You may have heard of a record weight, but the most common question is does it really make a difference for vinyl playback? A beneficial turntable accessory for any vinyl enthusiast, a record weight provides an extra layer of performance to your turntable and vinyl collection. This puck-shaped object is designed to be placed on the spindle of your turntable over the record during playback, with a goal to increase the contact between your record and the platter to prevent slippage, reduce vibrations, and increase speed stabilization.
There are multiple benefits to complementing your turntable and records with this vinyl accessory.
1) Vibration Damping
Simply put, the additional mass provided of the record weight reduces unwanted vibrations from transferring to the stylus during playback. To use an exaggerated, completely non-audio example, think of a washing machine that has an uneven load and is shaking aggressively. If you put weight on top of it, such as by sitting on it, that weight helps to reduce the vibration of the washing machine.
The same concept applies to your records and adding weight on top of the platter. By creating better contact between the record and platter as the stylus tracks the grooves of the spinning record, the record weight can reduce vibrations, distortion, and result in cleaner playback.
2) Keeping Records Flat: Dealing with Warped Records
While proper storage does reduce the chances of records becoming warped, some records are arriving brand new with slight warping. It can be difficult to find a record that is flawless, and even if you do there are numerous environmental factors that can affect your pristine vinyl over time. For example, if the indoor temperature of the room where you vinyl is stored builds enough heat, it can slightly warp the malleable record overtime. That is why it is very important to take extra care to store, clean and play your record collection properly.
There are many scenarios that result in less than desired vinyl playback, and slightly warped records can still be playable, but may cause unnecessary pressure on your stylus’ cantilever and damage it over time. In order to offer the best playback, a record weight is able to temporarily level that playing surface on slightly warped records so that your stylus can optimally track the grooves. Note that this will not flatten badly warped records, nor will it “fix” slightly warped records.
3) Rotational Speed Stabilization: Improve Wow & Flutter
The additional mass of the record weight has been shown to increase the inertia of a platter to achieve a more consistent speed, resulting in improved wow and flutter. Think of it like the revolving doors at the entrance of a hotel or office building; once the additional weight gets worked up and starts spinning at a consistent speed, the momentum is more resistant to change and easier to keep speed.
Is A Record Clamp Better Than A Record Weight?
Another commonly mentioned option for holding a record firmly in place against the platter is a record clamp. Two benefits of a record clamp is that it’s lighter and you can manually adjust the pressure. Although some turntables are designed to handle the pressure of a record weight, there are turntables where the motor will get stressed by the extra mass, therefore a record clamp would be the way to go. Be sure to check the specifications of your turntable to see what amount of weight it can handle.
The con of the record clamp is it does not offer the benefits of the additional weight to reduce vibrations as well as not being able to assist in improving speed consistency.
Is A Record Weight Worth It?
The ultimate question you most likely want answered is if the record weight is worth it? As with most accessories in home audio, it depends. If you take a warped record that has been sitting in a hot attic for 50 years and put a record weight on it expecting it to sound brand new, you will probably be disappointed. The fact is, the record weight works to increase contact between your record and the platter to achieve improved audio quality, which is a good thing. Overall, this low-cost option is beneficial to use with your records to reduce resonance and vibrations, improve wow and flutter, and stabilize the speed of the platter rotation.
There are many LP record weights available on the market. Companies like Fluance offer this accessory with an anti-resonant rubberized finish to further protect against vibrations, and a velvet base that gently protects your record surface.
HiFi Vinyl Record Weight
Add an extra layer of performance to your favorite record player. Keep your records more stable during playback and establish closer contact between your record and the turntable platter reducing resonance and undesired vibrations to provide perfect music playback.