The Audio-Technica AT440MLA cartridge is equipped with Audio-Technica's patented Dual Magnet cartridge design and delivers "Practically identical to the cutter head" performance. Additional features include a Paratoroidal generator coil circuit, a Micro-Linear stylus, plus other advanced designs for top performance.
The Audio-Technica AT440MLA uses PCOCC (Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting process) in the construction of its coil and lead wires. Its advanced MicroLine stylus produces better high frequency response with less wear and distortion than elliptical or conventional linear contact styli.
Reviewed by 4 customers
I've had this cartridge over a year and typically use it as a backup on more worn lps. For newer discs, I usually use my AT150MLX. The AT440MLa is what I really consider the beginning of what some might call "audiophile" cartridges. The stylus is of a very advanced shape that Audio Technica calls "MicroLine". It tracks the record grooves better than any other shape I have ever used and slightly warped (and very warped!) records don't usually phase it. The sound is clear and what you might call analytical or detailed. You can pick out individual instruments or voices that would just all seem to run together for me using other cartridges. As cliche as it may seem, I really did hear certain aspects of music on my records that weren't obvious before I used this cartridge. The break in period is about 40 to 50 hours. At first the cartridge tends to be a little "bright" focusing on the highs a tad excessively, but after break in it mellows off and isn't neutral, but is a lot more even. I enjoy the sound a lot. The only other cartridge I have used that sounds smoother and more relaxed is the AT150MLX. I also think the specs might be a little better in real use because a friend has also successfully used his 440MLa for quadraphonic records that require a very high frequency response over what this cart is rated to. If you are looking for a good cartridge and don't want to spend too much, this is a great option. It has a great sound and is very easy to live with if you only wanted one cartridge. It is a great upgrade for the AT-LP120 turntable and other vintage Japanese direct drive turntables that use a similar medium mass tonearm.
I bought this cart to replace a well known competitor's cart that I found my self re-setting up about once a week. No matter how I tweaked it, the last two tracks on each side of the record were terrible sounding: sibilant, distorted, etc. I even updated my turntable Ã¢â‚¬" the cart's manufacturer assured me I must be doing something wrong! Well, I finally did some research and decided to get this cart. It's only got about 3 hours on it, but already I can say this: my inner groove distortion is gone. GONE. I didn't believe this was possible! But what's almost cooler is that I had a stack of records I was ready to trash because they sounded totally worn out on my old cart. Distorted, treble all gone, etc. I threw an especially "trashed" LP on my turntable to see what the AT440mla would do with it. To my COMPLETE surprise, the rumors about this cart are true: it dug down deep in the groove and found undamaged vinyl. EVERY record I was ready to throw out sounded good enough to hang on to with this cart. Some sounded good, others sounded FANTASTIC. Additionally, especially with newer, cleaner records, this cart has extremely low surface noise! Some call this cart bright. And while it does show a rise in the treble, its reproduction of music is faithful. For example, an LP whose CD counterpart is also mastered on the warmer side sounded spot-on; same as the CD, no extra treble. Records that had previously sounded like they were lacking high frequency detail came alive with this cart. I have yet to feel like I need to roll off the highs as I listen to the AT440mla. Its sound is not fatiguing to me in the least. And it's not even broken in! So, to summarize: If this cart hadn't worked, I was ready to give up on vinyl. All this talk of LPs being able to rival CDs in sound quality was sounding a bit ridiculous to me UNTIL I tried the AT440mla. I never knew vinyl could sound so clear, full, natural, and dynamic. If you have a decent turntable and an amp/speakers that can do justice to the increased detail this cartridge reveals, the investment will be well worth it! Just be careful with it! I've never seen such a tiny cantilever in my life, and I can't even make out the diamond. You'd only have to drop this cart on a record once to do some damage. Respect it, and it'll respect your records!
This cart is high-quality for a number of reasons. 1. the tracking force is kept to a low number(1.4gr nominal) 2. Ohno Continuous Casting Copper used in the internal wiring=better detail retrieval and imaging. 3. dual magnet for separation 4. Perhaps most importantly, the MicroLine stylus is very easy on the grooves and keeps wear of your records to a minimum.
I've had this cartridge for at least 5 years. It's very musical sounding, captures fine details and delivers expert tracking. It also works quite well with the less expensive and easier to find AT120E replacement stylus.