Goldring 1042 Review. The 1042 is a ledgendary MM (Moving Magnet) cartridge with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and has a smooth classic sonic signature that will satisfy audiophiles. The 1042 sports an Gyger S stylus and easily attaches to the headshell with the included leads.
Goldring is certainly one of those brands that has stood the test of time. Producing fine accessories for the vinyl enthusiast is unequivocally a passion of the brand that radiates across the length and breath of their product range. Many of you vinyl enthusiasts will undoubtedly know of the quality, and dedication, that many Goldring owners posses. However, today we shall be exploring one of their finest offerings; the 1042 Moving Magnet cartridge.
Arriving in a package that casts your mind back to the 80’s, the simple monotone exterior isn’t too much of a shock as the market is dominated by fairly unflattering arrival. Opening you will find a polygonal black plastic container that houses the 1042 with stylus protector attached, four headshell bolts, four clear washers, the important manual that contains the optimal stylus tracking force and impedance, a hex key, and finally a small hexagonal wrench. Inside this entrapment the cartridge is held very securely within its own upper section of the enclosure, and I definitely cannot imagine the cartridge coming to any harm during transit. Granted, I would have personally preferred to see some cartridge leads included within the package, but, as many vinyl enthusiasts are quite particular (or anal) beasts, I cannot see this as being a clincher during the purchasing process. Other than needing to take some time to carefully pry the cartridge out from its security clips, it appears as if the 1042 package is unremarkable.
Features and Fitting
For the 20Hz – 20kHz rated 1042 an average tracking force of 1.8g is described by Goldring as ‘optimal’. Whilst the cartridge performs very well at this rating we have found it to sound a touch more detailed when set around 1.9g with a freshly calibrated digital scale. Furthermore we recommend that when you fit this cartridge to the head-shell, that you make sure that it isn’t overly tight as this can affect performance. Turning the bolts until they are ‘snug’ secure, and then aligning the cartridge with an alignment protractor is important so that the stylus becomes perfectly inline with the cuttings on the vinyl surface. As the stylus on the 1042 is replaceable, albeit rather expensive (at 3/4 of the original cost of the entire cartridge), it boasts what is known as an Gyger S line contact stylus. Effectively this type of needlepoint shape, and size, is trying to match the vinyl cutter head with as much universal accuracy; and it appears to do a great job.
Measuring in at 6.5mV, the 1042’s output is certainly a little on the high side, however this should rarely come as a concern. For owners with typically low output phono stages, the higher input of the 1042 pair well. During our testing time with the 1042 we detected a noticeably higher noise floor. With records that make full use of a greater more traditional dynamic range you may notice the ‘buzz’s’ to be slightly distracting. However, to make sure that you keep noise to a minimum with this type of component please make sure that your turntable is connected to a reliable ground source, and also that the headshell leads are secure along the lengths of the terminals.
Having tested the Goldring 1042 across a variety of genres I appreciate that this cartridge is refined in all the right places. The stereo field feels just right, and of course, this it bodes well for a rounded tonality that feels far from weedy. In comparison to some other contenders the 1042 attempts to naturally replicate a vision of sound, where you won’t ever be left stranded by institutionalized screaming high frequencies. Instead you are presented with the grace of each instrument in an uncluttered focused manner that can either sweetly sing alone, or amalgamate with others ‘as one’ to form a very nice velvety sonic story. This is not to say that this cartridge should be considered as one which ‘irons over the finer details’, because that would be plain wrong. I like to think that the 1042 sets a precedent across most genres that it is presented with. Granted it isn’t unnaturally razor sharp on pumping hard attack kick drums, but it does a brilliant job with a classic bite and deep bass edge smoothness. On the opposite end of the pole the high frequencies have never sounded harsh, or what we like to call ‘over extended’, because Goldring have made sure that everything is plain and simple in its approach to the music in general. I would have to say that it can appear to have a touch too much finesse on heavier rock genres, and I would like it to sound a touch more full, but either way the Goldring 1042 hasn’t let us down and we appreciate that this is an award winning contender.
With the right tools for the job the Goldring 1042 can effortlessly fit into your existing set up. In general the 1042 has a nice smooth ‘traditional’ sonic body that is very rich and pleasing to the ears, and whilst it doesn’t have an exceptionally tight attack, it still has an exciting personality that can suit a huge variety of music genres, turntables, and preamps. Here at The Pro Audio Web Blog we have been excited by the Goldring 1042’s presence, and warmly recommend it to all. For a cartridge that is as highly diverse as the 1042 is, we can only award it with our highest five star rating.