They don’t brag about it, but Audio-Technica has been making pickups for 60 years, so the new AT-ART20 can almost be considered an anniversary pickup. The exceptionally beautiful design stands out, but so does the interior.
Here you find a rather special way of making pickups, and Hideo Matsushita – Audio-Technica’s founder – would probably have been proud of the special construction, as we know from the test of the fantastic AT-ART1000, one of the very best MC pickups available.
Here, the 0.28mm-thin needle arm is made of boron, and the two magnets are positioned in the characteristic V-shape familiar from the ART1000.
The needle arm is attached to the armature with a new cylinder with better damping and greater rigidity, which dampens resonances better. Everything is mounted on a titanium plate, which is lighter than steel and helps the pickup reach an upper frequency of 50 kHz.
The frequency range is specified at 20 – 50,000 Hz, while the channel separation should be 30 dB. The tracking angle is 20 degrees, and the pickup reportedly has 1.8 grams of needle pressure. Output voltage? It’s listed at 0.55 mV (1 kHz, 5 cm/s), which is average for an MC pickup.
Other data are 9 gram mass, 13 × 10-6 cm/dyn (100 Hz) compliance, 25 μH (1 kHz) inductance, 12 ohm coil resistance, and ≥ 100 ohm load impedance.
The pickup comes with brass screws in various lengths and has helical screw holes that simplify mounting in the arm.The price is not clear in local currency, but an estimated price of around $2900 should mean a comparable amound in euros. Well below the ART1000, then.