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Thread: Cork turntable mats...?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: East Riding of Yorkshire these days

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    I'm Shaun.

    Default Cork turntable mats...?

    At the moment, I am using a Project RPM-4 that I bought secondhand in mint condition for a little over one hundred pounds. I also use an Ortofon OM30 cartridge that I absolutely love the sound of. My question is simple really, the turntable has its original felt mat that is badly faded so do I replace it with another coloured felt mat or do I replace it with a cork mat...? What will be the difference...? I guess for twenty quid the answer is to try it...!

  2. #2
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    It's funny how these threads pop up - there has been one recently on pfm, the Wam and Zero Gain (Audiosmile).

    Most mats as as a sort of mechanical tone control. However, th effect is relatively subtle and below a certain point of system quality there is little to be heard; eventually, as system resolution increases, the mat can play a significant role.

    Essentially, the stylus wiggles in the record groove and generates an electrical signal. However, not all the mechanical energy is converted into electricity and some passes into the cartridge body (then into the arm and into the arm mount/chassis) and some into the record. Luckily a vinyl record is a very damped structure; however, what backs the record immediately behind the playing stylus does effect the way that vibration is dealt with. Depending on the material used, some frequencies will be attenuated and some reflected. In addition, the breadth and amplitude of that attenuation, or reflection, will vary depending on the material the mat is made from.

    My experience is that, if a conventional mat is wanted, both felt and cork are reasonable materials. Felt makes light contact with the record and its level of attenuation is low and broad band in nature. Thin felt mats seem to work better than thicker ones.

    If you want to try a cork mat you can make your own quite easily (and nicely assuming you are careful with a craft knife).

    Here is one I made in the past (from a cork floor tile) - it is stained black with permanent Indian ink (as used to fill a fountain pen). It's backed with a piece of black paper/card so that the record label recess can be cut out and the record spindle located.

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  3. #3
    Join Date: Dec 2008

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    I find it rather interesting that Project replaced the felt mat of the RPM-4 with a cork mat on the RPM-5. That in itself I guess should tell me a bit of what I want to know. I remember many years back when I owned a Logic DM101 that the difference between the turntable with and without its felt mat was truly amazing. I always found it sounded better without the felt mat in a similar way to the present; I find an amazing difference using the RPM-4 with and without its record clamp. With the record clamp the sound is much sharper and more CD like in its presentation but without the clamp everything is much softer.

    I guess if Project thought cork was better than felt on its own turntables then who am I to argue...? They obviously replaced felt with cork for a reason and so far, they have more knowledge about such things than I have.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haselsh1 View Post
    they have more knowledge about such things than I have.
    Well, I wouldn't count on that; I certainly wouldn't assume they have any special insight into the matter.

    There is a significant matter of taste to platter mats. I've explained to my friend Andrew that he is wrong () to prefer his felt mat to my own mat solution - but still he persists (he's wilful in that way ); to be honest, in his system the felt mat does work better (which is odd as his and my systems share many components).

    I suggest you keep an open mind/ear on the matter and have a try of a few options.
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2008

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    I use a cork mat from this ebay seller http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/XTM2-287-C...item1c25503f07

    He has other diameters of mat too - just ask.

    The seller is very prompt on dispatch - I ordered late on a Friday night and it turned up in the Monday post - now you can't say fairer than that
    Chris



    Common sense isn't anymore!

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jun 2009

    Location: Guildford

    Posts: 228

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    the only time i want to see cork, is when i decant me booze
    BigMooG (Jonathan Stanley)
    He says: Decca is Better

    Vinyl System: Superficial Engineering hell/p12 turntable (British Leyland suspension upgrade), Jack-a-nori semi mono Cartridge (tooth pick cantilever), STI Klynik XXX tonearm (rewired with Klimacs Kable ), intelligence quotient 161 (mensa) preamplifier with 224 NOS Ssangyong ECC88s and NOS North Korean kim-jong-ill GZ34s, barelyaudible research V.P.L. dual quad mono amplifiers with modified circuit boards (MDF), Gilson W.A.L.L.O.P Ultimate Final V2 loudspeakers, uranium cable loom (mercury vapour upgrade), hysterical research and Dr Mike Amera room treatments-flock wallpaper, yergota bee-joking cryofrozen fuses throughout
    .

    Digital system: cd player

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

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    There is a significant matter of taste to platter mats. I've explained to my friend Andrew that he is wrong () to prefer his felt mat to my own mat solution - but still he persists (he's wilful in that way ); to be honest, in his system the felt mat does work better (which is odd as his and my systems share many components).
    Except, Mark, that you don't use an LP12!

    It seems reasonable to assume that Linn would've designed the constituent parts of the LP12 with a felt mat as one of the known (and accepted) variables, therefore it's no great surprise that, to most people's ears, the turntable sounds best with the mat it was intended to be used with.

    Remember what we were talking about recently, regarding things being designed together from the ground up (Aros and Troikas), and the resultant sonic synergy gained from that approach?

    That said, the last LP12 I owned sounded far better fitted with an Achromat, than it did with its stock felt mat, therefore:

    I suggest you keep an open mind/ear on the matter and have a try of a few options.
    ...is very good advice!

    Marco.
    Main System

    Turntable: Heavily-modified Technics SL-1210MK5G [Mike New bearing/ETP platter/Paul Hynes SR7 PSU & reg mods]. Funk Firm APM Achromat/Nagaoka GL-601 Crystal Record Weight/Isonoe feet & boots/Ortofon RS-212D/Denon DL-103GL in Denon PCL-300 headshell with Funk Firm Houdini/Kondo SL-115 pure-silver cartridge leads.

    Paul Hynes MC head amp/SR5 PSU. Also modded Lentek head amp/Denon AU-310 SUT.

    Other Cartridges: Nippon Columbia (NOS 1987) Denon DL-103. USA-made Shure SC35C with NOS stylus. Goldring G820 with NOS stylus. Shure M55E with NOS stylus.

    CD Player: Audiocom-modified Sony X-777ES/DAS-R1 DAC.

    Tape Deck: Tandberg TCD 310, fully restored and recalibrated as new, by RDE, plus upgraded with heads from the TCD-420a. Also with matching TM4 Norway microphones.

    Preamps: Heavily-modified Croft Charisma-X. LDR Stereo Coffee. Power Amps: Tube Distinctions Copper Amp fitted with Tungsol KT-150s. Quad 306.

    Cables & Sundries: Mark Grant HDX1 interconnects and digital coaxial cable, plus Mark Grant 6mm UP-LCOFC Van Damme speaker cable. MCRU 'Ultimate' mains leads. Lehmann clone headphone amp with vintage Koss PRO-4AAA headphones.

    Tube Distinctions digital noise filter. VPI HW16.5 record cleaning machine.

    Speakers: Tannoy 15MGs in Lockwood cabinets with modified crossovers. 1967 Celestion Ditton 15.


    Protect your HUMAN RIGHTS and REFUSE ANY *MANDATORY* VACCINE FOR COVID-19!

    Also **SAY NO** to unjust 'vaccine passports' or certificates, which are totally incompatible with a FREE society!!!


  8. #8
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    But I did design some of Andrew's LP12.
    ____________

    I was just teasing Andrew with my comments above (if he sees them) - changing mats is only a few seconds work, so easy to experiment - I always make mine 3mm so that VTA is the same (which makes life a lot easier). Also, as I said, felt (although not very exotic) is actually a good compromise.
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  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 110,089
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Sure. Perhaps the bits Linn have designed are ultimately more influential, in terms of synergy with the felt mat?

    Who knows? There are simply too many variables!

    Marco.
    Main System

    Turntable: Heavily-modified Technics SL-1210MK5G [Mike New bearing/ETP platter/Paul Hynes SR7 PSU & reg mods]. Funk Firm APM Achromat/Nagaoka GL-601 Crystal Record Weight/Isonoe feet & boots/Ortofon RS-212D/Denon DL-103GL in Denon PCL-300 headshell with Funk Firm Houdini/Kondo SL-115 pure-silver cartridge leads.

    Paul Hynes MC head amp/SR5 PSU. Also modded Lentek head amp/Denon AU-310 SUT.

    Other Cartridges: Nippon Columbia (NOS 1987) Denon DL-103. USA-made Shure SC35C with NOS stylus. Goldring G820 with NOS stylus. Shure M55E with NOS stylus.

    CD Player: Audiocom-modified Sony X-777ES/DAS-R1 DAC.

    Tape Deck: Tandberg TCD 310, fully restored and recalibrated as new, by RDE, plus upgraded with heads from the TCD-420a. Also with matching TM4 Norway microphones.

    Preamps: Heavily-modified Croft Charisma-X. LDR Stereo Coffee. Power Amps: Tube Distinctions Copper Amp fitted with Tungsol KT-150s. Quad 306.

    Cables & Sundries: Mark Grant HDX1 interconnects and digital coaxial cable, plus Mark Grant 6mm UP-LCOFC Van Damme speaker cable. MCRU 'Ultimate' mains leads. Lehmann clone headphone amp with vintage Koss PRO-4AAA headphones.

    Tube Distinctions digital noise filter. VPI HW16.5 record cleaning machine.

    Speakers: Tannoy 15MGs in Lockwood cabinets with modified crossovers. 1967 Celestion Ditton 15.


    Protect your HUMAN RIGHTS and REFUSE ANY *MANDATORY* VACCINE FOR COVID-19!

    Also **SAY NO** to unjust 'vaccine passports' or certificates, which are totally incompatible with a FREE society!!!


  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2009

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    Perhaps....though personally I think it has more to do with the sonic signature of his phonostage (which, whilst similar to mine, is not the same) and a couple of other differences between the systems. In addition, whilst his armboard and chassis are based on ideas I have used myself, they are not the same things.

    Any way, it's just a bit of fun, as long as it sounds good an he is happy, I am happy

    Andrew uses the same arm and cartridge as me these days (not literally the same ones as that would make life very awkward for the both of us ).
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