VPI HW 19 - replacing springs with pucks or cones

I have a VPI HW 19 turntable and have read in several places about a modification whereby the suspension springs are removed and replaced with sorbothane pucks or cones. Does anyone have experience with this modification? Opinions as to benefits vs. detriments? Most importantly, what size/brand/type of puck or cone works best? Thanks.
Hello, I believe VPI still sells the Sorbothane Pucks, and quite a few, inlcuding Harry W. himself said he liked the Sorbothane better than the springs. Prehaps the Springs could be "iffy" dependent upon the room, or how they were tuned.

Or you could turn around, and give DJ Casser at BDR your money, and by the time he gets through with you, you probably could've bought yourself a new Turntable.

Hopefully, some others can chime in here, about reasonably priced Cones as a good-better substitute to the VPI Sorbo Pucks.

Generally, when I read about Rubber, Sorbothane, Sand, the next following sentence, or response usually says "It knocks-kills all the life from the sound".
In my TNT I replaced sorbethane in the stock elephant feet with hard maple pucks machined on a lathe. Alternatively you could cut up a wood dowel.
I don't agree with Mark's comments about sand. A sandbox under my VPI provided me with one of the biggest improvements in image solidity, quietness, blackness of background, etc. at one of the cheapest prices I've ever paid.
Hello Opus,
As I said, these statements I "read" came from other folks, and were not my personal findings.

You probably will agree though, that what tweak-mod might work very well with one Table, may actually fall on it's face with another.
Sorry for not clarifying better, and also apologies to the original poster taking this off on another tangent, as he's asking about what's suggested as best to place between Plinth-Base on his HW-19 Table. Mark
I used to own a VPI mk4 TT. D J Casser cut the bottom half (at the tip) off 4 BDR cones for me. I set these on top of the springs and placed the plinth on the flat side of the cones. It was a big improvement for me. The sound was less warm with a big increase in dynamics giving a more "live" sound to the music.
Thanks, Mark. No problem, and your point is well taken.
Thanks to all who have responded so far. Based on Mark's response, I contacted VPI's on line help. Apparently they stopped selling pucks. The answer I received was that customers have reported that cut-up portions of the styrofoam "Noodle" pool toy sound fantastic. [I then (jokingly) asked what color sounded best.] At $3 per "Noodle," BDR products seem ridiculous. I'll give it a try, or perhaps some wood pucks as Dgarretson suggested. Thanks also to Opus for the sandbox suggestion. I've been looking into the Bright Star Big Rock and may give one a try as well. (Apparently, the tweaking never ends.)
Mike at VPI told me the same thing about the "noodles" They are not styrofoam, but are of a cell type nature, I just don't know what the material is. You can buy Sorbothane, but at he thickness needed it gets pretty expensive. You will see why some of this Sorbothane tweek stuff is so expensive. You can buy bulk Sorbothane at McMasters Industrial supply. Other people have used brass cones, Herbies Tender feet.
Geez, Then it's evident, that VPI has chosen to get as far away from the HW-19 as possible. Darn shame, as if they chose, they could still be providing some of these parts, and upgrades paths for literal tens of thousands of these tables still in operation. I believe there would still be a market for these parts.

No dohbt whatever parts are left in stock, are leftovers from old production, and they are not buying anything to keep stock up.

Not dissing VPI, but fact is, they didn't sell any of those parts without making a marginal profit.

A shame as well, that no third party picked up the ball, with things like custom Plinths, ArmBoards, Footers, and other tweaks.

As for the Bright Star Big Rock, one could make a very good clone at a considerable savings. A smaller sheet of 3/4" MDF 2'x4' would be enough to make the Bottom, and the insert for top, in which Places Like Home Depot sell for about $8

4" wide Oak for the sides, some Sand, some glue, and clamps, and where the gaps are around the SandBase Plinth, use 1/2" foam weatherstrip to hide the Gap. Shouldn't cost much more than $35 tops, even with some Stain, and poly Varnish.

I think I have a link for this simple DIY Sand Base, and will try posting it. Mark
Here's the link for the DIY Sandbase, for some good basic ideas. It is under Isolation Devices. http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-accessories.html
The noodle material is called 'polylam'. I used springs, sorbothane and just recently changed over to the polylam. So far I prefer it to the springs and
sorbothane. Give Mike at VPI a call as he was quite helpful regarding this.
Ok, I knew there had to be some official name, but for us plain folks, can we call them noodles ?? What color did you pick ?

Seriously, the only question I had is how to accurately cut them each to the exact length ?
yeah Opal inquiring minds wanna know, I'm at this very stage
with my MK 4.Right now it has the VPI sourced sorbothane pucks (if you wanna call them that) they're more like mush now,from the weight of the platter. Need an option for this I really am leaning toward maple ...uhhhh PUCKS! as they'll be a better match for this platter.Does anyone have any ideas as to what height they must be? as vpi states in the literature that you need 3/16 of depth from the top of the base...

I wound up using packing material made up of the same stuff as the noodles.
I cut it up very carefully with a large, sharp kitchen knife and had to cut quite a lot of pieces before I got enough of them to be exactly the same height. Getting things level was the most tedious part. I placed them on my wall mounted shelf and rested the plynth on them , not between the plynth and base so they wound being 3.5" high. If you don't have the SAMA this is also good way to isolate the plynth from the motor. If you want them between the plynth and base, I think around 1.25 inch tall should be high enough. Give it a try. It's cheap, and only takes a few hours.

Another thing you may want to try instead of the sorbothane is Navcom.
I beleive this was VPI's original replacement for the springs, and when this was no longer available they touted the sorbo. Hunters use it to dampen vibrations on their riffles and arrows, They're sold as Sims Limbsavers and are available at:

Can the rifle dampeners be just dropped in place on the 4 corners of the base of my HW-19 mkII? I just added a Superplatter and SAMA and VPI suggested the noodles but I'm having trouble finding the right size diameter noodle. If the rifle dampeners could be used as a drop-in, and were just as/more effective ,I'd just go that route. Any experience with this?
I have'nt tried the NAVCOM [rifle dampeners, limb savers] material yet. Just threw that out there as a suggestion hoping someone had and would comment on it. My guess is that you would have to cut them down too, but give the vendor a call. Maybe they can give you the dimensions. You also may want to try those scientific supply places.
I'm quite happy with the noodle material right now, nice improvement over the sorbothane, so I did'nt pursue it [Navcom] any further.
The nice thing about the noodle material besides the sonic improvement is it's very cheap and can be cut to any height and width. So just cut it down and trim it till it fits . You can use your springs as a guide for the width. You may want to glue some thin wood strips to cover the holes where the springs went.
I suggest cutting out the middle man so-to-speak and just put them between the plinth and whatever you're resting the table on, not between the plinth and base as is done with the springs or sorbothane. This is also Mike @ VPI's suggestion. If you have a SAMA they should be cut around 3.5 inches high. You can use
some rubber washers if needed to help level things out.
Hope this helps -Frank
I would think that the noodles between the base and plinth(where the pucks and springs are) gives you more isolation, as it is another layer of isolation. I would think then the base has some isolation from what it is sitting on via cones or the like ?
I agree the base can be another layer of isolation providing you can properly isolate it. My reasoning was why bother going though the trouble and expense of isolating it when you can just take it out of the equation. Aside from adding their own sonic signature, those pucks, cones etc... can get pretty pricey.
Personally, I wish I could remove it all together, but then
where will I rest the dust cover?
Like I said the beauty of this stuff aside from the fact that it really works is that it's dirt cheap so you can try it every which way.
Take care - Frank
Frank, if you take away the base, you would have a Basis 1400 !!! Which is just a plinth sitting an 3 posts !! That would be a Basis HW-19.

Where did you finally get the noodles, and how big around were they ? Mike at VPI told me about them a year or so ago.
Then the Basis 1400 must be a damn good sounding table!
But kidding aside, IMO the TNT platter and the VPI HW plinth are superior to the Basis two slabs of acrylic.
You can get the noodles at, get ready for this

Toy's R- Us

or any swimming pool supply outlet. But it's a seasonal thing,
so if they don't stock them just Google pool noodles. They usually come 2 - 3 inches in diameter.
There is also rectangular shaped packing stuff made of the same material [polylam]. This is what I wound up using as the noodles were not yet available.
Just in case it's not obvious, there's alot more to the differences in a Basis and VPI, such as the bearing, platter, plinth, construction, geometry, etc..
I understand that and I was'nt trying to compare the 2 tables. What I was trying to say was, just because it now might resemble another table, it does'nt necessarily make them the same or even a hybrid of the two.
Not to mention it was a joke, but basically a 1400 is a plinth in the air on 3 posts, that was all I was saying, in refernce to what opal was doing. It was almost like you were wanting to discuss the superiority of the Basis 1400, and if that is the case you have won. It is superior.
sorry, didn't mean to over burden it. subtle humor often gets lost over the net, and there is a lot of surprisingly ignorant assumptions that get bandied about 'round here by the innocent. I was simply making a point for the subtleties involved, not a judgment about the merits of either table. carry on...
Actually I have 4 pieces of the noodle stuff under my table.
If you ever get around to this mod, send me an eMail and let me know what you think of it.

Apology accepted, even us innocents can get touchy sometimes when it comes to our gear.
I am using the Limbsaver navcom pucks with great success. I was having trouble isolating my TT mounted on the wall from the closure of a door that was solved 100% by these. There are a couple of choices but one size has a stud that screws right into the threads in the plinth. Worked perfectly today as someone slammed the door with a test pressing of Michael Bloomfield playing. Tracked like a charm.
What were you using before the limbsavers, and aside from helping to isolate your table from the closing door was there a sonic improvement?
I gather you placed them between the plinth and base. If you did, was any modificaton of the base or the limbsavers necessary?
I've heard alot of HW-19 users replace the springs with the sorbothane to help eliminate footfalls. I've never had that problem as my TT is wall mounted. I just wanted to experiment with different materials to improve the sound.
Thanks - Frank
I was using the stock springs prior to experimenting w/ other materials. My initial goal was to isolate the TT from wall borne vibrations as I couldn't safely play a record without running the risk of a skip/scratch. I tried a number of different isolation techniques from mass loading to bubble wrap but the closing door won the vibration battle time after time. Both the sorbothane pucks and the Navcom pucks worked well with a slight improvement coming from the limbsavers. The sound was perfectly similar with all 3 methods of suspension but getting rid of the springs allowed better isolation from the wall. The number that worked for me without modification was #3003.
My HW19 MK III came with the sorbothane pucks... but I removed them and have gone back to the Springs. I like the springs better. They lighten up the sound some to my ears.
Yu might try cones into a slab of Maple with Sorbothane under it. I believe this will give you the cleanliness of the cones with the islolation of the sorbothane.
The "limbsaver" you refer to is that a product from the Sims Vibration Labs catalog? Which item?
Just a little note, but didn't the old VPI HW-19 Junior come stock with the sorbothene units installed at the factory? I believe they did and worked well as far as footfalls and vibrations. I had a couple of friends of mine who had the old AR turntables and you could not walk in the same room without skipping the record, and another friend who had the HW-19 Junior, and never had any problems with footfalls, although it is a difference in designs!