AT-ART9XI Cartridge - Reduced Compliance

Hi folks, I'm leaning toward the AT-ART9 cartridge for my SME V.  The new version - the ART9XI - has a thicker solid boron stylus (was .26mm, now .28mm) and slightly lower compliance (was 18, now 15 x10-6).

The newer version costs $300 more ($1,300 v. $1,000).  I'm inclined to buy the old one.  Any opinions?  (Please keep in mind I bought my SME V 30 years ago when it was $2k even.)  Thanks in advance!
A thicker stylus sounds good. I accidentally bumped my ART-9 and bent the stylus.
I think it would be fine but look here if you want more tools for measurement
I have the ART9XI, ART9XA, and older ART9 cartridges.  In my main system I have two turntables one with the XA and other with the XI.

My ART9 is warmer sounding than the newer  ART9XI.  I prefer the ART9XI over the ART9.  

Classical music accounts for the majority of my listening.  The clarity of the ART9XA makes it my classical music favorite.

If I arm going to listen to some blues, then it is the ART9XI.
Cantilever, not stylus!
a thicker straight stylus sounds better than a skinny bent one  :)

i love my art9 (original) and would not feel the need for more detail, i like its balance and slightly warm nature

then again i run a solid state phono stage.... ymmv
The XI will sound less warm, more transparent and neutral. Even in this video you can hear the difference.

I owned the 9 for a few years and loved it. works best with a low mass arm e.g. 9 grams or so. - your tonearm will work better with the XI.

as long as the XI keeps the squeaky clean colorful refinement of the '9, i could easily live with a more neutral sound.
avanti, thanks very much for the excellent A/B/C comparison video by Lp Gear.  As much as I've been reading about various cartridges, I was unaware of these videos - let alone one that gives us the three ART9 models.  Very helpful.  The SME V's stated effective mass is 10/11, just barely into mid mass range.  Cart/arm resonance with the ART9XI is in the high 9's, a more comforting number than the ART9's high 8's.  Good point about the combo!

noromance, cantilever is correct; I parroted "stylus" from the Lp Gear site.  My bad.

One of those two new versions, probably the lowest output one, seems to be an update (or an up-cost) of the ART7, in disguise.  I am very fond of the ART7.  I am not into or able to split hairs about minute differences among very similar cartridges, because there are so many uncontrolled variables involved in setting up a cartridge, starting with the tonearm and headshell and ending with the set-up procedure and how reproducibly it is done, any one of which could account for the nuances you do or don't hear.
BTW, a difference in compliance of 18 vs 15 would hardly make anything but a very tiny difference in the resonant frequency (Fres) calculation.  Fres varies inversely as the square root of the product of M*C, where C = compliance.  The square root of 18 is ~4.2; the square root of 15 is 3.9.
Dear @keegiam : Your V is a good match for the ARts, maybe you can ask SME if the tonearm internal wiring of your sample is similar to today Vs and if not then some one coukld re-wire for you with top internal wires.

In the other side and if I was you my choice will be the ART9 XA over the old one for two things: 

first the new ART 9 models are not an ART 9 with different cantilever or whatever you can think because Audio Technica as any other cartridge manufacturers and specially in its top models they make a lot of internal changes with out showed in its ads or specs is exactly what companies as Lyra does when after 2-3 years yo need are-tip of your Etna cartridge where Lyra does not return your Etna only re-tipped but the cartridge come back to you with all the internal up-dates Lyra made it through those 3 years even that does not says it.

Second the XA is a different design than the X1 because the XA has a non-magnetic core and comes with lower output level that always means per sé a true better quality performance levels and different stylus shape.
It's not free/random that the XA is what @hondo prefers.

So there are facts true reasons for what will be my choice: XA.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Thank you all.  The wisdom shared here is invaluable.

I started subscribing to The Absolute Sound at Vol. 6 (mid 70s?) because, having grown up in school orchestras and knowing how instruments sounded, I recognized the writers' abilities to express the sound of musical performances they were hearing through the gear.

It's reassuring to know you folks are out there, having logged millions of hours listening - and more importantly - hearing.
I don’t know about the x1 or x2 because I have not heard them, but I do own the original ART9. I purchased it from Music Direct while wanting for a Sound Smith re-tip. I liked it so much on my VPI Classic 3 with a JMW-10.5 arm, I didn’t really miss the koetsu for the entire 6 month wait!
OK so.... I auditioned the ART9, 9XI and 9XA at length using the Lp Gear YouTube through the sketchy bluetooth connection to my primary system.

My main conclusion: I'm never going to intentionally listen to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" again.  Clean sound but a studio-contrived facsimile of musical instruments played by talented musicians.  Having played it close to 100 times to listen to the AT cartridges, I'm done for life.  The only semi-convincing image is the snare, and it still sounds canned.  Not a good choice for serious listening.  (I did, however, enjoy the kids' chorus - reminded me of grade school.)

That said, I found the 9XA the most spacious, but I'm concerned that part of what I'm hearing is inexact equalization between the .2mV XA and the .5mV XI.  Any thoughts?
Bear in mind that if you are using your Classe Audio 6 MkII phono, the recommended minimum is 0.3mv. If the gain is marginal the 0.2mv XA will sound will probably sound thin. I think it would be safer to go with the 0.5mv XI and ensure you have no gain issues.
Keegiam, you might have to add a little weight to your headshell. No problem. Every time you change cartridges you should check your resonance frequency with a test record as there is a fair degree of variability in these specs. Trust but verify. 
Good tip, I checked the gain spec on the Classe a while back but skipped over the minimum MC input.  Yes, it is indeed .3mV.  Concern with the Classe's gain is one reason I locked in on the original ART9 at .5mV.    I don't want to have to pull my old head amp out of the attic.

Another good tip.  My rough calc of upper 9 Hz for the XI/SME included 1/2 g for hardware, so I'm certainly not going to want to be on the light side.
Dear @keegiam : You don’t need the mistake to avoid the XA that’s for a wide range the best one on that 9 series.

Your Classé unit has more than enough gain to handle not only 0.2mv output level cartridge but even lower outputs than that:

Classé Audio 6MK2:

"" In the MC position, 20dB of additional gain is added to the MM’s 35dB. The MC gain can be adjusted between 20 and 40dB by replacing resistors R15 and R16 on the preamplifier’s system board. ""

Additional the unit has 18db of gain through its line stage.

Don’t worry about that 0.2mv and buy what you already know is the best.

Thank you Raul.  The Classe Six manual says the MC gain is factory preset at +22dB and can be changed in 2dB increments by switching resistors (using silver solder).  This morning I did some more research and found the KAB gain calculator, and for .5mV (ART9XI) optimum gain is 56dB, so all would be well.

For .2mV (ART9XA), optimum is 64dB, so it would be best to replace the 2 resistors and bump the gain by 6-8dB.  Not a big deal.  I don't have the original resistor kit - I bought the Classe as a nearly new trade-in - but the resistance values and color combos for various gain increases are listed in the manual.

Am I on the right track?
Dear @keegiam : Rigth to where you need to stay. Good luck.

Hit a speed bump.  Looking into ordering the XA, I noticed its dynamic compliance is 10 (x10-6 @ 100 Hz) vs. 15 for the XI.  10 seems quite low for the SME V with its 10/11 gram effective mass.

I believe I read somewhere that viscous damping, which the SME has, makes Fres less crucial.  Should that alleviate my concern?

Between possibly adding headshell weight and switching out the Classe's resistors to handle the XA, I'm back on the fence re: XI vs. XA.
After many decades in audio, I was curious about Audio Technica cartridges. I bought a new AT 440Mlb, and was shocked how good it sounded on my Dynavector 501 arm.

I then ordered a new ART-9, and have found my analog front end is much better than I knew it was. 

I wish I'd done it sooner.

I have attached a report from a assessment of the New Art 9's used on a Home System belonging to a Individual who is Based in Germany.

I have read quite a lot of Translated Assessments from this individual, and the Translation appear to be very good at getting the impressions made from the Devices being assessed across to the reader.

Note: the report is a Translation of German to English.


I did that last night


Audio Technica ART 9 XA 

System got and built in. 

Thanks to the thread in the system body, this is now much easier 

I am currently listening to the system in the following analouge environment: 

Mechanism: TechDAS AF3 premium Tonearm
: Ikeda 345
Headshell: Yamamoto HS 6 (titanium) 

Headshell screws: Yamamoto titanium

Headshell finger cot: Yamamoto TY-1 titanium
Headshell mat: Dereneville
Tonearm cable: HMS Gran Finale
PhonoPre: Neukomm MCA 122s (100ohm version) 

PhonoPre: Musical Fidelity Nuvista
Transmitter: NAT 20x 

What is immediately noticeable the first time you listen is that the ART 9 XA also plays very well straight from the box. The ART 9 XI has changed a bit in the first 10 hours, but not to the extent that I know it from other systems. I assume that this will also be the case with the ART 9 XA. 

From memory, the ART 9 XA plays with better resolution and a deeper and wider space than the old ART 7. 

In this tuning, the new XA comes terrifyingly close to my two current 4k expensive MC systems. 

On the old ART 7 I really liked the filigree and delicate reproduction, so I enjoyed listening to classical and vocal records with the ART 7. 

This character was retained in the ART 9 XA

However, I have the impression that coarse and fine dynamics have become better,

this may be due to the higher output voltage, which is much more phono preamplifier friendly. 

But the 0.2mv of the ART 9 XA only makes sense on really loud MC phono preamps, or on a 20x transformer with a correspondingly good MM preamp.

The NAT XX ÜT works very nicely with the ART 9 XA. 

The XA will definitely become one of my standard systems on the AF3P turntable, I have the impression that Audio Technica (assuming the appropriate phono pre) has created a really outstanding pickup in this price range with the XA. 

My recommendation therefore applies to the ART 9 XI, as the universal system with high output voltage and a vital sound, whereas the ART 9 XA is the more filigree system for the gourmet with an elaborate phono stage. 


My SME V is being overhauled and rewired (one length to preamp) by SME Tonearms in Canada.  The Owner, Alfred, liked my choice of AT-ARTXA or XI but suggested the Dynavector xx2 Mk ii, which he happens to be able to get at a great price right now.

Any thoughts: AT-ARTXA (or I) vs. Dynavector xx2 Mk ii?
i have the dyna xx2-2 and art 9 - use them on my vpi classic 3 w 3d arm

they are both very nice sounding carts, i would say dyna has a bit more sparkle and drive art 9 a touch more laid back

dyna has real synergy with their own d75 head amp...  great bass from that combo too

of course they both do well with a variety of good phono stages
Dear @keegiam : I listened the ART 7 from where the XA comes but we can think the XA is an improvement over the 7. In the other side the Dyna is very good performer and in reality is a hard call.

I like the Audio Technica but I like the Dyna too and I own the XV-s. I never had the opportunity to listen the XA.

I think that you can't go wrong with either and the Dyna if has a " great price " then up to you.

Just installed an ART9XI and had owned the ART9 previously.
Running on a 9g arm with 64db and the sound is thoroughly enjoyable.  
Refinement, sound stage, transparency, dynamics and that treble !  
Sounds better than a $1900 LOMC from a highly respected manufacturer.  
edit previous post- make that a just installed ART9XA, not XI
Avanti, lots of praise on Audiogon for the XA.  The SME V is higher mass than your arm (10-11g) and, unless I swap out a couple resistors in my Classe Six, the gain would only be 57db.  As you mentioned back in August, the XI would probably work better with my arm, and I wouldn't have to mod the Classe.  The SME is due back in 3 weeks, so I have to pull the trigger soon.  The XA sounds so enticing I'm still in a quandary.
I have no doubt that the XI is nice but listening more today of the XA, I would not want any more bass or warmth.   I suspect the XI has more of this. 
Everything sounds great on this cart. 

Is it that big of a deal to mod the class to see 64db?    
It's an easy swap of two resistors on an old school board.  The manual has a detailed list of resistors for fine tuning the output in 2db increments, so I could choose +63, +65, +67, etc (up to +75!).  Pretty dang thoughtful of Classe.

Truthfully I'm more concerned about the SME's mass, which is technically in moderate territory, but just barely.  The XA wants a low mass arm.  Your arm is 9g, mine is 10g with the lightest hardware.  Maybe I'm over-thinking it.
What's the best way to increase the effective mass of the SME V if I select the AT-ART9XA?  The XA's dynamic compliance is only 10, and it weighs 8.5 oz.  Without increasing the SME's effective mass (10-11g depending on hardware), the resonant frequency would be a bit high.

It seems the effective mass should be at least 12g for the XA, according to Vinyl Engine's chart.  Is there hardware available for this purpose?  How is the proper weight to add determined?

per the Audio Technica web site you can multiply the 10um compliance by 1.5 to 2X to calculate compliance at 10Hz.  

This is the first time I have ever noted an manufacturer's compliance conversion formula in print.  

From AT:
To determine where the resonant frequency of a particular cartridge/tonearm combination will occur, you must first know a few things about your equipment. You will need to know the total effective mass of your turntable’s tonearm assembly, the compliance specification of the cartridge you are considering and the weight of the cartridge. Note that Audio-Technica specifies compliance at 100 Hz. Many resonant frequency calculators, however, use a compliance measurement taken at 10 Hz for their calculations. To determine the compliance of a cartridge at 10 Hz when only the compliance at 100 Hz is stated, multiply the 100 Hz measurement by 1.5 or 2.0. Once you have gathered this information, you can determine the resonant frequency using a resonance calculator such as the Cartridge Resonance Evaluator tool available at Enter the tonearm effective mass figure into the text box on .....
Yes, the XA and the V is aperfect combo about that resonance frequency.

Here you can confirm that the 10cu is at 100hz like the ART7 that's from where the XA came:

Avanti, endless thanks, your research solves my misunderstanding.  The truth is that I should have been able to track this down on my own, but the subject can be daunting.

Now I know that the XA's compliance is actually in the 15-20 range when using resources like the Vinyl Engine chart.  The ART9XA it is, and I'll order the resistors for the Classe tomorrow.

The importance we give these matters might seem obsessive to many, but we really hear this stuff.
no problem, i was already aware of that info for my own calculations.  yes this stuff matters, nothing wrong with that.
enjoy the xa!  
fyi music direct shipped the same day for me, recieved it on the third day. 
I may be a bit late to this post but I've just joined the site.
Got myself an art 9 xi two weeks ago and if it helps anyone who's interested here's my twopenneth.
It's on a roksan radius/Nima arm/Tom Evans micro read lots on here which helped alot so thanks 9 replaced an ortofon quintet blue which I like alot and at first I was wondering if I'd wasted my money. I honestly couldn't hear or " see " much difference. I know from reading on here and elsewhere that running in is important so I've been working on setup for the last two weeks and playing tunes as much as possible. This things so tiny I was struggling with azimuth and then a few days ago I had an idea. I'm sure someone will shoot me down but here goes. I have a test record which chucks out seperate channel tones but I have nothing to test it with so I downloaded a spectrum analyser to my phone,measured a perfect triangle from each speaker and set phone in dead centre then played the test record.i was a good few db out so with some gentle twisting I managed to get the reading the same on both sides.dont know if it's that or the fact that the art 9 is getting some hours on it now but it's definitely a keeper for even made the good lady smile!!