I’ve really enjoyed my Goldring E3 Cartridge for the last couple of years, but all good things come to an end. Time to embrace a new cartridge.
When I replaced my aging Goldring 1006 cartridge with an E3 back in September 2017 I had absolutely no idea how much play the 1006 had on it’s stylus. I didn’t want to be in the same position with the E3, so I have a tally counter next to my turntable. It has clocked up 1025 sides, or about 340 hours.
The corresponding chart from my rather OCD spreadsheet shows that my use has been pretty steady. I play vinyl for about 150 hours a year, or about 3 hours a week.
Opinions vary as to when to change your stylus. 340 hours is probably a little low. Goldring are tight lipped about the issue. Audio-Technica claim 500 hours for a conical and just 300 for an elliptical.
Though not officially acknowledged, it’s generally accepted that the E3 is an Audio-Technica with Audio-Technica crossed out and Goldring written in in crayon. Oh and they put a silly oversized case around the cartridge and stylus to give it a Goldring look. Looking at the under side of both next to each other provides pretty damning evidence. So, if we assume that the E3 is an elliptical stylus Audio-Technica, there is a compelling case to consider replacement at 300 hours.
We must also consider that manufacturers walk a line between advising early replacement to ensure safety of your records and projecting a quality robust product. Getting this wrong one way or the other is not great marketing. I’m going to err on the safe side. I’m also factoring in the facts that I just fancy a change, and I find the E3 ugly and difficult to see when cuing. The E3 will go into a box and may be resurrected on another turntable.
I have a second headshell for my dual 505 turntable so I can crack on with installation before removing the E3. Clear instructions show how to mount and wire up the new cartridge
I cover installation and set up of this cartridge in detail elsewhere. Suffice to say it was straightforward.
T1he specification calls for a tracking force of 2g. I explain elsewhere the pro’s and con’s of tracking force adjustment. Suffice to say I am happy with the reading of 2.07 g achieved.
I will fine tune the setup later, using a Test record and appropriate templates. It’s certainly good to go for now.
I suspect that this album just might have been marketed with an eye to exploiting the sex angle? Anyway, it’s a fine album and well produced. That’s my excuse for choosing it as the inaugural play for the AT VM-95EN.
I played Carly, then Fleetwood Mac Rumours. That’s the first four sides tallied up on the new counter. Mechanical version this time.
This cartridge is a similar specification to the E3 which it replaces. First impression is that it sounds quite a lot clearer. It certainly looks better as well, despite the gaudy colour. It’s easier to see what you’re doing when cuing up. A very satisfactory upgrade .
After a few weeks of use, and playing a lot of records due to the Covid-19 shutdown keeping me at home, I love this cartridge. I’m picking up lots of detail which was previously missing. This is even the case on records which I know very well, like ELO Out of the blue and Led Zep IV.