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
    I also have a bottle of AT fluid, and the suggestion of no more than once a month makes sense to me, but I don’t know what Audio-Technica recommends. I can tell you that my nude elliptical has only been cleaned with the AT fluid a couple of times, and those were only because I felt like it should be done occasionally. Maybe I just have very clean records, but I don’t really notice this thing picking up nearly as much stuff as my conical does. As in, virtually none. I would imagine the nude-mounted ML stylus is similar in this regard? I’ll lightly dry brush it once in a while just to be sure, but it seems like if this baby encounteres a speck of dust, it gets around it rather than taking it along for the ride.
     
  2. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Thanks all. This sounds like my current cleaning regimen. Onzow every disc, dry brush what Onzow doesn’t get, and wet clean every blue moon.
     
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  3. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The ML/MR shape rides lower in the groove and can pick up quite a lot of gunk if your records aren't clean. It'll reveal flaws in a record cleaning regimen pretty quickly. That's why I don't recommended it anymore to everyone. One should have an RCM, or at the very least a Spin Clean, for this shape and most of the other advanced shapes, IMHO.

    I'll have to check my bottle of AT fluid as I don't recall instructions on frequency. Most of the info is in Japanese, which I don't read, so I'll have to use a translator app. In general, most cartridge companies will tell you that liquid stylus cleaners need to be used sparingly, and that you don't want the fluid to get on the cartridge suspension or internals. It can actually dry out the rubber suspension if too much of the fluid travels up there.
     
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  4. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    That does make sense, in terms of getting further down in the groove and scraping more stuff out. I’ll have to keep that in mind if I end up jumping to the ML stylus. I did get a Spin Clean earlier this year, and I’m sure I will eventually get the whole collection run through it. Anything I have that came in used and too gunky for the Spin Clean to completely clean will still get the elliptical, anyway (or the AT-91 I still have, if I think it might be that bad). I do appreciate that a lot of people are unlikely to be as conscious of which stylus they have on, but I think that’s really one of the biggest benefits of the interchangeability of styli for this cart for anyone who has a mix of pristine records and others that have apparently been previously owned by peanut-butter-handed toddlers.
     
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  5. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I do know some folks who swap out styli but I don't usually do that. I'd be more likely to swap out the whole headshell and cart, which is what I do with my carts anyway. The lower end models are cheap enough to where you can just buy one as a spare.
     
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  6. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    For sure, especially since the VM95 carts are only $20 more than the styli. I think for people whose headshells are not removable, though, the styli swap is a nice option.
     
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  7. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    IME a proper RCM clean is worth it for all stylus profiles. Currently I use a Record Doctor V with their one-step cleaner for all used purchases and for new purchases that are visibly dirty.

    All VG+ and up RCM cleaned records I've spun on this cart, my Nagaoka and the Denon are very quiet. The RDV is decent, but the lips do not fully cover the edge of the record so sometimes the very edge of the lead-in is not properly cleaned. That and the fact that it's very loud and a PITA to turn prevent me from cleaning every new record on it, but I've gone through easily 300+ LPs with great results. I may sell it at some point and get a more automated and better built machine, but it does a good job at its price-point and for those of us in small spaces it has a very small footprint.
     
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  8. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The issue I have with the RDV and most "flip and vac" machines is that they are not conducive at all to the strong enzyme record cleaner I like to use for used records. You try to soak a record with AI #15 and you'll make a mess with the flip and vac machine. That is why I use the Squeaky Clean MkIII instead. FWIW most RCMs are pretty loud. Mine isn't too bad considering I have an external 2.5hp mini shop vac hooked up to it, but it's still louder than I'd like. One of my local stores has a VPI machine in the back and that's pretty loud also. No idea about the Okki Nokki, Pro-Ject, or Clear Audio machines but I'd assume they are pretty loud. I would expect an ultrasonic machine to be a bit quieter but it probably depends on the type. I wouldn't think the tank machines with no drying mechanism are that loud.
     
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  9. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Yes, they are very messy with anything other than a thin coat of a fluid with surfactant. That's why I have stuck to their one-step, which lays nice and thin. I usually run each side with that twice, with a distilled water wash if necessary. Overall a decent solution, but one that required a lot of learning and trial and error. Beyond that the stock bearing is pretty bad, a better one can be purchased via KAB but this does not line up perfectly either. Overall I'm ready for the switch to a VPI style vacuum wand cleaner at some point in the future.

    This was my assumption until a local shops got one of those Cleaner Vinyl ultrasonic kits that you put in the open tank. The sound is pretty unbearable IMO, it's just a high frequency that gets under your skin. The same thing happens at the dentist or the jewelers when they don't cover their machines. I'd assume a more though-fully designed machine with a cover of some sort is much quieter, which is a connivence you pay for. Otherwise the string Lorricraft type machines are the only "quiet" RCM.
     
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  10. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Ya, I have been tending towards Denon carts last few years. Different "character" between them. An AT cart can really drive some music, but (imo)
    Denons are more musical it seems.
     
  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Not sure what "musical" means in this context. Any cart from any brand or just about any model can "play" music. Some carts have a more accurate, flatter frequency response than others. It's not uncommon for that FR to be different across models within the same brand. Further, most carts can be optimized with loading.
     
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  12. astro70

    astro70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belleville, IL
    I’m not an audiophile by any means but I’m just dropping by to say that the tracking on this cart is awesome. I have way less skips than I did using a Shure. Overall, one of the best $50 carts you can buy and then upgrade.
     
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  13. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    The Denon DL-110 is a better sounding cart (imo), but the AT VM540 is livelier and with some albums that are more "pop" style music it works better.
    The Denon is more refined, and has a wider soundstage. Not good with poor condition vinyl. The AT will track anything, and you will hear it...
     
  14. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic, USA
    The elliptical stylus for my VM95 arrived today, so now I have that option plus the conical. On first listen, I'm impressed, especially considering the price.

    It probably won't replace my Shure M91ED, but it's a nice variation to have handy, and as others have noted, a very respectable tracker.
     
  15. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Nice cart. Plays 'clean', something I had forgotten about this styli profile.
    Very happy with it and it's price tag :)
    Suspension is a little tight, hopefully it will loosen up a bit.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Here are my rudimentary FR measurements for the VM95ML. These were taken off the 1A sweep track on the CBS STR100 test LP. My equipment for recording the audio is limited so please take these measurements with a grain of salt. I'm posting here only for general interest, see upthread for other folks' measurements, probably more accurate than mine.

    Graphed 3 different ways in ARTA.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I'm awful at graphs ot
    What's this tell me? :laugh:
    I'm glad some of these carts have a line indent matching the styli. Helps with anti-skate.
     
  18. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    And accurate cueing! I’m glad it has it too, the guideline was something I was very used to on the DL-110.
     
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  19. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The graphs show there is a gentle roll off starting at 2khz and continuing through the rest of the frequencies. This is with 47k + 100pf preamp loading + captive phono cables. The cart is not completely flat but it is not "bright" either. One could adjust loading to experiment and probably boost the high-end a little bit but that may also result in some peaking. The peaks may be able to be flattened out with tuning the resistance down. One of the users here posted some electrical models of different loading configs.

    Please note some phono preamps do not have a flat response, so attempting to tune the loading to get the cart flat is going to be a lot trickier. Preamps like Cambridge Audio, MOFI, Rega, GS, ART DJ, and some others are flat or flat-ish in response. Some boutique products like Lounge Audio are pretty far from flat on purpose.
     
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  20. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Ahh! Thanks, appreciate it.
    Yeah I saw that breakdown you linked on the Lounge.
    Disheartening to see when you really enjoy a product...
     
  21. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I wouldn't worry about if you enjoy listening to it. If you need a flat preamp for some reason or want to test cartridges it is not the best choice. That does not mean it can't be enjoyable to listen to.
     
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Here are some graphs for the VM95C - CONICAL version, $35 cartridge. Note that these were recorded on an entirely different turntable system than the 95ML graphs, so they are not directly comparable with those at all. Please take these with a grain of salt. This is the 1A sweep off the CBS STR100. The 1Khz peak is a guide tone on the record, ignore it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Damn dude, it’s almost like you’re trying to sell me an ML stylus and a GS Reflex, and also reminding me I recently got CBS test records I haven’t had a chance to use yet, all at the same time.
     
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  24. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Ha, no affiliation or sales commission here. :)
     
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  25. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic, USA
    About twelve hours in on the VM95 with elliptical stylus -- starting to open up nicely in the top end. The recently remastered version of Pink Floyd's The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn shines with this cart/stylus combo.
     
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