TT WEIGHTS TURNTABLE ACCCESSORIES
Lord of the Rings?
TTWeights Audio designs, manufactures and sells direct to the consumer providing very high value and performance for the dollar with no dealers or distributors. Larry Denham, the owner of TTWeights is also the owner of LJT Manufacturing which designs and manufactures the TTWeights products. LJT’s core business is the fabrication of precision aircraft parts for Boeing 737s. With over 50 years combined experience, LJT employs the latest most advanced CNC machining techniques in offering superb quality and reliability.
Larry has been an audio/video enthusiast since the 1970s and has experienced the analogue to digital revolution. He knew more could be extracted from vinyl and set out to design and manufacture turntable clamps, rings and platters to facilitate the enjoyment from LP records. After discussing my rig with Larry over the phone we agreed to test his newly designed products optimized for mass loaded non-suspended tables. TTWeights also offer lighter and middle weight products for higher compliance suspended designs. Check with your manufacturer for compatibility.
Products under review:
1. TTSuperPlatter 1860 gram version 2 pcs laminated copper $499 USD
2. TTOuterRing Laminated High Dampening 2 layer 1.15 kg outer ring clear coat finish $479 USD
3. TTConcentricity Disk included with TTOuteRing
4. TTHeavyweight Clamp 1.4 kg $119 USD
5. TTSuperClamp 580 gm (20.5 oz) $104.99 USD
The TTSuperPLatter, TTOuteRing and TTConcentricity Disk arrived in a wooden sandwich neatly packed and well protected. The TTHeavyWeight and TTSuperClamp clamps came separately in their own foam packed box. Out of the box the pieces were beautifully finished to a very high luster and finish.
The TTSuperPlatter is machined with 8 concentric rings to break modal resonances. The 0.125 inch solid copper CNC machined mat is laminated to the polycarbonate base providing coupling with the vinyl. Each TTMicroPlatter is CNC Machined to extremely close tolerances providing a stable, flat, round and true mating surface for the LP. The platter is flat within .002 of an inch over the entire area and parallel within .0015 of an inch. The diameter is 11.45 inch (slightly shorter than a standard LPs diameter of 12 inches) and 0.220 inch (5 mm) thick. The platter weighs in at 1866 gm (4.1 lbs).
Each TTOuteRing comes with the TTConcentricity disk. There was initial concern that TTWeights original ring was too light. With this in mind, Larry went to the drawing board to come up with a design for non-suspended turntables in mind. Each TTSuperRing is manufactured from two separate, CNC machined super precision copper rings, each with special surface machining on the bottom faces to eliminate surface born sonic disturbances. The Outer Ring provides unparalleled record contact. The radial grooves break up and dissipate surface vibrations that lead to mid to high frequency disturbances, and high end extension is eliminated. The individual rings are laminated and calibrated for concentricty and near zero runout when installed with the TTConcentricity Tool. The 1.15 kg weight really helps in flattening the LP providing a uniform surface for the stylus to track. The outer dimensions are 13.50 inch and 0.225 inch thickness. The inner bore is 11.900inch and 0.100 inch step. The extreme thinness is very difficult to manufacture but intended to be compatible with stubby cantilevers.
TTHeavyWeight is designed for non-suspended turntables. It is a one piece design weighing in at 1420 gms (3.1 lbs). The medium weight TTSupercClamo comes in at 580 gm (20.5 oz). The mirror finish and beauty of these clamps must be seen in person to appreciate. This is audio jewelry at its finest.
TTSuperplatter, TTOuteRing and TTHeavweight on my TW Acustic Raven One
It is important to note that the diameter of the TTSuperPlatter is slightly smaller than a standard LP. Why is this important? Because some LPs have a small lip on the outer circumference. Classic Records Super Vinyl Profile with GrooveGguard is such an example. Attempts to flatten such an LP can result in dishing or bowing. The slightly smaller TTSuperPlatter will allow this lip to hang over the edge suspending the great majority of the playing surface. The TTOuterRing can now do a better job mating the LP surface as flat as possible for maximum coupling. The center label depression is an appropriate depth as well for accurate coupling in the center of the LP.
One should use the ring with clamp as a pair. The clamp has a tendency to push down on the center and the ring has a tendency to push down on the outer edge. Together the end result will be a uniform flatness, used separately and you could introduce dishing or bowing.
Large diameter platter showing contact with LP lip. Note the gap under the lip on the right.
Smaller diameter mat with LP lip overhang. The overhang allows the LP to stay flat.
When you think about all the work a stylus needs to do to track a tiny groove accurately, warps, ripples and dished out records can introduce significant distortions into the cartridge. Many audiophiles are extremely particular about proper set up and geometry. For instance, I was guilty of using a record mat with a moderately deep label depression, when the record was clamped, I was unknowingly dishing my already flat LP, introducing azimuth distortion. It wasn’t until a friend and fellow audiophile came over for an evening of listening did he point this out to me. What good is perfect azimuth set up if your record is dished? Pwned.
So what do these products actually do? Well besides flattening the LP, they also ensure that proper speed is maintained since the record is now securely coupled to the platter eliminating any slippage. They add mass to the platter which increases the inertia (the tendency of an object in motion to stay in motion) stabilizing the speed. The periphery ring in particular adds to the flywheel effect by centralizing the mass on the outer edge. The density of copper also damps micro vibrations resulting in greater treble purity. Electrically conductive copper also acts as a static charge ground to dissipate static pops and clicks.
There’s even a youtube link Larry posted on how to use the ring. I won’t go into details regarding the operation. The video is self-explanatory. I will add that I checked and re-checked my speed calibration with a Digistrobo before using each component for accuracy as well as adjusting for any VTA changes due to the change in height from the platter mat. The link is found at the end of this review.
My analogue set up includes a TW Acustic Raven One table with Graham Phantom tonearm and Dynavector XX-2 MkII cartridge. For comparison, I also used a sonically familiar system of VPI Aries 3, Mørch UP-4 tonearm and stubby Dynavector 17D3 cartridge. Both are non-suspended designs which can easily handle the added mass.
Each component seems to have the same effects. Quieter background resulting in a bigger, deeper soundstage, increased micro-dynamics, wider bandwidth resulting in a rounder deeper bass and speed stability leading to quicker transients and longer decay. The periphery ring in particular has the most profound effect but surprisingly, the heavier clamp also increased dynamics although very slightly. In some cases I preferred the lighter TTSuperClamp. Both clamps have their virtues. A slightly more solid bass foundation with the heavier TTHeavyWeight or slightly smoother midrange with the TTSuperClamp. These differences were ever so slightly different. I could easily be happy with either clamp.
For evaluation I had a badly warped Norah Jones Come Away With Me LP (Bluenote 7243 5 32088 1 3) which caused skipping. A few years ago, I wet vacuumed it on my VPI 16.5 RCM and placed it between 2 panes of glass and left it in the sun for a few days. The LP became playable and I enjoyed the music. With the TTWeights components the increase in resolution, dynamics and soundstaging was staggering. The music simply made more sense, even the phrasing and timing improved for a deeper emotional connection.
Ditto for my copy of Jack Johnson’s On And On (Universal Music 440 075 012 1) Similar effects with similar results. A cleaner more organized presentation, truer to what the artist meant in the recording studio. The acoustic guitar in particular benefitted greatly from the quicker transients.
LPs which seem pristine and flat were not immune either. More information emerged from the grooves, rounder bass, quicker transients and greater dynamics. Late night listening to Ry Cooder and Juan de Marcos Gonzalez’s Buena Vista Social Club (Classic Records RTH 79478)and Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt’s Meeting By The River (Analogue Productions APW 29) further reinforced the increased resolution, microdynamics and soundstage with the products. Heavier Pearl Jam and Soundgarden recordings also enjoyed the same benefits.
I think it’s worthy to note that included with the VPI Aries 3 rig was a VPI Periphery Ring for comparison. Neither of us could discern any noticeable differences between the 2 rings.
A Few Caveats
As mentioned in an online forum, the periphery ring may interfere with certain tonearm lifts. The lift from my Graham Phantom barely cleared.
The 6 mm TTTSuperPlatter may present VTA issues with some arms. If your turntable has a stout spindle, there may be clearance issues with the tall platter. TTWeights offers slimmer lighter copper mat alternatives as well.
Possible clearance issues with the periphery ring with stubby cantilevers or wide cartridge bodies on lead-in grooves. The precision cutting of the ring is machined to a very thin tolerance to reduce interference as much as possible. Testing on a VPI Aries 3 and Dynavector 17D3 with 1.7 mm cantilever presented no issues.
The current state of quality control of analogue software leaves much to be desired. Lately I have been receiving a large proportion of brand new LPs with manufacturer’s defects. The general consensus on many analogue forums seems to support this view. I personally have over 2,000 LPs and hope to continue enjoying future LP pressings. Granted many of these defects are not warps or ripples but noisy surfaces or other mold release issues. Nothing can help those pressings. These accessories in many cases can help in minimizing geometric distortions.
There’s a tendency for some amongst us to obsess over the functionality of expensive toys instead of enjoying its purpose, especially when they are not operating at peak performance. I can’t see any LP lover spending his or her hard earned cash on set up software and alignment tools to tweak his analogue rig to perfection and neglecting optimizing the LP surface. I am buying my review sample.
Contact: Larry Denham
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