Jim's floating records

Ok, what you think you know is wrong:
Today Jim and the always stunning Marge had me over for lunch and for Jim to show me his new “amazing thing”.
He was playing records on his VPI Classic Signature with their Fatbastard 3D tonearm and Koestsu Cantaffordit cartridge.
Sounded amazing.
He asked me to look at the record/ platter from the side and surprisingly, the record was floating.
He places a rubber (VPI) washer, roughly 1.75 inches dia, over the spindle and plops the record on that with a VPI weight on top, NO mat.
The sound was crystal clear, bass was strong and well defined, mids, smooth and delicious, separation was quite separate.
Then we substituted different mats, cork, leather and my Achromat that he asked me to bring. Floating won, I think, maybe. But who’da thought? I love stuff like this.


That’s a perfect example of you cant know what you dont know. It is good to have an open mind especially in this hobby. Being a relative noob I learn a lot thru osmosis just hanging around with the experts here. Interesting for sure.

In case this sounds better than with the record as normal on his platter, this proves nothing good. It would mean his platter surface doesn’t kill but enforce resonances of the stylus…or…his bearing is so little quiet, that the rubber ring damping helps inspite of the missing coupling of the record to a platter and although part of those bearing resonances are still transferred over the spindle.

How did it sound better than with the mats?

Interesting assumptions. But he is a meticulous type. And his equipment is top notch

Yes, I assumed so….it’s just as if a car with flat tires runs better than with filled…something must be wrong :wink:

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I know, it requires an open mind to work out.

Yes, I don’t doubt that you heard it sounds better, it’s just the fact that it does, rises further important questions.

But if one e.g. turns around his speakers and it sounds better….why not…it might just be worth trying out others :wink:

In case the trials meant different VTA‘s, even if slightly, this might have had more influence than the mats, and the ring maybe caused the best martching VTA.

You’re right. Lot’s of questions raised. Jim is anything but an amateur. But still, lots of questions.
He and I were so amused by the results. None of us are going to find the answer here without his equipment to manipulate, no matter how deep our intuitive knowledge. Hence, my first sentence.
It’s a wonderment.

I have not used the VPI washer in some time, but I may have to try it again since I have made a number of improvements in my system. Maybe it will surprise me.

I primarily go bareback with the records right on the platter and I use the periphery ring clamp. The clamp is helpful, especially when records have a bit of a warp. I have a couple nice mats, but I did not find they add to the experience in any way.

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Me, too!

I love this sort of thing It makes us think.

Did Jim adjust for VTA/SRA and VTF from mat to mat to air suspension? The difference in sound can also be attributed to variations in mat thickness or vinyl thickness depending on the cartridge. Not sure which Koetsu cart but my guess would be it has a microline type stylus. Koetsu are mighty fine cartridges, hard to justify ifinancially n my case based on the “wear factor”.


I am amused at this discussion as my TT uses vacuum to make the vinyl as one with the 70 pound platter. So O-ring dewd makes me wonder if I could maybe get away with a lighter platter.

Must stop thinking!

Also, would the type of LP matter? Heavy weight (180/200 gram) or a typical vintage super-floppy 140 gram? I’m thinking this would work better with the thicker and stiffer records.

Excellent question. He was using 180 gm. 140 wouldn’t work because of droop.

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(You had to know Droopy would come to a floating records thread)


How often do you carry your platter around?

Ron, so he’s just using a center weight rather than a screw-down clamp? And then is not using the outer ring that I think goes with the center weight? The little rubber center thingy is to raise the record slightly above the platter surface, the intent being to then clamp the edge down one way or another - via center clamp or outer ring. It is usually used to make not perfectly flat records flat. If it is a nice pressing, it isn’t really necessary from that POV, but may offer other benefits.

I am not making any judgements about what you guys are doing or are experiencing.

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Trying to figure out what your question is but it’s early, I’ve only had one coffee.
I’ll try again later

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On the cheaper VPI’s like I have, the rubber center thing raises the record, and the clamp that screws down over the spindle bends the record from the label down onto the platter out to the edges. You mention a weight, so I assume that is one of the models that would use a circumferential ring to hold down the edges of the record.

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I have only the lowly Scout with the acrylic platter, but when the subject of platter mats is raised, the home office in NJ says the intent of the washer is to use it with the clamp or weight, but without a mat. Something about it coupling the LP with the platter that way, or some such stuff. (Of course, they then usually rush to say that it isn’t for them to tell anyone how to use their products, and it’s up to the listener. They say the same thing about anti-skate.)

Anyway, because of that, I don’t use a mat of any kind and I’ve been completely happy with the results. I have to say, though, that a gap between the LP and the platter is only there until I put on the clamp. Like @badbeef said, the center clamp presses the LP down, as would the use of their periphery ring, I would guess. But that’s in more rarified VPI air than I breathe.

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