Sony PS-HX500 & Audio Technica VM540ML

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by audionut, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. audionut

    audionut Member

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    This is a copy of a post in another Sony PS-HX500 thread the but as the Audio Technica VM540ML is one of a new range of cartridges I thought a new thread might be in order.

    Noel Keywood has just reviewed the Sony PS-HX500 in the September 2017 edition of Hi-Fi World magazine. The review includes thorough electronic testing. He discovered that the Sony actually only outputs PCM down the USB link to a PC and the conversion to DSD is performed by the associated Sony Hi Res software in the PC. Many commercial DSD files are converted from PCM and they still sound smoother than the original, perhaps this is the different filtering used on playback? Noel also finds, after thorough electronic testing, that the electronics in the base of the turntable are genuinely high definition with an overall recording dynamic range of 99dB (very good for a domestic ADC chip) and the on board phono equaliser is accurate. He also found that the fitted cartridge does not do justice to the electronics or arm and should be replaced and he fitted a Goldring 1012 GX for the review.

    On the basis of this latest HFW review, and HFC's earlier review

    http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/news/article/sony-ps-hx500/23881

    (by Ed Selley, I think), I have upgraded my cartridge to the Audio Technica VM540ML. This cartridge does not overload the HD recording circuits in the Sony turntable. It is the most expensive cartridge I have bought so far - and so I may be a bit biased as I have nothing to compare with at the price.

    All I can say is that IMO this cartridge is superb and the DSD recordings sound fabulous through my main system: Auralic Aries Mini server (with outboard usb hard drive), Lightning DS app on ipad, Audiolab M-DAC+, Prima Luna Dialogue HP amp and Monitor Audio Gold 200 (ribbon) speakers. The Lightning app also allows you to move from track to track (on-screen slider) so no need to divide LPs into tracks. I record LPs as one file (about 3.2 Gb in Double DSD). The luxury of reclining on my sofa and listening to LPs from beginning to end as in 'the olden days' but without ever having to get up and change sides or 'drop the needle' on a track - aaagghhh! And I can still hold the LP sleeve in my hands as I listen.

    I would describe the sound of the cartridge as bold and confident but never harsh. First up was John Williams 'Changes' (1971). This covers a range of very sparse and very dense and complex arrangements played by top rank session musicians in a spacious acoustic. John Williams uses his total mastery of the classical guitar in an informal set of old and new music, from Bach to Beatles via Joni Mitchell. I bought this LP new in 1971 and have listened to it regularly - a few crackles and pops here and there - but hey this is vinyl. It is a cliche but I heard stuff I have never heard before and I know this LP by heart. Same with Crosby Stills and Nash (1969), Liege and Lief (1969), the list goes on. The bass feels like it is an octave lower than I ever heard from LP, clean and agile, not overblown. The cartridge does probably have rising treble which may adversely affect some systems but in my system and to my ears it just gives more detail, more snap to leading edges, more precise spatial location, more body to instruments, the rasp of brass instruments, the tinkling of bells. It is never harsh on my system and seems to love resolving complex percussion arrangements. It also sets up a wide and spacious soundstage with clearly located instruments (including massed strings) and with some sense of depth to a good recording. It does show up good and bad recordings but does not emphasise wear or hiss or pops and crackles. To me it just sounds truthful to the recording and surface quality of the LP. And the cartridge is brand new so should improve with time.

    I think the Audio Technica VM540ML is a very good cartridge.

    If you have a Sony PS-HX 500 turntable upgrade the cartridge now!
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    daniel r likes this.
  2. audionut

    audionut Member

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  3. audionut

    audionut Member

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    For anyone who might be interested I have now uploaded three files linked below into dropbox. They are the same track recorded as HD PCM from a Rega RP1 with Rega Bias using a Novafidelity X40 and from a Sony PS-HX500 with AT VM540ML in both PCM and DSD format.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/bcbhs30uh... Rega RP1 Rega Bias Novafidelity X40.wav?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pg6h18sg8i5ocpk/Woodstock 192-24 PCM Sony PS-HX500 AT VM540ML.wav?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/kcy3akzg25cgpca/Woodstock DSD5.6 Sony PS-HX500 AT VM540ML.dsf?dl=0
     
  4. daniel r

    daniel r New Member

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    thank you for this amazing info!, I was thinking between this and the at440mlb, but im gonna choose this one for my ps hx500 turntable...
    question....which alignment protractor you used for the vm540ml?... after installation and sound listeting... when you see the sound waves in the computer using the sony app or audacity, the channels are well balanced?

    btw good sounding woodstock !
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.

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