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Help with static problem

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Help with static problem

Postby sunderwood » 16 Dec 2017 05:15

I have been using a Boston carbon graphite mat for seven years. Lately I have been having a serious static issue. I hear a crackling noise when I lift the record off the platter after playing it and am getting a pop when my finger touches the platter. I am also occasionally hearing static pops through the speakers while listening to a record. I know it is winter now and static is more prevalent, but I have never had it to this degree before. I decided to take off the boston mat and exchange it for a cork mat that I got extra with my vpi 16.5. That completely eliminated the problem. I would leave it like that, but the cork mat doesn't come all the way out to the edge of the platter and needs to be thicker than what it is. it is about half the thickness of the boston mat which is 3mm. Why I am all of a sudden getting this after seven years is a mystery to me unless the material in the mat has changed somewhat if that is possible. I paid $200 for it and I hate not to use it, but if it is going to cause this kind of issue I'll have to put it to the side. Can you guys give me some suggestions for some good non static prone mats to take its place?
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Re: Help with static problem

Postby H. callahan » 16 Dec 2017 08:00

That´s strange as i have a cork mat but do have static problems, sometimes its so bad the mat will stick to the record.

Maybe the grounding of your tt became bad, which could explain why you´re now having static issues with the Boston mat.

If the cork mat is about half the thickness of the Boston, why not use two cork mats (as long as they´re big enough for your plattern, there are some having different diameters)?

Havn´t tried it myself, but maybe this can Help you:

http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/stat_trap_e.html
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Re: Help with static problem

Postby Alec124c41 » 16 Dec 2017 15:06

You can try wiping the cork mat with a damp anti-static laundry sheet.
cork shelf-liner is thin, and can easily be cut to make a mat, first or second.

Cheers,
Alec
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Re: Static problem

Postby gullkeoby » 16 Dec 2017 21:33

Back in 80` i have something similar like this: https://www.needledoctor.com/Milty-Zerostat-Gun ... maybe i should buy this again but it really depend on many things...what are you wearing too.But this was really effective ...my was not a gun but more like a brush with a tube and needle and i have to press a button while record was spinning...usually that was enough to solve problem with static issue...unfortunately i sold this thing together with my Technics belt turntable back then...so sorry now...
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Re: Static problem

Postby AsOriginallyRecorded » 16 Dec 2017 22:26

In way of information, carbon is actually a very good conductor or electricity because of it's molecular structure. A rod with a high carbon content was used in science classes, rubbed across a piece of fur to generate static charge, and then used like a wand to "zap" test subjects. A substantial charge can be generated in this manner. So, carbon as a platter mat would act as a sink for the static charge generated by the movement of the stylus in the record grooves. Ineffective grounding of the tonearm and/or turntable/spindle/platter may result in the carbon mat actually acting as a switch between the two, accounting for the snap, crackle and pop of your signal. There are solutions available, but I doubt they are very economical. A company called Boussey has options, but I believe they are commercially focused in their applications. A carbon record brush would be the obvious answer, along with, alas, stopping use of the carbon mat. Practically every deviation from a stock rubber mat seems to have some concessions to go with their use. I'm not even going there.......whatever spins your wheels! Good luck! #-o
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Re: Static problem

Postby sunderwood » 17 Dec 2017 02:14

I was watching a video on you tube about the Funk Firm achromat. I have read good reviews about its performance. I added a post asking if it was good dealing with static. The man who put the video on you tube sent me an email saying that he had tried a lot of platter mats and the achromat was the best he had seen. I talked to someone at Music Direct and was assured that it was very good at not building up static. I have one ordered. It is just so puzzling that after using the Boston mat the last few years that I would suddenly have this problem. The manufacturer says that a sealer is applied. Over the years I have cleaned it occasionally. I wonder if in addition to that and putting on and removing records could have worn the sealer off and caused the problem. I may never know.
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Re: Static problem

Postby DSJR » 17 Dec 2017 12:06

I'm going to be a school-ma'am here and ask what the hell is wrong with the original Rega mat? ;) - This from a bod who uses all manner of mats himself!! I dunno, anyone would think Rega haven't a clue how their decks should sound - mumble mumble........

Seriously, static is a funny thing. My way of dealing with it is to use Nagaoka-style inner sleeves (I think they're still available in one form or another) and this completely cured my static problems years ago and the vinyl is quite happy being stored in them for decades... A reviewer pal (Jimmy Hughes) has many, MANY thousands of LP's and used these sleeves in all of them - they can go inside existing sleeves too and aren't hugely fiddly to use in practise.
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Re: Static problem

Postby Alec124c41 » 17 Dec 2017 16:09

Rega started with rubber mats. Felt is cheaper.
The mat does affect the sound that you get from your turntable. IMO a felt mat makes the bass wooly. For more precise articulation, I prefer a DIY cork mat. It is a cheap experiment to make one.

Cheers,
Alec
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Re: Static problem

Postby DSJR » 17 Dec 2017 19:10

Rega used the felt/wool mat because in their opinion (forgetting the dealers for a minute and I was a Rega dealer from 1981 to 2004 and still keep in touch with their UK sales manager with whom I shared an employer in an earlier life) it sounded better to them.. I had until recently an original Rega rubber mat (the original Linn one with 'Linn Products scrubbed off!). Not that good for record support I found and not as favourable to reproduced tones as the Rega wool one. Rega wool mats can go fluffy as do the thin LP12 equivalent and sonics go out the window. Same happens when ancient Planar decks are allowed to go loose in tonearm and main bearing fixings - don't overdo it but the old ones do need checking from time to time - Rega have fixed this on latest versions I believe, main bearing too...

Anyway, of course end-users can use whatever mat they like the look and sound of and modify the hell out of the decks if they see fit to try to improve the basic sonics if changing to the next model up is cost prohibitive, but I was *cheekily* just suggesting that Rega DO LISTEN to their products and the wool mat was chosen not just for cost reasons back in the day - the mat has become thinner over the decades as well I gather... I stand by my recommendation for anti-static record sleeves though, as this fixes the problem at source in my experience - and I had years once of Linn felt mats lifting every time I changed sides...

Hope the OP gets it sorted out.
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Re: Static problem

Postby Fire99 » 17 Dec 2017 19:26

DSJR wrote:Rega used the felt/wool mat because in their opinion (forgetting the dealers for a minute and I was a Rega dealer from 1981 to 2004 and still keep in touch with their UK sales manager with whom I shared an employer in an earlier life) it sounded better to them.. I had until recently an original Rega rubber mat (the original Linn one with 'Linn Products scrubbed off!). Not that good for record support I found and not as favourable to reproduced tones as the Rega wool one. Rega wool mats can go fluffy as do the thin LP12 equivalent and sonics go out the window. Same happens when ancient Planar decks are allowed to go loose in tonearm and main bearing fixings - don't overdo it but the old ones do need checking from time to time - Rega have fixed this on latest versions I believe, main bearing too...

Anyway, of course end-users can use whatever mat they like the look and sound of and modify the hell out of the decks if they see fit to try to improve the basic sonics if changing to the next model up is cost prohibitive, but I was *cheekily* just suggesting that Rega DO LISTEN to their products and the wool mat was chosen not just for cost reasons back in the day - the mat has become thinner over the decades as well I gather... I stand by my recommendation for anti-static record sleeves though, as this fixes the problem at source in my experience - and I had years once of Linn felt mats lifting every time I changed sides...

Hope the OP gets it sorted out.


I have to agree that Rega has chosen their mats for a reason- as explained by Roy Gandy in the Rega factory tour by Micheal Fremer. I have never had a problem with static with any of my Rega turntables, what I found was the biggest improvement was not only putting the albums in Mofi anti static sleeves but was washing them with the L’art du Son cleaning fluid. I get at least 10 plays before static starts appearing. I check before I play with a piece of styrofoam to see if it sticks at which point I can use the Milty gun or I’ll just give it a quick wash again.
Each to their own.
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Re: Static problem

Postby capelyddol » 17 Dec 2017 21:03

I've no idea why your Boston mat should suddenly start producing static, but at $200 a go I'd certainly be wanting an explanation from the manufacturers - Boston Audio, I believe?
I've been running a vintage Rega Planar 3 for sometime and have had no problems with static after purchasing an anti-static brush (hand-held) and the Milty Zerostat gun suggested by 'gullkeoby'. I only use the brush to gently remove surface dust, which is rarely present given that I treat each record with two or three blasts from the Zerostat before playing. I used the standard Rega mat for a while, but have recently switched to a thin cork on the advice of 'Alec124c41' (thanks Alec!). I have to admit to some initial scepticism, but he's quite right it does firm the base compared to the Rega felt mat. Also, I appreciate I'm fortunate to live in a place where it rains a lot (at least from the 'static' perspective :!:).
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Re: Static problem

Postby sunderwood » 17 Dec 2017 22:41

Boston mats are listed as discontinued. It seems what they have left are being sold by Sakura systems in Jefferson, MA. I tried to find out what kind of sealant they used in order to reapply it and see what would happen, but was unsuccessful. Oh well, seven years of usage is not that bad. Hopefully I will have as good a success with the Funk Firm mat I have ordered as the reviews I have read. Concerning inner sleeves my favorites are the Mobile Fidelity which are working well for me.
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Re: Static problem

Postby Drewan77 » 18 Dec 2017 13:03

I find that many new LPs have a static charge & tried several different variants of mat:

- Leather at various thicknesses (lifted with the 'charged' LP similar to the Rega felt one)
- Funk Achromat (this did not lessen the static 'crack' as the LP was lifted)
- Cork at various thicknesses (most clung to the LP when the vinyl was removed & static still made a sound)
- Soundeck metal mat (better but still some static charge when lifting the LP)

The static issue was finally resolved with a cork spot mat. For some reason this seems to work perfectly - LPs never cling and there is no crackling or evidence of a charge through the speakers. I have no idea why this is so but it cured the problem once and for all.
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Re: Help with static problem

Postby readargos » 19 Dec 2017 16:31

I had wanted to try the Boston the mat, as the light but rigid interface jives with Rega philosphy. But while Boston Audion still maintains its website (last I looked, which was awhile ago), they had quit selling audiophile products by the time I was ready to buy one.

Softer mats soften the bass. I agree with Alec124c41 that the stock mat sounds, well, woolly in the bass, and that a basic cork mat is a nice upgrade. But the felt is warmer and more expansive, which can sound more natural. Listener preference will dictate.

Even so, I am of the opinion that felt doesn't belong on a high-end turntable. On a Rega 3, sure. On a Rega 7, 8, 9, 10? No. Why Rega go to the trouble of machining an ultra-rigid ceramic platter for their top table, and then top it with a felt mat doesn't make sense to me. (Some people have the same issue with Wilson speakers - all this exotic material in packages generally costing tens of thousands, with wool felt glued to the baffle? It looks like some kid's cut-and-paste project.) I know Rega say the felt becomes functionally firm under the weight of the record at the point of the stylus interface, blah-blah, but come on? That sounds like a nice thought experiment for a grade schooler's physical science class.

The thermoplastic mats and platters (acrylic and delrin, Achromat) seem to do a better job with static. However, they are not impervious. I used to wipe the big acrylic platter on my RPM 10.1 with an In the Groove roller before playing to remove dust, but it eventually charged the platter. I stopped using it, and after swabbing the platter with distilled water a few times, the charge neutralized again.

I also like Herbie's Way Excellent mat in place of the felt. I have never had a problem with static with that mat, but being a softer mat, it can lessen bass impact (slam) in some systems. It is similar in concept to the Achromat, but Herbies is a soft (I believe silcone) foam, whereas the Achromat is (I believe) a firm (thermoplastic) type foam.

Keep us posted. Hope you find an easy solution.
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Re: Help with static problem

Postby Fire99 » 19 Dec 2017 21:49

Just a correction about the Rp10 having a felt mat-it’s actually pure wool. I don’t know if that makes a difference in sound between felt because I have nothing to compare it to- I have no need, love the sound the way it is.
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