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My VPI HW-19 poor mans's SAMA (pix)

This weekend I created my own poor man’s SAMA for my VPI HW-19 MK-4. It took a couple of hours and cost around $20. And it's made my turntable sound a lot better.

I’m posting my instructions to encourage my fellow HW-19 owners to make one of these yourself. If you follow these instructions, you can put this together in less than an hour. I am not mechanically talented and I still managed to make this.

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Sound

After finishing up my work this afternoon, I played album after album. Without doing a full review, let me just say I couldn’t believe the improvement. I felt like the focus on the music just sharpened a little. I used to think the bass in my system was maybe a little muddy, but it felt tighter and music was overall less congested. In short, my reaction is similar to a lot of the reviews I had read about the SAMA.

Before the SAMA, I could put my hand on the HW-19’s frame and feel the vibration of the motor. After installing my SAMA, I found that the vibration on the frame was much less but still noticeable. Apparently the motor vibration traveled from my SAMA to the shelf the SAMA and HW-19 sit on, and then back up the turntable. After experimenting with various padding under the SAMA until I found the best vibration-controlling setup, I managed to reduce the vibration traveling back up the table to nothing. I would close my eyes, hit the on/off button several times so I couldn’t know if it was on or off, and then feel the frame. With the new SAMA, I can’t tell the difference between on and off anymore because the vibration is gone.

Researching the SAMA

I’ve had this table for seven years, originally as an MK-3. I upgraded to MK-4 a year. I’ve always wanted the SAMA (and SDS) but I never went through with it. I started reading here and elsewhere about all the DIY versions of the SAMA. I was particularly intrigued with this version from Createivepart:


Creativepart's own SAMA; click the image to go to his Vinyl Asylum Post

I studied his post and printed out a photo of his contraption and took it to Home Depot.

Browsing the plumbing pipe area, however, I couldn’t quite figure out what I needed. Wandering the aisles for ideas, I found the electrical aisle. I saw a contraption that I later learned is a "conduit hub", then I found this plate with a circular hole cut out. I discovered that if I unscrewed the hub, I could insert the plate through and tighten it.
I figured that I could drill holes through the plate, and then run long bolts up to the top. I could fill the cavity with lead shot, and seal it with the flat plate.

The lesson here is that you might have to improvise depending on what you can find in your hardware store(s). If you can’t find these exact parts, you will need to look around and see if you can find something similar. Be creative.

The main objective is you need a “tower” to boost up your motor, and you need a way to immobilized the motor. You want weight to keep the motor still, and you need to attach it to the top of your tower.

Before you head out to your hardware store, I recommend bringing your motor with you, printing out these photos, and also measuring the height from your shelf/rack to the horizontal square plate on top of your motor. You’ll need to make sure that the “tower” you create is the same height. You have a centimeter or two of play in either direction. Too low and the belt will slide off the bottom of the platter, and if you make it too high then you’ll bump up into the bottom of the plinth.

Parts List

Here is the list of parts I wound up buying. Altogether I paid less than $20

  1. Conduit Hub, 1.5”. Look for it in the electrical section of a Home Depot. The unit will have an outer part and a threaded inner part. I am sure there are many subtle variations of this.

  2. Conduit hub
    Conduit hub

  3. Electrical raceway “cover” with circular opening (approx 2 inches)
  4. Electrical raceway flat base (not sure if this is the correct term)

  5. Raceway cover
    Raceway plates, parts #2 and #3

  6. 4 x slot head machine screws, slotted #8-32 X 3/8"
  7. 4 x bolts 1/8” x 4”. Can be difficult to find in standard hardware, so look for these in the picture-frame wall-hanging section as "toggle bolts"
  8. 4 x machine screw nuts, #6-32, will connect to the 4 bolts
  9. 4 x washers #6, for the nuts and bolts above
  10. 1 x 4-position dual-row barrier strip. You can get this at Radio Shack (Link). If you want more finger room, get an 8-position.
  11. BB gun shot. Small amount. Most Walmarts will have this in the hunting ammo section.

Directions:

First, take the hub and unscrew the two parts. Insert the bottom part of the conduit through the hole in the plate. Next, screw on the bottom part of the hub to finger tightness.

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Mark 4 points to drill holes; the holes should be as close as possible to the 4 holes on the HW-19 motor base. Get as close to the hub as you can, but not so close that the nuts won’t fit.

Drill 4 holes. I used a DeWalt split point titanium drill bit 9” | 64 (3.6 mm).

Next, after disconnecting your motor from the HW-19, sit your motor on top of the hub and slide the 4 bolts through the holes on the motor plate into the bottom plate, and fasten them with the washer and nut. You don't need to glue the motor to the top or anything like that; the bolts will hold it on tight. The tops of the bolts should be on the HW-19 motor. Tighten to finger tightness.

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Bolts

Depending on how long the bolts are, you’ll need to clip part of the ends of the bolts with a strong pliers as the bolt will probably be too long.

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Interior after tightening nuts

Fill the cavity with BB shot as full as you can.

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Fill cavity with BBs

Without spilling BB’s everywhere, fasten the bottom plate and tighten with the machine screws and nuts.

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Attach bottom plate and screw it closed

Now you’ll need to put your new poor man’s SAMA back in the turntable.

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SAMA in the HW-19

Put it on your base/shelf and re-connect the wires.

I had some trouble with the wires. I presume different vintages of HW-19 will vary, but I had to clip the black wires leading from the on/off button to pull them out of the metal motor-hanging assembly. I detached all the metal “cages” (?) from the interior of the HW-19 base and re-attached all the wires to a new barrier strip. The barrier strip that came with the HW-19 was glued to one of the metal parts so I left it there.

Obviously, be careful you put the wires back in the same original positions. I carefully wrote down their original positions and even took a couple of photos before I started.

Depending on the feet you have on your HW-19, you might need to raise or lower your new SAMA with isolation feet or other platforms. At this point, I have mine sitting on a cut out mouse pad.

Comparison to "Official" VPI SAMA

I don't have the official SAMA, so I'm not sure how to compare. My DIY version doesn't move, and I can't feel any vibrations on the table, so I think my poor man's SAMA comes pretty close. The real SAMA is heavy, I think 13 pounds, but mine is probably only a couple of pounds. Considering I saved $380 off the cost of the official SAMA, I'm a happy man. Now, how should I go spend my $380 savings?

Good luck and hope this helps someone out there.

Darryl



Edits: 03/22/09 03/22/09 03/22/09

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  Atma-Sphere Music Systems, Inc.  


Topic - My VPI HW-19 poor mans's SAMA (pix) - Darryl 17:34:15 03/22/09 (8)

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