A mat tweak

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Ears Deluxe

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A mat tweak
« on: 14 Nov 2022, 06:53 pm »
I was reading a review of a turntable in Stereophile a couple of days ago, and the reviewer talked about the Trans-Fi Reso-Mat making a big difference in the sound of the turntable he was reviewing. The mat has a number of 5mm cones sticking up from the mat, and the record sits on those cones. The mat was fairly inexpensive, so I went to the Trans-Fi website to see about buying one, but it appears the business has shuts its doors, so after reading about the mat, I thought I might be able to make something similar. I couldn't find any tiny cones online, but I did find these small rubber balls: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006LA198?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

I ordered them and then used some BluTack to attach them to an old rubber mat I had lying around (see the photo) and gave a familiar record a spin. The sound is decidedly different from the felt-mat-and-clamp I had been using on my WT Classic: everything seemed clearer, with lyrics more intelligible, reverb trails longer, and soundstage larger. But at the same time the mid-bass meatiness I had been enjoying was not as pronounced. I need to listen longer, to more records to decide whether or not I like the new arrangement better (I'll try lowering the VTA slightly to see if I can get the best of both worlds), but I thought it was worth sharing here now since it's an easy and cheap tweak to try, and you may like what it does.


ADiG

Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #1 on: 15 Nov 2022, 10:46 am »
the exact opposite of the manufacturers who put the disc under vacuum

Ears Deluxe

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #2 on: 15 Nov 2022, 03:07 pm »
Yup. It seems that everything in turntable world has diametrically opposed approaches--Rega goes light, others want more and more mass; tonearm bearings with multiple points of contact and tonearms (like ours) with effectively no bearing; and vinyl suppression vs vinyl freedom.

I tried this tweak because I was intrigued by, but not entirely certain of, the theory behind the approach. And I have to say that with a very slight tail drop on the VTA (about the thickness of two playing cards), all doubt is removed: I'm loving the sound I'm getting.

Of course there may some my-car-always-goes-faster-after-I-wash-it psychology at play here, not only because it was a do-it-yourself tweak but because it was so cheap and Mickey Mouse looking. But I ripped a couple of albums with this set up that I had already ripped on the felt-and-clamp set up, and then played the files back side by side. The difference is definitely there.

Well worth a try. As always, YMMV.

Letitroll98

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #3 on: 15 Nov 2022, 03:42 pm »
Everything old is new.  I have several Spot Mats made of cork with cork or felt dots that raise the vinyl off of the mat.  There's also the Ring Matt that uses concentric rings of cork to raise the LP.  I've even seen plastic furniture sliders glued to a metal platter to raise the vinyl.  Universally the response matches your experience, more clarity, and you need to adjust the vta.

nlitworld

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #4 on: 15 Nov 2022, 07:58 pm »
Best one I have tried (and still currently using) is the Funk Firm Achromat in the 5mm size. Super big improvement over basic felt or cork mats. Glad to see more people trying some DIY turntable fiddling.  :thumb:

ric

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #5 on: 16 Nov 2022, 02:50 pm »
Firstly, if it sounds good, it IS good.
I played around with mat-itis for a while and finally went with Iso-Acoustics under the TT--to my ears, huge difference.
I have tried a carborundum (12") blade and then put cork on one side and stick on water/ice shield (roofing product) on the other side, flipping it over for a different sound. Separation with ball bearings didn't work for me. Using a Herbie's mat right now.
   The trick seems to be how to absorb (dissipate) vibration without damping (deadening) the sound.
   Have fun!

Ears Deluxe

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #6 on: 16 Nov 2022, 03:56 pm »
Separation with ball bearings didn't work for me. Using a Herbie's mat right now.
   The trick seems to be how to absorb (dissipate) vibration without damping (deadening) the sound.
   Have fun!

From what I read on the Trans-Fi website, they experimented with lots of different materials for their cones, with different results. Wood, they said, drained the bass. They don't say what their final material choice was, only that it had a similar density to vinyl and thus wouldn't scratch records. The balls that I got are made of resin and seem to me to be pretty similar in density to vinyl. I don't know if something else would sound even better, nor am I very much tempted to try, because I'm loving the sound I'm getting so much. As I write this, I'm listening to Manitas de Plata's King of Flamenco, a record that I found uninvolving when I first listened to it. But now it sounds glorious, with that ineffable combination of fullness, smoothness, and definition that marks high-end for me. I can hear every note clearly and hear the texture of his fingers on the strings, but without any kind of spot-lighting or etching, and the intense feeling in this performance just pours out of the record. I can't ask for more than that--at least for the next few months. . .

ric

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #7 on: 17 Nov 2022, 02:48 pm »
Good for you! Space balls, the price is certainly right, I may have to check them out.

G E

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #8 on: 26 Nov 2022, 12:54 am »
Everything old is new.  I have several Spot Mats made of cork with cork or felt dots that raise the vinyl off of the mat.  There's also the Ring Matt that uses concentric rings of cork to raise the LP.  I've even seen plastic furniture sliders glued to a metal platter to raise the vinyl.  Universally the response matches your experience, more clarity, and you need to adjust the vta.


For years I have used a home brew cork mat that uses cork “pepperoni circles” around the mat’s periphery and also around where the record label would be.

Exquisite detail, decent bass, PRAT in spades.

Mike Pranka noted in an email to me about the GT 254 that Firebaugh is moving to cork mats. I sent a pic of my home brew job and he loved it.

It’s still a free country. Do whatever floats your boat.

Kolner

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #9 on: 15 Jan 2023, 05:54 pm »
Experimenting with mats can be fun.  I have no opinions on what is superior.

For my own taste, I never found anything superior to the foam that came with my WT Amadeus.  Surprised that WT is moving to cork.

mick wolfe

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #10 on: 15 Jan 2023, 07:23 pm »
I occasionally swap mats on the Amadeus, This would include the stock foam mat, a Teac "Washi" paper mat and a few others.  However in time, I always come back to the A23 mat.( thin version)

FullRangeMan

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #11 on: 15 Jan 2023, 07:47 pm »
Hi all,
Iam unlettered in TT.
Tô use a thick mat needs adjust the arm?

Kolner

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #12 on: 15 Jan 2023, 09:28 pm »
Yes, depending on whether you changed to a thicker or thinner mat, you would need to adjust vertical tracking angle (VTA) by raising or lower the tonearm.  Thicker mat:  raise the arm.  Thinner mat:  lower the arm.

FullRangeMan

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #13 on: 15 Jan 2023, 09:36 pm »
Hmm interesting. Thanks  :thumb:

Rushboy

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #14 on: 1 Apr 2023, 01:29 pm »
I occasionally swap mats on the Amadeus, This would include the stock foam mat, a Teac "Washi" paper mat and a few others.  However in time, I always come back to the A23 mat.( thin version)
I have a newer Simplex with a cork mat.
I like the sound of the foam mat better. However, it sticks to the vinyl.
Is the A23 mat less sensitive to static?


mick wolfe

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #15 on: 1 Apr 2023, 05:28 pm »
I've never had an issue with the A23 mat and static. But that's just me :scratch:

rikhav

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Re: A mat tweak
« Reply #16 on: 1 Apr 2023, 08:28 pm »
What is the thickness of the rubber mat to which you have stuck the small balls ?