Rubber Washer VPI Scout

They mention that the table should be level but with the rubber washer around the spindle the record will not be level and pitched away from the spindle no matter how much you crank down on it. Would it make more sense to level the plinth where the tonearm is located?
No. The VPI tonearm has uni-pivot bearing which means it is self-leveled. Therefore, you need to level the platter to maintain the correct angle with the tonearm.
I would try it without the washer; I thought it made better contact with the platter that way anyway.
I thought the Scout came with a delrin, not rubber, washer. At least mine did when I bought it in 2010. Reading your question I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but the purpose of the washer is to flatten the record as much as possible against the platter; it has nothing to do with leveling the table. You should level the table to insure the platter is perfectly level without worrying about the washer.

My experience with the washer has been opposite to Stanwal's -- the washer and the clamp make a tremendous positive difference when it comes to flattening records against the platter. I wouldn't play a record without it.
Actually, I never used the standard VPI clamp; I used either the TNT weight, the TTW weight or one of the TTW clamps. I still don't understand how having a washer under the record will give a tighter contact than having the record flat on the platter.
I myself use a Herbies Grungebuster Washer that he specifically makes for the VPI Spindle.

With Harry's design, the whole affair was designed to work together. The circular depression in the Platter, the Washer, and the cupped face of the underside of Clamp.

But one cannot just blindly clamp the bejesus out of a record, thinking if a little is good, then more is better.

Over-clamping will actually make the record's edge again lift away from the Platter.

The variance of clamping pressure then allows one to best couple the record on a record to record basis. That you have to observe the record's edge while clamping as it begins to make contact with the outer edge, and perimeter of the Platter.

Yes, there's perhaps going to be the occasional instance of where slight warps, or funny dishing-cupping of the record will not permit this design to work optimally.
Probably one reason Harry then came along with the Periphery Ring for later model Turntables.

With Clamps-Weights such as the TTWeights designs, I understand these are not to be used with the Spindle Washer.
The records sound better to me with the rubber washer but they are not flat or level especially towards the inner grooves. The heavier clamp does make a tremendous difference in tracking and loweringthe noise floor. I am suprised more people do not not mention this. It is a huge difference to my ears. I just wish the rubber washer was thinner so the record would be level. Maybe there is a reason it is not level?
I think that one reason you still want to level the table is because of the inverted bearing design. By leveling it you are insuring the platter rides on the ball bearing and the sides of the bearing tube have no pressure on the spindle part of the bearing. Envision tilting the table to 45 degrees and running it. The bearing tube would be scraping on the spindle that contains the ball bearing on top. Make sense?

So do I want to level the table or the platter. Right now, the table plinth is level.
Hopefully they the two are level at the same time. Are you seeing a difference?
I just wish the rubber washer was thinner so the record would be level. Maybe there is a reason it is not level?


I think that Harry's clamp is ingenius especially if you don't use a ring and have a slightly warped record.

Go to home depot or other hardware store and pick up some of the rubber material they put behind shower walls. Just a small piece. They sell it buy the foot. It is about half the thickness of the VPI washer. Make yourself a washer. Now you have one to use with less warped records.

The plinth and the platter are not the same level.
For flat records (most) I have filled in the platter indent with a piece of circular cut cardboard - cereal box - pick your favourite - Cocoa Puffs.
It is the exact thickness in talking with Mike years ago. I then use the VPI clamp without rubber washer or another favourite weight. I like the HRS one.

If its a record I like and it is dish warped or not flat then I remove the material, put on the appropriate size rubber washer with the VPI clamp. No its not level especially toward the inner grooves but best for the situation. If I really like that record - I buy another one and hope for a flat one. Good luck.
Level the entire table with the bullet level on the platter, about where the needle would drop. Do not try to level the platter alone.
I tried it without the washer and I did not like the sound. I place the level where the stylus meets the groove. I wonder if other turntables have the same issue.
As far as the rubber washer around the spindle. When I had my VPI I only used it on records that were 120 gram warped records. I found that 180gram warped records could crack around the spindle area if used and made too tight. It puts a slight concave so the warps are gone and the record is tight to the outside rim of the platter and yes the record will be slightly out or level. I never had an issue tracking a record when the washer was used.
I also think the concept was that instead of a vacume system this was the next best thing to remove warps and only to be used if the record was warped.
Markd51 pretty well nailed it above. The VPI washer/clamp system sounds very similar to the one on my Gyrodec and the key is to get an even distribution around the perimeter of the clamp as you install it and NOT to over clamp! You actually require very little rotation of the clamp to eliminate most warps and effectively couple the record to the platter.

With 180 and 200 gram records, take the washer off and don't use it but still use the clamp and do NOT overtighten.

I know the Michell clamp comes with no instructions (as a result many people upgrade-unnecessarily IMO-to the much more expensive Orbe clamp and threaded spindle) and it sounds like the VPI one doesn't either. Would be good if both Michell and VPI would include some written instruction on this as it's important.
Records do not sound as good with the washer off.