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.


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

I respectfully have to disagree (sort of) with markd51’s assessment of the benefits of using an SDS, or similar, motor controller.  While it may be true that a tt motor controller may not increase the quantity of bass it will certainly increase the quality of the bass response.  

The benefits of “addressing speed issues” in turntables go far beyond the correction of obvious pitch instability. Think of this the same way we think about harmonic distortion.  Gross harmonic distortion is obvious and is perceived as such.  In the case of speed instability (distortion) we hear the dreaded waver (gross) in the decay of notes particularly piano, for instance.  However, reduction of speed instability to levels below this point is hugely beneficial.  In my experience, the benefits are increases in the pitch definition of bass instruments which results in obvious gains in their musical impact resulting in gains in the overall drive (groove factor) of the music. Improved pitch stability at these fine levels also results in improved overall clarity and imaging.  Why wouldn’t it?  Pitch waver, as usually perceived, is obvious.  At very low levels it is not perceived as such, but as a blurring of overall definition and clarity.  In the realm of dynamics this blurring results in a reduction in the musical excitement of a performance which is one of the OP’s complaints about the sound he is hearing.

May seem self serving you say “welcome back”, Miller ……but, welcome back.