LP Solution


rubber or Silk

When I first bought my Micro Seiki SX777 Air Turntable, the metal plate bearing the model name clearly stated that it is a 'Thread Drive' turntable. So why on earth you used a rubber belt to drive the platter? I asked the dealer.

The answer was after numerous tests thread belt did not fit this turntable. In the end I was given a pulley that works with a rubber belt.

After a year or so the rubber became hardened and I had difficulty in finding a replacement. By trial and error I came up with a belt made of casette tape. On listening test it beats the rubber belt in every aspect and hence it becomes the de facto standard of my turntable.

The shortcoming of cassette tape is a maintenance nightmare. It curls after stretching and there is no way you can straighten it. Every time you detach it from the turntable you have to replace it with a new one. And cassette tape belt needs a week's run-in time. It is very susceptible to changes in humidity and hence not very stable.


Casette Tape Belt



Gourmet, who used a Basis turntable driven by a VPI SDS, all of a sudden put up a trial test on thread belt made from dental floss. Three brands he tested and he settled on the Johnson & Johnson Reach Dental Floss.

He reported everything positive after using the dental floss. Of all the points he mentioned I was particulary impressed with the fact that he has found better bass both in volume and control.

This thread belt does not have the same traction as a rubber belt and Gourmet has to increase his SDS setting from 49 to around 52.

Buying a packet of the J&J Reach Dental Floss, I made a floss belt for my Micro Seiki.


Dental Floss


Micro Seiki provides thread as an accessory


This is how we tie a knot for the surgical silk


History repeats itself. This thread belt in every aspect defeats the cassette tape belt. I noticed that the floss belt has a much better traction than the cassette tape belt .

We informed Recordman of our finding. As Recordman is also using a VPI SDS to feed his Basis turntable motor he was convinced to have a try. He reported: Better separation; Darker background; Wilder soundstage; Cleaner bass, but at the same time there was less weight and less warmth. Well, his choice is obvious: rubber belt, getting out of my way!

Not all thread belts are equal, KH reminded us. KH is a heavyweight in LP collection. He advised us to try surgical silk.

What is surgical silk? This is the thread used by surgeons to make stitches on your flesh.

Gourmet got a packet of 100 meter surgical silk. Within 12 hours he threw away all his dental floss. More refined bass, among other advantages, was reported.


Surgical Silk in operation


Notice Gourmet has completely outboard his motor


I got 10 yards from Gourmet and made up my own thread belt. Surgical silk is very stiff and non-stretchable. We need to tie two knots with dental floss to fix the diameter but only one knot is needed for the surgical silk. 100% tight and reliable.

Surgical silk is much thinner than the dental floss and Gourmet has to increase his SDS from 52 to around 55. Do not get him wrong, the silk has better traction than the dental floss and we both found it to be more stable, almost like a rubber belt.

I would conclude that surgical silk is more natural sounding. A bit brighter than dental floss but the stability more than compensates any side effects. The other benefit is you have 90% performance upon 2 hours run-in, and it fully settles the next day you use your turntable.

  Surgical Silk used in

Micro Seiki Turtable

Other observations on playing with surgical silk:

1. You need a speed adjustable turntable.

2. As the silk is very thin in diameter, any mildew on the platter and pulley surfaces will cause a shift hence cleaning is very important.

3. Do not press the silk too hard to get speed. It works best when it is loose, let the motor do the speed for you.

We now provide surgical silk thread at USD5.0 for 1.5 meter. The price includes airmail delivery to worldwide address. Please click here to order.

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