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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:30 am 
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Last weekend a friend of mine lent me his knock-off Shun mook record clamp which is handcrafted by his woodworker friend using an old rare wood from Asia. The record clamp dimension is similar to that of the Shun mook except for its lighter finished, smooth surface without any ribbing and lightweight about less than a pound which is a little lighter than the VPI stainless steel record weight and a lot heavier than the other VPI black Delrin record clamp. While auditioning it over the weekend then it dawns on me and got me thinking why not compared it to my VPI black delrin record clamp and the VPI stainless steel record weight that I have at hand to hear if it sounds any better.

This is the results of the listening comparisons between the 2 record clamps and 1 record weight as shown below. Sorry about the dusty photos of my VPI TNT turntable as it certainly needs serious dusting sooner than later.

The system used for this comparison: VPI TNT MK V with a single flywheel 3-belt motor, SME IV tonearm, BenzMicro LO4 MC cartridge, Aye P-X5XE phono stage, Van Den Hul hybrid tonearm cable, Transparent Audio Ultra XLR cable that connect the Ayre phono stage to the preamp, and MIT Z Center line conditioner.

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VPI Black delrin record clamp: For the record, no pun intended this has been my go-to record clamp in the last 10 years or so.
Bass: Punchy but a little monotonic although it does elicit some sort of semblance from the real thing more so than just from a reproduced sound
Midrange: Neutral but with a hint of brightness with excellent timbre
Highs: A little spritely but crisp
Transients attack: Fast and easy to follow
Dynamic contrast: Excellent
Overall sound characteristics: Although the bass is not as visceral on some recordings but at the same token, it always lends itself to ethereal sound.

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Shun Mook knock-off record clamp: Made from an old rare wood from Asia with a bronze dowl in the middle. It looks good and feels good and not only that its satin finished is first class
Bass: Punchy bass but not as articulated as I would like
Midrange: Can sound Lush but with a hint of hardness on some recordings
Highs: It rolls off faster than the other record clamps, which tend to make some recording sounding warm
Transients attack: Very fast but with an easy suspension of the cymbals
Dynamic contrast: Very good
Overall sound characteristics: Lush and dark sounding which will benefit other turntables who are leaning towards bright sounding

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VPI Stainless steel record weight: It is made of solid stainless steel material with satin polish finished.
Bass: Natural and very solid articulated sound.
Midrange: A Full bodied which emulates any sound that is on the recordings.
Highs: As high as the recording is capable of
Transients attack: Excellent with no bloating
Dynamic contrast: Excellent from top to bottom
Overall sound characteristics: This record clamp is designed to extol the virtues of playing the vinyl on top of the solid aluminum platter.

Conclusion: There you have it as you can plainly see the VPI stainless steel record weight is the best of the three according to my comparison which was totally based on my own system. However, that doesn't mean that it will sound good or the other 2 will sound just as bad on any other system out there. The best thing to do is listen to them for yourself.


Last edited by tube54 on Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:37 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:12 am 
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Just a point of clarification...your comparison was between one clamp to 2 weights.

I have a small arsenal of record clamps and weights ranging form Furutech, TTW, BDR, VPI, HRS, Shun Mook clone, Thorens, and a few others that I can't remember. IMHO, there is no universal best, but only what works best with their system and in my instance, I have settled on the Stillpoints Lp1


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:18 am 
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What was the name of the lp you were using for the test.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:36 am 
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brf wrote:
Just a point of clarification...your comparison was between one clamp to 2 weights.

I have a small arsenal of record clamps and weights ranging form Furutech, TTW, BDR, VPI, HRS, Shun Mook clone, Thorens, and a few others that I can't remember. IMHO, there is no universal best, but only what works best with their system and in my instance, I have settled on the Stillpoints Lp1


Sorry as I wasn't very thorough, the comparisons were between the two clamps and the 1 weight which was the VPI stainless steel one. I would agree with you that it's all about the overall synergy effect between the clamp and or the weight place on top of the vinyl to the platter. In any case, I can live with any of them it just that the VPI stainless steel weight does a better job of resolving the overall well balance of the sound that I was looking for.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:37 am 
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Location: Richmond Hill, ON, CA
Very interesting topic. I am going to add my experience into the mix.

I had experience with two different TTWeight 500g weights, an Acoustic Solid 300g weights, TTW lightweight clamps, and Panzer wood 1030g weight.

What I noticed is that the mass property and dampening material if any (usually on the weight underside) have far more influence than the material itself.

In the case of comparing two metal weights with similar mass, I didn’t find a noticeable difference in their performances. I also cannot tell much difference between sound of copper vs steel vs aluminum. But as the weight goes up, there is a sense of better momentum and stability to the music. So my conclusion was…. get the heaviest weight that your TT can reliably support! Since certain TT brands market heavier platter as upgrade, I figured a person can also upgrade the TT by using heavy accessories such as weights and platter rings.

There is a weight that is up to 2000g on “the bay”, and I am seriously contemplating if it will bring a noticeable sonic improvement over my current 1000g… just make sure you don't drop it by accident!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:42 am 
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alboettcher wrote:
What was the name of the lp you were using for the test.


The lp's that I used for comparison was by Rickie Lee Jones "Rickie Lee Jones" and Bob James "The one"


Last edited by tube54 on Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:32 pm 
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Location: Fairport Beach (in Pickering), ON, CA
What are the weights of each clamp/weight.

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Collecting vintage tube Pilot (Pilotone) HiFi gear.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:56 pm 
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.. and don't drop it on your foot. :shock:

andreway wrote:
There is a weight that is up to 2000g on “the bay”, and I am seriously contemplating if it will bring a noticeable sonic improvement over my current 1000g… just make sure you don't drop it by accident!


A heavy weight is fine ( to use carefully ) if your table's bearing is made to take it. The lighter the platter, the more I would want to go easy on the extra weight.

If I had a suspended turntable, I would want to make sure a heavy weight didn't load the suspension tuning over optimum.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:18 am 
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Tom_r wrote:
What are the weights of each clamp/weight.


Here is the approximate weight of each of the record clamps and record weight. 1. VPI Black Delrin record clamp - weight: 250 grams 2. Shun Mook Knock-off record clamp - weight: 375 grams 3. VPI Stainless Steel record weight - weight: 450 grams.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:30 pm 
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Location: Didsbury, AB, CA
Thanks for the review and photos...the rip-off clamp is a real beaut!

As thorough as the review was, you could of also tried no clamp at all. In fact, no clamp, should be the reference point!



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:26 pm 
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I agree with andreway and tube54 that heavier weight is better. I tried several clamps and weights with a Mission 775SM which comes with its own lightweight metal clamp. The one I settled on was the TTW stainless Superweight (800gms) which is internally damped and has the bottom lined with polycarbonate, so the metal doesn't actually touch the label. This one offered the greatest bass weight and drive as well as a very quiet, dark background. The solid brass weight sounded slightly less weighty and a tidge harsher. In 2nd place though was the original Mission clamp suppled with the deck. This one had a thin suede layer on the underside that reduced detail but provided a rounder sound that wasn't as clinical as the other clamps I tried, all of which lacked the damping layer between label and clamp materials.

Fun stuff. I never tried a hardwood weight but I imagine it would impart its own sonic signature to the sound much like wood ,metal or plastic bodies do with cartridges, platters and mats. It never ends!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:30 pm 
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earwax wrote:
Thanks for the review and photos...the rip-off clamp is a real beaut!

As thorough as the review was, you could of also tried no clamp at all. In fact, no clamp, should be the reference point!



Image


I have tried playing the records without the clamp and weight on them in the past and it does sound different. However, I've found that if I place either the clamp or the weight on the records the sound becomes even firmer and cohesive. Of course, these findings are totally based on the turntable and its ancillary equipment that I have at hand.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Toby wrote:
.. and don't drop it on your foot. :shock:

You mean don't drop it on the platter....it may shatter the bearing if it doesn't merely damage it.

To borrow a phrase from pro cycling: Flesh heals, Campagnolo doesn't! :(

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