“For many, when you ask them to complete the sentence “Italian high performance….” they might say “cars, Ferrari,” or “bikes, Ducati.” Yet after living with a few of their phono cartridges for a while, I suggest adding “audio, Gold Note” to the end of that sentence.
Their just under $400 Vasari MM cartridge is one of the most exciting MM carts we’ve taken for a test drive, and the $1,075 Donatello is even more compelling. The $3,000 Machiavelli high output MC even more so, as we will see.
This is a critical price point, because for many music lovers, about $1,000 is the limit of discretionary income that can usually be spared for a phono cartridge, while still leaving room in the budget for a turntable/tonearm and phonostage. Anyone ponying up this kind of money to play records deserves serious respect in my book, and I suggest the Donatello. But if you are prepared to step up further, I suggest the $3,000 Machiavelli, and for good reason. Though this is a fairly expensive cartridge, you don’t need a more expensive, high gain MC phonostage. That’s what makes it such an incredible find.”

Read the full review here: