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Audio Technica VS220 Reviews

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Audio Technica VS220

7/10 by VinylTune

Upon doing multiple searches on Google, I found one blog that stated that this VS220E cartridge is a rebranded AT-12E. Not sure how accurate this information is, but I guess it's worth noting.

I will be comparing the performance of this VS220E with my AT-100E cartridge (black housing with red stylus). The VS220 has the factory green (.4x.7)mil elliptical stylus on it and the AT100E also has the factory (.3x.7)mil bonded elliptical stylus.

Initial impression of the VS220E is that this is not a slouch. It performs very good being able to reproduce almost all of the sounds of the record with clarity. Record is Earth, Wind & Fire - Let's Groove. Although one notable thing is that my AT100E is more forward biased, sounding overly bright and putting a bit more emphasis on high frequency details. The VS220E tends to be more neautral in comparison. Not overly bright, but not dull. It does, however, seem to have a bit less depth in soundstage than the AT100E. The drum snares on VS220E seem to decay faster than on the 100E for example. Also to note, some of the vocals on the 220E exhibited a bit of sibilance, or cracking, in comparison to the 100E. Though it only happened when the vocals were the strongest throughout the song. Low end bass reproduction was good, but again the 100E seems to be a more exciting cartridge where as the 220E is a neautral cartridge.

One thing to note, besides the 100E being a much newer cartridge and probably having upgraded internals, the stylus is also .1mil finer than the stylus I am using on the 220E. This might make a notable difference and could be why it seems to sound more neautral and centered than the more exciting and punchier 100E.

So overall the VS220E is a very good MM cartridge especially at its current price point (sub $80) range on eBay. Replacement stylus are also readily available on eBay as well and elsewhere online.

I also have reviewed an AT-11E and though the VS220E looks just like the AT11E, and though both can use the same stylus, I believe the AT11E did sound a bit more wider and the vocals had a bit less sibilance as well. Both cartridges are not nearly as bad as a Shure M44-7, which is overly loud and crackles almost every time over mid to strong vocals. And that is also using an aftermarket elliptical replacement stylus.

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