Silicone for Tri-Planer damping trough

Is it a specific type of silicone? And have you found it necessary to be used at all? What are the benefits? Is it's use a matter of choice like the anti-skate? Thanks
I don't think that Deacon character uses anything in the trough. He'll probably pipe up with more info.
I have an ET 2.5 and I don't use silicone in my damping trough anymore. I was told to use Mobil Synthetic oil 5w-30w viscosity and it works great,actually better than silicone and a hell of a lot cheaper and easier to find.
We crackpots are everywhere!

To quote another thread where I got myself in hot water, we find the TriPlanar's silicone damping "intolerable". That is with a Shelter 901 and various ZYX's.

To our ears it kills HF extension and dampens everything rather artificially. I believe that's the majority view among TriPlanar owners, but YMMV of course. If it's the kind of thing you like, you'd like it.

I don't know what viscosity silicone Tri Mai recommends. You could always buy a tube from him. It's shown on his website.
Hi all ...

Been swamped the last couple of weeks and I missed a few good threads in the interim.

Here's another take on the damping thing ... arriving at the same "conclusion" (do we ever conclude anything?) as Doug has without actually having done the heavy lifting which he has.

To my ears, the Triplanar is not the least bit nervous of a tonearm - not at all in need of damping. I say this in comparing it with my trusty Schröder Reference over a range of high quality cartridges. The Schröder's damping adjustment is the simplest and most easily reversible of any arm I know. Because you can easily go back and forth, the sound of an under or overdamped setup is plainly audible.

My previous experiences with silicone have left me underwhelmed, but I'll be the first one to admit that I have not paid heavy dues with this parameter. I've taken a binary approach to it:

* add some damping
* too dull? back off by 50%
* still too edgy? double it

And so forth.

The arms in question were the Mörch DP-6 and the Graham 2.2 (Speedy, you may have persevered more where I gave up prematurely). Now (and this goes back a while), I remember dialing in a mild bit of damping in an old Audiocraft unipivot, but it's been too long to comment about this intelligently.

In general however, I've found myself ultimately going back to no damping. If forced to choose, I'll take an occasional "honk" over a consistently boring presentation every day of the week. Live music occasionally does this (honk), and it certainly doesn't put you to sleep (a trance yes, but to sleep, generally no).

I feel fortunate to be working with two of the best tonearms on the planet. Since the subject is the Triplanar however, I think it's relevant for the time being to not open the conversation to the entire universe of tonearms.

Someday, I'll try damping the Triplanar it in order to confirm my suspicions. Who knows? I might have to eat my words, but I doubt it.

If I were considering trying damping on a Triplanar, I'd start with something much thinner than the supplied silicone oil - perhaps with mineral oil, which also has the advantage of being easier to clean up.

Now, when someone asks me a question about damping (especially in the context of the Triplanar), I have to put my "Raul hat" on and ask them about the rest of their system. I wonder if the individual is responding to other nasty resonances (either electrical or mechanical) downstream?

One example ... I've mentioned this on a few posts, but it bears repeating. The sound of a phono stage with a slow circuit (slewing distortion) sounds very similar to inner groove distortion and mistracking. I've heard several highly regarded phono stages exhibit this characteristic. You will be utterly amazed at how a simple change to a more competent phono stage can clear up what you considered to be mistracking. This is one case where I can easily see someone looking to silicone damping for a solution that lies elsewhere.

Cheers (and back to work),
Thom @ Galibier
Interesting observations, Thom.

Cello and I confirmed the benefits of SirSpeedy's very fine tuning of damping on the Graham 2.2. It is far more particular than a 50% move this way or that. To get the most from that arm you really must adjust the damping fluid to within the smallest drop you can pick up with a toothpick.

Our TriPlanar does not act like that. Like you, we find even the tiniest possible amount of damping is too much. IOW, I agree the TriPlanar VII is an essentially low resonance arm that requires little taming. (I won't say "no" taming, since the Schroeder Reference is, IME, slightly quieter.)


P.S. It is just as easy to fine-tune damping on a TriPlanar as on a Schroeder. Just adjust how much of the screw is submerged in the fluid. There's no need to fiddle the amount of fluid in the trough.

How ironic. The arm that doesn't really need fluid damping provides a quick and easy way to fine tune it. Other arms that need very finely adjusted fluid damping make it a royal PIA to do. What a great hobby! ;-)
Thanks Doug,

Point taken about the Triplanar (adjusting depth as opposed to adding / removing fluid). Upon re-reading my post, I realized that I was a bit unclear.

Also, as far as doubling/halving is concerned, I was trying to refer to successive halvings and doublings and not just a single coarse swipe at the problem - a binary search technique to organize your problem solving approach and hopefully minimize the time to get to a fine adjustment.

Now, there's certainly the possibility that depending on the arm's damping design, there's a non-linear relationship - in the same way that changing the magnet spacing on the Schröder results in non-linear changes (the square of the distance and all that).

So, doubling the amount of silicone might have much more than twice the effect - whatever doubling means in terms of results that is, and for that matter, how you'd measure that.

My hat is indeed off to the "speedy one" for persevering in his damping of the Graham 2.2.

Thom @ Galibier
And persevere I HAVE!!!Regardless of my past comments(of course I still love my 2.2),I cannot stand this business of damping anymore!!Now that I am one week away from being set-up again,whew,I hope to NOT get too nuts with this again.
Actually,a friend has just taken possession(Today/Friday)of a new Transfiguration Orpheus,and I am installing it next Friday(he will do a rough break-in this week).The fluid business,HOPEFULLY,will be in line with what we've come to expect from the Temper-v.PLEASE GOD!Let it be close,and not require alot of "patchkaing"!I really want to enjoy some of the fine Barolo's he has on tap.Yet,he won't allow me to partake,until all is perfect.
I have no audio friends who like damping,to any degree!My friend,Sid,never used it in his Air Tangent.Actually,he is almost "militant" about it's negative effects on vinyl reproduction.What can I say?
I never liked my Triplaner with damping,either.BTW,correct me if I am wrong,but the damping in the 2.2 is NOT the same as the damping in the Triplaner.The 2.2 damps the bearing resonance,whereas in the "Tri",it is for horizontal tracking.Right?Wow,can you imagine an arm not having any bearings to "chatter around"?Hmm!
Though I do like my 2.2,basically because it is a "good" overall product,I admit to being more than a little interested in the Schroeder REF.
I have not heard this,but I trust Cello's intuitive approach to this hobby.He far prefers "it" to the 2.2,which is a "pain in the ass",in terms of voicing accurately."Piccolodium" again!Anyone claiming otherwise has not played with it enough!
I do hope to take Larry's invite(anew),to hear this latest arm,sometime this winter,when I go to Florida,to visit my mom.
In the meantime,and anticipating how good that "REF" must really be,in his set-up,I will be refining my "suck-up" skills. -:)

Nice couple of posts...Thanks.
Off topic, but I would love to know your top 5 pre-amps with phono stages in order of preference.
Doug, after all your posts on the subject, I bought a Triplanar from Mehran and mounted it with my ZYX Universe on my Sota Cosmos. I am floored that a tone arm can make that much of an improvement!! (moved from a Well Tempered arm) Easy to set up, but still tweaking a bit.

Particularly astounding is the improvement in bass and micro detail... for the time being, I'm not anxious to fill the damping trough, again based upon the posts here--so far the only times I hear 'shrill or honk' is from the recording as my reference records are absolutely phenomenal through the Triplanar/ZYX.
I tried the VII with very, very little damping fluid, then a bit more, then I adjusted the screw in a few positions and finally I ended using the arm without ANY fluid.
It degraded the speed and the air in the High Frequency area. It made my arm slow. Not really slow, but the way I hear the difference. Has nothing to do with the Cartridges, I tried a few and the Result was always identical.

Glad you're enjoying the new setup! I've never heard a WT, but from its design I'd expect to hear just what you described on switching to a TriPlanar. Silicone damping seems to work okay in the bearing well of some unipivots but other applications are dubious, as attested by all the negative results posted on this thread. To design an entire arm around it does seem like looking for trouble.

We used to get more "honking" than we do now (which is almost never). Turns out it had nothing to do with the cartridge or arm. It was our phono and/or line stage. I don't know the rest of your system, but that might be something to look at when upgrade-itis strikes again.

If you haven't done so already, check out this thread for some additional tips on getting the most from your new arm:

Cheers and enjoy the music!
Doug, thanks for the reply. Downstream is a Sutherland PhD and then a Plinius 9200 hooked to Dunlavy Cantatas. I am changing out a cable between the PhD and the 9200 to a Cardas Golden Reference. Later looking at upgrading the 9200 to a Plinius M8/SA201. There is no end to this addiction... I printed your tips before I set the arm up, very helpful.