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  • VPI Prime turntable with triple belt drive

    I have a VPI Prime table with the walnut plinth. On the 3D tonearm, I currently have my Ortofon Quintet Black S cartridge. Powering the table I have the VPI ADS.

    This weekend I added the triple drive belt upgrade to my Prime and it made an immediate and noticeable difference. It is a direct drive sort of presentation and renders sustained notes with a rock solid presentation. Attack and decay of notes sounds organic and is somehow more noticeable. Everything sounds more rooted and nothing but relaxed totally analog sounding music is reproduced. One member brought up the worry about increased noise.

    For the record I cannot notice any increased noise with the new triple drive belt setup. I don't know why VPI doesn't sell this as a standard drive system but unless I discover something I have yet to find, I will not go back to the single drive belt.

    One tip for those considering this upgrade...

    When I first finished the upgrade I had the three belts arranged where the first belt was on the bottom groove of the drive pulley. The second belt was on the middle groove of the pulley and the third belt was on the top groove of the pulley. This allows for a space between each belt but there is a problem with the belts arranged like this.

    With a belt on the top groove of the drive pulley the drive motor tends to tip on startup and the motor moves slightly inward each time your start the table. I rearranged the belts with each of the three belts on the bottom three grooves of the drive pulley. This ends up with the upper belt placed on the middle groove of the drive pulley. There are no more motor tipping issues when the belts are arranged in this fashion.

    Highly recommended,
    Ed
    Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
    https://www.edsstuff.org

    Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
    Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
    Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
    Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
    Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

    Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
    Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
    Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
    Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
    Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

  • #2
    I used three belts on my Prime Signature but found that it increased the amount of audible rumble to a level that exceeded the sonic benefit of the multiple belts so I returned to using one belt.. I play a fair amount of LP's with "quiet music" so the noise floor becomes an issue when listening to these recordings. For some reason, I was totally happy using three belts on the Classic Signature that preceded the Prime Sig. so obviouslyYMMV.
    Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
    Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
    Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
    Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

    Comment


    • #3
      Can someone explain to me the thought process behind the use of multiple belts? Based on Ed's and Jonathan's comments there seems to be a disconnect, if i can use that word.
      Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

      Comment


      • #4
        I found that there is a little bit more speed stability when using multiple belts which results in less smearing of micro-details. I also suspect that using multiple belts helps mitigate problems from belts with less than consistent width.
        Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
        Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
        Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
        Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm more of a minimalist by nature and have always felt the more options or the more complicated you make something, the more problems can arise.....and often do. I've not heard a triple belt TT, so I'm not qualified to comment, but I still have those reservations.
          Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

          Comment


          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            The opposite of three belts is dental floss.

        • #6
          Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
          Can someone explain to me the thought process behind the use of multiple belts? Based on Ed's and Jonathan's comments there seems to be a disconnect, if i can use that word.
          I have not tried the VPI triple belt mod but have used other brands with multiple belts in the past. The advantage to most designs over a single belt was increased "drive" much like going to a rim drive approach. I too experienced increased noise with multiple belts and prefered one belt with those other tables. It was a trade-off for me. However, if a triple belt approach can have a pulley and belts with high enough precision, it could have very little distortion and with the increased drive (no combined belt stretch), be the best sounding...
          Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
          Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
          Analog 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable w/ 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Silver Cube Phono Preamp
          Analog 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable w/ 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
          Analog 3: Studer A810 R2R tape w/ Bridge Console. Using built-in tape preamp
          Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
          Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
          A/C Power: Extensive System Upgrades, Sub-panel w/hard-wired power cables, and IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
          Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

          Comment


          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            Joe do you think the amount of tension in the belt might affect the transfer of noise?

        • #7
          I use two belts per side for my dual motor rim drive. I've not noticed any noise despite less than perfect alignment. Extra belts are like wider tires: better traction. After adding, my speed increased about .100 and variation decreased. I adjusted the SDS to compensate. I use a non averaging Phoenix Roadrunner to measure speed.

          Click image for larger version

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          Comment


          • #8
            I have a few VPI tables.....I've tried single, double and triple belts, I find multiple belts provide better speed stability, using ADS, SDS and Phoenix controllers.

            Comparing three belts vs two belts resulted in no improved speed stability, results were identical with both two and three belts.

            In regards to noise using multiple belts vs one belt, I didn't notice any higher noise of any kind during music play....however when using multiple belts the typical VPI start up squeal is reduced significantly.

            As to placement of the belts I find using the lowest groove on the pulley and platter is best, depending on what VPI table you have you may need to shim the motor up a tiny bit if you want to use the lowest pulley & platter grooves, my Prime table requires this......there is far less side to side movement at the bottom of the pulley & platter vs the top. One other thing to reduce the side to side wobble of the pulley if you have it, loosen the grub screws securing the pulley and re- tighten each one until each of the grub screws just come in contact with the pulley shaft, then continue tightening each screw a tiny bit at a time (like tightening lug nuts on a car) until secure, you should notice less side to side movement at the pulley top.....You should also notice less movement with the belt or belts at the platter groove....and one last thing, I find not skipping grooves on the pulley & platter has less belt movement too.
            Last edited by A/V Solutions; 04-30-2017, 07:40 PM.
            Jeff Whitlock
            A/V Solutions

            www.avsolutionsca.com

            Comment


            • EdAInWestOC
              EdAInWestOC commented
              Editing a comment
              I have all three belts at the bottom three grooves in the pulley and the bottom three grooves in the platter. When I replaced the standard pulley with the pulley that came with the triple belt upgrade I made sure that the replacement pulley was installed at the same height on the motor shaft.

              With the three belts situated the way that they are, the belts are level without any shimming and there is no unwanted movement of the belts. The startup slippage is less with the three belts as you mentioned. I have played all sorts of music since I've had the three belts installed and have not noticed any increased noise.

              I have played a variety of musical material including acoustic music as well as "rock the house" program material.
              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              I propose a test...
              I intend to record my turntable playing a blank groove with 3, 2 and 1 belt driving the platter. Each recording will be a 24/192 FLAC for maximum resolution. I will place those recordings on my website and put links to the recordings in this thread.

              I will first have to locate a quality pressing with a blank groove to make the best possible quality recording. I believe I will look at my MoFi UHQRs first for the quietest blank groove candidates.

              Once I have the three recordings I will load them up into SoundForge and use the statictics to report back on maximum and minimum sample values. All of this info will be placed into this thread along with the links to the FLAC files.

              Ed

            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              Interesting experiment! I think the Clearaudio test LP has blank grooves. Maybe the Cardas too?

          • #9
            IIRC back in the TNT day, VPI also used three belts.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • mep
              mep commented
              Editing a comment
              The first versions of the TNT used 3 pulleys.

          • #10
            With the prime table I did find having the pulley adjusted a bit higher on the pulley shaft no shim was needed......however having the pulley as low as possible allows for the most stable condition and the least side to side pulley movement......the higher you go with the pulley the more side to side pulley movement. Most likely the OCD thing happening here all is good both ways.....

            My HRX table has three belts, tried two but never one belt and find its best with three belts for speed stability.....no noise with two or three belts.
            Jeff Whitlock
            A/V Solutions

            www.avsolutionsca.com

            Comment


            • #11
              Joe do you think the amount of tension in the belt might affect the transfer of noise?
              Yes, the amount of tension in the belt is one of the variables in the transfer of noise. The reason a belt is used is because of it's decoupling of vibration, essentially filtering out noise so that it cannot enter the platter. However, there needs to be sufficient coupling of the belt to drive the platter. Click image for larger version  Name:	Belt Tension.jpg Views:	1 Size:	32.0 KB ID:	52650


              When you look at the classic belt drive power transmission diagram, the pulley pulls the belt in a clockwise direction, with the highest tension T1. As the belt passes over the pulley back to the platter, the belt has a lower tension T2. Tension T1 is always greater than tension T2. Since belts are elastic to some degree, there is an oscillation between T1 and T2 which accounts for speed variation in addition energy transfer efficiency. For maximum efficiency and lowest noise, the goal is to get T1=T2. The ultimate belt solution might look like super spider thread.

              All of the factors contribute to and create complex noise. Designers have been working on perfect belt drive for turntables since it was invented. I heard that TecDAS spent $100K developing their belt for the AF1.
              Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
              Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
              Analog 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable w/ 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Silver Cube Phono Preamp
              Analog 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable w/ 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
              Analog 3: Studer A810 R2R tape w/ Bridge Console. Using built-in tape preamp
              Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
              Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
              A/C Power: Extensive System Upgrades, Sub-panel w/hard-wired power cables, and IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
              Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

              Comment


              • #12
                The test is here:

                I finally got around to making the three recordings. The recordings are each approximately 10 seconds long and represent the last 10 seconds of side B of MFQR 1-005. That is Mobile Fidelity's UHQR pressing of Supertramp's Crime Of The Century. I selected this LP due to the length of the deadwax, the extreme low noise of the super vinyl and the high quality of the pressing. Its about as quiet a pressing that you can find.

                At any rate I'll list everything used to make the recording and how I went about recording the tracks.

                The path for the recording is as follows:
                1. Turntable: VPI Prime w/walnut plinth
                2. VPI Motor Pulley: HRX Pulley
                3. VPI Drive Belts: Stock VPI Belts from HRX Pulley to Prime platter (1 - 3 belts depending on the file)
                4. Tonearm: VPI 3D
                5. Cartridge: Ortofon Quintet Black S
                6. Turntable Speed Control: VPI ADS
                7. Phono Cable: AQ Leopard
                8. Phono Preamp: Liberty Audio B2B-1 (loading set to 100Ohms)
                9. Phono Preamp > Line Stage IC: 0.5 Meter Kimber Hero (original Hero w/WBT connector)
                10. Line Stage: Audible Illusions L1 (w/National 7DJ8 tubes)
                11. Line Stage Rec Out > Digital Audio Interface IC: 1.0 Meter Kimber Hero (original Hero w/WBT connector)
                12. Digital Audio Interface: TASCAM UH-7000
                13. USB Cable: Pangea Pure Silver USB Cable
                14. Digital Audio Workstation: Toshiba P75-A7200 Laptop w/750GB and 480GB SSD drives and 24GB RAM
                15. Recording Software: Sony Soundforge Audio Studio 10
                16. Recording Resolution: 24 bits @ 192kHz
                17. Sample File Format: FLAC

                Now some information about the files that I recorded.

                The recording was made at the standard level that I use for most LPs. No editing of any kind was done to the files.

                The three files are names BlankSound 1.flac, BlankSound 2.flac and BlankSound 3.flac.

                According to SoundForge's Tools/Statistics:
                BlankSound 1.flac maximum sample -32.751 db (3 drive belts)
                BlankSound 2.flac maximum sample -33.415 db (2 drive belts)
                BlankSound 3.flac maximum sample -33.041 db (1 drive belt)

                From the above info you could say that using 3 drive belts is a bit noisier than the single belt configuration...but the difference between -33.041 and -32.751 is only 0.29 db. There is obviously some room for error here considering all of maximum sample values are within 1 db of each other and a stray piece of dust can knock the measurements off.

                There is a general difference between the maximum values indicating that a single belt is quieter than multiple belts. The difference is so small that the noise of a regular standard pressing LP would likely overwhelm any differences realized by the number of drive belts. IMO the advantages that the extra belts bring to the presentation of the sound is more advantageous than a fraction of a db savings in drive noise.

                The files can be found here:
                http://www.edsstuff.org/BlankSound 1.flac

                http://www.edsstuff.org/BlankSound 2.flac

                http://www.edsstuff.org/BlankSound 3.flac

                Ed

                PS. Please excuse the low level hum being picked up in the recording. I have been following around this problem for some time and at this point I know it is being picked up by the cartridge and/or tonearm. The rest of the system has been eliminated.

                The Prime with the HRX Pulley and triple belts

                Last edited by EdAInWestOC; 05-03-2017, 11:23 PM.
                Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
                https://www.edsstuff.org

                Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
                Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
                Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
                Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
                Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

                Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
                Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
                Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
                Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
                Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

                Comment


                • Miyagi
                  Miyagi commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Can you tell me about the acrylic cover you have. It looks like a good solution. How does it stay put, without sliding around? Where did you find it?

                • EdAInWestOC
                  EdAInWestOC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The acrylic dustcover comes from www.stereosquares.com. It is too heavy to slide around plus it is sitting on sorbothane strips which tends to hold it in place.

              • #13
                I have three belts driving my VPI Avenger. A very inexpensive and worthwhile upgrade.

                Comment


                • mep
                  mep commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Which version of the Avenger?

              • #14
                Originally posted by Ritmo View Post
                I have three belts driving my VPI Avenger. A very inexpensive and worthwhile upgrade.
                Mark - I would say that mine is close to a reference. I have the base Avenger with the magnetic platter, added the 3 belt pulley and run it it that configuration. If I added the reference feet and the 12" arm it would be a reference.

                Comment


                • #15
                  Originally posted by Joe Pittman View Post

                  Yes, the amount of tension in the belt is one of the variables in the transfer of noise. The reason a belt is used is because of it's decoupling of vibration, essentially filtering out noise so that it cannot enter the platter. However, there needs to be sufficient coupling of the belt to drive the platter. Click image for larger version Name:	Belt Tension.jpg Views:	1 Size:	32.0 KB ID:	52650


                  When you look at the classic belt drive power transmission diagram, the pulley pulls the belt in a clockwise direction, with the highest tension T1. As the belt passes over the pulley back to the platter, the belt has a lower tension T2. Tension T1 is always greater than tension T2. Since belts are elastic to some degree, there is an oscillation between T1 and T2 which accounts for speed variation in addition energy transfer efficiency. For maximum efficiency and lowest noise, the goal is to get T1=T2. The ultimate belt solution might look like super spider thread.

                  All of the factors contribute to and create complex noise. Designers have been working on perfect belt drive for turntables since it was invented. I heard that TecDAS spent $100K developing their belt for the AF1.
                  If TD did this it's the first I've heard of it. . They simply went with a flat fiber belt that has hardly any stretch to it. I tried. Because the belt doesn't stretch the pulley is adjusted via a belt tensioner system similar to that for fan belts in cars so one doesn't need to mess with the motor pod that's already been leveled and positioned with the supplied jigs. This got me thinking that the OP's Prime motor might not have been leveled and that could be why the motor moves on start up. The tension between belts isn't the same.

                  Comment

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