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Audio Technica AT-440 Reviews

displaying reviews 1 to 20 of 23

Audio Technica AT-440

Audio Technica AT-440

8/10 by Hulk_bx

A very good cartridge indeed. Great fidelity in the high and mid-range. Well worth the price. Tracking is excellent.

9/10 by bonzoneedle

I replaced my ortofon blue with this on an RP3 and it's a lot better. Clean ,crisp and detailed.

8/10 by Lenco L833DD

It`s my first true cartridge. After digging inside all cartridge makers catalogues, I chosen this one by its characteristics. I admit too the fact that I didn't felt too much confident because of its price: simply smashing. At first it sounded as a normal cartridge, slightly more detailed but that was all. Now I agree with Licoricepizza61: the stylus is like coming to life after approximately 35 hours surfing vinyls. Now every single LP is new, detailed and full of richness. The only nightmare is its right alignment.
Remember, it's my first true cartridge, therefore, excuse me for the 4 stars.

10/10 by Licoricepizza61

A great cartridge at a great price. I love it for exactly the reasons others hate it: the brightness (which eventually mellows out after 30 hours or more of use). Also the detail retrieval is beyond spectacular . My old albums sound new again and surprise me with sounds I never knew were there. I will have to admit that it is a bit bass shy, but that's because we've grown up in the age of boom boxes and loudness wars. But if you want to hear the detailed notes of the bass, without any prejudice, this is your cart.

Most important is the total absence of IGD, big plus. I gotta admit that now that I've been spoiled by AT's Microline cut stylus, I hate to go back to regular elliptical that costs way more. It's like going back to a Pinto once you've driven Lamborghini. Very difficult indeed.

Btw, this is a review for the new AT440mlb.

10/10 by Doubleplay

This is for the AT440MLb.

AT made a little wonder with this one. A truly magical cartridge. Forget the old classics, Shure, Stanton, Pickering, Garrot, and others. The tonal colours, purity, and free breathing nature, almost brings tears in your eyes. I prefer it to all my MM`s, and to some MC`s up to three or four times the price. It is that good.

10/10 by Melos Antropon

Note: This review is for the AT440MLb.

The summation first of all: This is, so far, the absolute best phono cartridge I have ever heard. And it's not broken in yet. My test tracks are several different types of music, but heavily predicated on classical, as that is my first love. After mounting and aligning with the Stevenson A protractor, my first record was an MHS recording of Schubert's Unfinished by the London Symphony Orchestra under John Pritchard. For lack of a better description, this was the loveliest playback of the record I have heard since I've owed it. Everything was just so perfect. I intended to listen for ten minutes to that piece. I listened to the entire two movements. I just couldn't tear myself away from what I was hearing.

Next, I thought a bit of a torture track was in order, so I cued up a recording I have of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition arranged for pipe organ and performed by Calvin Hampton. I am an organist, and when I first got this album in 1973, I played it many times - on a Garrard turntable in a console cabinet equipped
with a ceramic cartridge and diamond (supposedly) stylus tip. A conical stylus, of course. The record played as if it were brand new, which supposedly is a benefit of a MicroLine stylus: How much virgin vinyl it contacts. Only on the most dynamically intense passages was there the slightest trace of grit, and I attribute that to the fact that the cartridge is not broken in yet. In both cases, besides the flawless sound, what struck me most was the soundstage, which was unlike I have ever heard before - perfect positioning of every note in the Schubert, and widespread, very colorful separation in the Mussorgsky. Lastly, I played a Blue Note recording from the early sixties (in mono) of Jimmy Smith's Midnight Special. It came off very well, and Donald Bailey on drums has cymbals that have never sounded so good - no sibilance at all.

I look very forward to listening through the break in period, and I have the highest hopes for what this cart/stylus combo will sound like 30 hours or so down the road. In summation, I must return to where I started: An amazing cartridge. I did not feel there was any excessive brightness in the cartridge at all, but then, I have 65 year old ears, so I'm sure that makes a difference!


9/10 by twelvealo

This cart is the cure for the common turntable. I have this on my Pioneer pl-560 and set the tracking force to 1.4g. This cart pretty much eliminated IGD and now i cant tell when a record side gets to the end anymore, and if there is any distortion, its because the record is damaged. If youre looking to get rid of IGD, get this cart.

5/10 by davetruestory

I put it in an Akito and set it up using MFL Geo Disk. It sounds like a cd player, because it sit in front of the headshell. Just for experiment I push it all the way back and voila, the only way I can describe: liquid crystals.

10/10 by spunkerboybr

After upgrading from the already excellent AT120E to the AT440MLa, all I can say is that the litle distortion that still existed with the AT120E - especially on troublesome, long or not mint records - has significantly decresed to the point of either inexisting or being minimised only to damaged inner grooves (on second-hand records).
Contrary to what many people say, I found the AT440MLa to be less bright than the AT120E, especially on the 8kHz-12kHz area. Higher treble (especially above 16kHz) is indeed more pronouced in the AT440MLa than in the AT120E, but that is still not bright at all to my ears and it only reflects the incredible ability of the MicroLine stylus to extract every single detail from the grooves. Bass and midrange are roundabout the same on both cartridges.
Surface noise tends to be lower on the AT440MLa than in the AT120E, although a couple of second-hand records which are not in their best shape sound a little bit more noisy especially on outer grooves - again because the AT440MLa tends to track imperfections that are just disregarded by the blunter elliptical stylus on the AT120E.
My AT440MLa also sounded perfect right out of the box. I have run it at 1.5g of VTF and 1.7g of anti-skating on my Marantz TT6200 since it was new (now it has about 50 hours).
Final remark: for its price, no other cartridge can surpass the inner groove tracking ability of the AT440MLa. If you look for precision, then the AT440MLa would be your cartridge of choice.

10/10 by pjmorais

Perfect soundstage, extra pure sound, regular records sound better than state-of-art SACD, lots and lots of air, need to say more?
Needs perfect alignment and 4-10 hours of playing before inviting your friends.(my friend a valve hi-fi builder is still perplexed).
I will stay with this one forever.

8/10 by anmpr1

I have the original 440MR and a spare MLa stylus. The price has gone up considerably since I bought mine for about 90USD. The 440 certainly is on the bright side of the FR spectrum, but I wouldn't call it harsh. Others might. Tracking is superb. It would be better if you could demo it before buying, but with cartridges that is out of the question. If I had to choose one and only one cartridge, this would not be it. Bottom line: an AT 440 was worth the price of admission at $100.00. Double that, which is what they are selling for now, who knows? Given that an Ortofon MM with a comparable stylus is at least twice the AT price, and it's safe to say that the 440 is still quite competitive, and maybe even a bargain. Then again, I'd choose an AT-150 before I'd spend close to five bills on any Ortofon MM cartridge, so you know my priorities.

8/10 by NGM

Amazing detail but can be bright on some records. Hard to beat at the price.

10/10 by forbiddenapple

Excellent cart, It really has to be set up correctly with a lot of attention to alignment, horizontal azimuth. I have heard sounds on my LP's that I didn't know were there using other acclaimed carts. 5 Stars (Gold)

10/10 by nocturnal_wonder

Having tried the AT-440ML on several different turntables, there is no doubt in my mind that it is extremely important that this cartridge is matched to a tonearm of low effective mass (10 grams or less) to sound its best. Otherwise, the result will be bright and brittle sound, not to mention increased sensitivity to even very small record warps and the possibility of cartridge bottoming. The vast majority of the tonearms on the current market's audiophile turntables are, in fact, medium-mass tonearms that are designed to work best with lower-compliance cartridges (think moving-coil).

The notable exceptions are the Dual turntables or Thorens turntables with ULM (Ultra-Low-Mass) tonearms. Many audiophile turntables made in the 80s that were made to take advantage of MicroLine, Micro Ridge, and Van Den Hul styli are also good matches. Matched with these low effective mass tonearms, you will hear exactly how well-balanced the AT-440ML really is. The bass is deep and powerful yet tight, the mids are smooth and fluid, and the highs are very extended. The overall sound is extremely dynamic and punchy with very precise imaging.

While the AT-440ML is discontinued, Audio Technica has specified the AT-440MLa as the former's replacement. I tried the new cartridge and even purchased its stylus as a replacement for the stylus of the AT-440ML, as instructed by Audio Technica. Unfortunately, I think the fulcrum and/or stylus tip of the new replacement is actually inferior. The AT-440ML sounds just like an AT-440MLa when the stylus is replaced. This should explain the different specifications of the two different cartridges (the tracking force, output and frequency response). The AT-440ML's tracking force range is slightly lower, its output is higher and its response extends to 32 kHz rather than to 20 kHz (admittedly, no tolerance is specified). Despite consumer reviews on Amazon stating that the sound of the newer cartridge is actually more neutral, someone has actually plotted the new AT-440MLa's response and illustrated a gradual droop in high-end response (at least 4 to 5 dB down at 20 kHz).

In any case, there will never be another AT-440ML. I found some left over AT-440ML cartridges from one website selling at the $199 list price and grabbed one while it lasted.

8/10 by pwsonline

I have just mounted this cart into a Sanyo TP1000e with an Acos Lustre arm. The initial impression is a bit bright, but oh so detailled!!!! I hear things I never heard quite that good before. It also has a very nice soundstage. The instruments are seperated nicely. I read it needs some breaking in, and then oftens a bit. I think I've found my ideal cartridge.

The info in this site is also very helpful!!!

7/10 by Snilsen

I actually like this cart more than my late model Shure V15, for sheer detail. The bottom end is very open, not nasal, but not very loud - hence the bright quality. I hear the high end in balance with mid, on my tube/horn system. Channel separation is quite good. The soundstage is pretty deep. It plays all styles of music nicely and can make good vinyl sound holographic.

5/10 by kolob

Can be killer in the right
System not for systems an the
Bright side

9/10 by eastside

Once set up for vta dial in and broken in,this is a
hard to beat cartridge. Can be a disappointment
at first hear. Also got rid of silver speaker wire on
tweeters to soften treble presentation. You really need to fuss with this cartridge.

10/10 by Stu Morgenstern

Once broken in, the MLA is very detailed and neutral. Channel separation and soundstage are good. Great cartridge for the money.

10/10 by Blechfigur

I use the AT-440MLa on a Denon DP-47f. The Sound is very clearly & detailed, from my view a better cartridge for the DP-47f than the Denon DL-160!

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