Thanks to the OP's (and Raul's) guidance on another thread, I just this minute ordered a new ART9XA. It is destined for my SME V, which is being overhauled by Alfred Kayser in Canada, including a single Cardas lead from cartridge to preamp. Just switch out a couple resistors in the Classe Six to bump the gain up to about 63db and I should be back in vinyl nirvana within a few weeks.
BTW, I was able to track down the current AT 15% discount coupon, which shaved nearly $200 off the order.
Yes, congrats to Avanti1960 on a smart pick from considerable research - and his resulting enjoyment!
Absolutely lewm. Potential buyers, choose carefully. The new XI and XA are quite different. The XA is non-magnetic (air) core, a design that is inherently low in output. A-T had to put on its thinking cap to update the ART9XA's predecessor, the ART7, upping its output from .12mV to .2mV in the XA.
By contrast, the ART9XI, with its magnetic core, has .5mV output (but apparently introduces magnetic distortions that are inevitable with such cores).
If I had gone with the XI, my preamp's standard MC gain of 57db would have been fine. To utilize the XA, I'm having to bump the gain to 63 or 65db by switching out two internal resistors.
If folks are interested/able to spend a bit more the Charisma Signature One gives you everything the ART 9 has just more. Like my ART 9, the Charisma is exceedingly balanced and even-handed across the frequency range. It is also very transparent to the source yet somehow organic and natural sounding (sound familiar?). As I've said elsewhere, the ART 9 was the only piece of gear I ever regretted selling--a very fine cartridge for not a ton of money. The Signature One is all that and a bag of chips. Though I have not tried any other carts in the Charisma lineup, there may be less pricey models that provide a similar presentation just less. In speaking with Bernard Li he definitely knows the sound he is after and how to achieve it with his designs.
15 hours in and it sounds better than the ortofon cadenza blue !
64db of gain and a 8 to 13 gram arm and you're going to be in vinyl bliss with the XA.
i am mesmerized by how good this cartridge sounds. explosive but delicate, refined yet very detailed, zero groove noise, huge separation and sound stage, all frequencies sound impressive and a golden smoothness that is incredible.
I spent an inordinate amount of time and angst trying to decide between the XI and XA myself. I was reassured by many members I would be very happy with either. I went with the XA once I decided to take the plunge and switch out a couple resistors inside my preamp's moving coil section to adjust to the XA's very low .2mv output (a result of its non-magnetic air coil design). I'm still not yet set up (my arm has just been returned from re-wiring). I could not have gone with the XA without doing this, and I'm still nervous about it.
Bottom line: the XI's .5mv output means you will have ZERO gain problems. I'm sure you'll be delighted. Let's compare notes once we're up and running.
I will give it a few days an contact Keegiam.
The link is to a Page on the forum, I posted a review by a Person whom I trust with a assessment.
In this case it is about the XA.
Oh yes, I remember that post
now. That was on a thread I started way back when I was trying to decide
whether to go with the older ART9 or the new ART9XI. In fact, that was
one of the posts that began pushing me toward the XA and getting my preamp’s MC
gain bumped up to be able to handle the XA’s .2mv output.
It was one of Avanti1960’s posts on
this thread that finally drove me to the XA.
On 11/28/20 he said:
Since he mentioned the Cadenza Blue, I thought you might want to check in with him directly.
the cadenza blue has a slightly larger soundstage and is a very good cartridge.
the ART9XA sounds better overall mainly because of how clean and refined it sounds. it also has a better centered image, better bass and more upper end extension. cymbals sound stunning. it also has a touch of warmth vs the cadenza dead neutral.
where the cadenza can sound occasionally slightly but noticeably strained and distorted, the 9XA never does this.
with the cadenza you would not notice it and think it was on the recording, blue note jazz for example, but once you hear the same music on the 9XA you realize it is more refined. this is similar to the original ART9, the refinement was the key element that made it a keeper but it does everything well.
With a need for replacement of my Clearaudio cartridge, these newer AT cartridges have come into play in my decision making.
Question I have is revolving around a Clearaudio phono pre that has fixed gain of 60 dB (and fixed load of 500 ohm for what that is worth).
Is that 60 dB a significant limiting issue with the XA version of this?
Not sure I'm the right guy to help here, but I switched out preamp MC section resistors to get to 65db gain to handle the XA. Avanti1960, the OP, is using 64db.
The XA is a very low output cartridge (.2mv) because is it air coil. You should do some further research to see if 60db gain is adequate to get the best out of the XA. And maybe Avanti1960 will add some wisdom here.
60 db with the .2mv output of the xa would be lower than i would run. that amount of gain is minimum for a .3mv cartridge. currently using 64db with the xa and that is the min i would recommend but 64db gets full performance out of it, no compromises or anything lacking.
i would recommend the art9 xi or the xa with a sut.
Beans, I'm wondering if you can speak with Clearaudio and find out if there are any MC output resistors that could be changed to bump your output up past 64 dB. Or maybe there are some users out there who have done this.
Here's the thing: My Classe Six was "fixed" at 57 dB but the unit came with a slew of loose resistors the owner could use to change the output in 2 dB increments. When I bought the XA, I changed out 2 resistors (one each channel) to bump the gain to 65 dB. There were other resistor choices that would reach as high as 75 dB!
No idea if this would be possible with your Clearaudio, but asking around and researching are cheap. BTW, so are resistors.
" Beans, I'm wondering if you can speak with Clearaudio and find out if there are any MC output resistors "
I have a query in with them the past day with 'just' that question.
Well, that and some discrepancies in 'manual's for this one off phono pre. Most notably is that there is an online manual that states that the XLR outputs of this unit (there are RCA and XLR outputs) has a gain of 66 dB vs the 60 dB of the RCAs. And compounding this is that my own manual that I dug out today (a very slight single page offering) specifies 58 dB for the outputs vs 60 dB in every other doc I could find on these i.e. so no differentiation between RCA and XLR out.
Game them the S/N of the unit and asked for clarification on the specs and whether an upgrade possible.