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What's the difference in turntable mats?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Azimuth, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Azimuth

    Azimuth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    There is a variety of mats people can buy and there are the ones that come with the TT. Usually the ones provided are rubber, but the available ones tend to be some kind of foam or felt. Some are carbon fibre. Do they work? Which ones are best? What experiences do people have? Any recommendations? Ebay ones, Lp Gear, etc? (Not interested in a home-made one).
     
  2. Cavity

    Cavity Well-Known Member

    Advice regarding turntable mats.

    Supposedly, the best turntable mats reduce the rumble out of the analogue signal from the electric motor that is located inside the turntable. Rubber mats are have the accolade. Felt mats are not bad either, but have less grip.
     
  3. gkimeng

    gkimeng Forum Mod, ClassicSpeakerPages.net Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,637
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I've never consumed the turntable mat kool-aid, and regard the role of the mat as simply to prevent the record from sliding on the platter and possibly being scratched, while not accumulating dust or shedding lint and generating the least amount of static possible or even discharging static that is already in the record. This is a tall enough order without expecting a mat to provide improved "transparency" or "impact," things I have no idea how to identify, much less to judge quantitatively or qualitatively.
     
  4. jimdandy

    jimdandy Receiver or wife - hmm...

    Messages:
    644
    Location:
    Middle of USA
    I've tried rubber and felt and I prefer rubber as it doesn't slip as much and is heavier. There are no doubt many opinions on this, but I'm with gkimeng on this one -- I don't get too wrapped up in mat technology. Rubber is my mat of choice, though.
     
  5. dogscanskate

    dogscanskate Super Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Location:
    Montreal
    Listen to them and many times, if it isn't a cheap tt, the original mat is often times the best. It's all about trade-offs and they exist in mats. If your deck was properly engineered, the mat they supplied it with should be good enough.

    Many after market mats claim a substantial improvement and most fall short of the original. You have to listen to them and make up your own mind.
     
  6. shimniok

    shimniok Super Member

    Messages:
    3,699
    Location:
    Centennial, CO
  7. bhundu

    bhundu Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,995
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    My current opinion is it's all a load of hype.

    If you don't suffer rumble from motor vibrations then I wouldn't worry about it. My ears can't tell the difference. You would need a computer anaylsis to proove if a certain mat was better than another on a given TT and I've never seen this.

    Some mats claim to make bass tighter and such. Maybe the different mat thicknesses are altering VTA and that is the reason for a difference in sound.

    I tried a "Sonic Bliss" mat recently on a TD 160 and to my ears there was no difference to the original. The original looks better so it's staying.

    Lee
     
  8. Azimuth

    Azimuth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    I am using carbon fibre, since it's suposed to eliminate static. I notice that it clings to the record when I pick it up. Is this working?
     
  9. SpruceMoose

    SpruceMoose Super Member

    Messages:
    1,447
    nope.

    i have used a discwasher anti-static mat for decades on my dual 1245. before i swapped out the mats, the record would try to jump out of my hands back to the platter when removing it after playing a side. has not been an issue since.

    on my B&O 3300 i am using a cork spot-mat. i hated the idea of putting my records on a bare aluminum platter.

    no noticeable change of sound for either.
     
  10. marc mc

    marc mc Super Member

    Messages:
    2,148

    Far from kool-aid, mats play a vital role in TT sound. The right mat for a given table/cartridge combination varies, but is neccasary to get the most from a TT. But of course the quality of the table plays the largest role. For example budget tables have so many things going wrong that no mat can make any difference.

    marc mc
     
  11. dbCooper

    dbCooper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    625
    Location:
    Napa Valley
    I have access to mats made from tightly woven Yak hair. Over time, the Yak have evolved to resist static build-up from the dry, cold himalayan wind.

    Only $100.00 each. Who's interested?
     
  12. ehoove

    ehoove Old & New - Carpe Diem Super Mod Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,562
    Location:
    Mid-Maryland
    IMHO They do make a difference. On my Thorens TD125MKII the standard mat was not very good compared to a DIY cork mat, which was inferior to the corrugated foam mat that I ended up using. All three sounded different, so it was more a matter of choice. For the little amount of money involved, it is worth pursuing IMHO!

    The soft rubber mat on my Pro-Ject RM5SE is permanently attached to the platter, and sounds great.

    Regards,
    Jim
     
  13. secretguy

    secretguy Super Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    I knew common sense wouldn't last.
     
  14. keithpgdrb

    keithpgdrb AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,295
    Location:
    Bolingbrook, IL
    What a stupid comment. thanks for sharing your vast knowledge.
     
  15. gkimeng

    gkimeng Forum Mod, ClassicSpeakerPages.net Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,637
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I once spent an entire weekend helping an audio dealer friend of mine audition platter mats. Six of us listened to about two dozen mats on three different turntables, including one that cost as much as a new car. At the end of the exercise, four of us could hear no difference at all between any of the mats on any of the tables. Two said they could hear a difference when some of the mats were swapped out, but had no particular preference for any one over any of the others. About the only combination that everyone agreed was definitely inferior was the 99-cent foam disc one could buy at Radio Shack at the time, which actually generated so much static that you could hear the record "snap, crackle and pop" during play and get a shock from picking it up off the platter afterwards.
     
  16. marc mc

    marc mc Super Member

    Messages:
    2,148
    The overwelming support for different mats I have to say vastly outways you and your buds.

    marc mc
     
  17. wushuliu

    wushuliu Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    954
    Two dozen aftermarket mats designed/marketed to improve sound or stock mats from other tables or both?
     
  18. gkimeng

    gkimeng Forum Mod, ClassicSpeakerPages.net Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,637
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Somebody has actually managed to sell several pairs of $20,000 speaker cable. Support and popularity are indicators of superior marketing, not necessarily of superior performance.

    All aftermarket mats that someone was trying to persuade my friend to carry in his store. Various types of foam, sorbothane, felt, glass, plastic and some others I can't recall. No stock mats.

    This event predated perforated shelf liner and attempts to machine mats out of solid carbon and exotic metals, so it can't necessarily be applied to any of those.

    BTW, my friend did eventually stock several of the mats and put them on his in-store demo tables, but he picked them by reading audio magazines to see what was popular and therefore more likely to sell. I don't think he ever put any of them on his own tables at home.
     
  19. nailer

    nailer audionerd Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,675
    Location:
    DFW
    How effective an after market mat works is dependent on the quality of the TT and it's original mat. The 2 TTs I have recent experience with are the Thorens TD-125 and Sony 2251. Both of these turntables sounded better with a good after market mat. The most noticeable effect is a lowering of the noise floor. In addition, an after market mat provides a more noticeable improvement than isolation feet. YMMV.
     
  20. ehoove

    ehoove Old & New - Carpe Diem Super Mod Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,562
    Location:
    Mid-Maryland
    Sounds like a true full service dealer!:scratch2:
    Regards,
    Jim
     

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