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Audio-Technica AT440MLB Phonograph Cartridge Review

Audio-Technica AT440MLB Phonograph Cartridge Review


Model: AT440MLB



    • Micro-Linear, stylus mounted, VM cartridge.
    • VM type dual-magnet system and high performance par toroidal power generation system.
    • Adopted PCOCC for the coil.



AT440MLB Reviews

“Vintage Dual Turntable Owner? This Is Your Jaw-Dropping Audio Upgrade Youve Been on the lookout For [Total At440mlb Specs Below]”

MY SHORT REVIEW:If you have an old 10xx or 12xx series Dual turntable, youâ$™ll probably LOVE this cart. Iâ$™ve tried many in my Double 1218, 1219, also CS 606 (ULM tonearm with 1/2 cartridge adapter), and this one has me listening to vinyl for hours at a time. Hurrah!Why:â$cents My previous â$œworn outâ$ classic records now seem better than many new reissue LPsâ$”all the way to the INNER TRACKS.â$cents That dreadful Dual/Grado humâ$¦gone dad gone.â$pennies Dynamic punch and â$œinner detailâ$: thrilling and lively, but with superb low-level resolution for all genres tested, for example: Miles Davis Kind of Blue (50th anniversary Mark Wilder analog laquers), Jesus and Mary Chain Psycho Candy 1980s UK LP pressing, The Cure Love Cats 45 RPM very bass-heavy club solitary, Manitas de Plata flamenco guitar 1965 Connoisseur SocietyLP, Deutsche Grammophon Mozart Piano Concertos 17 and 21 w/Geza Anda, Linda Ronstadt/Nelson Riddle Orchestra Whats New, etc.â$pennies simple to install (view my recommendation below of this free â$œStupid Protractor)â$centsThe cheapest Micro-Linear (aka FineLine, Shibata, Van Den Hul) stylus-cartridge combo I can findMY LONG REVIEW (FOR TURNTABLE FREAKS ONLY, OR INSOMNIACS):Iâ$™ve tried many cartridges on my old Double turntables and never found a really musically satisfying comboâ$”till this Audio-Technica gem.My box of abandoned cartridges comprises Grado (ZF3E+, Prestige Green, Black, Silver1), Ortofon (OM10 and 20), and an AT95E.This AT440MLb has become easily the most affordable MicroLine (aka Fine Line) stylus cartridge accessible so far as I know (at $175 present street price). Itâ$™s center layout began in the 1970â$™s and so itâ$™s superb sound quality I think reflects many iterative improvements over time.But the main reason it seems so good, I believe, is the MicroLine stylus.WHATâ$™â$™S A MICRO-LINEAR STYLUS? 1 thatâ$™s shaped like a pointed butter knife as opposed to an elliptical or spherical cone. Its flat sides target up and down the path of the record groove while its thin-edged sides contact a long line that runs from the top to bottom of the groove walls (instead of a very small point as with elliptical or conical styli). The Shibataâ$”granddaddy of the design philosophyâ$”was invented by JVC to take care of quadrophonic LPâ$™s 30,000-50,000 kHz ultra-high frequency modulation signal, so high resolution resolution is superb with this ML A-T model.My experience with this particular cart (anecdotal of course, your mileage might vary):â$pennies INNER GROOVE DISTORTION (IGD) ELIMINATED! I believed that a number of my old jazz LPs were worn outside, particularly about the inner tracks. But the ML stylus of this cartridge plays them crisply without a sign of fuzziness. . .all the way to the very last moments of each record. Woot!â$pennies MY VINTAGE VINYL SOUNDS SO MUCH BETTER IN GENERAL. Iâ$™ve been digging into my large â$œunplayable old crap LP heap (albums I thought Iâ$™d trashed from 100s of drama). The AT440MLb extracts ALL of the virgin groove data (surface region never touched from the old heavy turntable arms and elliptical/round needles of yore). Â$pennies CLARITY AND INNER DETAIL? WAY MORE. For instance, I can now easily pick out acoustic bass, horn, and drum lines when Miles and his team are colliding at a polyphonic frenzy on 1960â$™s Van Gelder reissue pressings.â$pennies WHAT ABOUT SURFACE NOISE? Frequently LOWER compared to my hands styliâ$”that the AT440MLb stylus contact region frequently increases the signal-to-noise ratio (more audio sign ÷ same groove wear sound) and thus sounds less noisy. This does vary depending from LP to LPâ$”however, its never WORSE than another cartridges mentioned above.â$pennies HUGE DYNAMIC RANGE â$œPUNCHâ$â$”This cart has less total signal level compared to Grado â$œmoving ironâ$ carts above (4mv vs. 5 mv) but also the perceived bite or attack of horns and snare drums is so much more present and â$œrealâ$ for me using this cartridge, far more so than many XRCD and SACD files I play a top-end studio DAC converter.â$cents FREQUENCY RESPONSE IS QUITE NEUTRAL AFTER BREAK-IN (~30 LP plays), with very gentle increase from 5k to 20k (+1 into +1.4 dB each Audacity needle-drop using Analogue Productions 20-20k LP sine-wave sweep track). This cart seems great with both of my humble NAD PP2 phono preamp (~$100 used) and Yamaha RX-396 entry-level 1990â$™S recipient (built-in phono pre-amp)â$pennies ZERO CARTRIDGE HUMâ$”a problem with all of the Grado cartridges above over the Dual 1219. With the AT440MLb? Silent!â$cents LOWER RECORD AND STYLUS WEAR – For this stylus, the A-T pamphlet recommends review after 1,000 hours (approximately 3 times more compared to their elliptical needles). The reason A-T says, is that the much larger stylus-to-groove touch region spreads out the wear on both needle and document groove, and the thinner profile tracks rather than lbs the vinyls highest-frequency squiggles.Random Tips:â$pennies Within my Dual 1219, this cartridge sounds better with Anti-Skating Force place to around 1.0 g and tracking force set to 1.65 grams.â$pennies AUDITION PROSPECTIVE CARTRIDGES WITH FAMILIAR HEADPHONES – Itâ$™s astonishing how much turntable/cartridge coloration and definition (or lack thereof) you can listen with headphones. Ironically, on my Grado SR80 headphones, the Grado cartridges above are horribly muddy and fuzzy compared to this A-T cart. The Ortofons and AT95E are somewhere in between. This is much more evident on the pair of Sennheiser 650â$™therefore I made from my companyâ$™s recording engineer.â$pennies Any micro-linear stylus will dredge up old crud out of filthy record grooves. Youâ$™ll see it caking your needle, blech! So for the first few plays, Iâ$™Id wash it regularly with the included brush, and with stylus cleaning fluid each 10-20 LP plays. I also clean all my documents when potential with the excellent cheap-skate Disc Doctor hand-scrubber system and it makes a HUGE improvement in used plastic audio quality.â$cents To perfectly align this cartridge or some other, then download and print out the free â$œStupid Protractorâ$ PDF (search and ye shall find). It actually is â$œstupid easyâ$ to utilize this one (and Iâ$™ve fought with a lot of â$˜em). Â$cents A â$œquick and dirtyâ$ method to tune cartridge brightness or â$œdullnessâ$: Should any cartridge sounds too bright, raise up your LP by putting a cork pad or spare LP beneath the 1 youâ$™re playing (most recordings have been pressed with an outer rim lip to keep them from damaging each other). This effectively reduces the VTA (vertical tracking angle), which often differs from one master lacquer to another (there was no industry standard cutting stylus angle). If your cartridge seems too dull, attempt to boost your VTA at the tonearm pivotâ$”if you canâ$™t (this was a fancy â$œaudiophileâ$ turntable feature), consider removing your rubberized mat and substituting with a sheet of paper to get a little more VTA height (this worked for me on a Double CS 606). Â$pennies More hacks to song cartridge brightness or â$œdullnessâ$: Cable thickness and length impacts the high-frequency curve. Iâ$™ve found that more cables (6 feet +) dull the HF and shorter cables (1.5 feet) brighten the noise. Why? Phono preamps have distinct capacitance (picoFarad or pF) and resistance (ohm load) styles and cable length and gauge impacts the prior. You may also tweak here with a $9 set of RCA Y juicers plus some 20-cent resistors and capacitors. Search online, lots of tutorials! This AT440MLb cartridge works with phono preamps â$œtunedâ$ to carts from the 100-200 pF array and sounds perfect with all the entry-level phono preamps mentioned above.Caveat: All these are my subjective impressions only, YMMV.Happy listeningâ$”whatever gear youâ$™re enjoying! – AndrewMANUFACTURER INFO (THIS WAS NOT IN THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION AT THE TIME OF THIS REVIEW) * – Output voltage @ 1kHz,5cm/sec. : 4mV * – Channel balance @ 1kHz: 1.0dB * – Channel separation @ 1kHz: 28dB * – Frequency response: 20Hz-25kHz * – Dynamic compliance (x10-6 cm/dyne): 10 * – Static compliance (x10-6 cm/dyne): 40 * – Stylus kind: 0.12 mil nude square micro-linear * – Cantilever: Aluminum tube * – Tracking force range: 1.0 – 1.8 grams * – Tracking force advocated: 1.4 g (14 mN) * – Vertical tracking angle: 20° * – Coil impedance @ 1kHz: 3.2k ohm * – Coil inductance @ 1kHz: 490 mH * – Load Capacitance: 100 – 200 pF * – Recommended load resistance: 47k ohms * – Color: Black/Violet * – Weight: 6.5 g * – Dimensions (mm): H17.3 Ö W16 Ö D28.2 * – Stylus replacement: Audio-Technica ATN440MLb * – Accessories included: Non-magnetic screw driver Ö 1, cartridge mounting screws 5mm Ö 2,10mm Ö two, Washer Ö 4, nut Ö 2, hexagonal nut Ö two, brush Ö 1, PCOCC lead place Ö 1

Audio-Technica AT440MLB Phonograph Cartridge Review | AT440MLB Review