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Which mat is the best?

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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby SoundHarmonyMKII » 13 Oct 2011 15:32

chartz wrote:Hi,

Honestly, I've tried several mats out of curiosity and I have never heard a difference in sound quality. There's a lot of snake oil here too. The worst is probably the felt one because it can't support the disc correctly (seen on Regas and Linns).
Don't forget to adjust height after a swap though, and I suspect a change in sound could be put down to a new cartridge alignment rather than to a new mat material!
Cork is awkward and does nothing to the sound for me.
As regards static, the old carbon-charged Thorens works well.
This said, experimenting is always fun!

TT : TD 160, SL-1200.


You bring up a great point, I had forgoten that a change in the mat would require a height adjustment of the arm. This is a bit of a snag as I don't know how to do that, or if I even can on this TT. I couldn't on my old one.

BHichs wrote:A properly designed platter should not need a mat.


I'm pretty sure it would not be a good idea to run this platter without a mat of some kind in place.
That being said, are their any after market platters that might work?
Do they even make that sort of thing?
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby pivot » 13 Oct 2011 15:50

SoundHarmonyMKII wrote:You bring up a great point, I had forgoten that a change in the mat would require a height adjustment of the arm. This is a bit of a snag as I don't know how to do that, or if I even can on this TT. I couldn't on my old one.


Note that Herbie's Mat can be had in a number of different thicknesses and diameters.

I have not heard one myself but the reviews run toward positive. Not cheap, but not wacky stupid prices either.
Kevin R-M

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet Act 1
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby ronaka » 13 Oct 2011 16:16

I think the very first thing you need to decide in selecting a mat, is what you are trying to achieve. There are probably two basic schools of thought.

1. One is to isolate the turntable from the vinyl.
2. The other is to solidly couple the vinyl to the turntable.

They are two very different approaches requiring totally different mats. You would choose option 1 if you think the vinyl has enough mass and is stable enough under cartridge tracking force to essentially be immovable. It also has to resist moving as a result of sound waves. The isolation method attenuates the rumble from the table.

At the opposite end of the scale you have the solidly couple method. You would select this approach if you are concerned that cartridge tracking force or sound waves from a powerful system will cause your vinyl to resonate. Attaching it firmly to the heavy TT platter will significantly attenuate induced vibration in the vinyl.

Could you do both? Yes probably if you had essentially two platters with a decoupling layer in between. The top layer would have to be heavy and firmly attached to the vinyl, and the two layers would have to be free to vibrate independently, with the bottom one responding to rumble, and the top one to self resonance.

I would suggest the no mat at all option is a #1, in that the vinyl is free to move and vibrate as it will never fit perfectly flat on a hard surface. A cork mat has very little mass or adhesion, and again is a type 1. A felt mat is probably the same, but there may be some slight damping from the felt. If you believe the vinyl resonates, then this resonance will obviously color the frequency response.

In the other category you have the tacky adhesive mats, sometimes enhanced with a clamp above the vinyl. This is for the believers in the vinyl resonance, and confident their TT rumble is very low. I'm a Type 2 supporter, and like the adhesive mats. I want the vinyl to fully couple to the heavy mass of the turntable platter. That way the influence of sound waves and cartridge force is highly attenuated.

There may be a bit of an in between approach, which I have not tried, but may do so. My wife bought some cupboard shelf liner material in a roll. It is slightly tacky fake coarse weave material made of a high damping type of foam plastic. When you compress it, the rebound is very slow. My guess is that it could be far superior to felt and cork. It will provide some damping and some adhesion.

In the end remember it is all about reducing resonance vibration of the vinyl and isolation from rumble. I suspect resonance is the main effect heard by changing mats. If listeners like the coloring of the sound caused by the resonance they like the mat. If there is no resonance the frequency response is more true, but lacks that colored appeal. i.e. the best mat from a technical point of view, may not please listeners the most...

Here is a link to the shelf liner material. By the way, I think it is useless as a shelf liner. Because it has a grippy surface it wrinkles up and is hard to smooth out. Also dishes refuse to slide on it. I think they should start selling it as turntable mat material instead!!

http://www.stacksandstacks.com/shelf-liner-grip-it
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby thezenroom » 13 Oct 2011 17:06

my 2 cents worth. for you alloy platter isolation is the name of the game, and that means a Sound Dead Steel isoplatmat (thingy). This uses constrained layer damping and isolates you records from all that alloy/bearing/motor vibrations.
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby SoundHarmonyMKII » 13 Oct 2011 17:51

Once again thanks to all for being such great help!
A lot of ideas to experiment with here, it's going to be fun! :D

I took some pictures of my tonearm in the hopes that someone can guide me on how to adjust the height on it...

[code][/code]191231912219121191201911919118

If more photos are needed just ask and I can get them.
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby Smengy1 » 14 Oct 2011 01:50

Here dude!!! Look at this

http://www.theanalogdept.com/tad_spotmat.htm

I made something similar, I just added another layer, and cut out the
center so that the Lp's can rest flat with the Label not hitting anything.
It looks like a round Glazed Donut. No spots all over. And like $2.50 with
tax from Michaels Crafts.

The one I made was used by a guy who used to mod Thoren's.
Ahh here it is http://www.theanalogdept.com/thorens_tweaks.htm

The Cork tone mat.

The thickness is very close to what my stock platter mat is, so on my
no Adjust VTA Hitachi, there is no problem.

Voila!!!

Image

I have done no listening tests for this gizmo, so I have no Idea if it is any better.

Here is practically a bloody thesis on the subject!!!
http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/ttmat.html

Knock yourself out there!!! :lol: ](*,)
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby Alec124c41 » 14 Oct 2011 05:00

Leveling the arm: The aim is to have the top of the cartridge parallel with the record, while playing. Usually having the arm level is close enough.
I expect that you might find a grub screw recessed into the back of the tonearm base, which can be loosened to raise or lower the arm.

Cheers,
Alec
Keep them spinning.
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby SoundHarmonyMKII » 14 Oct 2011 13:57

Alec124c41 wrote:Leveling the arm: The aim is to have the top of the cartridge parallel with the record, while playing. Usually having the arm level is close enough.
I expect that you might find a grub screw recessed into the back of the tonearm base, which can be loosened to raise or lower the arm.

Cheers,
Alec


The only screw located near the tonearm base is right behind it recessed into the armboard. Would this be it?
It can be seen in a couple of the previous pics.
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby thezenroom » 14 Oct 2011 16:18

if there is no vta ajustment facility on your deck (which is most likely). then you could maybe use shims/washers to raise the height, but accurate measurement (of change in mat height) would be needed. if you were going to invest in costly mat options, funk firm or sound dead steel, then maybe you should take advantage of the current economic climate and bag yourself a bargain quality deck from fleabay (for not much more than the cost of a mat!?)
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Re: Which mat is the best?

Postby Wire Nut » 16 Oct 2011 12:26

Hi, I had a post that included some home made mats like the leather plus some that were purchased ready made. Here is a link to the shoot out:
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=38319
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