My "MAD, MAD" World .....

It's my world of MATS!

Record mat is the best record mate - it cushions the record from the platter; it provides record good grip and support. Some (depending on the materials) can even offer dampening/isolating bearing rumble and vibrations from the platter and record ....

"Delicious donuts"

More importantly, many find record mats of different materials or designs do make a difference to their turntables. We might not be able to understand fully the science part of it, but we can tell from what we hear. It's not necessary to apply "exact science" theory here, so long as we like it! Simple.

Music - listen with heart is more enjoying than listen with mind.

There are various record mats in the market. Common ones are made of rubber, felt, wool, cork, leather, acrylic, rubber/cork ....... ; even copper mat is available.

Rubber-cork mat (2mm) : USD 22.00
Acrylic mat (2mm) :  USD 20.00

What is the best for your TT? The answer is : Let your EARS decide. It's not surprising that you get different opinions from different people(often quite subjective). So you would have to try out for yourself to find out what is the best for your system (to your liking). Also different TT excels with different mat, e.g. I find rubber/cork mat atop a 2mm acrylic mat (crazy?), works best for my heavy-platter Lenco L75 turntable.

Leather mat/ spot mat

Have you heard of "oiled"-acrylic mat produces good results on Lenco L75 TT too? (remember to oil only the side facing the platter if you are adventurous to try!)

Rega's thin stock felt mat though looks very colorful and match well with their multi-colour plinths, it's just not my taste. So from felt mat, I move on to wool mat; then leather mat... then acrylic... then cork ... then rubber/cork ....

I've tried and experimented various combo (retiree, plenty of time!):

Wool mat + glass platter
Acrylic mat + glass platter
Cork mat + acrylic platter
Rubber/cork mat + acrylic platter
................. + ......................

"Wool + glass combo" is a bit too bright for me. Cork mat seems better. But music sounds best to me with rubber/cork mat on acrylic platter for my modded Rega TT's. So most of time rubber/cork mat stays on my TT. And I always recommend to my friends to try "rubber/cork mat + acrylic platter combo" especially for those who feel that the high frequency part seems to be a bit too bright.

Rubber/cork mat + acrylic platter combo

However, it also boils down to individual preference.

The good thing is - you can change them back and forth as your mood swings. No hard and fast rules actually.

Another important point not to be overlooked is correct VTA for the thickness of mat added. Small adjustments can be done easily by using stainless steel VTA spacers.

May I welcome you to join this quest in the "mat-mad" world!

Roger Clarke's comments on rubber/cork mat:

Hi Michael, 

Here are my impressions of the rubber/cork mat. At first, I had preferred the sound of the felt mat because it had a punchier mid-bass which made male voices sound slightly richer and sweeter but on further observation the rubber/cork mat didn't effect the male voices in a negative way. What it did was to clean the mid-bass region which allowed images to more focused and clearer. The lower bass seemed to dig a bit deeper with even better control. I told you earlier how the sound of the Planar 3 TT was clearer with the addition of the thrust bearing, metal pulley, silicone belt and ruby bearing, well it got even better with the rubber/cork mat added to the equation. More precise and natural with good control of sibilance and that is with an inexpensive(cheap) cartridge. I've listened to an album that I had for years and I can't remember it sounding this good. I'm almost 50 yrs old and grew up with TTs but never gave much thought to how critical and crucial things like VTA and cartridge alignment effected the sound until reading and researching such helpful sites as yours and Vinyl Engine. I just want to thank you for your impeccable knowledge and help and for also bringing the fun back into audio that was stolen from us all when the industry gave us "Perfect Sound Forever" when truth be told we already had it with vinyl, reel-to-reel and cassette. I'll have to budget and get the sub-platter next, then the isolation base and then the counter weight. 

Once again Michael, I thank you so very much!! 

Best regards, 

Note : 2mm Rubber Cork Mat price is reduced from USD25.00 to USD22.00 wef 16/3/2015

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Mark Lewis of London has recently upgraded his plinth to solid birch ply (contrary to Rega's design of light plinth) for sound purpose. According to Mark, there's huge improvement on the basic plinth. He has also attached some pictures to share with us here: 

" Hi Michael,

I am the proud owner of a Rega Quest Birch plinth Upgraded NAD (which is a P2 clone)....
I have attached pictures showing the addition of your stainless steel double pulley to my set-up...."

Take a look; it's very nice and who knows, you may be adventurous to try it one of these days! By the way I haven't tried solid ply for Rega yet. Should I .... ?

Pictures : courtesy of Mark Lewis of London

Mark has tried aluminium double pulley before and he finds stainless steel double pulley does make a difference :

I found no issue in removing the old pulley, some delicate fingers and it was off. I am also very impressed with ease in which this can be installed. No messy glue!

Once the stainless steel version was installed (it took me 5mins), I have been shocked at the difference. The turntable effortlessly glides through my music now.

I have actually used the standard Rega aluminum double pulley before, which did have some impact, but your stainless steel really makes a huge difference. Looks great as well of course.

I listen to a lot of hard rock and heavy metal, which demands serious rhythm and stability for any deck, I am pleased to say the double pulley has given me the ability to enjoy the music I love at a higher level. I have never heard the speed being so consistent before. My turntable has a new lease of life!

Enjoy the pictures and thanks again. Please keep the great ideas coming.

Mark Lewis - London (UK)

Thanks Mark!

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