Audio Technica ART9 MC Cartridge- The Real Deal?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    Yeah Slippers I think you are right about the photo that's why I asked which photo he was referring to. However, I do wish to address any deficiencies if anyone spots any. I have not touched any screws or adjustments on the TT. The mat and the alignment tool could make it look that way, too.

    I had planned to run it without the mat as HiFi suggested it was meant to be. I'll peep at that mat.

    Update:

    Slippers, I read the description of that mat. What makes it better than the rubber mat? They both dampen and grip the platter and record so there's no slippage.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  2. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    @Lenny
    @Slippers-on


    Ok. I removed the rubber mat and giving the stock felt mat some playing time. I did a back to back listen and will honestly say there seems to be more sizzle in the cymbals with the arm back in it's stock location. HiFi Guy suggested I run the table without the rubber mat as it was intended by Mr. Hall. I will keep it this way for now and just use the Michele clamp when needed.

    Lenny and Slippers, here are couple new photos without the rubber matter - hope they show show the difference. The rubber mat is 4mm, so there's a 4mm height difference. I can see that the arm is slightly raked. Let me know if this looks better now.

    Thanks.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
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  3. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    I've a MMF 7.1. The platter is good either way....you can lay a record directly on platter or on mat. I've tried both. The sound was the deciding factor for me.
     
  4. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    The camera isn't in the same spot as before. I really don't think there is really any difference.
     
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Looks good Methodical! Music Hall appears to have done a thoughtful thing by painting a centerline on the tonearm. Should be easy to measure whether the arm is parallel with the record surface, a good starting / reference point for any new cartridge.
    If you put a cd on the platter (regardless of mat) you can measure / visually align the tonearm so that it is parallel.
    CDs are very close to the same thickness as the LP without the lead-in bead. I use a CD on the platter to check the SRA too.
    Some use a bubble level on the head of the tonearm but you need to adjust VTF to compensate and it isn't worth the effort.
     
  6. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    Yeah, I agree, the camera is not in the same spot, but the arm is 4mm (thickness of rubber mat) lower than before. I decided to run it like Mr. Hall had designed and see how it shakes out.
     
  7. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    Thanks for the tip.
     
  8. Lenny

    Lenny Active Member

    Location:
    New York
    As I wrote, it's not easy to tell from photos. Yet from the very last photo it still looks like it is tail down. I'm not judging by the arm tube; I'm judging by the horizontal (or not quite) mounting plate touching the top of the cartridge. Sometimes, as it is with my own VPI 3D arm, the arm tube and the mounting plate are not in the same plane. It's for the OP to check. No one can do it for him.

    As for the setting of the arm height left by the manufacturer, they didn't know what cartridge you were going to use and you should feel free to adjust the tonearm height to make the sound right after you decide on a mat or no mat. Actually if you want the best out of this cartridge, you must.
     
  9. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    Yeah it must be the photo because my eyes sees that it's level. I may at some point play with the VTA, but right now it sounds pretty good.

    Thanks
     
  10. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    This cartridge is MC bang for the buck. It is the real deal for a MC lover. If your system is not MC friendly, I will not diss you choosing a MM or MI option. The AT 150 MLx or the VM series new equivalent today is close in many ways. Choose what your system, ears, and records you play do best with. Mine isn't fancy, but works for my needs and budget. Your mileage may vary. I'm friendly, I'm open minded. I'll meet you halfway, and won't take your head off.
     
  11. Lenny

    Lenny Active Member

    Location:
    New York
    You can do as you please, but I do not trust my eyes. I use a level. Sometimes I use a bubble level and sometimes especially for an application like this I use an electronic level that throws a horizontal laser line. These have proved my eyes wrong more than once.

    "pretty good" is really not good enough for this great cartridge. Recall avani1960's post when he found an improved SRA/VTA.
     
  12. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    Yes, I do recall his troubles, but I am not experiencing any of what he went through, but I get what you are saying.

    When you use a level, how do you keep the needle from bottoming out (i.e. compressing from weight of level) and affecting the reading?

    What type of levels you use?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
  13. Lenny

    Lenny Active Member

    Location:
    New York
    First, of course you need to make certain that your platter is level. No, I do not place the level on top of the cartridge. When I use the laser, there's no issue of course. When I use a bubble level I just hold it very carefully, and as steadily as I can, next to the mounting plate with the bubble in the middle. Not the easiest thing to do I know. Helps if you have something to lean on.
     
  14. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    Welp, here's my attempt at describing my thoughts on the Art9. Here goes...
    ___________________________________________________

    This is comparing the Art9 to the Ortofon Blue and Red cart. I have no experience with any other carts. I've had the Art9 since July 26, 2017. I've played more than 40 albums so far and below are my non technical thoughts.

    The cart plays hard hitting, fast moving, wall shaking, b'bopn' grooves just as eloquently as it plays silky soul slow and jazzy music. In other words, I can go from a bop'n song to a slow love song and not say whoa what just happened to the sound quality. I am pleased with Art9.

    All aspects of the music range is important to me, however, the highs is where I am most concerned and this cart delivers on them. I despise distorted highs, no matter the music. Cymbals and the hi-hat (I'm a hi-hat junky) seem to have more sizzle (think of frying bacon), yet still sounds cleaner than the Blue or Red carts and I liked how the Blue handles the hi-hat and cymbals. I use a variety of music to test highs, bass and artists voices (i.e. jazz, soul, funk, rap and hip hop). The horns are clean, tight and crisp - think of your jazz horns and those old school/funk bands with large horn sections, such as Earth, Wind & Fire (EW&F), James Brown, Tower of Power just to name a few. Sibilance seems to be totally reeled in. I use a few reference songs from Sade's "Diamond Life" album to test siblance where her "ssss" created some issues for the Blue cart, but was really noticeable with the Red cart; the Art9 had no sibilance. Her voice was silky smooth. Bass is good, but source dependent. If the source is bassy, the bass is there, however, the bass seems tighter and less boomy. I use a variety of music to test bass (ex. Miles Davis' "So What", Brother's Johnson "Stomp" some hip hop music). No problems with bass at all.

    The Art9 rendered more clearly the other more subtle musical instruments that tend to get drowned by the more pronounced/prominent instruments, such as keyboards and other small percussion type instruments (triangles, wood blocks, cabasa, tambourines, conga, cowbells etc). On a couple occasions I placed the needle back on a section of the song just to make sure I heard what I thought I heard.

    On a side note, some thoughts on a few recent albums I listened to:

    I was listening to the Lou Rawls "Live" album at the Hellinger Theater in NY and man does this album sound great (instruments, his voice, the background singers and even the audience applauses). It sounds like he's in a studio and you are right there with him, but it's live. Maybe the producers employed some tricks, who knows, but it sounded pretty good.

    Listening to the Chet is Back album and the trumpet sounded like he was playing in my basement. Even when I went upstairs, I could hear the clarity of the horn from a distance.

    Listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Sade and Maze. I found that Sade, Phillip Bailey and Franky Beverly's voices were so clear, lifelike, alive and silky smooth.

    Phone preamp settings:
    Gain = 60db
    Loading = 100 Ohms

    Should I making any changes to the preamp settings?
     
  15. Methodical

    Methodical Active Member

    Location:
    MD
    A thought.

    It's tough having a dual purpose system. The seating location that's good for movies is not good for music.
     
  16. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Good summary- high end extension yet managing to sound squeaky clean and never loses its composure. Mine continues to sound phenomenal and impresses me with each piece vinyl- especially records i havent played in years.
     
  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I am more than happy watching movies with just the TV speakers!
     
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  18. DaMoodyBlues

    DaMoodyBlues New Member

    Location:
    Kansas City Area
    Buy something cheap from them on a CC and the phone number will show on the CC bill.
     
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  19. DaMoodyBlues

    DaMoodyBlues New Member

    Location:
    Kansas City Area
    Just installed a ART9 last week. You can go from the 45 rpm version of Brubeck's "Take Five" from Analogue Productions to their reissue pressing of "Moving Pictures" by Rush, and it presents both beautifully. While listening to Moving Pictures I had near constant "goosebumps" After another 20 hours or so I will do some more fine tuning of VTA and alignment. Right now the stylus tip is set right where my previous Grado w/MCZ stylus was sitting when it really came to life.
     
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  20. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    The '9 plays everything well as people are discovering. Anyone looking for an MC cartridge under $2K should put this one on their short list- at half that price.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  21. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I swapped out the ART9 just to try the Ortofon 2M black again. I gave it a serious listen for about a week. It has tremendous clarity and realism on the plus side (compared to the '9). But this comes at a price as many recordings (jazz horn or female vocals) can get offensively peaky / shouty/ ringy in the midrange to where it is not a pleasant experience. Also, the mid- upper treble of the Black can often sound dirty. I recently noticed that Stereophile has downgraded the 2M black from class B to Class C (FWIW).
    Just providing some comparison for people looking for a new cartridge in the $1K range.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  22. Thanks. I'm definitely considering the ART 9 now. Seems like a great deal of performance for the money.

    A bit off topic, but I've never been a huge fan of the 2M line. I never had the Black, but I ran the Bronze for a while and found the same thing you describe here. I recently bought a a KAB Pro S 40 (basically a Concorde DJ body on which KAB has installed the Ortofon 40 stylus) and I find it a far more pleasurable listening experience. The Pro S 40 or an OM 40 is less than half the price of a 2M Black. They have a superior FG 70 stylus, and a bit smoother sound to my ears. I'd recommend it if you're looking for a moving magnet cartridge.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I was in a record store in downtown Chicago and their system sounded so good that I had to ask what they were using. An old Adcom amp with vintage B&W bookshelf speakers and a Technics table with the Ortofon OM 40!
     
    snorker likes this.
  24. James Glennon

    James Glennon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    I still have the small screwdriver and brush that came with my Audio Technica OC9, loved it.

    The output was a bit high (0.5mV) for my valve head amplifier, so when the time came I switched to the Dynavector 17D3 (0.3mV)!

    JG
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  25. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Update 10/7/17.
    The ART9 cartridge continues to run and although not perfect is the best cartridge I have owned and is downright stunning at times.
    It is not a neutral cart, it has a definite character and influence.
    Last night I played this new record by a band called Protomartyr and it sounded bloody unbelievable!
    The character can be defined as somewhat thick and warm with the midrange and treble a little recessed but smooth and clear as a whisper at the same time. I keep searching for an alternative that is more neutral but it's sound like this that keeps me amazed.

     
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