Audio-Technica AT33PTG/II vs. AT33SA Cartridges

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by snorker, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I was looking at more expensive moving coil cartridges for my SL-1200G like the Ortofon Cadenza line or Clearaudio Concerto, but stumbled onto a few discussions on the Audio-Technica AT33PTG/II and AT33SA. These look like they could be relative bargain moving coil cartridges. The specs are somewhat similar on them, and I was wondering if anybody has compared the two. The look to have the right weight and compliance to work well with the Technics arm.

    The SA has a Shibata stylus vs. the more refined Micro Line on the cheaper PTG/II, but I've been warned that the smaller minor radius (only 2.5 uM) on the Mico Line may just pick up more noise, and that 5 uM is about as small as one needs to go (as on the Fritz Gyger, Ortofon Replicant 100, etc.) I think Shibata is 6 uM, which is probably close enough.

    I'd be interested to hear from anyone that's used either or both of these cartridges. Thanks.
     
  2. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    There's a huge thread on the AT33PTG/II here, and I think it was started by another 1200G owner (though back in 2013, so before he had the 1200G, not sure if he's still using it now). In any case, it's pretty popular around here, I have one that I have been using off and on, both on my modified Thorens TD 320, and on my Micro Seiki DD-40, and it's really a great cartridge for the money, kind of a bargain in today's market at around $450 or so. I'm not that enamored of the squat looks, and the stylus is a bit secluded underneath, but sure sounds good.

    Best cartridge you've never heard of: the Audio-Technica AT33PTG/II
     
  3. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks Davey. That's one of the threads I saw. I know someone else has the SA and really liked it.

    Can you say what its character is? E.g, brighter, darker, etc.
     
  4. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    To me it seems pretty neutral, I know some think the AT sound is a bit tipped up, and it may be, but to be honest, for the last few months I've been changing a lot of hardware, both speakers and amp, and have had three tables in rotation during that time with different cartridges, so I'm probably not the best person to say what it sounds like right now :)

    It did seem pretty refined in my listening. I've been using the Clearaudio MC most lately on my Clearaudio table, and dialing that one in, so haven't listened to the AT in a while (it's on the Thorens now), and didn't really have a chance to fully dial in the best load for it either. I was running it with a 10K load leftover from a previous cartridge (the input loads on my CJ preamp are soldered, but I did make some load plugs recently for use with it to help dial in cartridges). The AT was mainly for use in my other system, which has a fully adjustable Phonomena II+ preamp, but I've been concentrating on the main system lately. Sorry I can't be more help, but nothing really stands out as wrong with the sound of the AT33, at least with my system in a state of flux :)
     
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  5. Lymbo

    Lymbo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I'd love to hear some personal experiences with the SA as well. I love the PTGII. Probably the best sounding cartridge I've ever had.
     
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  6. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That's lofty praise! The SA is still reasonably priced, though considerably more. Anybody here heard both?
     
  7. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    @vinyldoneright I see you're running the SA now after previously using the PTG/II. Care to tell me why the SA was an improvement? Thanks!

    Incidentally, I looked at the specs on the ART9, but the compliance figure and weight makes it not as good a match for my tonearm. Also, the 33SA has a Shibata stylus, for whatever that's worth. That's a slightly smaller minor radius of 6 uM vs. 7 uM.
     
  8. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    I've never heard the SA so I'm not much help but as Davey says, I do run the AT33PTG/II on my SL-1200G and started that AT33PTG/II thread. Unlike for example the AT150MLX, an MM cartridge which was quite tipped up in the treble, the AT33PTG/II is slightly rolled off in the upper frequencies and that's what gives it its characteristic smooth sound as well as making it very quiet in the groove. It's a stunning tracker, too. The only thing with using it with the SL-1200G is the height - it is not a tall cartridge being only 16mm in height and the SL-1200G is only adjustable down to 17mm so if you use it with the standard arm, you do really need to find some way of padding out the height a bit to get correct VTA - either with a headshell spacer or a thicker turntable mat. I use mine with an SME V arm but that too has the height problem and I use SME's own custom headshell spacer which is 3mm thick and overcomes the problem.
     
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  9. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ah, good to know about the height! I imagine the SA would have the same issue, as they look like they share the same body dimensions. I do have a spacer that came with a Shure cartridge that I suppose would work, though it adds a bit of weight too.
     
  10. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Active Member

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    I'm running the SA now. Best sounding cart I've ran here but it also was most expensive. Just well balanced. Really just breaking it in but I would surely recommend it. Not noisy, is very quiet if setup right.
     
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  11. Cooley

    Cooley New Member

    Location:
    South Carolina
    I have AT 33PYG/II, 33Sa, and Art9 cartridges. The Sa has provides much greater detail than the PTG. The ART9 is slightly more expensive than the Sa. Both are excellent, but I prefer the ART 9. I would suggest consideration of the Art9.
     
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  12. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Cool, thanks for that. The problem with the ART 9 is the compliance looks to be much different, and I don't know if it would work as well with the SL-1200G arm at 12 grams effective mass. With that higher compliance figure and heavier weight it puts the resonance frequency down around 6 Hz according to this calculator, outside the generally accepted 8-12 Hz range.
     
  13. Cooley

    Cooley New Member

    Location:
    South Carolina
    I use the ART9 and 33Sa in 12" Schick tonearms with OMA graphite headshells. I have not had any compliance issues.
     
  14. culabula

    culabula Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belfast, Ireland

    I have the AT33PTG/II and have absolutely loved it since day one, far surpassing my experiences with my Linn Troika and Linn Arkiv-B. It was thanks to the other thread that I became aware of it and sourced one new at a terrific price.

    I swear it’s sounding better than ever - after 14 months! Over the last number of weeks it’s taken on a richness and warmth with particularly satisfying bass response that really made me sit up and take notice. Given that I play it everyday, I think I’m well placed to aurally observe how it develops, nay improves.

    I too would love to know more about the SA.
     
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  15. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Oh yes, you're right, I see now that the body dimensions are identical.

    Technics do a headshell spacer that costs next to nothing (see eBay) but from memory it's a lump of metal and does weigh about 3g. But it's not an especially heavy cartridge to begin with so I don't think that would cause any problems. Again, from memory, it's ferrous metal which means it's attracted to the magnetic field in the cartridge and that put me off slightly but I think it was probably an irrational fear!

    You can get lighter spacers made from non-metallic materials but they are often very expensive.
     
  16. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. Any idea what effective mass is for that arm? It's interesting to me that the ART 9 has such different compliance than the SA and PTG/II.
     
  17. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I'm not sure it does, I've seen it spec'd at both 18 and 9 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne (100 Hz), be interesting to see results from someone who has actually measured resonance with the Art9, and a known tonearm effective mass, and a test record covering the low frequency range.
     
  18. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Interesting. The LP Gear website shows 18 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne (100 Hz), as does Audio-Technica's European site. Where did you see it at 9 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne (100 Hz)?
     
  19. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Audio Technica cartridges
     
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  20. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Those specs are completely different than AT's own site. That one also shows it with a Micro Line stylus, while the AT website reads "Special line contact stylus with tip radii curvature of 40μm × 7μm." A Micro Line is 75μm × 2.5μm.
     
  21. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    OK, I only said I'm not sure about the compliance, it seems odd that two of their cartridges have twice the compliance spec of all the others. None of it can really be trusted unless you have confirmation of resonance frequency with a known effective mass, that's all I was meaning to say, after all, it is spec'd at 100Hz. Maybe go to the big Art9 thread and ask if anyone has measured resonant frequency, and then we can say for sure :)
     
  22. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yeah, thanks. Good call. It's very odd...
     
  23. Just changed out an AT33EV for the AT33SA. I am enjoying the new 33SA quite a bit with the limited listening time I have had these past few weeks. The 33SA seems to open up the soundstage a bit and seems to tighten & define the bass some. Not a huge upgrade over the 33EV, but enough to make the upgrade worthwhile. Running the 33SA on a stock Rega RP6. Added a 2mm spacer with the 33SA that I did not use on the 33EV.
     
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  24. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    18 cu at 100Hz is not possible. It would yield a very high static cu. Not possible, these figures are wrong.
     
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  25. snorker

    snorker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Perhaps the figures listed on the site @Davey posted above are the correct ones. In which case I'd definitely consider the ART 9 along with these other two.
     

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