AT VM540ML Unusable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Rattlin' Bones, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    My new VM540 ML is virtually unusable. It is a dirt and dust magnet. I only have old vintage jazz vinyl and they must all be pretty dirty because I can't use the cart for more than one LP before I find huge amounts of dust on the stylus. Like globs of dust and strings of dust sometimes 1/4 inch long. Really. I thought my amp was failing but no it's the cart. I use dust brush before playing anything, but this cart still grabs all kinds of gunk. It might happen halfway through a side which makes whole experience frustrating.

    Never had issue on other carts and stylus like the AT VM95EN. Maybe that's why there are a lot of posts here and elsewhere that people find the AT elliptical stylus superior to AT MF for older vinyl.

    Maybe for my birthday or Christmas I'll get a record cleaning machine. Until then I'll use the AT VM95EN stylus and sell the VM540 ML.

    Any recommendations on high quality cart/stylus alternatives that are not dirt magnets?
     
    Licorice pizza likes this.
  2. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Going with the flow...

    Location:
    PA
    I just got mine, only a few albums so far. I can see how that would happen though, this stylus is very thin and must get deep in the groove.
    So far no issues, sounds great.

    I think you can get an elliptical or spherical status for it.

    [​IMG]
     
    quicksrt, parman and Rattlin' Bones like this.
  3. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ron Popeil would say, "and it cleans while it plays."
     
  4. C.Ludwig

    C.Ludwig Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Threads of debris suggests really bad alignment or the use of a Discwasher, either will cause the stylus to rake debris. That’s my experience. At any rate clean records with something like a Spin Clean and if alignment is good your headache will disappear.
     
  5. JohnQVD

    JohnQVD bought too many records this week

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    I bought the RCM before the VM540ML and haven’t any problems with the ML picking up gunk.

    Maybe try switching to the VM30EN stylus until you can get a record cleaner. If the VM95EN worked for you, that should, too.
     
  6. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Sweden
    No. The whole point of higher end styli is that they contact more of the groove so that you cause less wear and get cleaner sound. The only drawback is that they pick up more dirt so you need clean records as you discovered.
     
  7. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    I really haven't had the issue at all with my 540ml. It stays cleaner than I thought it would and I play all sorts of older LP's along with new. That being said, today sounds good for a monthly AT wet cleaner bath.
     
  8. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    If these records were never previously wet cleaned, I'd get a good carbon fiber brush and see if that helps.
     
  9. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    If all you are doing is dry brushing your vintage LP's, maybe try a wet cleaning system. The Mobile Fidelity brush is excellent I've found. Even when used dry, it pulls an amazing amount of dust/dirt out of the grooves. Incredible really.
     
  10. parman

    parman Brit Beat Boom

    Location:
    Michigan
    You can clean your LP's without a machine. A dust brush really isn't cleaning
     
  11. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    This is very true and "LP dependent" I clean (RCM, soak etc) then wet spray distilled water brush dry and then a final dry brush and still pick up globs on certain LP's. If I'm in a hurry I will use my V15VMR/ SAS to play them which doesn't pick up as much dust, and allows me to have an enjoyable listening session. After this when I play them again with the VM540 things are a bit better. I thinking that once I identify an LP on which this occurs that I will just have to pay more attention to my cleaning regime before I'm about to play it.

    M~
     
  12. WDeranged

    WDeranged Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    The Audio Technica AT6012 brush with a good dose of 50/50 IPA and distilled water is shockingly good for the price.
     
  13. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses?

    I had the exact same issue, and in my case I had fibers wrapped all around the stylus making it nerve wracking to get off. I bought a spin clean record washer a gel pad and the AT liquid cleaner, have not had a problem since.
     
  14. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    If you're having problems with dust, don't try the Shibata, mine picks up even more dust than the ML.
     
  15. dconsmack

    dconsmack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    It’s like others have said… it the dirty records. I have had many MicroLine styli and currently have the VM540ML and you can absolutely play an entire side and not accumulate any more than the tiniest speck of dust (inspecting with a 10x jeweler’s loupe) if your records are properly cleaned. You don’t have to use a record vacuum but they’re really effective. I have the KAB EV-1, Nitty Gritty fluid, and MoFi brush. Affordable, effective, and you really only have to do each record once. After that, carbon fiber brush before and after each side.
    The VM540ML is a great cart.
     
    tin ears, parman and Boltman92124 like this.
  16. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ayep.

    On many of those sorts of albums it seems the struggle is undoing what the previous owner(s) did when trying to clean it themselves.

    From those anti-static cloths they used to sell at record shops, to using lots of dish detergent, to using products that leave filmy residue, you really never know what you're going to find.

    And getting it out is often a bit of an ordeal.
     
  17. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses?

    I have an original copy of Aoxomoxoa that it looks like someone set a vial of liquid lsd down on cosmic Charlie, still trying to get that out…maybe I should lick it clean
     
  18. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    Wow! I do have a lot of used LP's with "interesting" material in the groves, I play them then clean them and play them again. I think that maybe soaking them for a "couple of hours" , scrubbing them, then put them in the VPI16.5, play and repeat as necessary. An ultra sonic cleaner is a lower priority on my list of stuff to get.

    M~
     
  19. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses?

    This is actually my strategy now, someone here, maybe you? posted about spinclean/play/spinclean. Indeed the horrific ball of crap on my 540ml sent me in that direction, to the extent that I am now even keeping an excel spreadsheet of what albums were washed, when, and when they were played so they can go back in the bath. Aoxomoxoa may get quite a bit more than 3 spins the next time through, by the way that came as "near mint" for close to a hundred bucks from discfrauds.
     
  20. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    Even better using mostly straight up 99% IPA. I will heavily spray a bad record with a mister and use the 6012 while the record is spinning (at 78) on the platter. It simply works. The OP's problem isn't the cartridge, it's, obviously, very dirty records.
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  21. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    That wasn't me, but your idea sounds like a great one. It makes sense.

    M~
     
  22. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Yes I had fibers wrapped all around stylus and globs of crap.

     
  23. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Clombo of filthy records and a stylus more prone to picking up crap.

     
    Lenny99 likes this.
  24. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Location:
    Missouri
    Might be a good idea to clean the records.
     
  25. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Filthy nasty records with decades of embedded gunk and dust are not the fault of the cartridge.
     

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