VPI Goldy Cartridge Page 2

However, if you are a fan of the basic OC9 series you'll still love the Goldy as it doesn't dispense with any of the donor design's best traits. Rather, it builds on them. This means there is still plenty of lovely top-end crispness, delivered with the typical competence and poise of a Line Contact stylus. There's also copious amounts of detail throughout the frequency range, so not only does this cartridge never get in the way of any aspect of the music, it holds the door open for it, takes its coat and ushers it right into the best seat in the house.

Aiding the Goldy's all-round appeal is a pleasing propensity to dismiss general groove noise and smaller record imperfections. This MC will let you know if all is not well in this respect, but it deals with the more everyday dust and detritus with ease, making sure that unwanted pops and clicks are unlikely to intrude on your listening pleasure.

As for that midrange focus, the collaborating manufacturers have knocked it out of the park: it's hard to recall a cartridge around this price point bringing such clarity and insight to instrumentation and vocals.

The VPI Goldy's rendition of the guitars during the intro to the extended 12in version of Mike Oldfield's 'Moonlight Shadow' [Virgin Records 600 928-213] was superb. This features electric and acoustic models playing in quick-fire harmony, but every single string pluck was vivid and easy to pick out, the two instruments complementing each other rather than squabbling for space.


Packaged in a foam-filled, VPI-branded box, the Goldy's delicate stylus assembly is protected by a push-fit plastic guard

Equally impressive is the Goldy's accomplished imaging performance. Audio-Technica's latest OC9 models do very well in terms of lateral image width but I have found them to lag a little behind the best in terms of stage depth, whereas this cartridge offers up a properly deep and capacious soundstage that fills the area between and around the loudspeakers with precision.

In The Groove
The opening bars of the title track of Jessie Ware's That! Feels Good! LP [EMI 00602448442963] feature a flock of uncredited guest cameos, spread across the soundstage, all saying the words 'That feels good'. The Goldy positioned and layered these skilfully, casting the action from left to right and front to back with remarkable vigour.

When this pop-disco track gets into its proper groove, the VPI cartridge grabs its funky bassline by the scruff of the neck and bounds along with it. This element is not overtly prominent amidst the synths, percussion and Ware's wispy vocals, but is essential to underpinning the piece, and the Goldy makes sure it never loses its rightful place.

Talking of bass, I was reminded of Mat Weisfeld's words that one of the goals for the cartridge was to have a 'strong punch at the bottom end'. Having then submitted myself to a sonic pummelling at a positively un-neighbourly volume courtesy of 'Sleepwalk My Life Away' from Metallica's new 72 Seasons album [Blackened BLCKND055-1], I can confirm this intention has been viscerally realised.

The Goldy hammered out Lars Ulrich's kick drum and Robert Trujillo's bassline without breaking a sweat. It might have fully-fledged audiophile credentials but, trust me, it can mosh with the best of them!


Although the curved shape of the cartridge body can hinder its initial alignment, the exposed cantilever makes cueing very easy. The gold-plated brass pins are coloured-coded and well spaced

Clearly helping this performance are the solid tracking abilities of the Goldy design. As PM's Lab Report confirms, this MC pick-up grips the groove like a limpet, resulting in an ever-present sense of clarity and stability when it comes to challenging cuts. Scottish singer Paolo Nutini really goes for it on the choruses of the otherwise sedate 'Through The Echoes' from his Last Night In The Bittersweet album [Atlantic Records 0190296224706], and I have heard other cartridges lose their composure during these vocal crescendos.

No Fear
Not so the Goldy. On this song and others it didn't exhibit the slightest hint of distortion or uncertainty, and this meant the music took on a whole new level of enjoyment without the fear of audible break-up. The last cartridge I heard achieve this so effortlessly was the £7495 Ortofon MC Diamond [HFN Dec '22]... which puts the Goldy into auspicious company.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
VPI's Goldy cartridge illustrates the potential subjective impact of what are, on the face of it, simple mechanical revisions. Naturally, Audio-Technica's 'donor chassis' is already in the top drawer, but VPI's tweaks have resulted in something of a giant-killer. The Goldy retains the tracking prowess and medium output of the AT-OC9 but adds a silkiness and refinement all its own. If you own a VPI deck, it's a slam dunk.

Audio-Technica Corp for VPI Industries Inc.
New Jersey, USA
Supplied by: Renaissance Audio, Scotland
0131 555 3922