Audio Technica ART9 MC Cartridge- The Real Deal?

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

  1. StarDoG

    StarDoG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Coventry
    "In step" the snare in particular has the extremely tight late 80s tone to it that a lot of engineers liked back then. It's the complete opposite to a Bonham style snare sound being rather plummy and rolled off in the low treble. You're hearing it pretty much as it was recorded, it's the other cartridges that are not being "accurate". That said, given the rest of your system I can see why you might find it sounding a tad "recessed".
     
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  2. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    F Everyone's I-
    The ART 9 is shown and mentioned at the end of this video by Mikey from CES.
    -
    It does sound awesome on most recordings, especially jazz where is is stupendous. With its sound signature it benefits "thin" recordings- example Elvis Costello "This Year's Model" and Jefferson Airplane "Surrealstic Pillow". I have a difficult time listening to these with the Ortofon 2M black because of its leaner, more neutral sound signature.
    The reason I haven't bought another cartridge yet is that I could already own the best sounding cartridge and don't realize it. A more neutral cart will bring about its own set of issues most likely.

    High End At CES 2018 Is a One Floor Wonder (Now Including Hour Long Video)
     
  3. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Just checking in. Gave it another good listen last night. Definitely a different cartridge from the MLX150. I will say this: the MLX is more "fun" to listen to. But what I mean by that is if one likes playing around with eq settings on a rig that has them, to tweak each recording to sound "right" to their ears, the MLX has that in spades...it makes almost everything sound really great. For better or worse, I think the ART tries to keep it real. What you put in is what is going to come out, but it's going to put a nice gloss on everything, give you a better and more open sound, and it definitely resolves a little better.

    One album I'm very familiar with is Bee Gees Spirits Having Flown. I have a Japanese import on vinyl and I thought it sounded really good. Well, not so much now. It sounds a lot more "dead", like it was recorded in a small room. With everything going on in that recording, and from having owned a recording studio back in the 80's, I know that the more elements you have going on in a recording, the harder it is to make it all open up. You do have to compress it all more to keep it together. As much as I hate to admit it, this album probably sounds more like it is supposed to now. It isn't bad, it just doesn't sound like it did before at all! I would blame the cartridge, but that's hard to do when almost everything else I'm throwing at it sounds fantastic. I do wish I had a bit more gain, but I'm used to MM's so that's probably unfair to blame the cart for that. It's certainly loud enough. I have been playing with the Chinook settings but don't seem to hear a huge difference as I change settings, and admittedly the cart hasn't even begun to break in yet. I'm at 100 right now and will leave it there. Steely Dan Aja sounds simply incredible. I need to spend some more time with it today and run some more recordings I'm really familiar with. I did just get Sarah McLaughlin's album with Angel on it on vinyl yesterday. Now, that song has to be very challenging for any cartridge. What range she has! On the MLX that is now on my Technics, it literally fell apart and that really never happens with that cartridge. It literally couldn't not handle her sustained high notes and I could hear it breaking up. I actually thought the pressing was defective. I as about to email Amazon to have it picked up but just for giggles, I played it on the Prime with the ART. Perfect! So, I'm real glad I've upgraded. I suspect I've returned a few recordings where the pressing was not at fault. Just went through this with a forum member...I bought the MFLS of Aja that was recently for sale and it had some pops and clicks, and it clearly wasn't tracking right for the first few minutes of each side because there was a slight warp at the edge and that part was to be expected. However, the seller insisted it played perfect on his table and I believed him (and to his credit, he offered to take it back anyway). I asked him to hold off and I would mount the ART and see if it was any different. Well, again, it played perfectly and it even forgave the slight warp at the beginning. So, a superior tracker to the 150 for sure, though the 150 is still a fine cartirdge by any measure.
     
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  4. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Yes, it seems like whatever you buy you are going to make a compromise. The ART is making a small handful of recordings not sound as good as I thought, but that's because they aren't good sounding to begin with! So, you either go for a bit of a smiley face cart or something really accurate. I'm learning you can't have it both ways. I am going to put on my Costello album...I agree with you, his stuff sounds as you say and I am anxious to see if the ART improves on it. What cart do you have??
     
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Yesterday i removed the ART9 and put the Ortofon 2M Black in its place. In my system the tonal balance is more neutral (excellent) but it sounds so much less dynamic and refined than the ART9 (not so good).
    I think I need a dynamic, slightly lean LOMC that sounds like the 2M Black. Maybe the Lyra Delos would match my particular system.
     
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  6. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Avanti, have you tried a SUT? You know, I really was surprised, experimenting, how much better it sounded going (with Benz LOMC) via SUT in to the MM section of my previous phono stage (ifi iphono) than it was going straight in to its MC section.
     
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  7. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man

    Location:
    Northern CA
    I've heard this before. Can you describe the sound difference between a SUT and preamp gain? I can't imagine a tonality change (assuming similar RIAA accuracy), just less noise (which I have very little of). Never the less, I trust the opinion of those who've heard/compared both. @avanti1960 I think you'd really enjoy the Delos. It has the qualities you seem to be looking for.
     
  8. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    never tried a SUT but have looked into it. my phono preamp is known for being clean at maximum gain and has versatile loading options. My LOMC cartridges sound clean as a whistle it't the MM cart on min gain that doesn't sound so refined so I'm not sure how a SUT would improve the sound.
     
  9. brendans

    brendans Forum Resident

    Location:
    colorado
    It's not just clean and quiet though; the right synergy with a SUT (or even headamp) can best some pretty great MC stages. Case in point this comparison from Analog Planet where even the $4500 Lehmann Silver Cube (among others) in MC mode was bested by a much cheaper pre with a Hagerman Piccolo.
     
  10. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    For me, I didn't like how the Black seemed to bring out all the pops and clicks in my albums. It seemed to have a very sterile sound, if that makes sense. More like it simply gave you whatever was in the grooves warts and all, but didn't really make the music fun to listen to like the ART9 does. Don't know if that makes sense. Ended up selling it here.
     
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  11. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I would love to get something to bring up he level! I just blew out my Krell amp! I am having a ground issue with my Prime (VPI just told me I have a defective Pivot...it has a coating over the tip that it shouldn't have, so the arm is not grounding correctly...niether SSD or VPI told me they had a defective run and it has been ten months and I've driven myself crazy sourcing the issue, which some of you were kind enough to help me with...I called VPI last week and finally heard about it...kudos to them for being honest though). They have sent me a new one. So, I touched the arm when the volume was fairly high and I heard a horrible pop sound. No sound in either speaker. So, found a blown fuse on the inside which brought back one side, but the other is completely dead. What a complete bummer! I put a nice Adcom in it's place for now and hopefully I can send the Krell to the factory and get it repaired. I am very surprised that killed the amp. Anyway, I don't know if there is a way to get a louder output from the Chinook pre, but I've played around with it a bit and can't really seem to get the level any louder. It is certainly playing loud enough, but my Krell pre has to be at about 1-2 o'clock position and I'm begging for another blowout if I forget again to turn the volume down before using the turntable. I assume you shouldn't hear anything at all when you touch the arm? I even used a nylon washer supplied with the ART9 when mounting, so I don't really know how I'm grounding out the lift mech on the arm. Anyway, I'm hoping the new pivot will solve the problem. I did sand the pivot tip, inc ase someone mentions that, and it helped but not completely.
     
  12. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man

    Location:
    Northern CA
    Your Krell doesn't have internal rail fuses and external fuses? Mine do, but I'm not sure how yours is configured. I was once messing around behind the system and accidentally unplugged my Krell processor. And once I plugged it back in....POP! Big bada-boom even with the volume down at zero. I blew the external fuse in my left channel.
     
  13. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    You're right in that it didn't fundamentally change any tonal character as such, but what it did was 'open up' the sound. Seemed more dynamic and expressive - in a good way (ie not as if you just increased gain etc). Both more punchy and refined. I went back and forth a few times and tried various settings and volumes to test, but it was obvious. Perhaps it was it least partly a lower noise floor, but it was a very quiet phono stage and I never noticed noise in itself.
     
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  14. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Perhaps it wouldn't help, but I wasn't expecting to on the iphono either (I only got the SUT to match with an upcoming phono stage at the time, and was just experimenting with it in the iphono for interest. I'd always been happy with its MC setting). What I'd say further to the post above attempting to describe the sound difference, is in that example at least the SUT seemed to let the nature of the cart and general vinyl front end come through more clearly. Not to derail your thread, just a thought n' all.
     
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  15. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    thanks for the info. ironically i listened to those samples and thought that the piccolo had some ringing in the vocal peaks.
    still open to the idea of a SUT but not willing to pay ~ $1K plus for a pair of transformers and RCA connections in a project box.
     
  16. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    that is tragic! hope you get it resolved without much expense....
     
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  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    took the Ortofon 2M Black out of the system (just not refined enough- you can hear the subtle grain in the guitar and vocals, and extremely anemic / lacking dynamics).
    put my Dynavector DV20X2L with soundsmith ruby cantilever back on. Sounds really nice but has too much bass energy.
    I compared a few digital files to the same LPs and my cart / turntable has consistently more midbass energy (100 to 250Hz or so) than the digital source which sounds tonally superior.
    are there any factors that would cause a turntable to have too much midbass energy?
     
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  18. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Maybe look into the loading of your phono preamp? Perhaps that'd help matters?
     
  19. gov

    gov Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    @avanti1960 have you heard any of the soundsmith carts? to my ears they are the perfect blend of detail and warmth and have moved me off at least the cart treadmill.
     
  20. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Same here. I recently bought the Krell from a forum member here and it was in mint condition. I'm surprised it would blow out an electronic part due to what happened. I can't believe the build quality I saw while digging inside for the fuses. I thought the Adcom's were well built! Anyway, at least I can still listen to the ART while I'm waiting for Krell to repair it. There really wasn't a huge difference in sq between the Adcom I have and the Krell. I don't even think one was necessarily better than the other. With the ART, the Krell has slight edge if you want a liquid sheen sound (I also have a Krell preamp so that probably helps) where the Adcom may have a bit of an edge to the sound, but both sound lovely.
     
  21. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Possibly VTA set too low??
     
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  22. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I wonder why so many like the Black? I really didn't enjoy mine, for the reasons the poster mentions, and yet there is a lot of love for it here. I'm not sure I ever really dialed in the alignment though, and I hear that's critical, but "fun" isn't a word I would associate with that cart. I supposed if what you want is an extremely accurate presentation of what is in the grooves, that's one to consider. Just know you are also going to hear all the dirt, pops and clicks (and it isn't subtle) as well.
     
  23. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I think when it's time to get something else, that is the one that will be next on my list. I have never heard a negative comment about Soundsmith.
     
  24. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Yes, it's the same as your's. There are three external fuses and of course I checked those first (curious that none of those were back...but you know what....after changing the one inside it didn't occur to me to check again once it popped back on...I'll do that). I only found one blown fuse inside, but it was for the right side and it's the left that is still bad. I'm really surprised a loud pop can blow a component out, but I only see four fuses inside and three outside. I was so angry I picked up the arm without turning down the volume first...I even have a note to remind me, sitting by the table, though I am hoping once I get the new pivot this won't be an issue. I bet you were mad too! Makes you feel like an idiot, and so little can cause so much damage. I'm really fortunate I didn't blow the tweeter in the Thiel's. They are notoriously vulnerable to blowing, and I've taken out two tweeters so far.
     
  25. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man

    Location:
    Northern CA
    I was gonna recommend raising the back of the arm as well. Can't hurt to try.
     

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