Audio-Technica Reveals Next-Generation OC9 Cartridge Series at High End Munich 2019

May 20 2019, 00:10
Since their introduction more than 30 years ago Audio-Technica’s OC9 Series moving coil phono cartridges have been acclaimed by vinyl listeners and reviewers worldwide for their precise construction, exceptional sound quality and musical transparency. At the High End 2019 show in Munich, Germany, Audio-Technica introduced its AT-OC9X Series, the fourth generation of this legendary range of cartridges.

Designing and manufacturing handcrafted phono cartridges since 1962, Audio-Technica have now introduced the AT-OC9X, the fourth generation model of this legendary cartridge series. Improving further upon a winning formula, each new model features a Dual Moving Coil structure enabling audio information to be separated to the left and right channels with pinpoint accuracy, resulting in a precise stereo image and wide frequency response.

The AT-OC9X range arrives with a choice of stylus types including Bonded Elliptical (AT-OC9XEB); Nude Elliptical (AT-OC9XEN), Microlinear (AT-OC9XML), Shibata (AT-OC9XSH), and Special Line Contact (AT-OC9XSL). The moving coil wires in all OC9X Series cartridges are made from PCOCC (Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting), for optimum signal purity. The Special Line Contact, microlinear and Shibata models utilize a neodymium magnet with a Permendur yoke, a configuration that provides high-saturation magnetic flux density and optimizes the concentrated magnetic field of the coil gap, for improved reproduction of the delicate musical signals generated by the cartridges. The nude and bonded elliptical models employ a neodymium magnet and iron yoke, which provide increased output compared to previous designs. 
Pictured: Audio-Technica AT-OC9XSL and Audio-Technica AT-OC9XSH.
“When the first AT-OC9 series was introduced in 1987 it was an innovative addition to the cartridge market, as we combined a unique engineering process with carefully chosen materials to produce a superior sound experience," says Yousuke Koizumi, Chief Engineer of Cartridges at Audio-Technica Japan. "Since then, we have continued to develop and strengthen this range of cartridges and, as chief engineer of phono cartridges in Audio-Technica, I believe the new AT-OC9X series represents the culmination of over 50 years of experience in developing cutting edge materials to enhance the vinyl listening experience.”

Using an aluminum cantilever for the Elliptical and Nude Elliptical models, the construction of the cartridge range has been further enhanced to feature a boron cantilever for the Microlinear, Shibata, and Special Line Contact models. All materials are carefully selected to keep unwanted vibration to a minimum, reducing resonance and resulting in superior audio reproduction. The transducer engine, which is always the first component developed by Audio-Technica’s design team, is mounted on to a rigid aluminum body, again helping to reduce vibration.

The Elliptical and Nude Elliptical models contain a neodymium magnet and pure iron yoke, which provide increased magnetic energy. The Microlinear, Shibata and Special Line Contact models feature a neodymium magnet and a permendur yolk with high saturation flux density and outstanding magnetic properties to further enhance the concentrated magnetic field of the coil gap.

Threaded holes in the AT-OC9X’s body enable it to be mounted to a headshell or integral tonearm with just two screws; no nuts and bolts are necessary. Each AT-OC9X cartridge is supplied with the a non-magnetic screwdriver, brush, two washers, four pairs of mounting screws (5mm, 8mm, 10mm and 12mm), and one plastic protector.

To complement the new cartridges Audio-Technica is also introducing its AT-LH headshells. The new headshells are made from hard-anodized aluminum for maximum rigidity and vibration isolation and are available in three different weights (13, 15 and 18 grams). All feature OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) cartridge leads, lead-wires for improved audio transmission using a flexible elastomer jacket for ease of cartridge mounting, and all models have an adjustable cylinder to enable precise azimuth and overhang settings.

The Audio-Technica AT-OC9X cartridge range and AT-LH headhsell range is available from July 2019. Pricing for the Audio-Technica AT-OC9X Series cartridges is as follows: AT-OC9XSL, US$729.00; AT-OC9XSH, US$649.00; AT-OC9XML, US$549.00; AT-OC9XEN, US$349.00; AT-OC9XEB, US$239.00. The AT-LH18H, AT-LH15H and AT-LH13H headshells are priced at US$89.00.
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