VPI Speed Problem

I have a VPI Super Scoutmaster with SDS. Fabulous sound, had it for about a year. I moved to a new place about 5 months ago and have had it set up and working well for about 3 months in the new location.

Recently, I thought the first song on some album sides sounded slow, but as the album played a minute or two, all sounded right again. Now, everything sounds slow all the time, both 33's and 45's. I tried bypassing the SDS, though there is no speed setting on the motor assembly, so I don't know if that should sound right, but it sounds very slow and muddy as well.

Any thoughts on what might be wrong or how to troubleshoot? Any insight would be appreciated.
Have you checked the speed with a strobe?
I would try a new belt and re-lubing the bearing/spindle. Make sure to clean off the outside of the platter where the belt goes around and clean off the pulley.
Belt drive cheapo is the problem. Throw it on the 'gon with all the other VPIs and get a Lenco.
Agree-buy that cheaply-built, worst-of-the-idlers Lenco-why, you could even have 'Oregon' build a plinth for it! Coincidentally, I'm sure.

Then, when sleep seems impossible, start reading one of Jean Nantais' epic-length, chest-thumping and self-congratulatory posts. You'll be sleeping like a baby in moments. Mmmmm.
I would check the speed with a strobe. I live in Chicago and I need to adjust the speed using the SDS during the winter because the table runs slower.

Also, make sure the junction box isn't contacting the platter.

And, make sure the pully on the motor is fastened tight. Do you have the 300 rpm motor or the dual motor flywheel? Or the rim drive?

And, make sure the platter bearing is lubricated with white lithium grease.

Have I missed anything?

A clarification... it's the outer ring clamp that gets extremely close to the junction box, not the platter itself. During your move, if the junction box moved even a little, it might now be rubbing against the outer ring clamp. You just need to loosen it and move it a little bit back.

Belt drive cheapo?
Ever hear the term "empty cans make the most noise"?
Very likely the pulley has come loose a bit. just use an allen wrench and tighten it and the speed should be accurate again. Also, the belt tension may be too loose. The platter should stop after about a half turn or so. Jallen
Is that sheriff johnbrown?
Johnbrown has obviously never heard Lenco-done-right by Oregon or Jean Nantais. I have had one of Jean's two-armed monsters for at least 2 years. I used to have a VPI TNT. "Nuff said.
Oregon said, "Belt drive cheapo is the problem. Throw it on the 'gon with all the other VPIs and get a Lenco."

My response, you are an idiot.

My, seems there are others who haven't heard Lenco-done-right.
your on the wrong website- go to barbiedolls.com you might have a chat there).

VPI has convinced many with there slick marketing.
Nice photos on shiny pages.
Too bad.
My only intention is to help liquidate your ignorance so that you might enjoy an excellent, stable turntable foe many years to come without tweaking every so often.
And yes, I do rebuild and sell a Lenco once in a while. No big revelation, sheriff.
Hurry on back to your J.N. lovefest girls, where you and the rest of the adoring sycophants gaze starry-eyed at the world's most unlikely audio guru. Cry out with joy and admiration as J.N. produces another of the most god-awful- ugly turntable 'masterpieces' (I especially like the attachment of the cabinet hardware-nice!) the world has e'er seen. Cluck with sympathy as he regales you with the 'customs problems' that prevented the 6-moons review. But no matter what, agree with whatever BS JN spouts, lest you be tossed from the ranks. LOL-you people are the laughing stock of the audio world.

Seriously-you couldn't make this stuff up.
Maybe you could borrow the new VPI rim drive and give it a try on your Super Scoutmaster. Decide for yourself if the belt or rim is "better"
Stew in your ignorance, John. And continue making YOUR stuff up. Maybe you can even find my old TNT out there somewhere to buy.
I have no position on which is a better table, VPI or converted Lenco, or any of the other competition. I have seen reinvented Lenco's up for sale on the gon, with there massive and sometimes very exotic wood grain's including mounted arms with cartridge. And yet with all the so called hype of being the greatest thing since slice bread they stay unsold for much to long? I am just making a guess that many of us are still not convinced with there greatness.
Geez, kids. The guy is trying to troubleshoot a problem. He didn't open by saying "I'm having trouble with my VPI TT which beats the pants off those crappy Lenco rebuilds." or "I'm having trouble with my VPI TT so please tell me which table I should buy instead."

Try to help here. Argue with your spouse if you've got one, which I would doubt.

Okay, mea culpa (my wife says hi). Your own recommendations up top seem sensible, though I would replace the white lithium grease with a drop or two of Mobil 1. Yeah, I know Mike used to recommend the grease, but they also recommended Slick 50 for a while and that stuff turns to GOO.

Another recommendation, straight from VPI, is to clean the belt and then boil it (no kidding) for 30 seconds or so before putting it back on the table. I've heard various boiling times; Mike told me 30 seconds.

Frankly, though, the OP reminded me of what a lack of pitch stability sounds like. My SDS appeared to be dead-on, speedwise, winter and summer, as tested with a KAB strobe, but there was still something wrong. It didn't bother others and I tweaked the hell out of the TNT. I've already mentioned what "fixed" the problem for me.
I wish I knew the answer to your problem. My guess it is a bearing or belt issue. A drop of oil and or grease? Perhaps a stretched belt.
You're right.

Thanks very much for all the helpful responses. I'll have to get it working perfectly again before I could sell it to get a Lenco in any case, so thanks especially for the troubleshooting tips :-)

New belt didn't change anything. I'll have to get a strobe to check the speed - I have the speed disk, but not the strobe. And my motor is the dual wheel (600 rpm?), not the direct wheel.

I'll check into putting drops of oil in the right places. It really fell off from sounding great to sounding terrible pretty quickly. Bummer, too, as I just got the new Van Morrison remasters :-)
Agree with you 'Tfkaudio', and I feel shame. Even though 'Oregon' initially jacked the thread, I should have taken the high road and let it slide.

Still, as I first posted, we have yet to know if the OP has checked the actual platter speed, which would be the first step in diagnosing the problem.
I recently purchased the remastered Moondance. Compared to the original, as in many pressings, I prefer the original. Many remasters sound overdone. In this case too bassy, vocalist in your face and music seems either bloated or in the background. With the original, the band and Van seem to be in the same room, playing with each other on the stage and not in separate rooms with their own volume controls (bass and vocal mic beefed up). That's how I hear the 2. (Could be the crappy Lenco.)
On another note:
I just saw a a film at the NW Film Festival called "Irish Rover" good footage of Van playing with Dylan and The Chieftians.
For his earlier stuff, which I like very much, get "Van Morrison In Review" on eBay for $18.00.
Nice read. Lenco? Lenco fanboys having a ride on a VPI thread. It's ok. When you trash talk other products it just means you are jealous. Kind of like Ford Model A owners trash talking how poor handling those new Porsches are.
For general knowledge, the way I set speed is by ear, when the record is playing. I play the exact same title on cd, from that same master tape source. I do this with a few records/cd's and A/B back and forth during play. When the sound is perfectly in synch, I leave the SDS at that frequency. Do this after you set the VTF/VTA etc.
The strobe is a must. You can then figure out how slow you are. With the SDS you should be able to bring it up to the correct speed. However, if a strobe says you're way way off, then it's best to find the reason for being so slow. Since you've got the dual motor flywheel, make sure the flywheel is lubricated. Make sure both motors are spinning (take the belts off to verify this). Make sure both pullies are tight. Make sure the motor is not too close to the table. Too close and you'll have no belt tension. I think mine is about 1/4 inch away (i have the rim drive, however). Finally, make sure nothing is coming into contact with the platter and slowing it down with friction.

If speed checks out, then you might need to check your cartridge, tonearm wire and phono pre-amp. Is there any possibility that your cartridge got damaged? Cartridge pins on tight? Is the lemo connector inserted correctly and seated?

Boy, I'm tired. Maybe CD IS the way go?

By the way, I just listened to the new "Astral Weeks" reissue. Spectacular! (Although it's the first vinyl edition I've ever owned. My only comparison is to the really incredibly shitty sounding CD that I bought in the 1980's.)


It could be your phono stage or preamp also. Check this by letting your turntable run for a while then play the record if it still happen then it is else where in your system and not your TT. This happened to me in the past and found I had a problem in my phono stage.
Okay, I took all the belts off, and took the spindle off of the motor and the platter off the TT base. Everything appeared in good working order, so I put it all back together. I tried another album and it sounded much closer to right, though still not quite right.

So, apologies for basic questions - I am pretty new to this - but what oil or grease would you use to re-lubricate the spindle the motor pulley goes on and/or for the center of the turntable platter? I think the combination of lubrication of both places may fix the issue, but don't want to put something incorrect on the table.

I don't have a strobe to check speed, but ordered one today and will be able to check speed later this week.

Thanks again to all the help - I really appreciate it.
VPI sells the proper lubs Call them, they are very nice.
If you have the VPI Strobe disc allsÂ’ you need is a regular light that would be plugged into an AC outlet. It cycles at 60 Hz. Maybe not as accurate as a strobe you ordered, but will surfice until that one arrives. The TT bearing grease recommended to me by HW of VPI is white lithium grease. You can get it at any auto parts store for a few bucks. Clean out the old grease before putting in this fresh dose.
If you bought the tt new, it should have a strobe disc-with that, you don't need a 'strobe'-a fluorescent, or even an incandescent light, held over the strobe disc, will 'flash' at 60 cycles to make the scale on the disc appear to stabilize when the speed is correct. If you don't have one, they're available at VinylEngine (free) to download and print.

Not to keep flogging this point, but until you have a way to check the actual speed of the platter, you can't make any assumptions about speed inaccuracies with your deck, or make a meaningful correction to the speed. Unless there is something horribly wrong (unlikely) your SDS will be able to produce a dead-accurate 33 1/3 (and 45) rpm.

As an aside, an idler drive is no more speed accurate, without correction, than any other type of turntable drive-the ability to hear Van Morrison farting during a recording session doesn't mean that the fart is exiting his buttockial area at the correct speed.
Hey, Srwooten, we must have posted at almost the same time. Good advice, though.(-:
Check the speed with a stobe.
If the platter is slow, look for a loose pulley on the motor shaft. I would bet its slipping on the shaft so a small degree giving you your slow speed.
Speed has to be checked when a record is playing while the stylus is in the groove. Checking with a strobe disc without the drag of the stylus is not accurate. You will set your rpm too high. Use the strobe disc to get you in the ballpark. Then fine tune by ear, synchronizing to your cd player playing the same title. Also make sure your analog rig is warmed up, let it run awhile before checking. Yeah, I know, I think differently than the herd. But then again, I'm a pretty smart guy.
Okay, yer a smart guy. But if your turntable changes speed depending on whether or not the stylus is in the groove (my Lenco sure doesn't; I just checked), I'd say you have a dumb turntable:-)
The experiment is put flimsy strobe disc on platter, run motor warmed up and then check speed. Next put record on platter, and place flimsy strobe on top, then clamp down. Run table for warm up, then drop stylus into run in groove and let play. Your smart table will not alter in speed? I say something smell like Dogpue.
Nope, not a bit. My KAB strobe tells the story. Why should a mere 1.5g (or whatever) alter the TT speed?
Forget it 'Reb1208'-you're dealing with the Scientologists of Audio. Once again, D. Pogue has jacked this thread, apparently because the interest level at the 'Homedespot' thread has died. Not to worry Dave-I'm sure JN has simply realized that he, not T. Edison, invented the reproduction of sound. You and your fellows should prepare to applaud His genius, perhaps by purchasing more grossly overpriced, and, frankly, simply gross, plinths. I'd go for the 'marbelized' version with optional deer antlers-sweet!
Hey John, watch that blood pressure. Deep breaths.

Just thought of something and had come back to amend the post. If some turntables slow down under a monstrous 1.5g load of stylus drag, doesn't it stand to reason that they'll slow down even more during congested, full orchestral passages? And maybe speed up when playing serene new agey stuff? How do you compensate for that?

Honestly, it had never occurred to me that a TT would do what Rebl208 suggests it may.
I thought WE were the Lenco crazies!
But old Jbrown is OBSESSED. Talking and writing about Lencos and JN.
From his ranting, he probably knows every post, old and new. Too bad he doesn't understand.
I think he's a closet lencolover???
Perhaps he has big-plinth envy?

BTW John, what happened to the high road?
And here he is, Dave's li'l buddy, Yogi and Boo Boo, Mutt and Jeff, Skipper and Gilligan, the two Lenco Heroes, who somehow can't contain their "enthusiasm" for JN to their own thread, but are following each other to jack threads that have nothing to do with LencoLove. Oregon, of course, is employing 12th grade playground sexual innuendo as a defense. Nicely done-you've proven my point about your silly 'Homedespot' group hug.

Sure, 'Oregon', I've read (some) of that thread-though I've never made it completely through an entire JN post (seriously-have you?) I used to think I'd learn something, but it quickly became apparent that 'Homedespot' is no place for real tt thought and interaction-look at the way you even ran Win, the consummate gentleman and actual tt exspert, off. Instead, it's a thread based on the born-again christian philosophy: accept our dogma, or go to hell.

But that's all fine-you've got your little clubhouse. What I don't understand is why you feel compelled to jack a thread that has nothing to do with your favored tt. You haven't seen me over at 'HomeDespot' trying to disrupt whatever the hell it is you're doing-how about some of the same respect for other POVs? Or does JN insist that you go door-to-door and hand out copies of 'The Watchtower'?

As I said previously-you're a laughingstock.
Without pursuing the laughingstock thing (readers can figure that one out for themselves), I'll say only that the thread began with an plea by the OP to understand why his turntable "sounds slow all the time." Seems to me that I'm not the one doing the "highjacking."

Now froth away, John.
Wow, DP, you can't even follow the intstructions for a simple experiment. All you calculated was the added drag of the stylus. You forget about the weight of the LP itself and the RECORD CLAMP.

Long live the rimm drive!!!!!!!!!! I'm running out and getting one. Boom, boom, gotta love that thumping bass power and Brit prat and drive. That's truly high-end sound. So listenable long term, never headache inducing. In fact, I shall buy a Naim cd player to sit along side and erase all nuance from my rack.

I'm so glad we conversed. Thanks!!
Here's what I did. I turned on the TT and let it run for 10 minutes or so. I
put on a record. I don't use a weight or clamp, so that's immaterial. I put the
10" KAB strobe disc on top of the record. I checked the speed of the TT
using the strobe disk and its light. The speed was dead-on at 33 1/3 rpm.
You with me so far?

Then I put the stylus into the lead-in groove. You understand, I hope, that
placing a 10" disk atop a 12" record allows 2" of record to
be available for this. I checked the speed again, with the stylus in the groove.
It was exactly the same as before.

Over to you.

Edit: I guess I should note, if you are unfamiliar with a Lenco, that its speed
is infinitely variable from 16 to beyond 78 rpm. Thus it is simple to adjust its
speed using the strobe. The TT is plugged into a PS Audio P300 power plant
(regenerator) providing a steady 60 Hz.
You have to check the speed over the entire playing surface of the record. Anti-skate force and drag will differ towards the middle and end of LP. That is why I use my ear to fine adjust, after using the strobe. Play an original LP and early un-remastered cd of the same title. It should not be hard for you find an early cd that used the exact LP master. Sync the sound and see if they track each other perfectly thru the entire side. Look, I'll throw you a bone, you convinced me to some extent. A rimm drive may indeed hold the speed more accurately. But I find constant prat and bass drive to be very distracting to say the least.
Thanks for the bone, I guess. My 12" tonearm has no provision for anti-skating and the shorter arm on the same table is used without anti-skating. I've done the CD/LP comparison in the past before I got the KAB strobe. It's a pain in the neck and I found that the spacing between tracks was dissimilar in some cases, rendering the whole thing inaccurate.

We have now gone WAY off the track. My apologies to the OP.
Problem solved - I got the white lithium grease and applied it to both the flywheel ball-bearing as well as the platter ball-bearing. The TT measures perfect 33 1/3 and 45rpm speeds.

Thanks to all for your help - a pretty basic problem, I suppose, but I am new to this and relatively lame when it comes to anything mechanical, so I learned a lot :-)
Re-grease every couple months...