Audio Technica AT-OC9X Review

The new Audio Technica AT-OC9X is the fourth iteration of this venerable moving coil in 32 years. 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) are among the stylus options.

“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,” said Yousuke Koizumi, Chief Engineer of Cartridges at Audio-Technica Japan. Since then, we’ve worked to improve and expand this line of cartridges, and as Audio-head Technica’s engineer of phono cartridges, I feel the new AT-OC9X series marks the culmination of over fifty years of researching cutting-edge materials to improve the vinyl listening experience.”

The cantilever of the Elliptical and Nude Elliptical versions is made of aluminium, while the Microlinear, Shibata, and Special Line Contact variants are made of boron. For maximum signal purity, the right and left channel coils are made using the Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting (PCOCC) process. The transducer engine, which is always the first component designed by Audio-design Technica’s team, is mounted on a strong aluminium body, which aids in vibration reduction.

A neodymium magnet and a pure iron yoke are used in the Elliptical and Nude Elliptical variants to offer enhanced magnetic energy. To further increase the concentrated magnetic field of the coil gap, the Microlinear, Shibata, and Special Line Contact models use a neodymium magnet and a permendur yolk with high saturation flux density and remarkable magnetic characteristics. The AT-body OC9X’s has threaded holes that allow it to be fastened to a headshell or integral tonearm with just two screws, eliminating the need for nuts and bolts.

In addition to the new AT-OC9X cartridges, Audio-Technica has released a new line of headshells. They come in three weights: light (AT-LH13H), medium (AT-LH15H), and heavier (AT-LH18H), all of which cost £80. They’re made of hard anodized aluminium and have Oxygen Free Copper lead-wires in a flexible elastomer jacket for cartridge attachment convenience. An adjustable cylinder comes standard on all models, allowing for exact azimuth and overhang adjustments. Keep an eye out for a review coming soon…