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On 2/7/2020 at 8:08 AM, JohnnyB said:

Friday update: I just wasted 2 hours writing a description of Audio-Technica's AT-95VM moving magnet series only to have a virus take over my screen with no escape but pressing the power-down button, thus wiping out everything I wrote. Now I need a nap. :(

So here's the URL to Audio-Technica's well-illustrated description of their AT-95VM series.

I bought the entry-level model with the bonded conical stylus for $34.

conical-diagram.jpg

I've been playing a wide variety of records lately and will post my opinion of its performance later this afternoon.

At last I'm able to present my subjective impressions of new $34 AT-95VM with bonded conical stylus. I like it for a number of reasons:

  • It has a rich, forward soloist range, whether vocal or instrumental, with a pleasing blend of the backing instruments. This makes it particularly engaging if you're listening to Sinatra accompanied by Nelson Riddle or Count Basie, or any number of pop/rock groups such as The Cars, Police, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, etc.
     
  • The cartridge body has built-in mounting threads, making installtion siimpler and with no need for bolts to secure the cartridge. The supplied bolts fit the thread pitch in the cartridge, which may not work with bolts from other sources.
     
  • If you have any mono LPs, you can switch between stereo and mono recordings without swapping (and re-balancing) between stereo and mono cartridges. My 2014 Beatles in Mono releases sound superb, even when compared to my moving coil mono cartridge (which requires rebalancing the tonearm and changing the gain and capacitance settings on my phono preamp. The mono cartridge is lower in noise because it's a true mono  which tracks above accumulated dust i in the bottom of the groove, but the AT95-VMC comes very close. The conical stylus is a good match for LPs stamped before the mid-60s.
     
  • Starting with the $34 AT95-VMC, you can upgrade economically to a nude and/or exotically shaped stylus for less the price of most all-in-one cartridges with a nude-mounted high end stylus. For example, I got Audio-Technica's flagship cartridge with nude Microlinear stylus,  the At150MLX, for $259 in 2008 directly from Japan when import goods were cheaper; stateside they were $599. Currently the At150MLX has shot up to $770. The AT-95VMC ($34) plus the microlinar stylus ($169) totals at $203. Similarly, the same cartridge ($34) plus its upgrade nude shibata stylus ($199) comes to $233. By contrast, the shibata-equipped Ortofon Black cartridge weighs in at $699. Again, $233 is a steal.
     
  • The microline stylus is shaped like the cutting head when mastering the LP. The shibata stylus was created to track 4-channel discrete LPs to groove oscillations up to 40Khz. They remain lush and unperturbed when tracking the inner part of an LP's groove where it's tight.

I have been using the base AT-95VC on a wide variety of music: a capella vocal, the Beatles, power pop, '80s rock, small group jazz, big band, and even large scale orchestra, even my Balalaika Favorites, which is in mono. It sounds superb with this $34 cartridge, and I have been using the AT150MLX for13 years. 

Edited by JohnnyB

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Bubba, here's a killer old Spoon track. One that I was in the audience for on that specific night. They were awesome of course, and still are. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC48x9F8WFA

Edited by JGravelin
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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe

 

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It’s like Rod Evans is fire, and Lonesome Dave is ice. Together, they make lukewarm water. 

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2 hours ago, RobB said:

It’s like Rod Evans is fire, and Lonesome Dave is ice. Together, they make lukewarm water. 

Ok, I give up. Who is Rod Evans?

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Oops. That’s the Deep Purple/Captain Beyond singer. Rod Price! ROD PRIIIIIICE!!

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