Joe's Spring Project Blooms in Chicago!

If you would remember, there's an earlier post on Joe's project A Mid-Winter RP1 Upgrade Project in Chicago , where he shared with us his exciting experiences in tweaking his RP1. Click the link to view........

So that was Joe's first "COOL" project in the cold season of Chicago! 

And now, in this New season of Spring, when flowers begin to bloom, his new project begins to bloom too.........

He has added several new upgrades which includes the latest top and bottom bracings. The stock RB101 tonearm is replaced with RB300 and added to it the underslung counterweight to good effect. Not forgetting to mention also the new RP1 is standing on "sandy" aluminium feet and it's "free" of motor vibration now with the new motor isolation base!  

Let's hear what Joe says:

Hi Michael, 

I'm happy to be sending you my notes and photos of the latest mods you sent me. During the winter I swapped out my RB 101 with a re-wired RB 300. I'm going to keep your VTA spacers regardless as I'll need them if I switch my arm back to a 3 point mount in the future. 

I first added the under slug counterweight to the RB 300 with an Ortofon 2M Blue, and after some listening tests before and after, I was surprised at the difference it made to the low end range. It made the bass sound more accurate and less muddy. I was surprised at how much of a difference just adding the weight makes! 

Step two was adding the next mods, the top and bottom bracings and motor isolation base. I'm not sure if it's one or the other or a combination of both, but these mods made my Rega sound like a different turntable! I simply was not expecting the impact they made to the overall presentation of the music. The added detail and resolution, increased soundstage, and dynamic impact are what I hear in very high end decks. 

Needless to say I am very happy with the results of adding your modifications and I'm sure I'll be hearing more resolution from my vinyl records in the months to come. 

I highly recommend that your readers add the isolation base. It seems difficult to add at first, but for what it adds to the quality of the music, it's well worth the effort, which is minimal in the end! 

Here are some pictures and notes:

Under-slug counterweight added to my RB 300 tonearm. 
I was amazed at how much this mod alone improved the resolution of my Ortofon 2M Blue, increasing dynamics, low end heft and adding a much more refined top end, even before adding the additional mods.

Bottom Brace: 
Adding it was a snap. Note I added washers before screwing back the feet. 

Adding back the aluminum feet after installing the bottom brace: 
A note about the inserting the rubber feet into the aluminum feet: I filled them with sand as recommended, then "capped" them with electrical tape, which contains the sand while adding back to the aluminum feet so no sand spills out. I also found that truncating the foot stub into an "hexagonal" type shape makes it much easier to insert them back into the aluminum feet!

Top Brace added: 
Note that adding the washer under the bearing tube was my mistake, as it's not needed! Also, I found, for my deck, inserting the bearing tube on top of the brace added height to the sub-platter, making it too high for me to align the silicone belts to the sub-platter in addition to adding the Isolation base mod. At least this was the case for me with my RP 1. Others may not encounter this issue, as Michael's top brace is excellent! I am passing on the following information about the next work around to others who are adding both the top brace and the isolation motor base to their RP1's.

Adding the top brace, continued: 
I found that I needed to widen the hole for the bearing housing as not widening it made it difficult to align the pulley belts with the sub-platter because the bearing housing wa now elevated slightly when inserted into the brace. This is most likely not an issue if one is not adding the isolation motor base. Here is the hole widened so that the bearing tube sits ever so slightly recessed from the surface of the brace. I used a conical drill bit to widen the hole which was quite easy. Not everyone may need to do this; however I found that for the RP1 it made it easier for me to adjust the belts, as the brace now does not add height to the bearing housing. When I added the isolation base mod which lowers the pulley, it gave me back the height I needed for the belts to align with the sub-platter. 

Motor Isolation base in place. I chose not to use the mesh, my preference; however, not using it requires extra care when moving the turntable! 

Belts in place : note 3 millimeter gap between motor and plinth. 

What a difference this makes in sound!

Final alignment of belts to sub-platter(Groovetracer); note that as Michael mentioned, having the belts align low on the sub-platter is fine, as it puts less pressure, over time, on the bearing housing. Even with my top brace "fix" this was the highest I could align the belts with the pulley at its top-most position for the hex nut to lock it in place.

Project complete! I added the cork-rubber mat. For my room, the mat and acrylic platter combo work well together. I don't know why, but it helps to focus the midrange and improve widening the soundstage.

Thanks Joe !

* Joe's other upgrade projects:
1. A mid-winter RP1 upgrade project in Chicago


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