Record clamps: do they really make a difference.

Hello all,

I have a Sota Sapphire that I love. I recently purchased the reflex clamp. I cannot tell a difference. Perhaps they matter when you have an older record that is somewhat warped? What do you guys think.
11-03-13: Mosin
It all depends on the table. The worse the turntable, the greater the need.
You have to be joking.

If you believe that then

Q1. If a record is not flat, do you think it sounds better with half the record not supported, floating in mid air ?

Q2. Can you unequivocally say that there is absolutely no slippage from a record sitting loosely on a platter ?

Q3. Do you not think that there is substantial energy generated from the stylus/record interface that requires dumping to ground ?

A properly designed weight or reflex clamp with raised edge toward the outside of the record label and a small washer under the label can be very effective in coupling the record to the platter by compression.

Unfortunately most record weights are poorly designed. If you look at 90% on what is available on the market - the bottoms are flat. So effectively its a weight on the centre label and does nothing for warped records or coupling the record to the platter UNLESS the platter is concave.

In terms of your proposition, I would argue the opposite is more likely - that a stabiliser will sound worse on an inferior TT as it is more likely to exacerbate problems of noisy bearings and platters that do not deal with energy transmission properly from the stylus record interface.
Actually, a heavy weight will make a noisy bearing run quieter.
It may, but it's also a sonic band-aid that's unlikely to be the optimal mechanical approach.

Some TT bearings have inherently sloppy tolerances and need grease. Others have tight tolerances and need a lightweight oil. A bearing designed for grease that's running on oil is likely to chatter. Adding a heavy weight might stabilize it and/or dampen the chatter, but it would be better to use a more appropriate lubricant. The appropriate lubricant for a TT bearing depends on its tolerances and materials.

OTOH, some bearings are noisy because they've worn due to friction. In these cases, adding a heavy weight might temporarily dampen the noise but it will also increase friction, causing the bearing to deteriorate even faster. This would be the worst possible approach, as it masks the problem while simultaneously exacerbating it. The indicated approach would be to repair/replace the bearing.

Noise is a clue that something is amiss. Masking the noise without identifying and addressing the root cause is not the path of progress.
Dear Mosin: As there are no flat LPs or perfect centered LP holes there are not ( at least I don't know it yet ) a perfect TT that can damp perfectly the resonances/vibrations/noises caused by the cartridge stylus and the LP surface grooves and at the same time impede feedback about.

A TT mat is critical down there when the TT platter ( whole TT. ) is not " enough " to that job and even that a clamp is always a good " thing " but depend of which kind of clamp we are using.

In the past I used the Sota Reflex ( that's very good ), Basis, Shumonk, Harmonix and several other till I find out the " right " TT mat where all those clamps made more harm than help.
I was listening ( for some months ) with out any clamp till one day I found out in my closet a light weight wood clamp that an internet friend send me as a gift ( he build it and its shape is the same as the Shumonk one. ) years ago and I mounted and like it what I heard so I made a modification to that clamp and till today I don't find out something better.

What this clamp does is not to help for a better contact between the LP surface and the TT platter or mat but to " damp "/change the resonance/vibrations frequencies generated at stylus/grooves where makes lower or less harm to the cartridge signal, at least is what I hear and I'm not aware yet of any negative side on it.

I thinmk there are no rules on the whole subject and as always in analog audio we are full of imperfections where we have to be really " wise " to choose the right trade-offs.

Those choosed trade-offs are the ones that makes the differences for the better or the worst.

Regards and enjoy the music,