Cartridge Upgrade ...AT ART-9?

Hello all , I'm looking to upgrade to a better TT / cartridge and I've heard from a very reliable source that the AT ART-9 is unbeliebavly great cartridge.

I listen to mostly Classic Rock /Jazz Fusion ....I currently just have a Technics SL15 with a P205CMK3. I'd like to get something that is higher end around $1K that dramatically improves my setup. 

Anything that is with mentioning that gives the ART-9 a run in that range? Thanks! 

Allnic H1201 
Lyngdorf TDAI 2170
Tekton DI SE

Aside from the retip, which is usually a replacement, i don't really understand what is meant by "full support from the manufacturer in Japan."  Given that the cartridge is in good shape upon receipt I have never seen anything go wrong with a cartridge (and I have had many) except the usual aging process.  And if it is not in good shape upon receipt, that is an issue for the dealer, not the manufacturer.

I do not know what support, including retipping is offered by purchase from LP Gear.  Do you? Does anyone?  But the LP Gear price is $1095 and the least expensive new Art-9 currently offered on ebay is $949.  It has been offered for much less, as when I bought mine.  My own thinking at the time is that I would rather save the money now than worry about what might happen at some time in the future.  I'm sure many thought the same.

What makes you think that a retip of the Art-9 by SoundSmith makes "absolutely no sense."  They retip some very sophisticated cartridges, apparently with complete success.  Do you know something?  Or is this just more idle chatter.
 I wouldn´t let my ART9 retipped by them. He will enlighten you I believe.

The lowest price for a brand new ART-9 from japanese shops is about $800-900 if i remember correct, i'm pretty sure the japanese shop are official dealers, some of them can sell internationally (some will never do that). If you're buyin' a cartridge to use it for a long time, i think, saving $300 on grey market sample is not worth it (i did that by saving much more and regret it after all, but it wasn't the ART9).  

When you're buyin from the official distributor you have full support, even if your cartridge is accidentaly damaged or simply require stylus retip when the stylus is worn, they can do that in Japan at Audio-Technica. 

I'm not sure about AT policy regarding this particular model, this is why i am asking. If the factory retip is possible this is the best you can do when you need it. If the cantilever is damaged and you must have to replace it with a new cantilever you can only do that (equally) in Japan at Audio-Technica.

If you prefer to service all the cartridges at SoundSmith or any other experienced vendor then, i hope, you understand that it is ONLY a compromise, but definitely not the best solution. Why?

Let me quote J.Carr (Lyra cartridge Designer) below:

To retip a cartridge that was originally equipped with a stylus made by one manufacturer with one made by a different manufacturer is like rebuilding a Porsche engine with Jaguar pistons and crankshaft - the components used for rebuilding may be of high quality, but the design philosophy is rather different from the original.

Still, as one poster wrote above, changing only the stylus will alter the sound less than if the cantilever material is changed. When a cartridge is designed, the designer will consider the moving mass (sum of the stylus, cantilever and coils), the resonant character of the cantilever, and the (sonic) propagation velocity of the cantilever (affected by the cantilever's mass and rigidity), then choose the suspension and dampers accordingly. If you change the cantilever material, you are effectively throwing the original designer's calculations away.

There is much more (far more than what I have written above) to rebuilding a cartridge than affixing a new stylus or altering the cantilever. In over 30 years of involvement in the phono cartridge industry, I have not seen one retipper who has presented the entire story, who has effectively said "Here are the all of the considerations. Here are the cons as well as the pros. Make a wise choice that is best for you".


Mr. Carr sells cartridges and retips. He sells HIS cartridges and retips. SoundSmith is a competitor. They sell cartridges and retips of their cartridges and other people’s cartridges, including those of Carr.

Peter Ledermann, the proprietor of SoundSmith, will happily give all of the considerations of which he’s aware about his services. Positive and negative. He often appears in these types of forums and provides what he knows. He does that WITHOUT disparaging the work and product and business ethics of competitors. He will answer emails; he will get on the phone with customers. His work on a variety of cartridges has been given great praise on forums like this one.

There are others who provide similar retipping services who have received praise in forums like this one.

Still the unanswered question: What EXACTLY does Audio Technica offer by way of after-sales service to those purchasing from an authorized dealer? Is LP Gear an authorized dealer? If a US resident buys from a Japanese authorized dealer can he expect after-sales service? Does Audio Technica offer retips? If so, what is the cost?
Back to the original question... my upgrade path was Blue Point #2, then Ortofon 10x5, then AT ART9.  I have been very happy with the ART9 for about a year.  So much so, that when time comes to replace it, I will be getting another ART9.  It now has around 400-500 hours on it, and sounds fantastic.

Check other reviews on ART9, and I think you'll see you cannot go wrong.  That said, maybe others like Shelter would be different, and maybe even better in your system... but you can't go wrong with the ART9.  IMO, it's a good high-end value.

I think your Allnic Phono Preamp would mate very well with it, and should sound great!  It has 62db of gain, or 66db, either of which should be excellent.