Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

the thin end of the wedge
wojtekf
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by wojtekf » 29 Jul 2019 15:51

Solist wrote:
29 Jul 2019 15:37
If I remember correctly there is a 3k€ cartridge ortofon makes, that tracks at 4g?
SPU Century, 4,500 EUR
Recommended tracking force 4.0g
Nude Shibata

AT's ML stands for MicroLine® stylus.

chiz
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by chiz » 29 Jul 2019 16:34

Here's some data first published by Shure in around 1969 promoting reduced wear as a result of reduced VTF.

But fast forward to 2019 and is anyone still making cartridges with a median / recommended VTF of 1g or less?

Based on this data I'm not concerned about the increased wear when comparing 1.5g to 2g or 2g to 3g.
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Solist
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by Solist » 29 Jul 2019 17:05

One of the problems (afaik) is that when you make a high compliance cartridge, that will track at 1g or less, you need an ultra low mass tonearm, and light aluminum tube was the only option back then for mass producing. And you need an extremely light cartridge body, which also vibrates more. Also, I might be wrong about this but I think that they have bigger problems to keep the stylus in the groove if some fast modulations occur.

Now, if you have a very short tonearm you can make the diameter of the tube bigger, or increase the thickness of the tube walls. But if you want longer tonearms, then you have a couple of problems. In general is that they tend to be more sensitive to vibrations, generated when they stylus is moving left and right (vibrating basically). And then there is vibration coming from the motor, and speakers.

Then everyone moved to medium compliance, since it seemed to be the best compromise.

I think it was mainly an obsession about tracking with the lowest possible VTF, I doubt it had much to do with anything else. The first tonearms required a lot of VTF, and they looked clunky, so extremely low VTF was probably associated with finesse.

BMRR
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by BMRR » 29 Jul 2019 17:23

chiz wrote:
29 Jul 2019 16:34
Here's some data first published by Shure in around 1969 promoting reduced wear as a result of reduced VTF.
In those days, of course, Shure's best diamond shape was their .2x.7mil elliptical, which has the smallest contact area of any diamond shape (then and now), so they really did have reason to want to minimize tracking force as much as possible. Today we're fortunate to have much more sophisticated diamond shapes than were available in '69.
chiz wrote:
29 Jul 2019 16:34
But fast forward to 2019 and is anyone still making cartridges with a median / recommended VTF of 1g or less?
The only ones I can think of at the moment are the B&O replacement cartridges being manufactured by Soundsmith. The top two models track at 1g; the next two models track at 1.2g and 1.3g.

After that, the closest contenders would be the two P-mount cartridges that AT still makes, which track at 1.25g; the JICO SAS styli for various cartridges, which also track at 1.25g; and the Ortofon OM20, OM30, and OM40, which also track at 1.25g.

chiz
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by chiz » 29 Jul 2019 18:19

BMRR wrote:
29 Jul 2019 17:23
chiz wrote:
29 Jul 2019 16:34
Here's some data first published by Shure in around 1969 promoting reduced wear as a result of reduced VTF.
In those days, of course, Shure's best diamond shape was their .2x.7mil elliptical, which has the smallest contact area of any diamond shape (then and now), so they really did have reason to want to minimize tracking force as much as possible. Today we're fortunate to have much more sophisticated diamond shapes than were available in '69.
Very true although Shure continued to promote low VTF even when they moved to HE and later MR tips for their top V15 models.
BMRR wrote:
29 Jul 2019 17:23
chiz wrote:
29 Jul 2019 16:34
But fast forward to 2019 and is anyone still making cartridges with a median / recommended VTF of 1g or less?
The only ones I can think of at the moment are the B&O replacement cartridges being manufactured by Soundsmith. The top two models track at 1g
Thanks for the info!

BMRR
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by BMRR » 29 Jul 2019 18:23

chiz wrote:
29 Jul 2019 18:19
Very true although Shure continued to promote low VTF even when they moved to HE and later MR tips for their top V15 models.
That's exactly right, and at that point I think they were caught up in the "arms race" of low VTF and wanting to be seen as competitive with other manufacturers.

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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by smee4 » 29 Jul 2019 23:23

BMRR wrote:
29 Jul 2019 14:25
The radio stations you listened to in the '70s and '80s were tracking their cartridges at 3g to 5g. 2g is nothing to fear at all. :)
I have various tables that track carts between 2 to 3.5 grams. I have only one that is set to 1.5gr, and that is a lovely old Stanton 681eee.

AsOriginallyRecorded
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 30 Jul 2019 04:21

This conversation has evolved in a very natural, positive and informative way. Especially enlightening are the comments regarding the shift in corporate thinking and the promotion of products. Although the basic tenets and physics have remained essentially unchanged, there has been a great change and improvement in the design and characteristics of components, such as headshells, tonearms and stylus specifications and materials. That period of pursuing the ultimate lightest tracking force mimics many other faddish drives such as smallest cell-phone, highest mpg, and ultimate wifi speed. All well and good in their own right, but tending to over focus and ignore a wide range of just as favorable possibilities in the pursuit of that ultimate. If all equipment, hearing and technical expertise were a level playing field, pursuit of some idealized ultimate would be more compelling. The fact that this scenario is virtually not achievable one has to realize and accept that there is instead, a wide range of "very good and acceptable" points of performance. The range of opinions and experiences expressed so far is encouraging and I think indicative of the wonderful possible discovery moments that are possible in this hobby. A VM540ML is on my future buy list, and this conversation has convinced me it will be a good choice. I, for one, appreciate a well represented mid-range and high end over a deep bass. Nice to get all three of course, but I have every reason to believe that my needs will be served by this cartridge, based on the input so far. I love this site...... :D

Ricketts223
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by Ricketts223 » 10 Sep 2019 04:44

Well folks - I cannot say for sure whether it was a successful break in period, or whether my ears became accustomed to the sound, or whether it was a combination of both (likely), but I have to say I really do like the sound of the VM540ML. Already thinking of picking up a replacement stylus to have on hand "just in case".

I have been thinking of picking up an Ortofon 2m Blue to add to the collection but I am simply enjoying the 540 now, so I'm not sure whether to just stop here or not :)

Thanks everyone. This was a great conversation and I appreciate the knowledge of the group. Very awesome :)

Collux
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by Collux » 10 Sep 2019 09:38

Interestingly there is a large degree of compatibility with styli in the Audio Technica 700 & 500 VM series.
https://eu.audio-technica.com/resources ... ges_EN.pdf
-refer 'Replacement & Upgrade Styli' page 10.

Someone contemplating the VM540ML may be better off in the longer term with the aluminium bodied VM740ML, even though you are looking at a price differential of ~$80.

The VM540ML being the top end of the 500 series
The VM740ML being the bottom end of the 700 series.
- with both carts sharing the same stylus.

2002afan
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by 2002afan » 10 Sep 2019 16:26

Collux wrote:
10 Sep 2019 09:38
Interestingly there is a large degree of compatibility with styli in the Audio Technica 700 & 500 VM series.
https://eu.audio-technica.com/resources ... ges_EN.pdf
-refer 'Replacement & Upgrade Styli' page 10.

Someone contemplating the VM540ML may be better off in the longer term with the aluminium bodied VM740ML, even though you are looking at a price differential of ~$80.

The VM540ML being the top end of the 500 series
The VM740ML being the bottom end of the 700 series.
- with both carts sharing the same stylus.
Collux, The (500, 700) share the same engine too. :roll: The only differences are the aluminum bodies and the stylus. You can't go wrong with the 540. My second best AT cart. :wink:
Cheers,
WillO

Ricketts223
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by Ricketts223 » 11 Sep 2019 02:31

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2002afan wrote:
10 Sep 2019 16:26
Collux, The (500, 700) share the same engine too. :roll: The only differences are the aluminum bodies and the stylus. You can't go wrong with the 540. My second best AT cart. :wink:
Cheers,
WillO
Hey 2002afan, have you raced your 2002? I saw a car similar to yours in the 2010 Targa Newfoundland race

2002afan
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Re: Audio Technica VM540ML Break in period

Post by 2002afan » 12 Sep 2019 03:59

Ricketts223 wrote:
11 Sep 2019 02:31
2010.JPG
2002afan wrote:
10 Sep 2019 16:26
Collux, The (500, 700) share the same engine too. :roll: The only differences are the aluminum bodies and the stylus. You can't go wrong with the 540. My second best AT cart. :wink:
Cheers,
WillO
Hey 2002afan, have you raced your 2002? I saw a car similar to yours in the 2010 Targa Newfoundland race
Ricketts223, No that is my alter -ego 2002. :lol: Mine is much more sedate. :wink:
Cheers,
WillO
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