10 Best Audio-Technica Cartridges 2022 | Replacements & Upgrades for your Turntable

by Michael Dwain

If you love listening to old records and want the best sound possible then you will need to have the best needle and cartridge for your player. Our article – best Audio-Technica cartridges will cover some of the best sounding and stable cartridges to use. Check it out!

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 electro-mechanical 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. 

Recommended Read: Best Audio-Technica Turntable

What to look for in an Audio-Technica cartridge?

There are a couple of factors to consider when buying a new cartridge for your Audio-Technica turntable. While buying cartridges from the same brand choosing the right one becomes a whole lot easier because the brand manufactures cartridges based on the record player model. However, if this is your first time, then you should know what are the general points to consider when picking up a replacement cartridge.

  • Stylus shape – The way styli are shaped impacts how records play. An example of a conical stylus is a vinyl record needle; an example of an elliptical one would be the average ballpoint pen. A conical stylus can follow all kinds of lines inside the groove and extract a large variety of frequencies from the grooves, whereas an elliptical stylus is able to trace just a few high frequency “mountains” in the surface of the record, leaving out most information in between them.
  • Cantilever – Certain characteristics of the cantilever should be considered when deciding if it’s worth replacing a current model. The most common material used in cantilevers is aluminum alloy, although carbon and copper have been utilized before as well. The type of material used in the cantilever, the size and even the construction will greatly affect how your records sound.
  • Mount type – Standard mount cartridges are secured with two screws, one on each side of the cartridge, whereas P-mounts have four slender pins. These pins plug directly into tonearms specifically made for use with P-mount cartridges. You have to get the mount type right otherwise the cartridge will not sit on your record player.

A Summary of the best Audio-Technica LP Cartridges in 2022

Best Audio-Technica CartridgeBest for
Audio-Technica VM540MLOverall High Accuracy Cartridge
Audio-Technica AT-VM95ENFor Sound Quality
Audio-Technica AT-VM95SH/HIdeal for Channel Separation
Audio-Technica AT-VM95EFor Powerful Output
Audio-Technica AT85EPBest P-mount Cartridge
Audio-Technica VM740MLFor Accurate Tracking
Audio-Technica AT-VM95CFor Budget Buyers
Audio-Technica ATN-XP3For DJ’s
Audio-Technica VM520EBBest Dual Magnet Phono Cartridge
Audio-Technica AT-OC9XEBFor P-Mount Turntables

Also Read: How To Use An 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.

#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

For Sound Quality

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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

#3 — Audio-Technica AT-VM95SH/H

For Channel Separation

The 95SH is essentially the 95E but with twin magnets and a nude Shibata profile stylus that Audio-Technica uses on its more expensive models. This line contact style tracks well without getting in the way of a lively sound.

Vocals are vibrant, and piano sounds full and robust, giving this cartridge a well detailed base while the nude line contact stylus delivers low noise levels.

The good news is that the product’s replacement stylus continues to be quite low profile when compared with other competitive options on the market right now. This means that consumers can enjoy hours of high-quality entertainment without any concerns.

  • VM95 Series dual Magnet cartridge with 2.7 x 0.26 mil Shibata stylus
  • Aluminum cantilever
  • low-resonance polymer Housing
  • Universal 1/2″-mount
  • Channel Separation: 23 (dB at 1 kHz)

#4 — 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.

#5 — 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

#6 — Audio-Technica VM740ML

For Accurate Tracking

VM740ML, like other models in Audio Technica’s 700 series, is a top-of-the-line phonograph cartridge. Their full metal housing design helps reduce unwanted vibration and enhance the overall sound quality. The nude natural diamond tip is accurate, as are all of Audio Technica’s other quality pickups on their MicroLinear range of cartridges.

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The gold boron cantilever is replaced with a tapered aluminum one for greater stability, but uses the same metal shielding found on their more expensive AT-185SA model to eliminate unwanted electrical interference from records and the stylus itself.

Instead of using only one large magnet that doubles as both magnetic poles to capture movement, VM740ML employs two smaller magnets placed tightly together close to each channel, resulting in minimal crosstalk between left/right channels while providing excellent tracking.

  • Channel Separation: 28dB (1kHz)
  • Stylus: Nude MicroLine (2.2×0.12mil)
  • Load Impedance: 47k ohms
  • Output Voltage: 4.0mV (1kHz, 5cm/sec.)
  • Frequency Response: 20 to 27,000Hz

#7 — 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.

#8 — 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

#9 — 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

#10 — Audio-Technica AT-OC9XEB

For P-Mount Turntables

Audio-Technica’s AT-OC9XEB Cartridge has been a dream purchase for me and I am sure you will love it as well.

It’s not quite affordable, but it brings incredible features to the table such as durable construction that saves time by not having to constantly change needles or styli in order to adjust the sound.

For example, if you might be looking for something portable to take with you during live shows, then this is definitely the cartridge you are interested in. What we particularly liked was the fact that it has an aluminum body and uses a dynamic carbon element for resonance and tracking force stability, which makes the OC9XEB not just reliable but strong as well.

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It’s perfect for blues and jazz fans looking for warm audio quality, not just loud pounding beats.

  • Stylus Type: Bonded round shank
  • Type: Dual Moving Coil
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Stylus Shape: Elliptical bonded

How to change the stylus on an Audio-Technica turntable?

The first thing to do is to clear any dust from your cartridge and stylus with the help of a microfiber cloth.

  • Since most of the Audio-Technica cartridges are fixed to the tonearm, you will have to start by placing the tonearm in its resting position and hold it down gently to stabilize the arm.
  • Next, grab the cartridge body and pull down toward the turntable.
  • Once you find that the stylus is loose, pull it forward towards you.
  • When fitting the new stylus and cartridge, make sure the hooked end sits in place and you slide it in gently without damaging the hook.
  • Once you hear a snap or a clicking sound then the cartridge is in place and ensure that there is no gap between the stylus and head-shell of the cartridge.

Turn on the turntable and rack up an LP to check out the new cartridge perform.

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. 

Are Audio-Technica cartridges any good?

Well it depends on various factors such as type of turntable, genre of music and size of the needle. But overall, Audio-Technica cartridges are really good. They are stable, durable and can cut out any rogue frequencies giving you a true studio-grade listening experience.

Can I use any cartridge with my Audio-Technica turntable?

Though some models of turntables do permit using third-party cartridges, my recommendation to you will be to stick to brand name and only buy Audio-Technica cartridges for your Audio-Technica turntable. Trust me, you will thank me later.

How do I know if my turntable is MM or MC?

MM turntables are those that permit changing the stylus and cartridge, but a MC turntable will have the stylus and cartridge fixed in place and they can’t be removed or replaced.

Are Audio-Technica cartridges MM or MC?

Audio-Technica uses only moving magne cartr

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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Author Profile

Greetings! My name is Michael and this is my website.

I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.

Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.

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