AudioTechnica VM540ML Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge

$279.00 OR

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Model: VM540ML UPC: 4961310157401 Item: 171419

Product Information

The VM540ML MicroLine stylus cartridge is the premier 500 Series model in Audio-Technica’s new VM cartridge line – a line that harks back to A-T’s early days as a manufacturer primarily of high-end phono cartridges, while also incorporating today’s advanced technology. 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’s multilevel shape also wears better than other styli, while reducing the wear on your records.


  • VM dual magnet cartridge 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 cartridge housing
Prop 65 Warning

WARNING: California Residents - Proposition 65. This product can expose you to chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to



  • Frequency response: 20 - 27,000Hz
  • Channel separation: 28dB (1kHz)
  • Vertical tracking force: 1.8 - 2.2g
  • Stylus construction: Nude square shank
  • Recommended load impedance: 47,000 ohms
  • Output: 4.0mV
  • Channel balance: 1.0dB
  • Stylus shape: 2.2 x 0.12 mil MicroLine
  • Mount: 1/2"
  • Coil impedance: 2,700 ohms (1kHz)
  • DC resistance: 800 ohms
  • Load capacitance: 100 - 200pF
  • Coil inductance: 460mH (1kHz)
  • Static compliance: 40 x 10-6cm/dyne
  • Dynamic compliance: 10 x 10 - 6cm/dyne (100Hz)
  • Vertical tracking angle: 23°
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 0.7" x 0.7" x 1.1"
  • Weight: 0.2 ounces

What's in the Box

What's in the Box

  • VM540ML Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge
  • Four cartridge installation screws
  • Two washers
  • Two hex nuts
  • Non-magnetic screwdriver
  • Brush
  • Lead wire set


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a review.

Customer Reviews for AudioTechnica VM540ML Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge

4.7 / 5.0
11 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
Does the job
I bought my turntable in 1977. I was looking to replace it and the Chinese turntables are no match for my made in Holland turntable. So I got a new cartridge instead and it sounds amazing.
September 21, 2023
1 month ago
Rated 4 out of 5
Buy the premounted combo. Read below for installation tip.
Bought for a Crosley C200 which looks like a AT-120 just all plastic and missing a few features.

First thing, I bought the cartridge by itself thinking I could save myself $50 bucks by mounting it myself. I have never done it before and all I had were some printed out 2 point protractors and youtube videos to show me how. Over the course of 2 frustrating days I tried to figure out stuff like overhang and where on the headshell the darn thing goes. I kept getting a 20% Right channel being lower inbalance all the time. Almost wanted to send it back. Then i remembered the packaging came with a plastic fake headshell to which the cartridge was attached. All the pictures online I could find of the thing already mounted on a proper headshell showed it in in the same exact position it came mounted on the plastic headshell. I just placed the plastic headshell over the current headshell with the VM540, and put the screws dead center over where it was mounted. Lucky the plastic headshell has a hole and a peg were the screws go so there is no guess work, after I figured that out, I just aligned it using the protractor and the imbalance was almost corrected, but still there. Just to trouble shoot I increased the tracking force from 2.0g to 2.5 and then to 3.0. I wanted to be fancy and have a low tracking cartridge, but it appears this also helped to fix the imbalance. Probably my entry level table showing some of its limits. Seemed my turntable needed a higher tracking force to get that left channel going sufficiently. Hope this helps and saves someone some time. I am never again mounting a cartridge myself again. After i bought the headshell I think I saved like $20 overall. What was i thinking? Always get the mounted option or pay someone to do it. 2 days of frustration and i probably scratched a record or two in the process. Thank me later.
December 6, 2021
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 4 out of 5
Good with a few caveats
Since the M97Xe is no longer an option, I'd say the VM540ML represents the current price to performance king amongst MM cartridges. One can find a lot said about this cartridge. So I'll add the two things that stand out to know ahead of time. 1) The mounting screws provided do not work well. When one places the screw heads facing down and the nuts on the top of the headshell, there isn't any room to even get the supplied flat head screw driver squarely on the screwheads. The red body actually blocks the screwheads partially. Its very strange. 2) This thing REQUIRES low capacitance. The recommended range is 100 - 200 pF. I started out around 320 pF and there was way too much high frequency emphasis. I took a frequency response measurement and I had +10dB above 6Khz. You need a phono preamp with no more than 100pF of capacitance and low pF RCA cables and tonearm wire.

I still prefer the M97Xe over this, but I do consider it a worthy replacement.
October 27, 2021
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Best Cartridge Ever
Not too bad to install, pretty easy to calibrate. Great out of the box, but 3 weeks in its really starting warm up with great depth. Works well with my Denton deck and Brio amp. I just sold my ShureV15 Type II improved and my M97XE. I love this carridge.
September 25, 2021
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Love This Upgrade from MY 95E Cart
I've only had my cart for a few weeks, loving the depth of sound and stereo separation. Can hear the difference right away. Many of my Jazz albums reveal other details I did not hear with my previous cart.
January 3, 2020
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Very good and detailed music
Just simply good cartridge. Detailed and clean sound with several styles of music, strat from Queen and Metallica rock and goes down to simple jazz and blues. The classical instrumental has sound like a real concert sound hear.
January 1, 2020
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Great Sounding Cart, Replaced my 95E
I replaced my 95E cart on my AT-LP120XUSB with the VM540ML cart. As advertised, provided outstanding channel separation and extended frequency response. Not only did the highs and mids sounded cleaner, the bass response was deeper!
December 24, 2019
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Excellent sound retrieval
Also mentioned above....WHAT amazes me is this cartridge plays well cared for but WELL PLAYED LP's almost like they are "new". My mono Doors LP played a bit noisy ,,,this stylus traveled deep into uncharted territory and produced clean strong sound !!!! I have the Shures,Stanton's etc. get this
September 4, 2019
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Best cartridge I own
I've had the AT VM540ML about 4 months. I have a lot of cartridges, mostly vintage models from Stanton, Shure, Grado etc. as well as a high output moving coil. This is far above any vintage cartridge I've owned. (BTW I didn't find it hard to install since I'm used to the old school way of doing things). About the sound: The VM540ML simply tracks everything perfectly. The sound is a little tame, perhaps recessed, compared to say a Stanton 881s or Shure M91ED, meaning it lacks that 'punch' factor at first listen. But with my vintage carts I always start hearing sibilance and congestion, even with the best styli, and end up returning to the Audio Technica which now stays on my turntable 90% of the time. The VM540ML just puts out pure music and its character fades into the background. After about 50 hours break-in it sounds better than ever. I am happy to support Audio-Technica as a company that FULLY supports analog and is completely transparent in their specifications and prices.
August 25, 2019
Originally posted at
Audio Technica
Rated 5 out of 5
Probably the best value in a cartridge at this price point
I'll start with the cons, because there is only one. This cartridge needs to be redesigned to include integral threads, like the vm95 series. It appears that the cartridge body is designed to accept the supplied nuts, but they don't fit so they have to be installed on the top of the head shell. This makes for a lot of cursing during the installation, until you figure this out. Installation is not fun, especially if you don't have a removable headshell like on my Rega Planar 3. Also, I think I ruined one of my 45's as it seems that the Microline Stylus and 45's don't play nice together.

The pros; it sounds fantastic! The first songs I played were off Ghost In The Machine (The Police), the half-speed mastered release, and I was hearing an echo off of Stewart Copeland's snare hits that I never knew was there (One World Is Enough). Lots of detail, which I LOVE! It also tracks like a dream.

So, in this price range, I believe this is the cartridge to beat - Just be prepared for what can be a challenging installation. Just keep thinking to yourself, as your searching for the tiny nut and washer you just dropped on the floor, "It's all gonna be worth it the first time I drop the needle on some vinyl."
March 16, 2019
Originally posted at
Audio Technica


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Prop 65 Warning

WARNING: California Residents - Proposition 65. This product can expose you to chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to