Record clamps are necessary if you want great sounding music from your vinyl player. They help boost the sound and reduce high frequency resonances that occur when you use old or vintage records. By adding a record clamp to your player, you will also notice a drastic reduction in sound flutter and an increase in speed stability.
But what exactly are record clamps? And which are the best record clamps to buy?
We have all that covered and more in this article. Our in depth review will cover some of the best record clamps in the market that will enhance your overall record playing experience. We’ll highlight the main benefits of using a record clamp, how to install one on your record player and how to choose the best record clamps to buy.
So on that note, here are the best record clamps you can find in the market today.
- Record Doctor Record Clamp
- Pro-Jet Clamp It
- Femeli Record Clamp Stabilizer
- Clearaudio Clever Clamp
- Audio-Technica AT618a
- Hudson Hi-Fi BigBen
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What is a record clamp and why is it important?
As the name suggests, a record clamp is an accessory designed specifically for vinyl players. It’s a small weight that is to be placed on top of the record while it’s playing to eliminate any wobbling effect or unwanted sound fluctuations.
They are not quite affordable, but if you’re looking to boost your experience and the sound quality of your records, they do make a worthwhile investment. Let’s take a quick look at why record clamps are important.
- A record clamp is designed to hold down the vacuum when you’re listening to music
- They couple the record so that there is a considerable increase in sound quality
- Record clamps help minimize and extra vibrations or damping caused by old and slightly warped records.
How to choose the best record clamp?
While picking the best record clamp to use at home, make sure you consider the below mentioned points so you end up with the most efficient and cost-effective record clamp.
- Weight – The first thing you need to do is check how heavy the clamp is. You will need to ensure that the clamp is not too heavy as the excess weight can damage the vinyl and components within your record player. Always try buying a record clamp designed specifically for the model (record player) you have running at home.
- Budget – Record players are available for all kinds of prices. You can find them for as low as $20 and some can go all the way up to over $150-$200. There’s no point spending too much on a record clamp and resorting to buying the one that’s most appropriate for your listening needs.
- Compatibility – Make sure you check the compatibility of the record clamp as not all clamps are designed to fit all types of record players. Keep an eye on the make and model of the clamp and see if it’s compatible with the player you have at home.
- Finish – A bad fitting record clamp can easily damage the record label and with prolonged use, damage the record as well. Make sure the clamp is made from a high-quality material that’s solid, firm and does not have any uneven edges.
Top 6 Best Record Clamps
Record Doctor Record Clamp
Overall Best Record Clamp
I first bought the Record Doctor clamp a few years ago to use on my Aiwa PX-E855 and boy did I notice a drastic difference in the sound quality of my older records. It’s perfect if you’re dealing with slippage issues and will boost the overall performance of your record player, resulting in some pretty detailed and clear sounding audio.
I noticed a reduction in unwanted resonances and found that it helps reduce the rate at which your stylus and record wears out, thus providing them with a longer life. However, if you’re using a record player with a lid, make sure to check and see if the clamp sits snug with the lid closed as it can be a bit tall for some players.
- Compatible with major brands and newer models of record players
- Designed to boost the sound quality of your records
- Will keep the record in position and prevent slippage
- Height may not be ideal for some record players
Pro-Ject Clamp It
Best Designed Record Clamp
Another fine product that’s easy to use and will provide the boost your records need is the Pro-Ject Clamp It. Though it’s a tad expensive, the Clamp It is probably one of the most awesome looking record clamps on this list. It’s made from machine cut aluminum and has a leather coating on the underside that ensures your record label does not get damaged when in use.
Pro-Jet designed this record clamp to minimize unwanted resonances and to ensure that the vinyl is kept flat and stable on the platter. The only thing that may put you off with this one is that it’s slightly bulky and because it weighs around 5lbs, I wouldn’t recommend using it on smaller and more delicate record players.
- Designed to eliminate unwanted resonances
- Easy to use and fitting does not take more than 60 seconds.
- Beautifully designed with machine diamond-cut aluminum and leather
- Slightly bulky
Femeli Record Clamp Stabilizer
Best Cost-Effective Record Clamp
If you’re on a budget and need something that’s more than capable of dampening vibrations then the Femeli stabilizer is one you should consider buying. It’s a high-performance minimalistic record clamp that is made from brushed aluminum and comes with a soft padding to protect your vinyl from any potential scratches.
We noticed a major reduction in skips on our older more bent vinyls while using this clamp. It’s also good to note that this clamp is available in two sizes depending on the height difference between the record platter and your dust cover. All-in-all, the Femeli record clamp stabilizer will definitely center out the weight distribution and it comes in a nice foam packaging that you can use to keep the clamp protected when not in use.
- Designed to distribute the weight evenly throughout
- Soft padding keeps the record label protected
- Available in two sizes
- Budget-friendly choice
- None at all
Clearaudio Clever Clamp
Most Easy-to-Use Record Clamp
One of the most simple looking record clamps around is from Clearaudio. Their clever clamp is a rather well-designed device that’s made from durable plastic and weighs around 500 grams which locks the vinyl in place and allows for a skip-free playback. It does not sit well on all record players and would act as a stopper if the spindle is static and does not rotate along with the platter.
We found that because of its lightweight design, all the components in your player stay protected and are not stressed. It also comes with an upturned edge that promotes easy handling and mounting. The eye-hole for the spindle is diamond shaped which means that it locks in place and does not slide off at high speeds.
- Well-designed unit with grooves and upturned edges for easier handling
- Lightweight and does not put strain on the platter or components
- Made from plastic so the chances of it breaking are higher
Best Record Clamp for High Performance Record Players
If you own a high-performance Audio-Technica record player then the best stabilizer for your needs will be the AT618a. It’s made from machined brass and weighs 600grams which is pretty heavy and not recommended for lightweight or budget record players. The AT618a is designed to hold your vinyl firmly in place and will deliver reduced resonance and in turn your record will sound way better than before.
The low-profile design is great because not only does it stabilize your record well, but it also allows you to close the turntable lid when in use. If you’re a DJ or just an audiophile looking for a way to boost your record player’s performance and deliver clean sounding audio, then you should definitely buy the Audio-Technica AT618a clamp, trust me, you won’t regret it.
- High density brass helps reduce overtone resonance
- Ideal height for all Audio-Technica record players and other high-end players
- Rubber padding for a firm and snug fit
- Not ideal for low-budget record players
Hudson Hi-Fi BigBen
Best Durable Record Clamp
The Hudson BigBen is probably one of the most durable record clamps in the market that fits well on any record player out there. It’s made from a high-quality metal that ensures your records are stable and there are no skips or heightened resonance and vibration during playback.
Upon inspection, the base of the BigBen is padded with leather that not only keeps the resonance levels to a minimum, but also protects your record labels from damage. There is no clearance issue when using this clamp on any record player and I can say this from first hand experience, it immediately brings about a drastic improvement to your whole listening experience.
- Made from high-density metal and has a vegan leather padding underneath
- Ideal for any record player
- Lightweight at 360 grams
- Effectively decreases resonance and vibrations
- Need to check the diameter of the hole and if your spindle will fit
Are record clamps worth it?
Yes, record clamps are essential accessories to own especially when you have a collection of vintage and older records that are warped or bent. These clamps will help maintain stability and ensure that your record sounds great.
How do you use a record clamp?
Record clamps are easy to use and all you’d have to do is simply slide the clamp over the spindle after you’ve placed the vinyl on the platter. Some clamps will have a mechanism which will lock the clamp in place regardless of the speed. Removing a record clamp is fairly easy as you will simply lift it off the spindle and extract your vinyl.
How heavy should a turntable clamp be?
The ideal weight of the record clamp will depend on the thickness and level of damage to the record. Clamps weighing between 100-130 grams are great for records with lesser damage whereas a 200+ grams clamp is ideal for badly warped discs that vibrate or jump a lot.