1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

3 Month Review of my Audio Technica ART9

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews & Opinions' started by 91r100gs, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. 91r100gs

    91r100gs Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    16,364
    Location:
    KC area
    First off I wish to thank everyone who has complimented me on my purchase. I bought this gray market from 2Juki on e-bay, because @Mister Pig frequently recommends him to many folks. I was going to buy it from LP Gear, but the morning I went to order it after my Credit Card had cleared for the month, the price had gone up $70 overnight. Emailed them but they would not budge. I guess when you have the exclusive in the US, you can do what you want. 2Juki has never raised his price.

    @fuzzywobbles gave me inspiration to write this review.

    1: This is a very easy cartridge to set up and get the alignment right. The installation not so much. The slotted side of the screw goes in from the bottom. The cartridge comes with 2 sets of nice brass screws, nylon washers, slotted nuts, and the usual AT screwdriver which is made of brass in this instance. The slot on the nut is wide enough for your fingernail to hold the nut in place, while you tighten it up, with the screwdriver from the bottom. The cartridge comes with a nice protector for the stylus.

    2: The cartridge now has about 300 sides (100 hours ) of use. From the first record it has had better sound than the Grado it replaced. This cart is not as sensitive to VTA as the Grado was. It has been the least fussy cart I have ever owned. The .5mv output means no lack of signal the the 60db of gain on my preamp. It has just blended in my system seamlessly. Again totally frustration free once mounted. The somewhat tubey sound of the M500t makes this cart really sweet and musical sounding.

    3: Had some worries that I bought too much cartridge for the Traveler. Before I bought it, while reading on the VPI forum, Harry actually has used even higher grade carts on a Ver 1 Traveler. Ver 1 Traveler's are one of Harry's favorite turntables. I think it works so well because of the 10.5" tonearm and the on-the-fly VTA adjustment that the TT offers. The Traveler with the AC motor has had rock steady speed. The table is dense enough to dampen vibrations.

    4: Now for the sound quality review. As mentioned before, even the first record was awesome, the quality of the bass just floored me, deep, bold, clear and precise. At first the mids and highs were good but not too impressive, by 30 hours they came into focus. Several of my favorite records were played the first week and then played later in the break-in period and the difference was stunning. Over at Audiogon there is a long thread on this cart, ( a good read if you are interested) the consensus is that it keep getting better until about 250 hours. If that is the case I will have not "tidy whitey's" without spots. :)

    The ART9 is so neutral that at times you just forget about it and the outstanding tonal balance just lets it disappear to let you enjoy the music. Piano, whether on a rock, jazz or classical is sublime. Again the cartridge does not draw attention to itself. Did not think percussion on my Magnaplaner's could get much better than with the Grado, but again this cart is just in another league. My reference is the drum solo during "Take The L" by the Motels. (Yes I realize it cost 3x more) The favorite drum and percussion solo's in my collection just jump out at you, yet remain clear, focused and not harsh at all. This morning I listened to Bob Marley's "Survival" album. Superior bass and as always Bob never disappoints with lots of nice percussion instruments and vocals.

    Vocal tonality is marvelous. Martha Davis of "The Motel's" is right in the room with you. Rickie Lee Jones the other evening was heavenly. Male vocals from artists like Jim Morrison, Elton John, Billy Joel, and Bob Marley and others present a new timbre. On "Cars Hiss By My Window" by the Doors, Jim is sitting 3 feet from you, and you can hear his vocal cords rattle. Same for 'Redemption Song" by Bob Marley. The acoustic guitar during "Redemption Song" is like you have never heard if you don't have this class of cartridge.

    The sound stage is both wider and deeper than anything in my previous experience. It sounds like the depth of the SS is 3 times deeper. Some music seems to come from outdoors in my front yard.

    Some things that let you know you have a "cut above" cartridge is the channel balance is totally spot on. Both power meters on the Carver M500t on mono recordings are perfectly equal. The consensus over at AG is that is a wonderful cart for mono record. This is the 4th cartridge on this TT and the only one, that all my records have perfect channel balance. With all 3 previous cartridges the left channel was always weaker except on a few of my premium records. This makes the perceived "sweet spot" of Maggie's somewhat wider, probably 15-20 degrees on both sides. Also makes your records sound more alive. On reissues that have sounded a bit dull, the cart has livened them up somewhat as it is pulling more from the grooves. An example is 'The Traveling Wilburys" reissue.

    This cart has reduced the surface noise on records where it was present before. For instance, Tom Petty's (RIP) "Hypnotic Eye" which I have spun dozen's of times, was starting to get a bit of surface chatter here and there. The uber small line contact diamond,(smaller than most LC's) must be getting deeper into the grooves, as the surface noise has vanished. 95% of my records with some surface noise, have showed a noticeable improvement. A shame it has not improved my 'Trilogy" album by ELP. That diamond is a sight to behold with a 60x loupe. The diamond is so small I can barely see to clean it, without at least 6x reading glasses on. I am farsighted. The only negative so far, is that ultra tiny diamond is a superior groove cleaner. A good quality and easy to use stylus brush is required.

    If you are interested in carts in this price range I can highly recommend it. Mine arrived in 4 days from Hong Kong if you want to save $139. AT USA in a recent policy change, is now supporting all purchases for their re-tipping program if you buy it overseas. No warranty but they will retip it. For a long time this cart was not officially available in the US.

    Feel free to PM me with questions or ask them here unless they deal with price.
    ____________
    Dan
     
    Ilikevinyl, Wildcat and jblnut like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,892
    Location:
    MI, US
    Is this the MicroLine stylus tip?

    The AT33PTG/II has been on my short list for a replacement, but I may keep this ART9 in mind if budget allows.
     
  3. 91r100gs

    91r100gs Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    16,364
    Location:
    KC area
    It is. Smaller than most microline styli.
    From AT's website
    Stylus Shape Special Line Contact Stylus
    Stylus Curvature Radius 40 x 7 µH
    Stylus Construction Nude square shank
    Cantilever 0.26 mm Ø solid boron
     
    Wildcat likes this.
  4. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,125
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Interestingly I find that I prefer my ART9 for low volume listening though it just seems too much at higher volume. I prefer to run my Fidelity Research FR-7 when listening a bit louder.... Likewise, my wife finds the FR-7 more pleasant so I don't get yelled at to turn it down.

    The only other carts I posses which are in the same league is my Philips GP922 (retip w/ boron c/l, FGS tip), Klipsch MCZ-7 (retip w/ ruby c/l, Micro Tracer 2 tip) and Fidelity Research FR-1 Mk3F (FGS retip)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  5. 91r100gs

    91r100gs Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    16,364
    Location:
    KC area
    The superb sound quality at lower volumes is the thing I like the most about the cartridge. When I turn it up it does not sound better but never overwhelms, just louder. If you have mild Tinnitus this great SQ at low volume is "Priceless" Two days ago I noticed I lost some bass, then I noticed the tail was way up, and then when I lowered it a bit the bass returned. When I had the Dual w/ Shure 91 and HE stylus in my system for a few days recently, I noticed that I was listening louder to acheive the SQ I wanted. My ears started to ring more.

    Still loving my ART9
     
  6. dcmfan

    dcmfan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,859
    Location:
    Welcome 2 Missouri
    Me too! 1,800 hours on it and still going strong, but I might send it out for a professional evaluation later this year.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. 91r100gs

    91r100gs Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    16,364
    Location:
    KC area
    I doubt if I am at 200 hour yet. I play less records downstairs in the winter. Much warmer upstairs this time of year. Was wondering to myself the other day if I wanted to try it on the Dual 1219. :idea:
     
  8. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,125
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Truth be told it could well have been the music I was playing at the time. Some Roxette from my youth. I had the volume turned up far more than usual.... Also like in my youth. I think I simply prefer less detail at volume.
     
    91r100gs likes this.
  9. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,535
    Location:
    usa
    Very nice review. I have an ART9 and it's a wonderful cartridge.
     

Share This Page