Audio-Technica launches new entry-level VM95 cartridge series

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by daytona600, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    These do break in, definitely. I lost track of my hours around the 50 mark, and by then it was sounding open and full.
     
  2. ranch 22b

    ranch 22b Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    I missed your breakdown on the Lounge phono pre. Could you please provide a link to your post?
     
  3. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    This is not a Lounge thread so please don't comment here. Here is a post where I link test bench measurements of several phono preamps:

    Phono Preamp Measurements from ASR
     
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  4. ranch 22b

    ranch 22b Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    Thank you.
     
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  5. Luca

    Luca Forum Resident

    Location:
    Torino, Italy
    I only now realized that you are the same "patientot" who writes on the Graham Slee forum! How dumb of me! :D

    Cheers!
     
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  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Yes, I'm a member there, but not affiliated with the company in any way. Just a happy owner of a phono stage from them.
     
  7. Luca

    Luca Forum Resident

    Location:
    Torino, Italy
    Same as me! VERY happy owner of Reflex M and Solo Ultra Linear DE!
     
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  8. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Here are some updated graphs of the 95ML. The high frequency roll off I was getting with the 95ML vs. the 95C (two different setups) was puzzling so I wanted to do the graphs over again for the 95ML, this time using a better, though still cheap USB soundcard. Now the FR between the two versions of the cartridges looks a lot more similar.

    Chain is JVC TT>VM95ML>GS Reflex>USB soundcard>Audacity


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Diablo Griffin

    Diablo Griffin Synthpop, City Pop, and Rock Enthusiast

    Location:
    United States
    @dartira, @patient_ot, @HiFi Guy

    Just got the AT-V95ML today. I was able to play a few records, one of which was Judas Priest - Stained Class. This one had IGD on the last tracks of each side on my previous carts (AT95E and Grado Black2). I'm happy to report that I didn't notice any distortion while playing any of the albums. Good EQ so far too. I still need to do more critical listening, but the lack of IGD on what I played today bodes pretty well. Looking forward to hearing more stuff with this cart.
     
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  10. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I've got an old U.S. pressing of Stained Class but I don't think I've played it with this cartridge yet. It did play back very well on my other AT ML cart.
     
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  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Some listening I've done lately with the VM95ML:

    Gang of Four - Solid Gold (WB, 1981)

    Krypts - Remnants of Expansion (Dark Descent, 2016)

    Clifford Jordan - Glass Bead Games (Pure Pleasure, 2019)

    The GOF album is very bass-heavy, with tracks cut close to the label on both sides. On some carts this album can sound muddy and dull but not here. NO IGD whatsoever.

    The Krypts LP is a very heavy, atmospheric death metal album. The pressing is a typical GZ in house DMM cut, though well done. The amount of heaviness in the recording can cause details in the music to get masked but that didn't happen here.

    My third selection is a recent audiophile reissue of a cult 70s jazz album. Detail and separation between instruments are both excellent. On albums like this I will often focus on the hi-hats and bass lines when the horns drop out. With some carts you get splashy distortion on the cymbals and high hats and lack of articulation in the bass. Not here.
     
  12. dartira

    dartira rise and shine like a far out superstar

    Thanks @Diablo Griffin and @patient_ot
    Good trackers are a must for me and I still use an AT 440MLb.
    What I love about it is how well it tracks even the most difficult of inner grooves, but its mid-leanness bugs me sometimes.
    Would be great if the VML95ML betters the old 440 in that respect.
     
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  13. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    If you look at the measurements posted here by at least three different people, you'll see that isn't a problem with the 95ML. It isn't a problem with the 540ML either, based on measurements. This assumes you have no more than around 100pf at the phono preamp and no more than around 100pf in your tonearm cabling, for a total load around 200pf or less.

    With the 440 there was no way to get a flat-ish response without very low capacitance and/or loading down the resistance to below 47k. I would load my 440 styli at 39k.

    I would choose between the 95 series and the 500 series based on your tonearm mass. If you have an arm on the heavier side of medium mass, go with the 95 series. If your arm is 12g or less then I would probably go with the 500 series. Many medium mass arms should be able to run either cartridge with a good RF number.
     
  14. dartira

    dartira rise and shine like a far out superstar

    Thanks, ot. I know about the measurements and the need for low capacitance and I don’t mean to go ‘round in circles. It’s just that for me the 440 sounds a bit lean. My cart is now loaded at 41k / 180-ish pf. But what that’s done is push the resonant peak upwards (great) while taking away a bit too much around 2-3K to my ears.
    But boy, does it track well.

    Interesting, thank you.
     
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  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Try one of the new series. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
     
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  16. dartira

    dartira rise and shine like a far out superstar

    I
    I will, thanks!
     
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  17. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    I would definitely not describe this cart as thin in my loading and capacitance situation.

    When I get my test record in and measure everything I hope to do some quick and dirty needledrops to just give a rough idea of how the cart sounds with a variety of genres and masterings. For now, in my subjective experience, if the record itself is mastered full, fat and warm, the AT VM95ML will keep up with the presentation and bass extension that carts people frequently refer to as “full” like the MP-110 or m-97xe give. It certainly doesn’t appear to strip the bass or mids away from any classic rock, hip-hop or electronic music, but I will report back when I’ve got some objective measures to balance my POV.
     
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  18. Diablo Griffin

    Diablo Griffin Synthpop, City Pop, and Rock Enthusiast

    Location:
    United States
    I just finished Mariko Tone's Witty. This one had pretty bad distortion starting about halfway through each side with my old carts. Thankfully, that distortion is gone with the V95ML. This cart's doing wonders for me. :agree:
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  19. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    A bit of an update on the AT VM95ML. I'm starting to experiment with some tests using the Ortofon Test LP. This LP has some tests that my CBS STR100 does not have.

    To start with, I tested crosstalk (stereo separation) between the channels. For this I used the 1k test tones on the LP and then measured in Audacity after applying some noise filters.

    The average value I'm getting is 27dB between the two channels.

    So it would appear the cartridge meets or exceeds spec (23dB). Keep in mind you will probably get different results using different test LPs.

    The difference in crosstalk between the two channels is around 1dB, give or take. This is with the stock AT headshell that came with the cartridge and no azimuth adjustment whatsoever.

    When I have time I will run some tracking ability tests and report the results.
     
  20. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

  21. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I don't have anything to compare it to but I thought that sounded pretty good.
     
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  22. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

    Thanks Ot, just playing around with some different set-ups. It helped out having a clean copy! When I get time i'll compare it to the US Ludwig.
     
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  23. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Here is a quick rundown of the tracking tests from the Ortofon Test LP on the VM95ML, not a deep analysis. These are all 315hz tones with lateral modulation.

    On a basic level, the only band it could not track was the 100um band - the cart flew to the deadwax after a few seconds. That is normal for almost any cart. The 50, 60, and 70um bands played with no audible distortion, just a very pure tone. There was some buzzing at 80um, which is probably the limit for this cartridge. More buzzing at 90um but the stylus was still tracking the groove.

    As points of reference, Miller Audio Research found that a "good" tracker like the old AT 440mla could hit 80um or more in both channels before tapping out. They also found that a "less good" tracker like the Grado Gold 1, tapped out around 45um in one channel and 65um in the other.
     
  24. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

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  25. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Sounds great on hot 7” like that ABBA cut. I’ve been meaning to put up a few samples of various genres but I’ve been too busy listening!
     
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