New Audio Technica ART9XA Up and Running.....

Just installed a new AT ART9XA cartridge and it sounds excellent, so enjoyable listening to music with this cartridge. It replaces a highly regarded LOMC that was an upgrade from my original ART9.
The ART9XA beats the "highly regarded" one.

The XA is the lower output air core version of the new ART9 series having .2 mv output vs. the new ART9XI with .5 mv.
The XA also has a shibata profile vs. the SLC of the XI.

Hat's off to the threads on this forum that started the legend of the ART9 (Pani and Oregon Pappa) 

I am loving my recordings more than ever with the new XA. Peace.  
30+ years at this and the ART 9 is the only piece of gear I regretted selling. Enjoy!
thank you.
using a Sutherland 20/20 with linear power supply option.
definitely an impressive showing cleanly boosting the .2mv with no strain or artifacts at very high listening levels! 
a most complimentary pairing.  
ART-9's are pretty good carts. Good detail and fast. Just keep the stylus clean and you should good for a long time. 
Thanks to the OP's (and Raul's) guidance on another thread, I just this minute ordered a new ART9XA.  It is destined for my SME V, which is being overhauled by Alfred Kayser in Canada, including a single Cardas lead from cartridge to preamp.  Just switch out a couple resistors in the Classe Six to bump the gain up to about 63db and I should be back in vinyl nirvana within a few weeks.

BTW, I was able to track down the current AT 15% discount coupon, which shaved nearly $200 off the order.

Yes, congrats to Avanti1960 on a smart pick from considerable research - and his resulting enjoyment!
Yes, but the XA version is more of a replacement for the ART7 than it is a replacement for the ART9.  So, those who switch from the ART9 to the 9XA will need a bit more phono gain. It's all good, however.
Absolutely lewm.  Potential buyers, choose carefully.  The new XI and XA are quite different.  The XA is non-magnetic (air) core, a design that is inherently low in output.  A-T had to put on its thinking cap to update the ART9XA's predecessor, the ART7, upping its output from .12mV to .2mV in the XA.

By contrast, the ART9XI, with its magnetic core, has .5mV output (but apparently introduces magnetic distortions that are inevitable with such cores).

If I had gone with the XI, my preamp's standard MC gain of 57db would have been fine.  To utilize the XA, I'm having to bump the gain to 63 or 65db by switching out two internal resistors.
If folks are interested/able to spend a bit more the Charisma Signature One gives you everything the ART 9 has just more. Like my ART 9, the Charisma is exceedingly balanced and even-handed across the frequency range. It is also very transparent to the source yet somehow organic and natural sounding (sound familiar?). As I've said elsewhere, the ART 9 was the only piece of gear I ever regretted selling--a very fine cartridge for not a ton of money. The Signature One is all that and a bag of chips. Though I have not tried any other carts in the Charisma lineup, there may be less pricey models that provide a similar presentation just less. In speaking with Bernard Li he definitely knows the sound he is after and how to achieve it with his designs.
Correction after I hit post--not a "bit" more but three times more. The Sig One retails for $3800.
Congrats on the new cartridge. Does the accompanying literature list the internal impedance, or DCR? I have not found it on the web.

15 hours in and it sounds better than the ortofon cadenza blue !  

64db of gain and a 8 to 13 gram arm and you're going to be in vinyl bliss with the XA.    

i am mesmerized by how good this cartridge sounds.  explosive but delicate, refined yet very detailed, zero groove noise, huge separation and sound stage, all frequencies sound impressive and a golden smoothness that is incredible.  
avanti, your glowing praise has piqued my hopes for a wonderful experience, but it's likely I'll receive the cart at least a week before I get the tonearm back.  I feel like a kid with Christmas coming - can't get here soon enough.  Thanks for the report!
fun place to be, i hope it meets your expectations.  
listening to grant green grsnt stand and grsnt's guitar sounds so natural, full of space and present.  lovin it.  
peace and keep us posted.  
I opted for the xi, as it was the successor to the venerable art9 - so far sounds really awesome. I hope I didn’t make a mistake not getting the xa. I’m coming from a dynavector karat d3. 

I spent an inordinate amount of time and angst trying to decide between the XI and XA myself.  I was reassured by many members I would be very happy with either.  I went with the XA once I decided to take the plunge and switch out a couple resistors inside my preamp's moving coil section to adjust to the XA's very low .2mv output (a result of its non-magnetic air coil design).  I'm still not yet set up (my arm has just been returned from re-wiring).  I could not have gone with the XA without doing this, and I'm still nervous about it.

Bottom line: the XI's .5mv output means you will have ZERO gain problems.  I'm sure you'll be delighted.  Let's compare notes once we're up and running.

Could a more detailed description be offered on how the Art 9XA is perceived as a better Cartridge than the Ortofon Cadenza Blue.

I am familiar with Ortofon and they are my go to Cartridge.
So the XA now has my attention, when such a comparison is offered.  
You may want to contact the OP (avanti1960) directly.  He is the one who brought the Cadenza Blue into the thread, and he may not be checking this any longer.

I will give it a few days an contact Keegiam.

The link is to a Page on the forum, I posted a review by a Person whom I trust with a assessment.
In this case it is about the XA.

Oh yes, I remember that post now. That was on a thread I started way back when I was trying to decide whether to go with the older ART9 or the new ART9XI. In fact, that was one of the posts that began pushing me toward the XA and getting my preamp’s MC gain bumped up to be able to handle the XA’s .2mv output.

It was one of Avanti1960’s posts on this thread that finally drove me to the XA. On 11/28/20 he said:

“15 hours in and it sounds better than the ortofon cadenza blue !  

64db of gain and a 8 to 13 gram arm and you're going to be in vinyl bliss with the XA.

i am mesmerized by how good this cartridge sounds. explosive but delicate, refined yet very detailed, zero groove noise, huge separation and sound stage, all frequencies sound impressive and a golden smoothness that is incredible.”

Since he mentioned the Cadenza Blue, I thought you might want to check in with him directly.

Thank you for your sharing further info on the C' Blue vs XA,
and I'm Glad the report posted from the German forum on the XA proved to be useful.
the cadenza blue has a slightly larger soundstage and is a very good cartridge.  
the ART9XA sounds better overall mainly because of how clean and refined it sounds.  it also has a better centered image, better bass and more upper end extension.  cymbals sound stunning.  it also has a touch of warmth vs the cadenza dead neutral.  
where the cadenza can sound occasionally slightly but noticeably strained and distorted, the 9XA never does this.  
with the cadenza you would not notice it and think it was on the recording, blue note jazz for example, but once you hear the same music on the 9XA you realize it is more refined.  this is similar to the original ART9, the refinement was the key element that made it a keeper but it does everything well.  
Hi there
With a need for replacement of my Clearaudio cartridge, these newer AT cartridges have come into play in my decision making.
Question I have is revolving around a Clearaudio phono pre that has fixed gain of 60 dB (and fixed load of 500 ohm for what that is worth).
Is that 60 dB a significant limiting issue with the XA version of this?
Not sure I'm the right guy to help here, but I switched out preamp MC section resistors to get to 65db gain to handle the XA.  Avanti1960, the OP, is using 64db.

The XA is a very low output cartridge (.2mv) because is it air coil.  You should do some further research to see if 60db gain is adequate to get the best out of the XA.  And maybe Avanti1960 will add some wisdom here.
60 db with the .2mv output of the xa would be lower than i would run.  that amount of gain is minimum for a .3mv cartridge.   currently using 64db with the xa and that is the min i would recommend but 64db gets full performance out of it, no compromises or anything lacking.  
i would recommend the art9 xi or the xa with a sut.  
Many thanks, folks  . . . . .

I may even at this point look to upgrade my phono pre as much as I didn't want to so as to be a bit 'future proof' on cartridge selection 'and' permitting me to try out that XA cartridge.
We'll see . . . .
Beans, I'm wondering if you can speak with Clearaudio and find out if there are any MC output resistors that could be changed to bump your output up past 64 dB.  Or maybe there are some users out there who have done this.

Here's the thing: My Classe Six was "fixed" at 57 dB but the unit came with a slew of loose resistors the owner could use to change the output in 2 dB increments.  When I bought the XA, I changed out 2 resistors (one each channel) to bump the gain to 65 dB.  There were other resistor choices that would reach as high as 75 dB!

No idea if this would be possible with your Clearaudio, but asking around and researching are cheap.  BTW, so are resistors.
" Beans, I'm wondering if you can speak with Clearaudio and find out if there are any MC output resistors "

I have a query in with them the past day with 'just' that question.
Well, that and some discrepancies in 'manual's for this one off phono pre.  Most notably is that there is an online manual that states that the XLR outputs of this unit (there are RCA and XLR outputs) has a gain of 66 dB vs the 60 dB of the RCAs.  And compounding this is that my own manual that I dug out today (a very slight single page offering) specifies 58 dB for the outputs vs 60 dB in every other doc I could find on these i.e. so no differentiation between RCA and XLR out.
Game them the S/N of the unit and asked for clarification on the specs and whether an upgrade possible.

Hello All - if given an option today which one would you choose to buy ?


XA (0.2mV output)  can best be compared to the ART7, not the ART9, on the basis of voltage output. Both the 7 (0.12mV output) and the 9 (0.5mV output) are discontinued, so if you want to replace the 9, you’re best off with the 9XI which has similar voltage output. If you have sufficient overall gain in your system you can consider the XA which was the subject of this thread. Of course the new models are both more expensive than their predecessors by a few hundred bucks.

I chose to go with XA after hemming and hawing with cartridge choice over a couple years, this decision included cartridges at prices up to $5k. Based on that research never saw a single dismissive review of it, many claim it competitive with just about anything.  I was somewhat skeptical a $1.5K cartridge could play with much more expensive cartridges, but the consistently great reviews helped to alleviate that skepticism. I suspect efficiencies of scale may be at work here, Audio Technica relatively large company.


Anyway, I purchased XA along with Thoress phono pre and Korf headshell. Here's the crazy thing, haven't installed any of this into system since purchase of these items over a month ago, fixated on streaming experimentations at present.


Assuming one has sufficient gain, I'd go with majority opinion and get the XA over 9 and xi. Sometime very soon I will actually get to hear this is my own system!

I'd go the ART9XI over the ART9XA because I do not like the brittle sound of the shibata profile used in the XA  - the X! as well as the new ART20 both use special line contact rather than the shibata.

I too was rather surprised to learn that the XA uses a Shibata stylus shape.  Not that I have a firm conviction regarding Shibata SQ but more because I would prefer the line contact.  On the other hand, since these terms that describe stylus shape are so loosely applied, who knows?  Maybe the AT Shibata is not a classical Shibata shape.


I had both and the decision should come down to how much gain your phono preamp provides.  the XA sounds spectacular with the right amount of gain- e.g. 66db minimum, 64db was not enough for me. The XA has better internal wiring and a cleaner, more pure sound and better dynamics but the low .2mV output really demands a quality preamp with enough gain. 

The XI is higher output and can shine with as little as 56db gain. 

Pick the one your preamp can support. 

Thanks @avanti1960 - I have EAR 834P phono which can easily do 68db on MC, which I think should be able to handle the XA. But my concern is again the Shibata stylus and not sure why they did that instead of SL My current cart is AT-OC9XSL and its amazing cart and wanted to upgrade and this was a obvious choice in AT, But the Shibata is something I am little skeptical about. 

Open for other suggestions

the shibata sounds awesome after it is burned in and burnished- e.g. 30 hours. smooth as silk and all the detail you could want.

@avanti1960 Good to hear! You're inspiring me to get around to installing and listening to my XA and Thoress PS.

Just got an ART9XA.

On my phono amp I can have 64 db or 70 db of gain - a switch on the front of the phono amp is selected.

My own experience has been that the ART9XA sounds so much better, in my system in any case, when I have 70 dB of gain - "light and day difference".

As has been stated previously in this thread higher phono gain really brings rewards - in my system I was not so impressed with the ART9XA when only using 64 dB of gain.