Audio-Technica announces extensive new VM cartridge series

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Poison_Flour, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Poison_Flour

    Poison_Flour Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    January 5th, Consumer Electronics Show 2017, Las Vegas – Manufacturing handcrafted phono cartridges since 1962, Audio-Technica revolutionised magnetic cartridge design with its internationally patented Dual-Magnet design more than 40 years ago. Based on this highly acclaimed design, Audio-Technica is delighted to introduce its new VM cartridge series that builds on the company’s heritage and expertise while also further refining its renowned sophisticated analogue performance.

    The nine models in the VM lineup combine three different cartridge bodies and seven different stylus shapes, to deliver optimised playback of all types of stereo, mono and 78 RPM records, whilst giving the user a clear upgrade path to expand their cartridge collection and perfect their analogue experience.

    Comprised of the die-cast aluminium housing 700 series, the high-density moulded housing 500 series and the mono-bodied 600 series, this new range offers seven styli types – Conical Bonded, 3mil Conical Bonded, Elliptical Bonded, Elliptical Nude, MicroLine™, Shibata, and Special Line Contact. The VM series has been carefully designed with experimentation in mind, allowing music fans to experience the sonic differences, subtleties, and sound enhancements delivered by changing styli onto cartridge bodies. This increased customisation within the range enables users to maximise body and stylus type suitability, as well as upgrade their collection to suit their audio tastes.

    Every cartridge employs Audio-Technica’s patented Dual Magnet design, which duplicates the “V”-shaped arrangement of the magnets of a cutter head and precisely positions the magnets to match the positions of the left and right channels in the groove walls. Consequently, the VM design provides exceptional channel separation, stereo imaging, frequency response and tracking of the record groove.

    Elsewhere, the oxygen-free copper coil wire used in the VM series (6N-OFC) is more than 99.99997% pure oxygen free copper, enabling the cartridges to pick up the maximum amount of information from the vinyl groove and provide high resolution, powerful sound image.


    CES 2017: Audio-Technica announces extensive new VM cartridge series »
     
  2. JimSpark

    JimSpark Forum Resident

    So, does this mean that AT will discontinue all its present cartridges from the AT150 & AT440 levels down to their lowest-cost cartridge, and replacing all of them with these 9 new VM cartridges? That's what it looked like to me.
     
    Poison_Flour likes this.
  3. MadMelMon

    MadMelMon Forum Resident

    Any experts out there want to chime in on how these might compare to their AT440MLa? That's what I'm using now, and I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm always curious to upgrade...
     
    englishbob likes this.
  4. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    as a long time a-t user, it's cool, but damn it's confusing!
     
    thoutah, c-eling and Henry Please like this.
  5. beavis

    beavis Active Member

    Location:
    Sayre, Pa. USA
    Please note that even after decades of complaining about the open-slot fiddle with the bolt and nut method of mounting instead of the more secure tapped body method we the consumer still get the fiddly.....

    After all this R&D they overlook that????

    Really???
     
    ClarkFan, octaneTom and Spitfire like this.
  6. smctigue

    smctigue Well-Known Member

    I wonder if the 700 Series is just a 150 generator with different styli options?
     
    octaneTom, Francois and marblesmike like this.
  7. Hermetech Mastering

    Hermetech Mastering Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Paris, France
  8. Francois

    Francois New Member

    Location:
    Longueuil, QC
    Wonder if it's compatible with the at150 body?
     
    Hermetech Mastering likes this.
  9. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Well-Known Member

    Here is some info from the U.S. site:

    VM740ML Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge || Audio-Technica US »
    VM540ML Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge || Audio-Technica US »

    These look like the same body types as the previous but the internal design may have just been reimagined a bit. I only use ML styli. I've read that Shibata doesn't provide as good results from inner grooves, so I don't know why they are making that their top of the line. In fact, I still use an AT440 tip on my old Signet gold cart from the early/mid nineties. I don't think they have really strayed from that design for decades now.
     
  10. Hermetech Mastering

    Hermetech Mastering Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Paris, France
    Me too, much rather ML than Shibata, so I find that weird.
     
    robertzombie likes this.
  11. smctigue

    smctigue Well-Known Member

    According to: Cartridges | Audio-Technica » the top models are LC.
     
  12. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    ATs design changes are always very subtle, often non existent but the names, has always been like that for many years.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  13. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Well-Known Member

    The prices sure aren't getting any better. Just a handful of years ago you could get an AT440 for $99, replacement stylus for $69. Now that vinyl is cool again the price is doubled.
    And about MicroLine, I don't know if any of you have had similar. I've had many ML's from AT over the years and there's often an issue regardless of setting where the opening track will start with a rotational crunching sound, which is the stylus damaging the vinyl. It's usually only on the right channel and with a weight of 1.5, and when the record is then played again on another system the damage is there. I've had this happen on countless albums. Plus, it's rare that looking though a magnifying glass that even a brand new ML stylus is evenly shaped. It usually appears that one side is more curved in than the other, similar to being worn down. And a really bad thing is that old CBS pressed 45s, which I don't even think are vinyl, are destroyed when playing with an ML. You can literally hear the destruction as it's playing and see a growing white blob (record material) collect on the stylus, even at 1 gram. I love my ML and have used them since the late 80's but these negative effects stink. Perhaps the new stylus tip design will improve this? I'm sure I will get one once they become readily available in the U.S. and I can find a sort of deal.
     
    McLover likes this.
  14. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Agreed there, and also why can't AT. Ortofon, or somebody make a ruggedized high performance version with a conical or .3 x .7 elliptical, and 2 or so gram VTF with a somewhat forgiving cantilever for those who need good and bombproof. I know SoundSmith makes the iRox series fixed coils, but something affordable would be nice.
     
  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Strange, never had that issue. Re: old 45s, if those are styrene it is not advised to play them with an ML stylus.
     
    thoutah likes this.
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I also use an old Signet cart with 440 stylus. As long as these new styli will still fit my old cart body I'm happy. The prices seem high compared to the current range but are still less expensive than the competition. Curious what the actual street price will be and if any of the subtle changes on these are improvements.
     
  17. Hermetech Mastering

    Hermetech Mastering Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Paris, France
    Sorry, was referencing specifically to the new VM 740, 750 and 760, and Micro Line (not Line Contact) stylii. The cheapest has the MicroLine, the more expensive Shibata, and most expensive is Line Conatct.

    Never once had that happen here with my 150 MLX, would be horrified if I did!
     
  18. SteelyNJ

    SteelyNJ Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Press Release - Getting Deeper Into the Groove: Audio-Technica Introduces Its VM-Type Cartridges at CES 2017 || Audio-Technica US »
    True, but the new 700 series cartridge is $329 with the standard MicroLine stylus and $399 with the Shibata, so the Shibata is the more expensive option.

    My two turntables are fitted with NOS ATN20SS and ATN20Sa styluses (in AT15XE carts), both Shibata. Absolutely ZERO observed IGD. I don't know where any false notion of a Shibata inner groove problem originated. The Shibata design actually helps to eliminate IGD. At least that's been my observation and what I've always been told.
     
  19. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Active Member

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Further on old 45s: Yes, many old Columbia 45s are styrene rather than vinyl. It's easy to spot - if the transition from label to run-out groove is sloped, it's vinyl; if it's more like a 90-degree transition it's styrene. At least, that's been my experience, YMMV.

    And yes, playing those dreadful styrene jokes with anything other than a conical is not such a good idea.

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  20. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    think AT will adjust their tone with this new series? I found them bright/shiny sounding overall.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  21. Catcher10

    Catcher10 Well-Known Member

    Mo money-mo money-mo money.........Just adding to the audio price bubble.
     
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Remains to be seen/heard, but I doubt it. I don't find them bright, but it's highly system/personal taste/hearing dependent as with everything else.
     
  23. DangerousKitchen

    DangerousKitchen Forum Resident

    Huh. I've been actively (and am currently) using both an AT 440MLA & AT 150 MLX in my 2 main systems for 10 years and have replaced styli and have NEVER encountered this issue. The stylus profile does dig deeper and will extract dirt from the deep grooves that other stylus profiles won't reach. I can't speak to styrene or other non vinyl compounds but this really sounds more like an alignment issue or tonearm defect on your setup.
     
  24. jriems

    jriems Forum Resident

    So if I'm understanding this correctly, the new lowest priced ML from AT will be the VM540ML that clocks in at $50 higher ($249) than the current 440MLb ($199). Jeez louise.

    If they intend to keep the 440MLb around and not phase it out, then it will remain AT's least expensive ML option, I suppose.

    Like Scott Davies referenced above, I sure miss the days of the $99 440MLa, and $69 stylus replacement. And those days were only a handful of years ago!!
     
    patient_ot and robertzombie like this.
  25. dbsea

    dbsea Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    My 440MLa ate a few styrene 45s before I knew better, but I don't believe it's ever damaged an lp. Are you referring to just the lead in grooves, or are you saying that AT micro lines have a tendency to damage the first track of a side?
     

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