View Full Version : AT MC carts, OC9 v 33PTG/VE etc

Tony G
29-03-2009, 12:32
Seems to me there are a few variations around the same or similar price here, depending on where you look.
I'm not hearing much in the way of comparison between them, are there marked differences in presentation, overall tonal balance etc. or they pretty much all of a similarity?
Guess what I am asking is, are there reasons (price aside) for choosing 1 over the other?

30-03-2009, 15:10
Hi Tony.

I suspect that Marco and Dave Cawley are the two Analogue Gurus most likely to be able to offer constructive comment on performance (cue barrage of abuse from other knowledgeable AOS members), and I'm sure they'll spot your thread and reply in due course.

The only thing I can offer is that I've just swapped a Denon 304 for an OC9 and found the AT to be significantly better, or at least more to my taste than the Denon.

One thing you might want to bear in mind, is that assuming you're looking at the 33PTG as an import (I've not seen anyone retailing in the UK, but I could be wrong), you may well get hit with import duty etc and Dave C will do you an excellent price as an AOS member which slashes the difference and means you have the support of a UK distributor.

I've also heard that the suspension on the 33PTG is designed for a higher humidity climate, but I have no idea if that is the case or whether it's a significant issue.

30-03-2009, 17:10
Hi twelvebears,
could you give some more informations about the differences between the 304 and the OC9? It would be interesting to also consider the type of music for which they are more "confortable". E.g. for me it is quite clear that in my current set-up the DL103R is very good for rock and jazz, while the DL160 gives a clearer image with symphonic orchestra. I know this is partially due to the fact that my stock arm is too light for the 103R, in fact I have recently opened another thread to get some help.

I am also very much interested in understanding what are the difference between the two ATs, and also why they seem to be so addressed to different world areas.

31-03-2009, 14:32
Hi guys,

I don't know about being an "analogue guru" (cheers, Steve! :eyebrows:) but I am reasonably familiar with the stuff I've owned and experimented with, and I also tend to look into things in rather lots of detail, much I suppose the same as others... Anyway... :)

I've owned both an OC-9 and a 33-PTG so will briefly explain their respective sonic differences. It is annoying that the 33-PTG appears to be US/Japan only (unless Dave can get them from AT in the UK?) because at approximately 260 excluding shipping and import tax (if paid) it is still considerably less expensive than the OC-9, and is in my opinion the better cartridge.

The OC-9 is a lovely cartridge and astonishingly good value for money in every sense, from the packaging to the build, to ultimately its superb sound quality, but the 33-PTG is the same only more so! In the flesh it looks like a veritable jewel and is built to a standard which quite frankly puts to shame the products of so-called 'specialist hi-end' cartridge manufacturers at ten times the price!

Furthermore, where it really matters, in terms of its sonic (musical) performance, it would easily compete with the designs above and in some instances outperform them. Again, it's mainly to do with the resources that AT have at their disposal in terms of production techniques which allow them to produce cartridges of such quality at prices that smaller, more 'specialist' manufacturers, can't compete with. Therefore, in terms of the all-important sound-per-pound or 'bang for your buck' it doesn't get much better.

Both the OC-9 and 33-PTG ooze class and have a sonic refinement and 'polish' in their presentation that compares very favourably with the designs of well-known and respected hi-end cartridge manufacturers and which elude the popular 103s (even the SA), mainly in the midrange to high frequencies. Both the OC-9 and 33-PTG are 'cleaner' and sweeter sounding in that area, although neither have the 103's bass weight, gravitas, and extension in the lower registers or, IMO, its innate sense of rhythm and highly addictive skills at musical communication. There is a price to pay in a hi-fi sense with a conical (spherical) tip, *BUT* that price is surprisingly small, musically, when partnering ancillaries are sympathetically matched and optimised! ;)

I'm afraid that there's no such thing as the 'perfect' cartridge; much as is the same with any other piece of hi-fi equipment, it's a matter of choosing your compromises...

What the 33-PTG does over the OC-9, in my experience, is adds some 'boogie factor' to the technically proficient but somewhat, IMO, 'conservative' sounding OC-9, and it does this by providing more drive, bass weight and slam, and a little more warmth, tonally, without sacrificing the 'accurate', highly polished, and revealing presentation synonymous with AT moving coils.

To give an analogy: if the OC-9 were a crisply-pressed Armani suit, the 33-PTG would be a pair of freshly laundered Hugo Boss trousers and shirt, although with the collar undone... Both exude 'refinement', but the 33-PTG fulfils the role of 'smart but casual', being more willing and better suited (no pun indended!) to get down and dirty when the occasion demands. Both the OC-9 and 33-PTG are very good cartridges, representing excellent value for money, but if your musical tastes veer more towards Moloko than Mahler then you may find the 33-PTG a better bet to make the most of your music collection. However, both have more 'balls' than a Denon DL-304, if not quite matching the latter's beguiling midrange clarity and 'intimacy'.

As ever, though, YMMV! :cool:


31-03-2009, 15:51
It is annoying that the 33-PTG appears to be US/Japan only (unless Dave can get them from AT in the UK?) because at approximately 260 excluding shipping and import tax (if paid) it is still considerably less expensive than the OC-9, and is in my opinion the better cartridge.

It's a shame the is so weak at the moment, mine only cost 185 (delivered) last year!... I did have to look pretty hard to find that price though. ;)

31-03-2009, 16:29
Indeed - and the price you paid highlights the point most succinctly!


Tony G
31-03-2009, 16:39
Marco, thank you for that considered and illuminating comparison, that you have used both gives it that much more weight.
You have confirmed both the few scattered observations I could find elsewhere from users of considerable experience and discrimination and my own suspicions from my brief time with the cheaper mono derivative of the 33.
Boogie factor is something I am finding with that, along with a considerable amount of bass and slam, more on that in the fulness of time.

I do get the impression that classical music does not fill a great place in your usual listening, is that so? or am I mistaken?
I ask only to find some further point of reference or context for understanding your observations more fully.
When I read reviews that take my interest, I always like to see what the reviewer was listening to or get a feel for their general tastes in music.

@ Mike, you think the pund is not good, try shopping with south pacific pesos :(

31-03-2009, 17:38
I do get the impression that classical music does not fill a great place in your usual listening, is that so? or am I mistaken?

No, you are right to think that. However, I do enjoy Classical music, but mostly in conjunction with a live performance at a concert or a ballet, where there is some form of visual stimulus (dancing or whatever) to accompany the music. I particularly like Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. The Russian composers seem to have a rather dark and/or 'dramatic' feel to their work which appeals to my listening sensibilities.

I find Classical music difficult to 'get into' at home, particularly with the lack of vocals and 'beat' (I am big into lyrics and vocals). I find listening to 'instrumentals' for long periods of time with any type of music a bit boring. Jazz can also be a bit like that sometimes. However, I should really buy some more Classical music, but as there are so many other genres that I prefer it's difficult not to prioritise those during my music buying sessions. I'm much more at home with Rock, Pop, Metal, R&B, Indie, Dance, Jazz, Folk, Acoustic stuff, etc :gig: