upgrade VPI HW19 Mk IV or get a new table?

There was a discussion recently on upgrading the VPI HW19 TT recently, but I can't find it-I have a HW19 MKIV with a TNT platter and a SAMA. I am using an SME 4 arm and a Koetsu Urishi blue cartridge. Should I spring for a new "super platter" or other upgrades for the MKIV or keep the SME and Koetsu and go for a new tt? I don't think a JM arm will fit on the HW19, and I'm not sure it would buy me an improvement over the SME. Are the newer VPI's that much better than the HW19? What think you all?
Issue 35 of positive feedback online has the VPI article I think you mean. My friend just upgraded his 19 with the SuperPlatter, SDS and a Morch tonearm and it sounds great. I still like my heavily upgraded Scout better but for the incremental cost he thought the upgrade worth it. You should probably call VPI and ask about this directly. They are very helpful.

Good Luck!
The Mk IV is a really good turntable I had a very similar turntable set up but used the SME 4 silver wired arm and changed my arm to the Trans Fi Terminator Parrell Tracking arm it was a big increase in sound in all aspects I hear the SDS makes a difference but if using the old heavy duty TNT platter no need to change this no real difference in terms of sound
Tough to tell you which way to go? All depends I guess how much you want to spend, and what you don't like about your Turntable in its current state?

I assume your MK-IV Table ha seperate Armboard, so there is the option of a different Arm, even if VPI no longer sells the Armboards. There are Plastic Companies out there who can fabricate a clone of the Armboard, then have a competent Machinist drill the Mounting Holes, and Hole in the proper place for new Arm.

There are some who will agree,, that the HW-19 is of course a dated design, being made for just about 25 years, and as well, it of course isn't the prettiest Turntable to come down the Pike, yet still a darn good Table that IMO sonically surpasses its look.

Better Arms, Better Platters of course will net you gains, and perhaps better flexibility-adjustability.
The gains you may net may not be worthwhile though, versus the cost?

Of course, there's the little tweaks, footers, shelves, Clamps, suspension, or lack of (Sorbothane Pucks) that may cost less, and give reasonable improvements. I don't see mention of the VPI SDS in your arsenal, and that's another option?

Of course if you too hypothetically upgraded to a Super Platter, which one would hope to be an improvement, the stock MK-IV Platter can easily be sold to offset the cost of new Platter.

There's many paths, and one could even go custom, with all new Sandwiched Acrylic-Steel-Acrylic Base, and Footers, ala Aries MK 3, or HR-X, if you have the resources of a materials supplier, and a competent machinist on hand.

I almost thought of doing this myself when I did some recent Mods on my own HW-19 a month ago. Mark
Thanks all. No, I don't have an SDS. You know, it's not that I sit there and say I don't like my setup. It's just that I wonder if I am missing out on something..Joey54, what do you like more about your Scout as compared to your friends' MK IV?
The TT is sitting on a Brightstar stand-the one with the sand and the vacuum bladder, and it's in another room than the speakers, so I don't worry about interaction, and I probably don't need something as esoteric as the Brightstar, since it is in a different room. Looks don't count either. I didn't know that VPI stopped supplying the armboards.
My table is on springs-if I replaced them with the sorbothane stuff, how thick should I cut it, and does it make a difference?
look up 'anumber1' on VA-he's got a HW-19 (which he prefers to other tables he's heard/used). He's a great guy, knows his shit, and will be happy to answer questions through e-mail.

BTW, the SDS made a large, and immediately noticeable, improvement to my rig (Aries 2 ext., JMW 12.5). Buy used for 650/700, you can always re-sell for the same price. But trust me, you won't.
Many of the replacement parts, and the upgrade paths are now gone for the HW-19. You "Might" be able to get things like On-Off Switches, the Hurst Motor, or a SAMA if they're not on backorder. AFAIK, the Sorbothane Pucks are no longer available, and don't pop up much anymore. Thier availability used began to wane many years ago. It's been a good two years now that the HW-18 has been discontinued.

Of course, the two largest, and most influencial upgrade components to your system I feel, will be the Cartridge, and the Phono Stage.

Say as an example, you're using something like a EAR 834P, PS Audio GCPH, or other $800-$1500 Phono Stage, and now step up to a $3K-$6K Stage, let's say the Modwright, Aesthetix Rhea, or such, the differences will be substantial.

Sounds to me that you have taken many measures to insure good isolation, and as you know lowering noise floor is very important, regardless of what components are being used.

I cannot comment on the Koetsu Urushi, but as well, here a difference of sound would be noted with another brand no doubt.

As for Sorbothane Puck Height, I'm going to guess the the Pucks were 1-1/2" diameter, and about 2" tall. As I'ms sure you know, height will be important so that Plinth with sit correctly within Base, so you can re-install Motor Pulley Cover if you use it. With the SAMA of course, on can shim to adjust to correct height for Platter Belt. Rubber, or even Metal Shims could be added with the Sorbothane to add additional height if needed. Mark
I had a VPI mk4 that started as a VPI Jr. I gradually upgraded to the mk4. It was a very good table, but I ended up selling it to buy a VPI Aries 2 with the JMW 12.5 arm. This was a huge improvement in my system. The non suspended Aries 2 is much more dynamic and has much more of a live sound. The mk4 is much more of a laid back softer sound. I did not really notice it until I replaced it with the Aries. By the way, I had the JMW 10 arm on my mk4 (so to answer your question, you can use the JMW on the HW-19 table).
You can use virtually any Tonearm you wanna pay for, you can place any SME, TriPlanar, Morch, Shroder, Graham 2.2, Phantom, you name it, all that is required is another Armboard. If memory serves me correctly, the standard Armboard was .500" thick, the Super Armboard was 1.00" Thick, and probably other than the sonic improvements claimed, was better suited for the thicker MK-IV Platter, and whatever Pivotal Tonearm would be paired with it.

Great thing about the HW-19, it is a tweaker's dream.
Some of the first things to go on my own HW-19, were stock Tonearm Cords, going to pure Silver, the Rubber Feet, being replaced by Brass AudioPoints, and Coupling Discs, and these did make a nice improvement sonically, and cosmetically. The Stock LP Clamp went as well, going with a more massive custom affair made by a good friend.

Some have even dumped the Spring Suspension, and the Sorbothane, going with something like Black Diamond Racing Pucks, or the like.

A HW-19jr, just converted with MK-IV/TNT Platter, like mine once was, (Or maybe even a Super Platter) might be "soft" as some might say, due to perhaps the MDF Plinth. I've recently switched to one piece solid 1.00" thick Black Acrylic custom made Plinth, and my sound seems to be more articulate, and dynamic. Others have liked materials like Corian.

Part of the things getting better, and better all the time with my rig, is my ZYX Airy 3 beginning to really come to force with more hours of break-in time on it.

And as all fellow Goners know, that Cartridge-Arm set-up is so critical with any Table. I've found this out, and also even the top gurus here recently have, just read the thread on the Mintlp Protractor.

VPI's Harry W as well has recently chimed in, in another thread about JMW Arm Set-Up, and I will add, that these modern Cartridges are quite finnicky-sensitive, and to get the best from them, don't assume anything, nor trust what others might say is optimum for any particular brqand-model. VTA, VTF, and alignment, azimuth, just to mention a few besides loading, and gain will need to be perfectly suited for your own particular Cartridge. mark
I adjust VTA by the thickness of the LP on my JMW arm (this is easy to do and can be done on the fly with a turn of the knob on the tower of the arm). The difference in sound is substantial (to the point that if I forget to make a proper adjustment, I can immediately hear the difference).
Well, it seems to me from responses here that the HW19 still has some life left in it, and there are some tweaks I can fool around with before plunking down a lot of money.
Thanks to all for contributing your knowledge.

Bill, I enjoyed the thread as well. I've owned my own HW-19 for a good 11 years, and have no regrets for the money I spent, it's been a great ride. I thank Harry, and company for making this fine Table, and they have backed it all these years with good help, and suggestions.

One beauty of the HW-19, is that although the Table is no longer made, there are literal thousands of them still in fine operation, and just like you, and I, there are others here who still tinker with these, with upgrades, and mods, so once you acquire any new, or newer, or different parts, the no longer needed parts aren't exactly a throw away in the garbage can item.

I have never had a problem here, selling the no longer needed parts from my Table, everything from Platters, Clamps, and even the original Jr. Plinth just recently.
Every single part from the HW-19 is valuable to somebody out there, and I believe the demand will increase over time, as VPI provides less, and less parts for these fine Tables.

I believe comments such as the HW-19 being darker, or warmer than this, or that Turntable will be hard to accurately determine, due to no two set-ups being identical. Some have said, the new Super Platter is one of Harry's finest accomplishments to compliment his Turntables. I have no doubts this Platter (and Bearing Design) would take virtually all VPI Tables, past, or present, that use a lesser Platter to a whole new better level of performance.

I could probably very easily sell my mint MK-IV Platter, that doesn't have a microscopic mark on it anywhere for $500-$550 right now, and this sale would offset the cost of new Super Platter.

I believe I can be contacted privately through this site. If you would like to see some pics of what I have done to my own HW-19, drop me a line, I'll gladly send some pics if interested. A few, even my buddies like Doug Deacon have claimed mine is one of the nicest they've seen. Mark
I had a Mk. IV with a Graham 1.5t arm. This table is now in a friend's system. He switches out the arm, most often using an SME 309. The table sounds good with any good quality arm on it.

After a certain cost/quality point, differences between tables can be more a matter of taste/system matching than an absolutes about which is better. I am sure there are tables in the same sonic family as the Mk. IV that are, in absolute terms, superior, but they are going to cost WAY more. I think my Basis Debut vacuum table has the same kind of sound (well dampened and not as "lively" as some other tables), and is superior, but the price difference is VERY substantial. In short, your VPI table is more than good enough so that you are already on the steep part of the slope of the "declining marginal return" curve. I personally think this table is more than good enough to justify use with top quality arms, like the Triplanar, Vector, and the SME IV you already have.

If you have a helpful dealer, easier alternative upgrades to try would be a cartridge change or phonostage change. Both tend to make huge differences, and home trials are more of a possibility.
"It's just that I wonder if I am missing out on something"

I haven't heard your table but I would guess that you are missing out on the toe-tapping rhythmic excitement that a Rega P9 would deliver in comparison to your HW19. When I went to buy my first table in 2002, I listened to a HW19 and thought, "wow - nice." A few days later I heard a far less expensive Rega, and bought it on the spot. It's still my only turntable.

Again Hukk, not to discredit you, as I'm sure you made the very best choice for yourself.

But, there's just too many variables. I once heard an $8400 Linn Turntable that didn't impress me one bit. And neither did its looks, looking very nice, but nowhere near being worth the $8400 asking price. BTW, this was at the old Linn Store on Clark Street in Chicago. Within the same day, I heard a crap $3400 pair of Linn Speakers Demoed at Doctor's office levels, and was expected to fall head over heels in love with them.
In thruth, I think some of the Linn boys at the dealers are full of cow plop.

I've heard Gyodecs, I've herad a couple of Sotas, I've heard many of the VPI, I did very much like the original Aries.

But I'll confide, I haven't heard Tables like the Rockport, the Galibier, the top line Clearaudios, the Teres, the Avid. I'm sure many of these Tables are almost as good as sex, within the right system, and the right components to make them shine.

It's tough to say, that any of the VPI Tables are this, or that. I might be able to magically transform an entry level prehistoric HW-19Jr with a Graham Arm, and a Dyna XV-1 Cartridge, with a killer Phono Stage Downline. Really, it's like who's to say that this "meager" Turntable cannot showcase such world class "extras"? Set-up certainly accounts for quite a bit.

Most of the gurus will agree, a mid-fi Table-Arm-Cartridge set up correctly can sound better than $50K worth of the same gear, set up poorly.

Agin Mr. Hukk, alsolutely no disrespect to your findings, or comments. Thank you for posting your personal findings, I deeply enjoy threads such as this.
"It's just that I wonder if I am missing out on something"

This is what keeps the audio business going.
Having had the II, III, IV, Aries original, Scout, Scoutmaster at different times, these are all great tables, and on a very level, heavy stand and good cartridge, set up fanatically perfect, will deliver very musical reproduction from all of these. The SME IV is a great arm. A bigger factor will be the matching of your amp and speakers. Having the right dammping factor is far more critical than the choice of these tables which are all very good. The improvement from the II to the Scoutmaster is audible, but not as dramatic as ammp/speaker differences. Focus on big difference opportunities.
I have an HW19, though not sure which version. I upgraded it from the original model I bought in the 80's. It has the SAMA, thick arm board, acrylic plinth, and thick black platter (not the acrylic/aluminum one that I think would make it a iv). About 15 years ago I replaced the springs with sorbothane pucks (remove the metal rings) and got a slight improvement, the music being a little less laid back. The change required no shimming of any kind as the height of of the plinth was perfect. I have about 8 pair of these pucks and use them on everything. Walker uses sorbothane to isolate his turntable platform so the stuff is still available in some form, if not the pucks.
Good isolation is really important perhaps use a wall shelf if you can or have it mounted on Buthers Maple board
I am waiting for VPI to send me the super scoutmaster plinth to replace my old HW19 Chassis and will also get the rim drive and SDS in the process I am keeping my super platter I have the lead version which is just as good as the super platter. The main reason VPI no longer makes this is because of laws around using lead not because of sonics
Its possible to do this in stages if you have the SAMA motor the Super scoutmaster chassis is actually quite reasonable $350 and in theory should be better than the HW19
I have a friend who is making his own chassis out of slate and using the Verus motor by Teres, its also possible to get a plinth arcylic sandwich made
I think the HW19 is a really good turntable and no need to go down the same extremes as me but once everything is put together and bedded in I will compare the rim drive with the Verus and report back and also let you know my thoughts around difference between the HW19 mk4 and Super scoutmaster
I look forward to hearing your thought on the rim drive vs the Verus motor.