Underdamping?

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glitchesbrew

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Underdamping?
« on: 6 Jul 2021, 05:10 pm »
Hi wise member of the forum.
As mentioned in another post I've recently acquired a new Versalex and I'm still playing a bit with the setup to get the most out of it.
I've been reading everywhere that when it comes to the "perfect" amount of silicone less is more.
So I kept removing more and more from the cup holder until it felt really unreasonable.
By "unreasonable" I mean the point where the arm was basically free to move in al directions and that you could see some left-right movement of the ball cover while playing a record.
I've added then just few drops more to prevent that effect and now I'm asking: how do I know if I'm underdamping?
What are the cons of doing so? What should I hear for to understand if there's not enough silicon in my cup?
Removing all that silicone added some air and "zing" to the presentation and it's something I value. But what am I sacrificing? Timing? Bass? Midrange? Tracking ability?

Here's a short video and a picture of my current setup:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/gqEcpGUSEo3fdeAs6

As you can see there's really only a "thread" of silicone that goes from the bottom of the cup to the bottom of the ball.
And in the video you can see that if move the tonearm out of position it snaps back almost immediately.

Online I found a video of another user (maybe a fellow forum member?) and his arm seems WAY more damped that mine.
https://youtu.be/POwoXqjvNJg?t=122

Who's closer to the Absolute TruthTM?

If you think you nailed your setup? How does your arm feel when you pull it or when you drop it on the record?

« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2021, 09:16 pm by glitchesbrew »

glitchesbrew

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #1 on: 12 Jul 2021, 09:29 pm »
Ok, I will answer my own question, for future newbies.
I went down to very little silicone, and I mean very little, just to avoid the ball to waggle when releasing the arm. Everything sounded ok, but "joyless".
I then took a toothpick and measured  the height of the cup, from the inside. It's about 3 cm.
I've then marked the toothpick with a sharpie a 1/4 of that (7.5mm) and iteratively fill the cup with silicon up to the mark (waiting for the silicon to get level each time).
I've put back the wand and listened. Night and day. The music now flows so well and is really engaging. There's no way now you don't get to nod you head.
I've also marked 1/3 of the cup height on the toothpick (1 cm). Maybe in the forthcoming week I will try to add more up to that point and see if things goes for the better or for the worst.
But to be honest right now, I'm very happy with it. I'm getting the "WTL effect" I fell in love with.
For reference I keep the edge of the ball cover flush with the edge of the cup.

RPM123

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #2 on: 12 Jul 2021, 11:09 pm »
"How does your arm feel when you pull it or when you drop it on the record?"

I never "drop" the arm on my records! I prefer to gently lower it.  :icon_lol:

I feel just the slightest drag when I raise or lower the arm.  Congrats on your Versalaex purchase!

I added a little bit of silicone at a time, listened to some songs, then added a bit more so that the cup was about 1/3 full. Everything sounded quite good, so I left well enough alone.

How did you remove silicone from the cup?

I bought my Versalex new from a local dealer who set up everything except the silicone, so I had to add it myself.  I ended up buying a plastic turkey baster/injector and used it as a syringe to take up some of the silicone from the bottle. Then I injected a little silicone at a time to fill the cup. I will tell you though, that it was rather slow process. Happy listening!


glitchesbrew

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #3 on: 13 Jul 2021, 03:08 pm »
I've used cotton buds to remove the silicone. It's quite handy because you don't have to remove the wand, to make small adjustments.
The more you twist the bud the more silicone it grabs.


Backwell

Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #4 on: 13 Jul 2021, 04:23 pm »
It sounds like you have done what most owners end up doing and that's experimenting ! On my Amadeus I was told a rough amount of silicone to add by the UK importer. Like you, I used a tooth pick as a measuring device and once I added the recommended amount I liked what I heard. I did try a little more but went back to the original amount and 7 years later I am still very happy with the performance. I wish you many happy years listening !

glitchesbrew

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #5 on: 14 Jul 2021, 11:37 am »
Thanks! I'm doing quite a lot of listening and experimenting as well. I've created this post because I was going to much toward one extreme and I wanted to have some user feedback before starting over. I knew overdamping was an issue. And now I now the underdamping is an issue too :)

Kimiimacman

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #6 on: 27 Jul 2021, 04:33 pm »
It’s worth noting for other readers that any measurements quoted by owners are, like TV colour adjustments settings, NOT transferable to other decks because the length of the hanger cord is approximate and not identical from sample to sample. This means that each arm has to be manually adjusted by ear.

This deck lacks the precision engineering of most top-end decks but matches or surpasses most of them sonically for a fraction of the price and will last longer too due to zero wear.

Oddly enough I revisited this topic recently due to a recent record purchase that mistracked at time due to being cut too hot. Adding a tad more damping cured the issue and also resulted in a more driven performance; I like my good friend, John Burns, was of the “chayote minimal damping”; now not quite so minimal.

Enjoy. K

glitchesbrew

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #7 on: 27 Jul 2021, 04:48 pm »
It’s worth noting for other readers that any measurement quoted by owners are, like TV colour adjustment settings,NOT transferable to other decks because the length of the hanger cord is approximate and not identical. This means that each arm has to be manually adjusted by ear. This deck lacks the precision engineering of most top-end decks but matches or surpasses most of them for a fraction of the price and will last longer too due to zero wear.
Enjoy. K

That's absolutely right and also the reason why I've asked more about the arm feel when moved instead of how much silicone has to go in the cup.
My particular table came with a very long nylon thread so even with the pillar maxed out my ball stays inside the cup.
I would like to shorten the thread a bit so that the the cup edge is in line with the small white plastic tube on the sides of the ball.
The LTD manual affirms that:
"This can easily be achieved by the removal of one of the small plastic tubes that the Nylon passes through" but I found it quite difficult instead. It looks like those tubes are very hard to pull out.

In terms of goop amount I found that when I put very little the sense of realism increase, the speakers disappear completely, but there's a loss of "body", drive and in general the bass seems a bit lacking.
Increasing the goop a bit improves the drive and the bass in general, make the music more involving but maybe a the expenses of transparency.

I still hope I can find a sweet spot where everything checks, but I need a break now and just listen to some music for a while :D

Kimiimacman

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Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #8 on: 27 Jul 2021, 06:00 pm »
That’s correct. That transparency you mention I’d rather call it openness or presence but you’re right, you loose impact and drive; it’s a balancing act for sure but frustrating that one can’t have both optimised perhaps. I also agree that too little damping can result in a more uncomfortable top end which is probably some minor miss-tracking. This I guess will all greatly depend on the rest of the system too though.

sebrof

Re: Underdamping?
« Reply #9 on: 22 Aug 2021, 01:05 pm »
I have an Amadeus MKII and of course a similar configuration to the Versalex but the cup that holds the goop is much bigger.
On my table I do this:
- Set the hanger height so that the arm is where I want it in relation to the record when playing (basically perpendicular)
- Put "some" goop into the cup, maybe 1/4 full or so. It's really difficult to see, maybe next time I'll use a toothpick, but I don't believe the exact amount is critical because...
- Adjust the cup height so that the damping is where it sounds best. Like the OP, I found that a little goes a long way, so I pretty much end up lowering the cup to where the goop is not touching the golf ball, then raising to where it is just touching. Then I listen and adjust the cup height.

I've found, as it seems many others have found, that the tonearm damping makes a tremendous difference, like night and day. Like "this sounds flat and muted" to "Ahh, that's what I paid my good money for."