FYI: VPI HW-19 motors


Don't know if it's old news or not...

If anybody needs an older VPI HW-19 motor, they are available directly from the manufacturer, Hurst Motors, in Indiana.
VPI Motor

I've had this bookmarked for many years and have bought quite a few over the years.
The Hurst 600 rpm motor that VPI now sells as a replacement for the HW-19 is the SP-3923 and not the 600 rpm 3203-001. The SP-3923 is special ordered by VPI, which Hurst does not sell direct to the public. You can only buy it from VPI. I believe it's the same 600 rpm motor that is used in the Classic. My HW-19 came with a 3203-001 and it was very loud. I could hear motor hum in the audio signal. I bought the SP-3923 direct from VPI and it is MUCH more quiet. I built a custom SAMA and now the motor noise can't even be heard on the HW-19 plinth with a stethoscope.

IMHO it's worth every penny to buy the right motor from VPI.

-Robert (not affiliated with VPI whatsoever, just passing on the info)
Robert...thanks for your thoughts. I have bought probably
9-10 of the 3203-001 motors direct from Hurst over the past
25 years or so.

I was a VPI dealer for many, many years and have set up well
over 200 HW-19 tables. I have personally owned over 50 HW-
19 tables and still have several.

I have never had a faulty replacement motor from
Hurst...ever. All have been quiet and performed perfectly.
Maybe you just got bad one?

I haven't tried or used one of the newer model (SP-3923), so
I can't say whether it's better or not.
Mofimadness--I bought a VPI HW19II with an SME IV arm in 1989 (I think). I started listening to it again after a hiatus and replaced the belt, oiled the bearing, replaced the original van den hul cable with a cable from ZU audio (trying to work on RFI), and a Dynavector 10x5. I use a PS Audio GCPH and, with 8 transmission towers nearby, I can't use tubes. Curious as to whether you have any recommendations to improve the sound of my vinyl setup. I think it sounds pretty good but I would prefer wonderful! Thanks. Bob could definitely upgrade the cartridge. The 10X5 is pretty decent, but there are better out there. If you like the Dynavector sound, (I really do, one of favs), I would recommend a 17D2MKII or a 17D3.

Also, if you still have the original HW-19MKII platter, you could replace it and really improve things. I think the TNT MKIV platter is the best and I've owned ALL of the various platters. A Super Platter is better, but they are almost impossible to find in good condition. I have tried the new metal platter and IMHO, still think the TNT MKIV platter is better, (on a HW-19). I know some disagree with this, but that has been my experience. YMMV.

Also if you could find a HW-19MKIII stainless steel and acrylic plinth, they are best sounding of the bunch, but again, some of these parts are getting hard to find.

In addition if you are still using the original suspension, try to find a set of (4) SIMS Navcom Silencers. These work really, really well and sound incredible. Make sure you remove the outer steel bands. Tiptoes for feet are another pretty decent tweek for not a lot of money.

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to a HW-19 table. I've done it all on many, many different HW-19s and still think this table is a keeper. Probably the only people that know this table better than me is VPI.
I have read that some people think the later HW-19's were just as good as the later offerings like the Classic. Do you also feel this way and what tone arm do you like on the HW-19's. I have seen that the ET tonearms were often used with this table. Are there better matches?
thanks mofi any sources would be appreciated. my email is if you have any advice.

Agree wholeheartedly with the Sims Navcom Silencers. I kept the lower
aluminum band on and then threaded them onto the studs I screwed into the
stock spring perches. Sounds far better than either the springs or the
I wish I could find the Sims Navcom Silencer you reference. I think it would help but seems like they no longer manufacture them.
Bob...yes, sorry the SIMS Navcom Silencers are long gone, but they do show up on here every so often. Keep an eye out.

You could also do a "wanted" ad for them. I'm sure there are some people who have them and haven't used them in years and probably have forgotten about them

They really weren't designed for the VPI HW-19 tables in mind as suspension pucks but work wonders.
Try as set of four Herbie's Big Tall Extra-Firm Tenderfeet to replace the suspension. The are the best that I've found for my HW-19 MkIV (TNT platter). The Herbie's Tenderfeet were a noticeable improvement over both the original springs and the VPI sorbothane pucks. It seemed like the sorbothane suspension literally sucked the life out of the music and I was ready to go back to the original springs when I decide to give the Tenderfoot suspension a try. The Big Tall Tenderfeet work out to be a perfect height for a drop-in replacement. For my HW-19, it turned out to be a significant but inexpensive upgrade.
Mofi--John from Audiogon--not sure of his username--has pointed me to an ad for a VPI TNT Mk5 Platter and Mk5 Stainless Steel bearing/spindle. I believe it will fit my HW19 II and he suggests it as a major upgrade. I'd be interested in your opinion. I've emailed VPI and asked them:

1) Will it fit?
2) Will it be a worthwhile upgrade?
3) Will it require a new or different belt?
4) Will the increased platter height be an issue with my SME IV arm?
5) Will I need to do anything with the suspension (I have original springs)
6) Can they suggest a worthwhile suspension upgrade?

You've suggested the Navcom silencers and I'll looking for those. Do you have any comment about Herbie's products?

Thanks in advance for your opinions. I can also be emailed at

Austinbob, I owned a hw-19 with a TNT MK5 platter but it had an aluminum looking bearing. It was a simple swap out. It was a huge upgrade. I didn't need to worry about the suspension bottoming out as mine had sorbothane suspension.

Sorbothane pucks are readily avail on eBay. Herbie's Tenderfeet would also work. The TNT Mk5 platter is 11 1/2 inches, therefore, you can use your existing pulley and belt.

I sold my VPI for an Oracle TT. Like the looks but ended up disappointed with the bass. Keep the hw19 and upgrade it to the max, you will not be disappointed, it is a real legacy piece. are my answers:

1. I'm pretty sure the TNT MKV bearing well is the standard
1" diameter. The TNT MKIV bearing well is 1 1/4"
and the hole needs to be enlarged, but really isn't that
hard to do unless you have the MKIII stainless steel plinth.
It can be done, (I've do it several times), but requires a
lot of patience and a pretty sharp enlarging bit and a
variable speed drill. You need to go slow when drilling
stainless steel. I burned up 3 drills the first time I
tried this before I figured it out.

2. It will be a MAJOR upgrade.

3. Same belt

4. Most tonearms require the "Super Armboard",
but the SME IV already is a pretty tall arm and should have
plenty of travel up and down. The regular armboard is
1/2" thick the Super Armboard is 1" thick.

5. You will probably need to change out the springs to
compensate for the extra weight of the platter. If you
could find the SIMS, that would take care of that.
Hopefully VPI still has the needed springs?

The difference between the TNT MKIV and MKV platters is the
MKIV is 1/3 delrin and 2/3 stainless steel. The MKV is half
and half. I have both and think the MKIV to be better
sounding, but the MKV is very good and will be a great
upgrade to your MKII platter.
Surely there must be some appropriately sized damper which can do most or all of what the Sims dampers do. Does anyone know of an alternative?
I have a 19-IV with springs and I have always wanted to try non-spring suspension.
Thanks for your response!
If you don't already use them; the SAMA and SDS also make major contributions to the performance of the HW-19.
Austinbob, careful when you speak to VPI, they will try and sell you an all aluminum Classic platter. The Classic platter is a toy when compared to the former TNT Mk5 platter and the older TNT platters just "work" with the hw-19. If you don't go the TNT Mk5 platter, send me a private message with a link to the seller. I have a friend who will jump all over the TNT Mk5 platter.
I see that the conversation has drifted - but no complaints here :-)

1) Testpilot: I've had an Oracle Premiere Mk IV for many years, and can not say that it had no bass. In fact, it had very nice bass. It was not as big as VPI's, but it was clean and went very, very low. In fact, I find VPI HW19 Mk IV sound a bit dark compared to Oracle. Delphy, even V, is a different story, not in the same league as Premiere.

2) Had HW-19 Mk III and then Mk IV for many years, liked the table a lot, went the common upgrade route. Found a HUGE 2/3 stainless steel/black acrylic TNT platter, used, for $800. Enlarged the bearing hole to accommodate the larger bearing. Mounted it. The sub-platter chassis actually BENT under the stress. Motor had rough time pulling it, I used to help it by giving it a spin. Listened to it for a week, sold it. Sub-chassis sprung back. Problem? Even though it gave a table subjectively a more "OPEN" sound, it was artificial: the platter actually RINGS when you tap it. IMHO, the best platter for the Mk IV is the one that came with it (same as TNT I, black acrylic/lead/cork combo), or the next one later for TNT, with steel being only a thin layer. I prefer the original platter. I have since graduated to a Goldmund Studio, which uses the same combo for it's platter. Both of them are acoustically and mechanically DEAD. I tapped the new Classic platters at the Audio show yesterday here, in Brooklyn, and they seemed to me also pretty dead, while whenever I encounter a steel platter, they exhibit some sort of ringing, even molded to acrylic. So I will not argue for the new Classic platter (I think that Classic table is very overpriced anyway) until further research. The best sounding table at the show was - to my ears - Merril-Williams, with the Ortofon 101 arm (Jelco-built, rubber/resin dumped). Even more expensive than Classic III at $8K for the combo. They didn't have too much variety in tables, everybody pretty much uses VPIs.
Rpfef--Just got the VPI isolation upgrade suspension kit from Elusive Disc. Think they have more in stock. BIG difference! $50.

Markshvarts--I have the stainless steel and acrylic sub chassis and I doubt it will bend with the weight of the Mark V. I checked with Harry W. on the VPI forum about the upgrade. It will be a PIA to drill out to 1 1/4 but I will try to find a local machine shop to do it.

I'll see about the armboard. I'm expecting to have to have a new armboard fabricated but who knows until the platter is on?

I'm excited about this upgrade. I think next I'll upgrade from a Dynavector 10x5 to a 20x2 (then maybe the SAMA).
Well, I made the upgrade--had the acrylic/steel chassis drilled out to accept the new bearing.

Everything seems to work fine (better) except after playing one side, the platter slows and pitch changes. Any theories as to what's happening? Is the belt stretching out? Is the motor being overwhelmed? Platter is level (bought a run out gauge to help level it)and the bearing was lubricated with Mobil One and spins freely without the belt.

Mr A- It's possible that your belt is slipping slightly, heating up from the friction(at the pulley), and expanding. If you allow the table to rest(turned off) between sides: do you still have the same issue? could be that the pulley is slipping a little bit
on the motor shaft.

Some of the pulleys had a tiny set screw and some were just
press fitted on. If it has the screw, tighten it. If it
doesn't, push down on the pulley with a little force to
reseat it on the motor shaft.
Thanks to all for the responses. My issue with slowing was solved by a couple of drops of super glue on the spindle which bound the pulley securely--that was where the slipping was occurring. If that didn't work, I would have had my machinist drill and tap for a set screw. Two more issues to address (and I'm listing these for the person two years from now who tries the same upgrade!): 1) I had installed the VPI sorbothane feet to replace the springs but they raised the chassis (and platter) about a 1/4 inch too high for the belt to position correctly. I replaced the old springs and the height is correct. I have ordered some Herbie's Tall Tenderfeet which should be the correct height (and should solve the potential issue of the springs being overly compressed). I could have attempted to modify the VPI feet, but really didn't want to start cutting. 2) I have raised the armboard height by using cork discs as spacers between the acrylic armboard and steel chassis and I have been advised a solid machined metal washer or spacer would be better since the cork will eventually compress and potentially affect the azimuth. So that's left to do. It's been a interesting project!