VPI Super Platter

From what I read here and at AA it appears the general consensus is that the Super Platter is a fairly significant upgrade from the all acrylic platters on the newer Scoutmaster and Aries turntables. However, I have an older Aries 1 with a fairly heavy platter that resembles in appearance, the Super Platter. Any Aries 1 owners know the one I am talking about? Would the Super Platter be as significant an upgrade to this platter as it is to the acrylic ones? Also, does the inverted bearing that comes with the Super Platter represent a significant improvement over the bearing I already have. My Aries is about 6 years old and has the JMW 10 tonearm. I also have the SDS.
If you have the older Aries 1 platter than you should stay with it I think your fine. You have a fine deck leave it be, make the best upgrade and work with your room acoustics and you will find even a larger improvement.
I researched this lot. While I have not heard he Aries 1 platter on my aries II, I get the idea that sonically there may not be much difference as stand alone platters. Different materials are used so I assume there would be a slight diff? But I have the impression that the aries I plater is better in many/most systems over the aries II platter.

The new heavy platter does weigh a few pounds more...and it fits the outer ring which is another 10 lbs or so and helps flatten and couple the disk to the platter.

I have done two things that have made clear improvements to my aries II. first was to put about 150lbs of stone under the table. Second was the heavy platter. In between I bought the outer ring clamp. Its nice and I use it all the time. But it was not a game changer like the other two.

Hope that can help.

I think you have lead in your platter and therefore VPI was forced to change. That platter sounds very good though - don't put it in your mouth. The inverted bearing does make a difference..the thing that I would be interested in is the ring clamp. When an LP is flat, the cartridge glides across the record..it doesn't have to contend with an obstacle course. Even though the ring clamp doesn't change the sound in a quick A/B comparison, you can see and ultimately hear the ease that is provided to the cartridge.
I have tried several different platters on my TNT. I have found that with my TNT, the original delrin/lead platter sounds much better to me than either the thick all acrylic or acrylic/stainless steel platters. Although the steel platters weigh more and may theoretically have added speed stability, I have found the lead platters have much better resonance control and liveliness. I found the acrylic steel platters have a ring to them I didn't like. The all acrylic platter just sounds dead to me. I didn't find any noticeable difference with the inverted vs. non-inverted bearing, as long as the older bearing is in good condition. I think most people hear an upgrade when replacing their old bearing with a new inverted one, just because its new. I agree that the ring clamp will help a great deal if you have many records with a lip warp. Personally, I just find it easier to get another copy of the record without the lip warp. I have not use the ring clamp myself, so I cannot say if there is any sonic difference. Some people find its use difficult. Regular dish warps are flattened by using the spindle clamp. Hope this is helpful to you.
Unless you have to have the outer ring, stick with your Aries 1 platter. There is no inherent advantage to an inverted bearing over the original design. I am not saying the inverted bearing is better or worse, because I have never tried it-- only that there is no inherent advatage to either scheme. It's all in the implementation.
Rick, Glad to hear that you like the original delrin/lead platter that I've also been spinning for many years on my TNT. I recall HW posting recently to a forum that the lead platter was fine, and that he had moved away from it only because of the lead hazzard.

There are several things that one can do short of changing platters to improve the VPI's sound. These include switching to thread drive & to unsprung suspension with a good isolation platform underneath. A silicon nitride ball in place of steel ball in the original noninverted bearing is also an improvement.
Would this Lead/Acyrlic Platter also be the HW-19 MK-IV Platter as well? Where would one get this Silicon-Nitride Bearing Ball for the upgrade?
Thanks, Mark
Boca Bearing on-line has SiC balls. I suggest polishing the inside of the non-inverted bearing cup with compound and a pointed felt dremel bit until the ball rolls smoothly in the cup. For reassembly, retain the ball in the cup using a few drops of oil between the ball & the cup. Get the oil change and the correct oil level done first before switching to a SiC ball. The ceramic ball is nonmagnetic. During subsequent service it will have to be retreived from the well with a small automotive grabber or by turning the well upside down. But I wouldn't expect a need for much servicing as the ceramic balls are harder & smoother than steel.
Sorry, I mean Si3N4, not SiC ball bearing.
It was one of the MK4 upgrades, maybe the first, for the HW19. The Mk4 used whatever TNT platter was in use at the time and then later, the all acrylic black platter from the Aires Black Knight. The lead/delrin platter is 1 1/2 inches thick, all black, has cork on the bottom. The top is slightly rounded from the playing surface to the side. Weighs about 16 pounds.

You can get the Silicon-Nitride ball from McMaster-Carr. The VPI bearings use 1/4 inch, about $8 for a two-pack.

Hope this helps....
Hello folks, Thanks again all for this good, valuable information.

Yes, my HW-19 uses the Lead Ring Black Acrylic Platter (which I bought right here usedfrom a great fellow agoner JDOLGIN), with Cork Underside, exact weight came to 18lbs, was stated to be the Mk-IV Platter, but does appear like you say, some iteration of one of the TNT Platters. Lovely Platter BTW.

I was under the assumption that VPI perhaps used a Tungsten Ball on the bottom of the Bearing Shaft, but maybe my assumptions were wrong about this?

Next time I service-lube my Bearing, I will double check the size with Dial Caliper, and order these bearings from your advised sources. Thanks again all, Mark
I looked at the bottom of my MK III bearing and the ball looks pressed into the metal. No periphery ring holding it in and no way (that I can see) of prying it out without damaging something. Is there a trick to getting it out?

Also, the original steel ball looks smaller than the 1/4" Silicon Nitrides that I ordered. I doubt that they are the same size. Or is the MK III just a very different animal from the above?

Pull the steel ball bearing out with a strong magnet.
Hello Bob/All,
Perhaps use a little Lighter Fluid (Naptha), or some other suitable Solvent (Paint thinner) on a piece of Kleenex to cut-thin, and clean the caked up Oil that is retaining-holding the Ball to the bottom of the Shaft.

It will be intersting to see what your findings are, and if you have a Dial Caliper, I'd like hearing what measurements you come up with on the original metal Ball? (And what the actual diameter is too of the Ceramic Balls?)

I've yet to operate on my MK-IV Bearing as of yet, but will try to get around to it soon, and see what numbers I come up with?

I am not totally sure about this as of yet, but from talking with some knowledgeable people just recently about these Bearings, and thier design principals, I am beginning to believe that the Metal Ball itself was really not intended to be rolling-rotating within the retaining Cup of the Shaft itself, but rather to stay stationary, and to only be rotating at the very small contact area which is in contact with the bottom Bearing Trust Plate.

I'll try researching this some more, but evidence in some of the AA archives seems to point to the fact that some have noted flat spots on thier Bearing Balls, and probably one cause of this, was perhaps neglect of periodic Lubrication?

I would assume that at some point in time, due to extreme PSI weight at this Bearing-Thrust Plate interface, it is inevitable that wear will begin to occur.

Whether the Ceramic Ball will be a considerable improvement in operation, and performance, it's hard for me to say at this point, as Ceramic does appear have some better qualities versus a regular Metal Bearing Ball (Smoothness-Hardness-Roundness) but also possesses some qualities such as high heat resistance, and corrosive resistance which may not be so important in this specific application?

Questions that arise in my mind, are, without anything else in this Scheme being changed (Thrust Plate staying the same) will there be a worthy benefit?

Since the Bearing Shaft only requires one Bearing Ball, it is not at all cost prohibitive to perhaps try, and see? Now if I needed a 100 of them, that would be a different story altogether! ;-)

One day perhaps soon, I suppose it couldn't hurt getting on the horn with Mike@VPI, and pick his brain on this topic?

Since the Platter, and Bearing removal is a 3 minute affair, I may delve into this soon, and report back on my findings with some measurements of my own to add.
Thanks guys. Now to locate someone with a "very strong magnet". The only ones I have around here are holding pictures and report cards to the 'fridge - and they fall off all the time.

I'll try thinning out the oil/grease under the ball also. I'm sure part of what's holding it is suction in the cup. I truly hope it's not "pressed" into the metal.

Yes, the ball does rotate, but not freely as you might expect. I would definititely say it is designed to rotate about the one contact point and not spin all over the place. So lubrication, and plenty of it is definitely the name of the game. It probably should float in oil and not have just slick grease around the chamber.

Contact VPI. Harry has a new lubricant. It looks like petroleum jelly, but he assures me its not. It did make positive changes in my Superscoutmaster
Whatever the designer's original intention, IME there was audible improvement after remounting the stock steel ball in a polished cup in which the bearing moved freely, as compared to the stock set-up in which the bearing rolled but with drag. As there were no flat spots on the steel ball after many years of use, I concluded that the ball had been rolling roughly & noisily and distributing wear around its circumference.

There was further improvement after switching from steel to ceramic.
Hello Dave, Stringreen, All,
Inquiring minds wish to know.... at least mine does!

What I wonder Dave, is that as you've mentioned, that you've never noted any wear on the original Bearing Ball in your particular instance, and I'm believing one of these answers because of this, was most likely, you were the roiginal owner, and you cared for your turntable.

For those who noted palling (is that the proper word?) on thier original Bearing Ball, I'd wager it was because of one of two reasons, one they bought the table used from somebody who cared diddly about thier table, or they themselves cared diddly.

About the topic of lubricants, which I do feel is quite important, I never noted Harry W ever mentioning greases, until the Inverted Bearing came along.

It was always some other hot ticket, like his own oil, or Mobil 1, then "Sick 50" (I call it), or some other concoctions that others "home brewed"

While I can fathom in a non-inverted design, the oil, by gravity goes to the Bottom of the Bearing well, and there it will protect until it either wears out, or loses it's protective properties, but what I wonder about, is what about the Top of the Bearing Well, where these were either Bushed with Brass, (Or was it Bronze?) and some other synthetic. (Was it truly Rulon, or some other material, such as Delrin, Nylon, or?)

I think one problem of the non-inverted bearing, even though it might have been Rulon Bushed, and supposedly is supposed to be maintainence free as far as lubricants go,, was it possibly a lack of lubricants in this specific area that begins to cause excessive play- slop, and then when a user upgrades to a new bearing, notes good improvement, just because the new bearing has tighter tolerances, less slop?

Although Grease was never previously suggested for the non-inverted Bearings as far as I know, maybe a grease of some type, and of a correct viscosity would have merit, as grease would have a better ability to stay put where one places it?

I've thought along these lines, using a high tech teflon fortified grease, perhaps cut with an oil to make a suitable slurry of sorts which could be maye the best of both worlds so to speak?
Sheila responded to my question on VPIs new lubricant. And is selling whats called super lube for 25 dollars. I could not find anything on VPIs web site on it. Going to order some and give it a try.
StiTrains, I gather then this new Lube is for particular use with VPI's newer Inverted Bearings, correct?

Will be interesting to hear your comments about this Lube when you get it.

There has been a grease on the market for some time that is also called "Super Lube", is I believe made, or more likely "marketed" by the Permatex Corp, and somewhat seems to fit a very similar desciption as listed here, in that it is also a Translucent Clear Grease, closely resembling Petroleum Jelly, I understand is a full Synthetic, with Teflon added, very wide heat range, said to not dry, run, thin, and also FDA approved that it can be used in the food industry as well.

We can no doubt assume that VPI is not manufacturing thier own Lubricants, and buys, and tries various formulations to see what they find works best in thier analysis' for thier products.

I do have a 5lb Tub of this Super Lube lying around here somewhere, would be interesting to compare, whether both are indeed the same? If so, then I have about "$5,000 worth" of "VPI Super Lube" right here!

I'm certainly not trying to undermine VPI's attempts to make a dollar, but does make me wonder, when one charges $25 for no doubt a small vial, is perhaps just "repackaging" a common product at a substantial profit to the unknowing? Mark
Markd51 audio is like any other speciality hobby. very high mark ups for items that if searched out of the hobby can be purchased for much less. We use what was recommended by VPI at work, a lithium based type grease. you use such a small amount yearly it does not make sense to buy a tube and have it laying around the house. so for the 25 it might not be such a bad deal. will give my impressions but to be truthful i will be surprised if its use is more than a small upgrade.
Randyhat on the super platter i cant comment on its ability's as i haven't compared both. i do have mapleshades record coupling system and since its arrival in my system i have retired the outer ring clamp and center hrx clamp. the record coupling system has opened the mid and upper ends with out hurting the bottom. truly a great upgrade for me at a price that does not hurt to bad. i dont know why VPI did not give those who purchased tables with the acrylic platter a fair discount on super platter. i would have gone with it, but to me before i spend 1200 on a platter i would rather sell my aries 3 and move on.
like i said above its a super speciality hobby and it takes big bucks some time to try items that may or may not make improvements you are expecting. good luck with your system
I was sent some of this super grease. It comes in what looks like a hypodermic needle type of plunger package. It has VPI written on it, but it is just a label, and am sure they get it elsewhere. If there is a difference when applied, it sure wasn't obvious.
I got a strong magnet and took a closer look at my MK III bearing. It loooks like the little ball at the bottom does not rotate at all. There is a little wear mark on the point and it doesn't move at all.

I've posted a question to Mike at VPI and will report back here when I get something back from him. But basically right now it doesn't look like my ball is removable - otherwise my wife would probably hide them in her bedside drawer - but that's another story :-)

Hello Bob, On a couple of occasions, I've tried email to VPI, but never got a response from them (think it was a yahoo addy?) Better to call by phone.

Very odd that it won't rotate, or come out? As far as I can tell, and my thinking is, (and I could be incorrect about this?) was that the Ball was neither supposed to be a tight press fit, nor on the other hand was it supposed to freely rotate within the Bearing Shaft either.

What changes, and methods VPI may've implemented over the years, perhaps only God knows? :-) The soaking in some form of Solvent should've loosened the hold of caked, hardened grease. I can perhaps suggest soaking the end of the Shaft overnight in a solvent (Thinner, Turpentine, Naptha, etc) It won't hurt it.

We all await to hear what Mike perhaps says? Mark
Well Mike replied. The full test of his message is as follows:

"I don't know why anyone would want to change the ball other than to replace it when worn but that's what makes this business so much fun. The ball is pressed in place on your table, it may or may not be removable, only we could determine that."

So anyone know of an old MK IV platter for sale? I've been considering trading up for quite some time and just never pulled the plug. It may be time now.

A little creative destruction should remove that ball. I would drill a hole through the ball and drive in a stud remover. Or thread the hole in the ball and insert a grade 8 bolt, which could be extracted together with the ball by using a puller. Some light heat from an acetalene torch might also help. If it can be pressed in, it can be pulled out.
I received an e-mailed suggestion that I'll have to give a try (thanks Markd51). Basically he suggests I dry off the shaft and ball, then take a hard dry rubber mat and try to turn the pressed in ball so the wear spot is not on the pivot point. Just press the ball down on the rubber matt and try to move it with force.

Smart idea. I'll have to give it a shot and see if it works.

Thanks again,
Nope. Didn't work. This little ball is really pressed in tight, or perhaps machined out of the whole bar of steel and not a separate ball at all. It is not going to turn or loosen, not now, not ever.

I guess I've got what I've got.

Again, anyone hot a MK IV platter and bearing they want to part with?