Audio Technica VM540ML

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Cressy Snr
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Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Cressy Snr » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:10 pm

Nice Audio Technica VM540ML cartridge arrived this morning and is sounding really rather lovely
It is a solid, sure-footed performer and the micro line profile stylus ensures that end-of-side performance is faultless.

The cartridge is better balanced than the previous AT440MLb model, due to the fact that it is less bright. As a result of this better balanced frequency response, we get a natural presentation that is detailed and dynamic without throwing a welter of leading edges at the listener. The AT440MLb is a great cartridge, don't get me wrong, but this less treble happy VM540ML is a worthwhile improvement.

The VM540ML is most un-Audio Technica like in its general tonal balance. It's more like a Denon DL103, possessing a full bodied sound with a beautifully lit midrange, brimming with musical details. The top end is silky, smooth and again full of subtlety and like the Denon, it throws a nice, expansive soundstage

In the Mayware arm/JBE turntable, it is a state of the art tracker and gets on with making great music without fuss or favour. Tracking force at 1.8 - 2.2g is higher than the AT440MLb. I'm using 1.8g.

If you are in the market for a good moving magnet jobbie, this cart is a no-brainer.

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Irene Idler
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Irene Idler » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:00 pm

Dave and I got to listen to this yesterday, and it sounds absolutely fantastic and tracked perfectly even on a difficult LP. We'll probably be putting one of these on the travelling deck!
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by DSJR » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:55 pm

I've been trying to say this for a while.

The German Lowbeats site liked it a lot some time back and although it's still a slightly lively balance which I think vinyl needs, it's not 'acidic' as the previous models could be and it certainly seems to flesh the bass out a little compared to the lower models if their soundbites are to be believed (I don't know the phono stage, but they test in a Rega 9 I believe). I still rate my 120E, but only in certain tonearms and players.

I also think the prices have dropped a little since launch (according to the AT UK webshop).

I'm fond of AT's in general, preferring them to the turgid, thicker 'over-analogue' tones many audiophiles still seem to go for. Viny's such a minefield though. Glad you like the 540ML though :)

P.S. Cymbiosis rate the AT520 (now £100) as a good cheap replacement for the K9 of old.

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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Cressy Snr » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:43 pm

I’ve now got the AT540ML in the Rega R200 arm, on my BTE Lenco L75
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Our Ant has rewired the R200 with Transfi litz cable from Vic and the AT is mounted on a nice Jelco headshell, with double draw-in pins on its connector plug. I must say, the Audio Technica sounds really great in the Rega arm on the Lenco. Tracking at 2g, it is sure-footed, powerful and solid sounding.

At its mounting end, the rewired R200 now has a machined, Delrin collar mount, with two locking screws, to provide height adjustment.
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Cressy Snr » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:59 pm

I’ve been laid up for the past week with a nasty dose of uvulitis. I thought tonsillitis was bad enough, but believe me, you don’t want uvulitis! especially not if you are over 60. I’m on 2g of phenoxymethylpeniccillin potassium tablets per day for 10 days and have just started to get clear of the brain fog, the pain and the almost constant urge to gag, that I’ve had to either get under control or not eat or drink; not much of a choice.

Anyway, enough griping; I present yet another epic Cressy Senior revelation for your delectation and delight. It’ll leave you shaking your heads with pity, rolling your eyes skywards and sniggering in small groups, the next time our collective paths cross, as you come to the realisation that what you feared all along has happened. Yep! I have finally lost it.

Remember sometime around late 1979, when the mags were urging everyone to dash out and buy LAMM, ADC, or if you were flush, Nagaoka headshells for your S shaped tonearms? We were all urged to ditch those perforated floppy, long-haired, limp wristed, low mass headshells for something much more manly and in keeping with the emerging Thatcherite culture.

Bolting your AT120E into one of these new wave butch headshells, with their hi-tensile bolts and twisty litz wires, you, like me, marvelled at the thunderous bass that was released, the slam, the wham, the dynamics.

The fact that you now had to add a big blob of Blu-Tak onto the rear of the arm’s counterweight, or have the counterweight hanging on for dear life the back as you ran out of arm tube to balance with, was not allowed to intrude upon your delight at the fabulous sounds now being unleashed by the fitting of this new, must have accessory. Also the fact that your woofers were now flapping in the breeze on warped records was overwhelming evidence that your bass went much deeper; I mean it stood to reason didn’t it! You could now actually see the bass power of your system; what more could you want eh?

Well I’m here to tell you that you been had, fed a line, sold a pup! Do you like vintage vinyl replay equipment? Have you got a 70s/80s S shaped arm with a thick, heavy rigid headshell on it and you still have the original perforated lightweight jobbie? Then put the perforated one back on and revel in the music! Also your arm will thank you because it will once more look like a proper tone arm, you know, like a tone arm should look if you’re of a certain generation.

Also, with a vintage 70s arm, you need to align your cartridge with one of these:
95FF3308-2F7C-41C5-AB10-526625B77560.jpeg
A single point protractor aligned on the DIN standard 60.5mm minimum inner groove radius. This alignment has long since been mostly dismissed by those vinylistas, who claim to be in the know, and I’m telling you in true Richard Dunn style, that they are talking complete fecking bollocks! On an arm the age of my Rega R200, FFS use the vintage alignment. You know it makes sense!

So in my perforated, lightweight headshell, my AT VM540ML cartridge is mounted to the above alignment, with a thin strip of Blu-Tak to take up the space underneath caused by the punched in mounting slots standing about half a millimetre proud on the underside of the headshell. This use of the Blu Tak is in the absence of the old fashioned SME cartridge mounting paste they used to supply with the SME 3009 series II arms way back in the dim and distant.

And it sounds great; with a modern, high quality moving magnet cartridge, the sound is well balanced across the frequency range, and the presentation is smooth, detailed and musical, like vinyl used to be before the Flat Earth came along and fecked everything up for twenty years.

There is of course a caveat: don’t try something as daft as this with your modern S shaped arm, expensive moving coil cartridge and then tell me it sounds like crap. Context is everything. :wink:
F0031798-23DE-4A29-AF19-296CAAEAC4E2.jpeg
Last edited by Cressy Snr on Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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IslandPink
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by IslandPink » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:18 pm

Cressy Snr wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:59 pm
I’ve been laid up for the past week with a nasty dose of uvulitis. I thought tonsillitis was bad enough, but believe me, you don’t want uvulitis!
Somebody recorded an album about that - now let me see..... what was it ?
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Cressy Snr » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:22 pm

That face just about sums up how I felt up to this morning. Spot on Mark! :lol:
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Ray P
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Ray P » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:39 pm

Your post tells me that you must be getting over your ailment Steve. :thumbright:

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IslandPink
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by IslandPink » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:40 pm

I have a strong suspicion almost everybody who gets cold or flu or other unpleasant things in the winter is vitamin D deficient. Just look up influenza and vitamin D on Google. At work, two guys in their 30's that I know had theirs tested and both were deficient. I'm in the middle of the healthy range but probably only because I have taken 3x cod liver oil per day for about 15 years and have a sun canopy with UV-B tubes that I use once a week in the winter.
I haven't had any infection in the last 9 months.

Anyway, enough of that .... I have read your positive info about the cartridge, and I'm thinking that at some stage I need to buy a good MM like this and give it a proper go. At first I thought - 'oh, it's not cheap !' - then 'oh, look the replacement stylus is nearly as expensive as the cartridge '. But then , the big advantage of any MM is not needing a step-up transformer - and they have their downsides which are difficult to get around - particularly with regard to primary inductance, if you use things like the 103 or the 103R which are quite high in internal resistance. Currently I use a special 1:10 step-up that Pieter wound for me ( and Nick ) with 2.5H primary inductance, but he had to compromise on not using the very best toroidal cobalt-amorphous cores that were used on his others ones ( 1.5H primary ) that were the very best for midrange tone and low-level stuff. These are the ones Ali recently got hold of. I sold mine to Lenny.
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Ray P » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:59 pm

IslandPink wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:40 pm
I have a strong suspicion almost everybody who gets cold or flu or other unpleasant things in the winter is vitamin D deficient.
I think that's a rather tenuous connection Mark; you have to take into account all the people who are Vitamin D defficient who don't get something unpleasant and vice versa. The fact is that at our latitude and further north (or the reciprocal latitudes in the southern hemisphere) the short winter days causes a lot of the population to be Vitamin D deficient. It's can be really quite serious in Sweden, Finland, etc. where Vitamin D supplements are the norm.

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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by IslandPink » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:12 pm

I think this is worthy of a separate thread.
I'll start one later on the general area.
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Cressy Snr
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML

Post by Cressy Snr » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:18 pm

IslandPink wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:40 pm


.... I have read your positive info about the cartridge, and I'm thinking that at some stage I need to buy a good MM like this and give it a proper go. At first I thought - 'oh, it's not cheap !' - then 'oh, look the replacement stylus is nearly as expensive as the cartridge '. But then , the big advantage of any MM is not needing a step-up transformer - and they have their downsides which are difficult to get around - particularly with regard to primary inductance, if you use things like the 103 or the 103R which are quite high in internal resistance. Currently I use a special 1:10 step-up that Pieter wound for me ( and Nick ) with 2.5H primary inductance, but he had to compromise on not using the very best toroidal cobalt-amorphous cores that were used on his others ones ( 1.5H primary ) that were the very best for midrange tone and low-level stuff. These are the ones Ali recently got hold of. I sold mine to Lenny.
Well I’d say that the AT VM540ML is a very good cartridge, which IMO is definitely up with the best MMs.
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