Audio-Technica VM750SH or Goldring 1042

As above.


The 1042 is in VM760SLC price territory so I’d compare there. The 750 is decent. My memory of the Goldring is from the 80s so not too reliable! It seemed a good all-rounder but was in a much cheaper field then. I’d be tempted to go for the Nakaoka MP500. What tonearm are you using?

A couple of things to consider

  • Goldring 1042 - Contact Line stylus
    • this would require a very detailed setup to achieve the best performance
    • it would produce very detailed playback
    • some might consider this stylus type as too analytical
  • Audio-Technica VM750SH - Shibata stylus
    • not quite so demanding WRT setup
    • some might prefer this stylus type citing a more musical presentation.

It also depends on your phono stage, tonearm and cables as to the final result.

I have a Denon D103 with a Soundsmith optimized contour contact line stylus on a ruby cantilever (cost around $600) and like it very much, but I needed a much younger pair of eyes to achieve the very best setup.

My next cartridge will have the Shibata profile, just because of the less rigorous  setup required.

But my choice of these two carts would be he Audio-Technica VM750SH because of the cost difference and the stellar reputation AT has and my pevious encounter with a Goldring cartridge left me underwhelmed

Good luck with your choice - Steve

Arm is AudioQuest PT-7. I think that is a PT-5 with better cable. Preamp is Audible Illusions Modulus 3 with MM section.

A Jelco SA250ST if I recall correctly. Medium to high mass so suit medium to low compliance cartridges. 

The 1042 is an excellent cartridge punching well above its price range. Comparable cartridges are the Clearaudio Charisma and the Soundsmith Voice both way more expensive. The Gyger S stylus is no more difficult to set up than either a Shibata or even elliptical stylus. The procedure is identical. Line contact styluses like the Gyger S are also quieter than other Styluses. I am not a huge fan of AT cartridges as IMHO they have the worst QC of any cartridge manufacturer with styluses mounted in comical directions. 

Dear @hedwigstheme  : I agree with @williewonka about AT and disagree with @mijostyn  on qc of Audio Tecnica where I own and owned over 15 different models and never/ever I had or have any kind of qc manufacturer problem.

Now, inside your price range other very good alternative is  Nagaoka:


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


Just to claify my statement about the setup of the more advanced contact line cartridges...

  • many people will use a paper based protractor to setup their cartridge, but this is not accurate enough for very fine stylus profiles like those on contact line cartridges
  • A mirror protractor has much finer lines and makes the setup process a little more accurate and time consuming. It requires good eyesight, something which is failing in my case, so I had a younger friend with 20/20 vision assist me and we took photo’s to ensure everything was just right
  • there was a noticeable improvement over the setup I performed initially using a paper protractor, i.e. once my young friend tweaked the allignment using a mirror protractor

I could be wrong, but I "think" the Shibata profile could be a little more "forgiving"?

  • any comments on this thought would be appreciated

Regards - Steve


@rauliruegas , I wish I could say otherwise Raul but I have examined a few recent AT cartridges and their tolerances are just not as tight as they should be. I had one VM 95ML under the scope that had a SRA of 86 degrees which is the worst I have ever seen. Granted it is a less expensive cartridge but it speaks to a corporate mentality. I am also not crazy about some of their designs but that is an opinion a SRA of 86 degree is not an opinion.

@williewonka , I certainly agree that the mirrored protractors make life easier and more accurate. The criteria for setting up cartridges is the same regardless of stylus profile. Lofgren B is Lofgren B. You are either accurate or you are not. Fine line styluses may be more critical in some respects sounding worse if you are not accurate. I have to say that is have seen some amazingly terrible setups with the owner not aware they had a problem.  Here is a picture of my heavily modified WallyScope. It is showing a cartridge with an azimuth off by 25 degrees. It was noticed when the cartridge started mistracking. The cartridge was replaced under warranty. Every cartridge I buy or setup is carefully examined for defects that might affect performance.  

Leaning toward AT VM750SH. Microline styli seem toomuch trouble and Nagaoka priced at a premium.

Can't go too wrong with the 750. It's a good budget cartridge.  I have one in a 12" Jelco 850 as a spare. 

Dear @mijostyn  : "  I had one VM 95ML under the scope that had a SRA of 86 degrees which is the worst I have ever seen. "


First one butterfly does not makes Spring season.

Second it is almost the AT entry level at 160.00

Third I still own it with ML and Elipthical stylus tips and I bougth it new for 90.00

Fourth both in perfect condition and if I remember ( I'm not really sure you comented was a very good quality performer inside its price.


In the other side Oertofon Anna with a hefty over 7k dollars and in some of its owners in the first 50 hours of play the stylus tip just disappeared and it's not the only Ortofon with that so " low quality " even is lower than the one you mentiones in the AT but not was the only Ortofon because same quality was showed with the Cadenza Bronce and in one of my MC5000.

Errors happens in the best " families ", I remember here a few months ago a thread where a new Lyra cartridge owner ( the OP. )  ask if was normal that a new Lyra cartridge came with no starigth cantilever and obviously that JC gave an answer ans changed the cartridge for other sample. You own Lyra and Ortofon cartridges . That you don't like AT does not means in anyway that it has the poor quality control of other manufacturers because it's not that way.



@rauliruegas . you are right, an anecdote does not a study make. Yes, the VM sounded surprisingly good with the tonearm's -ss way up in the air. It is not the only AT cartridge I have examined that was not satisfactory. Perhaps the more expensive cartridges are better, but what does that say about the manufacturer?  As you noted it is the way the manufacturer handles the problem that counts. Most people who buy inexpensive cartridges have no idea how to set up a cartridge and usually leave that up to the dealer. The bad cartridges go unnoticed. Then there are nutbags like me who examine every nick and cranny they can get into. It is said there are only two or three manufacturers of cantilever stylus assemblies. There are way more categories of fit and finish and it is very obvious that the more expensive cartridges are getting better units, much better units. There are a few exceptions and the Goldring 1042 is one of them. I have not examined a Nag Mp-500 but I suspect it is one of them also from pictures I have seen. 

Any manufacturer that lets a cartridge loose in that condition de facto has a QC problem. I'm not saying ATs are bad cartridges. The designers do not make them. You do have to be careful when you buy one and make sure everything lines up correctly.  

@mijostyn  : I always take care about.

But the issue is that you still " attack " to AT but you posted nothing for a more sever " errors " by top Ortofon and Lyra  manufacturers. I owned and own cartridges from these ( both ) companies and I " love " it.


@rauliruegas , Sorry if I hurt your sensibilities but I cannot discount my own experience when offering advice. You make your counterpoint which is fine. I'm sure the two of us could solve the debt ceiling crisis in a heartbeat:-) 

Post removed 

Dear @mijostyn : Way before you be aware of the anomaly of the At 95 ML you touted in Agon its quality performance.


AT/Signet has more than 60 years in the market and is a corporation not only with great MM/MC cartridges like the AT MC1000 that I still own ( diamond cantilver and very low output o.1mv. ) but with other products as tonearms like the 1100 or the 1010 that are first class items, first after market vacuum hold LP AT 666 and AT 665, excellent pneumatic suspension isolator AT 616, first class SUT AT 1000T ( 8kg. ) , very good microphones vocal and for recording , headphones including electrostatic ones, was one of the first corporation using the PCOCC in its cartridges and cables, the first manufacturer to have a battery operated stylus tip AT-637,and the first one elctronic CD cleaner AT6060, all cartridge/tonearm/ LP/ great accesories you can imagine including Mats and clamps, electronics and speakers marketed only in Japan. Even AT had at least one D2D LP made by them and marketed a LP/system tester that includeddddd the test LP.


I own or owned almost all those products but electronic/speaker. Which of those had you or have first hand experience other than the 90.00 AT 95 ML?


In the last 40 years is the only cartridge manufacturer not only to attempt but to put in the market two LOMC cartridges that shows not only its top cartridge engeenring levels but its second to none quality level manufacturer with these cartridges:


AT-ART1000Direct Power Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge (

Dual Moving Coil Stereo Cartridge | AT-MC2022 | Audio-Technica


As me you are another audiophile with the rigth to talk, so I respect that even that I disagree with you and no you did not hurt my sensibility this is not why I'm talking through my posts but only about your ignorance in this regards.