Do a check at Audioasylum in Vinyl Asylum. There are many comparisons there. My gut feeling is that the Denon has the edge with most of the users who have heard both, but the AT does have its advocates. John Elison, in particular, has extensive experience along with a great deal of technical information on both.
I think that ultimately they are probably both exceptional cartridges, particularly at their price point. I debated both before settling on the Denon as is it seems to garner top marks in the "musicality" area (which I value highly) as opposed to the AT which reports indicate might dig a few more details out of recordings.
Hdm (Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
The OC9 is definitely not a step up from the Denon, at best it is a step sideways, being more focused on the high frequencies. In fact, I'm not certain it is possible to step up from the Denon, as it excels in PRaT, and musical excitement which no MC in my experience can match. For detail and absolute frequency extension it can be bettered, and other "flavours" can be had, like the tubey midrange of Koetsus or the blinding speed of the Dynavector 17D MKII. You'll have to look higher than the OC9 for a definite step up, and given the incredible sound quality of the Denons, you'll have to spend a LOT more, and still....The OC9 sounds good on an extreme high-mass turntable (like a large idler-wheel drive or the old Maplenoll air-bearing turntables), the extra gravitas in the bass bringing with it a fleshing-out of the OC9's tonal thinness to make it a superb cartridge. This is a case of the cart coming before the horse ;-), as it requires buying a new tunrtable to maximize a cartridge!! But the same can be done for the superb Denons.
Johnnantais (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Thanks for the input. Your insights have been extremely helpful in an impossible scenario for me. You both confirmed what I kind of already suspected. Keep the Denon. It's got less then 30 hrs on it and sounds better with every listen.
Dreadhead (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)