Phono cartridge compatibility

moujik

Member
Not to confuse you more but just to express my personal take on this topic: I just "downgraded" from AT-VM540ML to the supposedly lesser (and cheaper) AT-VM95SH. What a great upgrade for my P10! :) Super clean, super precise, yet smooth and deep dark bass.
Great to hear that AT-VM95SH can pull its weight up the ladder!

I wonder how it compares to 'budget' MC cartridges.. and what would be an MM upgrade if not 540 series..
 

Tone68

Novice Member
Finally not so confused 😆 I guess it's not surprising that a supposedly lesser cartridge can end up producing a better sound than a more expensive one, with so many factors playing a role, not least whole gear and setup and even personal taste. Personally, my question, would now be focused on the pros and cons of the stylus itself, for example, does the SH have the longevity of the ML?
 

harkpabst

Active Member
Personally, my question, would now be focused on the pros and cons of the stylus itself, for example, does the SH have the longevity of the ML?
According to Audio Technica it's 80% of it: ~1000 hours ML, ~800 hours SH.

Cannot comment from personal experience yet. I never had a Shibata stylus before. My VM540ML should have had less than 350 hours so far. Not a matter of wear then ...
 
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musicphil

Active Member
Great to hear that AT-VM95SH can pull its weight up the ladder!

I wonder how it compares to 'budget' MC cartridges.. and what would be an MM upgrade if not 540 series..
I have the 95ml and comparing to my Denon 110- only swapped back over to the 95ML the other day.
The 95, is slightly my forward up front ( but not bright in any way) in the highs with a lovely, crisp bass. And suits rock, pop very well
Denon on the other hand has a warmer sound definitely not as forward as the AT, with a smoother bass., better suited to acoustic music and great with jazz/blues.
Obviously the above also depends on your other components within your system, it's about synergy.
 

sha66y

Active Member
I don’t understand anything to do with capacitance,weights and arm material, I bought 4 angled headshells , 4 cartridges that I did a bit of checking on, and use them has and when…. Now I’m not an expert on how something can sound better than something else, but I very much doubt that the sound I’m hearing can be bettered noticeably,

at the end of the day , you put an album on, use ya anti static brush, dab ya needle bit with some sticky gel and drop it down…..the rest is hobbyist routine!
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
I don’t understand anything to do with capacitance,weights and arm material, I bought 4 angled headshells , 4 cartridges that I did a bit of checking on, and use them has and when…. Now I’m not an expert on how something can sound better than something else, but I very much doubt that the sound I’m hearing can be bettered noticeably,

at the end of the day , you put an album on, use ya anti static brush, dab ya needle bit with some sticky gel and drop it down…..the rest is hobbyist routine!
What you’re saying seems so bizarre that I wonder if perhaps I’m misunderstanding….

I’ll agree that things like capacitive (for MM) and resistive (for MC) loading and all but the crudest adjustment of antiskate are the last degree of refinement and most people could be perfectly happy without ever worrying about them, but are you suggesting that cartridge alignment, VTA, VTF and azimuth are mere ‘hobbyist routine’? If so then you have either hit upon a perfect set up by complete accident (in which case good for you and please choose some lottery numbers for me), or chances are your vinyl set-up has a great deal more to give. These things are absolutely fundamental to achieving optimum performance.
 

sha66y

Active Member
What you’re saying seems so bizarre that I wonder if perhaps I’m misunderstanding….

I’ll agree that things like capacitive (for MM) and resistive (for MC) loading and all but the crudest adjustment of antiskate are the last degree of refinement and most people could be perfectly happy without ever worrying about them, but are you suggesting that cartridge alignment, VTA, VTF and azimuth are mere ‘hobbyist routine’? If so then you have either hit upon a perfect set up by complete accident (in which case good for you and please choose some lottery numbers for me), or chances are your vinyl set-up has a great deal more to give. These things are absolutely fundamental to achieving optimum performance.
I have a protractor and a weight thingy, the cartridge looks pretty square on and the weight machine gets me inside the parameters, I adjust the anti skate but on the AT it’s not a perfect science just an arrow pointing….. I figured knowing too much must create limitations!
Everyone who listens to my system is impressed so I figure something is right and I don’t get bogged down with the finer details that though sound impressive are more worryingly debilitating to the art of listening to a great album….
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
I have a protractor and a weight thingy, the cartridge looks pretty square on and the weight machine gets me inside the parameters, I adjust the anti skate but on the AT it’s not a perfect science just an arrow pointing….. I figured knowing too much must create limitations!
Everyone who listens to my system is impressed so I figure something is right and I don’t get bogged down with the finer details that though sound impressive are more worryingly debilitating to the art of listening to a great album….
OK, so you have covered most of the major aspects of set-up there. You’ve aligned it and set the VTF. VTA clearly can’t be far off optimum even if you‘ve never attempted to set it and chances are azimuth was factory set on the arm.
 

sha66y

Active Member
OK, so you have covered most of the major aspects of set-up there. You’ve aligned it and set the VTF. VTA clearly can’t be far off optimum even if you‘ve never attempted to set it and chances are azimuth was factory set on the arm.
Now I’ve got to Google what you just said..lol…but in the meantime it’s a bit of the Cure and the 2M red ! 😁
 

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