Benefit of low output moving-iron Grado ?

Hi all,
I'm considering a cartridge upgrade from a high output (5mv) Grado Sonata cartridge to a moving-iron Grado Master cartridge, either a low output (.5mv) or a high output (5mv). If I choose the low output version, I would have to drop an additional $250 on a phono card for my Exposure amp, whereas I've already got the high output phono card installed.
So my question is....
a) is there a sonic improvement in low output cartridges, or is it more a matter of taste
b) I hear a kind of "shrillness" when vocalists use an "s", and with other very high frequency sounds.... is this shrillness reduced by using a low output cartridge?
c) does Grado's moving-iron type of cartridge have properties unlike moving magnet or moving coil that might be relevant to the other questions I raised?
Thanks in advance, and I always appreciate this forum.
Seeing that the phono card in your Exposure sold for $269, I doubt a $500 stand alone Grado phono stage would be much of an improvement. More likely a lateral move. If your heart is set on trying a Grado phono stage, I'd call Grado and ask for their advice. They are very approachable and happy to chat in my experience. Still, my gut reaction says that a high output Grado in a Master model will give you a low hassle factor and good bang for the buck IF you are going to stick with the built in phono card in the Exposure. The move to low output cartridges is a pivotal moment in the evolution of analog addiction. Problems with equipment matching rise, sometimes exponentially, in exchange for the subtler insights low output cartridges can bestow. With regard to improving your analog chain, if you live away from dealer support, you basically either have to settle for what your turntable came with or accept that you'll be rolling up you sleeves and learning to do turntable setup for yourself. There's lots of help for analog addicts online. Get MIchael Fremer's "how to" DVD, watch YouTube videos. You can download very serviceable free protractors online, just do a Google search. has a good one to get you started.
"Sound" advice, Photon. Until I'm in a position where amp upgrades are feasible from top to bottom, it seems clear I should stick with the high-output cartridge realm of analogue enjoyment. When it comes down to it, the Sonata has always sounded banging through my Vandy 3a Sigs, and a new, DEPENDABLE cartridge would breathe new life into my system. I am glad you are able to frankly and wisely share your experience with me in our comparable situations (though it looks like your system rocks pretty darn hard). And as far as the setup goes; you're right - the only thing I have to fear is fear itself.
So I suppose all my questions are answered, and perhaps I'll check in again, or send you a personal note once I replace the cartridge. Peace, Nicky
Bad writing skills, Nicky. What I meant by "dependable" was a modest upgrade (the high-output Master) which would be SIMILAR to what I've got and have been happy with (the Sonata), without gambling on a new phono stage. Whew...
You might want to experiment with loading. We had a ZYX Universe that was very nice, one day the needle just decided to let go of the cantilever and that was that.

So we installed a wood-body Grado we had on hand. Its 5mV. It was also a little upfront/in your face compared to the ZYX (we are running a Triplanar which easily tracks either cartridge). However being a high output moving magnet, they are sensitive to loading. We've used 10K as a loading value in the past, and that seems to work well with this one too.

Funny thing, if the arm really *can* track the cartridge, you have it set up right and loaded right, you really don't hear big differences between many cartridges. Miss one of the caveats above though and its a different story!

IOW we're not hearing a big difference between the two cartridges other than output. Loading in this case was the key as the Triplanar was not the variable.
I've been lurking around this thread as I too have a Reference Sonata and felt it was very brash, comparing it to my Zu DL103 on my other table. Tried the 10k loading and it did the trick. Much more laid back but did not lose any of the sparkle.