Audio Technica LP5 replaces 35 year old Yamaha PX3. The LP5 is quieter. Mods are Sumiko BP2 and now with Herbie mat. This post is about Herbie’s mat (Way Excellent II-5mm) compared to stock LP5 mat. Stock mat has slightly more bass prominence and a more laid back distant sound scape in my system. The Herbie mat has bought the sound field forward giving a more intelligible midrange and pronounced highs (closer to a digital counterpart). What I like about the Herbie mat is it has made my system, while playing vinyl, more chameleon like – which in my view is a sign of improvement. Though the bass is less dominant, it’s actually still there with just as much slam as with the stock mat. I wouldn’t say my system portrays a “one-note-bass”; the Herbie mat goes further from that. The LP5’s stock cartridge IMO is bass heavy (moving magnet), and though I haven’t yet paired the Herbie mat with this cartridge, I believe the sound would be closer to balanced.
The Herbie mat has reduced static compared to the LP5’s sock rubber mat. The LP5’s platter is not flat. The stock rubber mat’s underside is flat and extends out beyond the platters raised shelf. Wouldn’t that create a depression in the center? I laid a straight edge across the stock rubber mat to find I couldn’t perceive a dip in the center as I had suspected. Audio Technica knows turntables right (?), but I wondered if that uneven platter would contribute to the anti-skating adjustment having little affect, ie: a center depression helping the tonearm gravitate to center. The Herbie mat is available in a 280mm size that exactly fits within the LP5’s platter recess. The surface is much easier to check-for-flat with the Herbie mat compared to the stock mat’s uneven surface - is unquestionably flat now.
My wish list: The center hole in a Herbie mat is well sized, but it’s soft; the hole can be elongated and the mat would lay very slightly off-center. Judgement is necessary to lay the mat onto the platter so as not to deform the center spindle hole; a center-hole grommet made of stiffer material would be trick. Available colors of the open-cell foam instead of bone-white would excite my rig.
Still wondering: I have no idea if reducing the platter mat’s weight has any affect or reason for noted sound difference between stock and Herbie mat. The LP5’s stock mat weighs 370 gram compared to Herbie mat weighing in at about 120 grams (two thirds less). I am tempted to acquire a spindle weight – how silly is that?