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Completely flat platter/mat.

Discussion in 'audio' started by Chops54, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    A friend has recently put a new acrylic platter on his turntable and I remarked that there was no label or edge relief. He said the idea was that the record only contacted the platter at the edge and in the centre and the playing surface stays clear of the platter unlike most other platters/mats which allow full contact of the playing surface. How does this idea compare to raising the record clear of the platter using small dots or a special mat? Do some of you prefer full contact of the record to the platter/mat? Any thoughts anyone?
  2. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Pending

    Does it sound better, or worse than the platter it replaced? What characteristics have changed?
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    There is no such thing as a flat record so the actual contact area really will be tiny.

    I don’t like hard mats at all, and I consider flat mats and clamps or weights the worst of all possible worlds as I’ve seen the damage that occurs when even a tiny bit of hard dust or grit gets clamped or skidded. Record dealers always see things in the collections they buy in!

    No way in hell would I ever use a hard mat myself, e.g. when I had a Spacedeck I used a felt mat on top as I’ve got records worth many £hundreds that I’d never find again in the condition I have and I’m just not prepared to take any risk for a tiny change/possible increase in sound quality. My current deck, a TD-124/II, has a low contact rubber mat that supports very little of the record, so may not be ideal sonically, it does however not cause any damage to the vinyl. It’s fine, though to be honest I think the Linn/Rega style felt mat is the best/safest approach by far. Good support and soft enough to do no harm.
  4. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    Not long ago I was treated to a bling test of a very expensive red thing vs standard Linn felt thing. They both had the same i.e. soft and flat, but the expensive red managed to produce a very noticeably worse sound, no idea how as the only difference I could see was the colour.

    I use an Origin Live mat in preference to the standard Linn thing for no other reason than it attracts less static. There is no difference in sq
  5. Chefren

    Chefren pfm Member

    I have an OL mat on my Xerxes and it still sometimes sticks to the record. But there is no dust issue and I do find the sound is a tad clearer with the OL compared to Roksan's thick RMAT. It could be down to VTA, but I did experiment with this enough to believe it wasn't only due to the mat being thinner.
  6. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    I've done a lot of experimenting over the years and the approach that I favour is either the felt mat or the Spot mat; the latter originated from Lenco heaven and features nine raised discs. My turntables have:

    1. GA Audio Soundisc (glass) topped with spotmat Lenco 88/Zeta
    2. GA Audio Soundisc topped with felt mat Stanton ST.150
    3. Linn felt mat LP12
    4. Spotmat Garrard 401
    5. No mat Michell Hydraulic reference.
  7. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    Edit to the above.

    I would still like to try an original/repro rubber mat on the Garrard, also I would add, the the felt mat is best at accommodating warped records.
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I used a very accurate reissue rubber mat on my 301 and liked it a lot. Identical to the original, but nice, clean and supple. It damps the platter well and I felt it sounded better than a Linn felt mat, probably for that reason. The Garrard platter does ring if not damped, the mat was obviously designed to do this as well as providing a safe platform for the record. As ever these vintage turntable designers knew what they were doing!
  9. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    Which one was it that you used Tony; was it the one from Classic Turntable company? The 301 mat looks much nicer that the 401 version.
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I think so, yes. Pic here:


    I think the 401 one with the metal centre looks great, all part of the deck’s look. Finding a really good condition one is the hard bit unless anyone is remanufacturing them.
  11. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    I’ve only had a quick listen and it sounded ok. I never heard it with the original platter. I actually use a mat that raises the whole record on small dimples and I like what I hear. It just appeared to me that using a flat platter or mat so the record only contacted at the middle and the outside would achieve something similar. The Lenco mat I use on my other deck is a bit like the mat Tony uses in that it only contacts the record in several places. It’s main purpose for me is to damp the platter.

    I take Tony’s point that records are seldom flat and my friend does use a Rega clamp.

    My Clearaudio acrylic platter has an edge and label relief so the playing surface of the record sits on the acrylic but I never use it without a mat for fear of damage.

    Does anyone have an opinion as to whether a record sounds better coupled or uncoupled to the platter/mat?
  12. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    I have an opinion and that is that the record would sound better uncoupled to the mat, but tbh, I haven't tried one of those decks that uses clamps or weights; intuitively, I can't see how they would work, in much the same way that heavy, 200gm records hardly ever sound better than 140gm ones. It is an interesting topic though and I’m sure that it is fundamental to the replay of vinyl.
    guydarryl and Chops54 like this.
  13. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    Rega make a clamp?
  14. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I used felt mats for years but after careful listening tests I now use a soft rubber mat. I can hear how some would find the felt mat "more musical" but I find slightly better control, definition and detail with the rubber one. It's certainly not "night and day" or anything though! I do miss being able to just plonk a record on or off the nice soft felt without stopping the TT though!
  15. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    J. A. Michell make a version of their clamp for use with Rega decks. This used to be called 'Rega Record Clamp', now dubbed 'Record Clamp R'.

    They should have just called it 'Rega Hub Centre Remover', though!
  16. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    Sorry Tim, yes it's a Michell clamp made for the Rega turntable. I should know better as I own a Michell clamp though I rarely use it:oops:

    My friends turntable was originally a Rega but now there isn't one part of it that's Rega anymore. He started off by using the Rega parts to build an SRM Arezzo and slowly replaced the Rega parts with third party items. The Rega deck was put back together and sold on.
    linnfomaniac83 likes this.
  17. hockman

    hockman pfm Member

    Contrary to popular opinion, I've not experienced any damage from playing records on my Basis turntable which is matless and has a heavy acrylic platter. Many heavy mass turntables are designed to have the record 'coupled' to the platter thus acting like a very heavy vinyl record. A soft or felt mat would defeat that purpose.
  18. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    hockman, is the Basis platter completely flat or does it have centre and edge relief?
  19. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    A rubber and cork combo is best IMHO, used in on a TD150. Now I just use the felt mat supplied by Linn on my LP12.
    I have fixed it to the platted with small dots of bluetac, though. Annoying when the mat sticks to the record.
  20. Yomanze

    Yomanze pfm Member

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