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  1. #1
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Turntable mats..really a difference???

    I mean come on...do these turntable mats going around REALLY make a turntable sound that much better? I have a Rotel turntable with a metal platter and it has a good rubber mat..why should I buy a mat that cost more than my turntable? Is felt really that much better? I find it hard to believe..maybe if I had spent $800 for a turntable I might buy a $60 mat, but come on....

  2. #2
    DMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    I mean come on...do these turntable mats going around REALLY make a turntable sound that much better? I have a Rotel turntable with a metal platter and it has a good rubber mat..why should I buy a mat that cost more than my turntable? Is felt really that much better? I find it hard to believe..maybe if I had spent $800 for a turntable I might buy a $60 mat, but come on....
    Who told you that you needed a different mat??? I'll hold him and you beat the s**t out of him!

    The only mat I ever replaced was on my old Rega and that was because it was made of felt and attracted dust like the Gilmore Speaker girl attracts drool. Keep the mat you have and don't worry about it. If you ever decide to buy a more expensive turntable, you'll likely find that it neither comes with a mat nor needs one. But don't slap your vinyl on a metal platter! Keep the rubber mat you have and go buy more records.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Yeah the mat I have is fine. I'm just reading various 'reviews' and stuff about mats, and how these people are touting that "this $150 mat makes my records sound so much better! Better highs, better lows, better imaging!!!!"

    Now I look at it like this...if I had spent $600 on a turntable only to find out that it needs a $150 slab of felt to make it sound good I'd be highly ticked off.

  4. #4
    DMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Yeah the mat I have is fine. I'm just reading various 'reviews' and stuff about mats, and how these people are touting that "this $150 mat makes my records sound so much better! Better highs, better lows, better imaging!!!!"

    Now I look at it like this...if I had spent $600 on a turntable only to find out that it needs a $150 slab of felt to make it sound good I'd be highly ticked off.
    Bob Reina of Stereophile once told a funny story about showing his audio buddies an odd looking piece of plastic, telling them it was a new record clamp. When he placed it on his turntable, each audiobuddy waxed eloquently about the change in sound. The new "clamp" was actually the little plastic thingy pizza places put in their carry out boxes to keep the box from hitting the toppings.

    No need to guess at the moral; I'm sure you already know it!

  5. #5
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Lightbulb None-Felt mat

    I have a non-felt mat and yes it did make a difference over the felt.
    The mat is not very expensive you can even make your own.
    http://www.theanalogdept.com/nonefelt.htm

  6. #6
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRANDONH
    I have a non-felt mat and yes it did make a difference over the felt.
    The mat is not very expensive you can even make your own.
    http://www.theanalogdept.com/nonefelt.htm
    My table came with a felt mat that aggravated static charge problems. I tried a none-felt mat which does practically eliminate static charge. But, I had to change my listening habits. With the felt mat, I could afford to be lazy and leave the record on the table overnight. The insert with the none-felt warned against this so now, when I'm using the none-felt, I can't leave a record on after a listening seesion.

    As for the controversial performance issue, I recall a noticeable difference in one piece that I used for comparison after first getting the none-felt. On the first track of Sketches of Spain (Miles Davis) there's a bass run that sounded muddied with the felt mat. The notes did not stop and start but ran together. With the none-felt mat the beginning and end of each note became discernible. The difference was not dramatic. For $25 though it was worth it to eliminate the static problem and to do a little comparative listening. HOWEVER, if you don't heed the warning about leaving your records on the table, it might be your worst audio related purchase.

  7. #7
    Turntable anorak!
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    Being one of those fiddly types of person who likes to try out the latest tweaking fads, mainly so i can laugh at how they don't work and how daft people can be at getting suckered by them, i had a play with different turntable mats a couple of years ago!

    The first deck i tried the change on was my own Garrard 301. This has a heavy metal platter which rings like a bell unless damped with the original rubber mat, so changing this for a felt one was not an option. I had heard of people swearing that they had good results with a glass mat and a thin felt one on top of that, but i wasn't stupid enough to spend 60+ on a piece of glass! However, when i stumbled across a rather dirty one at an audiojumble for 5, i couldn't resist it and so bought it to give it a try. Well, i can confirm that it did make a difference but unfortunately not what i considerd a good one - the midrange opened up but a little too much and became a bit 'shouty' and the killer bass that i love about the Garrard definitely lost it's impact, so i went back to the rubber one! ( and cleaned up & sold the glass one for 20 - result!!)

    The next deck i tried was a Technics SL-1210. This also has a very thick rubber mat, but the metal platter is does not ring, and so it is not required for damping. Well, i tried a felt mat on this deck and it was a big improvement - the bass went from being quite muddy and slow to being much faster, and vocalists sounded like they had moved closer to their microphones - a big improvement for the 2 i paid for the felt mat!!

    In summary, i believe there are noticeable differences with different mat types, but they aren't always good and you certainly don't need to spend the silly amounts some people would have you believe!

    Adam.
    Never test the depth of water with both feet.

  8. #8
    Born To Lose mg196's Avatar
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    I once made a mat out of a washcloth and it did a great job until I found a "real" rubber mat. That "real" one cost me around $10. Sometimes you just have to make-do!


  9. #9
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    platter mats

    of course i would never pay a price that approached even the halfway cost of my tt. to say that mats have no effect is silliness though. i have tried numerous ones through the years, platter matter and others. all have sounded different, not always better than the stock one.

    my vpi tt has an acrylic surface mat and that is for coupling to the vinyl for the drainage of stylus vibration into the acrylic (similar in characteristics to the vinyl). this is also dependent on using the clamp which intimately couples the disc to the platter/mat.

    see my system:http://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/588.html

    my sota sapphire also has an acrylic mat and is used with the reflex clamp. i use a pretty standard rubber mat on the phase linear tt, and the reflex clamp with that too.

    a clamp makes an audible difference on most tables. when i had the kenwood kd500/grace 707 combo, i bought the ratshack plastic record clamp and it reduced the platter ringing that the stock mat did not completely take away. later i switched to an aftermarket mat (used and cheeeep) that was superior to both the stock mat and the platter matter.

    as long as the cost isnt prohibitive, experimentation with mats can lead to improved sound.

    the none felt mat and its home made counterparts WILL and DO leave a residue on the vinyl. unless you purchase the none felt SKIN that is. so my position here is that if none felt feels it necessary to put a SKIN over their mat, it should be included with the mat at no extra charge or at least a minimal one. it was an unfinished product, not completely engineered.

    i made one out of the shelf liner material and tried a lesser LP on it. results: RESIDUE i am not alone here, see the last paragraph in fremers column in the sept stereophile. caution!
    Last edited by hifitommy; 09-10-2004 at 08:07 AM. Reason: edit
    ...regards...tr

  10. #10
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    Are you guys readjusting VTA?

    When you swap mats? If not, isn't it possible that some of the perceived differences (good or bad) are simply due to a different VTA, accomplished by varying heights of mats? Some platters are ringy and definately need damping so they come with some sort of mat and some are no doubt better than others. Glass platters were all the rage a few years ago but I don't see them on new stuff. Now it's thick acrylic or heavy metal and the heavy metal ones have been around for years. Hard to know which is best but I suppose looking at the most expensive or most respected tt's would tell the story.
    I bought an extreme phono mat for $30 and it looks like a $1 piece of tool chest liner to me. Guess I could have made that one. I haven't tried it but if I ever get my AR going, I'll try it vs the felt one and let you know if I hear a difference. The Sansui SR929 direct drive that I'm using has a thick foamy rubber mat that won't come off. It seems that it would be a very good damping mat anyway.
    Bill

  11. #11
    Vinyl Junkie slate1's Avatar
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    a waste of money - buy some records instead....

    Quote Originally Posted by jbangelfish
    ...isn't it possible that some of the perceived differences (good or bad) are simply due to a different VTA...
    okay, so - I'm reading through this post and the whole time I'm thinking - it's probably due to VTA changes more than anything - and here, Bill beats me to the punch!

    I've played around with the mats a bit too and the conclusion that I've come to is that there are slight changes in sound when changing mats. That said, I've also come to the conclusion that the reason for this is two fold: one is that the VTA is indeed changed, sometimes by a good bit, from one mat to another; second is that some materials that the mats are made of do a better job at isolating motor / vibration noises and result in a lower overall noise floor. The Herbies Way Excellent Mat for example did lower the noise a good bit on my old MMF table - it made no difference on my new P5.

    The final conclusion I've come to, however, is that none of them offer a very good cost to benefit ratio - at least on my rig. I sold my Herbies, Extremephono, and Ringmat (the silliest of all, in my opinion - $100 for a freakin' piece of paper with, seriously $0.02 worth of cork attached to it...) on Audiogon, put my felt Rega mat back on the P5 and used the money to buy some records.
    Cayin A-70T Integrated w/ Gold Lion Tubes PS Audio GCPH Phono Stage Pro-Ject RPM-9.1 Turntable w/ Pro-Ject Ground-It and Pro-Ject Speedbox II Dynavector 20X2H Cartridge Usher Audio X-718 Monitors Ultimate Cables C4 Interconnects & Speaker Cables

  12. #12
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    Cheap Mat = Small Audible Difference

    I've got a Thorens TD-320, which had the standard old rubber mat. Nothing wrong with it, I guess. Asked Steve at theanalogdept.com whether it was sorth tracking down Thorens' RDC acrylic platter to improve my sound. He told me that they run about $400, and are discontinued. But he sells a cork mat for $19.95 (& shipping) that he thought would sound better than the rubber. For $23, it was worth a shot. The TAD spotmat #8 arrived a few days ago, and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. Not a big improvement, but a definite improvement. Bakcgrounds are quiter, lows sound more detailed and highs are more transparent. Each a little, but noticable. Now, I admit that I was too lazy to re-adjust VTA for this thinner mat, so some of these changes are likely from that. But, since the thinner mat RAISES the VTA the changes I'm hearing don't all seem accountable to VTA alone. For example, bass should have gotten less prominent and detailed, but the opposite happened. So, the rubber mats safely stored away and the cork's here to stay.

  13. #13
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    Maybe your VTA just got more correct

    Is that a possibility? I would expect this to make a bigger change than the difference between cork and rubber. It is a different thickness and did change your VTA. Without having two identical thickness mats to compare and without changing your VTA, I don't see how one could say that one mat sounds better than the other. Just like different thicknesses of vinyl will affect the sound. If your'e set for ultra thin vinyl, it will probably sound better than a 200g or 180g without making the proper adjustments.
    Not trying to argue or doubt your claim, just seems to me that the VTA is affecting your sound as much or more than one substance to another. With that in mind, it might be a very good way to switch from normal LP's to 200g by having our VTA adjusted so that the different mats work out perfectly for us, depending on what thickness of vinyl we decide to play and using the different mats accordingly. Sounds like a good idea to me.
    Bill

  14. #14
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    Yes

    jbangelfish, As I said above, I do think most of the improvement I'm hearing has come from the unintended raising of the VTA (since the Spotmat is thinner than the Thorens rubber mat). Yet, some of the improvement in low end seems counter-intuitive to what you'd expect to hear when RAISING the VTA. So, my hunch is that the Mat has played a role in the improved bass response and the quieter background. Obviously, I could be completely wrong. But I'm not going to mess with the VTA now because the table sounds too good and I don't want to mess it up! The TD-320's VTA is easy to move but almost impossible to adjust precisely. Hey, at $23 shipped, it's no big deal either way.... Thanks, Rich

  15. #15
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    Go commando!

    I was reading up on this subject and decided to try some shelf liner after hearing it compared favorably to the none felt mat. I removed the felt mat from my new RP1 and put the DIY mat in its place and got an instant improvement in clarity on the high end. Then as I read some more heard that the soft mats like sorbothane muddy the sound by softening the attack. So I figgered I'd give nothing a try since my RP1 has a resin platter as opposed to the Aluminum platters with holes cut in them that need a mat. Lo and behold the sound was fantastic. I used an old Segovia recording and switched back and forth. Going naked was superior in every way. If you need a mat make it a hard one.
    Last edited by old geezer; 10-16-2011 at 11:52 AM.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    vpi and sota both use acrylic hard top surfaces on their TTs and recommend that the record be used with no additional mat. its what i do.
    ...regards...tr

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    On my Rega the Ringmat mat is the best. Nice tight bass and a focused sound unlike the slightly mushy sound with the felt mat. It is the same thickness so no VTA to worry about. The record is supported minimally and seems to be a nice interface between vinyl and glass. I have an original Ringmat I am not using since the upgrade to the Anniversary Gold Spot version.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  18. #18
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    I have played with this mat made from Duck ,Select easy liner, non adhesive and it is fantastic on my MMF 5, I have it on top of a Mission sorbomat mashed down with the screw on clamp. I cut up a fancy record sleve with the thin rice paper inside, and used the thin plastic to cover the mat so no residue sticks to the records. Little scotch tape fastened it to the platter. Its not a pretty sight. My whole set up looks like the work of a madman. I have all sorts of stone tiles and cork in layers followed by anti vibration pads and more layers of cork under the feet. I play my music load so I need all this stuff to beat the feedback. My other table sits on stone tiles with the Duck easy liner under and between the tiles and then three sorbothane feet under the factory issued feet.
    It it wrong to lust after another mans Turntable? Some of these high dollar tables pictured here have me drooling.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old geezer View Post
    I have played with this mat made from Duck ,Select easy liner, non adhesive and it is fantastic on my MMF 5, I have it on top of a Mission sorbomat mashed down with the screw on clamp. I cut up a fancy record sleve with the thin rice paper inside, and used the thin plastic to cover the mat so no residue sticks to the records. Little scotch tape fastened it to the platter. Its not a pretty sight. My whole set up looks like the work of a madman. I have all sorts of stone tiles and cork in layers followed by anti vibration pads and more layers of cork under the feet. I play my music load so I need all this stuff to beat the feedback. My other table sits on stone tiles with the Duck easy liner under and between the tiles and then three sorbothane feet under the factory issued feet.
    It it wrong to lust after another mans Turntable? Some of these high dollar tables pictured here have me drooling.


    I am hoping you are talking about Duck brand mats and not from a poor duck? Seriously I tried some mat material that looked similar. The results were pretty good. The material did leach onto the record and you could see the mats pattern on the record. I think that is why Extreme Phono brought out a Skin to be used between their mat and the record.
    Last edited by JohnMichael; 10-17-2011 at 09:30 AM.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
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  20. #20
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I also have the Achroplat replacement platter. It does not require a mat. It is made from the same material as the records that sit on it. I just realized I have not tried that platter with the Grado Statement Sonata yet. The Achroplat sounded good with the Benz MC Gold but not the Audio Technica F7. I will switch platters tonight and give them a listen.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  21. #21
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Currently using the Achroplat platter with the Grado. Bass is very solid deep and defined. I am using a record weight which I do not do with the Ringmat. I am glad I thought to try this tweak. I am gald I do not throw much out.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  22. #22
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Now that I am impressed with the combination of the Funk Firm Achroplat and Grado Statement Sonata I learned they had a new improved Achroplat. The benefit of the new platter is it now weighs closer to the Rega glass platter for greater inertia. The original platter was much lighter than the glass platter. I sometimes wondered if the lighter platter allowed the table to run a little fast. This was not a problem with all recordings but some would sound a little sharp.

    Oh well the new and improved platter is now $295. I will be listening to original for several weeks before I decide if I needed the latest and greatest.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  23. #23
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Like so many changes and tweaks what sounds exciting at first wears thin. The Funk Firm Achroplat has been put back in audio storage. After the impressive bass has amazed the upper frequencies begin to disappoint. The Ringmat on the Rega glass platter is consistent over the frequency range. The Achroplat may not be a good match for the Rega with the DeepGroove subplatter. Also it is much lighter than the glass platter. Oh well it was fun to try again. No felt but bring on the paper and cork.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

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