Audio Technica ART9 MC Cartridge- The Real Deal?

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

  1. Mainaman

    Mainaman Member

    Location:
    London
    Finally ordered a phono stage with gain adjustment,so i will try my ART9 without the LOMC gain i have now.
     
  2. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Personally I find the ART9 warm and very clean, forgiving. This is what gives it its "high end" sound IMHO. Truth be told it comes off a little too warm on occasion in my setup. Minor complaint.
     
  3. joegator81

    joegator81 New Member

    Location:
    Florida
    I've read that often. I find it very clean, stable, not easily phased. I can listen for quite a long time so long as the recordings are good. I don't think it will make a poor recording sound good. However, this is in conjunction with the clearaudio concept MC cart which is all I've ever used with it and what I'm looking to upgrade from.

    I find the concept to be very airy, nicely detailed for the price, with a nice wide and deep soundstage. I don't think it's the most full bodied cart however. The cart is a holdover from the concept table and I think the 294 really deserves something phenomenal.
     
  4. joegator81

    joegator81 New Member

    Location:
    Florida
    Sorry Avanti, I misread what you wrote and thought you were referring to the space arm for some reason. I don't think I've heard many refer to the Art9 as warm, that's good to hear. I'd prefer to err on warm over cool.
     
  5. cadeallaw

    cadeallaw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    ^Uh oh... I sense an upgrade coming soon!
     
  6. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I would echo that on my system, which admittedly has tube gear in front of it (tube phono and tube line stage, neither of which ostensibly sound "tubey" however), I hear a slight bend toward warmth, just enough to make it listenable for hours upon hours, at any volume level and for me, even on any genre. That said, I'd put this squarely in the "extra medium" category in that it may be a touch warm, but I still find it to be as neutral as I could want.
     
  7. vinyldoneright

    vinyldoneright Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ca
    I would never call the ART9 warm, it was down right edgy and not in the warm way until I put in the Amperex tubes to knock some of the high end off. I recorded a test signal before/after tube switch and it knocked it down a good 3db. I mean you can see on the chart AT sends out with every ART9 the high end rise. I do love the cart but I cannot say it is warm
     
  8. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I look at it on a relative scale. I've had probably half a dozen cartridges. The Lyra Delos being the most analytical I've had and either the Maestro Wood V1 or the DV20X2L being the warmest. To me, if Delos is +5 and DV20X2L was -5, I'd put the Art9 at about a -.5. Very close to neutral - I've never personally found it bright even on some pretty tizzy records - but if not exactly neutral, I'd put it to the warm side just a bit. Also, coming from an AT-150MLX which was absolutely brighter by comparison, the Art9 feels downright tubey by comparison.

    Just my $.02.
     
    DaMoodyBlues, Jrr and Strat-Mangler like this.
  9. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    @vinyldoneright - how many hours do you have on the Art9 now? Thinking back, mine was much brighter out of the box up to about 75 hours or so. I'm probably close to 500 hours now, so that may explain some of the difference.
     
  10. vinyldoneright

    vinyldoneright Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ca
    According to the albums I have recorded about 125+ hours
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  11. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Wow....
    I'm upgrading from an MLX150 as well. Will be here Thursday I hope. I was a bit reluctant to upgrade at all. I absolutely love the 150 and I've tried some more expemsive carts and always went back. Did you experience a huge jump in quality and if so, what is the biggest difference?
     
  12. joegator81

    joegator81 New Member

    Location:
    Florida
    I appreciate the opinions. This is a great thread. I'm really hoping for a big jump from the concept MC no matter what I decide. I've done s complete system overhaul in the last year and the cart is the only holdover other than my rhythmik e15 subs. I've gone for components that are neutral to slightly warm.

    Philharmonic BMR - neutral but full bodied

    Van Astine Synergy power amp - solid state voiced for tube warmth (imo just enough warmth)

    NuPrime DAC 10 - neutral and smooth

    Notts 294 - smooth, just slightly romantic

    MS Nova II - quiet, clean, neutral smooth

    Don't want to go to the cold side. The price of the Art9 is enticing and they always sell quickly on agon if it doesn't mesh
     
  13. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    The 150MLX was a fantastic cart that I knew nothing about until I bought a used turntable (MH 7.1) that had one already fitted. I loved it - being a fan of rock, metal, jazz, and prog - it was vibrant, had enough quantity and definition of bass to satisfy me, and electric guitar was nice and aggressive. But, if you weren't REALLY careful about capacitance with the 150, it would get bright in no time. Even with very low cap cables and phono stage, it's only downfall for me was it could get sibilant on hot LPs.

    The Art9 delivered everything I loved about the MLX, just in much greater quantities. Imaging was incredible, midrange and bass clarity/purity were end-game for me, and the high end tamed and smoothed out to where I can crank it as much as I want, hot LP or not, with reckless abandon. It was a bit bright (to me) out of the box but smoothed out just fine. I've used it with various amps and line/phono stages and each time I've gone "up the chain" with downstream equipment, the Art9 gets better. Most of my equipment would trend slightly warm as well - tubed Herron VTPH-2 phono stage, tubed Odyssey Candela line stage (though this one did bring the presentation a bit forward and emphasizes midrange more than the Anthem pre/pro it replaced, it was perfect at filling in that last little bit of sound I wanted), and Odyssey Stratos Extreme amplifier.

    It's a no-brainer upgrade from a 150, IMO, and I know we've talked about it before, but I can't help but think you'll be thrilled if you loved the way the 150 sounded.
     
    Jrr likes this.
  14. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Thank you for the info! I'm really excited. It's really hard to adjust carts on the VPI Prime so I will have to be very patient. I am using a Chinook pre so hopefully it's a good match. What impedance setting do you recommend?
     
  15. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    If memory serves, I ran it at 100 ohm on the Chinook. That said, on another phono stage I found a little more success at 118. With my new phono stage, I run it unloaded.
     
  16. vinyldoneright

    vinyldoneright Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ca
    I run at 64 OHMS
     
  17. joegator81

    joegator81 New Member

    Location:
    Florida
    Do you run it that low to tame the top end?
     
  18. vinyldoneright

    vinyldoneright Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ca
    Loading does not really do much in the way of high end adjustment in my experience, unless you go crazy and load something that needs about 100 at 500, I like the more controlled soundstage with the lower loading
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  19. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Thank you!! I'll start with that, and that is the recommended factory setting. Just got it...installing it now. Will report back soon. Just received a MFSL of Aja from a forum member...that would be a good one to start with!
     
  20. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    For anyone coming here considering an ART9, hope this helps. I just replaced the AT MLX150 with it. A cartridge that is no slouch!

    Well guys. I was underwhelmed upon listening to two songs I know well. But then I listened to three busy, dense songs and now I have a MFSL of Aja spinning. Thanks to the guy who told me to run, not walk, and get the ART9. I have already learned it won't do miracles on so so recordings, which to be fair would describe the first two songs I played (I was going for familiar, not best sounding so don't shoot me...Bee Gees Nights On Broadway, Japanese import, and Carpenters Only Yesterday, a very nice copy and very well recorded album) and then I put on a couple denser recordings and then bam. It handles well recorded material very, very well! More sheen, better soundstage for sure, and it's bringing certain elements of music out front more. There is a cello in Chris Rea's Fool If You Think It's Over, one of my favorite songs and one I know very well, and I never really noticed it before. Now all of a sudden not only is it really there, but it sounds like a cello! Amazing. This is definitely the fun part of the hobby. But then, I am now listening to Hall & Oates MFSL of I Can't Go For That and it's pretty much how it sounded withe the MLX150. Not bad, just not different. Interesting. Same with the Bee Gees Main Course album...not bad, just not different really from the MLX150. Jennifer Warnes Famous Raincoat: Take Manhattan...resolves a bit better but not wildly better than when playing it with the 150. Hard to imagine that one not sounding less than great on anything though. The reverb on her vocal when it trails off is definitely better...it's subtle things like that that makes this better and more fun. I suppose if you are going from a cart you love to something else there shouldn't necessarily be a dramatic difference, just little things that take it all up a notch.

    Last couple of examples. Supertramp's Even In The Quietest Moments...a recording you really have to put effort in to get a decent recording of...finally got a very good sounding import...the song From Now On is a tad smoother, more in control. Cymbals shimmer a bit better. You do have to know these songs pretty well to pick up the differences. But there are certain instruments where it really shines...seems to be wind instruments with my very limited time I've spent with it. The sax on this song near th end is definitely more pronounced and sounds more like, well, a sax! Here's a very busy, dense recording for you: Supertramp's Gone Hollywood from Breakfast In American, MFSL version that is like butter to listen to! Much better soundstage. You can reach out and touch everything. Nice. The piano is amazing after the chorus resolves down and Rick sings with just the piano, sax and a couple other instruments. Then it ramps way back up and it still doesn't get all cluttered sounding. Rick's voice trails off in reverb before Rodger comes back in. I never really noticed that before. My guess is he is buried as the instruments were pulled back up, but actually he is slowly pulled down but you are supposed to still hear him. Now, little stuff like that makes my day! Hey, if it's there I want to hear it. Anyway....clearly I haven't even begun to dial this in. I was pretty proud that it seems I actually mounted it right to begin with, and it seems to track perfectly on try number one. Though I did spend 2.5 hours being very careful about every detail, and watching VPI's excellent set up video on Youtube again.

    So, in short, don't expect this to make crappy recordings sound better. They will still sound like they should. Bummer, but do we really want a cartridge to do things that aren't supposed to be there? Okay, maybe sometimes! The problem is, what's it doing to the good stuff? So, the answer is probably no. But throw something worthy of it on your table and I think you will end up with a big grin on your face!

    Probably the best $1000 I ever spent. Going to be fun listening to stuff with this cartridge. Thanks to everyone who recommended it. I don't know what spending $2000 would do, but I keep saying that, I do it and behold, it gets better. I put the MLX150 on my secondary system with a Technics 1200 MG5 and it sounds fantastic. A great match. That was my "high end" table/cart combo before. With a tubebox pre.

    For comparison purposes: VPY Prime, Chinook tube pre, Krell pre and main amp, and Thiel 3.6 speakers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    @Jrr Glad to hear it was certainly a whole lot less stressful than the first cart you mounted on your Prime. ;)

    Now, I'd suggest playing with the Chinook's settings and see if you can coax an even nicer result. After all, loading is system-dependent.

    I'm thrilled for you that you feel it was worth the change. Nothing worse than buyer's remorse. Thumbs up, buddy! :)
     
    Jrr likes this.
  22. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    One other comment. The MLX150 cart does make everything sound good, at least in my experience. I don't know what that really says about it. I guess it's the perfect cartridge for people that don't want to spend $1000 plus on a cart. Or for people like me that have a decent second system where it would be a waste to go any further. I don't think I would hear that much more from the ART9 on that. But where the ART excels, I think, is bringing out all the subtle elements a really good system is capable of resolving. It's going to show you what recordings you have that aren't so good, and it's going to take your good stuff and show you some things you didn't know existed. So, it's a trade off. Neither way is wrong. And I guess I just figured out why people have two arms!
     
  23. brendans

    brendans Forum Resident

    Location:
    colorado
    Will be curious to hear your thoughts once it has some good hours of break-in. Usually it’s a good sign if you see some improvements immediately...
     
    Jrr likes this.
  24. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Yes. And I didn't mention this before because it isn't at all broke in, and as Strat Mangler said, making changes to my pre is likely going to make differences. But, the bass seems off a bit. Just not as much of it, and it's a bit thin if that makes sense. Don't know if that's a M/C characteristic or if it needs to be dialed in more. Or if I'm simply use to the MLX150. I have subs so I can certainly dial it in, but it isn't mixed in with the music as well. Not worried about it, but just thought I would mention it.
     
  25. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    What a nice supportive reply...thank you as always! I was stunned that I actually got everything set up the first time to where it actually worked! It was still not easy to install, but this time it wasn't frustrating and the design of the cart made it easier to install the screws and dial in the cart overhang. I knew it would take time and I allowed myself the two hours it did take me. There is a post above about a bass concern I have, but I'm assuming it is because the Chinook isn't dialed in. And, I'm having to turn the volume to about 1-2 O'clock to get good volume, which is a bit far and still not quite as loud as I would like at times. So as you said, I will play with it. No buyers remorse. I need to get used to it. The MLX is certainly a more fun cart, but I have a feeling the ART more accurately reflects what is really in the grooves. I already know it isn't going to do any of my average sounding pop albums much of a favor, but it sure makes the better recordings amazing. I guess when you get to this level you start making trade offs.
     

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