Behold the new Audio Technica AT-OC9X, the fourth update of this evergreen moving coil in thirty two years. It sports a choice of stylus types including Bonded Elliptical (AT-OC9XEB, £210); Nude Elliptical (AT-OC9XEN, £300), Microlinear (AT-OC9XML, £480), Shibata (AT-OC9XSH, £570), and Special Line Contact (AT-OC9XSL, £660).
Yousuke Koizumi, Chief Engineer of Cartridges at Audio-Technica Japan, said: “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. 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 fifty years in developing cutting-edge materials to enhance the vinyl listening experience.”
Elliptical and Nude Elliptical models have an aluminium cantilever, while boron is used for the Microlinear, Shibata, and Special Line Contact models. The right and left channel coils are produced via the Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting (PCOCC) process for optimum purity of signal. The transducer engine, which is always the first component developed by Audio-Technica’s design team, is mounted on to a rigid aluminium 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.
Audio-Technica has also launched a new range of headshells to pair with the new AT-OC9X cartridges. Available in three weights – light (AT-LH13H), middle (AT-LH15H) and higher weight (AT-LH18H) – they all cost £80. Made from rigid anodised aluminium, they come equipped with Oxygen Free Copper lead-wires in a flexible elastomer jacket for ease of cartridge mounting. All models have an adjustable cylinder to enable precise azimuth and overhang settings. Watch out for a review soon…