VPI Rim Drive

Amongst the bills that came today was a number 10 envelope containing a new belt for the rim drive of my Superscout. The belt is a brown color replacing the black one and feels more "tacky" and soft. I pulled out the first album my hand fell on and played the first track with the old belt. I then removed it and installed the new belt, pushed the table to the motor assembly and listened again. The new belt is better by far. The layering of instruments was much more pronounced, although the width of the stage retained its proportion as before. The highs are certainly cleaner, clearer, and the whole spectrum is faster. Instead of hearing blocks of instruments, I hear seperate instruments cooperating in the event. Loud and thickly arranged sections are effortless unraveled - you can clearly identify all the separate instruments in the cooperation of the piece. Chords can be heard as separate tones contributing to the quality of the chord. Tambourine and other percussion instruments are fast and clean..the jingles are more delicate, brassy, and separate. The lows are more effortless...not louder, just at ease going down, down, and down. I encourage all of you with the dual motor VPI rim drives to get one of these new belts. It is a pain to put on, but you only have to do it once.
Makes sense to me. A more compliant contact between the rim and main platter gives a controlled smooth pressure and more stable speed transmission. I experienced this with rollerblocks under my TT plinth. Another good upgrade from VPI .

I knew it was about time for this to be available and considered starting a thread to inquire about it soon. I'm certainly glad to hear that you feel it's an improvement. Did youn call VPI and request it or are they sending one to all who've purchased and registered a rim drive automatically?
I E-mailed them about 4 months ago, and inquired every couple of weeks about availability. Evidently VPI had been working on which material to use, because it took that long to get - each time the response was "coming real soon". I know lots of people admonish VPI for their constant upgrade paths, however, I applaud their quest for perfection and for providing these improvements to their customers as an update.
My E-mail is in. Hopefully it won't take 4 months for them to get me one. Thanks for the heads up.
I only just got my new rim drive so was lucky enough for it to come with the new belts and feet so no need for pads underneath.
A very impresive upgrade
Hope to compare this against the Verus in a few weeks time on my friends turntable

Please post the results of the VPI Verus comparison. I am interested in hearing the differences.
Johnjc and Slowhand,

If the turntable comparison is not made in the same system then it's a system comparison... not a turntable comparison.
It will be made on the same system and we both will hopefuly balance out any bias towards what we own, we may even try them in both systems; not sure yet and not sure when we will get to doing this. But it will not be a system comparision
The new belt arrived yesterday, impressively fast. It does feel like a compound better suited to it's task. So far I only have about an hour of use on it but it does provide better grip on the platter with even lower contact noise. It seems every adjustment to this drive requires a degree of patience as things settle in but I'm expecting further improvement as it does.
Stringreen, how long did you run yours before you felt the belt was properly "seated"? So far I'm finding I have to dial up the speed on the SDS a bit to maintain the same speed.
..just an album or 2. I was very careful not to twist it during installation. I heard the increased performance immediately.
Gee ...... I've had mine for over a month and play it daily. It sounds the same today as it did on day one! It took every bit of 10 seconds to replace the old with the new! I'm not feeling or have felt any pain either. Works for me!
Mine sounds fine as well. If I didn't have a KAB strobe I wouldn't notice the settle in time at all. I have noticed that every time I reposition the motor assembly or ,in this case, change the drive belt, it takes a few hours of settling in for those 33s to be at their most still again. To be honest, I don't notice a huge change in the sound but I do feel better to see the display on the KAB strobe as frozen as possible.

When you said that yours "sounds fine as well" and then later you said "To be honest, I don't notice a huge change in the sound" it sounds like your just lukewarm about the upgrade.Since, mostly, the consensus has been that the upgrade was quite substantial; am I reading you right? I'm curious........ on a scale of one to ten how would you rate it? Was it worth it?
Mred, The Rim Drive beats the pants off of the belts, hands down. The upgrade is well worth the money. The new Rim Drive replacement belt doesn't sound any better than the original belt (OEM). The difference is that the replacement has silicon as a component and the original did not. To each is own in what they hear! If silicon breaks your bubble then have at it. Hype sometimes persuades the mind to speak way above it's means! Honesty is always the best policy no matter what! Even with belts that drive the Rim! :))
You misunderstood what I wrote I'm afraid. When I said I didn't notice a huge change in sound I was referring to the slight speed variation I note when I move or otherwise alter the rim drive. It seems to take around 6 hours or so to settle back in to where I'm happy visually with the results I'm seeing on the KAB strobe. During this time I don't notice any real sonic problems; that's all. Others don't seem to report this. Am I doing something wrong or am I noticing something they don't? Who knows? I do feel better to see a frozen display though and I can't imagine this table sounding much better. On a scale of 1 to 10, 8-9 easy. Much better than the original belts in my opinion.
As for the new belt, I agree with Stringreen that it is an improvement over the old compound. It has a better grip on the platter and turns it more smoothly with less contact noise. The strobe reading has settled back down for me. The change in sound with the new belt seems somewhat subtle but it's a worthwhile change for all the things I just mentioned. They sent it for free. What other upgrade can you do for that price?
To these ears, there is a significant improvement in the sound. I talked to Harry, and he agreed. I suspect there have been many versions of the belt. My rim drive is one of the first that was shipped. Perhaps there are those with an improved original belt as compared to mine, however, in my system with the 2 rim drive belts I have, the newer one is significantly better.
Has anybody compared the Rim Drive to Teres Verus yet? I have a VPI Scout, but I might eventually might want to upgrade to a Teres/Graham Phantom one day. I think the Verus might be a great intermediate step to hold me over until save up for such an expensive upgrade...which could take a few years.

By the way, I know the Rim Drive does not work with the Scout yet, but this is a moot point, because VPI will a Rim Drive for the Scout is a few months...


I hope to compare soon In engineering terms think the rim drive wins as it uses a massive flywheel and using a far better motor, my friend had a lot more set up issues with his Verus and he is a lot more skilled around set up than me.
You could also change to a super scoutmaster the price is $350 not bad! just means you have to transfer bearing arm and platter I just went through a similar process as I had a HW19 Mk4 and keprt arm platter and bearing so now have a super scoutmaster with a old lead platter and the Terminator tonearm so not only did I get the upgrade from the rim but using a arm that is a lot better too
As soon as we do our comparision we will both print out our thoughts here we will use the same system to compare and put both our opinions in print so hopefuly it be as balanced as we can get it

Thanks for clarifing; I misread your intent. So, 1-10;how worthwhile is the Rim drive?
You may have missed this in the above post, 8-9 I'd say. I don't really think anything deserves a 10 unless it's earth shatterring so that's a pretty good endorsement. Speed stability has normalized and the whole drive is more smooth and quiet with the new belt. I think I could spend tens of thousands more and only improve mildly, if at all, over the SSM with rim drive and 10.5i. Mine also sits on a Critical Mass Systems isolation platform which is another strong contributer to the solid performance I'm getting in my opinion. Set this stuff up right and it's hard to do better.

Thanks for the further clarification. That's a great endorsement and seems right in line with most comments I've seen.I guess I'm going to have to get a Rim Drive!
Now, the only question is do I need the double mototr w/flywheel version or will the single motor version(that I hear rumor of)do the same job?
I don't think the single motor flywheel is available yet...however, it is in the works. Contact VPI for confirmation
I just want to add my strong endorsement to the new belt for the rim drive. It's hard to believe that a simple mechanical part like that could make such an impressive difference. I'm going to have to update my system description because of it.

I do have one question though; are there also new feet for the rim drive as well?
New Feet??? Yup...
I e-mailed VPI today requesting a new belt. Looking forward to hearing how this changes the sound of the system...
New feet? Are these different than the replacement feet some of us are already using?
..sorry...didn't mean to scare anyone, however if you have soft rubber feet you're ok. Who knows though...things change hourly in this hobby. I was referring to a feet change from the original felt/hard variety.
Really appreciate the brilliant idea HW had to rediscover the virtues of the idler wheel like on the Thorens TD 124 back 50 years ago, and those TT sound so good even compared to actual top belt TT . Major upgrade and no way to go back to belt drive once you tryed Rim. This is a small revolution in TT design and Mosin understood that well with his Saskia.
What really helps optimize the performance of this drive is minimizing conatact pressure between the drive wheel and platter. I have found that the new belt's tackier grip enables lighter conact pressure than the old belt. This, along with it's increased compliance, is what helps it perform better. Fractions of a millimeter make a big difference. This is where patience pays off. The best placement seems to be a point where the heavy platter continues to turn briefly on shut down. This also tends to be where the speed will be highest. Also, contact noise is lowest to non-existent at this point and the KAB display is frozen. I think this is because nothing can be machined perfectly round and at this point any minute irregularities have minimal effect. Too much pressure and the display oscillates ever so slighty back and forth. For the perfectionists out there, patience and diligence pay off.