Weight, Clamp or stabilizer?


I have a vintage Pioneer PL-560 Direct-Drive Automatic Turntable purchased around 1980. 
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/pioneer/pl-560.shtml
I'm trying to get it to produce the best sound its capable of.  I plan to order a set of SVS subwoofer feet to replace the worn feet (I have an SVS subwoofer and removed its feet and temporarily placed them on the TT base with good results).  I read an article about TT tweaks.  A few things they suggested were an upgraded mat, clamp and isolation feet.  Thing is since the TT is a direct drive I don't know how much extra weight it can take (if any), and the spindle is about 7/8 inches tall so I don't know if that's enough for a clamp.  The original rubber mat it came with is in great shape. Do I need to replace it, too? I'm willing to invest in tweaks to improve this turntable, but not interested in replacing it.
mewsickbuff
7/8" is ample for most clamps (are you allowing for thickness of the mat?) IMO, a real clamp is the way to go — some are very light, very inexpensive and very effective.

I don’t understand using a weight. I have a massive one, 800 grams, and it can’t flatten even a slightly warped LP — whereas a clamp, exerting active pressure (and weighing 90% less) does a far better job. And you are right to consider the load on the bearing.

You are "willing to tweak", and once you have the clamp, there are some very neat tricks to flatten the record totally: full contact with the platter right out to the edge. These tweaks are not expensive, and readily available: only two small parts. They require a bit of DIY but well within the skills of even a modest handyman, with basic tools.

And it really works. You’ll see and hear the improvement.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to recommend one here. If so, I will. Otherwise, you needn’t spend much, as long as the clamp has a collet. When you get it, I’ll be happy to elaborate on the tweaks, or send you links to a simple how-to.

Let us know.
New mat, definitely.  Rubber ages even if it seems new.  Don't try to fix a warped record with a weight or clamp unless its the only copy...there are plenty of either new presses or 'good' copies at some price point.  A wobbly record will wear unevenly and depending on your pitch sensitivity will drive you crazy.

Change the needle/cartridge to something about $150.

Buy new MFSL anti-static original master sleeves and keep the paper ones as nostalgia.

Buy a motorized, liquid washing system, approx $200-$500.  I have found this is the best way to clean but also remove static before playing.
I'm trying to get it to produce the best sound its capable of. I plan to order a set of SVS subwoofer feet to replace the worn feet .... I read an article about TT tweaks. A few things they suggested were an upgraded mat, clamp and isolation feet.

The best you can do at the first step is to upgrade the cartridge!

This is by far the most important. You can do all the tricks, but without a decent cartridge in contact with your vinyl grooves all upgrades makes almost no sense. Make sure you have the right cartridge first. Some vintage MM cartridges are great, Pioneer PC-1000 mkII was their best cartridge (absolutely amazing, look at the package).  

A good cartridge will change the sound of your system even on felt mat without clamp or weight. 

All the tricks such as mat, clamp will make some improvement, but not as huge as the cartridge. 

BTW Pioneer dist stabilizer is very nice. Micro is another top-notch stabilizer. As for the Mat i would recommend SAEC SS-300

Adding a heavy clamp is not a good thing on the pivot bearing, rather a clamp from Michell that weighs little and is cheap, but has a chuck like that of drills to grind and allows the disc to be fixed firmly to the mat.
The best lightweight clamp with chucking lock arround the spindle is Orsonic. The silver panel on top act like a button to open chucking lock. It's cheap

Practically i don’t like clamps with lock, i prefer just weight (always).
Post removed 
Check out the Clearaudio / Souther Clever Clamp.  $35, hardly weighs anything and works.

The SVS feet might be good for a turntable, but they are designed for heavier devices.  I don't know if that will matter or not, but something to consider.

I recently picked up some feet from mnpctech for my JVC direct drive turntable and they were a big improvement over the stock feet.  Looks like they have them for Pioneer tables -  https://mnpctech.com/turntable-feet-replacement-isolation/pioneer-dj-plx-500-plx-1000-turntable-feet-replace/

My JVC is an 80's vintage turntable also and the rubber mat works fine.  

The best lightweight clamp with chucking lock arround the spindle is Orsonic. The silver panel on top act like a button to open chucking lock. It's cheap
For those not overly concerned about their "audiophile cred", the Orsonic was rebadged as a Monster Cable clamp. Totally identical, but for the name — and the price: ±400 for the Orsonic, ±100 for the (ugh) Monster these days. So if you'd like to save money, and can live with the ignominy of owning the Monster brand...

I had one and it is, as Chakster says, a great clamp. And it looks great: not ornate, nor a characterless block, it looks like Saarinen might have designed it.

It is not, however, lightweight. Many clamps are far lighter, and with the collet/cluch mechanism, weight doesn't matter — except to the bearing. 

I HATE stopping and starting the turntables.
Changing LPs while the platter is spinning is not ideal practice.
I prefer  Michell Engineering Record Clamp, because it attaches to the pin
Thanks everyone. That’s a lot of information to process. Since my turntable is almost 40 years old there’s a chance a weight could be detrimental to its bearing so I’m going to pass. I’ve changed out all master sleeves, cleaned my records, and have an anti-static brush.
@ big_greg the Pioneer feet are very nice looking but out of stock and as mentioned earlier, I tried the SVS feet and heard a positive improvement.
@ chakster, I have the Shure m97xe high-performance magnetic phono cartridge. I’ve found it revealing when the album is. This is my 2nd. Bought a new one after wearing out the 1st because to my ears, it was worth it.
Still wondering about other opinions on the rubber mat.
I don't think most decent turntable bearings care much about a few ounce or a pound weight or clamp on it.  I mean a VPI Prime platter weighs 20 lbs and as you know many platters weigh a lot more.  I suspect the bearing can handle a weight just fine.
For a platter mat, you could look into the Herbies Way Excellent mat. 
They’re made extremely well and can be ordered for any turntable. I’ve had mine for a few yrs now, and I really dig it. 
You could also check out an Achromat, which are very high quality as well. 
I posted before, that I put a stillpoints clamp on my Avid Acutus Dark, and no longer do so. This is because the clamp made the sound somewhat duller ... lost its musicality and airiness. In my system is a waste of £400
Set-up. You can do a lot with set-up, and it's mostly free.
I am interested in the questions from the OP. I also have a vintage Pioneer table (PL-530) I bought new in the 70's. Have used different cartridges over the years and am now using a Grado Gold.
Aside from playing less than flat records I have an interest that pertains to the table feet. The feet on the PL-530 are just plastic ones that have no isolation capability. But most important, there is no adjustment for leveling the table to a close to level state.

My question to those who may have experience with these vintage tables.....My house is well over 100 years. Floors are anything but level. To obtain balance of the table I have used thin shims on each of the 4 corners to achieve as close to level as possible. Besides the capability of isolation, does anyone know if feet with isolation properties as well as adjustment for height available??


@jrpnde
Besides the capability of isolation, does anyone know if feet with isolation properties as well as adjustment for height available??


One of the best isolation device is Audio-Technica pneumatic insulators AT-616:

Set of 4 supports 10 to 60 kg (22 to 132 lbs.) and each one is adjustable. They are big and heavy, can be placed under turntable or any audio device including subwoofers. Also can be placed under wooden platform to make the whole table isolated. The 616 model was the best and most expensive, they made cheaper alternative, but cheaper AT feet can’t support heavyweight.
100% agreed, checking ebay for those now
@bima

For those not overly concerned about their "audiophile cred", the Orsonic was rebadged as a Monster Cable clamp. Totally identical, but for the name — and the price: ±400 for the Orsonic, ±100 for the (ugh) Monster these days.

Interesting, never seen an Ortonic with Monster Cable logo.
The original Orsonic is not expensive, 150-200 bucks.
Micro Seiki is more expensive. 

Clamps are smart but minor.

Someone suggested a new cartridge, what cartridge are you using now? Who set it up?

Arm and Cartridge Setup make the MOST difference, for any tt, any arm, any cartridge. Check/adjust your existing cartridge or a new one. Set up wrong, a million dollar cartridge will sound worse than a proper setup inexpensive one.

It is very wise to acquire PATIENCE, needed tools and learn these skills yourself.
a wordy link I quickly found, members can give us their favorite links

http://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2016/1/17/a-beginners-guide-to-cartridge-setup 

First, no tracking force, no anti-skating, cartridge and stylus installed essentially where it will be, front to back in the headshell most important to begin and move the main weight to 'float' the arm parallel to the platter. Set tracking force 'guide' to zero now.

Arm height effects stylus angle into the groove viewed from the side when the cartridge is in playing position. The diamond wants to be perpendicular to the platter, to enter the groove at 90 degrees, like the cutter blade did. And proper lift/drop must work. 

All other cartridge alignments must be correct to 'float' in the groove, ready to properly receive the vertical and lateral vibrations. Tracking force, light enough for the specific stylus cantilever proper movement, less wear on records and stylus, but strong enough to stay in the groove.

Finally anti-skate to counteract the inward pull of the arm which is relative to tracking force 'when the platter is spinning', no anti-skate exists when setting up.

Moving the cartridge forward or backward as you use the alignment gauge effects tonearm balance, so after getting it refined, double check your zero arm float and re-check your height/stylus tip 90 degrees.

Thru the arc, from outer groove to inner groove, the cartridge body/stylus will only be perfectly aligned with the groove in two positions, (cutter is horizontal tracking, always aligned with the groove. Horizontal tracking tt arms were popular due to this, but ...

the alignment gauges show the two locations within the arc, and have parallel lines as aids. It is not just left or right, because forward/backward in the head shell effect results within the arc. And, moving cartridge forward/back changes arm balance. Reset zero downward force indicator when arm floats.

A thin flat mirror, under the stylus, viewed from the front, will help show misalignment, as any slight divergence will be reflected in an opposite direction, easier to see, easier to get it right.

The most miserable part is if you need tiny shims between the head shell and the top of one side of the cartridge body. Patience, no audience, new curse words will come from your sub-conscious mind. I use tiny dabs of soft tacky stuff to hold nuts in position in the head shell so I can get the screws started.

Stylus gauge for actual tracking force, alignment templates are precise. Set tracking force with zero anti-skating.

Anti-skating, LAST, is often just a mark on a dial, your ears must help it's final adjustment. Make the indicated adjustment, then simply listen: more or less anti-skate will move the stylus against one groove wall, or 'float' in the center. Adjust/listen: emphasize left/right/finally equal balance. It is easy to further refine later after listening to more familiar music.

Learning it all at once is challenging, most of us learned bit by bit.
I just got a new amp and preamp, moved everything several times changed equipment locations/weights effecting the top shelf level. I finished with tt adjustments. After years of doing this, it only took me about 10 minutes to double check and make minor adjustments, it can take quite a long time learning, and changing to a new cartridge.

My advice, leave lots of time, with no one else around. Then, someone's ears, to help with final anti-skate adjustment


I have the Shure m97xe high-performance magnetic phono cartridge. The arm is the original arm. I found instructions for cartridge and my specific turntable's arm setup online in the operating instruction manual, rare and detailed.
I did a lot of research in the form of reading shoot-out review's and forum lurking over the mat and record weight upgrade for my technics direct drive table and ended up with a 5mm funk firm achromat and an oyaide stb-msx record weight. Both have made a significant improvement to my table and I'm quite happy with the results and don't feel I need to upgrade anything. If I remember correctly, for steel platters, using a record weight is more effective than a clamp. If the platter is made of glass or acrylic (rega or project) using a clamp is more effective as it doesn't add unnecessary weight which may cause smearing.

This is of course based on the findings of others that have tried it and not my first-hand experience. In my case, the achromat provided a bigger 'upgrade' compared to using the stock technics rubber mat. The oyaide record weight was a more subtle change, but a pleasant one and it looks great and makes my table look the business.   


Regarding turntable feet that are adjustable, there are two fairly-new excellent ones: the IsoAcoustics GAIA (reviewed by Art Dudley in the June Stereophile), and the Townshend Audio Seismic Pods (or the company’s Seismic Platform, which has Pods attached to it’s bottom.).
chakster....Thanks for your recommendation. From what I've found, the AT-616 isolation feet are no longer in production. There are some sites that list used ones of a price from $600 to $800. More than double the cost of my table and cartridge.

So....Would the cost of the feet really be worth it given my setup? If I had a more costly table and cartridge then, maybe. I realize that setup is most important for any table. I am looking for a modest tweek that may or may not yield any sonic improvement. Certainly not high dollar feet meant for more exotic setups. Thanks anyway for your input.

A set of four IsoAcoustics GAIA III (which support up to 70 lbs.) retails for $199, $189 on Amazon.
@jrpnde

chakster....Thanks for your recommendation. From what I’ve found, the AT-616 isolation feet are no longer in production. There are some sites that list used ones of a price from $600 to $800. More than double the cost of my table and cartridge.


Yes, if you will compare the price for those vintage Pneumatic Insulators to the new Stillpoints you may think the old AT is cheap :) I think you can find them a bit cheaper if the cosmetic condition is not MINT. But i agree they are rare and expensive.

So....Would the cost of the feet really be worth it given my setup? If I had a more costly table and cartridge then, maybe. I realize that setup is most important for any table. I am looking for a modest tweek that may or may not yield any sonic improvement. Certainly not high dollar feet meant for more exotic setups. Thanks anyway for your input.

The goal of the AT616 is the high weight they can support, my friends using them under Obsidian Plinth of the Technics SP-10mkII turntables and everyone who tried AT616 instead of the stock Technics feet are very impressed by the improvement.

If the turntable is too cheap for such expensive feet then i think 4 x AT616 can be used under the desk supporting all equipment on the desk (if the total weight in under 132lbs or 60kg). Such desk can be a good isolation platform with those AT616 (they can be leveled individually).

Anyway, i just don’t know a better isolation device, so i’m recommending the best one. I have 8 of them.


I'm new here.

How do you respond to a specific post, or to the OP's latest post when you see it later (above more recent posts)?

thanks,
another question,

If someone responds to something I wrote, how might I know that?
I’m new here.

How do you respond to a specific post, or to the OP’s latest post when you see it later (above more recent posts)?

copy, paste, select and click first quote button in your window

the best solution for older home is using wall mounted pedestal for your turntable, it will also buy you some space on your audio cabinet / shelf

Google results,  https://www.google.com/search?q=turntable+isolation+wall+mount&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS730US730&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiA-euMx4zjAhXMZc0KHSoZD3IQ_AUIESgC&biw=1920&bih=1089  
@hifigem, that $1K periphery outer ring clamp is way out of my budget. I can be happy hearing what my modest setup has to offer without it. But for those who can afford it, I'm sure they'll be happy you shared the info.

chakster
2,823 posts
06-28-2019 10:16am
I’m new here.

How do you respond to a specific post, or to the OP’s latest post when you see it later (above more recent posts)?

copy, paste, select and click first quote button in your window
Got it, thanks. I copied your name as well as text, so others would know who I was responding to.

I didn't get a notification that you had responded to me. Is that possible here?
now viewing my post above, it is not clear who said what in the quoted portion. 
oh, the little gray bar on the left, got it.

mewsickbuff
 OP
136 posts
06-27-2019 6:05pm
I have the Shure m97xe high-performance magnetic phono cartridge. The arm is the original arm. I found instructions for cartridge and my specific turntable's arm setup online in the operating instruction manual, rare and detailed.

I also use M97xe. Love it, actually prefer it to my two Microline's (shure and audio technica).

Shure just stopped making stylus, the prices have tripled in a short time, keep your eye out for a replacement stylus at some kind of price.

I've had some fancy tt in my time, prior favorite was Thorens with SME arm, but my floors are too springy, it's bearing not good with vertical movement. I am quite happy with my current Audio Technica LP120 so I know what type of arm you have as well.

Often, finer engineering, i.e. 7 pound platter, involves the avoidance of potential problems, not apparent improvements in it's fundamental purpose.

I bought an acrylic matt, but can't tell it's full impact yet but could hear it's more detailed than my original rubber matt. Instead of the SVS subwoofer feet, I've opted for a set of 4 Isoacoustics Orea bronze as replacement feet.

http://www.isoacoustics.com/orea-bronze/
Hopefully they'll be here next week.
@elliotbnewcombjr are you saying I should pass on the clamp and weight because they may damage the TT's 7 lb platter? Any other advice or  recommendations on what to use instead?
I installed 4 SVS ISOfeet under my VPI Ares3 with the super platter option (the TT weighs in around 70 pounds).  I did not simply machine screw the feet to the base of the turntable as the feet have a metal cup around the medium durometer rubber.  I wanted to isolate the metal cup from the base completely.  I drilled out the center hole to approximately 1/2 inch diameter, then installed a rubber grommet in the hole and installed the 1/4x20 machine screw in the center of the grommet.  I cut neoprene foam circles out of a mouse pad and used those as a gasket between the metal cup and the underside base of the TT.  After screwing the feet into place, the ISOfeet are completely isolated by rubber from the TT base and there is now about 2 inches of the ISOfeet isolating the TT from the shelf.  I have virtually zero vibration feeding into the TT under very heavy dynamic music with a lot  of bass.   I even put the same feet under my Whest Phono stage and the outboard power supply unit.  You would be amazed at how the soundstage and imaging opened up.  Vibration plays a major role in muddying up things.

A set of 4 of the feet are only $50.  I used 4 under the TT and 3 each under the phono chassis and power supply.