VPI SSM Ref setup variations

What configuration of VPI SSM Ref are people running right now - and why ?

I’d like to understand how the different set ups for this deck have evolved and improved things for those who are Happy Chappies – so that I can try things myself and decide which works best for my ears and environment, since opinions and solutions seem to vary somewhat.

I’ve read threads about Rim Drive vs Belt Drive, Bearpaws, Symposium Acoustic Point Padz and Precision Couplers under the motor assembly, supports under the SDS, etc etc Various people report arm wobbles – others haven’t had it - including me.

Two examples:
Stringreen seems to be content after much frustration and many conversations with Harry. Bearpaws solved his arm wobble but he didn’t have the other problems people reported (I think..) What is now his config and what were the problems solved ?

Hiendmuse is also content it seems – but I’m a bit puzzled by those two Precision Couplers under the motor. Did he try three and reject it ? (two sounds a bit strange – especially when both are positioned perpendicular to the Rim contact point (as I read it).

As background – I’ve struggled with Rim Drive to such an extent I’ve gone back to belts. THREE of them… But I’m still very interested in trying out the various supports and footers that are mentioned in the threads – as ever on our Never Ending Journey.

My deck is on a Symposium Acoustics Ultra platform, itself on an Audiophile Base rack and carpeted concrete floor. I’ve just bought Eden Sounds VPI-TerraCones and have various footers available for motor and SDS, including Precision Couplers. I can’t play around at the moment as my Hovland HP100 pre-amp is in hospital awaiting replacement parts. But I can be prepared.
I have the Eden Sound terra cones/brass that are height adjustable and they made a big improvement.Just wondering, how do you like the ultra under the ssc.

I have a gingko platform now, but am thinking about an ultra.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by using 3 Symposium Acoustics Precision Round Couplers under the SSM motor assembly. I use one round coupler between the 2 rubber feet in the front of the motor (the narrow side facing you) and one in the rear between the 2 rubber feet. This raises the SSM assembly slightly higher lifting the rubber feet off of the Symposium Acoustics Ultra shelf surface. I also use the Edensound Bear Paws. The round Precision Couplers are about $20 each. Well worth it with the rimdrive.
One additional thing I didn't mention. I use smaller black round Symposium Acoustics precision couplers with center dimple under each of the Edensound Bear Paws supporting the turntable.
The rim drive belt MUST be perfectly seated in groove of the rim drive to avoid out of true energy being transferred to the tonearm. Here is a little trick that rim drive users have used with great success.

Take the belt off the rim drive and take some fine metal polish and polish the rim drive groove in which the belt rest. Brasso metal polish works well.

Once polished, take some car wax and apply and polish the rim drive belt groove.

Take the rust colored belt and boil in water for 2 minutes. Dry the belt and reinstall back into the rim drive. Be careful not to twist the belt when reapplying.

Take a round metal or hard plastic object (a bic pen works well) and gentle run it over the belt to seat the O-ring into the groove.

FIRMLY position the rim drive against the platter with and run at 45rpm for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, readjust the rim drive so that it just touches the platter. As a measure of appropriate pressure, the platter should spin 2-3 time when the drive is turned off.

The polishing of the rim drive belt groove allows the belt to seat properly in the groove correctly.
I have a black platter(not the superplatter)on my SSC.Would upgrading to the classic platter make a substancial difference and in what way?

I also have the JMW9 signature arm, would moving up to the classic 3 arm be a significant upgrade.

Which upgrade would you do first, platter or tone arm?
Moonguy, is your platter the black infused acrylic or the black Delrin?
The platter doesn't appear to be acrylic.I would assume it's the Delrin.I see the ssc's now have the classic platter.
Hiendmuse (this is necessarily verbose, please bear with me)
OK - a Symposium PC under each of the two narrow ends of the motor assembly is what I suspected you meant. My thought about using 3 PCs was mainly to increase stability and reduced the chance of an accident. But it could also cause micro-rocking if the base of the motor was less than very flat across the three PCs
I wonder if you tried and rejected as unnecessary or unworkable 3 PCs in a triangle under the motor base ? If I tried this I’d remove the 4 VPI squidgy feet first so I can spread the PCs out nicely.
My edenSound TerraCone feet are now in place and it looks like there’ll be a height issue which may not be the case with your BearPaws and smaller PC couplers raising the deck higher than stock feet (?) - and thus more easily accommodating the PC height under the motor.
(As an aside – I wish we could (maybe we can?) attach photos in these threads)
My TerraCones with their point-capturing brass footers lift the deck about the same height as the stock feet (as you’d expect). There is some height adjustment on the TerraCones but not much. I think the intent is to enable levelling rather than significant height variation.
PCs under the motor will lift it about 7mm higher than stock squidgies. This will have an effect on where Rim contacts platter or belts engage grooves (in my Superplatter). For instance it seems the periphery ring would rest on the Rim Drive pulley when on the platter with no LP. Looks like it would be at best a near miss when in use.
Belts – the manual pictures the two pulley belts in place below the two platter belts. I’d have to have pulley belts ABOVE the platter belts or again have contact with the ‘at rest’ peripheral ring. And I don’t know how off-spec it would be to have pulley belts high up on the motor spindles rather than at the bottom.

I think all this may mean PCs are a bit too tall to use with TerraCones ?

If so, any other suggestions to bypass the stock sguidgy feet under the motor – or am I wrong about the heights ?
I haven't tried alternatives to the Symposium Ultra platform. I'm very happy with it - as are a number of others discussing VPI. Idon't feel the need to try anything else and buy in to their coupling vs decoupling logic (hence why I've changed from VPI standard feet on the SSM)
I also have quite a few other Symposium products (RollerBlocks etc) and am very pleased with all.
As a second string you might try the edenSound slab which is also receiving gosh-wows from VPIers.

2 round precision couplers are all that is needed. This is a very stable platform for the SSM on the Ultra shelf, no movement noted, and much more stable than the rubber feet.

Thanks. That'll do for me.

What's your thinking on rigidity of deck and rigidity of motor for Belt drive as opposed to Rim ? I can imagine the belts have enough 'give' to prefer/allow all else to be rigid.
Not sure what you mean, please clarify.
Stock feet on SSM allowed the deck to move a little because they do, therefore Bearpaws or similar were preferred because it kept the deck absolutely rigid.
Slightly confusingly, similar rigidity was variously recommended for the motor unit. However, I do recall Stringreen saying the motor unit should be allowed to move to compensate for the outofroundness of the Rim Drive belt. This is apparently at odds to those who recommend the motor unit have supports which also don't move (unlike their stock squidgy feet).
Nett is I'm Confused for Rim Drive. I'm also more confused as to what should move slightly and what shouldn't for belt drive, as the interaction of parts is different.

Well, that's my attempt at a more detailed explanation but let me know if it only further mystifies and I'll try again.
The rim drive works great in my system as described, much better than belt drive. I have never looked back to replacing with belt drive. I think you are overanalyzing this- just try it. make sure the rim drive is not too tight up against the platter. when turning off motor platter should turn 1 to 1.5 times around then stop. it takes extremely minor adjustments to get this right. once set it does not move unless you move it yourself.
Would you also use the 2 symposium precision couplers under the motor drive if you were running the SSC with belts also?
My motor drive is sitting on the separate small gingko platform (2 peice for SSC ) which is solid, no rubber balls underneath it.Perhaps vibration might be getting to the motor drive.

I am going to go to the direct replacement blls for Ginko platforms from Herbies.
I do agree it looks like I'm overanalyzing this. But, viewed in the context of my last four years of various hair-tearing struggles with Rim Drive - returning each time to belt drive until I built up the will to try again - I've now decided to extract the very best I can from belt drive rather than simply returning to it as a refuge (trying three platter belts for instance - as well as TerraCones. I'll also give different supports under SDS and motor a try).
Either I'm an idiot or there are slight but critical tolerances along the chain which combine and contribute differently in different examples of SSM.
What seems certain from reading other threads is the implementation can be fickle. What also seems certain is that Rim Drive sounds better than Belt Drive - since I've yet to read of anyone preferring Belt Drive.
Anyway, thanks for your input. I hope to eventually report which 'essential' tweaks for Rim Drive help or hinder Belts.
I have found that MY rim drive works best with the turntable as solidly braced to the supporting table as possible. That means that there is to be NO movement at all under the table. That is why the use of Bearpaws rather than the mini-feet work for me. If any movement is under the turntable portion of the table, allowing the table to move at all, the out of roundness of the Super platter causes a rocking of the tonearm which is supported only on sharp point. The motor assembly therefore has to absorb the out of roundness and should be allowed to slightly rock, so the motor assembly should be on their soft rubber/spongy feet to do this. With the Super platter, if I put my finger between the motor assembly and the turntable itself, I can feel the motor assembly going slightly back and forth when working, opening and closing slightly the space between the motor assembly and the turntable. The Classic platter however, is manufactured more precisely, so that it doesn't move the turntable the way that the Super platter does. ....and an added bonus, it sounds much better too. I still have the Bearpaws securely holding fast the turntable, and the motor assembly able to rock if indeed there is any out of roundness at all. I can't feel it with the finger between the motor assembly/turntable test as described above, but even the very slightest error can rear its ugly head at the cartridge. My turntable setup is excellent now, (I'm using the Benz LPS) and find no reason to experiment further. For those who might want to know, the difference between the 9 inch Nordost wired arm and the 10.5 is so very minimal, I would think that aside from just wanting the 10.5, there really isn't a need for a change.
I have the SSM with rim drive and Classic platter and highly recommend 2 symposium acoustics round precision couplers between the rubber feet front and rear. I also use the Edensound bear paws and smaller symposium acoustics round couplers with center dimple for the bear paws to sit in. they all work very well together and have improved performance and sound.