Audio Technica's new VM cartridge series

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Scott Davies, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The new VM series was supposed to be released here this month but I'm not really seeing it anywhere other than imports from Germany, UK and Japan. Anyone manage to get one of these and can give some feedback? I'm looking at the VM740ML but I'm sure it can be had for less than the suggested $329 price tag from the manufacturer site. They are definitely phasing out the previous series but I do hope this new series is a step forward, not backward.
     
  2. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    OK, well, I just ordered the VM740ML through the AT website, so I guess I will be the guinea pig for this new release.
     
    MikeInFla, c-eling and strymeow like this.
  3. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    Which models are they phasing out? I have a 440MLA and 155LC. Have considered trying a 150 but not sure how much of step up that would be. I will be interested to hear your impressions, especially compared to other AT models.
     
  4. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pretty much any comparable model. The 440ML is being replaced with the 540ML. I will definitely post my impressions of the VM740ML. FYI, I've been using a Signet gold cartridge from the 90s with the 440ML stylus for years. The VM740ML will be the modern day equivalent.
     
    baconbadge likes this.
  5. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    VM740ML you can upgrade the stylus in the future with the 750 & 760 profiles
     
  6. c-eling

    c-eling I never dreamed another way.

    Thanks Scott. Are these completely new bodies or will the new make of Styli fit on the older models?
     
    missan likes this.
  7. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, new styli will fit older models. That's already been confirmed by AT. My cartridge is expect to arrive today so I will be playing with it tonight. I'm not expecting much difference from my existing set up but perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised. Using a 20+ year old cartridge makes me hope this newer model will at least be somewhat improved.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  8. c-eling

    c-eling I never dreamed another way.

    Thanks for the confirmation, appreciated.
     
  9. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    OK, so I picked my cartridge up from the FedEx location I had it delivered to, went home and hooked it up during lunch break. I was very nervous as I unboxed it and connected it, recalling the time I bought my first semi-high end cart in the late 80s (moving coil) and immediately ran my finger across the stylus bending it up while I was trying to hook it up. No kidding, I was traumatized because I was still a teenager and that was not cheap with fast food wages (remember when minimum wage was $3.35?). I was able to slowly bend the stylus back to a workable position but it was never right.

    So as eager as I was with this new VM740ML, I had to take proper time with my protractor to align the darn thing (which never takes me too long, even with shaking hands). When I lowered the stylus down on the record, I don't think I was breathing. After having used my Signet MR 5.0 ML cart for so long with AT440ML styli over the years, I didn't know if this would be a step forward or backward.

    Well, I'm happy to report that I was floored by the results. The sound was immediately and obviously much smoother. I tested with an LP that has very strong SSSS words that have always been a challenge on any of the three AT440ML* styli I have. This new set up played everything remarkably smooth with only a very slight touch of what the previous setup displayed. I tried a few end tracks on different LPs and they were like butter. Heck, even the silence between tracks sounded smoother and clearer. I don't know if it's just because I was using an old cart or if it's that the new design requires heavier tracking force, but I am very pleased. And yes, I paid the premium price because I was impatient. And, I got charged tax because the AT facility is here in Ohio, so $351 well spent. But I will admit that I only had limited time to play with it since I was on lunch break, so these are my first impressions. I will be playing with it all night but we are off to a good start.

    Scott
     
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  10. dahoo

    dahoo Forum Resident

    How much tracking force did you use? the recommended 2.0g?
     
  11. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Correct. As opposed to the 1.5 I used with the 440.
     
  12. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Those look nice. The 740 reminds me of the AT14Sa I had and loved 40 years ago.
     
    ArpMoog likes this.
  13. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    OK, I've been playing records all night and I'm definitely loving this thing. I will say that it is a little brighter than my last set up but I am a fan of highs. I did pull out one of my old styrene singles to see how it would play with the newly designed tip. Just like the last ML design it tore it to shreds but even more so, likely because of the heavier tracking force. I will swap headshells with my old standard cartridge if I ever need to play one of those. Other than that, I'm still very pleased with the purchase.
     
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  14. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    I'm looking forward to hearing comparisons between the 540 and 740, and older 440 and 150 models.

    I also hope that the incredible tracking abilities and lack of IGD which characterized those older models carried through to the new ones.
     
  15. Sir Talbot Buxomly

    Sir Talbot Buxomly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    As mentioned, the new stylii will fit on the older bodies, though the new all-black bodies with the plastic mounting top bracket now have the same shape as the ones with the gold metal top bracket. The older AT100E/120E/440ML had less plastic on the top.

    AT120E v VM530EN

    [​IMG]
     
    fortherecord, Donniej and c-eling like this.
  16. c-eling

    c-eling I never dreamed another way.

    Excellent, thank you. I may try one of the budget carts for some of my beat up thrifter's. I'm trying to push the lifespan of my 150Sa as long as I can, these puppy's aren't cheap :cheers:
     
  17. Sir Talbot Buxomly

    Sir Talbot Buxomly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    You have the AT150Sa cartridge? I have the AT450E (with various stylii in the family - see pic) and my current favourite budget stylus is the 4212-DET from The Voice of Music. A mere $13.75 and a real bargain - it's the dark orange p-mount one with the sticker with '9/15' on it.

    Every penny's a prisoner! :cool:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    bump..
     
  19. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    bump...can anyone else share thoughts on comparisons between new models and older AT carts?
     
  20. shadowlord

    shadowlord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    my 440mla has very little hours on it. but i'm closely watching this thread for the time i might need to buy a replacement.

    ( i'm guessing that they new line will sound closely to their old counterparts though.)
     
  21. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I did buy the VM740ML and posted a separate thread about it a few weeks ago. I love the new model.
     
  22. henry babenko

    henry babenko Forum Resident


    how do you like the sound of this cart??? just ordered one.
     
  23. shadowlord

    shadowlord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    paired with the right phono stage it sounds very good and it's a great tracker. You wont be disappointed.
     
  24. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    It's a 30% step up in the UK price if you compare the specs! Might be worth grabbing an old model. Can't see discounts on the new models that were available on the old.
     
  25. Kristofferabild

    Kristofferabild Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    Any reviews for theses yet? How do they compare to say the Rega PUs?
     

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