It is almost impossible to make a blameless decision at the bottom line of purchasing an audio production turntable or a turntable part. But the risks can be minimized in some ways. One is knowing the purpose for which you need the cartridge. Another is being specific about the exact model and brand you want in a specific series. So to speak, if you’ve heard enough about the glory of the F series, the best Audio Technica cartridges series, you may be considering the F2 for its wow factors. Therefore, in this Audio Technica AT-F2 review, I show you everything you need to know about the AT-F2, from features to benefits through the disadvantages.
First thing first. If you are a happy fan, an audiophile who considers Audio Technica a “yours truly”, you may just skip the introduction part. Otherwise, if this is going to be your first Audio Technica experience, let me tell you a bit about Audio Technica.
About Audio-Technica AT-F2
Audio-Technica got into the industry as far back as 1962. And the first-ever products from them were phono cartridges. To be precise, these were the AT-1 and the AT-3 Moving Magnet stereo phono cartridges that became the ancestors and the inspiration behind most vinyl tracking devices on the market today. They offered the best value at the cheapest cost and sold like crazy. Soon, Audio-Technica became a group of multiple audio production equipment manufacturers dedicated to designing state-of-the-art problem-solving equipment in all categories.
Today, that group of companies is the leading company of the industry, having won chunks of industry awards. They have been able to set milestones and hit grande achievements by focusing on quality, price, performance, and durability of musical solutions for studio recordings, broadcasts, live performances, practices, worship, events, corporate and government facilities, and other purposes. Though originally established by Hideo Matsushita in Tokyo’s Shinjuku-ku, AT is globally recognized in various locations around the world of today.
With that out of the way, I’ll now show you everything great and as well everything not so good about one of the best Audio Technica cartridges, the AT-F2, in my review below. Jump in.
Everything Great About AT-F2
To the great part first. Here are the few features through which AT-F2 offers you great benefits.
- Highly Separated Dual Moving Coil
First off, the AT-F2 is a moving coil design that offers all the audio quality that meets the expectations of an audiophile. Whenever you’re banking in on better audio performance cum wider frequency response in a more detailed audio production, AT-F2 is not just a choice. By doubling its moving coil, the AT-F2 from Audio Technica even more details while at the same time overcoming the low voltage output of moving coil cartridges. Each of the coils is of high separation from its pair to generate power independently, whilst providing outstanding separation characteristics such as leakage of signals from a coil to another. The leakages cause a stable, irregular cross-modulation for a clear and finely delineated audio quality. Finally, the high separation of the coils in a V shape arrangement reduces the vibration mass that may otherwise distort your vinyl sound.
- Nude Elliptical Stylus
As expected of a nude stylus construction cartridge, the AT-F2 tracks more accurately compared to its bonded stylus counterparts. This is because the diamond tip builds directly out of the metal shank and not attached to it, accounting for a low mass unit that turns out to offer more honesty and naturality in your vinyl sound production. Add to this the elliptical shape of which front radius sits perfectly on the center of your groove and of which side radius tracks higher frequency with a heightened degree of accuracy. Overall, the nude elliptical stylus of Audio Technica AT-F2 emphasizes on low distortion, improved frequency response, upgraded phase response, and overall a precise follow-up on groove modulation.
- More Magnetic Energy
Another great side to the AT-F2 is the integration of a Neodymium magnet that offers even more magnetic energy than most conventional MC cartridges. This feature puts AT-F2 in the same category with few HOMC (High Output Moving Coil) cartridges out there by offering wider outputs than expected of a low output moving coil unit.
- 0.07mm Diameter Stainless Suspension Wire
The cartridge uses the 0.07mm diameter stainless suspension wire that is employed in higher quality moving coil type of cartridge. It offers a more stabilized audio signal transfer, provides an excellent expression of high frequencies, and secures auditory lateralization. This is one of the major reasons I am personally recommending it to audiophiles. And also to all those looking for more details of their audio vinyl signal expression. Unlike conventional MCs, signals are more pronounced for your amplifiers to pick up from your phono stage when playing to a small audience.
- Durable And Smart Body Construction
The construction idea behind the body design of this cartridge is obviously to improve the signal to noise ratio whilst securing a tough cartridge that is made to last. At the base of the AT-F2 cartridge, Audio Technica employs a precision-crafted sturdy aluminum alloy. And together with hard resin material used around the body, the Audio Technica was able to flesh out a portable MM unit with a minimized parasitic resonance, an improved signal-to-noise ratio, and greater rigidity. Talking about a durable cartridge that stays in shape until its very last breath, the AT-F2 is one of such.
While these great kinds of stuff may thrill you, Audi Technica AT-F2 is not all too great in my opinion. And here is why below.
What’s Not Great?
- Not For DJing; if you’re looking to scratch and make heavy mixes with the AT-F2 MC cartridge, you’d be disappointed. I’d rather recommend any of the moving magnet models for that. Not only is the stylus susceptible to damages after multiple scratching but, as expected of a moving coil cartridge, the Audio Technica AT-F2 is unforgiving to feedback and noise. It will pick all the tiny little tones you don’t want on your mix and explode them right in your PA systems so that your audience may know how unprofessional a DJ that you are. I’m not saying that you’ve to be essentially a bad DJ, all moving coil cartridges may just be a shame to DJs and even sound guys.
- Low Voltage Output; the 0.32mV voltage output of this cartridge may not be ideal for heavy-duty performance. But this may be reconciled with a phono stage right? Then again, why spend the extra on a phono stage when you could just go for something like the AT440MLB which offers an output voltage of 4.0mV?
And that’s just all about it. Needless to say, you may want to have a quick glance at the complete Audio Technica AT-F2 features below.
Features Of Audio Technica AT-F2
- Cartridge Type; dual moving coil
- Frequency response range; 15Hz to 30, 000Hz
- Mounting type; half-inch centers
- Cantilever material; aluminum
- Coil impedance; 12ohms at 1, 000Hz
- Coil inductance; 25mH
- Terminal pins material; brass
- Vertical tracking force range; 1.8g to 2.2g
- Vertical tracking force angle; 20 degrees
- Stylus shape; elliptical
- Stylus type; naked round shank
- Stylus curvature radius; 0.3 by 0.7mil
- Weight; 5gram
- Channel separation; 25dB
- Output voltage; 0.32mV
The AT-F2 may be one of the best Audio-Technica cartridges in the F series. Nevertheless, it is important to note what it is great for. In my Audio Technica AT-F2 review, I have explained the bells and whistles of this moving coil vinyl cartridge. I hope that is enough guidance for your buying decision. Throw me a message via the comment box if you need to and I’ll be right there to offer more details about this cartridge should you need it.