VPI Scoutmaster - Rubber Washer

On the VPI website, there is an FAQ:

Q: "My VPI record clamp came with a rubber washer. What am I supposed to do with it?"

A: The rubber washer is meant to be permanently placed over the turntable's spindle below the record. This prevents "dishing" of the LP when it is clamped to the platter using the threaded VPI clamp.

My question is: Do you still use the washer if you also have the periphery ring clamp? "Dishing" wouldn't be a potential problem anymore.

In fact, it looks to me like the record "dishes" DOWNWARD with both the rubber washer and outer ring clamp in use. I think I should remove the washer. Anyone out there have any opinions, stories, ideas, etc.?


Not sure if this makes any sense but I think it also helps suspend the record i.e. reduce vibrations coming up directly from the platter into the stylus. It can also provide better platter/record grip. I have not tried my Scoutmaster without the spindle except once by accident which totally skewed the my VTF calculations!
Ditch the rubber washer if you are using the outside ring clamp. I have the SuperScout Master with both the outside and the center clamp with no rubber washer underneath the vinyl. These two heavy weight clamps are IMHO are the biggest upgrade from the Scout to the SuperScout Master. I have spun vinyl that I would not normally place on a regular table because of warping with great success.
If you are using the screw down clamp (as well as the periphery ring) then you still should use thye washer. The dishing is caused only at the center of the record being pushed downward. I hope this makes sense.
Tom, I asked the same question you are asking when I recently upgraded my Mk. 3.5 TNT to the Mk. 6 design. VPI indicated that the rubber washer was designed for use with their center clamps and advised that the washer should not be used with the HRX center and periphery ring weights. I believe this advice is also posted somewhere within the VPI web site.
Well, 2 vote for the rubber washer and 2 vote against. Anyone want to break the tie?

Thank you, Cincy Bob.

I couldn't find anything on the website in the FAQ section, but then I decided to look at the online manual for the HRX table, which comes standard with the outer clamp. (There is no mention of outer ring clamp issues in the Scoutmaster manual, because it's not a standard item.)
Sure enough, in the HRX manual, it says:

"Place the record on the platter and drop on the record spindle weight. NO WASHER IS USED UNDER THE RECORD IN THIS SYSTEM. Take the ring clamp and lower it onto the record rim, keeping it level all around. (etc...)"

I was pretty sure the washer needed to be removed after noticing the downward "dishing" and also noticing that the music always sounded better about 1/3 into the record.

Tom, the rubber washer's purpose is to keep the record from dishing when using the threaded clamp.

But once you upgrade to the periphery ring, dishing is no longer a problem. And since the platter is perfectly flat, having a washer under the center of your record while a heavy ring pulls down on the outer rim of your record would cause a reverse dish effect.

Don't use the washer when using the periphery ring. And as far as the center clamp goes just use the stainless steel one when using the ring.

Your threaded clamp and washer is for the most part no longer necessary once you make this up-grade.
I don't have the stainless steel clamp. Also, I did try removing the washer and the table didn't sound as good. I put it back. It's possible that, after removing the washer, I'll need to recalibrate VTF, VTA, and azimuth, and that is why it didn't sound as good.

Tom, the HRX-model stainless steel center "clamp" is not really a clamp at all in that it is not a threaded, screw-on mechanism. Instead the HRX center weight is simply a heavy (1-1/2 pounds) weight that slides on over the spindle and sits on the center of the LP. This weight is substantially heavier than the old Mk. 5 threaded clamp. When I upgraded my TNT to the HRX acrylic platter, I found that both the HRX periphery weight and the HRX center weight were important to the sound of the new platter. The new acrylic platter is much lighter than the older VPI platters, and I believe the HRX center and ring weights play an important role in dampening vibrations that were previously dampened by the lead and cork materials included in VPI's older model platter composition. For this reason, I suspect it is probably worth the $150 for you to upgrade your clamp to the HRX center weight design.