Rega and VPI tonearm owners - READ THIS

I have just spent the past two evenings listening to a wide variety of LP's after installing Express Machining's "The Heavy Weight" counterweight on my Rega RB900 tonearm (which is mounted on a VPI HW-19 Mk 4 turntable, and has a Grado Reference cartridge). I was prepared to be disappointed, thinking that changing the counterweight on the tonearm would be, at best, barely noticeable. Holy mackerel, was I wrong!! This replacement counterweight is the best $80 addition I have ever made to my analog front end -- and if you own a Rega tonearm, you need to buy this gizmo.

The "Heavy Weight" replaces the standard counterweight on the Rega arm, and is also available for the VPI and AudioQuest tonearms. (I can't vouch for what it will do for the VPI or AudioQuest tonearms, but it made a major improvement on my Rega.) The "Heavy Weight" is made with its mounting hole off-center, near the edge, so that the weight hangs below the plane of the tonearm like the counterweight that's mounted on the end of railroad crossing barriers. The counterweight is secured with a set screw, unlike the standard weight on the Rega arm which is held in place by a rubber donut lining the mounting hole. The "Heavy Weight" is even supplied with a hex key that fits the set screw -- nice touch.

Folks, if my experience is representative, I've got to tell you that the improvement provided by this counterweight is NOT subtle. In addition to tightening up the deep bass, the modified tonearm yields better focus, imaging, detail, and the soundstage is deeper in both directions (both in front of the speakers and behind them). I know, I know, that seems like a ridiculous improvement to attribute to a counterweight, but I listened to some 20 LP's that I know VERY well (classical, jazz, vocals, etc.) and it is NOT my imagination. To verify what I was hearing, I put the original Rega counterweight back, did some more listening, and the improvements I had noted with the "Heavy Weight" disappeared.

In addition to the improvements I heard almost immediately, I also noted on further listening that the high frequencies seemed more extended and natural -- particularly cymbals, triangles, and bells, as well as the upper frequencies of violins and brass instruments.

If you own one of the tonearms mentioned, I strongly urge you to buy the Express Machining "Heavy Weight". I feel like I've made a wonderful discovery, and would have been very pleased with this performance at twice the price. It's almost like stepping up a notch in the quality of your cartridge.

The "Heavy Weight" is sold by several retailers. I got mine from "The Elusive Disk", and I think that The Audio Advisor also sells it. Now, stop reading this post, and get online and order one for yourself. I firmly believe that you are going to be very pleasantly surprised.
Sd- If I'm not mistaken(and I very well could be), the coupling of the counterweight to the arm is also part of the Origin-Live mod to the Rega Rb250. But if not, I'll take your advice.
Thanks SD I was contemplating starting a thread re: this topic to see if any one had feedback. I have the 600 arm and am considering taking the plunge . Again, thanks. Mike
I believe that on the OL modified Regas the arm's tailpiece is replaced. My OL RB250 came with a circular weight (not off-center) that is tightened by a set screw. Has anyone replaced this version with the Heavyweight, and if so, how dramatic were the improvements?
I have a OL RB250 arm and the rear stub has a larger diameter than the stock Rega arm.I tried the Heavyweight and will not fit. I wish it had, it might quite a improvement on my Rega Planar 3.
Some folks at audioasylum have delved deeply in to discussions about the Heavyweight and/versus OL mods. A trusted fellow 'phile of mine had a similar experience to Sdcampbell when he got the Heavyweight for his nephew's Rega 25. He thought it was a huge upgrade. I opted for the OL-250, but have not been able to listen to it because my NA Interspace has had some problems being built and shipped to me. It has been 3 months, I am soo pissed. Sd, I am glad you are happy with your new weight:)
Hi, guys. I spent another 4 hours this morning listening to some favorite LP's, and I continue to be pleasantly amazed at the improvements from this counterweight. Frankly, this purchase was a real experiment, and I thought I might -- at best -- hear some very minor improvements. I was not prepared for my Rega RB900 to sound like it had undergone a major upgrade.

The comments above are correct that the OriginLive mod includes a different counterweight that has a set screw. The "Heavyweight" counterweight, however, costs a lot less.

I should have noted in my post that the "Heavyweight" for the VPI tonearm costs a bit more -- $100, rather than $80. And I was apparently incorrect that AudioAdvisor sells the "Heavyweight". It can be bought from either Elusive Disc or MusicDirect, both of which sell the version for Rega tonearms for $80.

Damn, I love finding an inexpensive tweak that yields this kind of improvement! For more info, here's the Web address pertaining to the HeavyWeight:
I just read your post and have a question for you and all.
I just purchased a VPI JWM 10.5 and the counter weight and the is also off center as you described......
I am, believe me, a non-techno, so what you are describing and what I'm explaining may be two different things....however, just wanted to know if maybe the VPI JWM 10.5 (and 12.5) does ALREADY come with the mod you're talking about.

Thanks Rick
Hi, Rick: I happened to look today at a review of the VPI Aries/JMW 10.5 and 12.5 arm, and noticed that the counterweight is designed almost identically to the "HeavyWeight". Hence, the "HeavyWeight" might not have nearly as much effect on the JMW as the Rega arms. Harry Weisfeld of VPI is a very competent designer, and I doubt that he would miss anything so obvious as a good counterweight design. If you are willing to spend $100 on an experiment, I'm sure the rest of us would be very interested to learn if using the "HeavyWeight" on your JMW arm yields any improvements...
I can tell you that the Heavyweight works wonders on the Audioquest PT tonearms. I have recently installed one and it is great.
Someone mentione the Origin Live mods so I checked out their website. They claim that by far, the largest improvements in the stock Rega arms can be had with the addition of the counterweight (yup, more than internal rewiring, more than replacing the cheap-o tonearm cable that comes with the RB300). I figure for this price, I just can't go wrong.
Good to hear comments about Heavyweight. Just to clarify, the OL mod to RB250 and 300 arms, which does cost a lot more than a Heavyweight, is not just changing the counterweight. It involves machining a new rear end stub that attaches in such a way as to greatly improve the rigidity of the connection between the counterweight-bearing stub and the main part of the arm. I have an OL arm but haven't heard the Heavyweight so can't make any comparisons.
Obviously I was mistaken. Should have remembered, "better to remain silent and be thought a fool....".
I did exhaustive listening with 3 RB250's. One had a full OL mod, one had Heavyweight + Incognito wire. Then I swapped the mods, so OL+Incognito wire, and HW+OL wire. One is stock.

In any event, either mods were step up from stock. Furthermore, the OL hardware mod was better sounding than the Heavyweight mod. Heavyweight mod was brighter sounding, more illuminated, and the bass was tuned higher in the frequency spectrum. OL was less bright, bass deeper and rounder. The stock was really quite mediocre. Bass is ill defined, but the frequency balance was decent, just lacked resolution, top-end extension, and fuzzy bass.

However, OL wiring was really not so impressive. It collapsed the soundstage, added a brittleness in mid range, and dark sounding. Incognito is totally high-end sound, very cohesive, very smooth. Overall, I rate them as:

For comparison purpose: Linn Ekos - 95%
OL hardware, Incognito wire - 85%
HW hardware, Incognito wire - 90%
OL hardware, OL wire - 82%
stock RB250 - 65%

Also try the following:

(1) Use a broccoli rubber band, wrap around the counterweight, and tighten your end stub like hell. But please don't do it with the arm mounted on the table, you'll ruin the bearing. Got to do it with the arm totally off the table.

(2) Try removing the plastic label from the heavy weight - I heard differences, mainly less glare. Others didn't hear anything.

BTW, the OL design allows using a hex key to fully tighten the end stub, which was probably why it sounded slightly better than the Heavyweight. However, Incognito wiring was better sounding than the OL wire, if you are considering upgrading the tonearm wiring.
bob55, there is a heavyweight now made to fit the o-l modified regas.

sknnyc, just so you're aware, what o-l is talking about on their www has *nothing* to do w/the express machining heavyweight - these guys are competitors! ;~) o-l's mod replaces the counterweight stub w/a more rigid stub, & a different non off-center weight.

for what it's worth, i asked mark baker of origin live about getting a heavyweight for my ol-modded rb250. i was actually just hoping to be able to gain some clearance, to put the dust cover on my oracle when not in use... ;~) mark specifically said the heavyweight is a sonic degradation to the o-l modified arms. he didn't get into all the technical reasons - he *did* say there's some benefit to the lowered center-of-gravity offered by the heavyweight, but he said it's offset by some other things, he wasn't specific what they were (but, i didn't press for details, either). i don't know his feelings about the stock regas or the other arms these things can be made for... i also don't know if he's just bashing a competitor, but i doubt it - his dealings w/me have always been above-board & fair. he also suggested i try it myself, & post my results to the interested audio newsgroups, so i really think he believes what he's saying...

extremephono - did you get your little chart's numbers reversed? you said the o-l hardware sounded better than the heavyweight hardware, yer you show the heavyweight ranked 5% higher...

speaking of rega arms, there's a vendor currently advertising on a-gon what is supposedly a *great deal* on rega arms, because he buys in bulk, etc... well, you can save a tidy sum over his prices (including shipping) if you just buy them direct from origin live - they'll be happy to sell you an unmodified rega arm, if that's what you want... as galen carol's o-l modified regas are also competitively priced w/buying o-l arms directly, perhaps it would also be worth checking w/galen for a stock rega arm.

doug s.

For comparison purpose: Linn Ekos - 95%
OL hardware, Incognito wire - 90%
HW hardware, Incognito wire - 85%
OL hardware, OL wire - 82%
stock RB250 - 65%