VPI Classic

I recently purchased a VPI Classic and a Benz Micro Gullwing SLR. I am having a problem with the tonearm. When I play a record the tonearm wobbles back and forth. I had my dealer look at it, and they are not sure what is causing this problem. We looked at two other VPI's and they looked rock solid while playing compared to mine. I have tried calling VPI numerous times to see what they have to say regarding this issue, but have not been able to get through to them on the phone.

I have tried adjusting VTF from 1.9 to 2.1 with no change to the wobble. I have tried adjusting the Azimuth numerous time, and it still wobbles. Does anyone else have this issue? Is this normal? This is my first unipivot, so I am not sure if this is typical.
Hi, one thing I don't understand is, why didn't your dealer solve your problem? or go to bat for you?

VPI answers their phones from Tues to Thurs...
The tonearm should be rock solid. Something is forcing it to wobble. Make sure that the belt is not twisted or nicked. Also put your hand on the table while it is turning and feel for any vibration such as an out-of-roundness in the platter, or the motor shaft. Don't worry, Harry will make it right.
Agree with Stringreen, wobbling is most likely caused by the cartridge picking up a signal at it's resonant frequency. That may be the motor, belt, bearing or some external source - or perhaps the cartridge is faulty? Have you tried another?

If the table seems to be running smoothly (motor not excessively vibrating etc) I'd try a different cartridge first.
Yep, agree with Tobes and Stringreen. When I had a VPI, their unipivot arm was stable with any cartridge I used. If the table is running smoothly, the cartridge suspension is the first thing I'd suspect as the culprit.
VPI answers phone calls between 10 and 4 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It sounds like a cartridge problem.
I own the Classic and it does not exhibit the described behavior.
the dealer should replace.
Thank you for all the advice. The table seems to be running smoothly, and I can not detect any vibration. The table is dead level, and this is the second cartridge I have tried. I was using a Benz glider for about 4 days, and it wobbled just like the Gullwing SLR. I have also tried using two different counter weights with no luck. Could it be a problem with the unipivot bearing? My dealer and I both tried calling VPI, but I have not been able to get through to them. I just get a busy signal. Im sure my dealer will be able to get through to them next week. Is anyone using a Benz Micro cartridge with their VPI? Thanks again for your help.
Take off the arm tube and turn it over and check to make sure there isn't anything up inside the cylinder that would hinder the very sharp pivot point to seat correctly.

Also make sure that the very sharp pivot point is just that VERY sharp. If it got bumped or hit or dropped somehow, it would have damaged the point and made it blunt.
Should have stuck with your Rega!
Have you added the correct amount of damping oil? I noticed my Grado cartridge moving back and forth without the right amount of damping oil. Once I had the correct amount the cartridge settled down and was much smoother. I added oil a little at a time until I could pull a fine thread raising the tone arm. This may not be the best way be it worked for me on my VPI Aries I.
When you have sorted things out, can you report the differences between the Rega and VPI?
Well, I got a hold of VPI this morning. VPI thinks that I might need a little damping fluid and a different periphery ring. The Benz Gullwing is being effected by the stainless steel ring. Yes, I know stainless steel is supposed to be non-magnetic, but according to VPI some Benz Micro cartridges can be influenced by some of the rings they have manufactured. Some are less magnetic than others. So, they are sending me a ring from a new batch they just machined. You can see the cartridge being pulled towards the ring. Anti-skate is set correctly. So, earlier today I added two drops of damping fluid and that seemed to help quite a bit. I must also mention that VPI's customer service is great. They listened to my issues and were not familiar with my cartridge, so they did some research on my cartridge and called me back with some solutions to fix my problem. So far I am very happy with my treatment from VPI.

Anyways, the new table sounds great. It is a huge step up from my Rega! I loved my Rega and it sounded really good, but I didn't know until recently what I was missing. The VPI Classic has really transformed my system. The soundstage is much wider and deeper. Recordings that sounded flat on my Rega sound fantastic on the Classic. I also noticed a giant reduction in surface noise. So, overall I am very happy with my purchase.
If you are still having issue, you can debug yourself.

Does it wobble when the platter is not spinning but music is playing (play CD for example). If yes, it could be some feedback vibration from floor.

Does it wobble when the cue is up and platter is spinning? If yes, could be from the motor of the table.

You get the idea.
Seems like there could be a few things going on with your setup, but I'm still a little unclear on the plane in which the cartridge is wobbling. You said "back and forth," but did you actually mean "side to side" as in sides of the cart moving up and down, like a row boat when you rock it? Unipivot tonearms are very susceptible to any type of vibration and are rather unstable by design; that sharp spike is the only point where the entire tonearm articulates with the base so the tonearm has nothing to provide stability to it. In ideal conditions, it is not a problem, but if your table is not isolated well, it will wobble. It's simply the nature of unipivot tonearms. I used to own a VPI Scout and now have the Classic, and the Classic, even though in a different league, is not immune to mechanical vibrations that cause the cartridge to wobble unless it's perfectly isolated. I live in an apartment building that has rather "live" floors that carry vibrations easily, and I noticed listening at night results in almost no wobbling whatsoever, but during the day the cart wobbles slightly here and there, but it does not affect the tracking ability or sound. If you don't have it already, I suggest putting the equipment rack on a slab of concrete (or 4 thick concrete tiles, about $2 each from Home Depot), then putting the Classic on a maple block and the block on 4 Isoblocks. It worked great for me.
The the rear of the tonearm was wobbling like a bell. The damping fluid seems to have help with that. It will wobble for about 10-20 seconds and then it settles down with very little movement. I am using a salamander rack at the moment, but I think I might try to squeeze my Levinson 331 amplifier on the bottom of the rack for more stability. The rack is rather tall with my table on the top which is quite heavy. Maybe that will help further stabilize my table. All of the heavy components are near the top of the rack.
It does seem rather strange and I never heard of this problem before. I'd still suggest isolating your rack by putting it on an inert, heavy and solid base, and putting the Classic on a maple block. VPI recommends a maple block under its tables and for a reason--the improvement is not subtle. At least for me it wasn't. I would also double check the tonearm for any defects and the VTF and VTA settings, as well as the azimuth. If it was my table, I'd also take the tonearm to the dealer and put it on his Classic at the store to see what happens. If it doesn't wobble, you'll at least know it's not the tonearm.
Quite simply give it back!

I use a VPI Classic with no problems. I had a similar problem though with my older Linn/ Naim ARO. I think the ARO is so lightweight that the swaying effect is going to happen. The 10.5 on the VPI is pretty 'massy' so this shouldn't happen.

Change the cartridge...
Does anyone use a TT Weights outer ring with the Classic? They have a wide range of rings and prices, which I find more reasonable than the VPI periphery ring. How about clamps and center weights?
......,Changing to a flat record may be (sorry i m joking)
This should not happen , you have the 10,5 or the 9 inch arm i suppose, as it is a unipivot i dont see the problem , the arm maybe to high on the back but youve tried that already.
Is the table positioned stable and flat (measuretool) and are the srews of the arm tightened, i would try another cartridge then and see what happens .
Do you have the table standing on a wobbly floor?
also...VPI tables have 4 feet. When leveling the platter, check to see if the weight of the table is spread over the 4 feet. Its very easy to level the platter only to find one of the feet not even touching the table on which the turntable is resting.
Isn't there a slight problem with VPI arms that don't seat firmly onto the point of the unipivot bearing? (I've seen that before.) It's easy to lift the arm off of pivot and try to make sure it settles back onto the pivot correctly and firmly.
Someone asked about a TTWeights ring with the Classic. I have the 600g ring but find that it imparts an unpleasant metallic brightness to some material (is this what people call ringing? no pun intended) and now generally avoid using it. This is a shame since I very much liked what the ring did with my previous table. Maybe the copper ring is not a good match with the aluminium platter? I've sometimes wondered whether the much heavier (but, unfortunately, also much more expensive) VPI ring would avoid the same problem. Can anybody speak to this?
I was the person who asked about TTW and the Classic and have since purchased the 600g ring. I don't think I'm experiencing what you described; granted, I wasn't blown away as some said I would after using it, including the manual, but certainly now enjoy some of my warped records thanks to the ring, when I would simply not play them at all before.

I also wonder about the "ringing." The ring does not touch the platter; it simply flattens the record. Why and how could it impart any significant aural characteristic on the sound? Is there any science behind this theory, or is it simply nonsense?

Lastly, I don't care who machines the VPI ring and how sophisticated the process is; the price is beyond absurd for an accessory.
Update: I contacted Larry at TTWeights and asked him about ringing some users report with the Classic's aluminum platter and his copper rings. His response suggested that the problem lies not with the ring, as the ring does not resonate, but rather with the platter, which resonates like motherf..k (I'm paraphrasing the symbols he used to describe how badly aluminum platters resonate :). He suggested using the TTW copper mat or the new wood/copper mat designed specifically for the Classic to stop any resonance.

I find this explanation interesting as Harry favors bare platters, including the Classic. If aluminum resonates that badly, why would VPI, first, choose that material, and second, insist that the Classic sounds best with no mat?
Hmmm, I am a bit suspicious of claiming the platter as the culprit. If it is the platter, I assume you would hear the ringing without the copper ring as well, right? More likely to be either the fault of the ring itself or interaction between the copper ring and the platter, perhaps.
I certainly did not hear any strange or unusual ringing using VPI peripheral clamp. Anyhow, I don't have copper ring to compare so I don't really know.
However, I do have TT Weight copper mat with its free 1lb (I think) center weight to go with my Classic. First of all, the TTweight, despite being a bit lighter than VPI center weight that came with peripheral ring clamp, sounds quite a bit more dynamic than VPI clamp and I prefer it. The copper mat also helps quite a bit. The sound is more full body, richer. Without teh copper mat, sounds is a bit flat, a bit drier. However, it is a bit difficult to really compare copper mat and no copper mat properly. The speed will change a bit as confirmed by Sutherland Timeline strobe. I have to adjust SDS quite a bit to get timing just right. However, the change is not big enough for say, KAB strobe disc to pick out the difference. VTA is also a bit difficult and I adjusted these by ears as much as I could, thanks to VTA tower, at least it was reproducible. If you want a bit more body, a bit more warmth and dynamic without losing any detail or if the system is a bit on the cool, analytical side, I think the copper mat/center weight can help quite a bit.
Thanks for the advice Suteetat. I myself cannot say I noticed any "ringing" and I'm not quite even sure what that actually means. Is it a way of describing too much high frequency energy perhaps? Maybe it's just the rig becoming more resolving and detailed and some process it as overemphasis on upper frequencies? Certainly it something actually rings audibly there is a serious problem beyond the use of a periphery ring.

If possible, can you post a link to the mat/weight combo you were referring to? I saw the VPI mats from TTWeights but didn't see any free weight included. They do have a VPI weight, however, for $150 I believe. Btw, how did you handle the washer with the weight? Did you just remove it? If so, does the weight flatten the records as well as the VPI clamp? Thanks!
There is a difference between VPI's Super platter and the aluminum one that has now become the reference...it is used on the rim drive Superscout. The difference is mainly that the aluminum platter is less weighty and focuses more on the upper frequencies. I don't get the feeling that it RINGS....there is no overhang or sustaining of those highs that I can hear. Aluminum is much easier to get perfectly round so that its timing is a we bit better than the Superplatter. Used with the VPI clamp and ring, they both are excellent....just a bit different.
Actusreus, awhile ago TTweight was offering copper mat for VPI Classic along with it free 1 lb center weight as a package here on agon. I no longer see that offer on agon or on their site any more.
I never used VPI clamp as I ordered my Classic with peripheral ring clamp so it came with VPI/HR-X center weight instead of the standard threaded clamp. Both HR-X center weight and TTweight clamp are unthreaded and fit right on the spindle. I don't see any washer on the spindle.
The aluminium VPI platter sounds fine on its own. The Boston graphite mat was an unambiguous improvement with my previous Scout table (acrylic platter) but the Classic's strengths are much more evident without the mat. The Classic perhaps shades to the cool and dry side of neutral, but I wouldn't call it hard or bright. Stringreen, I'd be curious to know how you would describe the sound of the aluminium platter with and without the VPI ring (if this is the combination you have).

Actusreus, I remove the washer whenever I use the ring.
Interesting! I tried the Boston mat with the Scout but I thought it didn't improve anything so I shelved it. I agree about the Classic's character, and I also think it sounds great on its own. I now use the copper ring with warped records, and don't use with it flat ones. Larry from TTWeights claims the copper mat will elevate the Classic's performance big time, and I might eventually try it, but for now the Classic sounds great as is.
Yes, I use the ring now only when the record needs it, and to be honest I'm happy enough to continue doing that. One of these days I'll learn to quit while I'm ahead. Having said that, today I tried removing the plastic anti-skate attachment from the tonearm (I'm in the anti-anti-skate camp) and thought it sounded noticeably better without it.
I recently had a very similar problem with an Aries 3 and Benz Ace cartridge. Damping fluid did not eliminate the wobble. However, the previous owner had installed a Soundsmith Counter Intuitive. This slips over the counterweight and makes it easy to make small adjustments to VTF and azimuth. In the process it does add some decentralized mass to the arm.

I tried removing this, and now the wobble is history. Apparently it added just enough mass in the wrong place to cause the instability with my particular arm/cartridge.
I find this rather strange. I too use the Soundsmith device and it works great. Saying it adds "decentralized mass" is like claiming a counterweight with a few extra grams of weight would destabilize the tonearm, which is very unlikely if not impossible. As long as the VTF and azimuth are set correctly, I just don't see how the Counter Intuitive could contribute to the wobble under any circumstances.