A $300-$400 turntable tweak

This is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Buy yourself a turntable outer rim-weight.........brand doesn't matter.
These are the metal ring-type weights intended to keep the vinyl flat at the edges just as a centre clamp or weight is intended to keep the record flat at the centre.
Now use it religiously on every record for 3 weeks.
After that time, throw it away and listen to all your records again.
The transparency, space and depth will all have now returned and you will once again remember why you love vinyl.
So, you are saying it is worse with the ring?
I forgot to add...I think my Well Tempered Super sounds better without the center clamp. Alot less fuss too.
Like a vampire sucking the blood from a human victim, the outer rim weight sucks the life and soul from the vinyl.
It seems like such a logical thing to do.........flatten and couple the record to the platter......that it is bewildering to me that it doesn't work?
Perhaps vacuum suction similarly can be deleterious as there are many decks which 'make do' without?
I think it all depends on the table, platter composition and surface material, and the ability of the tonearm/transducer to accurately trace the LP. I have tried 6 or 8 center weights/clamps/doohickeys, as well as a perimeter ring and found that on each occasion they detracted from my musical enjoyment in precisely the way Halcro has described - lifeless, boring, flat, sterile, dead. Perhaps folks who prefer these devices are simultaneously taming platters and plinths that are improperly damped or have resonance issues to begin with. Maybe this iron-handedness simultaneously "helps" other issues further down the chain, such as distortion/overload in the phono stage (a phenomenon more common than I ever believed) – any system freed from having to reproduce distortions is, subjectively, better sounding, even if the proverbial baby has been thrown out with the bath water. You never realize the baby is gone, since you couldn’t hear it through all the muck in the first place. I’m not saying destructive over-damping occurs all the time with a clamp/ring, but going too far is a distinct possibility.
Then again, maybe those of us with high(er) mass tables are already sufficiently damping the things that need control, and to further damp the sound is a step too far. As a disclaimer, I've never personally tried a vacuum platter deck, but every time I've heard one, I've always felt that the sound was overly damped. YMMV and all that. Have a nice weekend.
Halcro is right with the outer ring. I was never mad for it after listening.
Vacuum is a bit different, different depending on the idea behind and some other solutions. Basis for example uses low sucking force and has an extremely clever made platter with an superior suspension. Here is definitely an improvement to hear, still full of live with all tonal details.
Henry - it must have been a difficult 3 weeks for you wondering where all the music went :(
I used a ring clamp for a while and while I didnt think it detracted I didnt find it an improvement either. I have since then used Sota vacuum tables. I will never go back. I think youll find most vacuum table owners feel the same way. Who knows why. Its also possible that some like a little ringing as it adds "liveliness" to the sound and can be mistaken for "air", this is sometimes true of micro phonic tubes which in some cases sound more open.
You're right Chris.
Three weeks of un-fulfillment without being able to pinpoint a reason is frustrating.
The strange phenomenon is that the 'sins of omission' are not instantly audible when one inserts the outer ring into the system?
The return of the air and 'magic' is instantly audible upon removal of the outer ring??!
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that blind testing is so difficult and unpredictable and, in my opinion, unreliable?
I would think the ring clamp is very system dependent.
I do NOT have one, and have heard others mention problems with various ring clamps, and actually finding a different brand that worked well.
Seems VPI has a big imprint on this particular item, but other brands are available, and should be investigated if you want a ring clamp, but find the VPI to be not so great.
Syntax and Rccc are probably right about some vacuum tables. They seem to be a different kettle of fish.......I've heard the Basis Debut Gold and the Continuum Caliburn which seem to suffer no ill effects?
I would really like to comprehend a scientific explanation for the audible effects?
I agree that it does seem to be 'table dependent, along with weights and clamps. There is an inter-play with the platter surface at work that can change how the vibrations in the vinyl behave. We heard this when the Galibier platter changed to the graphite TPI and the Anvil weight became undesirable on that surface. I prefer the ever so slight bit of ringing to the compression of over damping on my Gavia. These kinds of accessories seem to work best when taken into the design of the platter, rather than added later. Mileage will definitely vary. :-)
I use ring clamp on my VPI and heard my friend's Clearaudio Innovation Wood with Clearaudio ring clamp often enough. I would not say that ring clamp is universally good for all system but to say that ring clamp is universally bad is just plain idiotic. Have you tried every tables available with ring clamp already to make such announcement? When you try it in every table and find it is universally bad then may be you can talk.
When you try it in every table and find it is universally bad then may be you can talk.
As this is an impossible task for any component in audio, you are effectively canceling all comments henceforth.
Sounds slightly 'idiotic' to me?
Actually since you are the one making claim that it is worthless period, other people basically either said they did not like it when they tried in their system or it depends on the system. No one else is trying to claim anything like yours so yes, my comment is really for cancelling your rather idiotic comment only.
I suggest that you remove your outer rim weight and actually listen to some music.
Perhaps you might hear something?
If not......please carry on.

I read Henry's OP to mean if you are using one and have been for a while - try it without and see what happens. Nothing more nothing less. If it works for you great - if not keep on listening - enjoy your music.

These rings are available for sale as used items. What does that imply to you? Well to me it means some people don't like them.

Henry's OP enthusiasm when he got his music synergy back was after 3 weeks of hey "whats going on here something does not sound right".

The fact he kept trying for 3 weeks with all his lps tells you something. If he tried 5 lps and said thats it - it doesnt work - thats a different kettle of fish.

No brand of ring was mentioned in the OP.
Ha. Love this one.
IMO much the same can be said for record clamps and weights.
Of course YMMV.
Ct0517, well, you may read the message differently than I am but the way I see it, Halcro made a blanket statement basically saying that ring clamp is bad period, not try and see if it is better or worse with and without ring clamp.

I think I waste enough of my time here. A much more interesting thread about ring clamp, both positive and negative, is on going here on the same page anyhow.
The only idiotic comment made in this thread is Suteetat's personal attack of Halcros's observation, by characterizing it as "idiotic".
People tend to make generalized observations based on just thier own experience. This is a common thing we all do at times.
So i would not worry about calling someone out on it. Nor call them names over it.
Just chalk it up to exuberance, either for or against the issue. and get over it. we are all aware of the little flaws we can see in others , (and how hard it is to see our own!)... no need to make a big issue out of it.
Dear Suteetat: +++++ " to say that ring clamp is universally bad is just plain idiotic... " +++++

I can't argue what Halcro posted because I never had an in deep first hand experience with the ring clamps but from where you taked that Halcro said: " ring clamp is universally bad... ", I can't find it through Halcro's posts.

So maybe you had a misunderstood on the subject or perhaps when you readed Halcro's posts was not the " bets time " for you.

Btw, what do you think on this post:

" Asthetix Rhea with my ASR II Exclusive. Asthetix was terrible... "

Anyway, I think that what Halcro already brings/bringed here open or opened many interesting audio subjects about audio distortions and our each one distortions perception, sensitivity and how those distortions " appeal " to each one of us and of course all these speaks of our today system quality performance level at each one home. Even we could talk why we are willing to accept those distortions and which kind of distortions we are " accustom " the hear.

IMHO Rccc put the finger/nail where it " hurts ":

++++ Its also possible that some like a little ringing as it adds "liveliness" to the sound and can be mistaken for "air", this is sometimes true of micro phonic tubes which in some cases sound more open. " +++++

Halcro I don't have a scientific answers on the subject but IMHO could be interesting to " explore " what RCCC posted because that " point " not only is speaking of our each one preferences but speaks too about our each one Audio System Limitations Factor Level.

IMHO this ASLFL is critical to each one opinion on audio subjects comparisons and in this " way " what you like or what Suteetat or RCCC or me depend on that ASLFL.

I had and have frist hand experiences with vacuum hold down TT systems and I heard ring clamps in other systems and obviously experiences with out those " system clamps ".

IMHO each one has its own trade-offs and certainly we will like the one that match our each one trade-offs that we are willing to accept ( because nothing is perfect. ).

Now, which is the best one? wich is right?, well from an objective point of view I don't have the answer because I don't know any " model/scientific model " that can tell me or predict in precise way which is better " universatility ".
So I have to return to that ASLFL that has a high subjective " weight ".

This Halcro thread gives me a reason to try again in my system the vaccum hold down " system " that I don't use it for several months maybe years and I will look with some of my audio friends where I can have a ring clamp to test it too.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Any system that I have heard with one of these being used I have always preferred listening without, most not all owners I know have actually gotten rid of theirs at some point.

That's what makes it so interesting in this whole journey of ours but still it's just an opinion that we share, some agree and some don't and that's okay.

As long as you are enjoying listening to your music, that's really all that matters right.


I've got a center clamp and I've been thinking of getting a periphery ring just for use on dish-warped records. Playing the concave side of a dish-warped record has got to wreak havoc on azimuth, no?

I have only one record warped badly enough to cause mistracking on the leading few stanzas of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto (DGG).
This would now be the only valid reason for me retrieving the rim- weight from the depths of my cupboards :-)
YMMV,IMHO,Only tested on 2 turntables, Personal Opinion, Warning:may be totally wrong.
Suteetat/Halcro, Popper learned from Tarski about 'the
truth'(aka 'satisfaction approach'). Then he used this
approch to illustrate his 'theory of refutation'. A 'theory' in the sense of 'all swans are white'. Thanks to his stay in Australia he was able to demonstrate at some philosophical meeting in England how easy it is to refute an theory. He repeted the universal quantification:
'All swans are white' and then pulled just one black swan
from his hat (?) which he brought from Australia for the
purpose. The colleaques were astonished but the most of then wanted to check if this swan was not painted black.

Elizabeth: "we are all aware of the little flaws we can see in others, (and how hard it is to see our own!)". EXCELLENT! (standing ovation)
Not to beat a dead horse but, For me this hobby is about voicing a system to your taste. We've all heard systems that measure great but arent satisfying to listen to. I prefer some systems to others depending on the type of music (classical, jazz, etc) or source. I think the OP's statement reflects his system. There are times when my unclamped ES1 sings prettier than my Cosmos IV but in general I prefer the Sota.
Here is one more vote for NOT using the ring. I, too, found that my Clearaudio periphery ring was making the music more digital like than analog. Since I had bought it i kept using it in the beginning wondering what is going on- never occurred to me that the ring might be the culprit. Since 'common sense' will tell you that a flatter record should perform better. after trying many tweaks. adjustments, one day i just omitted the ring and Valla! Glorious Analog sound.

I still have the ring and use it with few warped records- reluctantly.
never occurred to me that the ring might be the culprit.
Same here Nilthepill.
I also left off the outer rim by chance because the inbuilt stylus guard on the Technics EPC-100Mk3 was scraping on it for the first few revolutions at the beginning of a record and voila.............the magic was back!
The difference between 'magic' and 'pedestrian' in analogue is ephemeral.
Without it, there is no reason to persist with the trials and tribulations of the 'record playing ritual'.
With it, all adjustments are a joy.
As with Doak up above, I seriously question the use of clamps and weights (never tried an outer ring and don't plan to). I used a VPI clamp on my TNT for years and one day tried one of those silly looking Ringmats without the clamp. I've abandoned the Ringmat but never went back to the clamp except now and then I'll try one just to confirm that I was right :-)

And playing records now is SO much simpler.
Hmmm.....interesting about centre clamps?
I lived happily without one for 25 years on a Rega Planar 3 but have since tried one on both my turntables (Raven AC-3 and Victor TT-81).
Whilst I cannot detect with any confidence any benefits to the centre clamp on these two decks, I also cannot hear any detriment?
What to do....what to do??
What is difficult to know is the clamp changing the sound because of the 'clamping' or is something else going on.
The way I see it, a peripheral clamp is going to very difficult(impossible??) to centre PERFECTLY, even if machined with a particular tt platter in mind. If not centred perfectly you will end up having an eccentric mass around the outside of the platter which would have to have some effect on speed stability.
So is what we're hearing really due to the clamping effect at all?
Lespier, the peripheral ring I'm familiar with (a friend uses it) came with a mounting jig that centers the ring perfectly and then is removed before playing.

I was just over at someones place for a listen who uses a ring, places the plastic template to assist to align etc.

Also uses a centre clamp and has a mat.

While listening, in converstion I asked if I could hear his set-up with out the ring, mat and record clamp, I first got a quick look. The look was like are you ... but he was willing.

Was not willing to remove the mat in question though because he said he would then have to make adjustments to the arm height for the allowance difference which I understood.

So now that pce of music is done and I was asked what would I like to listen to, I said the same cut.

He said NO NO that he would not do that, I then listened to his reasoning for this.

I really wanted to hear the same record cut again during this process but he just would not do it.

I'm a bit confused, can someone shed some light here or is this going to be another debate?

He waits 24hours before playing because of .... I guess who ever agrees with this knows his reasoning.

Isn't this whole topic just a mith? I play mine over again otherwise how and the heck am I going to really identify the differences in what I'm hearing or am I incorrect and actually hearing the record it's self sonically changing.

We actually got into a bit of a debate because of this. I said if you don't listen to the same cut again and wait to listen say 24 hrs down the road how do you really know what's going on, to really identify the over all sonic diffferences how does one then have a acurate refference point.

I said too many other factors come into play.

I'm curious how do you do your comparisons.

If you play a record and play the same cut over do you notice sonic differences, if so what.
I have played the same record side several times in a row when adjusting and listening for changes, how else could you determine a change?. A lot of times it is hard enough to hear any difference from the set up changes I just made and I am sure I can't hear the record changing sound from repeated play.
Just came across this thread. For once, Halcro and I are in agreement. I have never liked the effect of heavy record weights in the first place. Then I got hold of an original optional outer ring weight made by Kenwood 30 years ago for use with the L07D. (The Kenwood engineers were quite innovative and ahead of the times in their design for the L07D.) This ring can be used either over the lip of the LP, as Halcro et al describes, or under the outer lip of the LP, where it just adds peripheral mass of the platter. There is no question that it sounds best under the LP rather than over the lip of the LP. The Kenwood center record weight was an immediate bust, too, to my ears. I have a SOTA clamp, which is relatively low mass but pushes down on the center of the LP. That is less harmful to sound, for some reason.
It all comes down to the brand/model of the tables... whether a ring is beneficial or not. Lighter tables, platters with matte's are probably not good candidates. Heavy weight tables with big heavy solid platter's that use no matte are another kettle of fish. I have gone back and forth with the ring on my table... Clearaudio Innovation Wood compact with a 15 lb. Hard Duralin type platter material. So far the outer ring is winning !
Oh come on Lew.......we have agreed on other occasions methinks :^)
Rockitman and I are in agreement :)
I most frequently use a Marantz TT-1000 direct-drive turntable with a bonded-on graphite mat and a Graham Phantom II tonearm.

In the past I tried a variety of clamps of varying construction, material and weight on this turntable, and have found that heavier isn't always better. In fact, usually it wasn't.

Today I am using a clamp that has adjustable clamping force. The clamp itself is fairly light and simply drops onto the record label (like a gravity clamp). Internally, however, there is a neodymium magnet which is positioned above the turntable spindle (which is normally steel). The magnet is mounted on a fine-pitch screw mechanism which allows the distance between the magnet and the turntable spindle to be adjusted in very fine increments. If the distance between magnet and spindle increases, the clamping force decreases, and if the distance decreases, the clamping force increases.

Since the screw mechanism that adjusts the magnet has nothing that binds directly to the turntable spindle, the clamping force doesn't need to be reset every time the clamp is removed from the record (unlike a normal threaded clamp).

With this clamp I have been able to experiment with clamping force and sound quality. I find that I prefer the sound when the total clamping force isn't so high. I'd guess that the clamp weighs about 200~250 grams, and I usually have the magnet set so that it adds another 250 grams or so (estimated). The clamp can be set for much higher clamping force that what I typically have it at, but I find that the sound quality starts becoming compressed both in dynamics and timbre when the clamping force is too high. Maybe someone who can't stomach any trace of edginess at all in their sound would like this. Me, I find it the sound less emotionally involving, less intellectually interesting, and far too polite.

Sonically, the difference can be pretty big. Enough to make you come to different conclusions about the same piece of equipment (or LP pressing).

I also find that some LPs benefit from less clamping force than others - it seems to vary according to label and production era.

OTOH, I have not found that leaving the clamp off completely is better - a certain amount of clamping force, but in moderation, is what I find to work best (in my audio system).

If any of you have a clamp which allows fine adjustments to the clamping force, I encourage you to experiment and experience for yourself how the sound changes.

cheers, jonathan carr
Interesting Jonathan,
Have you also ever tried a peripheral rim weight?
Hi Henry:

Yes, I've tried various peripheral rim clamps and vacuum clamps (both add-ons and integral). In this case I found that I usually preferred the sound without peripheral or vacuum clamps. Even on my Micro-Seiki SZ-1S, which has a 28kg machined stainless-steel platter and integral vacuum clamp as well as air bearings for the platter and motor/flywheel, I ended up keeping the air bearings engaged and defeating the vacuum clamp (although I did prefer to insert a mat between LP and platter surface).

However, this is probably due to the fact that I own very few warped LPs. If I had more warped discs, I suspect that I would feel a greater fondness for peripheral or vacuum clamps.

In fairness, none of the peripheral or vacuum clamps that I have used offered such fine-grained control over the clamping force as my adjustable magnetic center clamp. I suppose that I could design such a peripheral clamp, but I have far too much on my design plate already!

cheers, jonathan
Dear Jcarr: From your lates post: could I infer then that the subject is not if the peripheral or vacuum clamp or even " normal " clamps are good or not but the " range/level "/push-down force ( quantity. ) of control?

Regards and enjoy the music,
One more story - FWIW

A few years ago I bought a center weight to try in place of the threaded clamp on my VPI TNT. Did it make a difference – not sure. It did look nicer spinning around especially when the light caught it. It also did make the dishwarp records worse - since it was strictly a weight concentrated on the middle so the lp edges rose more. That is a fact that I didn’t realize till I brought it home. It bothered me that the manufacturer who must have known this didn’t say anything to me about it.

So I saw that another niche was created and ring peripheral weights had come out. Being a crazy audiophile guy I was ready to buy one of those rings too :( but it would not fit on either of my VPI or SP10 platters because my tonearm design was too close for clearance. So never got that far like some of you. Now from what I am reading maybe it was a good thing.

So I have tried a few more various center weights like all of us – and have gotten to the point where I don’t use any of them anymore except the following basic clamps for dish warp records. They are cheap and allow u to exert the force required to flatten the dishwarp record.

The standard vpi rubber washer/ threaded clamp for threaded spindles.

The michell record clamp is a clone or like the VPI one for threadless spindles and I use it on my sp10.

Both of the above clamps cure for me the slightly warped/dish warped lps. Many more modern records 70’s - 80’s and newer are dish warped because they are so thin as we know.

My records are also not that bad. If I had one or two that one of these basic clamps did not cure enough to play I would replace it or not play it.

Hope this helps at least one person.

On your direct drive you might want to consider the impact of added weights and peripheral clamps as it may be negatively impacting the servos which have been designed for the original mass of the original platter.
On my Final Audio Parthenon it uses a 1.2kg gunmetal weight which has a proud rim around the bottom. The copper mat has an indent for the record label.
A washer sits under the record and the weight goes on top of the record. What I have found useful is that I have made several washers of varying thickness to optimise the flattening of the record. Obviously a peripheral ring might be better.

With a centre weight you get rid of the lifting record edges by optimising the thickness of the washer under the record. When you get the right thickness of the washer you can get the records flat around the perimeter.
Dover -
Yes I agree and that is what my post was about.maybe I wasn't clear.

my post started by implying the manufacturer sold me a weight without a washer. 800 grams worth. It lifted the edges of dish warped records. The other clamps I describe all use have the washers underneath and work great. BTW regarding sp10's torque. People have stood on it in the old days and it spins them.
There is absolutely no concern (my opinion) to what a weight any weight will do to an sp10. It does nothing to the speed rock solid.
My post was strictly about flatttening the records.
No less no more.
Some weights sounded better in my rig then others.
To the others - Experiment and find out.
Thanks Jonathan,
I have a 450gm centre clamp on my belt-drive Raven AC-3 and a 640gm clamp on the DD Victor TT-81.
Both clamps seem to improve the sound but at least never do harm.
Based on your impressions I shall continue to use them :-)
Do you know if your adjustable weight clamp is still available?......and if so, do you have a link?
Jonathan Carr using a direct drive turntable,...WHAT!
Would someone please speak up and set this guy straight,...

Johnathan I am a recent convert to your Kleos cartridge and now I am hooked, that is not easy to do and now I have to listen to the Olympus.

Regarding centre weight's and or peripheral rings, I don't use them on my tables. I sooner play with special platter mat's, new and vintage.
I also tried a few different center weights for my VPI (with and without the rubber washer). I found that none of them improved on the sound of the original one piece Delrin VPI clamp and washer. Most sounded worse.

I have not tried a ring because I only have a few rarely played records that show a warp with the Delrin VPI clamp. I do have a speed controller, which means the peripheral weighting would probably have a minimal effect on speed stability, so I find it hard to justify that extra cost.