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
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.
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.