VPI HW19 Mk IV platter upgrade, speed variations?


I recently purchased an upgraded HW19 Mk IV with a VPI upgraded platter. The upgraded platter is so thick that it keeps the dustcover from closing when the record clamp is on. The cover also presses against the tonearm when the clamp is not in place. I have an overhang above my turntable, so leaving the dust cover open is not an option.

In lieu of buying a taller cover, I have reinstalled the old platter, which was included. Aesthetically, it's much improved, and the cover is functional again.

However it seems as though I detect some platter speed variation with the original platter.

I wonder several things:
- First, I'm not sure the variations are real - I'm just beginning to get back into vinyl after a 15-year haitus. So, my ear and my benchmarks may be off. I would think the VPI would be good enough that speed fluctuations would be nearly inaudible???

- Would the significantly greater mass of the upgraded turntable smooth out platter speed variations, to the extent that they're audible?

- Might there be a problem with either the belt or motor, due to wear/age, and this is the root problem that the previous owner tried to overcome w/ the upgrade?

- How does one measure platter speed variation, to be sure?

- I'd like to just sell the upgraded platter and bearing, since this solves my dustcover problem, but not if the upgrade gives a real and significant improvement.

Any thoughts/observations/guidance would be appreciated.
I also own a VPI HW-19 Mk4 with the upgraded (TNT) platter, bearing, and springs. I found this upgrade SIGNIFICANTLY improved the performance of the HW-19, due to the increased mass of the platter which results in better speed stability (flywheel effect), quieter LP playback, and improved dynamics and transparency. I have the tall dustcover on my turntable, but I always remove it when playing records so the cover does not resonate.

FWIW, my suggestion is: DO NOT undo the platter upgrade -- it makes the HW-19 Mk4 a much better turntable. Instead, think about the following 3 options:
1. buy the tall dustcover (which I think is the best idea);
2. remove the low dustcover when playing LP's;
3. buy one of the after-market acrylic "shields" that sit on top of the platter and have a raised section that extends above the tonearm.

The VPI motors do not "wear out" in the literal sense -- they either run or don't run, in my experience. About 2 years ago, I called VPI and talked directly with Harry Weisfeld about this, and he said don't worry about the motor until it fails. The drive belt, however, benefits from periodic replacement, as it can stretch a bit. You can improve the performance of the belt by dusting it with baby talcum powder ever 3 months or so. (Put the belt in a small zip-lock baggie, add some talc, and shake the bag. Then remove the belt and shake off the excess talc.)

Obviously, it's your decision about whether or not to sell the TNT platter/bearings/springs and go back to the lighter platter. If you do, however, you are giving away some real performance improvements solely to avoid some inconvenience with the dustcover.
I just upgraded my Mk3 to a MK4. I highly recommend you keep the Mk4 and spend $160 on the tall dustcover. Call VPI directly to order. Ditto everything else Sdcampbell said.

Thanks for your comments. I'm glad I wrote in. I didn't want to sell the platter until I was convinced I was moving in the right direction.

I'm generally a little suspect of the hype in the industry, and don't always assume that upgrades, even expensive ones, and going to yield significant, audible results in my system.

That being said, I thought I detected some speed variation after I put the old platter back on, and it seems as though there is a consistent opinion that the TNT platter is going to make a difference in this respect, at least.

I'll play it some more, then swap the upgraded platter back on and see what difference it makes.

I just got the TT last Friday, and hadn't had a chance to get VPI's tall cover pricing. $160 is reasonable, and about half what I expected.
I removed my dust cover(the tall one) and all the hardaware, Just something more to rattle around. I just set the dust cover on the 'table when not in use. By all means keep the platter. Do you have the SAMA? (stand alone motor assembly)Highly recommended. I absolutely do not use the dust cover when playing records. Makes a big reverb chamber! I also give the clamp a little spin to bring the platter up to speed. Saves belt wear. Also a speed contoller, but VPI's SDS is $1000. I have an old PLC, VPI's predecessar to the SDS. I'm on my third one. Things have a tendency to fry and VPI will no longer fix them.
Good luck!
>>The cover also presses against the tonearm when the clamp is not in place.<<
What kind of tonearm is this?

Get a KAB strobe kit to check rotational accuracy.
Not sure if you guys are even members but I found this thread on Google. Curiously the flutter effect on the VPI 19 Jr platter was audible to me also, most noticable on piano pieces. The Mark III lead filled platter, weighing 7 lbs, eliminated this effect, at least it did not attract my attention as the Jr platter had. It was recommended by VPI that the Scout platter/bearing assy was the next cheaper and better upgrade than the MkIV platter. By the way a Scout platter is a drop in upgrade on the 19 MKIII stainless steel plinth. It IS however a full pound LIGHTER than the the thinner MKIII platter and I think I am hearing slight flutter again!! I am considering a MKIV platter now, any thoughts? Also found that the puck suspension was a better isolation method than the springs.
those who are experiencing speed flutter may need to check and adjust for accurate spindle to platter plumb. Observe the clearance space between the bottom of the platter and the plinth; place a an index card on the plinth and mark it where the platter-bottom aligns. Turn the platter manually or run the motor, while observing for any clearance variations at the mark on the card. If any rotational wobble is observed then you must adjust one or more of the 3 allen screws around the platter's center to correct the alignment. Rotate one of the screws about 1/4 turn, keeping track of which screw is turned, in which direction, & how far it was turned. It's a short process of elimination to determine what adjustments are required to level out the platter.
I Had VPI shave the top on my Clamp and now the cover clears tit while playing. I really do not hear any difference with the cover off.

I had also a bit of problems when I upgraded my own Jr 6 weeks ago to a older Mint 18lb MK-IV Platter.
yes, with the VPI two piece (conjoined as a one piece) Black Spindle Clamp It would touch the inside of the Cover. Upon doing a bit of thought on solutions, discovered that VPI had placed a Rubber Spindle Washer on top of each Sorbothane Puck, so those were removed, and of course then, the Motor Cover would've contacted the Motor Pulley, so fout thicker Rubber Washers were placed between the Motor Cover, and the three Standoffs, and that solved that.

If the Bearing-bearing Well is the older style, once can slightly lower the Bearing in how it rides in the Bearing Well by Slightly unscrewing the Brass Plug at the bottom of the Bearing Well. Just make sure that there's some clearance between the bottom of the Flange of the bearing (What the Platter rests on) and the upper surface of the Flange of the Bearing Well. Provided there's no contact-rubbing, there's no problem. This also may permit you to achieve an acceptable VTA, without having to have the Tonearm as high.

Now onto Platter fluctuations. Most likely with the heavier Platter, your Platter Belt is no doubt old, stretched, and now has difficulty with the heavier Platter. These only last a year, or so, then are stretched a bit too much to be adequate. Get a new Belt. Make sure you have cleaned, and lubed the Bearing, and Bearing Well contact surfaces with a very fine coat of Oil. Mobil 1 10-30W works fine for this.

I also have no idea which Tonearm you are using, but as we're all aware, yes the taller 4" Dustcover would be one option, and the others depending how much clearance you're lacking may be solved by other fixes.

Generally, the HW-19 came with 4 very thin Cork Pads that sat at each corner of the Turntable Base, which the Dustcover rests upon. These can be removed, and replaced with a thicker pad, and people like McMaster-Carr carry these neat little Bumpers, and can be gotten in a more attractive clear Silicone Bubble Shaped 1/2 round Bumper. This will perhaps give you another 1/8" clearance. The other cheap fix option is to raise the rear of the dustcover by loosening the 2 Hinge Clamps at the rear of the Table, raise the Dustcover off the rear two bumpers by another 3/16", and then tighten the Hinge Clamps back up.

Of course, this may not still cure your problems, or you may feel that they are not sound fixes, and things are still a little bit too close.

This was what I found, and to cure my own Spindle Clamp clearance issues, I went ahead, and had my Machinist friend fabricate a beautiful solid Billet, Polished Aluminum Clamp Puck to my specifications, 9With 1/4"x20 threaded central hole) and it works perfectly, allows plenty of clearance now, and looks beautiful. If anyone wants to see a pic of how this looks, drop me a line privately, I'll shoot off a pic to you.

Since I am using an AQ PT-6 Arm, there were no clearance issues with the Dustcover, but there sure was a lot of Tonearm Mounting Shaft showing due to raising the Arm to achieve proper VTA with the thicker MK-IV Platter.

Again, for a nominal price, my friend Machined a .5" Aluminum Spacer Donut Shim, with three holes for the mounting Screws to Plinth. All I needed then was three longer screws (1-1/4" SS) to button it all back up. Again, an attractive improvement, and it sure looks a lot better than seeing all that exposed Tonearm Shaft, and the ugly previous Allen Set Screw Marks on the Shaft when I had the Jr Platter on board. Mark
Just another idea that might have something to do with your speed stability issue. I had a problem a while back where my belt wasn't riding a straight line on the platter. It kept wobbling up and down as it spun.

Long story short ... I had a talc buildup in the motor flywheel groove. A little toothpicking and some alcohol and the dried up gunk was removed. All is well again.