TONEARM DAMPING : DAMPED OR NOT ? ? USELESS ? ? WELCOMED ? ?


Dear friends: This tonearm critical subject sometimes can be controversial for say the least. Some audiophiles swear for non damped tonearms as the FR designs or SAEC or even the SME 3012 that is not very well damped in stock original status.

Some other audiophiles likes good damped tonearms.


In other thread a gentleman posted:


"  If a cartridge is properly matched to the tonearm damping is not required. " and even explained all what we know about the ideal resonance frequency range between tonearm and cartridge ( 8hz to 12hz. ). He refered to this when said: " properly matched to the tonearm ".


In that same thread that a Triplanar tonearm owner posted:


" This is the one thing about the Triplanar that I don't like. I never use the damping trough...... I imagine someone might have a use for it; I removed the troughs on my Triplanars; its nice to imagine that it sounds better for doing so. "


At the other side here it's a very well damped tonearm:


https://audiotraveler.wordpress.com/tag/townshend/


Now, after the LP is in the spining TT platter ( everything the same, including well matched cartridge/tonearm.  ) the must critical issue is what happens once the cartridge stylus tip hits/track the LP grooves modulations.

The ideal is that those groove modulations can pass to the cartridge motor with out any additional kind of developed resonances/vibrations and that the transducer makes its job mantaining the delicated and sensible signal integrity that comes in those recorded groove modulations.

 That is the ideal and could be utopic because all over the process/trip of the cartridge signal between the stylus tip ride and the output at the tonearm cable the signal suffers degradation (  resonances/vibrations/feedback ) mainly developed through all that " long trip " .


So, DAMPING IS NEED IT AT THE TONEARM/HEADSHELL SIDE OR NOT?


I'm trying to find out the " true " about and not looking if what we like it or not like it is rigth or not but what should be about and why of that " should be ".


I invite all of you analog lovers audiophiles to share your points of view in this critical analog audio subject. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT?


Thank's in advance.



Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.






Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas
Of course they need to be damped. The question is in what way? And how much?
Probably better off with a CMan Isolator
Put it this way: My knife-edge sounds better than my Well Tempered clone.
Comparing two different arms makes it awfully hard to be sure what is responsible for what. Damping works but like I said it depends what we are talking about and how- and how much.  

For example take fO.q tape. This stuff is pretty much pure damping. Even a little bit of it placed just about anywhere on the tone arm is an improvement. Even on the arm base, which isn't hardly even the arm. But the whole turntable and everything on it is one big vibrating system. So stands to reason anything anywhere will affect it. The question is in what way. And how much. 

With the tape its greater resolution of fine detail, that greatly improves presence, yet without adding any harsh edge. One of the rare times damping actually improves things this way.

As far as I am aware, Max Townshend is the only turntable designer/manufacturer who has actually brought to market a product offering damping at the headshell end of the tonearm (via his patented silicon fluid-filled trough). If anyone knows of another, let us know!

Both @slaw and I love our Rocks---he his Mk.7, I my Mk.2 Elite. Max has been promising a new model (Mk.8?) ever since he discontinued the Mk.7 around five years ago.

Dear @millercarbon : I don't know if you remember that many years ago Sumiko marketed the Analog Survival Kit that is a great analog accesory.  It uses as a wrap around the tonearm wand in helicoidal way.

Well, any one of us can use something similar even in the Townshend tonearm, here materials that could help about but you could find out even other material alternatives
. It's a must to do/test in any non-damped or not well damped tonearm as the FR/SAEC and the like:

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Vibration-Damping-Tape-434/?N=5002385+32...

https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Sorbothane-Strip-1-tira-0236225-50/dp/B00B84GVBE/ref=rtpb_3/262-9954503-...

https://www.amazon.com/-/es/3M-2552-adhesiva-amortiguaci%C3%B3n-acr%C3%ADlico/dp/B007Y7CNA2/ref=rtpb...

Any one can be sure that will have a difference for the better.

Obviously that we need to make a tiny VTF change. Effective mass is almost with no change so we have not to worry about the tonearm/cartridge frequency resonance level.


R.

In addition to it's silicon fluid-filled cup rear bearing, the Well Tempered had it's arm tube filled with sand.

By the way, the Townshend Rock table can be fitted with any 9"-10" pivoted arm. The table comes with the front-end damping trough "paddle" assembly that is secured to the headshell of the arm.

Dear @noromance : Well, your Jelco tonearms are silicon damped by design and if you test that wrap around the arm wand your listening experiences will be even better.

No one can lost nothing with the arm wand wrap tape because if we don’t like then we just take out.

R.
i have the townshend elite rock mk 3 (with rega origin live arm) and also a well tempered amadeus

i find i like the sound of a well damped arm over an undamped one (i.e. vpi jmw 3d, or a jelco) -- seems like the cartridge can dig deeper into the music, more bass more air music is more solid - feel this happens on numerous carts i have run over time (from grace f9 ruby to at art 9 to shelter 901 to dyna xx2 and tke to koetsu black to benz glider)

maybe my mind is imagining that... but i do believe the sq difference is there

i just wish the damn motor on the townshend were quieter...
Well, your Jelco tonearms are silicon damped by design
@rauliruegas Can you kindly clarify?
I bought an Elite Rock in 89, I used it with a Rega 300 arm for 20 years and tried it with and without the trough and outrigger but never for very long. I then bought a lightly used Naim Aro, and initially used the damping arrangement but this time when I tried without it never went back on. Cartridge was a DV17D2, or rather several of them. I say never but that’s not strictly true. I had the Rock fitted with Max’s bellows feet, which I found a nice improvement over the sorbothane originals, and at the same time bought a white polyethylene platter as used on the mk7, though machined to fit the mk2. Using this the stylus wouldn’t stay in the groove without use of the trough on the Aro but though sounding impressively more dynamic the timing went all awry and music became less engaging so the plaster platter went back on and the trough came off. Max would blame the unipivot arm, I blame his plastic platter for reflecting vibrations back into the disc instead of damping them. A VRS record weight didn’t make enough difference when I tried one and anyway gets in the way at the end of side.
I reckon you can underdamp or overdamp, getting the right amount is the key.
Raul, damping is a crutch for situations where you have a cartridge that is too compliant for the arm or an arm that is too heavy for the cartridge.
With proper tonearm matching damping is not needed and indeed is a negative. It is like adding friction to your bearing and forces the cartridge to work harder pulling the tonearm back and forth particularly on an eccentric record. Vertical damping might cause difficulty negotiating warps. 

Don't use crutches. Fix the problem.
I am not sure there is a blanket answer to this question. I suspect certain arm designs would benefit from having a dampening trough and others not so much. As anything it may be on a scale. Also, it may depend on which cartridge is installed, and to an extent which turntable it is on. What I have found is that its very easy to apply too much dampening to a turntable.

I have owned a  Townshend Rock MK III, currently have a Well Tempered Reference table, and the SME V I have has the trough also. I have found with the WTR and the Townshend that its easy to get the paddle too deep into the reservoir and the end result is a lifeless sound that is lacking harmonic texture and decay. But a light touch of the paddle into the silicone results in improved tracking in many cases. Once again it depends on how well the cartridge matches the tone arm, and its more of a tool to get a closer compliance match. I have also found that the cartridges I have installed on the SME V have no audible benefit from using the trough, so I currently have it empty. 

I think this is something you evaluate by a case by case basis. I also notice that Bruce Thigpin discontinued the use of a trough on his ET II tone arm a number of years ago, as he felt the benefits were minimal if any on his design. 

It is very difficult to arrive at a general principle regarding tonearm damping, because in each individual instance any two different tonearms are going to be different from one another in many other ways, besides the presence or absence of damping and notwithstanding how the damping is applied, where there is any damping.  So I have come to evaluate each tonearm as an entity unto itself.  I own a Triplanar and wouldn't think of using it without its trough, although removing the trough from the Triplanar is a common theme on this forum going way back to Doug Deacon.  I also own an FR64S which I like very very much with many different cartridges, despite its lack of formal damping.  But the FR64S, at least as I use it, does employ mass damping, especially if you use it with its B60 accessory which adds a lot of mass to the base of the pivot.  On top of that, I mount mine in a mass-loaded tonearm mounting board consisting of two large pieces of machined aluminum bolted together (photos upon request).  Mass damping is still damping, even without some gooey substance dragging on the tonearm.  At the opposite extreme, I am not familiar with the latest Well Tempered tonearms, but I did have a lot of experience with the WT Reference tonearm, which in my opinion is WAY overdamped and makes every LP sound the same, regardless of the cartridge.  So, I would approach this question as regards one particular design and then ask does it sound better with or without damping.  I also don't agree with Mijostyn's oversimplified idea that if the resonant frequency is between 8 and 12Hz, no damping is needed.  Damping done right can broaden the resonant peak and reduce its maximum magnitude, which may be worth doing even within the magical boundaries of 8 to 12Hz.  But one would have to listen first.
i agree with sentiments stated that overdamping is a common fault when using these tonearms/systems that allow fluid damping to be applied

less is more for sure

but some is better than none has been my experience

like all else in analog system ownership, finding ’just right’ is the trick, and it takes patience and sustained effort to achieve it
Dear @noromance : the Jelco tonearms I know came/comes with oil damping system at the " top cup " of the pivot. Models SA and this new one too:

https://audiosensibility.com/Store/us_store.htm#!/Jelco-TS-550S-MKII-9-Tonearm-***-New-***/p/1893469...

R.
As I do have this Jelco 750EB with "top cup" - I can say that if not damped it's rather inferior with high compliance cartridges (no silicon oil in cup) 

With heavyweights/low compliance like SPU difference isn't so obvious, it takes time to understand that damping (silicon oil in cup) is better.

With high compliance difference is night and day.
Dear @millercarbon  and friends : " Of course they need to be damped. The question is in what way? And how much? "

Totally in agreement. Yes, one way or other tonearms must be damped.

 As a fact any analog rig item and the whole room/system needs always some kind of damping even electronics at its circuit boards passive and active parts, same for loudspeakers but at the analog rig and due that is almost a mechanical " system " the damping down there is need it no matters what.

Room/systems can't avoid its ( any kind. ) developed resonances/vibrations that per sé always degrades the audio signal.

Resonances/vibrations is the true DEVIL that impedes to have better quality level listening experiences in any room/audio system and we can't avoid/disappears totally, the only alternative is to lower the levels of those resonances/frequencies and this can be achieved using different dampening solutions.

In what way? ( example in room ): acoustic treatment as bass traps, acoustic panels and difussors.

How much?, this is a really hard to say/answer because depends on many factors.

 It's not only the need or not to damp the tonearm but to take in count that tonearm is part of the analog rig because is mounted/attached to a TT that is seated ( normally ) in a damped plattform but some times it's not over that kind of plattforms and things about goes with higher resonances/vibrations developed around it.

I think that we need to analize the complete analog rig to decide that " how much ".

 The TT it self is a resonance/vibration source always through its motor, plinth, platter, bearing and arm board.

 One way or the other we need to take care that the whole TT be good damped and after that we can focus in the cartridge/tonearm damping and here exist variables that we have to take in count to define the damping issue: we need to own a good platter mat, A PLATTER/lp CLAMP, TO KNOW THE CARTRIDGE SELF TRACKING HABILITIES ( NOT ONLY ITS COMPLIANCE ), cartridge/tonearm resonance frequency, how good is damped the cartridge it self ( example the AT ART1 has a titanium body and has a rubber body cover at the below plate. ),   obviously how well is damped the tonearm design and how good is the tonearm bearing and if it's an unipivot desing or gimball type or LT, how many play hours has the cartridge stylus tip, SPL usually we listen the LPs.

All those " characteristics " and several others ( like an accurated cartridge/tonearm alignment set up. ) will condition what we can do about and that through several controled listening tests can confirm that " how much " and where.

As we can see not an easy task and our music/sound trained ears levels and room/siytem resolution will have the final decision with each cartridge/tonearm combination.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
“What’s the frequency Kenneth? “... fix a low frequency problem another way = agree

fix ( lower amplitude ) any other resonant issue always...

Triplaner owner, really 2 bad the owner the OP quotes never listened to damping... that missed opportunity was free! In my setup on a Brinkmann Bardo w Lyra Delos on an HRS base just a whisker of damping is better by my ears anyway..... the damping comes in a syringe.... in and out / more or less both work....
Also while related, bearing chatter and total friction are not the same animal.
@rauliruegas  I use the two Jelco 850 arms which are not damped. In fact I also ran the 750 without oil.
lewm, yes, damping will broaden and lower the resonance peak which is why you want to use it in the situation where a tonearm is too heavy for the cartridge. BUT, if the tonearm is properly tuned to between 8 and 12 Hz you don't need it at all. Why? SIMPLE, nothing happens there. Warp frequencies are below. Rumble and record noise are above. There is nothing there to excite it. Don't forget that the suspension of cartridges has a certain amount of damping built in. They don't just keep bouncing around. The only time I have ever seen damping in a very useful application was with an air bearing straight line tracker. It definitely decreased the amount of lateral cantilever movement during play. Because these arms have a very high horizontal mass the horizontal resonance frequency can be very low resulting in horizontal cantilever wobble which you can easily see. There is no question that damping quieted this down but, I would still never buy the arm. Don't like crutches.
Raul use to fix his tonearms with chewing gum. They were in dire shape and the chewing gum made them sound better. Is why he likes damping.
Next he'll tell you that he like Double Bubble best. I'm a Wrigley guy myself.
Post removed 
noromance - there is major difference
750 - ball bearings
850 - knife edge bearings
if to look into all knife edge bearings - SAEC, SME and new Jelco series all of them looks ok without extra damping.
Ikeda/FR uses spring  + weight for that purpose
Dynavector uses magnet
Alfred who modifies cheap Ortofon tonearms from the past uses balsa inside the tube


Raul, all the clowns I know are really nice people. Pretty smart also.
I think you do them an injustice relating them to ignorant. 
@rauliruegas,

You and @lewm have it right - every application is different.  Its more than the just the cartridge and its compliance.  There is a decent article on tonearms in this Audio Magazine https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Archive-Audio/80s/Audio-1980-06.pdf, and as stated in the magazine - all materials have some damping capacity - https://sites.utexas.edu/taleff/files/2019/10/jmatersci_v28n9y1993p2395.pdf.

The tonearm manufacture is literally between a rock and hard spot trying to design a tonearm for the multitude of table and cartridge designs that all together form a resonant system.  But, as has been stated, if your cartridge has the option for viscous damping then it may be worthwhile trying - but its success aside from table/cartridge could also be music type - maybe good with classical but not with vocals.  All the more reason for multiple arms and/or multiple tables LOL.

Just some thoughts.
many years ago Sumiko marketed the Analog Survival Kit that is a great analog accesory.
A friend of mine, Warren Gehl (currently at ARC) was the designer of this product. I had pre-production and production sample that I used on my SME5, which really did seem to benefit from it, although it raised the mass of the arm which limited the number of cartridges I could use.

Eventually I moved to the Triplanar, which has a damped arm tube and so I didn't need the Analog Survival Kit any longer. IMO, if you really want the most out of an LP, the arm tube should be damped in some manner.


Warren also designed the platter pad I use. It is very effective in damping vibration in the LP, so it can't talk back to the stylus as its tracking the groove. Warren only made a few of these mats (less than 50) and the last one I saw sold used went for about $1200.00. IMO/IME the platter pad is an unsung but very important part of the LP playback alchemy.
Atmasphere, I thought we were talking about oil or silicone based damping systems with troughs, paddles and goo. Obviously arm tubes can't ring which is why aluminum is frequently used. Stuff makes a worthless bell. It is the additional damping required to control a pronounced resonance peak you might see with certain arm cartridge combinations the worst being a very compliant cartridge in a heavy arm.
Schroder uses wood arm wands because of their extremely damp nature.
Kuzma machines aluminum conically to spread the resonance out of existence. SME does the same but in magnesium another relatively dead metal but lighter. Triplanar uses a composite tube with "coaxial damping" whatever that is. It also has a trough but I have never seen it in use and I suspect it would only be useful if you stuck something on it like a Shure V15. I have no idea why you would do that but hey, people do silly things.
Sota and Basis make the best pads IMHO but I have not listened to a lot of them. I think the clamping method is more important. In most cases reflex clamping will work with all but the most severely warped records and I do not have an of those. Vacuum is the best but admittedly more complicated and expensive. Dohmann is going to release his vacuum clamping system soon and he has told me that once the record is clamped the compressor turns off! God knows how he is pulling that trick off. Obviously his mat has to seal the record without any leaks. Sota used a low vacuum system with the compressor running at a very low speed.
I'm not sure what Basis or Techdas do in this regard.  
I thought we were talking about oil or silicone based damping systems with troughs, paddles and goo. Obviously arm tubes can't ring which is why aluminum is frequently used. Stuff makes a worthless bell.
It appears that we're talking about all these things. Aluminum doesn't make a good bell, but its incorrect to assume that it won't have a resonance. I know a musician that uses aluminum bits he finds as percussion instruments.


BTW the first/only commercial use of Warren's platter pad was in fact on the Sota Cosmos. He told me that after about the first 100 or so they stopped using his formula. I ran serial number 0 of the Cosmos (it was white) for several years before replacing it with one of our model 208s. So when I compared the two machines side by side the platter pad wasn't a variable.
If you damp use as little as possible and it also depends on the cartridge used.
Dear @antinn  : really good articles the ones you linked even if the Audio one premise is: " perfect cartridge ".

@lewm  your FR ansd Acutex resonates at 4hz, spot on for warps and other bass anomalies but you lovwe it.

I understand the FR " fascination " because I still own it but I do not use any more as a fact I don't like any more heavy mass tonearms. In those articles we can see are not good enough.

R.
Everything is a bell
Dear @ebm  : "   If you damp use as little as possible...""

good point but let me ask: how do you determine that " as little as possible " ? it can depends of which kind of damp we want to use.

When can we know that it's enough damping or that we need more or less damping with that specific cartridge/tonearm combination?

R.
Read what Antinn wrote above.  One of the most intelligent  things written  on the forum  in quite awhile.  The answer is simple.  Listen adjust listen adjust etc...  The theories are all over the place.  Even if you go high dollar, still all over the place.  And beyond  that I believe  most people buy what they like, not necessarily what  sounds real.  Even more why you need to listen,  not look at the scope,  equation  work sheet,  or the worst  listen to someone's  hypothesis as it was gospel.

The other thing which Antinn wrote was having more than 1 table and arms for various types of music.   Also carts come into play and the recordings.  There are trade offs in everything on this planet.  You have to determine  what you want and then listen tweak listen tweak etc...

Enjoy the ride
Tom
When the sound closes down then it is to much damping.When i had tonearms with damping trow i used as little fluid just so it touched the paddle.Hope this helps.
I removed the damping mechanism on my my SMEV for better sound (Benz LPS)
Dear @bdp24  : No, it does not exist yet any other tonearm in the market as the Max great idea. Good that you own it from some years now because you know for sure what I'm talking with the critical tonearm damping subject.

R.
Dear @jjss49  : "  maybe my mind is imagining that... but i do believe the sq difference is there...""

Certainly is not your imagination, it's a fact. Adequated tonearm damping always improves quality level performance in any cartridge signal we are listening.

R.
Dear @yeti42  : Unipivot tonearm designs are really sensitive and way unstable.

I think that with your Aro you can get way better quality sound using the " tape " around its arm wand. This is a must test you need to do it.

This other tape can helps you:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-Scotch-Super-33-3-4-in-x-66-ft-Electrical-Tape-6132-BA-10/100073402

this is a streched tape and this characteristc is  the one that works the best. Very easy no take out with out any damage/sign into de arm wand.

R.
If some have not seen this data from Korf here is the
testing results regarding various arm materials and damping
results.
I like to quote a no longer with us enthusiast 
"More data less wank"

https://korfaudio.com/blog24



 

Dear @totem395  : Normally I don't trust in Korf and for good reasons. You can read/see here why:

http://korfaudio.com/blog68

first there used one of the more resonances/develops vibrations TTs designs and second his knowledge levels in that matching subject is to low about cartridges because he took the 103 compliance figure that in reality it's not that but higher because the spec is measured with japanese parameter that is way different in Europe or America continents.

For me has no value that information but is more a mix-up one.

R.

@rauliruegas---"Critical tonearm damping". Not the tonearm in isolation, but as part of the complete arm/cartridge/LP playback system. It's a complex relationship, which I am not going to attempt to distill into a short post.

The Townshend Rock turntable design didn't come out of thin air; it was developed out of the findings made at The Cransfield Institute Of Technology in England. Max Townshend took those findings and created a commercial product: The Rock Turntable.

For those wanting (and willing) to investigate those findings, they are available on the www. Sorry, I can't provide (a) link(s). Anyone with enough interest will be able to find the info.

Dear @neonknight  and FRIENDS :  its easy to get the paddle too deep into the reservoir and the end result is a lifeless sound that is lacking harmonic texture and decay........... But a light touch of the paddle into the silicone results in improved tracking ""

First that " LIFELESS " issue. I really have " thousands " of first hand experiences with almost any kind of damping in almost all the room/system and certainly I detected sevarl times that " lifeless or dullness " kind of sound after changes in damping and even after made changes for better audio items in the system. Let me explain about:

through those experiences I learned that transducers, as speakers and cartridges, are not only the ones that needs damping but that are way sensible to any kind of damping, the transducers always shows a response to damping.

Loudspeakers: really sensitive audio item and for extreme good reasons designers try that the " takls " boxes been as inert as the " dead silence ".
We can listen, example , Magico ones and even listening at over 95dbs SPL at seat position if we touch the box you can " feel " almost nothing. What " speaks " in the Magico or YG are the drivers as always should be but not always achieved.

My speakers are really old design and when I learned through the years I started to damp it in several ways and always was and is for the better:
first it has " three hands " ( internally ) of a insulation/antivibrational treatment ( like a white paint. I can't remember the ingredients. ) from Acoustical Magic Company ( it works marvelous ) inside all the box , to do that I had to take out all the speaker drivers including the internal wires and croosovers.
Second I change the internal damping glass fiber by 10kg ( each speaker ) of long hair 100% virgin wool and change the fabric cloth of the grille for a " transparent one ".
Third: Both speakers have at the box external rear-center the Antiresonant Vibration System by MICROSCAN model TM-8 that works from 20hz to 1.5Khz.
Finally: I take out the crossover ( now is external ) and change all the parts: resistors ( Powertron by Vishay. ), all silver air core solid ribbon ( 5.5 cms. of pure silver. Almost 2kg. of silver in the bigest one. ) Alpha-Core inductors , WIMA FKP 1 and KEMET caps in the crossover, the speakers cables goes soldered directly to the crossover parts. This speaker crossover is tri-hard-wired from the amps output to the 3-way crossover parts and speaker drivers.

All those was and is for damping and additional to that at the external box top " plate " I put 20kg of dead weigth.
This same kind of added weigth damping I do it with both subwoofers where have 40kg. dead weigth at its box top plate.

CARTRIDGES: well there is not cartridge as a stand alone audio item cartridge and tonearm is one and only one audio item and here damping is need it no matters what and for very good reasons:

this is a Nicola Tesla statement that we can use it in this thread:

" If you want to find the secrets in the Universe,thinks in terms of Energy, Frequency and VIBRATIONS. "

I own or owned almost any cartridge designed: LOMC, MM, MI, Electrostatic, Starin Gaugage, etc.,etc, with all kind of compliance/weigth combinations with all kind of cantilever materials/stylus tip shapes and in all kind of cartridge body materials and at the same time I own or owned almost all designed tonearms: vintage, today, unipivots, LT or gimball ones builded with all materials you can imagine and some very well damped and other not well damped and many in between these extremes.

The first top tonearm with paddle I owned was the great Micro Seiki MAX-282/237 that comes with 3 different removable arm wands and with 2 different silicon viscosity for the paddle and with a list which viscosity level silicon mated with which cartridges.

I used for several months with out the damp silicon paddle and one day I decided to use it and what I listened just did not like me.

What listened I in those old times trhough it?, exactly what neonknight posted: LIFELESS and DULL sound.
I can't listened any more and forgoted about the dampening issue, for me was not only not need it but gone against the listening experiences.
Same experience with my Audiocraft tonearm but here I had to use the oil at the bearing cup due that this unipivot design just need it but if I use a little higher down there MUSIC will sound: lifeless and dull.

Through the years my room/system improved a lot tilll today extremely high resolution one and through all those years I learned a lot too of overall home MUSIC Audio reproduction and one issue I learned is the need of damping in the whole analog rig it does not matters if the cartridge/tonearm combination resonance frequency is 10hz.

My first lessons about changes/damping for the better where when in the started tests of those changes that lifeless appeared and was when I changed IC cables and what I did it was not to come back to the original cables but I gave TIME to the new sound through more listening sessions because even in my first reaction was that the SPLs ( with out touching the volume attenuator. ) goes down !

What I learned there and thank's to my self developed test evaluation process was that I not even losted SPL but what I losted and that was the " culprit " of that LIFELESS were the distortion levels that gone way lower and from the " life " came: false life because was for the higher distortion levels.
This kind of experience repeated in my audio life in my system and other gentlemans systems till today. So that LIFELESS dos not exist if what we do is really an improvement.

Here at Agon a well know member @halcro years agoposted in a thread that using the after market AT vacuum hold down LP as a platter mat makes the sound Lifeless and dull what certainly it does not happens that way because I still own at least 2 of those AT items and makes an improvement due not only its damping effect but because flatness characteristic in almost any LP.

@ebm  answer my question when posted:

""  When the sound closes down then it is to much damping.When i had tonearms with damping trow i used as little fluid just so it touched the paddle. ""

I don't agree with him if what he try to says is that that " sound closes down " means something as " lifeless/dullness ".

All our room/systems have different quality level performance and different resolution levels, so what you can hear maybe other gentleman can't do it or listened in way different manner.

In some way I agree that the silicon damping issue is a " test and error " subject.

In my first hand experiences higher damping levels the better not lower as " possible " as some of you posted.
Silicon dampinghigh  levels always is welcomed till impedes the natural tonearm vertical/horizontal movements.

Please do it a favor and look this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_OUkLbSs24  ( at minute: 2.18. )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYE67fVny4c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMG59yxJGfs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLmpkPjkozs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuCdsyCWmt8&app=desktop  ( at the begining few seconds. )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4_GYfPZfq0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbQugDDaemQ


We can see several things, first of them is the way very hard task the stylus tip has to ride those tortuose groove modulations, cartridge/tonearm job should be really fenomenal for been faithful to the groove modulations information recorded there the other thing we can see is that the stylus tip ridding is almost " out of its control " almost at " random " as the self cartridge tracking habilities permits it.

And it's these critical microscopic out of control stylus tip movements the ones that must and should be " tamed " to lower the developed distortions/to lower the additional non recorded movements and for the stylus tip pick up a higher true groove modulations.
The developed forces down there are almost imposible to " tame " it the record speed/spin and inertia movements along those forces makes the silicon damping paddle the only option to improve that traking and at a result we will has better quality level performance.

All those info here is only my opinion and if you have a better solution to lower those almost " out of control " movements then please share with us
. For my part I'm always willing to change for something better in any audio subject.

Btw, @tomic601  is rigth when posted: 

"  Everything is a bell  "

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


hidden gem in there by both Ralph and Raul....about vac hold down or clamps or mat material causing a lack of air or is it ( my words ) just reducing a distortion we like ? .....
My Maplenoll Ariadne Signature uses a silicone trough in front of the cartridge on the LT air arm, this combination has a very special bass quality but makes record thickness important. Different record thickness not only changes the VTA but also the depth of the paddle in the trough, that again affect the Tracking weight. Tracking weight is best set with the paddle in the trough and the stylus in perfect play height. I only use this arm for thin records, and have a SME arm for thicker records.
Here is another cartridge article from from the past (B&O cartridge designer) https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Archive-Audio/70s/Audio-1979-03.pdf.

A couple of items to grasp is the amount of pressure (1000's of psi)  that the stylus is developing, the elasticity of the record (its deforming) and the incredible torturous path the stylus is tracking in highly modulated grooves (i.e. the high frequency that gives the air/life to the music).   

Everything matters.  If the 'system' is over-damped, the stylus will not be able to vibrate or change vibration as quickly - for an electrical equivalent consider it slew-rate (uv/sec) - and the sound will be dead and lifeless.  Under-damp and stylus can go out of control and you get distortion and record damage.  Critically-damped (system dependent) and it sounds great.  Of course this is no easy task and @rauliruegas dissertation above and this very post and so many others like this are clear evidence.

I have recently been playing with record mats; a thin leather mat was doing OK, but the suede-side collected lint (visible with UV light) and eventually gave it back to the record. The thin (3mm) Technics rubber mat did not attract lint (must be nitrile rubber - near neutral triboelectric-scale), but was relatively soft (estimate about durometer-50) and sucked the life out of the music (VPI 2" AL platter). I am now testing a 3-layer material as a platter mat (not marketed as a platter mat) that is much stiffer (durometer 85) and the sound is great (and the material may solve static issues - will know more this winter).   So the platter mat can have a profound influence because it couples to the record which is not infinitely stiff.

So, everything matters - but unfortunately the devil is in the details; and in many ways that 'can' be the appeal of playing records.  There are an near infinite number of ways to achieve success (and of course an equivalent near infinite paths to frustration).  


rauliruegas
... you can get way better quality sound using the " tape " around its arm wand. This is a must test you need to do it.

This other tape can helps you:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-Scotch-Super-33-3-4-in-x-66-ft-Electrical-Tape-6132-BA-10/100073402

this is a streched tape and this characteristc is the one that works the best ...
Wow! That's electrical tape. I'd never put gooey sticky electrical tape on a pickup arm. If my arm needed that, I'd dump it and buy a proper arm.
1++ @cleeds 
 
Cartridges come critically damped. That is what their suspensions are all about, but they are damped to work in certain types of arms as characterized by mass. If you go outside the mass they are "critically damped" for you will get into trouble. For on arm that is too light you simply at weight (mass.)  For an arm that is too heavy, you can take a hack saw to it or you can try and damped it further by various methods to spread out and flatten the resonance peak so that it might not interfere with playback. 
My own rule of thumb is to discount variables which are highly subjective. Hearing is one of them. Hearing is personal. You can only apply your own. Record playback is just a matter of very simple newtonian physics. Ok, maybe DS Audio enters the quantum realm.