Outer ring record clamps (non-VPI)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Brian Gupton, Apr 20, 2015.

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  1. Brian Gupton

    Brian Gupton Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Anyone other than VPI owners use an outer record clamp to help flatten warped records?

    I've been looking at the TTW Audio Outer Ring, but at $800 I'm not sure if the improvement is worth it. I definitely have more than my share of slightly warped records.

    Anyone use this device or similar? What have your results been?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  2. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

  3. Brian Gupton

    Brian Gupton Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yeah, the VinylFlat and similar products are interesting but just take too long. I doubt I'd remember to use it very often.
     
  4. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I have no experience with various aftermarket ring clamps on tables not designed with an integral clamp of that type but my Merrill Heirloom was designed with an outer clamping ring and it definitely makes things quieter and tighter vs. using it unclamped....not a huge difference though. But I guess will all kinds of clamping it depends on the platter/record interface you're clamping to and the overall turntable design as to whether it works to terminate vinyl resonances, or by more tightly coupling the record to the platter/mat couples more resonance into the audio chain. The flattening of warps is almost more of a side benefit to something that's principally designed to terminate resonances.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  5. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    I have an earlier version of the periphery ring you listed above - it doesn't have the additional weights for the underside, however. I only use it for pretty warped LPs, as it can be kind of a hassle. I do have a matching center weight that sits on the spindle, and I use it with every LP I play. The cost of the rings has gone way, way up - I bought one with minor cosmetic blemishes. The periphery ring does work well, and probably would be beneficial with each LP.
     
  6. I have a TTW outer rim weight, purchased from the Canadian manufacturer some years ago when they were about US$400. Mine is the one down from the sample in your photo-doesn't have the domed weights around the ring but it has been more than capable of flattening out any warped record I've thrown at it. I find it very quick and simple to use, takes a couple of seconds to fit and use it with the Pro-ject centre weight .
    While the cost is high it's a one time purchase-will never wear out and will out last me and my TT. I see the that some are now made in stainless steel but mine is all copper.
     
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  7. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Remember that the goal of this sort of thing is not only to flatten LPs, but also to add weight at the periphery to improve rotational stability. I had one of the basic stainless-steel TTW rings for use on a Rega. It worked fine, but compared to the VPI solution it is a bit more of a hassle. Plus, since it just sits on top of an LP it is possible to nudge it out of position after you've placed it down. Still, I wouldn't play LPs without one.

    John K.
     
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  8. Roger C

    Roger C Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    i
    I also have a copper TTW outer rim and liked it, but I added my own brass weights with epoxy to the edges. There was a little more clarity and it didn't cost much. It isn't as good looking as their product. I always use it with my Lenco which has a powerful motor and the platter is not suspended. Yes, I'm cheap...
     
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  9. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    The primary goal of the ring on the Merrill, which I think was the first turntable to have a peripheral clamping ring back in the early '80s, was to terminate resonances of the record itself instead of allowing it to reflect back into the record. Flattening warps and aiding rotational speed stability were at most secondary design goals. Here's Merrill's little one sheet on the design idea behind clamping -- both in the center and at the periphery: http://www.hifigem.com/record-weights-and-clamps.html
     
  10. dconsmack

    dconsmack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    I own a TT Weights outer ring. It's great! I don't use it anymore because my new turntable won't accommodate it, but when I could use it, I used it religiously on every album because no record is perfectly flat. I highly recommend one; it's easy to use and gets your discs ruler-flat. An essential accessory in my opinion.
     
    Russell Marcks likes this.
  11. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Has anyone ever successfully used an outer ring on a 1200? Just curious, I would imagine they're rather limited in space.
     
  12. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    My understanding of peripheral weights is consistent with that expressed by Chervokas--the weight, along with a center clamp is designed to tightly couple the record to the platter to keep the record itself from resonating. When the stylus tracks a record, it is temporarily deforming the groove which then snaps back to its original position. The deformation (compression) and the elastic return to the normal position means a lot of energy imparted into the record itself that will cause the record to resonate. If the record is clamped tightly to the platter, particularly if the platter is a material of similar density to the record itself (e.g., acrylic) that energy is both damped and transmitted to the platter itself to be dissipated in the platter. This is the theory for both the use of the peripheral clamp and for the vacuum clamping.

    I own a table with vacuum clamping. I find that when I employ the vacuum clamping, the sound is clear and "darker" sounding (not as apparently bright and lively sounding). Some might say it sounds a bit lifeless, but, I don't think so myself. What is VERY obvious is that records sound MUCH quieter--ticks and pops are very much attenuated by such tight clamping and are less obtrusive. I have heard similar behavior with ticks and pops from other tables that employ such clamping,like the Clearaudio tables, which use a very thick acrylic platter and center and peripheral clamps. One can debate the merits of the sound of clamping, but, the reduction in noise is something that I am sure everyone would appreciate.
     
  13. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    If your records play, this probably isn't necessary.
     
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  14. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA
    What's wrong with a Vinyl Flat? 1/8 the price, and it will actually fix your LPs permanently.
     
    rob303 likes this.
  15. Reese

    Reese Why did you say 'Burma'?

    A problem I have with my VPI clamp (and presumably would occur with other similar clamps, too) is that approximately 5% of the LPs in my collection have a diameter less than the inner diameter of the clamping surface. The result is that the clamp falls past the LP surface and rests on the platter itself. Another 5 to 10% of my LPs just barely come into contact with the ring, making it a bit of trick to get the entire circumference of the record clamped down.
    If the inner clamping surface were extended a bit, it would cover the outer grooves of yet another group of LPs.
    For most LPs, the clamp works great, but it is not a perfect solution for every record.
     
  16. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I don't know anything about vinyl flat, but as noted the primary purpose of a peripheral clamping ring is not to flatten warps, it's to couple the vinyl to the platter/mat and terminate resonances of the vinyl itself so they don't reflect back from the edge of the vinyl.
     
  17. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I have been considering an outer ring. The VPI ring is now up to $1000. I am sure a periphery ring will improve things but how much. I may get one someday. Honestly, I wouldn't like the extra step when playing vinyl, not to mention the ring not fitting some vinyl and the increased danger in damaging expensive vinyl.
     
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  18. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 He’s hip! He’s cool! He’s Member!

    Location:
    Ohio
    I just can't bare the thought of spending $1,000 simply to correct a warp. when there shouldn't be a warp to begin with.
     
  19. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Again, the ring isn't necessarily for warps, it's to couple the vinyl to the platter/mat and terminate resonances of the vinyl itself so they don't reflect back from the edge of the vinyl.
     
  20. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 He’s hip! He’s cool! He’s Member!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Wouldn't that be accomplished by the center clamp?
     
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  21. I've only ever had one lp that wasn't a good fit with my TTW and that hadn't been trimmed properly at the plant and was too big to fit inside the lip of the weight*. Unless the TTW has changed dramatically there's no way it could slide out onto the lp and damage the playing surface. The only possible downside I would list would the need to take a little extra care when cuing up the stylus so you don't land on the ring instead of the vinyl. So, easy on the brandy and everything is sweet.

    * I won't tell the sorry story of me trying to trim the edge with a box cutter...however I do now have a 2nd undamaged copy of said lp.
     
  22. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Not entirely, no, at least according to designers who advocate the use of a peripheral clamp AND a center clamp.

    From a mini white paper on the subject by George Merrill, one of the pioneers of the peripheral clamp:

    Holding the record to a damping material is the job of weights and clamps. An LP record’s label is thicker than the vinyl playing surface. The label varies from approximately 20 to 60 thousands of an inch thicker than the vinyl. A record mat will have a depression in the center to allow the record vinyl to lay flat, otherwise the label would be the only contact point. If a center weight is used that is very heavy, let’s say 2 lb. the lighter records will lift from the mat. This happens because the mat depression edge will act as fulcrum. This information tells us we should use a center weight tuned for the record thickness and weight. However this is impractical. Here is the solution: Use a center weight that weighs 8-12 oz . This weight will work with all but the lighter records. The alternative to a weight is the screw down clamp. These clamps have pluses and minuses. The plus is down force on the record can be controlled. The minus is if not designed properly (unfortunately most are not) spindle energy is coupled into the record. It takes very little intrusion of external energy to cloud the mechanical output of the stylus. (I wrote a paper on proper screw down clamp design about 25 years ago.)

    The best answer is the periphery clamping weight along with a center weight. The weight balance between these two should be calculated for even and optimal down force on the entire vinyl area.

    As the stylus traces the groove, energy is radiated in all directions, as it reaches the periphery of the record it then reflected back into the groove area. The periphery clamp will help damp this edge energy before it is reflected into the groove area. The center weight also acts as a damper. The first production periphery clamp was used on the Merrill Heirloom Turntable 1980. Kenwood also introduce theirs about the same time. Other manufacturers are now discovering the benefits of this type of clamp system.


    I do, however, suspect, much has to do with the material you're clamping the record to -- probably not every mat and/or platter is mechanically ideal for that sort of solution. It's a whole system designed to terminate resonances, so no idea about the efficacy of aftermarket solutions vs. integral design solutions.
     
  23. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA


    Sounds like just another thing they can sell us.
     
  24. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Merrill did a lot of work in the late '70s and early '80s on turntable resonance and wound up as one of the first if not the first guy to use lead and acrylic in turntable design and to design around peripheral and center clamping, in large part picking up from the famous study of mechanical resonances in turntable systems by Bruel & Kjaer , Merrill is hardly a charlatan and the science of vinyl and turntable resonance ain't pseudo science. Anecdotally I can say that I'm still using an early '90s Merrill Heirloom and with the peripheral clamp engaged the sound is definitely cleaner and tighter across the audio spectrum.
     
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  25. dogpile

    dogpile Generation X record spinner.

    Location:
    YYZ - Canada
    I have a TTWeights clamp combo with my SL-1200. A thicker mat is required for use of the outer clamp.

    [​IMG]
     
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