Audio-Technica ART Series Moving Coil Cartridges

We here at AP felt it was high time for a state-of-the-art update on Audio-Technica’s ART series of moving coil (MC) cartridges, so let’s take a closer look at the four models currently being offered under the company’s ART umbrella.

Up first is the flagship AT-ART1000 MC cartridge, which sports an SRP of $4,999 and is handmade in Japan. In case you’re wondering, the “ART” acronym in the model name stands for “Audio-Technica Reference Transducer.” (Okay, technically speaking, that means the acronym should be more like the admittedly unwieldy “A-TRT,” but we digress. ART is a much better designation, as is.)


According to A-T, the ART1000’s direct power system places the dual MC directly on top of the stylus tip, which is said to ensure that playback quality “does not suffer the negative effects normally introduced by the cantilever's length and material type” (their words). Each of the ART1000 cartridge’s two coils is constructed of 20mm diameter PCOCC (Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting) wire, wound eight turns to a diameter of 0.9mm to create a non-magnetic core coil. The 3ohm coils are placed in the 0.6mm gap of the magnetic circuit, enabling each coil to generate an output voltage of 0.2mV.


The AT-ART1000 features the same high-performance line contact stylus and solid boron cantilever found in the company’s now-discontinued AT-OC9/III cart, which is said to enable the ART1000 cartridge to “faithfully trace” the record groove and “reliably transfer” the signal to the coils.

The base that supports the specialized magnetic circuit and vibration system of the ART1000 is made from titanium, which works in tandem with the cartridge’s hard plastic cover and aluminum housing to disperse resonances that might negatively affect sound quality.

Other features and specs for the ART1000 include a nude rectangular shank stylus, frequency response of 15 to 30,000Hz, channel separation of 30dB at 1kHz, and a vertical tracking angle of 21º.


Next up is the AT-ART20, which has an SRP of $2,900. Just like the flagship ART1000, titanium is used here on the ART20 for the tip reinforcement plate that holds the diamond tip in place. The thickness of its gold-plated portion is said to have been increased to “approximately 30 times than that of conventional products to reduce contact resistance” (again, their words). The ART20 consists of an aluminum base, titanium housing, and elastomer undercover, all of which are said to be deployed here to minimize resonance.


Based on the magnetic circuit of the company’s AT-ART9XI cart (which itself sports a lower SRP of $1,500), the front yoke of the ART20 is 0.6mm thicker to improve magnetic flux density. Output voltage is said to be improved by more than 15% without increasing the number of coil turns that can increase mass and impedance.

Other features and specs for the ART20 include a nude stylus, frequency response of 20 to 50,000Hz, channel separation of 30dB at 1kHz, vertical tracking force of 1.6 to 2.0g (1.8g standard), and a vertical tracking angle of 20º.


Finally, there are the AT-ART9XA and AT-ART9XI cartridges, both of which boast SRPs of $1,500, respectively. The ART9XA (above) is an update of the AT-ART7, and it features a non-magnetic core MC cartridge with a Shibata stylus on a 0.28mm diameter solid boron cantilever.

Meanwhile, the ART9XI (below) replaces the AT-ART9 as the company’s flagship magnetic core MC cart, and it too features a special line contact stylus on a 0.28mm diameter solid boron cantilever. Features and specs for both of these replacement models include a nude stylus, frequency response of 20 to 50,000Hz, channel separation of 30dB at 1kHz, vertical tracking force of 1.6 to 2.0g (1.8g standard), and a vertical tracking angle of 20º.


For more about Audio-Technica, go here.
To find out how to order the limited-edition AT-LP2022 turntable, go here.


Anton D's picture

I would really like an ART-1000 but it's a tidge beyond my means. (By 'tidge,' I mean about double.)

I think the ART9XI might be a sleep, though!

So many goodies, so little money.

vinylrules's picture

Full disclosure: I also happen to be an authorized Audio Technica dealer and it would be an honor to help anyone that does not have a local Audio Technica dealer.

Enjoy the videos!

Let There Be Sound, L.L.C.

Anton D's picture

Plus, I love Yazoo!

I also love the PX-2!

Thanks for posting, I will look around in there.

volvic's picture

I love AT cartridges and love their customer service even more. A few years ago, I bought one of the MC cartridges from what I thought was an authorized dealer on eBay. I used the cartridge for a month till one day; the cantilever just fell off. I sent it to AT, who contacted me through email. In the email, the head of marketing was arguing with the head of the service department about whether they should offer me a replacement, with the head of marketing stating that it didn’t matter whether I purchased it from eBay. Something like this should not have happened to an AT cartridge. The cartridge is the AT-OC9XSL, and it compares itself favorably against my trusted Shure V15 MK V MR. They sent me a new one. Now I ask you, will I not purchase from them again? Absolutely, I will.

Arvo Palm-Leis's picture

I'd love to see an AT v Hana shootout, especially AT-OC9XEN v EL.

avanti1960's picture

phono cartridge. Multiple long winded audio forum threads abound the virtues of its sound. This user was a true fan and immensely enjoyed its squeaky clean, dynamic, spacious colorful high-end sound (at its then $1K giant slaying price). Nothing at or near that price could touch it.
At the latest pricing of the XI and XA there is more competition, but the value and sound quality is still there.
Long live the AT ART9.

dial's picture

I had an audio technica at 33 but now I only have Ortofon (Quintet red) & a Denon 103. Their sound is different, I can't say that one of the three crushes the other two.