I've been spinning Vinyl since the mid 60's so I have a modest number of Mono pressings. I haven't had a Mono cartridge since my first 3-speed portable record player. So, I've been wondering if a Mono cartridge would make my Mono pressings sound better than my stereo cartridges. To find out, I bought the Audio-Technica VM610MONO cartridge with a conical tip. I'll admit I was skeptical, but the answer is YES, a Mono cartridge does improve the audio from Mono pressings. Several of my Stereo cartridges cost just over $1000, yet this Audio-Technica sounds better with Mono pressings. Generally, I'm not a fan of Conical tips, but this works ideally with Mono disks, and it didn't break the bank! Well worth it.
Pros: Economical Mono Cartridge Improves Audio over Stereo Cartridges
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Affordable, crisp, and versatile. Compared to other mono cartridges, the AT VM610MONO is far lower in cost than its competitors. Unlike the well respected Denon DL102 or AT-MONO3 (no user replaceable parts), when the hours are up on the stylus it's an easy switch. AT carts tend to be on the bright/crisp side and the VM610MONO falls right in line with its cousins. For me, this is a Plus as I have high frequency hearing loss. But it's worth mentioning if you're wanting a flat response. This cart shares the same body style as the bulk of other Audio Technica models, which means you can swap the 0.6 mil conical stylus for an elliptical or other stylus. I have found the conical works best on pre-70's discs. New mono records sound better with an elliptical. I'm very happy with this cartridge. Buy with confidence.
Pros: Price. Versatile. Crisp sound.
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Great sound and price!
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Does a great job! Worth not having to constantly swap out to y cables behind the unit.
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Awesome cartridge. Tested it out on the Beatles Mono Masters....incredible! Brings back the old days. Great sound!
Pros: Easy mounting Detailed instructions Excellent packaging
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After spending some time ruminating on whether or not a dedicated Mono cartridge was worth the expense, I decided to take the plunge at the same time I was replacing my stereo cart with the Audio-Technica VM540ML. While the VM610MONO might not be the final word on dedicated mono cartridges, I can honestly say I am pleased with the way my mono vinyl sounds. With this cartridge the mono records really pop (in a good way), the sound is very centered and full, surface noise seems much quieter, and (with proper set up and alignment) inner groove distortion has virtually been eliminated. And God help your neighbors if you decide to spin a few 45s with this cart. This does not sound like a cheap conical stylus by any means. So if you have a fair amount of Mono records in your collection, I think you will be pleased with this. And FYI, the newer reissues in mono (The Beatles box set, early Miles Davis on Columbia, etc.) sound fabulous. As usual, great price and service from the people at Crutchfield. Their return policy was one of the other reasons I decided to give the mono cart a try! It's a winner and I'm keeping it!
Pros: Better than a stereo cartridge for mono records, in my opinion.
Cons: You will need two head shells if you also listen to stereo records.
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