VPI HW-19 with Graham 1.5 arm Question/Suggestions

Greetings everyone, 

I have a very handsome, black oak, late model VPI HW-19 Mark IV with a black Delrin Aries platter.  The tonearm is a Graham 1.5 Basic tonearm sporting a Benz Micro MC Gold cartridge with elliptical stylus.  The tonearm cable is Audio Art IC-3 Classic phono cable DIN to RCA.

The sound is good but rather lightweight, neutral and nimble but polite, one might say meek with tight but lean bass.  It is not strident or shrill, or analytical, or bright.  Most of the turntable and phono upgrades I read about suggest that they will make the sound have more clarity, be more precise, more accurate, tighter, and lower the noise floor.  These qualities are not necessarily what I want. 

I would like the sound signature to be warmer, fuller, richer, more colorful, or more romantic.  

I am considering many options, including new phono cable, new footers, a platter mat (presently records sit directly on the Delrin platter), a different record weight-stabilizer (presently using a VPI Delrin screw-down clamp), a new shelf, and of course a different cartridge.

I welcome any suggestions from anyone on how to warm up or enrich the sound quality.


@hoodjem, you have a pretty decent setup. Before you buy anything, you may want to pick up a NAB broadcast test disc and measure the voltage output from your preamp. In doing so you'll get a pretty good idea what the response is of your whole playback system. Once you have data on what the output voltages are at the test frequencies coming out of your preamp, you can determine if they are low or high then determine what needs to be done to improve them. 

Many great suggestions for improving the sound here.

Many thanks to everyone!

(So far, my list has 17 ideas or tactics on it.) 

I went from Sorbo Pucks to Herbie's Tall Tenderfeet. I used their extra firm model, a lot of weight with the inner Plinth on my HW-19.  They also make a standard model. I felt greater detail came, and better neutrality versus the Sorbo Pucks.

This though won't becessarily address a bass light issue though.  And likely an SDS won't either.  The SDS will address any speed issues, and perhaps lower noise floor of the motor a bit is all.


I'd say such is the Cartridge, and all that comes after it.   And such might take some sleeping on, and further exploration, with the theme of finding-locating your weakest links.

Thanks for all the suggestions from everyone.

I've got a lot of great recommendations and ideas about how to rectify the lightweight, meek, too polite sound of my turntable setup.


Take care and thanks again! 

Frogman nailed it. What is the crossover frequency between woofers and CLS? What amplifiers drive them? Thx.