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Audio-Technica VM540ML Dual moving magnet phono cartridge with MicroLine® stylus

Item # 057VM540ML

This cartridge features an advanced stylus that gets deep into grooves and reproduces the smallest details of music.

This cartridge features an advanced stylus that gets deep into grooves and reproduces the smallest details of music.

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11 questions - 16 answers

Item # 057VM540ML

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About the Audio-Technica VM540ML

Eric A.

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
  • MFR # VM540ML

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

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5.0 out of 5 stars
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More details on the Audio-Technica VM540ML

Stacey B.

Features & specs

Type MM
Mounting Standard
Stylus shape MicroLine
Frequency response (Hz) 20-27k
Tracking grams 2.0
Stereo separation (dB) 28
Output voltage (mV) 4.0
Load Impedance (Ohms) 47,000
Load Capacitance (pF) 100-200

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: This cartridge is designed to fit turntables that feature a standard 1/2" mount. It is not compatible with P-Mount style turntables.


  • 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)

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Customer Q&A

11 questions already asked

I was wondering if this cartridge would be a nice fit for an AR XA turntable? I plan on keeping the AR tone arm original.
energy slop  Sep 27, 2023
2 answers
Hello, I am not familiar with the AR XA Turntable, so I cannot comment on the compatibility with the VM540ML cartridge.
devin  Oct 01, 2023
Don't know. I installed this cartridge on my 38 year old Sansui FR-5080S Direct Drive turntable with the original arm and it performs in superlative fashion.
david  Sep 30, 2023
Is installation easy? clear instruction comes with the cartridge?
ravikumar  Feb 06, 2023
1 answer
Greetings Ravikumar, and thank you for your question. The instructions are easy to follow. Its 4 wires, and 2 screws, but the screws are small, and so are the wires. take your time, and you will manage just fine. If during your install you run into any problems, we have a tech support team here 7 days a week to help.
hogan  Feb 06, 2023 (Staff)
Will this work on the Fluance rt81? Is there a mounted version for sale
matthew  Jan 07, 2023
1 answer
This will fit the headshell included with the RT81. There is a mounted version, VM540ML/H, which I'll link here:
zachary  Jan 08, 2023 (Staff)
Will this cartridge work on the Technics SL-1200MK2?
jeff  Nov 29, 2022
1 answer
This will work on the legendary Technics SL-1200MK2, Jeff. You can also get this fantastic cartridge pre mounted to an Audio-Technica Headshell in the link below to make the swap as easy as possible. Just screw it on, set your tracking weight and listen away.
bo  Nov 29, 2022 (Staff)
Will this work on a vintage Pioneer PL 570?
ray  Oct 04, 2022
1 answer
What a great deck Ray! That is a gorgeous unit, and you should be able to use this Audio-Technica VM540ML. This does depend on your particular headshell style of course, but looking at the original included headshell on most PL 570's I can find online the VM540ML should mount. If there is any question you can always use this Audio-Technica AT-HS10 in the link below and replace your headshell too if you wish. You'll of course need to zero your tonearm weight and set the correct tracking force on setup. I hope this helps!
bo  Oct 04, 2022 (Staff)
would this cartridge work with a PioneerPL530 turntable (circa 1976), with original head shell?
robb  Oct 04, 2022
1 answer
Greetings Robb, and thank you for your question. Yes sir, almost a direct replacement cartridge. Will fit right on using the same screws already being used on your headshell now. Same 4 wire connection as well. I see a lot of the Audio Technica carts going on the original Pioneer headshell.
hogan  Oct 04, 2022 (Staff)
Would this cartridge work with Rega Planar 1?
marius daniel  Sep 26, 2022
1 answer
I see no reason why not, Marius. If you have a Planar 1 with a mounted cartridge, you can certainly upgrade to the VM540ML for even better performance! We provide lifetime Technical Support, so if you do have issues mounting your cartridge give us call at 1-888-292-2575, we are always here to help!
bo  Sep 26, 2022 (Staff)
Would this fit on a vintage Technics SL-3300, which currently holds the original Shure S- 420?
jeff  Sep 02, 2022
1 answer
Greetings Jeffery, and thank you for your question. As long as the original headshell is still on your Technics SL-3300 the Audio Technica VM540ML will work fine as a replacement cartridge.
hogan  Sep 03, 2022 (Staff)
Will it fit the tonearm of my Music Hall USB-1 turnable?
miguel  Jul 08, 2022
1 answer
This Audio-Technica VM540ML is compatible with your factory headshell on your Music Hall USB-1, Miguel. It is a considerable amount of work to unbolt the old cartridge and carefully re-mount this unit and connect the four tiny lead wires. Since your Music Hall USB-1 has what I would call a "traditional" tone arm, you can also grab one of these Blank Audio-Technica headshell's I've put in the link below for you with your new VM540ML to make easy work of the replacement, essentially making it quick change! We also offer a pre-mounted option in the link below that, for the easiest possible install.
bo  Jul 08, 2022 (Staff)
Does this go well with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB?
derek  Jul 09, 2020
5 answers
I would say yes, because it sounds great with my Thorens TD 190.
michael  Jul 12, 2020
I own a vintage Technics SL-1900 and am happy with the Audio Technica match-up. I am familiar with the Pro-Ject Esprit SB T.T. and don't own one but, I don't want to mislead you either. I can't answer your question.
jesse  Jul 10, 2020
I would say yes. I am going to try it on my new Pre-Ject turntable. I presently have it installed on my Marantz Reference turntable and the sound was incredible. It replaced my old Signet Black Widow cartridge. Highly recommended it!
patrick  Jul 10, 2020
Your turntable has a relatively light tonearm and no vertical tracking adjustment. Given that, I read good things about this cartridge with your turntable. It's a stunning improvement for me with an modified AT-LP120 and pioneer pl-540. I'm buying another one soon.
richard  Jul 09, 2020
It is an excellent cartridge that will greatly outperform the Pro-Ject turntables. I would spend money on a used Thorens or Dual turntable instead, both of which have far better tonearms. Also, get a real phono amplifier like the NAD PP-2 if you don't have a preamp/receiver that has a phono section. The Pro-Ject phono amp is not nearly as good as a real audiophile phono amp.
hunter c  Jul 09, 2020
Is this a good match for the Rega Planar 3?
james  Dec 08, 2019
1 answer
Yes, that would be an excellent option for the Rega Planr 3 turntable.
casey  Dec 21, 2019 (Staff)

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