I just received my MusicDirect catalog and noticed a new beltless rim drive from VPI. It looks like an "add on" to any VPI table with an outboard flywheel and is standard on the new VPI Reference Super Scoutmaster TT.
Is this belt-less approach similar to previous approaches to drive the platter? (e.g. idler wheel?)
Any info/guidance would be appreciated.
Interesting! Yes, it does appear to be an idler wheel approach. The Music Direct ad touts sonic benefits. I don't know what to make of it. Here's a link:
VPI AND Teres are finally coming around to what some audiophiles have been arguing for the last few years- direct drive, idler wheel- offer better dynamics, stability and tonal balance, than belt drive. Belts stretch, many times are askew and need constant adjustment. I have seen this with 2 high-end (expensive) belt drive tables. I almost bought a Teres, but seeing how much adjustments one had to do as every LP was played, broke the deal.
"I'm So Glad...I'm So Glad.." I was turned onto the Lenco on this site. It's easy to go crazy once you hear how much are in dem dare grooves. I now have 3 of these magnificent tables. I just commissioned 2 more exquisitely, beautiful plinths to go with their masterful sound.
The only difficulty will be which to keep and which to set free.
"...tired of weepin. tired of moanin'..."
Remember, friends don't let friends use belt drives.
LOL. I get kick out the Scout's progression. First the Scout, then the Sooutmaster, then the Super Scoutmaster, then the Super Scoutmaster Signature, and now we have the Reference Super Scoutmaster Signature......what next?
Ulimate Reference Super Scoutmaster Signature?

AFAIK, Chris Brady of Teres originated the 'rim drive' technology. I guess others will follow suit. I'll have to check one out one of these days.

Happy turkey day,

BTW, here is quicker access to the VPI/ Music Direct link.
Maybe it would've been easier for Harry, and the VPI folks just to use a "RD" suffix, designating "Rim Drive"? Sure begins to cause mucho confusion when one wishes to speak of any of thier Turntables. Mark
Can someone explain how the idler wheel, rim drive works?
(or a link to a previous post?)
one thing does come to mind regarding VPI and their belts, which instead of being flat black rubber, are round and clear flexible plastic, and need "talc" to give them the proper "lack of grip" on the platter. the talc doesn't confine itself to the belt alone, so your piano-black plinth also gets dusted.
making sure talc ALSO doesn't get on the record or the stylus requires patience and a sense of humor. the belt works without the talc, but "you've got to use it"; or else your soundstage will collapse, and the roar of the motor will overcome the music coming from the speakers...
and Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot II

Lenco lovers is an excellent place to start.

"how much adjustments one had to do as every LP was played"

What adjustments?
Just going by the photos, it appears that two electric motors are rotating a flywheel using belts (two per side = four belts?). A big disc (idler wheel) is afixed to the flywheel's shaft and rotates with it. A rubber O-ring encircles the idler wheel and moves with it. The rubber O-ring is in tangential contact with the rim of the record platter and causes the platter to rotate via the friction of the contact pressure. I hope to be able to see (hear!) one of these someday.
Smells a lot like a new fad to keep people spending.
Belt slips= timing inaccuracy. Must then readjust belt, or string. With every LP, clamp must be removed and then replaced. Constant arm adjustments, depending on LP thickness.
These are things that I find annoying. They seem to take away from the pleasure of listening to music. I realize this is my peeve. Others seem to enjoy the fiddle-factor. No offense to any violinists.
The Lenco reminds me of my Honda Gold Wing. As I passed many a Harley Davidson parked on the side of the highway, the "rider" adjusting something, I'd beep-beep on my merry way. Not even bothering to check the cruise control. I just enjoyed the ride and the beautiful day.
I hope you are not offended. Some of those Harley riders bleep-bleeped me. Lucky for me, they weren't riding a direct drive Gold Wing!
I don't know. All the VPI motors I touched have always vibrated significantly (maybe this is better for the flywheel version?). If that is the case I would rather not have the motor drive in direct contact with the platter.

VPI AND Teres are finally coming around to what some audiophiles have been arguing for the last few years- direct drive, idler wheel- offer better dynamics, stability and tonal balance, than belt drive.

But only if well implemented and I am somehow doubtful here. Not all of VPI's upgrades are actually improving things. The verdict is still out on this one and I am skeptical until I get to hear one before making blanket statement.
I still have three old idler drive tables: Dual 1019, Miracord 50H, and an old Fisher OEM'd from BSR. I remember the arguments against them (in favor of belt drive) include reducing flutter from motor cogging and rumble from motor bearing vibration. Perhaps VPI's use of belts between motors and flywheel and use of a flywheel serve to avoid these problems. The proof of the pudding is in the listening.
French fries, "the roar of the motor will overcome the music coming from the speakers"

I've owned VPI tables for twenty years and I have NEVER experienced this phenomenon and simply don't believe the statement.
Of course "the verdict is still out" with regards to the VPI. I wish them success.
This is merely my opinion/observation with regards to my experience with both belt drive and idler wheel drive tables. It is obvious I am in favor of idler wheel. I have several Lenco tables and I have not had vibration problems. This is because I have "implemented a well designed" plinth and tweaks.
Is VPI, or Teres capable? Most likely. They have well qualified folks who know what they're doing.
I say give them a chance. They've come a long way when one considers they have sold some VERY expensive belt drives. This could be considered revolutionary, no?
Merely my opinion.
I almost bought a Teres, but seeing how much adjustments one had to do as every LP was played, broke the deal.

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. I have used the same mylar belt on my Teres for about two years and have never had to adjust it in any way.

Belt slips= timing inaccuracy. Must then readjust belt, or string.

Again, I've never had to do this over two years of regular use.
I saw this when the MD rag came the other day and wonder Is this an advance for VPI or are they "Jumping The Shark"?
This could be considered revolutionary, no?


Could be....only time will tell.
French_fries, I have been using either the Scoutmaster or SSM over the last four years. I have never powdered either of the belts, and sound stage is really good. Also have not heard any of the motor noise your talking about?? Or any noise at all.
Are you talking about the 2-3 seconds of low spin noise when the motor is turned on? I have not had any of the problems your talking about.
The new table looks interesting. It looks like we should be able to switch our motors over to the rim drive. But doubt I will. I already use the super platter, and will probably get the feet in the future. the 10.5i arm looks interesting too.
I don't own a VPI(disclaimer),but have numerous friends who have owned everything from 19.5 to the TNT(very latest),using arms from Immedia,Air Tangent,Graham,and different VPI's,with a host of different "super-cartridges".I am VERY familiar with these products,and the systems housing them.
The different criticisms pertaining to much of the VPI stuff is downright "laughable"!These are well thought out products,and though almost any audio product cannot really be called "neutral",the VPI "tables" come damn close(I'm not referring to the arms)!What is the problem?Are the prices too reasonable?
Just like many other superb tables from Sota(I own a wonderful Cosmos IV,btw),Basis,Immedia,Walker and the host of other fine products,these are fabulous products.Well conceived,and very thoughtfully priced.
Harry W. is a caring and creative designer,and is dead serious about vinyl playback.I've heard his products in "serious" systems,owned by audiophiles who "truly" know how the best LP's "should" sound.....Impressive!!
There is a host of superb tables out there,and the best way to get the absolute max from a front end "vinyl playback system is to stop worrying so much about the relatively small differences between the "better" tables,and spend more time re-thinking the voicings available from the best arm/cartridge combinations.That is where the real "magic" can be found.Hands on,with good vinyl,and "boring as hell" repeat listening,at different settings!Anyone else having a better solution?I'm all ears!-:)
Just my opinion.
BTW,I was recently at a friend who has the very latest TNT/new heavy platter/Titan-i/12.6 arm(soon to be a 12.7)."Magnificent" LP collection(most important of all,actually).
I always scope out his stuff,as they are working,and did notice his belts would sort of "skip/move about" as the platter moved.Like a little jerky motion,as a complete revolution was completed.He is not in the least bit concerned about this,and in truth there was absolutely no indication of any abnormality through listening!!!He has an absolutely "world class" set-up(CJ ART,big Infinity speakers,etc)and a truly great room.If there was the slightest audible problem we would hear it.None,to anyone not having a doggie's hearing!
My apologies to the "contrarians",I'm sure you will find something to criticize!
Best to all
My apologies to Teres and Am_dial.
I was mistaken about the "Teres" I heard. The table I saw and listened to was a Teres clone. At the time it was presented as a Teres but that has been cleared up.
I take it back.
I knew about this from Mike of VPI. I own a TNT VI w/superplatter and VPI IV Sama...(for 78s).

Motor noise is an irrelevant comment, baseless. The biggest problem I have is with the table isolation. I use a seismic sink under the tables which makes these tables top high end decks. Without the seismic sink, they are also rans. I haven't tried too many other products but on my stands its seismic sinks (Townsend) or forget it.

Harry purchased an expensive older and highly successful rim drive years ago and wondered how he could implement it into the VPI designs. It's not an experiment. Just as the superplatter is superior to the all acrylic platter. With the latest superplatter, it should be a cinch, remove the existing flywheel, reverse power leads on the two motors and no more belt replacements.

In early 2006, Mike sent me the new belts for the flywheel and platter which are thicker on the flywheel and thinner on the platter than in 2005. The earlier belts tended to waver (alot, .3 to .6 per hour on SDS). The newer belts hold their speed within .05 digits (adjusted for the first 20 minutes) then less than .01 digit change for hours and hours which I consider very stable indeed. Most of my friends use VPI tables or want to upgrade to a VPI from older high end tables.

Mike told me in July that the rim drive will tremendously increase bass solidity and dynamics while significantly improving speed stability and tonal balance. It's the tonal balance part that I have to hear to believe, the first two are a given as superior based on historical results of rim drives. The rim drive should be much less expensive than the superplatter.

The MusicDirect photo doesn't look right or doesn't fit because the RM is oversized and sitting under the platter. Later this week, VPI will provide answers on the retrofit.
Thanks for your informative comments.

Would you please explain what you mean by "RM"? I was looking at the ad photo, but I couldn't figure out what you were referrring to.
Rim Drive. Harry reportely purchased a Garrard 401 or very similar but high end rim drive years ago. Rim drive also incorporates the Idler Wheel Drive design, etc. The new table and proposed retrofit is called a "beltless" drive.
You don't need the super platter to take advantage of the rim drive. It will work equally well with the all acrylic one.