As long as there have been analog discs, audio junkies have been implementing all sorts of techniques to get the most out of their records. One of the most tried-and-true methods is the record clamp; also known as a weight, or a stabilizer.
You’ll often see this at audio shows or at turntable retailers: they throw a heavy looking metal object on top of the record as it’s spinning on the platter. To the impatient non-astute vinyl junkie, this might prove more of a nuisance then help. It can take a bit more time and dedication, with all the added steps in the vinyl listening process. But for those who are willing to be patient and do things right it can add a significant improvement to the listening experience.
A stabilizer can do many things: The weight of the clamp or stabilizer can dampen internal resonance during play and help reduce sonic coloration. The overall increased mass on the rotating platter reduces flutter. It also permits easier play of records with minor warps; the applied pressure can effectively flatten out a slightly warped record and help curtail any slipping.
Not to meniton, for belt-drive turntables a large weight or clamp over the spindle can be used strategically to help reduce strain on the belt. You can use it as a handle to pre-spin the platter before you start the turntable. Doing so removes the start up strain that overstrains the belt. Bear in mind though, not every turntable is suitable for a weight or record clamp. These devices are usually reserved for mid to high end tables; cheap plastic chinese made record players might not handle the strain of the extra weight.
If you have a decent turntable, for the little it costs, the improvements from using a weight/stabilizer/clamp can be more than significant enough to make the purchase worthwhile.
There are many types of record stabilizers or disc weights. Some use threads to screw and clamp the record down; these don’t add a whole lot of benefit while significantly increasing the hassle. Instead we recommend the simple type because simple is often better. They’re ergonomically friendly, beautifully designed heavy metal weights with holes on the bottom. Just place it down on the spindle and voila; you’re one step closer to perfect analog replay.