Any opinions on acrylic mats?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Strat-Mangler, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    I feel the felt mat which came with the VPI Prime is unfortunate to use as it hides the beautiful platter. Same with my father-in-law's Marantz TT15S1.

    Would using one of these ruin anything? Supposedly they have anti-static properties which would be nice.
     
  2. displayname

    displayname Active Member

    Location:
    Dallas
    I use one on my UTurn and it works great. Not quite sure if it would hold up on a higher end table, but logically it should be fine. This wouldn't solve your visual issue, but you could also go with the Funk Firm mats. They have fairly universal high praise.
     
  3. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Many people opt to not use any mat with that platter.
     
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  4. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    When trying different platter mats, I think it’s very wise to stay with mats of identical thickness to the stock mat that was supplied with the turntable. If the VTA adjustment is currently bang on, but is actually only a very tiny degree (fore or aft) of ideal, trying out a thicker or thinner mat is liable to subtley alter the sound in a way that’s attributable to the minute change in VTA rather than the change of mat. Some mat changes of identical thickness have a noticeable positive or negative effect on sound quality. Some mat changes make no audible difference at all. On my modified Rega RP6, I’ve tried every mat under the sun - Herbie’s, Pro-ject, VPI, Funk Firm, generic cork, sorbothane, acrylic, leather, composite, carbon fiber, etc., etc., etc. - and always went back to the stock, medium-density felt mat supplied by Rega.

    I never cared much about great looking platters because I usually place a Funk Firm Acromat as a dust shield on top of the stock mat when the turntable (lidded or not) is not in use. Keeps the dust off the mat. Good for the LPs. Probably feel different if I owned a gorgeous looking platter, but I’d still want to keep the dust off.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  5. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    A felt mat is probably supplied because it is cheaper than a real rubber mat, and became somewhat acceptable in consumer minds with DJs using slipmats for scratching.

    You'd want both vinyl and platter to be damped unless you like the echo and feedback of the metal platter "ping" in your music, which rubber does. The felt initially cleans records, but then quickly turns into a system to deposit dust on records.

    Acrylic at least would not be as bad on the vinyl as no platter - putting the vinyl on something of a higher moh hardness.
     
  6. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    VPI chose the felt mat because they felt that it sounded best on their machines. They supply the same mat on turntables that they sell for over $40K. Trust me, saving a few pennies had nothing to do with why felt was chosen.

    And VPI chose to go against the trend and use expensive metal platters in their most recent turntables over much cheaper acrylic platters again because they think that it sounds better.

    That said, I see no problems with running an acrylic mat, a rubber matt, or no matt at all if one prefers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  7. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Why not? The acrylic mats are transparent which would allow me to see the beautiful metal platter underneath when no record is on.
     
  8. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Same with the Marantz?

    My Prime was discounted due to some minor damage on the platter. We're talking about a couple of indents but I'm afraid those might scratch my LPs, hence why I'm looking for a transparent mat, if possible, that won't ruin the sound.
     
  9. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I was just talking about the vpi. It's a personal preference but many go many free. I like to run naked.
     
  10. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Agreed. No need for a mat.
     
  11. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Does running your finger over them suggest they would poke the Record? Or are they simple impressions? In that case it should not hurt.
     
  12. displayname

    displayname Active Member

    Location:
    Dallas
    I was saying the Funk Firm mat wouldn't solve it. The acrylic is perfect for that, and a part of the reason I got one.
     
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  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    I'll try to get that disturbing image out of my head.
     
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  14. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    The Marantz specifically includes set up instructions for the tonearm that include arm height adjustment for running without a platter mat. I have no idea on the VPI but why not mess around with it and see if you can hear a difference? I have a 2mm clear acrylic mat on my U-Turn Orbit and it's good to go.
     
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  15. DarreLP

    DarreLP Member

    Location:
    WA, USA
    With an acrylic platter, you're not supposed to use a mat at all. Alas, with my U-Turn, the acrylic platter was designed to use a mat. So I had the same reaction...why hide a really nice platter with a piece of felt? Plus, the felt wasn't helping with static.

    I eventually had a friend laser-cut an acrylic platter for me. Looks good and definitely helps with the static:

    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Every mat (and no mat) sounds a little different. You really have to listen for yourself to decide, with YOUR ears and YOUR system. But as others mentioned, the VTA changes for each different thickness (or no) mat, so it is difficult to know if your favorite sound is from the mat or from the VTA, unless you adjust the VTA to be exactly the same for each comparison.

    How easy is your arm to change VTA?

    For decades now, many manufacturers have claimed that an acrylic platter or mat should sound best, because it has close to the same material density as record vinyl. This is just purely theoretical, based on the theory that vibrations will pass through a platter or mat of equal density (than record vinyl), but reflect back from a mat of different density (than record vinyl). So, it is definitely worth a try, not necessarily "The Answer".
     
  17. advanced101

    advanced101 Active Member

    The felt mat supplied with the VPIs has zero to do with sound quality. It is just a simple freebie, no more, no less.

    Most prefer VPIs with the bare platter. The only mat I preferred over the bare platter is the SPEC mat on my Avenger.
     

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