Sell the VPI HW19 Jr, add the proceeds to your $1500 budget and buy a used VPI Classic
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Power Cord? What will a power cord do to increase performance on a HW-19 Table? Nada. SDS, yes, A SAMA, yes, a better Tonearm, Yes, Better Cartridge, Yes, Better Feet, Yes.
Don't be so sure, that a HW-19 modded to the hilt cannot stay alongside, and compete with a Scout, or even a Classic. The consist of parts, and how they are implemented will go far to play an influence as to the final sound.
A full blown HW-19 MK-IV Table, if VPI was still making it, would probably cost you north of $3,000 in today's market. That was probably one of the main reasons they discontinued it, too much work-labor-parts involved, and work-parts equates to $$$ spent.
All company's business models today are spend less, and make more, maximize profit, that's the bottom line.
You just perhaps recently missed on a nice MK-IV 16 lb Platter that was advertised here for literal Peanuts. One of the best Platters IMO that VPI ever made.
Making a new Plinth for the HW-19 to use another Tonearm is not that hard to do. Nor is having a welding shop cut you out a thick sheet of Steel as a sub-chassis sheet under the Plinth. 10 minutes with a template design, and a plasma cutter is all.
There's a million footers out there that will better the 5 cent rubber feet on the HW-19. Keep the Sorbo Pucks, they are hard to improve upon.
Some might laugh, but virtually any Tonearm could make its home on the HW-19, provided it will fit. Mark
Although VPI has discontinued production of the HW-19 Series, they still do carry some of the parts needed to do upgrades to the Table.
They sell what they call a MK-IV Plinth, which is sort of similar to the originally made MK-IV Plinth, but is now only a one piece sheet of 1/2" Black Acrylic, with a Steel Sub Chassis Plate. Price I believe is $300 shipped for it, and I'm quite certain that VPI will gladly pre-drill the Plinth Sheet for an Arm of Choice.
If they would possibly not have the specs on hand for any given choice of Tonearm, then all they would simply need is the Arm Mounting Template, and Tonearm Base Specs.
The only possible downside to this one piece Plinth, is if using a very thick Platter, rather than the thinner Junior Platter, one might have to have a Tonearm Mounting Base Spacer made to lift the Arm higher for better.correct adjustability of VTA height of the Arm.
Just about every Platter VPI ever made, past and present will fit the HW-19 Series, with the exception of the now gone Super Platter that was specifically designed for the Flagship HR-X Table.
AudioPoints, and others make direct replacement thread in 10/32 Brass Cone Point Feet, and Coupling Discs, that not only improve sonics to quite an extent, but also vastly improve the look of the Table as well.
The SAMA (Stand Alone Motor Assembly is still available, but improvements-tweaks can be made within the HW-19, to better isolate the original 600rpm Hurst Motor and its Bracketry.
The SAMA is actually the exact same 600rpm Hurst Motor, but it is within its own Metal Case, and thus is seperated from the Table's Base.
The VPI SDS is as well another option, and can be used with every VPI Table ever made, as well as other Belt Drive Tables that use an AC Synchronous Drive Motor.
You have made no mention of what Tonearm is presently on your HW-19? If a Rega RB-300, I believe the Origin Live Silver will be a direct drop in fit. If Audioquest, and at 211mm S-P, the Jelco ST-250ST should be a direct drop in fit, and is a good Arm for the little money spent.
Sure, you could probably place a Graham Arm, TriPlanar, or other very costly Arm on the Table, but some might say it would be akin to placing a silk hat on a pig. None the less, a Tonearm contributes a lot to a Table's final sonics, the better the Arm, often the better the sound without a doubt.
There's many audiophiles here who change Cartridges almost like I change socks, and thus, one can often find a very nice low hour MC, or MM Cartridge with a good savings versus new.
Over the years, I have upgraded my own HW-19 Table, even though some parts were no longer made, almost all the parts came from right here, used from other members.
When the parts surfaced, that was when I bought them, and the Table, which was once a work in progress has been taken just about as far as it can go.
My Table is outstanding in it's performance, teamed with an AQ-9 Arm, MK-IV Platter, custom Clamp, ZYX Airy 3X Cartridge, and Sutherland PhD Phono Stage. With the custom Plinth, Brass feet, custom 1.00" Black Acrylic Plinth, it is also a stunning looking "classic".
I think it would take a lot of $$$$ Table/Arm to drastically outdo this one I have. Mark
Good advise re upgrading the HW19. The biggest shortcoming of the HW19 Jr was the platter. It's lower weight compared to the HW-19 MK1, 2, 3, and certainly the MK 4 platters resulted in lower rotational inertia, hence poor speed stability; and also a lighter, less weighty sonic signature. The MK4 platter is definitely the ticket, but the regular acrylic/lead platters in the MK1-3 versions were also very good and a clear improvement over the Jr.'s. The MK4 platter is also more money and requires a thicker arm board, hence replacement of your Jr's arm board-less plinth.
I assume you have the Audioquest arm that was part of the Jr. "package".
Keep this in mind: the improvement of going from the Jr. platter to the regular Mk 1-3 acrylic/platter is greater than the improvement from that platter to the MK 4. The Audioquest arm (if that is what you have) was a decent arm. If your budget is a strict $1500, IMO the biggest bang for the
buck would be replacing the Jr. platter with a MK 1-3 platter, replacing your cartridge with something that grabs your attention after reading this:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1200430667&&&/Who-needs-a-MM-cartridge-type-when-we-ha, and buying a used SDS.
I replaced the entire suspension and plinth on my MKIII with a 1/2" X 3" brass "T" supported by 2" Brass columns. I drilled the bearing hole and machined a slot for my SME-V tonearm and the whole thing sits on sorbo pucks. I am using my SAMA to drive it. Total cost was around $250 for the new plinthless base.
Improvements - 3 dimensionality - no resonance and a height to the image. Also I use a Grado and by turning around the SAMA so the AC cord exits to the left and rear - no more hum! Maybe I post pix if I can get it together. Next upgrade $800 on the Classic platter and bearing assy. But one kid in college next year. I have to sell something. Maybe a kidney.
I wish i was that handy to make upgrades like that ,unfortunately beyond replacing a lightbulb i am not too handy. i srewed up a tonearm trying to replace a cartridge by pulling too hard on the pins and disconnecting them from the wire. Any upgrades would have to find someone in NYC area to do work witch all starts to add up. your upgrades sound great though
I'm fairly handy, and can assemble, lube, or mount parts without getting into too much trouble.
Still, when I decided to upgrade from the MDF Junior Plinth, to something different, I purchased the 1.00" thick Black Acrylic Plinth already pre-cut to size from a Plastics Company, and then took that brand new Sheet, and the original MDF Plinth to an accomplished machinist.
What he did, was pretty much copy the original, and made a clone, but insured that the 211mm S-P distance for the required Tonearm was within +- .003" tolerance. VPI was a little "off" on the Original Plinth's S-P spec by about 2mm.
I was originally seriously kicking around using 1.00" Aluminum Sheet as a Plinth Material instead, and this Material can be acquired from places such as McMaster-Carr. Was going to have it cut slightly oversize, let the machinist cut it to proper precise size, do all the needed machining-drilling-tapping, polish the top surface, then send it out to an Anodizer, and have it Black Anodized.
I think the Sheet of Aluminum a few years back was something like $125. And add about $200 for machining fees, and then the costs for anodizing.
I later decided Acrylic would be suitable, attractive, have good sonic qualities, since VPI also thought it was a worthy material, less expensive, but not easier to work with the Machinist claimed. Acylic when being worked has a nasty habit due to static electricity of sticking to everything!
I substituted the stock Sorbothane Puck Suspension with four Herbies Firm Tall Tenderfeet due to the added weight of Plinth, solid Steel Sub-Chassis Sheet under the Plinth, and a 16lb Mk-IV Platter. In stock Junior form, the standard firmness Tall Tenderfeet would work fine. Herbies Grungebuster Discs, and Washers were utilized all over the place on the table to very good effect.
My Table is a somewhat very similar clone to an original HW-19 MK-IV Table. I wanted to keep a very similar theme, and look, yet added a few nice touches-improvements.
The folks at VPI have seen Pics of it, and they were quite impressed. So was my buddy Doug Deacon here, saying it was the nicest HW-19 Table he's ever seen.
The beauty of the HW-19, is that it can be "personalized" in so many different ways ala Home Improvement center practically. As one example, one gentleman over on akarma took his Oak Base, to a Guitar Luthier, and had them shoot the Base in Tobacco Sunburst Finish. His reminds me of a Fender Stratocaster! Very nice.
If I can ever me of further service, and help to you, and others here, you are more than welcome to contact me.
I wanted to get away from the huge surface area of the plinth. My theory being that a large surface area would only serve to couple better to low frequency sound waves. Also brass has a very nice "ductile" quality making it a bit dead acoustically. But it is soft enough to be for machining the equivalent of basswood to carving. You can drill/mill and thread it fairly evenly.
The feet in the associated picture are coupled to the brass plates using 3 1/8" ball bearings in 1/16" holes around the periphery of the round rod. A single large screw in the center then assures a really high pressure contact point.
I ended up resting the whole affair on sorbothane pucks because I could hear less motor using a stethoscope on the "plinth". I've tried using spikes on the TT and spikes on the motor. But so far the best I've found is to rest the motor on it's original sorbofeet but on a couple of solid lead bars (came with an arcici lead balloon I used to own).
Any suggestions on belt material would be great too. I've tried dental floss. I think there's an improvement (I was in the middle of a lot of switching out stuff) but I couldn't keep the tension reliably and the TT would slow down.
Here's a front view:
Not sure which link to use also try here:
And from underneath:
The cable tie is holding the phono cable anchored to a TT support leg. Seeing if this sounds better than letting it hang free from the tonearm.
And the motor with a little switch box added:
The whole thing weighs considerably more than the old chassis (MKIII). And the sound now is much taller and more three dimensional. Using a Grado Sonata II, thinking of using one of these Soundsmith SMMC2-ST cartridges from Mapleshade - has anybody tried one of them?