Pani ... New ART-9 up and running ...

The Cartridge arrived and I took it down to Studio City to Acoustic Image to have Eliot Midwood set it up properly. Eliot is the bomb when it comes to setting up the Well Tempered turn tables correctly.

So, last night I had Mr. Golden Ears over to get his assessment as well. For a brand new cartridge that had zero hours on it ... all I can say is WOW! This is one naturally musical cartridge that doesn't break the bank. Its everything I liked about the OC9-mk III, but it goes far beyond the OC-9 in every respect.

In a previous post, I talked about the many mono records I own and how good the OC-9 was with the monos. Well, the ART-9 is on steroids. Just amazing on mono recordings.

At under $1100.00 from LP Tunes, its a bargain. The ART-9 surpasses all cartridges I've had in the system before. That would include Dynavectors, Benz, Grado Signatures and a Lyra Clavis that I dearly loved. In fact, its more musically correct than the Clavis. The Clavis was the champ at reproducing the piano correctly ... the ART-9 is equally as good in this area.

Sound stage, depth of image, left to right all there. Highs ... crystalline. Mids ... female and male voices are dead on. Transparency ... see through. Dynamics ... Wow! Low noise floor ... black. Mono records ... who needs stereo?

Your assessment that the ART-9 doesn't draw attention to itself is dead on. You just don't think about the cartridge at all. Not what its doing, or what its not doing ... its just beautiful music filling the room.

Thanks again Pani for the recommendation. I'll keep posting here as the cartridge continues to break in.
That’s what’s so great about LP reproduction, there are countless rewarding paths to music.

I have great respect for Audio Technica, really not surprised they are capable of building an affordable high performance cartridge.
Thanks, Oregon, for sharing your initial impressions. I have been sitting on the fence waiting for more information about the ART 9 (and saving some scratch) before taking the plunge. My OC9MLII/JMW9/Scout has been a very rewarding combination and I have been trying to find a cartridge similar, but more refined, than the OC9MLII that I can afford--unfortunately, to no avail. The ART 9 sounds like it may be the ticket. Please, as you listen more and share your views following break in, provide us with some sense of how the ART 9 exceeds the performance of the OC9MLII--you are probably one of the few people out there that has taken an upgrade path that would be the same as my own. Best to you and enjoy the ride.
Have you measured the channel separation and left / right balance? Audio Technica has some problems with.
99 - Which models have been reported to have channel separation problems?
I had an AT 33EV, OC9I and now an PTG33II. The last one will be changed by guarantee these days. All these cartridges had an azimuth-missalignment about 2°.

These are my measurements:

But i have to say that the PTG sounds really well and i am also interested in the ART9.
99 - Sounds like you had a set-up issue. I haven't had a 33-series cartridge, but the OC9s I've had never had any problems except their stylus would wear out. I want them to live forever, just like me. ;-)
No, i don`t have such a problem.
The AT33 was mounted and measured from Chris Freickert.
3 Lyra`s, 1 VdH and an EMT were very well built with very good Adjust+ results.

Here is someone else with this problems

The PTG has my dealer send to Audio Technnica. I can tell you the answer in a few days, i think.
Interested in hearing the problem.

What is your location?

I'm in USA and 33PTG not available locally (except eBay or import). Neither is ART7. But ART9 is here now. VERY interested in ART9. Less in 33PTG/II or 33Sa.
I am from Germany. Tell you when the new PTG is arrived. It will placed on my second arm. On the first i have an EMT JSD6 and it would be very interesting to hear the ART9 against it.
Oregonpapa, I told you :-).

Good that there are no surprises. This cartridge benefits quite a bit from break in, so wait for about 100 hours as you hear it improve during this period. It will become more liquid and vanish totally. The fact that it is affordable is probably its only detraction. Recently I heard a Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua, I liked it a lot but it still could not beat the ART9. That Dynavector costs around $3500.

Now sit back and enjoy the ride, as every good record is going to make you feel either you are in a studio or a live setting.
Hey, thanks for calling me out else I would have missed the thread :-)
Again, the cartridge is brand new. It has about 10 hours on it at this point ... so it IS a little tizzy on the top end just like my previous OC-9 MK-III's were. The OC-9's took about 40 hours before they started to calm down. I expect the same from the ART-9.

Robert, my friend with the "Golden Ears," who hears like a friggin' bat, is very familiar with my system. We are both avid record collectors with VERY wide tastes in music. We both agree that this new cartridge is at least as good as the Lyra Clavis that was in the system a few years ago ... and that is saying something.

I love the work that Abie is doing at Impex records. Impex is reissuing some of the great recordings of the past, both in stereo and in mono. Their efforts formulate into really natural sounding recordings. They shun the audiophile artifacts (like excessive reverb) that so many audiophile recordings are guilty of. Impex is the firm that reissued the June Christy "Something Cool" and the Julie London "Julie is Her Name" albums ... both in mono.

Last night I put the Impex reissue of the "Beethoven: Concerto NO.4 in G Major" with Glenn Gould (piano) and Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. Wow ... that piano was in the room! Dynamic from top to bottom. The lower registers were right on. It takes a really good cartridge to get the piano right like this.

Reproducing the piano is where the Lyra Clavis never failed to impress. The ART-9 is right there with it ... and seems to be overall even more tonally correct to boot. Do you like cellos? Me too. Granted, the Clavis was built back in the 80's, but even so, for the ART-9 to surpass it is really saying something.

Here are the recordings I alluded to above:

Julie London:

June Christy: "Something Cool."

Glenn Gould/Leonard Bernstein:

The originals are astounding with a "you are there" presence. If you can find really clean copies go for the mono versions of the first two. If you can afford it, buy the Impex versions ... they are mastered better than the originals (Kevin Gray) with much better and quieter vinyl. Impex reissued the Julie London recording in a 45 rpm version. Its worth the entry price just for the cover. Wow!

Happy listening ...
Month old ART 9 here.
I replaced an OC 9III, which replaced a couple of 1K carts.
The OC9III was a good enough compromise especially for half the price.
Unfortunately, the shortcomings eventually wore me down, and I bit the bullet and opened my wallet once again.
No regrets, I hear a very convincing presentation.Deep,taut bass and clear,articulate mids/highs with no mush or etch.
The ART 9 is the "sleeper" budget super cart. Why there isn't more reviews
on it is a mystery.

It says volumes about this obsessive hobby when a cartridge costing almost $1100.00 is considered to be a budget cartridge. I remember the days when a $49.00 Grado was really good ... especially when mounted on an AR turntable that cost $69.00 new. And that included the arm.

I'm of the belief that the price of the products didn't go up. On the contrary, I believe the value of the money went down.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying your ART-9. Between you and Pani's assessments, it looks like I have a lot to look forward to as the unit breaks in.

By the way, I was listening to some orchestral ballet music this morning on a London two box stereo set. Its a tribute to the great Diva from the past, Anna Pavlova. The massed strings were to die for with the ART-9.

Sorry, I tried to find the box set on eBay and Amazon to no avail. I bought mine at a garage sale years ago for a couple of bucks.

For your enjoyment, here she is on Youtube Be sure to put your headphones on

And here is the great diva Maya Plisetskay performing The Swan at the age of 61. Incredible.

Happy listening ...
Thats a nice video Oregonpapa.

The ART9 in my case took about 150 hours to fully settle down and lose all artefacts. I dont know why it is even considered as a budget cartridge (just because it retails for $1k ?). I currently use a top tier phonostage (Naim SuperLine with Supercap) and this cartridge really makes me feel that my Naim phonostage is one of the best investment of my system. I use the ART9 with an SME M2-12 tonearm which is actually not suppose to be a great match because the big SME is used with lower compliance carts. But the ART9 is sounding wonderful on it. In the past I have tried some very expensive tonearms too but this SME + ART9 combo remains unbeatable by a wide margin. However as Tablejockey mentioned, there is hardly any reviews about these products. At least I know that in Japan the ART9 has receieved many accolades and is highly respected.
Yes OP,the value of everything is skewed beyond humanity.
Not that it matters at this point, but did you consider the ART 7 before getting the 9?
You seem to be a classical fan, and when I picked up the 9, the dealer mentioned the 7 as the choice between the 2. The 7 is completely different(non magnetic core vs magnetic) and supposedly more capable of nuance, required for classical/ acoustic jazz. The 9 has more punch, for rock and such. Choosing either one isn't a wrong decision IMO.
The limiting factor for the 7 is very low output, so if your phono stage isn't up to the task, it won't perform as expected. It's also a couple of bucks cheaper, which makes it VERY ATTRACTIVE.
My collection of Living Stereo/lLiving Prescence, period pressings sound fantastic. I can't imagine what I'm "missing?" The 9 does need to be played thru an equally competent phono stage to be appreciated.
I`m wondering about the ART 7 and whether it might actually a better cartridge than the 9.
I know that companies will many times price according to demand and logically there would be more buyers for that cartridge as opposed to buyers of a low output cartridge like the ART 7 at only .12mV ??

I`m using a Dyna 17D3 and really like it but I`m seriously considering an ART 7 OR 9 if I`m convinced that`s the way to go.
I've had my ART 9 since last Tuesday. Obviously not broken in yet as I have probably about 20 hours on it. But I can say with certainty, in my system, my room, my ears. etc., the ART 9 is better than the Dynavector 17D3 already. I'm listening to it thru my Herron VTPH-2 phonstage with "infinite" loading as Keith Herron calls it. As a matter of fact I think it's better than the Lyra Delos too in that the ART 9 seems more balanced top to bottom versus the slight bloominess that the Delos posesses.

The ART 9 is only gonna get better too as it runs in more. I'm a happy camper right now and I cannot wait to compare it to my VDH Colibri XGP (at 3 times the cost) fter I get it back from Mr. VDH.

I had the vdh Condor XGM for sometime. I prefer the ART9 any day.
As per one of the senior designers at Audio Technica, the ART7 aimed for classical music. It is a little more transparent and micro-detailed than ART9 but the ART9 sounds bigger, more powerful with realistic bass which works very well for Jazz, Rock, Blues and Pop.

In any case the ART7 needs a matching step-up transformer to get the right gain. No active phonostage (in my knowledge) will do justice to 0.1mv (even if the specs might suggest otherwise). These very low output carts are designed with SUTs in mind. Take for example the Benz Ebony TR. It is the best Benz cartridge (better than LP-S) but it is not easy to amplify satisfactorily. IMO, the ART9 is a much more rational everyday cartridge which is not below the ART7.
Man 'O man, the AT guys are coming out of the woodwork. That's great!

While I listen to a lot of classical, I'm not centered in on any particular type of music. Jazz and blues was always my favorites when I was a kid ... but the beauty of this hobby is ... if you truly are a music lover, is the way the hobby expands your musical taste. I can listen to Charlie McCoy blast away on his country & western harmonica all day. He's amazing. But, then there is Mr. Perfection on the classical guitar .. John Williams. Tonight, I was listening to a Cannonball Adderley/Bill Evans album ... georgous. Oh ... and living in SoCal, I love really soulful Mexican music too.

So far, the ART-9 is fitting the bill even though its not nearly broken in. The other AT cartridges such as the 7 and the Anniversary are too low of an output for my phono stage ... the ARC-PH8. Ideally, the PH8 needs a cartridge with an output between .4mv and .8mv.

Pani ...

I never used to be a ballet fan but two things changed me on that issue. First the audio hobby introduced me to ballet music ... so I bought a few DVDs of certain Ballets. I couldn't believe the grace, strength and beauty created by these human beings through dance. Secondly, I have two daughters and a granddaughter and three grandsons who are very athletic ... even competing at the collegiate level. Same for myself as a younger man. So ... I've grown to really appreciate what it takes to perform at the level of ballet. Just a side note and for the football fans out there ... The great end, Jerry Rice, who played for the 49ers, was avid about his ballet training using it to enhance his football prowess. Anyone who remembers Jerry Rice and his playing can relate. He performed ballet in the end zone ... except the sportscasters called pulling down passes. *lol*

Thanks for all of the input. Its really enjoyable to compare all of your experiences with the same cartridge I'm using. More updates to follow.

Happy listening, guys ... and maybe a gal or two.
Congratulations on your ART9. It's great to see these favorably compared to some of the big boy MCs. I've had an ART7 for a few years. It runs with the best of my mostly vintage collection(Ortofon MC2000, Signet TK100LC, Grace F9 with Soundsmith OCL, Precept 550ML). I'm tempted to get an ART9 for comparison, but restrained by the notion that the non-permeable coil formers in cartridges like the ART7 and the MC2000 are theoretically superior. The even lower-output MC2000 is slightly more resolving and overall more satisfying than ART7. But for better or for worse, the marketing of phono cartridges has changed since the '80s. Probably for increased ease of use, interest in designing ever more low output pickups has waned. Fremer has written that the emergence of more powerful magnetics has produced much better cartridges without the need to go very low in output. Maybe, maybe not.

BTW ART7 is happy without a SUT given an active phono stage of 76db gain like Pass XP-25. No need for a SUT if you have sufficient active gain.
Dgarretson...Do you think my ASR Basis with 72db gain is enough then to be able to use the ART-7 ?
Scm, be prepared to get a matching SUT if the ASR doesnt cut it. If you cannot budget for a good SUT, it would be a experimental purchase.

I have had phonostages with upto 68db gain and IMO a 0.1 mv was far from ideal with those phonostages. Moreover the extreme high gain section of the phonostage is also the least musical (typically it requires an additional gain stage in the phono to go from 0.5mv to 0.2mv). This additional gain stage handling minute signals doesnt sound as graceful as a good SUT. This has just been my observation based on the phonostages I have heard in the past.
Scm, I think 72db is sufficient, as my preamp's 76db gain is adequate for the MC2000-- which at .05mV has under half the .12mV output of ART7. However, but before trying it would be wise to check if the background noise level of the ASR Basis become objectionable when your preamp's volume control is cranked up.

Pani, FWIW the XP-25 doesn't work that way. The circuit amplifies any input at full gain and attenuates to obtain the 53db and 66db outputs. It's a very quiet phono stage.
My second PTG is here and all is fine. 30 and 32dB channel separation and 0,4dB difference in channelgain. Can anyone measure the ART9 with Adjust+?
Okay, here we are at about 30-40 hours on the new ART-9. At this point, readers of all of my previous posts on this cartridge can forget everything I said. Why? Because the cartridge at this point has far surpassed all I said before.

This cartridge plays HUGE. With the combination of the ARC-REF-75se and the ART-9, the music just seems to wrap around the room.

The three dimensionality of this cartridge really adds to the realism. The super clear midrange reproduces voices particularly well. Coral music is just great with all the singers right there in their own place in space.

With the improved clarity in the midrange, the midbass is more tuneful and realistic as well. Acoustic stand-up bass on jazz recordings is much improved over the old OC-9 MKIII.

Orchestral music is way more defined now. This is a very dynamic cartridge. Last night I was listening to Bizet's Carmen Ballet performed by the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra. This is a Russian recording on the Melodia label. I thought the dynamics on this record was good before, but WOW, it was nothing like this! I've always used this record as a demo for unsuspecting non-audiophile friends. If you can find it, buy it. Whoops ... I just found it for you. Jump on this one, guys:

Do any of you like the "Provocative Percussion" recordings or the early "Stereo Demo" recordings of the early 60's? I have a lot of them, and they never fail to knock the socks off of my audiophile friends. They're amazing recordings and a lot of fun to listen to.

Here's some good ones for sale on Ebay:

And while I was looking for you guys, I ran across this five record box set and just couldn't pass it up, so I bought it for myself.
He he! Oregonpapa, I am not surprised at all. As I said before, this is the only cartridge I will buy again and again when it wears off. It puts me in the middle of the performance or in the middle of the studio like no other cart. The day I hear a more correct sounding cartridge I will post it right here.

Kudos to Audio Technica!
I believe my ART9 now has enough miles to declare it settled in.
Unquestionably kicks the OC9 to the curb. I will also include my Benz Glider and Sumiko Blackbird. This is just my system, so perhaps these in another setup would result in a different opinion.
The AT50 still has me wondering about the "perceived superiority" of its non permeable core and performance. It is afterall, the current top dog in the AT lineup.
Thats good new Tablejockey! If the AT50 can supercede the ART9, we all have something to look up to.
Pani, you have a system a few notches above mine, so I can imagine how the the 9 sounds in your system.
Hindsight, I could have saved over 2k forgoing my 2 other carts.
Guess it's part of the hobby. I've certainly blown ridiculous amounts of cash on other obsessions.
The AT50 unlikely to ever happen here. The cost difference in addition to an SUT/cables for me would justify upgrading my table/phono.
I'll just buy and listen to more records.
The AT50 is just too low of an output for my phono. The ART-9 is just right.

The other night I put on one of those early stereo demo recordings I spoke about in an earlier post for my cynical, golden-eared friend, Robert. The first cut is a recording of two guys playing ping-pong. Holy crapola! They were in the freakin' room.

From now on, Robert will find a box of adult Pampers at the front door and he will be required to don a triple layer before the listening session begins.

What an amazing cartridge.

Thanks again for the recommendation, Pani.
It never fails....those posters with new equipment are always so overjoyed that their selection is so wonderful.
Glad for them. As for me, I start hearing the warts after a month or so.....

Yes, I agree but sometimes the enthusiasm is warranted.
I've had my ART 9 for a few months now (3), and I have to agree with the enthusiasm.
I'd place it equal to my Benz LPS. This puts it ahead of my Accuphase AC-2, my Kiseki Gold Spot, my Miyabi, my Roksan Shiraz, my Sony XL-88 and quite a few others!
The only cartridge in my arsenal that gives it a run is my Einstein Barco TU-3. Perhaps also my London Decca Jubilee!

Being excited about a new item in the system is a routine affair for most audiophiles. In fact it is one of the things that keeps us going. Even a little isolation device under an amp can bring excitement into the game. But it doesnt mean that every such excitement is yet another infatuation. When you hit upon something really genuine and pure you just know it. At this point one feels fortunate. It is extremely rare to come across such products. Such products do not come out of hit and trial (which most audio designers today do get a desired voicing). The ART-9 is seriously engineered and it is easy to hear it.
Well, what's the benefits of Art-9 over ART-2000 ?
I have art-2000 for years and love it.
Never heard the ART-2000 Chakster.
I like what Pani said. My Ortofon MC2000 is relatively new to me and my system. I got that thrill of discovery when I first auditioned it (without a SUT into my modified super hi-gain Atma-sphere MP1 loaded at 47K). And I think I reported my results here, to credit Raul with his citation of the MC2000 as one of the greats. Now here it is at least a year later. I have spent a lot of time in the interim listening to my other (Beveridge) system, which runs with either an Acutex 320STRIII or a Grace Ruby. However, whenever I go back to the MC2000, I feel the same giddy thrill. Proof of its enduring excellence (to my ears and brain).

There is a paradox with very LOMC cartridges. If one must use a SUT, then one cannot effectively experiment with "infinite" (very high resistance) phono loads, because of the effect of the turns ratio of the SUT upon the impedance seen by the cartridge. Thus it may be the case that one cannot fully experience the best performance of the cartridge, if in fact infinite loading is the ultimate. I really don't know and don't claim that this is always true. It seems to be true for the MC2000, however.

Can anyone explain the differences among AT7, AT9, and AT50? Are they available in mono versions?
My ortofon Windfield liked 1000 ohms best...tried many variations....
Been running my ART-9 at 100 ohms. What are other ART-9 owners doing??

Thanks ...
At least in my system, the 9 doesn't appear to be sensitive to switching the load knob on my phono amp. I just leave it at 100.
The ART9 seems dig out more detail and present more realism/ impact than other carts on my table. It is a rockin AND capable cart for serious Jazz or Classical. What a great buy!
No mono for these models. The 50ANV and ART7 are coreless, each with .12mV out. ART9 is .5mV
The 33PTG/II looks interesting. It has a tapered boron cantilever/ML, but not the new body, yoke, etc.

50ANV here:
Thanks, Al. I am in need of a mono cartridge. Based on that table and other information, I gather that AT make at least two mono cartridges of interest. Has anyone here auditioned an AT Mono? I started reading this thread with a bias toward the AT7 vs the AT9, but based on what is written here and elsewhere, the AT9 may be a real winner in terms of bang for the buck, and is said elsewhere to be superior to the AT7 for jazz and similar music that I favor.
Lewm, also check out AT MONO3LP (HOMC) @ LP Gear. Looks like a no brainer.
Based on ATs reputation for great value carts, for 200 bucks even if you didn't like it, you won't feel beat up spending the cash.
Perhaps it's a sleeper mono cart as the ART9 is to super carts.
Right now you can get the MONO3/LP for under $100 from Amazon, direct from Japan. It's a med output coil - 1.2mV, 2.0g VTF recommended, load 30 to 47K or whatever. It has a .6 mil spherical tip on a thin, straight aluminum cantilever. Cu is 7 @ 100Hz, same as a 7V - med/heavy arm.

Not sure mine is completely broken in, but has superior presentation on mono records, if not resolution. It's a revelation on some older, noisy copies. When the tip wears, send it to Soundsmith for a level 1 - nude elliptical. Hard to go wrong. It sounds pretty good.

I don't know why all the Japanese manufactures use spherical styli exclusively on mono carts. Modern mono pressings benefit from more advanced tips, similar to stereo. Maybe they should try a Cadenza or Lyra mono on a Japanese pressing.

I too am trying to decide between ART7, 9, and 50ANV. I suspect 50ANV is the ultimate. It has a titanium base as opposed to aluminum, and titanium coil formers- armature. BTW, output is measured @ 3.54 cm/sec and has admirably low inductance/resistance.

So far as I can tell, 50ANV is no longer available, and I could not find that anyone is selling NOS ones these days. I got the impression, right or wrong, that ART7 replaces the 50ANV, in effect.
A quick search at LP Gear looks like they still have it available and on sale for $1,488.88 -
Hard to guess whether ART 7 is trickle down or an improvement over AT50ANV. I have an ART 7. The bodies of both are aluminum and plastic. The main difference appears to be(from AT web site):

"This product(ART 7) keeps the basic design of non magnetic core MC type cartridge AT50ANV and changed the coil winding frame from a pure titanium armature to a newly developed liquid crystal polymer armature by an injection molding. This product also succeeds in reducing the weight of the vibration system compared to AT50ANV and provides the extremely natural and clear sound quality and ability to express three-dimensional sound fields inherent to non magnetic core types... Liquid crystal polymer used for the coil winding frame has not only an extreme mechanical strength but also an unique property which increases the mechanical strength as the product becomes thinner. Therefore it is the most suitable material for the vibration system of cartridges. This has high intensity and vibration absorption properties, enabling high-quality sound by suppressing unwanted vibration when from power generation."
Speaking of mono ... I have tons of mono jazz and vocal recordings from the 50s. I was really impressed by how well the AT-OC9 MK III played mono records. It just seemed to get a lot more information out of those mono grooves than other cartridges I've had over the years. The cartridge is available from LP Tunes for $499. While the OC-9 excels on mono recordings, the ART-9 is even better. At over twice the price of the OC-9, it should be better. If I were running two tonearms and wanted a mono cartridge that sounded great, I'd go with the OC-9 MKIII and call it a day.

Want to hear a killer mono record? Are you a Brubeck/Paul Desmond fan? Here you go:
Am i alone with ART-2000 cartridge relesed 15 years ago as limited edition reference model of Audio-Technica ? Or anyone can share the experience (compared to latest ATs) , maybe ?