Audio Technica AT-VM95ML Vs. Ortofon 2M Blue File Identities Revealed!

Here's the reveal of the files used in this cartridge comparison:

"File 1" is the Ortofon 2M Blue. "File 2" is the Audio-Technica. They definitely sound different! Which you prefer will be system and taste dependent. That's all. Both are very good! The 2M Blue is somewhat more open on top (I wouldn't say "bright"). The Audio Technica is more midband "solid" and better tracks difficult vocal sibilants.

That's all I'm going to write about them other than to say for around $200 you get more than your money's worth from both!

latinaudio's picture

I got it since the first notes. And I am happy: the Blue is my planned step up from my actual Red, and I like it´s sound: open, clear, extended at both ends.
Thanks Mickey, well done again !

Jim Tavegia's picture

I thought it was clear that most of us could live with either cartridge, but I would have guessed that 1 was the AT due to the stylus upgrade, but is shows you can never know. Knowing this and since I do listen to many vocals I would do the AT, but that was not part of the test.

This proves take YOUR music and listen and then decide, but not sure many stores are doing that these days. This is why Mike's tests are valuable.

mikeweezer's picture

I'd been looking at AT over upgrading to the blue for my Fluance. This was really helpful - will just stick with the Blue. Had a much more open sound that I love. Thanks!

DaveW3009's picture

OMG am I embarrassed. Many may have noticed that I trashed the sound of both files and by extension the album itself. My system may not be at the same level as most of your readers but it's honestly not that bad-plus I have the 2m Blue in my turntable.

What I found tonight ( I'm not a frequent digital listener) is that the Win 10 driver for my Meridian DAC defaults to a maximum 48 kHz even though the DAC happily converts at up to 192 kHz. Listening properly to the files at 92 kHz was like listening to an entirely different recording. I would think that down-sampling should not make such a profound difference unless there is a flaw in the Meridian coding. Anyway, (1) I feel like a jerk and (2) I'll happily go back to analog where you don't have to worry about drivers.

LedZep2's picture

It would be cool to see this exercise again with 2 different cartridges

my new username's picture

I enjoyed #1 more (the Ortofon). For me it made best of what I perceived to be somewhat harsh and overall lo fi recording. (I have no doubt that with better gear it would sound better.)

I first normalized both files. Please do this quick and easy step going forward, Michael. I listened from Amadeus Pro with a DragonFly 1.5 and SR-60's. The system was set to play the file natively. Nothing topflight here but it can resolve more than one might think.

The Ortofon revealed the venue's clean stop-start echo events, whereas the A-T turned that more into an amorphous "reverb." Transients and other delineations are at the core of what separates better gear from blobs of sound. For me, you can't even begin to talk about tone, timbre or "warmth" if you can't even separate the notes in the first place.

ray2301's picture

i just saw the original article and downloaded the files to hear them but then i saw a picture in the comments of both files in an editor and knew right away the number 2 was VM95ML :)

Audiolad's picture

You're fair Michael, and that's all anyone can ask. My son has the 2M Blue, and my newest turntable Thorens TD-402-dd has the VM95. I upgraded to the ML stylus, but my Rega turntable from years ago has the AT-150mlx cart which this emulates. It is the best MM cart I've owned.

tesivo9310's picture

Good to know that both offer great value for around $200! | handyman dover de