Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

the thin end of the wedge
Jdog1958
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Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by Jdog1958 » 20 Jul 2018 08:53

One of the stylus upgrades that has been suggested to me for the AT120E/T is an ATN440MLb. Is this correct? I am intrigued to try a Microline stylus but my question is this: This stylus is priced at around $200. However, I see a complete cartridge for about $40 more. Is it worth the extra $$ to just go with the complete cartridge? Is there any major difference in bodies between the 120 and the 440? If there is little or none, then saving a couple dollars is fine with me.
Also wondered about the AT150Sa stylus. This would put me into a Shibata for penny's more...

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by balky » 20 Jul 2018 11:35

The detailed and "can be quite forward" upper frequency if resistance is not tamed, AT sound signature is on both 440MLb and 150Sa, although the 150Sa seems to handle this a bit better... I have both carts...
The AT-150Sa has better detailed lows, otherwise, they are not too far apart from each other.

But if I can advise, I would recommend you go for the 150Sa...

This information is based purely on my experience using both carts on my ifi-iPhono2 preamp in my setup and doesn't necessarily imply that the same holds for everyone else... :D

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by KentT » 20 Jul 2018 21:28

Also, the current VM series styli fit your AT 120E/T. So they're also options.

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by patient_ot » 20 Jul 2018 21:49

The Shibata is a different shape than the microline. It's not necessarily better. The tip dimensions of the microline are finer, though it may be a bit less forgiving than a Shibata. The cartridge bodies are the same on the 120E and the 440Mlb. Also the 440Mlb is discontinued and replaced by the VM540ML. That stylus is basically the same but supports a heavier tracking weight. I have used several of the 440 styli (both "a" and "b") but my next one will be the 540. The 440mlb styli are getting scarce now...

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by IndigoRock2001 » 20 Jul 2018 22:50

I have an AT440mlb, and am extremely pleased with it. As you know it enjoys a cult following that it's newer replacement does not. I just got a Denon DL103 Moving Coil, I expected this to sound a lot better than the already very good AT440mlb, but for total pleasing range I tentatively think I much prefer the 440mlb, which comes as quite a surprise to me since it is an MM cart. I just think there is something kind of perfect stormy about this one. Somehow Audio Technica just got a sort of ineffable something right about it. I think that's the reason people are willing to pay $220 to upward of $300 bucks for something that originally cost $100. As I've said elswhere I've seen people saying that this cart saved their faith in vinyl. If you get one you should definitely get the whole package (stylus and cart) as you say it's only $20 or $30 more than the stylus alone. I really love mine. I don't think you can go wrong with this one. Get online read some testamonials, watch some videos on Utube about it. They convinced me. And they IMO weren't wrong even in being somewhat rhapsodical about it.
Take care
indi

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by patient_ot » 20 Jul 2018 23:21

IndigoRock2001 wrote:I have an AT440mlb, and am extremely pleased with it. As you know it enjoys a cult following that it's newer replacement does not.
This is only because the 440 series was around a LONG time. Before the 440Mla there was even a 440MLOCC, not to mention previous generations of AT microline carts. The 540ML is barely a year old, but it's basically the same cart as before. In five years, the online "cult" will fall in line just like they did with the rest of the 440 family.

FWIW I use my 440 stylus on a Signet cart body from the early 80s!

One more thing for the OP: if you have a lot of dirty records, records not in great condition, etc. these cartridges may not be for you. The microline shape is very revealing w/r/t scratches and pressing flaws. If your turntable has a removable headshell, keep a cheaper cart around for the beater albums. Also, if you don't have a Spin Clean bare minimum, or preferably, a vac-based RCM, get one before you get one of these cartridges.

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by Jdog1958 » 21 Jul 2018 19:42

patient_ot wrote:
One more thing for the OP: if you have a lot of dirty records, records not in great condition, etc. these cartridges may not be for you. The microline shape is very revealing w/r/t scratches and pressing flaws. If your turntable has a removable headshell, keep a cheaper cart around for the beater albums. Also, if you don't have a Spin Clean bare minimum, or preferably, a vac-based RCM, get one before you get one of these cartridges.
Nearly all my collection are items I had from years ago, and much of the new stuff I have added are record store finds. Many are not in great condition. I have been scrubbing them with a bit of dish soap and a paint pad. I do get much improvement cleaning this way, but I feel it it far from perfect. Will the Spin-Clean offer an improvement over that?

In any case, I may need to put future cartridge buying wants on hold for a while as my truck decided I needed to spend $300+ on a battery and alternator for it. Plus there are a few other repairs it needs..

Once I get caught up, maybe I will give a Microline cartridge a shot. I am thinking that I would be better off to give a current model a shot rather than discontinued items. I already have several units that I can not buy OE stylus's for as they are out of production.

JD

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by patient_ot » 22 Jul 2018 04:35

I'm not a fan of the paint pad method. Those things shed fibers which get into the grooves. Dish soap is also problematic for a lot of reasons. The Spin Clean, IME, is better than any half-assed DIY cleaning - went through all that too, but an RCM is really the way to go if you can. I have no regrets moving to an RCM. $200ish will get you in the game.

I'd do that before going down the microline path. As I said before, if a lot of your records are in rough shape, a microline stylus might not be for you. You'll get less noise from other types of cartridges on rough condition records. Not only that, but cleaner records generally sound better.

RE: your old cartridges, I don't know what they are, but I wouldn't write them off until you have tried a high quality Jico aftermarket stylus for them, assuming one is available.

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by james73_2008 » 23 Jul 2018 22:31

patient_ot wrote:This is only because the 440 series was around a LONG time. Before the 440Mla there was even a 440MLOCC, not to mention previous generations of AT microline carts. The 540ML is barely a year old, but it's basically the same cart as before. In five years, the online "cult" will fall in line just like they did with the rest of the 440 family.
There were 140s before there were 440s!

ATN140E - nude .2 X .7 elliptical tip, straight beryllium cantilever
ATN140LC - nude LinearContact, tapered aluminium cantilever
ATN140ML - nude MicroLine, tapered aluminium cantilever

ATN440ML(/OCC) - nude MicroLine, tapered aluminium cantilever
ATN440MLa - nude MicroLine, tapered aluminium cantilever
ATN440MLb - nude MicroLine, tapered aluminium cantilever



James H

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by Jdog1958 » 24 Jul 2018 08:56

patient_ot wrote:
RE: your old cartridges, I don't know what they are, but I wouldn't write them off until you have tried a high quality Jico aftermarket stylus for them, assuming one is available.
My "better" cartridges I favor are the AT120E/T and the AT13Ea. The AT13Ea I am very fond of and I find I play it the most! To me it sounds the most natural. I also have an AT216EP which is a nudie like the other two. It is a "p" mount with an adapter and actually sounds very decent as well. . I seem to prefer the nudes the best. (Don't go there!)

All the rest of my cartridges are pretty much entry level - An AT911E, and several "cousins" of the same series. Also there is an AT95E.

There are still a few stylus' for the AT13Ea out there and I'm going to try and get one. I may just give up the idea of Linear contacts or Shibatas for the present. I am not unhappy with the sounds I have now.

I may then think about the VM530EN - newer and still a nude. I would assume the needles for those to be around for some time.

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by lini » 24 Jul 2018 22:54

Jd: AT's current VM5x0/7x0 family is fully compatible to the AT120 family in both directions - i.e. you can use VMNx0 needles on AT120 family bodies just as you could use ATN1x0 needles (except the ATN105/110E/115E, of course) on the VM5x0/7x0 bodies. The VMNx0 needles generally are intended for somewhat higher tracking forces around 2 g, though.

So it's no problem to grab an AT440MLb and use it with the VMN40ML later on, when the original AT440MLb has worn out.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by solvin_dk » 27 Jul 2018 12:58

Hi
Go for the Audio Technica AT 120 Eb 0,3-07 Or the AT 130E 0,2-07 if you can get on. They Sound great

Best regards,

Torben
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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by IndigoRock2001 » 27 Jul 2018 13:36

Jdog1958 wrote:
patient_ot wrote:
All the rest of my cartridges are pretty much entry level - An AT911E, and several "cousins" of the same series. Also there is an AT95E.
I just got an eliptical stylus for the AT95E which comes with a conical. (From Needle Finders) Just called them and asked if there was an original AT stylus that would fit the AT95E. Got this one. I looked for the AT logo and didn't see one, though I have not taken it out of it's plastic box yet. I don't know it AT brands the styli or not. I tend to trust Needle Finders not to lead me astray. I'm hoping to hear (obviously) better sound, I suppose more detail from the AT95E. I'm currently using the AT440mlb and am so happy with the sound I'm not inclined at the moment to try out the AT95E with it's new upgrade. I just set aside the Denon 103 because I didn't like the sound of the Pro-ject preamp and sent it back. I thought I really didn't like the sound of the Denon 103 but as this seemed unlikely, I decided it was the $170 preamp. I'm holding out now for a better used one. Hopefully the Denon will sound as great as it's reputation. For now though I'm very happy with the sound of the AT440mlb, Though after listening to the Denon 103 for a while, even though I didn't like it as much as the AT440mlb it did have a lot more detail, and I sort of miss that.
indi

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by Jdog1958 » 28 Jul 2018 06:31

IndigoRock2001 wrote:
Jdog1958 wrote:
patient_ot wrote:
All the rest of my cartridges are pretty much entry level - An AT911E, and several "cousins" of the same series. Also there is an AT95E.
I just got an eliptical stylus for the AT95E which comes with a conical. (From Needle Finders) Just called them and asked if there was an original AT stylus that would fit the AT95E. Got this one. I looked for the AT logo and didn't see one, though I have not taken it out of it's plastic box yet. I don't know it AT brands the styli or not. I tend to trust Needle Finders not to lead me astray. I'm hoping to hear (obviously) better sound, I suppose more detail from the AT95E. I'm currently using the AT440mlb and am so happy with the sound I'm not inclined at the moment to try out the AT95E with it's new upgrade. I just set aside the Denon 103 because I didn't like the sound of the Pro-ject preamp and sent it back. I thought I really didn't like the sound of the Denon 103 but as this seemed unlikely, I decided it was the $170 preamp. I'm holding out now for a better used one. Hopefully the Denon will sound as great as it's reputation. For now though I'm very happy with the sound of the AT440mlb, Though after listening to the Denon 103 for a while, even though I didn't like it as much as the AT440mlb it did have a lot more detail, and I sort of miss that.
indi
The AT95E as stock would already include .4 x.7 elliptical, hence the "E" designation. A conical should have a designation of AT95C, plus there is also a AT95CE which has a "special" conical of .5 x .6 radius. What is the color of the stylus?

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Re: Upgrade for the AT120E/T - ATN440MLb?

Post by Jdog1958 » 28 Jul 2018 06:38

lini wrote:Jd: AT's current VM5x0/7x0 family is fully compatible to the AT120 family in both directions - i.e. you can use VMNx0 needles on AT120 family bodies just as you could use ATN1x0 needles (except the ATN105/110E/115E, of course) on the VM5x0/7x0 bodies. The VMNx0 needles generally are intended for somewhat higher tracking forces around 2 g, though.

So it's no problem to grab an AT440MLb and use it with the VMN40ML later on, when the original AT440MLb has worn out.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
So I could drop a AT440MLb or a VMN530EN onto the the AT120E/T when it wears out?

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