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
Prime Signature/10"3DR/Finite Element(FE) platform/ADS/Lyra Titan/VPI Ring/WW Silver Eclipse 8 Phono Cable/Groove+ SRX MkII Phono Stage/Moon 740 Pre/Moon 820 PSU/ATC 100 Active Speakers/AQ Niagara IC/WW Silver Electra A/C,FE Ref Rack/RPG Room Treatm.
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Re: Best tweak for all VPI turntables by Votan

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

Enjoying the first rainy Autumn Sunday morning here in Greece, I thought that it would be a good idea to test for the last time the effectiveness of Votan’s tweak. I remind you that right now I have it fully implemented with : 1).the aluminum ring to secure the VTA tower, 2). a dual pivot to secure the outrigger platform with the VTA base 3). A coned SS bolt to secure the Tonearm’s bottom with the outrigger platform.

I chose my beloved album: Bill Evans Trio- Explorations- Japan 1974- SMJ-6038, to evaluate the sound with the full implemented Votan’s tweak and without it.

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With the the tweak fully removed I have noticed the following :

1. Piano :
A. The piano notes lost their weight
B. Piano notes lost their richness
C. The Piano notes lost their presence and their purity
D. The notes’ sweetness and refinement was not anymore apparent
E. Both higher and lower octaves were negatively affected
F. It’s hard to describe how negatively were the attack transients affected

2. Drums (I love Paul Motian performances):
A. The crispness was lost
B. The shivering and the micro detail was negatively affected in a high degree
C. I couldn’t anymore describe their sound as palpable
D. Their sound articulation was affected severely
E. The attack and punchy feeling was negatively affected
F. The micro details at the end of the shivers were lost


3. Scott La Faro’s Bass :

A. The bass sound accuracy was affected severely
B. I lost the notes’ expansive richness, body and warmth
C. The impression is that the image was bit blurry and muddy
D. The vibrant energy was blurred


4. Sound in general:

A. The lower and mid bass are the frequencies which were affected mostly
B. The sense of the three dimensionality drastically reduced as well as the beyond the speakers imaging
C. The sound experienced as dull and lifeless without the tweak
D. The previously experienced air and ease of flow was lost, as well as the performance’s aliveness and the sense
that the performers are present in the listening room
E. Words like naturalness, realism, layered spacious sound couldn’t be used anymore
F. Micro dynamics, micro details, articulation and the sense of space dramatically affected.


Introducing first the rings around the VTA tower; and then the Tonearm’s coupling; leaving for the end the dual pivot to couple the outrigger with the VTA platform and listening/evaluating in between my conclusions are :

1. The coupling aluminum rings around the VTA are offering 60% of the total improvement
2. The coupling under the Tonearm’s bottom is offering the 40% of the total improvement
3. The duel pivot is just a refinement which needs sometime to appreciate.

Conclusion

- It’s pretty obvious for me now, that this is a weak point of VTA’s on the fly design and this modification is taking,
the already good VPI performance, in a whole new level. Don’t get me wrong, I am in the market to replace my
Avenger and till now haven’t found a turntable to outperform the Avenger and I have auditioned many expensive
turntables including two from Techdas. I think that this tweak shouldn’t be overlooked by the designer, is cheap,
quick to install and the effect is stellar.

its now time for me to focus on two new projects. One of them has already been discussed and 100% covered so hopefully I will not have big dramas but I will write on my findings.
Amplifiers:Gryphon Pandora,Gryphon Mephisto Stereo,Gryphon Legato Legacy
Speakers;Tidal Contriva G2 SE, VPI Avenger Reference/FatBoy12” Gimbal&Fatboy 12” unip/LPI Stillpoints,Lyra Etna, Airtight Opus 1DigitalAurenderN10, EMM DA2, Torus AVR
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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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Dogleg support VA's tweak.jpg
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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.
Reed 2G on HR-V.jpg
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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 Signature/10"3DR/Finite Element(FE) platform/ADS/Lyra Titan/VPI Ring/WW Silver Eclipse 8 Phono Cable/Groove+ SRX MkII Phono Stage/Moon 740 Pre/Moon 820 PSU/ATC 100 Active Speakers/AQ Niagara IC/WW Silver Electra A/C,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.
Avenger Reference | Fat Boy 12 | Dual Pivot | Ortofon Cadenza Black | ADS | Ayre P-5xe phono preamp, K-5xe preamp, and V-5xe amp | Audio Sensibility Statement SE interconnects and Testament speaker cables | Magneplanar 3.7i | Mapleshade audio rack
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