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Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge

U.S. One-Year Limited End-User Warranty

*Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. Actual selling price may vary; please check with an authorized Audio-Technica dealer.

  • Overview
  • Features
  • Specifications
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

  • Overview

    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. Includes mounting hardware.

  • Features

    • 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

  • Specifications

    Frequency Response 20-27,000 Hz
    Channel Separation 28 dB (1 kHz)
    Vertical Tracking Angle23°
    Vertical Tracking Force 1.8-2.2 g (2.0 g standard)
    Stylus Construction Nude square shank
    Recommended Load Impedance 47,000 ohms
    Coil Impedance2,700 ohms (1 kHz)
    DC Resistance800 ohms
    Coil Inductance460 mH (1 kHz)
    Recommended load capacitance100-200 pF
    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
    Static Compliance40 x 10-6 cm/dyne
    Dynamic Compliance10 x 10-6 cm/dyne (100 Hz)
    Mount Half-inch
    Weight6.4 g (0.2 oz)
    Dimensions17.3 mm (0.7") H x 17.0 mm (0.7") W x 28.2 mm (1.1") D
    Replacement Stylus VMN40ML
    Accessories IncludedFour cartridge installation screws (5 mm x 2, 10 mm x 2), two washers, two hexagon nuts, non-magnetic screwdriver, brush, lead wire set

  • Reviews

    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."

    Cleveland, Ohio


    Easy to Setup


    I have owned this cartridge for a few months, now, and am using it on a Pioneer PLX-1000. As I am no turntable setup expert by any means, after reading information in audio and hi-fi forums, I was able to install and calibrate the cartridge rather easily. The only adjustment I found to be a bit tricky to setup was the correct VTA for the turntable I own. After completing calibration, the sound this cartridge puts out is a drastic improvement over the AT95E it replaced. Highly recommended.

    United States


    VM540ML Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge

    4.5 2


  • Q & A

    Is this stylus compatible with the 440MLa cartridge?


    Yes, you may use the VMN40ML with the AT440ML cartridges.


    What is the difference between your Microline and Shibata needles ? On your product lines, shibatas are slightly more expensive. Does that imply that they are "better" ? What are the pros & cons of both types ? Thanks


    You may find helpful information on the differences in stylus tips here:


    I have an AT 540 ml purchased in late September/early October from HiFi Heaven in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This was purchased online. Originally, I had wanted an AT 440MLb and as they were out of stock on this item I purchased the AT 540 along with an AT head shell. I have just got around to installing it and I have noticed that the cantilever is bent to the right. Is this repairable? I have always been a big fan of AT cartridges.


    Please contact our Service Department at (330) 686-2600 ext 5009 or at for assistance with this.


    Hi would this cart or the vm740ml or 750sh be best with my technics sl1600 mk1? It has the original tonearm and headshell. I'm concerned about tonearm mass and cartridge compliance. Thanks.


    It appears your listed turntable will allow for medium mass cartridges, which both the VM540ML and VM750SH are. You may confirm with the turntable manufacturer.


    Is this cartridge and stylus compatable with a sl1200mk2 turntable?


    Your listed turntable allows for standard half inch mounted cartridges, which the VM540ML is.


    Hi, I would like to upgrade my cartridge for my AT-LP120-USB, I am curious about the VM540ML cartridge. I have a few questions, please. To confirm, this cartridge is compatible with the AT-LP120-USB? Could you please tell me how to you install this new cartridge? Is it relatively easy to install for a very cautious and nervous user? I'm scared that I may screw it up! Also, I currently have my tone arm / cartridge setting to 2.0, do I have to change this setting as well? I was looking online for any sort of video to explain the installation and I was not successful in finding anything. Thank you in advance!


    Please contact our Audio Solutions Department at (330) 686-2600 ext 5000 or at for assistance with this.


    I want to mount this in a latest generation Rega 3. Do I need a shim to optomize the tonearm height. If so, which size?/


    The VM540ML Cartridge is 17.3 mm in height. We have not been able to determine what the acceptable cartridge height is for the Rega P3 Turntable. Please contact the turntable manufacturer for this information. Thank you.


    Is this cartridge suitable for playback of CD-4 (QuadraDisc) 4 channel records (Audio Technica was an early supporter of the JVC CD-4 disc system)? Kirk Bayne


    Thank you for your inquiry. I believe it will. Quad records need a cartridge that can reproduce sound of to 20K Hz and this will.


    Do you think the 540ml would be compatible with a Denon DP-51f and DP-47f turntables? Thanks in advance.


    Thank you for your inquiry. Yes it will.


    Has anyone had an issue with the cantilever on the VM540ML? After 2 months (of course out return period from where I purchased) my cartridge began dragging across my records. I don't want to send it away to customer service if this isn't the problem.


    Thank you for your inquiry. Make sure that you do not have the tracking force set too heavy. Otherwise, please contact our Service Department at 330-686-2600 ext. 5009. They would be happy to help you.