Record clamps: do they really make a difference.

Hello all,

I have a Sota Sapphire that I love. I recently purchased the reflex clamp. I cannot tell a difference. Perhaps they matter when you have an older record that is somewhat warped? What do you guys think.
It's equally true that if you have the right clamp, a mat may not be beneficial. :-)

That's the case with my Teres, for instance. Which approach is best, and which particular device is best, depends on the rig, system characteristics as a whole and listener preference.


If you can't hear a difference than something seems amiss. I would expect to hear some alteration in the rig's sound floor and resonance behavior at certain frequencies, whether the record is warped or not.

OTOH, Elizabeth's approach contains much wisdom. Like her I adjust what I hear and ignore what I don't.
Redglobe said, "...When the stylus generates energy as it vibrates in the record grove, what/where is the best way to dissipate that energy away from the vinyl?"

I believe any extraneous energy should dissipate in the very least stressful way possible, if one assumes there is enough energy there to cause problems, and I don't assume that is necessarily the case. Quite often, in my opinion, clamps cause more problems than they solve by altering system inertia, changing the character of the musical presentation of the turntable, and opening the door for user accidents caused by carelessness.

If a record isn't flat, a puck in the center isn't a bad thing, but a flat record is better. In any event, a 100% vinyl interface to the top of the platter is rare, if it ever happens. Even with vacuum, new problems arise that may be worse than the cure, if you are talking about having a turntable that performs at the highest level possible.

In my mind, having a perfectly centered record is a far more productive pursuit. Unfortunately, no one has been able to do that without artifacts, either.
I purchased my Sota table used in 1989. Back then, the rest of my system was nowhere near as revealing as it is today. I too heard little difference as far as the clamp back in those days.
I have found that with periphery very much depends on the platter mat used (or not used)?
With any compressible platter my system.....a periphery clamp sucks the life out of the music and robs the vinyl of its magic....whilst with a metal patter mat (or no mat at all)....there is a benefit (when used with a centre clamp) in flattening warped records....although any sonic benefits are subtle.
A centre clamp is platter mat dependent as well (although not to the same degree).........but is certainly beneficial with metal mats or no mats at all.
As always....YMMV
In order to be serious, you need it all, that being clamp, periphery ring and vacuum hold. All else is a compromise. Oh, don't forget the electron microscope platform that should be under your rig. I am sure you don't want those nasty vibrations intruding in your pleasure. Give it up, enjoy the music.