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Vinyl Asylum: Heirloom owners: Info from George Merrill about spare parts and clamp ring mods.... by Jim Stoneburner

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Heirloom owners: Info from George Merrill about spare parts and clamp ring mods....

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Today, I spoke with George Merrill, a charming, outgoing southerner, now about 60 years old (he was an acquaintance from the mid-1980s when I did a little consulting for him on his turntable mods). I interviewed him a bit about the Heirloom turntable, specifically about spare parts and performance of the peripheral clamp ring. My notes:

They have inventory of most everything: rings, platters, motors, etc. Ten years worth of stock, at least.

Belts are available, $21.50 each. Store spare belts in a ziplock in the Freezer. No humidity or ozone. (In Los Angeles smog, my belt deteriorated in 4 years, but in Silicon Valley, little deterioration apparent after 10 years.)

Motor damping oil is a fluid similar to what is used in a car shock absorber. Doesn't change viscosity or volume with temperature.

Bearing oil has lifetime performance, no need to replace or even replenish. Oil was tested by a pro in the business who also helped develop it, and found to have a projected life of 135 years continuous use. Also, no metal particles were found, thanks to the hardened contact surfaces in the bearing. The bearing itself should not wear out.

Arm board is part of the subchassis. If you change tonearms, you may need a new subchassis if holes for new arm are incompatible with holes for old one. Still stock plenty of these.

Clamp ring was intended not just to clamp against the lead mat, but also to terminate energy radiating across record to the periphery.

The most recent clamp ring design was black painted with a textured material. This helps damps resonances. However, this does not damp entirely.

I told him that I had used electrical tape around the edge of the lead-acrylic platter as a shim, wedging the ring over this permanently. This resulted in a very dead peripheral weight (no longer used as a peripheral clamp). He said leave it that way if it sounds good.

Alternatives: try taping outside of clamp ring with electrical tape, several layers, and use it as intended as a clamp ring. Or, paint it with Borosilicate compound - a damping material used to paint shuttle tiles with - tends to absorb and dissipate energy. Can obtain it from several people on the internet (do a search), and paint ring with it, a couple of coats. This will help even the black version of the ring. Paint all but the underside of the thin part of the inner lip, which contacts the record. This would be even better than the late production black ring; didn't use borosilicate in production because it is not as good looking or as durable to rough handling.

Clamp rings available for $230, the latest black version. They were Injection molded, then turned, the painted, many hours of labor.

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Topic - Heirloom owners: Info from George Merrill about spare parts and clamp ring mods.... - Jim Stoneburner 11:40:13 09/10/03 ( 6)