Audio Technica's new VM cartridge series

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

  1. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    I'd ordered the 540 over the Thanksgiving sales in anticipation of my incoming 1210GR. A few here suggested I get the 740 (which indeed looks cooler with that gold body) but the linked German article upthread convinced me (as well as the guy I deal with at Needle Doc) that the 540 might be more what I want tonally. My room is carpeted with lots of soft furniture (but bookshelves and books too) and I think of the sound there as slightly muffled. Also, at my age, I don't have the same high frequency hearing I once did so if the 540 is brighter, I'm not sure I'll hear it. Lastly, my gear is mid-level (the receiver I run the turntable through is an old Yamaha RX-V990 which has a good phono stage onboard) and my records are old. I paid $225 for the 540 mounted on an AT headshell. I suspect that once it's mounted up on the 1210GR and aligned properly, I'll like it and forget about it and whether I should have moved up the scale of carts. By most accounts, the 540 seems to be right in the sweet spot that people like me are looking for.
     
  2. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Csgreene, you will hear music like never before. A veil will have been lifted. You will perceive liquid midrange, delicate feather like treble, and thunderous bass.
     
  3. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    Good Lord, I don't think I can deal with so many glowing adjectives! I'm just hoping it sounds at least as good as my current table and cart (Technics SL-QL1 and AT 450NE). Actually, I hope it sounds better for what I've laid out... ;)
     
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  4. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I forgot to mention precision three dimensional imaging and exquisite detail!:blah::blah::blah:
     
  5. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Got it. That’s what I figured would be a good starting point - 1200Gr manual states 17 mm cart height set VTA to 0, 18 mm cart set to 1, vm740ml is listed at 17.3 mm. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  6. desmoface

    desmoface Active Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    Just got this installed a few days ago and while it was a pita, it really sounds awesome - I’m hearing things I never did before.
    [​IMG]

    Steve
     
  7. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Cart came early! Landed this afternoon, didn’t have a chance to myself to install until about an hour ago. Speaking of which, compared to the ortofon 2m series, this one was harder to install and align (stock technics gauge), took me a solid 45 minutes whereas 2m blue took maybe 15. But I’ve got it nice and straight and everything looks good and listening now to make sure install was ok. So far so good!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  8. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    VTF and anti skate? I’ve got mine testing at 2g VTF and have antiskate around 1.75ish
     
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  9. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I just have them both set at 2. I played with the anti skate a bit but couldn't hear any mistracking at any setting, so I just went with the Technics recommendation.
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  10. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    @ recstar24, excellent pictures!

    That second one looks exactly as I have most of my cartridges set - with a fractional lean to the left (the photo seems to be exactly head-on & the reflection gap looks slightly wider on RH side, even when the pic is enlarged).

    It always puzzles me because I set azimuth very precisely using a digital readout & it always sounds spot on as well. So I know it is accurate but would have expected most cartridges to have a horizontally flat mirror image or even sometimes leaning the other way. That never seems to be the case.

    Either both my favourite turntables have arms slightly out of alignment by the same amount or maybe all LPs have a slight dish?

    Just an observation.
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  11. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    The 540 looks cheap comparing to the 740.
     
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  12. 911s55

    911s55 Forum Resident

  13. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Good to hear! I’m sure it’s just that LP’s aren’t straight by any stretch and all will have some element of dishing in some form. I did last night recheck and used a bubble level for top of headshell to check just left-right evenness, and it came out essentially the same looking.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    I’m super impressed overall at the Audio Technica build quality (this is my first AT cart ever, always used ortofon in the past). The cantilever is perfectly straight, and the packaging and supplied accessories are top notch. The gold metal body looks and feels excellent in person.
     
  15. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    I'm just comparing the pictures made by real life users in this page. I have a VM540ML, and I don't have a 740, so I'm not being snobbish or anything, just saying what I feel by the pictures.
     
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  16. 911s55

    911s55 Forum Resident

    Observations aren't snobby.
     
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  17. SNDVSN

    SNDVSN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Those nuts don't look like they're sitting flush but nice cart.
     
  18. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    They look that way I’d agree, but I’ve got them screwed on pretty tight and any more tension I’d fear would start digging into the headshell. I’m comfortable with how secure it is currently but I appreciate the observation.
     
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  19. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    The nuts don't fit in the slots of the Technics headshell. Nor do they fit in the slots within the cartridge.:realmad::doh:
     
  20. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Recstar24, what do you think of the sound? Are you on a GR? Also, what phono pre? No more questions.:wave:
     
  21. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    I'm pretty sure the AT VM series is going to take over the "cart to have" spot that was previously held by the Ortofon 2M series. It's just a better cart at each price point.
     
    Heckto35, recstar24, PooreBoy and 2 others like this.
  22. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    I had to use my old hardware from a previous generation of AT cart.
     
  23. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I used the hardware that came with an AT headshell I bought. Ironically, the nuts with that fit in the 740 slots!
     
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  24. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    I don't know which AT engineer sourced the hardware, but he/she obviously wasn't paying attention... Having been a Quality Engineer for over 25 years, I know engineers make little mistakes like this all the time, but their QE guy should have caught that.
     
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  25. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Ask away! I’m happy to provide what limited impressions I currently have, which is about 3 hours :)

    Loving the sound currently. I’m mostly comparing to what I’ve been running the past few months, the KAB concorde pros with 40 stylus, which is a FG70II stylus I believe. Off the bat I noticed tighter more impactful bass, less boom. Very clear, detailed sound, the stereo separation is excellent with no fuzz whatsoever, very quiet tracker and any pops or surface noise is not bothersome. Excellent front to back layering in the soundstage. There is a liveliness in the presentation as a result of the clarity and certain sounds definitely brought slightly more forward into the mix, but then a second later you get hit with this sweetness and somewhat laid back refinement, so it’s a cart that appears to really track well and pull out a lot of info from the disc. Looking forward to seeing how it continues to settle in, this is with an Hagerman bugle 2
     

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