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Thread: Record Supports - What's the Point?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2010

    Location: Sheffield

    Posts: 2,649
    I'm Simon.

    Default Record Supports - What's the Point?

    I haven't been given my analogue front end the love it deserves of late, it's my own fault for having made it all so fit and forget. I'm arrived at the end of my TT-PSU exploration for now; I'm happy with the performance of the DC motor and optical tacho feedback controller. It just gets out of the way of playing records and spins the damn things at the right speed, no noise, no fuss- just as it should be.

    My phonostage isn't going anywhere anytime soon; there really isn't anything to touch a Paradise at the minute for anything less than the price of second hand car. I could add cartridge loading plugs to the back panel and simplify things a little, but I only ever switch loading when I take mine out as a demo unit to a prospective customer- and seeing as I only have one final set of boards left to build up it hardly seems worth the effort. I could possibly swap my cart but that's a big cost as well and the Benz LP still sounds as good as the day I bought it and has plenty of life left in it.

    So what's left when you're happy with the mechanics and the electronics of your deck and have no desire to mess with your cartridge or phonostage? Bloody platter mats that's what and there's loads of them out there. Rings, discs, rim weights, stick rubber, gunmetal sheets, felt mats, silicon rubber pads, graphite doughnuts, the list goes on and on.

    I already have a pretty funky platter mat courtesy of YNWOAN (Mark). It's a thin carbon fibre disc that slips over the bearing spindle and elegantly sized to cover the LP12 sub-platter. Arranged around its middle are five black anodized, press stud nibs that puncture the surface of the carbon to present five perfectly spherical nibs that support the record, lifting it up off the platter, minimising energy transmission from the bearing and into the record and onwards into the stylus. It's an elegant solution that works in tandem with my magnetic clamp to maximise playability and minimise noise.

    I'm very happy with it both functionally and conceptually. But it does have one down fall. It's not great with warped discs. Because they are basically unsupported from about 5cm out from the bearing spindle all the way to the edge of the platter they are free to take up any shape they damn well please. Add to this the fact that my Benz LP is a very low rider, (think DV Karat amounts of low) and record warm can become an intermittent arse scraping problem. I don't buy much 2nd hand stuff, maybe partly because of this, but even so there's plenty enough warped new vinyl to do the nasty with given the risible stage of packaging from some online vendors.

    The idea of separating the record vertically from the platter appeals to me. I've heard the results and in my set-up it sounds cleaner, more agile, bass tones take on a full palette of tonal variety that sounds more like I'm used to hearing through headphone replay and a digital source. The gap between platter and records seems to isolate the record and cartridge from what's going on under the record, it minimises the audible effects of bearing rumble and distances the record from the motor and any contribution to system noise that it may make. It's not the last word in geometric stability and that has been bugging me.

    On a recent record hunting trip I was slipped a copy of Greenday's American idiot- on CD! What the actual? "Er, I've got this already and on vinyl I said". "Don't open it until you get home" I was ordered. "You'll know what to do".
    I'd spent 200 on records, I real blow out, I hadn't bought any new records since before Xmas and I was treating myself. She'll never notice them, and if she does I'll just deny it and say, "This old thing, I've had it ages". ('Cos that's what she says to me when I know she's bloody well been out buying clothes or new shoes). It wasn't the records I was interested in getting out of the bag when i got home though, it was the Greenday CD.
    Inside the case arranged around the periphery of the disc were eight small pads. A combination of tiny, pliable Sorbothane cups, filled to over flowing with a even smaller cylindrical pad of a contrasting coloured fibrous foam. There's a touch of Liquorice Allsorts about them, let's hope they're as sweet sounding. From their placement on the CD it was obvious what they were intended use was and within a minute or so I'd placed them around the periphery of my turntable platter, taken them off again, drawn out a paper template and then refitted them with all the precision of a Swiss watch manufacturer.

    They do the same levitation trick as my existing mat, but they provide the support right out at the edge of the platter. They sit a little higher, so I dialled in a couple of mm of arm height adjustment on my 12" Kuzma Stogi S, to keep VTA at the same level. I plopped the new First Aid Kit album on the platter and settled in for a listen. The sound was as I've come to expect from my analogue front end. Lithe, incredibly nuanced and without any sense that the music was created by scraping a tiny diamond down a long plastic trough. First Aid Kit was on form, with their vocal harmonies blending in like only sibling harmonies can. I played right through both side before thinking about doing some A/B swaps.

    I was keen to contrast the sound of these new record supports with my existing mat. Swapping back and forth was simplified by making a small shim to ensure VTA adjustments were entirely repeatable. Sound wise there is very little to tell them apart. I think these nibs might just have the edge in terms of background noise. Maybe providing their support at the edge of the platter as far away from the motor and bearing side of the business helps to throw the blackest backgrounds. I already run a DC motor that isn't coupled to the chassis and my bearing uses a Teflon loaded thrust pad to minimise rumble. There's very little physical noise to start with on my deck and these new Liquorice Allsorts help ensure it stays that way.

    Where they do excel though is with those cherished records that haven't been stored with the best care in the world. Those slightly rippled 1st pressings with silent groves but a bit of a kick 2 times per revolution. These definitely help minimise the effects of record warps compared to my usual centre-support mat. London 0 Hull 4 used to scrape its arse off the bottom of my cartridge throwing my arm out of the groove so that Happy Hour never starts and I have to skip to the second track. Not anymore. The combination of periphery record support and my low mass record clamp worked to help flatten the apparent warp as the record played.

    There's a curious secondary effect with these minimal rubber feet and a record clamp and that is that the record now takes on a very slight bevel from the edge of the platter to the centre of the label. This is entirely reminiscent of the effect wrought by the SME record clamp which pulls the centre of the record down firmly onto the slightly concave, diamond cut SME platter mat. I've got a faded recollection of reading why SME used a slightly concave platter topper; there was sound mechanical reasoning behind it in terms of cart/record alignment and transfer of signal from the groove to stylus. Whatever the theory, there's no denying the reality that these are a fine way of supporting your records. If you have a deck that accommodates a couple of mm lift at the back of your arm then these are definitely worth trying. If you sometimes feel like you're not getting the clearest analogue playback from your deck then these might be the answer to curing the lingering doubts you have about a lack of airiness from your vinyl. For me, they beat felt mats and cork rings, they leave over-damped silicon mats in the dust, and they don't add extra weight and generate rumble like heavy gunmetal mats can.

    They have usurped my current mat; offering all the benefits that I've come to expect from a minimal point contact record support and adding in the ability to make the most of those slightly warped treasures. If you've not tried a minimal contact record support before you should, they represent an elegant solution that doesn't void any laws of physics to do their thing. Funny thing is I've had these on my deck for two weeks now and I still don't even know what they're are called!
    Kuzma Stabi/S 12", (LP12-bastard) DC motor and optical tacho psu, Benz LP, Paradise (phonostage). MB-Pro, Brooklyn dac and psu, Bruno Putzeys balanced pre, mod86p dual mono amps, Yamaha NS1000m

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Yorkshire

    Posts: 7,281
    I'm AnDreW.


    Great post! Not fully digested it all but sounds a little like the effects of the Resomat I used to have on my 1210.
    SS CD Teac VRDS25X(Audiotuned) DAC Caiman SEG+15V PSU DECK 1210 Mat Analog Studio Crystal Mods MN Base/Bearing/Platter+Ebony arm Board Feet Isonoe PSU Paul Hynes SR7EHD-27XL/DCSXL Ag DC lead/Jaeger(low-impedance) connector/3 StageRegs/Recapped PCB+No Pitch/Strobe/Light ARM SME V(Kondo Ag Rewire&Tags) MC Cadenza Black CABLES Arm Yannis SPD-4 IC Yannis 222 Litz+Ag bullets Power WAR PRE ATC SCA2 SPEAKERS ATC 50ASL STANDS Atacama PHONO Sugden Masterclass PA4 SUT Ortofon ST80SE POWER PSAudio P10

    Valve PRECroft Epoch(Mega Modded) AMP Sondex S100 SPEAKERS Tannoy 15"MG+RFC Warwick cabs+ Reference XO DECK Garrard301 Mat Teunto Bearing 401 Plinth Moldovan Arms 3009/3012(Ikeda Ag wired) PSUEagle+Tachometer MCAg Meister SPU v2 CABLES Arm Yannis 420.5 Litz+ Speaker VdH 6mm Blue IC Oyaide FTVS-510 AgWBT 0110Ag Phonostage Paradise (4 Box)

  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2014

    Location: Norfolk

    Posts: 69
    I'm John.


    I took the little cones out of my resomat and stuck them directly on to my tt platter with a little silicon mastic. A really simple upgrade which improved clarity on my AT.

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