Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Kiko1974, Apr 12, 2018.
The 740ML has lots of detail. I bet the difference is so benign, it's a matter of price.
Just received the 540ML today, and oh my, I'm very impressed. I ordered it pre-mounted on the AT headshell they're selling as well, and, coming from a Rega Planar 3, that alone is a blessing. Unscrew, screw, balance the arm, set VTF and you're done. Period.
Speaking of that, that new combo (MT 990 + 540ML) is way better and way more accurate than P3+Exact, with which, no matter what, I always had an imbalance... Exacts do have a QC problem anyway, but that's out of scope here.
The 540ML is diabolically precise as far as channel imbalance is concerned, it's just spot on. Besides that, it sounds glorious even not broken in.
Clear, authoritative (no bass? Hello?), very nice soundstage. Surface noise and IGD (which I had with the Rega things, even just a little) are gone. Just, gone.
I really don't regret the switch and, at least for now, this cart has definitely cured my upgraditis.
Yep, agree 100 percent. I've had mine for about a month and half now (replacing my MLa440) and love it. I got the pre-mounted one as well as I really did not want to go through the head ache that is installing these things, so for me the extra cost was totally worth it.
Heavier outer shell, other than that, no difference AFAIK.
I finally did it and ordered an Audio-Tech 540ml cartridge (with headshell) to replace my AT- VMN530EN (which I really enjoy!)
Just attached it to tonearm, balanced it, check my tracking force (I set it at 1.98g) and played first song. (from Linda Rondstadt's For Sentimental Reasons opening track--When You Wish Upon a Star)
first impressions....Some of the surface noise I noticed with my 530EN is gone! Seems like I hear a little more mid-range and lower end.
My question is, about how long of a break-in period will it take for the cartridge to really open up?
If it only starts to get better, guess I'm going to be listening to vinyl late into the nights!
I did the same (although without the headshell as my Dual uses a different cartridge mounting system). Very satisfied!
My apologies if this was already posted but I found this review very helpful. It even has measurements!
Audio-Technica VM540ML Phono Cartridge Review - HomeTheaterHifi.com
Also, curious if anyone has experimented with capacitance loading? My phono-pre is adjustable and I can set the cap loading at 0pF if I want to. Add the cap from my LC-1 cables/tonearm and I'm well under 100pF which is less than recommended loading. I can achieve loading within the recommended range of 100-200pF but I'm jsut curious what less would look like. I'm assuming a smoother FR?
Cap you won’t notice so much, but about 100 pF total would be ideal.The loading will have a more measurable change. Google “Hagerman Calc” and look at their modeling.
What phono pre do you have? Not many of them truly have zero input capacitance, often it is just the amount added to the baseline value. Some is usually needed for stability, though there are integrated preamp circuits that some designers (Sutherland, Simaudio, etc) are using in their phono preamps that do allow for very low input capacitance, mainly just from the input connectors and internal terminations.
Hmm. Someone once measured my 6-ft interconnects at 120 pf and, according to the official specs, my new Puffin preamp has a rated capacitance of 50 pf. Even with tonearm wiring I should be in the recommended range of 100 to 200 but the Puffin has a lot of DSP options designed to compensate for loading and capacitance mismatches. All I know is that the new ML540 sounds great with no extra futzing needed.
Simaudio Moon 110LP V2.
Capacitance mismatches don't always manifest the frequency response anomalies that the models may predict.
Yea, that's one that uses the INA163 instrumentation amp on the input (like the much more expensive Sutherland 20/20). Nice preamp.
I’m going to do a needle drop tonight of a very old Mose Allison LP on Prestige that I found at the thrift store early this year. It tracked perfectly and that cart opened up the sound magnificently. The ticks and clicks were fairly abundant at the start of both sides before leveling off 3-4 minutes in. Nothing that a nicely restrained application of ClickRepair software won’t fix perfectly. And the album is rather great.
Great cartridge - just wish AT prices weren’t rising at 4 times the rate of inflation.
Did you ever consider just maybe they're lying to you about inflation? A pre64 US Quarter with face value of $.25 is now valued at $4.50+ That's a 1,700%+ decrease in purchasing power of the currency you use to purchase goods n services.
My turntable (40+ year old Michell Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved) had sat unused in the garage for many years and I figured it was about time that I tried vinyl again. The stylus in my old cartridge was past its best and a quick Google search suggested that a VM540ML would be a good match for a low mass pickup arm. It arrived yesterday. Installation took a little longer than anticipated, thanks to my near vision not being as sharp as it was the last time I did it (at least 30 years ago). The SME's fixed headshell didn't help either, and the arm's design limitation of a 1.5g maximum tracking force didn't suit the AT's recommended 2g but these challenges were overcome and I'm now rediscovering the joys of LP playback after a very long gap.
The VM540ML sailed through the tracking tests of my HSF75 test disc and, having now sampled a selection of LPs old and new, I'm finding its precision, imaging and tonal balance to be quite exceptional.
Having been firmly in the digital camp since the advent of the CD, I'd always questioned the logic behind the "vinyl sounds better" argument. After all, how can an LP produced from a digital master sound better than the digital master itself? Common sense dictates that it can't of course, but I'm now wondering if the sheer musical enjoyment I'm experiencing thanks to my new cartridge is an indicator that logic and common sense don't always apply.
Thanks for sharing. I really think the joy one gets from listening to records is impossible to explain. Objectively, there's nothing superior about it. Digital music is technically superior in every measurable way, yet I enjoy listening to records so much more. Records demand your attention, the ritual, the inconvenience... It all adds to the experience.
Eventally, I got to the point where I no longer care if someone else agrees or if it doesn't measure as well. I enjoy it more and that's what matters to me.
Spot on! That's certainly what I'm finding.
I'm thinking of giving the VM540ML a go...has anyone moved from an Ortofon 2M Red or Blue and can comment on difference in cartridge height? I have an Orbit, so no way to change arm height outside of shims/mat thickness.
Add an old, scratchy and unused record under the actual mat. Done.
That's what I do on the same case as yours.
Common sense? The less common of the senses.
Vinyl works with a precision mechanical mecanism ... and a vibrating diamond. Even the master was digital, vinyl generally sounds different. Their imperfections are their stronger points.
Like valves. Transistor it's better on paper ... on sound, not always.
Thanks... I should not be lazy and just look up the cartridge dimensions...that would tell me a lot!
When Philips and Sony started developing CD they parted from several premises, a small, robust, laser-read digital disc with easy and fast random access, no surface noise, high signal to noise ratio and dinamic range. I think they fullfilled them all, I also wonder if respect to instrument's timbre and unique sound signature was two of their goals..
Well, something I learned quickly in the 90s (when I sell my turntable and bought a cd player) ... dust / humidity / fungus also affects cds ... oh, also they scratch. DVDs and multichannel ... cool stuff, right? .
Happy camper when I returned to stereo and analog / digital streaming.
Separate names with a comma.