Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Waxxy » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:21 am

Votan wrote:Hi Waxxy,
Without wanting to derail the thread, but observing your counterweight, I would like to ask-observe this:
VPI is supposed to use tear drop counterweights in order to lower as much low as possible the centre of gravity of the total arm-cart system (from the tonearm’s support point to the pivot needle), wanting to increase the stability of the Unipivot tonearm and reduce as far as possible its transverse wobble.
The half-moon counterweight that you use which instead holds the center of gravity up (which is not a good thing), but - on the other hand - it has markedly more mass on its more extensive side edgess (which is a good thing as it increases the transverse moment of inertia, thus stability*) has finally some other sonic advantages compared to the factory one?

*This is a point that VPI obviously has alternatively addressed by having significantly increased the mass of azimuth side weights in the latest batches of their 3DR unipivots, which additionally lowers the centre of gravity even further.


Hi Votan,

As you mention, the half-moon counterweight trades a lower centre of gravity for a wider 'stance', and both ideas have some validity.

I'm using older metal armwands (i tried the 3D, but that is another story) which have significantly more mass than the newer plastic only units. Much of that mass comes from a heavy stainless steel ring at the bottom of the 'bell housing' which lowers the centre of gravity, and so these armwands already have that physical advantage over the the 3D units. I believe this is why the second pivot was developed, as the plastic arms could easily oscillate during playback because of uncontrolled cartridge movement..."the tail wagging the dog". Also, the lack of fluid damping around the tonearm pivot necessitated another solution (the second pivot) to control spurious movement.

Unfortunately, the azimuth side weights on the older arms need to be smaller to clear the VTA tower, and on two of my armwands there are no side weights at all. The half-moon counterweight can help compensate for that lack of side weight. Also the counterweight being machined from brass adds a dissimilar material resonance, which may, or may not be a good thing...but it looks cool! 8-)

When I first installed the half-moon counterweights I heard obvious improvements in the bass and better dynamic impact...but it could have been the gin & tonic!

A side note...VPI has started using concentric counterweights on their latest arm designs and has also gone back to using metal bell housings...at a much higher price!

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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Votan » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:11 pm

Dear Waxxy,
Thanks a lot for the very detailed, informative and documented update. Michael
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby vienna acoustics » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:12 am

:!:
Last edited by vienna acoustics on Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Votan » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:28 pm

Today I received from the Courier the stainless steel, 10mm thick, 30mm height hex screws with the hex nut at their top and with a conical endpoint, sent me by my gracious, enthusiastic and ...."Votan tweak" addicted :D friend, Vienna Acoustics.
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Since I already used a SS screw (but 5 mm thick and with no conical endpoint) coupling the tonearm’s bottom with the plinth of my Prime Signature, I have to say that I did not expect great sonic changes with the newcomers. But as I inserted-fixed the VA screw pointing down to an oehlbach plate, I confess that the sound improvement was a revelation: improved bass, percussion bells and general treble gained more body and more natural tones, with more smooth coherence, soundstage became more Holographic with more discrete layering back and forth, and more, and more, and more....
So it’s time Votan to thank a lot VA for his clever idea with the thicker and conical screws, but as well Waxxy and Ayre Conditioned for their relevant ideas.
But to be fair, all these improvements do not highlight a problem of specific VPI tonearms with VTA on the Fly, but a broader problem of most manufacturers with VTA on the Fly. Specifically for a while before just swap the VPI HR-V to a Prime Signature, I had replaced the JMW 12,5 tonearm to the brand new dual pivoted Reed 2G having also VTA on the Fly. There, the problem was much more intense and the application of both the half rings under the VTA Tower and the corresponding screw-nut under the dual pivot "balcony" (something similar to the dogleg) had similar spectacular results, but in any case IMHO Reed 2G 10,5” was clearly sonically waaay inferior to the VPI JMW 3DR 10,5” Uni tonearm but also to the good-old JMW 12,5" Uni.
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Supporting Reed 2G's VTA in the Fly.jpg
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Last edited by Votan on Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:49 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Brf » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:46 pm

Great job Votan, VA and everyone else who has contributed.

To be honest, threads like this inspire me to be a member of this forum.
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Votan » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:10 am

Brf wrote:Great job Votan, VA and everyone else who has contributed.

To be honest, threads like this inspire me to be a member of this forum.

And that shows the value of this forum, as with the "trial & error" brainstorming from restless spirits on this thread (with the exception of 1-2 flat-earthers) an original idea is constantly evolving through a "relay race" of ideas, and I don't even know how far we can get!!
However, it does show as well that this forum deserves a much better support and participation from its owner, rather than - for a long time - flamboyant ignorance. And I think dear Brf, there is no better and well respected person than you, for to shake VPI on it.
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby MOON » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:45 pm

Where can you buy a screew with the conical head ?
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Votan » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:01 pm

MOON wrote:Where can you buy a screew with the conical head ?

In Greece, for ready-made screws (which you can shorten with an iron saw to the desired height) see https://www.odes.gr/el/vaseis/vaseis-gi ... takia.html.
There you can see various manufacturers and search them at corresponding worldwide stores.
Otherwise, you should buy ready-made screws of proper thickness and height and construct the conical end point on a on a machine shop.
Alternatively see the height-adjustable cone of Oelhbach in https://www.odes.gr/el/vaseis/vaseis-gi ... romio.html.
Prime Sign/10"3DR/Finite Element(FE) platform/SOTA's Total Eclipse/Lyra Titan/VPI Ring/WW Silver Eclipse 8 Ph.C/Groove+ SRX MkII Ph. St./Moon 740 Pre/Moon 820 PSU/ATC 100 Active Speakers/AQ Niagara IC/WW Silver Electra AC,FE Ref Rack/RPG Room Treatm.
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Letsmakeadeal » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:05 pm

Have any of you guys seen the 14" tonearm on this turntable in person? Did you notice if VPI was using a compression spacer on the VTA Shaft in addition to the dogleg support? Hope they give Votan a stipend on this concept if it makes it into production. I really like the idea of using the Stillpoints mini under the dogleg. Aside from the cost, is there any downside to this vs. just using the bolt/nut approach? Would the way the Stillpoints absorbs and dissipates vibration be a + or - ? Is the current consensus to use both the VTA spacers and the dogleg support together? Tks
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

Postby Beck » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:45 pm

I'm very pleased with using the Stillpoints ultra mini. A/B testing keeps me coming back to it. I hear more three dimensionality and a crisper, more precise soundstage. To my ears, there is a more realistic sound than without it. That said, I have not tried any other method described in this thread.
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