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Platter Mat Shootout!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Platter Mat Shootout!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Wire Nut » 18 Jun 2011 20:11

Turntable Platter Mat Shootout!
I had five platter mats and decided to compare them. Alec suggested I get some leather and make another participant; I am glad he did (more on that later).
Here are the mats I used in this contest:
1. Rega felt mat
2. Leather from Tandy
3. Herbie’s mat
4. Non-Felt mat
5. Sony viscous filled mat from my PS-X7
6. Merrell/Scillia lead cork mat

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I did some initial listening with the Sony previously as I was bored waiting for my new motor for the XA; I did not look at my notes before conducting the shoot out today- however when I reviewed them I found the results pretty much the same.

I listened to several LP’s to make sure I had all the bases covered. Female vocal, male vocal, rock, jazz, and classical.

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Here are my findings in order from best to worst:
1. M/S Lead Cork: Wow is all I can say. This mat provided the deepest, fullest bass- but not at the expense of the rest of the spectrum. Here are some of my notes: Excellent clarity, balanced, powerful bass, flat across entire range. Of note is that when I put on “the Unfinished Symphony” this mat provided a blacker background and improved the imaging giving a little more on the outside of the speakers. I think my best comment of all was “sounds big”. Even though this was the most expensive mat of the bunch it was kind of a “deal” as they are on closeout right now.
Drawback: this is a heavy mat and I had to purchase upgraded springs to accommodate it, I also had to add tire weights on the arm end of the T-Bar to offset the additional weight.
2. Sony: This mat was a good performer in every way. Notes: Clear, well defined, good bass.
Drawback: Not really available as it came on the old top of the line Sony’s.
3. Leather: Won by a nose over #4- the leather edged it out with a little more clarity and a tad more bass.
Bonus: for those of you looking for a bargain- this is it! A large piece of black leather only cost around $25.00. I could live with this mat if I had not heard the M/S. Additional bonus: this just plain looks SEXY!
4. Non-Felt: A nice balanced well defined sound with less bass than the mats above
5. Herbies: A very average mat.
6. Felt: Not enough of the good things- not much bass, it just sounded thin.

This test was done with my ears and stereo, your tastes in sound preference may vary, however I think you will agree that bigger bass is not subjective, or that if some sound is more clear- it is more clear; however some people do not prefer those things.
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Postby pivot » 19 Jun 2011 17:52

On the leather mat:

What weight of leather?

Chrome, Oil or Vegtable ("oak") tan?
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Postby Wire Nut » 20 Jun 2011 01:26

Pivot, there was no info on the leather. At Tandy you can buy hides or scraps. I bought a scrap. It is 1/16 thick, it is not shiny and the black die goes all the way through. Sorry I don't have more info.
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Postby pivot » 20 Jun 2011 02:14

1/16 inch is about 4 ounces. My guess is it is calf or cow in a chrome tan.

Are both sides "Suede-like" or does one side seem to have a smooth skin surface.

I do some leather work for my reeenacting hobby and have scraps around that may serve to experiment with. Just trying to get particulars.
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Postby Wire Nut » 20 Jun 2011 04:43

One side is suede, the other has the leather grain, it is soft like a Natuzzi couch.
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Postby Wire Nut » 20 Jun 2011 17:49

Alec is the leather mat expert, I will PM him to see if he can offer advice on what leather is best.
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Postby LPfan » 20 Jun 2011 19:28

Hi Wire Nut,

The lead/cork mat is cork with lead inserts or one side cork, other side lead? and in that case, are there any specific instructions about which side should face the record?

Regards,

LPfan
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Postby 33.3rpm » 21 Jun 2011 03:29

Nice shootout!

I just wish you had a 5mm Funk Firm Achromat for the comparison - This is my mat of choice after listening to many.

I didn't have the Merrell/Scillia lead cork mat for my shootout, but the now discontinued Thorens 2-piece mat made of Rubber, cork & leather granules was better than most.
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Postby Wire Nut » 21 Jun 2011 15:52

LPfan, the cork side goes up... that way you can read the mat label :P
I wish I would have had the Funk Firm and a couple of others to compare as well. Maybe another day.
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Postby Wire Nut » 21 Jun 2011 21:52

Alec responded to my PM and said he did not have experience with different thickness on the leather. He must have been like me & went for what was available... with good results.

On another subject, Anthony saw the shootout results and sent me an email to say he was going to continue to make the lead/cork mat and offer them at the $100.00 price he had on close out. That is good news for the world! I have no news on when they will be available again. Watch AudioGon.
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Mats

Postby panman » 22 Jun 2011 16:19

what about the $50 Merrill /Gem Dandy mat available from George Merrills website,Analog Emporium????
"All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning."
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Postby Wire Nut » 23 Jun 2011 04:58

Panman, I visited George's site some time ago (actually looking for a motor) and then again today after your reply- all I could find for product was the Dandy cleaner. I saw the mat here today: http://www.sleevetown.com/turntable-accessories.shtml
So I asked Anthony about it, this is what he replied:
"When we were tossing around theories on mat construction and what works and what doesn’t we decided on and experimented with cork on cork, cork on lead, etc. Both mats like the original lead mat worked great and out preformed all other mats we compared them to. George had decided to manufacture one type which is the cork on cork and I the other which was the lead on cork. There are very different types of cork out there, some with quality rubber content and a lot with junk filler and the key is to find the right cork and the right vender who has the right cork. On the lead, obviously the lead is expensive and takes some time and is a process to prepare and manufacture. So each mat has its own unique characteristics and price range. The mats used to be sold through our dealer network at double of what they sell for now, so selling direct cuts out any additional "overhead" and gives the customer a great deal on a great platter mat"
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Postby Conrad Hoffman » 23 Jun 2011 07:51

You have to wash it and must never leave a record on it over night, but I have a high regard for the sound of a disk cut from Manco Easyliner 25029 (mine is Taupe- yecch). This has small irregularly sized and irregularly spaced bumps. It is not the more uniform pattern of larger bumps they also sell, which looks good, but sounds inferior to me. I compared to leather, synthetics, felt and various cork disk configurations. No lead though.
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Postby A.Wayne » 01 Jul 2011 06:16

Hi Guys,


I'm using an audioquest sorbothane mat , came with the table many moons ago, how does it compare to the M/S cork mat ...?

Regards,
A.Wayne
 

Postby Wire Nut » 06 Jul 2011 01:36

A Wayne, I use sorbothane in a lot of my equipment- I can tell you one thing, cork is not as sticky! Do your records stick to the mat like so many that have posted about sorbothane mats have said?
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