VPI arm damping

being a new VIP 10.5i owner, and new to unipivot arms, for now not using any oil, any info or experiences with damping VIP arms, thanks mike
Hi Mike,

I've found that damping the arm to VPI's recommendations works much better than using no oil. Using the supplied oil, fill the cup about halfway, then seat the arm. Give it a minute and lift the arm, if you can see a thin strand of oil lifting up with the arm, then you know that you have sufficient damping. If no oil, add a tad more, until you get the thin strand upon the lift test. Go slowly, and do not overfill the cup.

I've had my 10.5 for a couple years now, and it is a great tonearm when properly setup. The proper damping did make a significant improvement.

hello john and thanks for the info, the itch to add oil got the best of me last night and i added enough to fill about half way, i found the sound got on the lifeless side so i took almost all of it out but a small amount on the very bottom of the well, the sound became much more open and airy, and better than no oil, on your findings what differences did you note when adding the damping oil, thanks again, mike
Hi Mike,

Well I guess it all depends on your cartridge/phono stage/amps/speakers. I know when I left the bowl low, the sound became thin and two dimensional. In my system, when the oil is applied as described, the soundstage opens up and becomes more realistic, especially in the midrange.

To each their own, but do keep experimenting by all means, and do report back on your findings...... it should be interesting.


In my experience with the VPI JMW-10, the optimal level of damping fluid has been very cartridge dependent. The cartridge I ran during most of the time period that I owned my JMW-10 was the van den Hul Frog. It sounded best with very little damping fluid in the well. Too much and the sound was dull, lifeless and very contrained - just as Stltrains described.
i just put a tom evens groove+ in my system, and john you are correct, different equiptment affects every thing, with the groove+ i had to add oil, increese tracking force, the groove+ is like no other phono stage i ever had the plesure to hear, it all adds up to, if you can, audition equiptment in your system before you buy, this could be the best thing you can do for your musical enjoyment, mike
I suggest you contact the cartridge manufacturer/importer. They know the best answer..it depends on the mass of the cartridge, arm, the damping of the cantilever, etc. Try a little damping and listen - if you don't like it, you can always go back.
Hi mike
Isnt it amazing that as your equipment gets more HIGH END the small changes can make such BIG differences.
Its no surprise that the groove+ responds to damping as it is designed using a townsend rock turntable.
Makes you wonder how the JMW would sound with a front damping
trough ala townsend?
That new beatles album i told you about is now out on vinyl
all the best
Hey terry, i am sure thats what makes our hobby so much fun.
I just got my copy of Love havent had the time to clean it so i can give it a listen. From what i have read its a winner.
its the music that matters for sure