up the knob fully to get a decent sound. My question is (if you can help me) which phono stage would you recommend for the Goldring E3: Cambridge Audio CP1 or Edwards Audio Apprentice MM?

  • Reply
    Erkan
    11th July 2018 at 11:18 am

    Thanks!!! The Rega looks nice and has an input capacitance of 100pF bit less than Edwards Audio..Hmmm which one to choose ? LOL

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th July 2018 at 11:40 am

      Both are good – I’d lean towards the Rega a bit, though.

      • Reply
        Erkan
        11th July 2018 at 11:44 am

        Thanks Paul, much appreciated. Nice chatting to you and Keep up the excellent reviews, one of the best i have seen. All the best.

        Erkan

  • Reply
    Erkan
    11th July 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Hey Paul one last thing. If i was to push the price range up a bit, what do you think about the Schiit Mani?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th July 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Here’s my thoughts Erkan: https://theaudiophileman.com/schitt-mani/

      • Reply
        Erkan
        11th July 2018 at 1:54 pm

        Again thanks for the review Paul i might just pay a bit more and buy the Schiit Mani as I’m sure it is a bit more robust and powerful phono stage compared to Rega Fono.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          11th July 2018 at 2:20 pm

          It is top quality, I agree.

          • Erkan
            25th July 2018 at 6:21 pm

            Hey paul just one more question and I won’t bother you too much again lol. Ok so I have a 1979 Pioneer pl-514x which I bought 5 years ago refurbished and still sounding great with a Audio Technica AT100E cartridge I fitted. After reading your review on this Goldring cartridge I want to upgrade to it as I find the AT100E bit too bright. Is it worth it upgrading to the Goldring E3 and fitting it on my vintage pioneer or buying a brand new turntable altogether?

          • Paul Rigby
            26th July 2018 at 1:05 pm

            Hi Erkan – I’m unfamiliar with the sound of the Pioneer but I do know that it’s not the best deck in the world. A Planar 3 is superior, for example. That said, if you like your Pioneer, then stick with it, by all means. Your enjoyment is the main thing here.
            Are you sure the cart is the cause of the brightness, incidentally? Your comment surprises me.
            Botton line? I would stick with what you have and save any serious cash for a turntable/cart upgrade further down the line. If you want to enhance the performance of the Pioneer, I would look at mods including isolation feet, platter mat, stabiliser, etc.

  • Reply
    Nuno Baptista
    13th July 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Hello Paul,
    I´m looking after a new cartridge for my Rega Planar 2. So far I´m looking after the Nagaoka MP 110, the Shure M97XE and the Goldring E3. Which one is the best?My dealer says that the Shure is better than the Nagaoka, but doesn´t know the Goldring.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th July 2018 at 12:09 pm

      Thanks for your question Nuno. The E3, the latest cart in your list, is the best available cartridge for £100 and under. I’d go for that one.

  • Reply
    Eduardo Ferreira Lelis
    14th July 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Hello Paul, I’m from Brazil and here things are not so accessible. I have a Gemini XT1800 Q II, and I’m thinking of upgrading to a Nagaoka MP110 or ebay buy a Goldring E3, what I recommend to do, change the Turntable and which of the cartridges you recommend. connected on a Yamaha A-S501.
    Tks

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th July 2018 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for the question, Eduardo. I would not upgrade the cartridge for the Gemini, though. I’d strongly recommend upgrading the turntable first.

  • Reply
    Tomas
    4th August 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Hello Paul, and thanks for the review and all the info. Great job.

    I have the Onkyo CP1050 turntable with the Goldring E3 and the sound is really amazing, i’m discovering new details on my old vinyls. I’m using a Yamaha AS-1100 amp with Monitor Audio Silver2 loudspeakers.

    I’m just curious about the next step on sound quality, which cartridge-stylus? Have i reached top sound quality with this turntable? What do you think?

    Thanks in advance

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th August 2018 at 11:28 am

      Thanks for your kind words Tomas and yes, you’re right, the next stage is a turntable upgrade I reckon. Save your cash for something up around £700-£1,000. When you get there, let me know and we’ll chat.

  • Reply
    Tomas
    5th August 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for your reply, Paul.

    I bought the Onkyo turntable 2 months ago, and i’d like to extract all of its juice for some years, I’m really happy with it, i think it is a great product for the price.

    So i was thinking of giving a try to one of these stylus when the E3 get worn out:

    – Ortofon 2M Bronze or Goldring G-1042 as MM.

    – Audio-Technica ATF7 or Denon DL-103R as MC.

    So do you think any of this options isn’t worth a try? Is my best option keep replacing the E3 with the same?

    Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th August 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Ahhh, well, that’s different then 🙂 I would go for the 1042 and stop there. I’d save your MC upgrade for a better deck. Saying that, the 1042 is a top quality MM cart and fights its corner well against low priced MC carts.
      Make sure you have an external phono amp.
      Look at where you’ve sited the deck. Make sure it’s on quality shelving.
      Upgrade the cables, QED provide good value – the best you can afford.
      Detach and remove the lid during play (removes lid vibrations) and then freely place it on the plinth to keep the dust out when not in play.
      Consider a stabiliser (removes bearing noise) to fit over the spindle. HRS is excellent but not cheap. There’s a few more on my site in the accessories section.
      Upgrade the headshell (do this before you buy the Goldring – Timestep offer a classy option, enhances rigidity): https://theaudiophileman.com/t-01hs-ebony-headshell-timestep-review/
      Add isolation feet under the plinth. Again, removes veiling noise.
      You can do all of this over time, when funds allow but that should keep you occupied for a year or two 🙂
      I’m off on my holidays for a week now. If you ask further questions, I’m afraid they won’t be answered for a week or more. Good luck with the upgrades!

  • Reply
    Tomas
    5th August 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Many many thanks, no more questions, i’ll follow your advices, they sound as excellent choice.

    Thanks again and enjoy holidays!!!

  • Reply
    Mark Robinson
    12th August 2018 at 2:45 am

    I have a Vintage Pioneer PL-600 in excellent knick and would like to know if you would recommend the E3 for it.

    Regards Mark

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th August 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Mark

      Is this the earlier direct drive model or the later belt drive model?

  • Reply
    Amal Kr De
    17th August 2018 at 8:26 am

    Hi, Paul. Thanks for your excellent review of E3 and just in time when I am thinking to upgrade my old AT311EP MM stylus. I am from India and using very old Indian turntable (30 years old). The turntable is still in very good condition and enjoying vinyl sound from it. Only down side of this table is that it has no height adjustment provision and tall cart may pose problem due to rear of the tall cart may hit record while playing. My present AT311EP cart has only 1mm gap from record surface to rear of the cart. I am using recommended VTF of 1.25gm. As the E3 is tall cart and its height is 18mm to the stylus tip I am little bit worry of upgrading to excellent E3 cart. Currently I am not in the mood of upgrading my turntable. Kindly advice.Thanks.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th August 2018 at 9:58 am

      Thanks for the query Amal – I find it odd that most cartridge manufacturers don’t readily supply dimensions to their carts, very odd. Hence, because I don’t have a AT311EP to hand, I cannot measure it for you. Looking at it, though, I would say that the E3 is larger. How it would sit on your turntable is, I’m afraid, a bit of a mystery. You may be ok but you’d have to borrow a sample to find out. If you are at all nervous about it, though, then you might want to look at an Ortofon 2M Blue or AT VM520EB.

      • Reply
        Amal Kr De
        17th August 2018 at 12:26 pm

        Thanks Paul for your quick reply. My cart AT 311EP measurs 20 mm from top of headshell (headshell 1.5mm thk) to stylus tip. Regarding 2M blue, all 2M series carts have same vertical dims i. e 18mm from top of headshell to stylus tip. Don’t know about other you mentioned. Disappointed for E3. Anyway thanks for suggestion. Amal

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          17th August 2018 at 1:00 pm

          Of course! I should have asked you to measure it for me. Forgive my dozy reply. Well, you’re in luck because the E3 measures 18mm to the stylus tip. So you should be fine! (Or 19.5mm inc headshell).

          • Amal Kr De
            17th August 2018 at 2:22 pm

            Thanks again for quick reply. Glad to know that I can still use E3. However my advice from you, how the Goldring Elektra cart! It has great reputation among budget audiophiles. Thanks. Amal

          • Paul Rigby
            17th August 2018 at 3:28 pm

            I would prefer the E3.

  • Reply
    John Garnet
    23rd August 2018 at 8:25 am

    Hi Paul,
    I’ve been a hi-fi ‘nut’ for over 56 years; thanks for your accurate review of the E3 – I can report your conclusions concur with mine. I installed my E3 tracking at 2g on a much modified Rega P1 (2016) including a replacement Rega RB202 tonearm and a 3mm cork mat. I can confirm that no spacers were required to result in a completely level tonearm. I currently use a Denon AVR-X6200’s built-in phono stage into Q Acoustic 3020s via QED silver cabling, and the result is exquisite. Thank you for your continued and valuable contributions to hi-fi journalism.

  • Reply
    Fraser Campbell
    3rd September 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Goldring E3 Cartridge.
    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for an informative and excellent review. I am seriously thinking of investing in the Goldring after watching the latest HiVinyl review on Youtube (Grado Presstige Black 2 vs Goldring E3). I love the Grado sound and have Gold Prestige 1. I would have thought the Grado would have a deeper, cleaner, more extended / controlled bass, but it seems the Goldring was the champ. Also, it seems there maybe a ‘quality control’ issue with the Grado’s with either skewed cantilevers or one channel completely dead. What’s your opinion on the Grado Black / Green vs Goldring E3? I love a rich, warm sound with an expressive midrange, smooth detailed extended treble, and strong deep articulate bass.

    Regards,

    Fraser Campbell.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th September 2018 at 12:48 pm

      I wish I could provide comprehensive information on this one and apologise that I cannot. I have yet to do a thorough review of the Grados (they obviously need to be on my review list). I’ve heard them and they sound nice but I haven’t done a proper test. I do know that the E3 is excellent but I am personally not sure how it measures against the Grados. Again, my apologies.

  • Reply
    Fraser Campbell
    5th September 2018 at 12:02 am

    Hi Paul,
    Many thanks for your response. I look forward to your reviews of the Grado cartridges.
    Regards
    Fraser Campbell

  • Reply
    John Garnet
    7th September 2018 at 1:12 am

    Hi again Paul,
    Is there any chance of pairing your E3 with a Tisbury Audio Domino Phono Pre-amp for a combined review? From all accounts they should be a synergistic match made in heaven…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      7th September 2018 at 9:45 am

      Hi John – Indeed. I thought a review sample was on the way but everything went a bit quiet and I know not why. Thanks for the nudge.

      • Reply
        John Garnet
        7th September 2018 at 12:27 pm

        …another item I meant to suggest for appraisal was LP Gear’s Carbon replacement stylus CFN3600LE for the ubiquitous Rega Carbon – the carbon cantilever, fitted with a fine-line elliptical stylus in lieu of the conical, transforms this cart into something really special! Assuming you have access to a Carbon body, I can let you borrow a new one I was saving – as long as you promise to return it post review of course…

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          7th September 2018 at 1:28 pm

          Thanks John – the loan shouldn’t be necessary though. Many thanks for the offer, though 🙂

  • Reply
    Nuno
    16th September 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Hello Paul,
    I have the chance to buy an Áudio Técnica VM530EN for 100€.What you think?Or should I spend 120€ instead and buy the Goldring e3?What is my best choice?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th September 2018 at 7:27 pm

      At that price – go for the 530.

  • Reply
    Pjotr
    5th October 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Hello Paul,

    Recently I bought vintage Siemens turntable, which was made by Micro seiki back in the eighties. It uses quality S-shaped tonearm, I think the exact one you can find on Micro seiki DD1 model. It is strong and solid made direct-drive deck. Now I have an idea to put a Goldring cartridge on it but I don`t know if E series would be any better than my current Shure M44-7. I am also interested in Goldring 2100. What can you recommend?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th October 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Pjotr – what’s the model number of the turntable, may I ask?

  • Reply
    Josh
    6th November 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Paul, this is great. Your original review is excellent and I really value the questions from other readers and your generous responses. I purchased my E3 in part on the recommendation of your original review and have been extremely impressed. It was an upgrade from the Ortofon 2M Red that came installed on my Rega P1. I’m now looking at purchasing a Thorens TD160 with a TP16 (rewired but no cartridge) and trying to determine whether to move the Goldring over to that rig or try something else (I will sell my Rega either with the Goldring or will install a budget cart). I have a friend with an unopened 2M Black that he is offering to me for a very good price but not sure if it’s the right pairing for the Thorens. Any advice? Thanks.

  • Reply
    Alexander
    19th December 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Paul! Your review is helpful and very comprehensive! Thanks! Maybe I’ve missed something: can’t find the information about the height of “E” series, particularly of E3. Would you be so kind to help me get this data. Yours faithfuly…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      19th December 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Alexander, thanks for your question. 18mm to the stylus tip – give or take 🙂

  • Reply
    Alexander
    20th December 2018 at 8:25 am

    Thank you very much, Paul!

  • Reply
    Stephen
    22nd January 2019 at 11:35 am

    Hi Paul

    Great review. I was looking for a new cartridge under £100 as I no longer wanted to pay £250 for a cartridge I previously owned VM540ML, a superb cartridge and I am under no illusions that the E3 could better it, just want a solid performer. So I came across your review as I have been interested in the Goldring new E series. I bought the cartridge on the strength of your review and all I can say is many thanks for the push.

    I was concerned about the talk of the E3 been just a dressed up AT95e as I really don’t like that cartridge at all. But I had no need to worry because it sounds nothing like the AT95e at all.

    It sounds wonderful and I am so pleased with it and I managed to get it for £77 free postage from Juno music.

    Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      22nd January 2019 at 11:44 am

      Great stuff, Stephen – glad I could be of help 🙂

  • Reply
    Larry Hoffman
    11th February 2019 at 5:43 am

    Hi Paul,
    I would appreciate your opinion regarding an upgrade. I have a new generation Rega P2 with the Bias II cartridge installed. I’ve heard many say it’s not nearly as good as many others in it’s price range and am interested in upgrading it. I was interested in Either the Nagaoka MP-110 or MP-150. Been told the 150 would be a good one for it, but the price, especially in Canada, is too high for my budget. The Goldring E3 looks very interesting and I would like to know if it would be a better bet than the Nagaoka MP-110, which gets rave reviews.Would either be a substantial upgrade for the Bias II in your estimation? Any problems with the RB220 arm?
    Thanks for your advice,
    Larry

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th February 2019 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks for your question Larry. The Bias II is good, I’d say that the E3 is better and I like the 110 but they all live in the same world. Changing to a 110 or E3 would be, essentially, a sideways step. Instead, I would look seriously at a Goldring 1042 which should provide a step up in terms of sonic detail. Then, the next step would be a turntable upgrade. Depends what you pick but the Goldring may be a good bet for that upgrade too – at least initially.

  • Reply
    Larry Hoffman
    12th February 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks Paul,
    Only problem with the 1042 is the cost. It’s well over $400.00 Canadian, in Nagaoka Mp-150 territory. I was hoping to stay in the $300.00 to $350.00 range. I may have to watch for sales for one of those two. What is your opinion of the Nag MP-150 vs the Goldring 1042? I may hold off untill I have the $$ for one of those, or can find it on sale. Also, what are your thoughts on upgrading the subplatter first.
    Thank you for your advice!!!
    Larry

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      13th February 2019 at 11:41 am

      I would look at an Ortofon 2M Blue, which is the upgrade from a 2M Red. That should hopefully fall within your budget, Larry. Try that first before the platter.

      • Reply
        Larry Hoffman
        15th February 2019 at 4:00 pm

        Thank you Paul!!!!

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