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I have to keep reminding myself that the basic unit in this new range from Audio Technica, the VM95C costs just £29 – peanuts. It gave an even and balanced but ‘generalised’ sound. The VM95E/H was more sonically engaging and the best starting point if you are a cash strapped audiophile. For a few dollars more, however, you can and should get the VM95EN as this is best budget value. My choice would be the VM95SH – yet the VM95ML had greater treble confidence, if a brighter balance that did or did not suit according to recorded balance. Confusing!

   Audio Technica’s new VM95 range offers extraordinary value at a time when rivals are pricing up. They might not have the low end weight of a Goldring 1012 GX (£250) or a Denon DL-103 (£180 MC), to put them in context, but they have better insight, speed and inner groove performance. Plus you get a nice, simple budget design easy to fit and upgrade. Fantastic value.






Budget MM cartridge range that offers superb sound. Top tips.


OUTSTANDING - amongst the best. 

VALUE - keenly priced.




- modern open sound

- easy to fit

- upgradable



- awkward to fit stylus

- bland lower midrange

- pins not colour coded



Audio-Technica Ltd (UK)

+44 (0) 113 277 1441



The budget VM95C conical stylus (blue) measured -2dB down at 10kHz, the VM95E (green) -1dB giving a slightly brighter sound balance.  The VM95EN had no loss at 10kHz, plus less on inner grooves. 

The VM95ML Microlinear gave the flattest frequency response of all with very little loss on inner grooves. The VM95SH Shibata tip gives fractionally less treble but it too had strong inner groove retrieval.

At the recommended 2gm tracking force all five tracked well at 300Hz, clearing the high +15dB of CBS STR-112 test disc (+18dB is the upper limit). 

At  higher accelerations within a 1kHz test track (B&K 2012 test disc), tip mass took effect. The VM95C conical tip stayed in the groove at 25cms/sec but the VM95E with rondel skated across the disc! The VM95EN was happiest of all at 25cms/sec (a torture track) where it displayed only marginal mistracking; the VM95SH and VM95ML managed similarly. 

Channel separation was low at 21dB and output average at around 4.5mV (3.54cms/sec peak groove velocity).  All had a measured Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) of 24 degrees, close to correct 22 degrees, for low distortion of around 2.5% from vertical modulation. Distortion on lateral modulation was also low at around 1%. 

Measurement showed the VM95E has a mid-band tracking limitation and the VM95C low treble output. The VM95EN, ML and SH fared best, delivering fine all-round performance. NK 


Tracking force                       2gms

Weight                                  6.1gms

Vertical tracking angle          24 degrees

Frequency response            20Hz - 16kHz

Channel separation              21dB


Tracking ability (300Hz)

lateral                                   63-90µm

vertical                                 45µm

lateral (1kHz)                       18-22cms/sec.


Distortion (45µm)

lateral                                   1%

vertical                                 2-3%

Output (3.54cms/sec rms)   4mV

















































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