Audio Technica VM540ML. I love it!!!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Kiko1974, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    After living around 8 years with my old and beloved Denon DL-160 (long story about how it lasted that long, short story, I was only 2 or 3 months a year at home to use it) and a short-lived Denon DL-110 which had an early death as it lasted only 8 months and Denon themselves recognized it was faulty, that it had a manufacturing defect so I got my money back, I got a Sumiko Pearl as a temporal cartridge that I didn't like at all.
    In the meantime I read around the web about several carts that may fill my tastes and my price range.
    I finally decided to get an Audio Technica VM540ML, an inexpensive MM cart from a new range or updated range. I got it on the cheap on Ebay from a Japanese seller, only 200$ with free shipping. He has run out of them and he doesn't know when or if he will get more.
    I got it a week ago so it must have around 20 or 30 hours of use, I don't think it's broken in yet.
    I'm using the AT VM540ML with a Goldring GR-1 turntable from 2006, a rebadged Rega Planar 1 and an EAR 834 "clone" tube Phono preamp with two Matsushita 12AX7 tubes and one Matsushita 12AU7 tube which is used as a "buffer tube".
    I was first warned by some here about Audio Technica's cartridges being bright if inductance goes over 200 pF, it musn't be the case on my set up as the new AT VM540ML doesn't sound bright at all.
    So, how does it sound? The short answer would be "better than the Denon DL-110 or the discontinued DL-160" and getting a better signal to noise ration as the AT VM540ML has a higher output than either the Denon DL-160 or DL-110.
    I think the key words of its sound is detail retrieval. The VM540ML sounds very detailed, I can hear details, ambiance, low level sounds I couldn't before with the Denon DL-160 or DL-110. This may be because the kind of stylus used, which is a microline as opposed to the elliptical stylus used by the Denons.
    Despite being very detailed it doesn't sound agressive at all, I find sound balanced, with deep bass and wide soundstage despite the rated by the manufacturer separation between channels of only 28 dB.
    For me the new Audio Technica VM540ML is a new great sound, bargain priced cartridge on the same league as the Denon DL-110 that at least in my opinion outperforms the Denon DL-110 (or the discontinued DL-160) for around the same price, with higher output and better sound retrieval.

    VM540ML - Dual Moving Magnet Stereo Cartridge with MicroLine™ stylus | Audio-Technica [​IMG]
     
  2. cmcintyre

    cmcintyre Forum Resident

    You need to correct thread title. Currently reads "VM54ML".

    Should be VM540ML
     
    4011021 and Kiko1974 like this.
  3. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You're right. How do I correct this? The Edit option is not available now.
     
  4. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I already sent a note to the Gorts.
    And, oh great Gort, please then delete these messages about that and we can talk about the VM540ML, which I also think should be a great cart for the price (but I have not heard it so far), so I am interested in any discussion about it.
     
    displayname and Kiko1974 like this.
  5. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Before getting the AT VM540ML I thought about other options, getting another Denon DL-110 without a manufacturing defect, a Grado and I alsohad a look at the Ortofin catalogue, but the Audio Technica VM540ML by its cart technology (dual magnet) and the Micro Sylus used seemed to me like great engineering for a cheap price and believe, 'though it's a matter of taste, I'm happy to have finally chosen right. I'm always on a short budget (long story, job accident, having a dissability on my arms and shoulders, getting a lousy pension, and I'm only 44) and I can tell you this is the best cartridge I've ever had, it's impressive how much detail it gets out of the record's grooves.
     
    Daniel Thomas and 4011021 like this.
  6. Malcolm Crowne

    Malcolm Crowne Forum Habitue

    Location:
    Portland OR
    Thanks for the thread, I'm considering moving up from entry-level AT to a VM540ML for my Marantz 6300 -- looking at getting one that comes on a lighter weight headshell actually. Any of y'all cart-knowledgeable types think it will work out for this kind of rig?
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  7. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    Glad the cartridge works well for you. I went thru two new cartridges and then found a Grado Blue that my system & ears agree upon.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  8. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I had a Goldring GR 1.2. Your table is a step up from the old P1. Your Goldring came with the much better RB 250 tonearm. If you ever want to, you can get the Rega 10mm thick glass platter and the Groovetracer Reference subplatter. They are great upgrades if you ever want to go that route.
     
    McLover and Kiko1974 like this.
  9. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Have had a few AT440's, a DL-160, and on my 2nd DL-110. All good carts. I am leaning toward a VM540ML for my next cart. :righton:
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  10. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I was thinking about getting a Grado but some members told me about hum issues with Grado carts and Rega TTs, something regarding lacking some shielding on the cart, so I didn't take a chance and went for the Audio Technica, but I was heading for a grado first.
     
  11. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thank you for the advice. I'll have a look at the 10 mm glass platter (is it really glass or transparent acrilic?) and the Groovetracer subplatter and see what kind of improvements they may introduce, and the price.
     
    PhxJohn likes this.
  12. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It sounds a bit bright at first but after a week with it, around 30 hours of break in, it doesn't sound bright at all yet still sounds very detailed. Believe, it's a real bargain for the money. In my opinion it outperforms by far the Denon DL-110 and I think this may be because of its Microline stylus.
     
    McLover likes this.
  13. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    The Rega platters are glass. Float glass. Heavy as opposed to the lightweight MDF platter.
     
  14. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Does its weight afects the TT's motor or belt? if you've tried it, how would you describe the sound improvement?
     
  15. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    What about transparent acrilic platters for Rega TTs that I found on Ebay that weight the same as the original Rega glass platter? Would that be an improvement?
     
  16. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Some people prefer the sound of an acrylic platter. I am perfectly happy with the glass. Whatever you get, make sure it is 10mm thick. The Planar 3 uses a 12mm thick platter. Heavier, but you gain 2mm in platter height and have to raise the tonearm base 2mm to compensate. That may not seem like much but if you need more than 2mm at the tonearm base, you will be looking at underslung counterweights so that the counterweight does not interfere with the dustcover.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  17. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I am curious. I had a Sumiko Pearl that was first mounted on a Dual 1237 and then on an Rega RP1. First, I should ask....was it the Pearl and not the much maligned Black Pearl ? I enjoyed my Pearl. Nothing special of course(for $95 a decade ago) but nothing offensive either. What did you not like about it ? Thanks !!

    John
     
    BrilliantBob likes this.
  18. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Yes, there is a break-in period with the AT carts, and they "smooth out". Using low capacitance cables helps the keep "brightness" to a minimum also.
    I like the detailed sound, and the microline stylus really gets into the grooves. And they track like champs.
     
    McLover and Kiko1974 like this.
  19. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    The heavier weight improves pitch stability. It reduces wow and flutter. The Rega or Goldring TT motor and belt can easily handle the extra weight. I noticed improved bass response as well.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  20. DoF

    DoF Less is more...

    Location:
    Poland
    Hi guys, need some advice please. I mainly listen to wide range of rock and blues music - you can chceck my sytem in my profile.

    For one year, I've been using Nagaoka MP-110. Before that I used At95e for a while. Yesterday I installed At95e again, and I liked it better than Nagaoka MP-110 which now sounds warm and smooth / dull and muffled compared to At95e. At95e is brighter for sure. I am seeking a cart that's more sparkling and was looking at Audio-Technica VM540ML. Is it warm and smooth as Nagaoka or more in the vein of At95e but better?

    What do you think? Please advise. Thanks!
     
  21. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    AT95 is more mid-centric than other AT carts and has a better output for my system. I like the shibata and vivid line styli on that cartridge body. You might try that.
     
    DoF likes this.
  22. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    VN540ML is like the AT95e and nothing like a MP-110. I find the MP-110 boring, but does nothing wrong. The VM540ML is much more sophisticated sounding than either cartridge.
     
    DoF likes this.
  23. DoF

    DoF Less is more...

    Location:
    Poland
    Sorry for the trouble but can you give me some examples of AT shibata and vivid line carts. I am green. Thanks for understanding.
     
  24. DoF

    DoF Less is more...

    Location:
    Poland
    Good stereo, details, trebles, bass? Don't know if it's a blasphemy but AT95e has more of that in comparison to MP-110 on my system.
     
  25. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Dan Steele, Shak Cohen and DoF like this.

Share This Page