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Audio-Technica VM540ML

Dual moving magnet phono cartridge with MicroLine® stylus

6 Reviews

Item # 057VM540ML

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Our take on the Audio-Technica VM540ML

Get in the groove

What makes one stylus better than another? The shape and mounting of the stylus — the tiny diamond that traces the grooves of the record — is where small changes make a big difference in sound quality. The Audio-Technica VM540ML phono cartridge features an advanced 2.2 x 0.12 mil MicroLine stylus that gets deep into the cut and reproduces the smallest details of the music. When you're talking about the warm, natural sound of great vinyl, that small difference can mean everything.

Product Highlights:

  • dual moving magnet design for excellent stereo separation
  • center shield plate between left and right channels reduces crosstalk
  • durable low-resonance polymer cartridge housing
  • 2.2 x 0.12 mil MicroLine stylus traces grooves extremely accurately
    • multilevel shape reduces wear on records
  • all-metal cantilever
  • frequency response 20-27,000 Hz
  • output voltage: 4.0 mV
  • stereo separation: 28 dB
  • channel balance: 1.0 dB
  • tracking force range: 1.8-2.2 grams
  • recommended tracking force: 2.0 grams
  • load impedance: 47k ohms
  • 3/4"W x 3/4"H x 1-1/8"D
  • cartridge weight: 6.4 grams
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Dual moving magnet stereo phono cartridge
  • 4 Lead wires
  • 2 Long screws
  • 2 Short screws
  • 2 Nuts
  • 2 Washers
  • Brush
  • Non-magnetic screwdriver
  • User Manual
  • Disposal Note

I have always used Audio Technica products. I resurrected my old Sony PS-3300 and installed this cartridge using a mirrored protractor and digital stylus force gage.. It's great and Crutchfield is the best.

Larry, Washington, MI


Audio-Technica VM540ML Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(6 Reviews)

Bargain at the price

Ken from Auburn, CA on 12/12/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I currently use several different turntables. This is the first Audio-Technica I have ever used. I wanted a moderately priced cartridge to put in the turntable I use to audition newly acquired vinyl which mostly comes from thrift stores and garage sales and from the $2.00 bins in record stores, with the occasional nicer piece of used vinyl. I do this to spare my more expensive cartridges from the first go around of digging out fifty to sixty years worth of who-knows-what-kind-of-gunk that may still be in the grooves even after cleaning the record. I am pleasantly surprised. This cartridge compares quite favorably with the $500 low output moving coil cartridge it replaced, especially in extracting detail. I don't notice any difference in bass or tracking ability. Worth the money.

Pros: Punches way above its weight class

Cons: none


Larry from Washington, MI on 6/8/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have always used Audio Technica products. I resurrected my old Sony PS-3300 and installed this cartridge using a mirrored protractor and digital stylus force gage.. It's great and Crutchfield is the best.



Outstanding cartridge.

Paul from San Francisco, CA on 1/29/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this marvelous cartridge together with an Audio-Technica VM610 MONO (aaah...the beauty of having an older turntable with changeable head shells!). Having considered the switch from an old Stanton 680EE (and scoping out just about everything else from Ortofon, Shure, Sumiko, etc.) I liked what Audio-Technica was offering with their new line and had had some experience with their cartridges in the past. I made the right choice. This cartridge sounds amazing (and I listen to all types of music). The bass is full but taut. Highs are crystal clear but not too shrill. Channel separation is excellent, and inner groove distortion is miraculously absent (at an even 2 grams, no less). That said, you will most definitely have to take the time to align and experiment with the VTA on this cartridge to reap it's benefits. In that regard, I found that making the tone arm parallel to the record was not best to my ears. (Listen to your ears and forget what you read or see on the internet with regards to VTA, folks.) I used a very thin (.038 inches, to be exact) aluminum shim between the cart and head shell and a carbon fibre slip mat on top of the stock rubber mat on my Phillips AF 777 turntable. Depending on how thick or thin any given record is, my tone arm is pitching ever-so-slightly downward and I am very pleased with the results. A great price and the usual excellent service from Crutchfield made this an excellent upgrade. Cheers!

Pros: Lovely sound.

Cons: Not really a "con", but it helps if you know what you're doing with the set up.

Great for dogs!

Andy from Cuyahoga Falls, OH on 1/29/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I am reviewing the VM540ML in comparison to the Audio Technica AT120EB cartridge. I wanted to step up from the AT120EB, not so much out of dissatisfaction, but out of curiosity. The AT120EB is a great cartridge, and reproduces all genres of music capably. The VM540ML is an extremely bright cartridge in comparison to the AT120EB. It's as if there is a shelf-like boost to all frequencies above 14kHz. Also, it seems less "3-Dimensional" than the 120EB. (I HATE subjective terms like that - but it's the only way I can describe it.) I can't really recommend this cartridge, unless you have an audio system that is lacking in high frequencies!

Pros: Wide frequency range, good stereo separation, tracks really well, low inner grove distortion

Cons: VERY bright

Crisp Highs

Jeff from Princeton, WV on 11/15/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Extended highs and good tracking with this AT cartridge.

Pros: extended highs and microline stylus.

Cons: Screws that came with the cartridge didn't fit my rega headshell had to use different ones. Dated look.

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Michigan on 8/11/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Awesome upgrade cartridge - this one really delivers amazing sound, but it does requires that you accurately align the cartridge and set VTA.




Hands-on research

Product Research


Dual Moving Magnet Stereo Cartridge: The VM540ML MicroLine stylus cartridge is the premier 500 Series model in Audio-Technica's new VM cartridge line. Like all VM cartridges, the VM540ML is equipped with dual magnets that are positioned to match the left and right channels in the stereo record groove for outstanding channel separation and extended frequency response. The cartridge's MicroLine stylus allows it to trace the record groove with incredible accuracy, resulting in nuanced audio reproduction that elliptical and conical styli simply can't match. The stylus' multilevel shape also wears better than other styli, while reducing the wear on your records.

  • VM dual magnet cartridge with with MicroLine stylus
  • Aluminum cantilever
  • Paratoroidal coils improve generating efficiency
  • Center shield plate between the left and right channels reduces crosstalk
  • Durable low-resonance polymer housing
Note: Mounting hardware is included, along with a brush & non-magnetic screwdriver.


  • Frequency Response: 20-27,000 Hz
  • Channel Separation: 28 dB (1 kHz)
  • Vertical Tracking Force: 1.8-2.2 g (2.0 g standard)
  • Stylus Construction: Nude square shank
  • Recommended Load Impedance: 47,000 ohms
  • Output: 4.0 mV (at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec)
  • Channel Balance: 1.0 dB (1 kHz)
  • Stylus Shape: 2.2 x 0.12 mil MicroLine
  • Cantilever: Aluminum tapered pipe
  • Mount: 1/2"
  • Replacement Stylus: Part # VMN40ML
  • Coil Impedance: 2,700 ohms (1 kHz)
  • DC Resistance: 800 ohms
  • Load Capacitance: 100-200 pF
  • Coil Inductance: 460 mH (1 kHz)
  • Static Compliance: 40 x 10-6 cm/dyne
  • Dynamic Compliance: 10 x 10-6 cm/dyne (100 Hz)
  • Vertical Tracking Angle: 23°

Dimensions: 0.75" (w) x 0.75" (h) x 1.125" (d)

Weight: 6.4 g (0.2 oz)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I have used A-T Stylus in the past and am familiar with the sound quality and sound stage reproduction. [ C  Dec 11, 2018 ]
Excellent Reviews [ Robert  Dec 27, 2017 ]

Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.

Audio-Technica VM740ML

Better housing

The Audio-Technica VM740ML offers these features:

durable low-resonance die-cast aluminum alloy housing

weight: 8 grams