a guide to phono cartridges
a guide to phono cartridges
choosing the right cartridge
The ultimate performance potential of any record playing system is
dened by the capabilities of the phono cartridge. Tonal balance, response
range, clarity on musical peaks, stereo separation and imaging, and
freedom from noise and distortion are all affected at the outset. Your
choice of cartridge can affect the life of your records. With vinyl records
becoming more and more difcult to replace, it’s an important point to
keep in mind when selecting a cartridge or upgrading your system.
what’s the difference in styli?
Audio-Technica offers three different diamond stylus shapes:
The MicroLine stylus almost exactly duplicates the shape of the cutting
stylus used to produce the original master disc. This enables it to track
portions of the groove other styli cannot reach, resulting in extremely
accurate tracing of high frequency passages and ruler-at frequency
response within the audible range. The unique multi-level shape wears
more evenly, allowing greatly extended record and stylus life.
The elliptical stylus has two radii, the front radius being wider than the
side radius. This allows the stylus to ride in the center of the groove,
and AT440MLa transmit distortion-free sound in which even the most
subtle sonic details are reproduced with clarity and purity.
The AT150MLX boasts other features as well, such as a lightweight yet
extremely rigid gold-plated boron cantilever, mu-metal shielding to fur-
ther enhance channel separation, and PCOCC copper output terminals.
dual moving MicroCoil™
The OC9MLII possesses the basic A-T Vector-Aligned design, but
utilizes two tiny moving coils mounted at 90 degrees in place of the two
Many serious audiophiles prefer moving coil designs, citing clarity and
transparency of tone, better dened transients, precise stereo imaging
and lower distortion as the reasons for their preference. (Please note
that moving coil cartridges require receivers or preamps with special
compatible inputs. Also, their stylus assemblies are not eld-replaceable.)
The OC9MLII features a MicroLine stylus, PCOCC coil windings for
low-loss signal transmission, a high-ux samarium cobalt magnet and a
low-resonance, gold-plated boron cantilever.
a word about mounts
Audio -Technica cartridges are designed with one of three mount-
ing options: the P-mount (plug-in), the half-inch (½") mount, or the
A P-mount cartridge has four terminals at the back that simply plug in to
the end of the tone arm. The cartridge is then secured to the tone arm
with a single screw.
A half-inch mount cartridge also has four terminals at the back, but they
are larger pins that connect to four individual wires at the end of the
tone arm. The cartridge is secured to the tone arm’s headshell with two
screws, spaced ½" apart.
An A -T universal mount model is a P-mount cartridge with an included
half-inch adapter bracket. It is thus compatible with both P- mount and
half-inch mount tone arms.
like the conical while the smaller side radius can more accurately track
The conical stylus is the simplest, least expensive and most widely
used stylus. Its spherical tip, which has a typical radius of 0.7 mil,
normally touches the center of the record groove walls. The conical
design works best in moderate to lower priced, and older, record players
with higher tone arm tracking forces.
dual moving magnet (audiophile series)
The AT150MLX and AT440MLa are our two nest moving magnet car-
tridges. Both feature the Vector-Aligned Dual Magnet design, MicroLine
stylus and Audio-Technica’s exclusive Paratoroidal Signal Generator.
This unique signal generating
system is composed of a unied,
laminated coil core wound with
a single piece of wire. Internal
mechanical and electrical connec-
tions are eliminated, minimizing
magnetic losses and assuring
better signal transfer. The use of PCOCC wire (Pure Copper by Ohno
Continuous Casting), a special copper with virtually no transverse
crystal barriers to impede signal transmission, perfects the performance
of the advanced paratoroidal coil design. Thus, the coils of the AT150MLX
MicroLine™ Elliptical Conical