AT450E/OCC - opinions?

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JamesD
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#1 AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by JamesD »

Hi Chaps,

Going through my turntable store earlier today and I came across a cartridge on an AIWA 2600 that I bought about 10 years ago... I used it a couple of times and my son used it for a couple of years with an Ortofon M20E its a nice deck without being great but I hadn't taken any notice of the cartridge it came with... Today I had a look at it and discovered an Audio Technica AT450E/OCC in nice clean condition but I have no idea if it is one of the good ATs or an also ran - any advice or opinions on it very welcome - have I stumbled across a nice find? Its got a fairly heavy metal body that is gold finished (colour rather than solid I assume!).

yours curiously...

James
Ant
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#2 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by Ant »

Iirc, the cart is the same as the 120 family with pocc coils instead of occ coils.
The gold bit is painted plastic not metal
Perfectly adequete, basically the same as the old 120e
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JamesD
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#3 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by JamesD »

Thanks Ant. It's worth trying then - hope it sets up easily!
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#4 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by Ant »

They set up pretty easily, nice and and angular so they are a doddle to line up. i had one of these bodies with an atn 155lc stylus on it for a bit
Any vm 5 or 7 series stylii should fit it too
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#5 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by JamesD »

Having cleaned and checked the stylus for wear or damage and found it looking good, I mounted the cartridge on the Kenwood KD990 - it was surprising easy to line up and remarkably unfussy and tolerant to optimise.

Its sound surprised me - it did not sound like my memory of an AT MM at all! In fact it sounds liked like an 85% version of the Ortofon SL20E i.e. a slightly smaller acoustic, slightly less detail, less air but similar tone and timbre and with a very deep and nuanced bottom end. Slightly less sense of performance but with a really good sense of rhythm except it plays the sense of rhythm slightly faster than the Ortofon - not speed as this is on the DD Kenwood and locked into the same rotational speed for the record but the sense of rhythm isn't quite as relaxed as the Ortofon. This is really fine performance and I suspect that upgrading the elliptical stylus for the AT ML stylus would help the detail and air without compromising the fine bottom end. Vocals were natural but a little recessed compared to the Ortofon...

I'm impressed and I wasn't before with AT MMs... I have an AT FC-03/OCC in the cupboard - maybe I should give that a spin too - I still can't find my Shure V15 III - really need to find this and get it spinning... I have an Ortofon M20E to try next :-)
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#6 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by Ant »

These at moving magnets are my go to carts. Ever since i heard the 440mlb. Ive used the at150sa, at150mlx, vm540ml and vm760slc. Plus the body you have with the atn 155lc. The 760slc is the new equivalent of that combo with the special line contact stylus.

The best value cart in the range at the moment is the 540ml, for about 220 quid. An absolute cracker for the money. The 760slc isnt 400 quid better. But it is better.

Ive also used the at f7 and at33sa and ptg2, i really like the 33 and the vm 5/7 range

I couldnt stand their older 80s/90s era mcs, (oc7, oc9 ect) or the 80s/90s at93/95, bloody awful, but the new stuff is much better. Did like the old at110 though.

Audio technicas seem to fly a little under the radar for some reason
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Ali Tait
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#7 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by Ali Tait »

Have an AT31E somewhere, remember thinking how good it sounded when I first tried it.
JamesD
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#8 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by JamesD »

I must admit that it has been a bit of a revelation to me but it is 20 years since I seriously listened to an AT cartridge... I'll try the FC-03 just to see what its like but I think I might get the fine line stylus for the 450E as its really very nice - I tried a couple of my violin test records and they stayed nice and sweet with massed violins sounding like many violins rather than a horrible mess - next test is some big choral pieces :-)
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#9 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by Ant »

Vmn40 microline stylus is 200 quid, a complete vm540ml is 220.....
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mr.natural
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#10 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions?

Post by mr.natural »

James,

Hope you find the V15, I’ve been hooked on their magic for a few years. We’ve talked previously about your Ortofon mission where I think you are now cooking up some good results.

The vintage V15 is now in a different time period where some folk are happy with modern Jico stylus replacements, I have never
tried them apart from the Thakker/Jico variation and for me do not work. They need a lot of tracking force (too much for my
SME 3009). I have tracked down v good to nos Shure stylus originals, they have been something special. I track these at max TF spec. (1.25g). Music presentation & soundstage couple together really well in the listening room and make listening very enjoyable. Probably not quite the presentation/ effect of those million £ systems which make you melt into the mix. But they seem to all play that soft seductive slow mogadon jazz track. Just wonder what would happen when you pump Killed by Death through that type of set up.
JamesD
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#11 Re: AT450E/OCC - opinions? ANd now Ortofon M20E

Post by JamesD »

I really must find my V15... especially after the last few days...

I have been playing records with the Ortofon M20E the last few days - and playing and playing records with it...

Compared to the AT450E - the AT is better on almost all criteria - bass depth and timbre, mid range separation and tone, high end extension and detail but the M20E excels in the only criteria that really counts - it plays music beautifully, involving-ly, engagingly... I don't know what the hell is happening with this cartridge - its only a little behind the AT450 on the other criteria but it is a little worse and yet it makes the music sing... and I keep dragging records out and playing them just for the joy of listening to them again - classical records I haven't played for 30 years I'm now loving again... I played Melanie and enjoyed her again - I was 20 the last time I enjoyed her records!!!

And the amazing thing to me is that its better than the SL20E and the Denon 103 at playing music!!! I really didn't expect that from a non moving coil...

Maybe a better RIAA would change that conclusion but its were I am today and I don't understand it...

But I have to find my V15 to try that...

Actually I have one thought as to why its singing with the M20E - it "times" better than the other cartridges and the KD990 excels at allowing the system timing differences to show through...
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