Best Audio-Technica Cartridge 2021

by Editor

A cartridge also called a phono cartridge is one of the most important features of a turntable. I’ve been listening to vinyl records over the years and have to say if you don’t have a good cartridge you aren’t doing justice to the record. 

So let’s start with a basic idea of how it works, a cartridge is an electromechanical transducer that converts the record groove into an electrical signal that comes out like music in your speakers. 

There are two types of cartridges, moving magnets and moving coil cartridges. I’ve put together a combination of both to help you choose the right now for you. 

  • Audio-Technica VM540ML
  • Audio-Technica AT-VM95EN
  • Audio-Technica AT-VM95E
  • Audio-Technica AT85EP
  • Audio-Technica AT-VM95C
  • Audio-Technica ATN-XP3
  • Audio-Technica VM520EB

Recommended Read: Best Audio-Technica Turntable

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

Audio-Technica cartridges are truly the best and each cartridge is specifically designed for certain levels of accuracy and audio quality. While there are many turntable cartridges out there, the following Audio-Technica cartridges are the best of the best.

Best Audio-Technica CartridgeFeaturesBest for
Audio-Technica VM540MLVM dual magnet cartridge with MicroLine stylus;
Aluminum cantilever;
Para-toroidal coils improve generating efficiency.
Best High Accuracy Cartridge
Audio-Technica AT-VM95ENVM95 Series dual magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical nude stylus;
Aluminum cantilever;
Durable low-resonance polymer housing.
Best Tracking Quality
Audio-Technica AT-VM95EVM95 Series dual magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus;
Aluminum cantilever;
Specially wound coils increase output voltage;
Durable low-resonance polymer housing
Best Powerful Output
Audio-Technica AT85EP0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus;
Aluminum Pipe Cantilever;
Elliptical bonded diamond stylus
Best P-mount Cartridge
Audio-Technica AT-VM95CVM95 Series dual magnet cartridge with 0.6 mils conical stylus;
Aluminum cantilever;
Specially wound coils increase output voltage;
Durable low-resonance polymer housing;
Compatible with any AT-VMN95 replacement stylus
Best Affordable Cartridge
Audio-Technica ATN-XP3Conical Bonded Stylus;
Carbon fiber-reinforced ABS cantilever;
Durable design for DJ application
Best DJ Cartridge
Audio-Technica VM520EBVM dual magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus;
Aluminum cantilever;
Para-toroidal coils improve generating efficiency
Best Dual Magnet Phono Cartridge

#1 — Audio-Technica VM540ML

Best High Accuracy Cartridge

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

The first cartridge on my list is the Audio-Technica VM540L that comes from the new VM 500 series. This series of high-end phono cartridges is a combination of the old premium style with today’s advanced technology. It is equipped with dual magnets that are precisely positioned to merge with the left and right channels of the stereo record groove that separates the outstanding channel and extends the frequency response. 

This allows incredible accuracy when tracing the record groove resulting in high-quality audio reproduction that other elliptical and conical styli cartridges can’t come close to. The cartridge is housed in a low-resonance polymer material that reduces the chances of skipping. 

It features a nude diamond MicroLine Stylus tip mounted to a tapered aluminum cantilever. This stylus is quite durable compared to other cartridges, the multilevel shape on the tip reduces the wear on your records. 

  • VM dual magnet cartridge with MicroLine stylus.
  • Aluminum cantilever.
  • Para-toroidal coils improve generating efficiency.
  • Center shield plate between the left and right channels reduced cross-talk.
  • Durable low-resonance polymer cartridge housing.

#2 — Audio-Technica AT-VM95EN

Best Tracking Quality

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

The Audio-Technica AT-VM95EN is one of the best cartridges from the VM95 series, it has an elliptical nude stylus that houses itself on a half-inch mount turntables. This cartridge provides amazing channel separation and minimal distortion for eargasmic tonal quality. The house shell is made to be durable with a low resonating material reducing the chances of any interference. 

The tips of the VM95EN sounds much like the elliptical, the nude mounting offers lower tip mass and better vibration transfers between the stylus and the cantilever that boosts the tracking ability of high frequencies. 

There is very little tracking distortion the provides better tracking performance that leads to better peaks handling and puts out a sense of scale making your record sound bright and lively compared to the soft and warm feel from the lower end cartridges and stylus. 

The dual magnet cartridge can be used for quite some time with regular changing of the stylus. 

  • VM95 Series dual magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical nude stylus.
  • Aluminum cantilever.
  • Durable low-resonance polymer housing.
  • Two Screw Threaded inserts – no nuts required.
  • Compatible with any AT-VMN95 replacement stylus.

Recommended Read: How To Use An Audio-Technica Turntable 2021

#3 — Audio-Technica AT-VM95E

Best Powerful Output

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

Another great sounding cartridge from Audio-Technica is the AT-VM95E which is very similar to the AT-VM95EN. It supports a 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus that fits in a half-inch mount turntable. 

It has a special cartridge coil that is designed to provide powerful output of 4.0 mV. 

The channel separation is done exceptionally well with minimal distortions for excellent tonal quality. It has a sturdy, low-resonance housing that enables the cartridge to be fitted with just two screws. 

Sibilance is largely reduced and surface noise has been dropped to listen to a good amount of top-end detail, full bass, and better imaging. This is a budget cartridge that simply gets the job done and will suit almost all the records you can play with it.

  • VM95 Series dual magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus
  • Aluminum cantilever
  • Specially wound coils increase output voltage
  • Durable low-resonance polymer housing
  • Two Screw Threaded inserts – no nuts required.
  • Compatible with any AT-VMN95 replacement stylus.

#4 — Audio-Technica AT85EP

Best P-mount Cartridge 

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

The AT85EP from Audio-Technica is without doubt one of the best sounding P-mount cartridges in the market with exceptional quality. It integrates a dual moving magnets system that offers excellent channel separation with good stereo channel balance for a good listening experience. 

The 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical cartridge fits P-mount turntables that are found in the more expensive Audio-Technica cartridges.

The AT85EP is the best P-mount cartridge that offers wider channel separation than any other P-mount cartridge in the market. 

The cartridge is made to be sturdy, the cantilever is made from an aluminum pipe making the stylus and cartridge amazingly durable. 

  • 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus
  • Aluminum Pipe Cantilever
  • Elliptical bonded diamond stylus

#5 — Audio-Technica AT-VM95C

Best Affordable Cartridge

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

This is an entry-level cartridge from Audio-Technica that is affordable and gets the job done. The AT-VM95C has a special coil design much like the AT-VM95E but goes with a 0.6 mil conical stylus that fits onto a half-inch mount turntables. 

The sound from the cartridge is loud and bold but lacks high frequency which is much more audible with elliptical shapes. 

The cartridge sounds great on old pressed records but picks up noise when tracking the groove. The stylus is a good option to try your records that are in bad condition or damaged.

It’s one of the cheapest options available out there, if you’re a novice to record players, this cartridge is perfect to start off with to understand how the records sound to upgrade to the other VM95 series. 

  • VM95 Series dual magnet cartridge with 0.6 mils conical stylus
  • Aluminum cantilever
  • Specially wound coils increase output voltage
  • Durable low-resonance polymer housing
  • Compatible with any AT-VMN95 replacement stylus
  • Two Screw Threaded inserts – no nuts required.

#6 — Audio-Technica ATN-XP3

Best DJ Cartridge

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

The AT-XP3 cartridge is designed for DJs. It features a sturdy polyphenylene sulfide glass fiber body ready to take what you can throw at it.

It has a tracking force of two to four grams keeping the needle on track while pitch bending and tempo adjustments. It offers a robust powerful sound output level of 5.5 mV. 

It has a 0.6 mil conical bonded stylus that tracks the center of the record groove for excellent performance and high fidelity. 

The cartridge is designed to provide Dj’s maximum visibility of the stylus tip. The AT-XP3 cartridge offers a wide choice of options and is compatible with any XP or VM95 Series replacement stylus.

  • Conical Bonded Stylus
  • Carbon fiber-reinforced ABS cantilever
  • Durable design for DJ application

#7 — Audio-Technica VM520EB

Best Dual Magnet Phono Cartridge

Best Audio-Technica Cartridge

This cartridge comes from the AT 500 series, a new VM cartridge line from Audio Technica. It has a vintage design and comes in the high-end phono cartridge category. The cartridge provides the functionality and sound of the classic AT series mixed with modern-day technology. 

It has dual magnets that are placed accordingly to match the right channel and left in the stereo record groove for excellent channel separation and enhanced frequency response. 

It has a 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical bonded stylus that tracks the groove of the record with high accuracy avoiding any noise and producing mind-blowing audio reproduction.

The Cartridge comes with the mounting gear making it easy to assemble and set up even if your a novice to record players. 

It has high-quality Para-toroidal coils to generate improved efficiency and linearity that reduces the magnetic flux leakage when used continuously.

It has a permalloy center shield plate that improves the separation effectiveness on both channels that suppresses the crosstalk to below 40dB. 

  • VM dual magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus
  • Aluminum cantilever
  • Para-toroidal coils improve generating efficiency
  • The Center shield plate between the left and right channels reduces cross-talk
  • Durable low-resonance polymer housing

FAQs

What’s the best cartridge for old records under a budget?

The VM series from Audio-Technica is the best choice for you, they provide a range of options of moving magnet cartridges that work best with old records or slightly damaged over time. Check out the AT-VM95C you can get for less than 40 dollars and offer bold and loud sound but lacks high frequency. 

What’s the best cartridge Dj cartridge?

The ATN-XP series was designed to give Dj’s the freedom of high-quality sound that tops of at 5.5mV, offering robust sound for modern-day records for clubs. They also work amazingly well with time-coded vinyl making it the perfect choice among modern-day digital Dj’s. So if you’re looking for regular replacement needles for scratching those hip hop records, these cartridges don’t disappoint. 

What’s the best cartridge for classic vinyl records?

The AT-VM95EN is, without doubt, one of my favorite cartridges that I have set up for my home stereo unit. It really brings out the high end of classical songs and reduces tracking noise for exceptional clarity. 

Takeaway

Audio-Technica cartridges are truly the best and each cartridge is specifically designed for certain levels of accuracy and audio quality. While there are many turntable cartridges out there, each one is unique and designed for a particular model of turntable.

It solely depends upon the type of experience you wish to have and the amount you want to spend.

Hope this helps!

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