By Lam Seng Fatt
SPH aka Sien Peng Hong aka Captain (since he is an Air Asia pilot) makes two types of record weights — a 1kg and a 500gm model, both made of pure copper.
I borrowed the 500gm copper record weight for review. From the outset I have to give some advice regarding record weights — heavy ones like the 1kg model may not be suitable for spring-suspension turntables as the weight will be extra load and compress the springs more. This may affect the tracking angle of the stylus and also the lifespan of the springs. Also, the extra weight will affect the bearing and there may be more noise generated and more wear and tear. So you will have to make sure your turntable’s springs (or O-rings, if you are using an SME turntable) can handle the extra weight.
With belt-drive turntables, the extra weight may also cause the motor to work harder to spin the platter and the belt may also stretch out faster.
In my case, I am using a modded ancient Rega Planar 3 turntable with RB250 tonearm. Instead of the felt mat on the glass platter, I use a lead-vinyl mat with carbon fibre donut mat.
At this juncture, I have to say that record weights react differently with different record mats such as rubber, felt, cork, etc, and also different platters such as aluminium, steel, acrylic, etc.
So the differences that I heard are specific to the modded Rega Planar 3 that I use. Surprisingly the Rega’s motor didn’t strain that much to spin the platter with the 500gm record weight on but I did give it a boost by using my forefinger to give the platter a spin before I switched the power on.
I chose two albums — Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me (Analogue Productions) and Peter Frampton’s Acoustic Classics (Phenix Phonograph). The cartridge I am using is the Benz Glider and the phono preamp is a first-generation Aime from Audio Image.
With SPH’s copper weight on, the mids take on a denser quality and the presentation is smoother too. This is more evident on female vocals and Norah Jones sounded smoother and the stereo image of her became more palpable with more ‘solidity’. However, the treble was somewhat rolled off and there was less air and extension compared with the sound without the record weight.
Unlike some other record weights, the sound was not coloured and the tonal balance did not shift. It was the denser and smoother vocals and the slight loss of air and extension in the treble region that were noticeable. But since there are so many variables at play with other turntables, tonearms and cartridges, YMMV. So it’s best to try before buying.
SPH said he chose copper because it sounded the best. He also makes copper mats. SPH can be reached via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009907260332
The 1kg copper record weight costs RM390 while the 500gm model costs RM360.