VPI Record Clamps

To make a long story short my 1 piece record clamp threaded out on me, so I bought the new one with the stainless knob. Then I noticed in a Music Direct catalog Black Diamond Racing has come out with a carbon fiber clamp for $300. The guy at Music Direct talked mt into it. I tell you this thing kicks butt. If you're looking for a new clamp to replace the cheap plastic clamp that comes with the Scout or just looking for an upgrade I'd check it out. It sounds fantastic on my '19 MK IV.
I have VPI TNT and bought the same clamp--for the exact same reason. The pin popped out of the old one and while I was able to fix it, it did a second and third time and was a real pain to fix. So I bought the BDR and really like it.
Thanks for the tip, I'll have to check it out.
How would you say it compares sonically to the one with the stainless knob?
That's the one I'm currently using.
Any real sonic differences? Or it's just more fun to play with?
You say it kicks butt, can you be a little more specific?

I wouldn't quite go so far to say it kicks butt, but the difference was more than just noticable. I think the carbon fiber just damps the record better. It just sounded quieter and a bit more refined in the lower frequencies.
It's not real fun to play with as it's one solid piece. Less background noise, quieter soundstage. I paid $300 and am keeping mine. Yes, I was using the stainless clamp, but traded it in to my dealer. Remember, if you buy the BDR and aren't impressed you have 30 days to get your money back. But I'll bet you'll keep it...
Contrarian opinion. I had one of the earlier (two-piece) BDR clamps, found it was no better-sounding than the original from VPI, ended up selling it and going with a Boston Audio Mat I (no clamp) that really DID sound a lot better. Obviously YMMV. Dave
The new clamp is one piece, just carved out of a hunk of carbon fiber. I heard there were some problems with the 2 piece. Anyway I like it and found it superior to the VPI stainless. I have a VPI 19 and have to have some kind of clamp.
I didn't even know about the one piece. Mine is the 2 piece. No problems except light scratches between the two pieces. I found it to be great. This stuff is interesting. In almost all forms of vibration control, which this is, one thing will work for one person and in a very similar, though not identical circumstance will not work for another person. Vibration control is tricky business and sometimes it perceptively makes things sound worse, even though if you objectively measured it, it would technically be improved. I know that vibration control in everything from speaker cabinets to racks to record clamps can be important. It's very interesting how different the results can be from two very similar instances.
has anybody replaced a vpi one piece center weight with the bdr? i presume when people refer to the stainless, they're referring to the 2 piece clamp? i have the one piece clamp that goes with the outer ring on my scoutmaster, and would be interested if anybody has compared it to the bdr.

Sorry to rock this boat even more. I have all of the listed clamps above, (VPI Delrin and Stainless, BDR 1 and 2 piece). The clamp that I found sounds the best is the Teres Audio Cocobola clamp. It's $200, alittle cheaper than the BDR and IMHO sounds better. It's also the prettiest clamp of the camp :-)
Alephman, you don't really HAVE to have a clamp on yours. Before I went to the Mat I I was using a Ringmat with no clamp (on my early model TNT) and liked it better than any clamp I had tried. You do have to get past the fact that the Ringmat looks pretty ridiculous.
I have a TNT platter and a clamp is absolutly required. Now in retrospect $300 was a lot to spend on a record clamp, but I've found the BDR to be the best. Carbon fiber absorbes vibrations like crazy and I've noticed a quieter background since using it. I don't regret buying it except for the $300...
No, Alephman, a clamp is not "required" on your TNT. Haven't used one on mine in at least 2 years and it sounds a heck of a lot better than the last clamp (BDR) I DID use. But enjoy yours ...

How do you run your 'table without a clamp? What do you do that sounds better? I'd really like to know...
Alephman, I simply stopped using it (and the washer). A friend has a Basis table which is supposed to be used bare-platter, and I thought I'd try it. I found that records sounded better to me -- more open, dynamic and "alive" with them just sitting on the VPI's platter. Then I borrowed a Ringmat and thought it REALLY improved things, to the point where it sounded dull and recessed with both the original VPI clamp and the BDR clamp. Then I opted for the $195 Boston Audio Mat (pure graphite) on a 30-day trial, which I liked better than the Ringmat. That's where things stand now.

Frankly, the TNT still doesn't sound as good as my 1978 idler-drive Lenco L78, replinthed by Jean Nantais, author of the 2000 post thread here on Audiogon, but that's another story. Dave
I have a HW19 with the TNT platter. VPI has discontinued the '19 opting for their new tables with which you have to use their arms. I don't like their arms and wouldn't have one. I have a Graham 2.2. And I think the VPI Scout is a piece of shit. An undamped shakey unipivot arm with no antiskating and a table with no suspension. Try setting that on a suspended floor. But I hear VPI is selling them hand over foot. I would like to have their SDS. I'm on my third PLC and I got it used...
It's funny how we place priorities on different things. Alephman, on another thread (My SDS died), you claim you wish you could afford a SDS. I own an SDS, and wish I could afford a Graham 2.2 arm. I am currently using a JMW 10.5 arm, with my HW-19 mk IV, and I'm pretty satisfied overall. The bass is just a bit ripe, but overall a smooth operator. I was looking at a Graham 1.5tc arm, but the store was asking unreasonable prices. I got a great deal on my 10.5 arm, which BTW is not undamped, but they can be a bit tricky to set up.
I also don't find the suspension of the HW-19 to be adequate on my suspended floors. I do need a wall mount, but I'm dealing with WAF issues on that front. I don't think a suspension table does any better in my room than an unsuspended table, however, since I haven't tried an unsuspended table, I can't say for sure.
Alephman,Pretty strong words about the Scout ,are you a troll?
No, but IMHO the Scout has a questionable arm and no suspension. And I don't by you can impliment antiskating by twisting the tonearm wire. At best you'd need a rock solid platform, probably a wall stand. Mike at VPI has assured me the arm is stable so maybe I was being too harsh.