Audio Technica VM540ML. I love it!!!

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

  1. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I now need your help and no better place than this and you: it's time to change the stylus of my VM540ML and I have never changed a stylus' cart before as I used Denon's High Output MC DL-160 and DL-110 and as you know these are use and discard.
    How do I remove the old stylus without damaging the cart? Do I have to dissasemble the cart from my Goldring GR-1 TT tonearm or can I do it with it mounted? And now the opposite, how do I put the new stylus and can I do it with the cart assembled to the tonearm?
    Keep in mind that in addition of not having done this before I have a disability on my shoulders which are almost destroyed. I can do everything I did before the accident that messed my shoulders up but on a different way as I've lost some mobility on my arms and also lost force,but not being able to lift a heavy weight shoudln't be an issue at changing a cart's needle.
    I'd appreciate your help.
     
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    You do not need to remove the cart from the tonearm. Maybe there is a video on YouTube that can help you?

    In any case, you very carefully grip the plastic stylus assembly and pull down to remove the AT stylus.

    To put the new one in, you do the opposite. Carefully line up the V magnets and pop it into the cartridge. Be careful not to touch the cantilever or stylus tip when you do this.

    You'll probably have to crouch down underneath the cartridge in order to do this. If this is too difficult for you, as a last resort, you can remove the cartridge from the TT to change the stylus. You will need to re-align with a protractor and recalibrate your VTF and AS if you do that though.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  3. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA

    Here's some videos that show the procedure. The AT video plays like an advertisement, but still shows the procedure. Some of the videos advise removing the cartridge from the arm to change the stylus. This is probably the safest procedure, but I have removed/Installed the stylus many times while the cartridge is mounted in the arm without mishap. YMMV.

    If you leave the cartridge in the arm, you will still need to verify alignment after installing the new stylus.

    I just realized that these videos are for the 95, but the process is identical for your 540.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EKkLUFkgOg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCva9sgRP3E
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  4. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks you two for your help. By watching the videoI got to the conclusion that the safest and easier way forme is to remove the cart fromthe arm,remove the old stylus and put in the newoneeven if I have to mount the cart again,adjust it with the protactor and adjust VTF again.
    Again,thank you for your help,it's truly appreciated.
     
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  5. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uruguay
    If you have a reduced mobility I strongly recommend to have a tonearm with detachable headshell.

    A used Jelco can be find with good price, or a new turntable like a Technics.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  6. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I would personally avoid removing the whole cart from the head shell, but that's only because I absolutely hate installing/aligning cartridges.

    I'm totally unfamiliar with your turntable, but I assume your tonearm doesn't have a detachable head shell? My main turntable has a Rega tonearm, and I was able to swap the styli without removing the cart, but it was a little tricky. In my experience, AT styli are a very snug fit, so it definitely takes gentle but firm force when removing or attaching them, and it's miles easier to do if you have a detachable head shell. But it's not impossible; you just have to be careful and make sure you put the little stylus cover thingy down.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  7. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My turntable is made by Rega,is a mix between a Rega Planar 1 and a Planar 2, 'though I did some improvements on it like changing the MDF platter for a 2 Kg glass one, the subplatter from the aluminiu+plastic for a full aluminium one, a white silicon belt... It's a typical Rega TT.
     
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  8. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    That video shows the technique, but makes it look easier than it is. On a 540 it is tricky to unsnap the stylus mount, and tricky to snap a replacement in, because it fits so tightly. The stylus cantilever (both models and all AT carts) has two tiny magnet poles sticking out and you must not damage them.
    It can be safer to use your fingernail to slowly wedge the stylus mount out, alternating the left and right sides, until it is out enough to get a decent grip on it to pull it away.
    Once you do it the first time, you'll get it, but go slowly and carefully.
     
  9. struttincool

    struttincool Senior Member

    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    This is how I do it and sometimes use a very small screwdriver in place of my fingernail.
     
  10. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    With the 540, with my thumb and index finger on the sides, I just gently pull it off. Sometimes it requires a bit of a gentle front-to-back rocking motion. When putting the new stylus on, it can often feel like there's a bit of resistance, but if you've got it lined up correctly, it will gently snap into place.
     
  11. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yep, works for me.
     
  12. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    After thinking about it for a day I took a decission: I bought an Audio Technica VM740ML, that uses the same stylus as the VM540ML. I don't want to bother, at least not right now by changing the stylus on my VM540ML. The price difference between between the stylus used by both the VM540ML and the VM740ML and the full 540 cart is minimal, sonow that I have decided to get full cart and being the price difference between the VM540ML and the VM740ML only 50 Euros,why not try the slightly more expensive 740?
    I've been flat broke for around 8 years as I had an accident that left me disabled (got my both shoulders all messed up) and without a job, now I have a job, a good one and well paid, a rarity by Spanish's standards, why not spend some dough,try something new but being conservative at the same time?
    I think the only difference between the VM540ML and the VM740ML is the metal body of the 740, let's see what impact this has on sound compared to the 540.
    I'll tell you my impressions on the VM740ML when it gets at least 100 hours of break in.
     
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  13. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uruguay
    :righton:

    I have the 540ml and I'm wondering if a vm750sh it's an upgrade ... or you need to go to OC9 mc cartridges.

    A comparable Nagaoka can be good, ... but tremendously overpriced with elliptical stylus .3 x .7 ... a joke.

    Ortofon, only the Black seems to be an upgrade ... much expensive than a OC9.

    AT ... you're making good products and all the upgrade stuff really harder :)
     
  14. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm working a night shift at the moment and in a few hours I should receive the new AT VM740ML.
    When I do a night shift I can't go straight to bed, I need to spend some time watching TV or listening to music, some time is like 3/5 hours. I do sleep if I get home after a night shift and go straight to bed, but then I wake up with a weird feeling, something like a mix of a hangover and jet lag. So I go home, watch some TV series, now that we've been together for a month, play some time with my little 4 months old Lúa (Moon in Galician), a Wire hair Teckel who is a sweetheart and a worthy sucesor to Lisy, my 14 years old four legged girl who passed 3 years ago, I then have some light lunch (by Spanish standards...) and after that I'm ready to go to bed.
    Some time during the day, the Amazon delivery man will come with my new AT VM740ML. Do you think that after a night shift and only a few hours of sleep I'll be able to install the new cart?
    You can't imagine how much I dislike to install and set up a new cart on my Goldring GR-1 (a mix of a Rega Planar 1 & 2 with some improvements I added) TT, it's a tedious task and in addition to that I'm extremely picky about the result. I don't want the cart set up right with the Rega protactor, I want it 100% perfectly lined up with the protactor and that, with my shoulders disability takes time. Time to try, look, realign, once and again, then my shoulders start to ache so I have to take a half an hour rest or so and go back to it.
    I hope it's really worthwhile and the VM740ML sounds better than the VM540ML. They seem to be the same cart with the VM740ML having a metal top finish and being 2 grams heavier, the VM540ML has a full plain plastic finish. How much impact will the metal top and the added 2 grams will have on the sound next to the VM540ML? I have no idea but I'm very curious about it. For me record playing is like alchemy, a tiny change or addition may have a huge impact on the end result, I hope it is for good.
     
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  15. SNDVSN

    SNDVSN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Interesting to hear you talk about the night shift jet lag feeling, good to know I'm not alone!
     
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Shibata styli are not an "upgrade" over MR/ML styli. Shibata is one of the oldest advanced profiles, and nowhere near as extreme or thin as an MR/ML. Shibata gets a lot of hype due to marketing and that is all.

    The AT MC carts are a different animal entirely than their MM range. Some people love them, others do not. If you don't have a great MC phono preamp or the budget to buy one, I would say forget it.

    FWIW I've heard a bunch of AT MCs and didn't like any of them as much as their MM carts. I've not heard any of the latest OC9X series though. If you really wanted to try one, the OC9XML would probably be a safe bet.
     
  17. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uruguay
    Yes, I know about the stylus profiles ... but the sound it's not only about that.

    MC it's technically superior to MM, but with the right implementation and configuration. Some people talks bad about MC with a 200 usd preamp and wrong compliance / impedance settings.
     
  18. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm not so sure spending more assures any degree of success when it comes to MC rigs.
     
  19. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uruguay
    That apply to everything in audio ... so, I agree. But, spending in wrong stuff usually assures a bad result, and that's what I mean.
     
  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It doesn't. However a good MC preamp, with low noise (for MC) is usually more expensive than a $200 MM/MC switchable gain phono preamp whose S/N ratio drops like a rock when you jack up the gain.

    There are some DIY routes for MC, though those aren't really dirt cheap when you factor in your time and the cost of all the parts you'll need.

    Agreed.
     
    Mike70 likes this.
  21. JohnQVD

    JohnQVD is adjusting to having a fully manual turntable

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    The Ortofon is 18mm. The A-T is 17.3mm. I’m guessing shims will be easier than changing the mat at that small a difference.
     
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  22. aphexacid

    aphexacid It’s not Hip Hop, it’s Electro.

    Location:
    Illinois
    I wouldn’t install a new phono cartridge with only a few hours of sleep. That’s asking for trouble.
    As for 740ml being better than the 540ML? I’ve had the 540ML for the past year and love it. There is a German blog post on the internet where the group test those 2 carts and in the end recommended the 540ML over the 740. In my opinion, your ears will give you the correct answer.
     
  23. Firehead

    Firehead Forum Resident

    Location:
    HTX
    I recently installed the Vm540ml on my turntable and had no issues. At first I was nervous because I tend to mess things up easily. I currently have a planar 3, I did install one spacer. The cartridge has been singing
     
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  24. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I set up the VM740ML yesterday as I finished my shift at 2 in the afternoon so I had the rest of the day to do some listening to it and get my first impressions about it.
    I'd like to say first that everything I post must be taken with a pinch of salt as cartridge and stylus are not broken in yet.
    The records I used for my first listening/test were Van Halen S/T and Van Halen II, both 2015 Chris Bellman remasters, Rush's Moving Pictures 2015 reiussue mastered at Abbey Road (Moving Pictures was tracked to analogue and mixed down digitaly, I think on Sony digital recorders of the time), and The Planets by Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philarmonic, the version used was Speakers Corner LP that surprisingly uses a full analogue mastering done in 1998 but neither mastering nor cutting was ever used,this is the first time, this information was provided by Speakers Corner.
    So, how does the 740 sound on my system compared to the 540? To my ears, everything that's on the 540 is present on the 740 but I like how cymbals sound best on the 740 and bass guitar seems to sound a bit "fatter". But these are not night and day differences and these may change as stylus and cart break in.
    I think I noticed a slightly wider soundstage on The Planets, but please read my words well, "I think" and "slightly wider".
    I'm happy with it if we think that the 740 is only 50 Euros more expensive than the 540.
    Let's see how sound changes with some hours of break in.
     
  25. Vinyl Kix

    Vinyl Kix Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Glenwood, IA
    I've had my new 540ml cartridge now for about a week. Loving it..Loving everything it is (and that it brings extra to me upgrading from my AT VM530em cartridge).
    In vinyl bliss right now. I'm hearing my new cartridge really open up and sing! I'm sipping on some nice bourbon, and spinning some MFSL Frank Sinatra Box Set in Near Mint condition!!(I currently just came into possession through a friend who is loaning it to me for a couple of months to listen to!) Might not get any better than this! Great cartridge, great vinyl, great pressings, great liquor, sublime sound!! Loving it!! Gonna be a late night here in SW Iowa tonight!!
     
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