Do you visit vinylengine forum recently? Then you wouldn't have missed Jeffco's thread: Balsa and ply plinth?  . Fantastic effort as you can see from the pictures he sent me. 

Glad also to receive his positive feedback on my dual pulley and silicone belts which stand to be part of his esteemed project :


Of course I read about other peoples experience with the steel dual pulley and red silicone belts, but I was still shocked at the great results on my Planar 3. The music has better dynamics and impact, a more engaging experience. The motor looks steadier – I think the old pulley wobbled slightly. 

The extra grip of the two belts is very apparent when I fit my plinth to the new isolation base. I have had the Planar 3 since the early 1980s and started upgrading last year mostly using low cost, DIY upgrades. The first was a seismic isolation base using a bike inner tube, three ball bearings and six concave door knobs. It uses the Townshend Seismic Sink principles. Great sound. 

Then I tried different plinth designs and materials. This is my fourth attempt, and by far the best sounding: based on the principles of the beautiful Rega 8, it has a stiff but very light balsa structure – it weighs less than 16 oz. Details on the Vinyl Engine. 

Jeff Cosford.

Thanks, Jeff !

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Clif liu's Counterweight upgrade ...

Clif's first upgrade on his RP3 was underslung counterweight. Though many would choose to upgrade the stock plastic pulley or subplatjer first, I would say counterweight was the right choice too. Hearing is believing, you would be amazed to see the sonic improvement!

Clif's report after the underslung counterweight upgrade:

Hi Michael, 

I have been listening to the counterweight for a few weeks and have the following report. 

I have a Rega RP3, which has a RB303 tonearm. I don't know if the counterweight sleeve would have fit on the Rega endstub, but I decided to use the new end stub for the precise VTF adjustment. To remove the end stub I first removed the arm from the table to protect the bearing. I then wrapped both the end stub and the armtube with many layers of masking tape and twisted off the end stub by hand. I didn't use WD-40, figuring that the connection would not have corroded in the 2 years I've owned the turntable. The old end stub came out with some effort and the thread was not smooth. I was able to screw in the new end stub with some effort taking care not to cross thread the stub. 

I have an old Dynavector DV10x4 Mk 2 cartridge, which weighs 4.6 grams according to the manufacturer. I was able to use the weight without the addtional 9.5 gram screw. Getting the weight in the right place was a chore. I wanted to be fine adjust the tracking force from 1.7 to 1.95 grams, which is the higher range of the 10x4's 1.5 to 1.9 gram range. After a few tries I managed to lock in the weight so it was at the right position and angle. 

Of course now I had to fine tune the VTF and VTA. The 4.5g screw made this very easy. A turn is about the resolution at which I could hear a difference. I raised the VTF until the bass sounded bloated and the highs lost detail. Then I backed it off a half turn. I dropped the VTA from 3.5 mm to 3 mm (I'm using spacers) and the sound became dull, so I stayed with a VTA of 3.5 mm. At these settings the sound from the cartridge becomes quite magical. 

Quick note on my system. I am running an Antique Sound Labs tube phono preamp into a Bottlehead 2A3 power amp and Unity RS Desktop speakers. It's a flea-powered fast system with little bass. I listen to classical mainly. 

With these settings I'm noticing that the overal resolution of the system has increased significantly. By comparison, the old setup was muddled. All instruments now were distinct and separate whereas before they were somehow stuck together. The bass became much better too. The timpanis packed a wallop, but I could now feel their texture too. Imaging improved as well. The instruments were spread between the speakers, and each instrument had its own location instead of being vaguely in a certain area. 

I think the biggest improvement came in when the music became complex and loud. Here somehow the RP3 manages to stay relaxed and is able to pick the pieces apart. 

This is my first upgrade (except for the VTA spacers). I'm not entirely happy with my setup yet, but the counterweight was a huge improvement. 


Thanks ,Clif !

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Anthony's tweaked RP6 ....

Anthony of Malaysia has upgraded his RP6 with my dual pulley, silicone belts and aluminium adjustable feet recently. 

Hi Michael, 

I installed everything last sunday and the overall performance is up by a clear margin. 

The double pulley improves the timing and rhythm, likely due to improved speed stability

The feet results in lots more detail and opens up the soundstage. Now there is clearly more depth and width compared to previously. However, there was a slightly bright sound overall which I thought would mellow as the belts "run in". 

I had a little problem installing the feet as the cap nut failed. Luckily I was doing it with help from a friend who suggested using two nuts to lock the bolt which allowed the installation of the bolts into the plinth. 

Sand in the rubber feet helps a lot. The background is even quieter

The brightness to the sound went away after I repositioned the double pulley a little lower, allowing the lower belt to come close to the bottom edge of the subplatter. Thanks to your design, repositioning the pulley is easy. 

All in, I think one would have to spend a lot more to buy a ready to use turntable that would outperform my tweaked RP6. 

Best regards 

Thanks Anthony!

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Underslung counterweight, dual pulley and silicone belts are the new upgrades for James Anton of North Carolina, USA. Here's his comments:

Hi Michael 

Everything arrived fine and as before your instructions were a big help. I decided to remove the original Rega inner sleeve after doing a dry run. Takes a while but the wd-40 and a pair of pliers with a protective towel do the trick. Balanced it out and now up and running fine. Thanks again for all your help. 

The stainless steel is a much higher quality product. In terms of the sound, I am still listening and sorting out (I also have a new preamp in the system so it might have to wait until I do some A/B with old preamp). 

One question – the Elys 2 seems to be a very light cartridge and I needed to move the new counterweight relative close in. I removed the 9.5g weight as you mentioned. I used the tracking force on the Rega to set at 1.75 and verified with the Shure guage. I wasn’t sure if I should be able to zero out the Rega dial and adjust tracking force purely with the new counterweight but it was getting pretty tight with the tonearm rotation when I tried. This is a bit convoluted so I hope the question makes some sense. 

But everything is working fine and the cumulative effect of changes to the Rega has been significant.


Thanks Jim!

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Luke Pfeiffer's P5 upgrades

" I have struggled with wobble in sustained notes with this table (P5) since I got it .... " said Luke Pfeiffer of Fremont, Michigan.

Recently he did the following upgrades to his P5 TT and let's hear what he says: 

1.  Aluminium sub-platter 

2. Dual pulley and silicone belts


Greetings and hope all is well. The items arrived back on 7/10 and I finally got everything installed the weekend of 8/7. The differences were immediate and very noticeable, I have struggled with a wobble in sustained notes with this table since I got it, adding the TT PSU helped a little, but the sub platter and new pulley have now eliminated it completely, when I heard that I was amazed. The table felt more solid in its sound presentation after the installation, everything seems to have better timing and when anything sustained comes across the speaker I still smile a little even though its been 5 weeks and several hours of listening time. 

As for the install itself, it was surprisingly easy, the pulley swap was a little intimidating, but once I actually did it, I was amazed at how quick and easy it was, your pulley puller makes this an easy task. The subplatter is beautiful and once again that was a snap to swap out, and you provide everything needed. 

I just picked up several new disks and have been listening to the newly released Black Crows Live albums as I type this up, not sure if it's the new gear or what, but the dynamics on these albums through my system are amazing, you can feel the back up singers to the left rear of the band, and Rich off to Chris's right. I have a modest hi-fi with my Rega P5 and TT PSU plugged into a Vincent PHO-8 phono preamp. That is plugged into a Vincent SA 31/SP 331 pre/amp combo running a pair of Focal Chorus 826V's. Everything is connected with AudioQuest wires. 

Again, these two upgrades made a huge difference with my table and the audible differences were very noticeable to me and all in good ways. I would not hesitate to recommend your products to anyone and look forward to future purchases myself

Many thanks, 
Luke Pfeiffer 

Thanks Luke!

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