Does the 533 still have the stock platter? If so, your best bet would be to upgrade to Rega glass for about $60 before swapping mats.
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While Narrod has a good point below I ignored advice like that when upgrading my NAD. I got rid of all the wow issues and the glass platter that Ekobesky suggest went a long way to help in that direction.
Have a look ... http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1216855871&read&3&4&
I subsequently moved on to a Thorens TD111 idler and a Technics SL1200 direct drive. I like those tables better. The NAD in relation is a thinner sounding table with less oomph and presence. You can translate that as the NAD having a more gentler/delicate sound. In any case, with all the mods, the sound solidified, and increased in depth.
Is it "worth" doing the mods, you ask. If that is your table and you want the fun of hearing things incrementally get better, then YES. If you want to wind up in the end with a very worthy table while doing it on an affordable budget, then YES. If you want to learn a little on the way, YES. If you want to have a better table now, then NO.
I can say at the end of the process you will have a hard time selling the table with all the mods; no one wants a hacked up table, and that is the way people will look at it. Alternately you will have a hard time parting with the thing will all the love you have put into it. And it will be a very worthy table to have as a second table for mono, or just 45rpm play.
FWIW if i had a 533 i would give serious consideration to the $59 acrylic platter currently offered on this site (no affiliation whatsoever). no mat needed, LP directly onto the acrylic AFAIK, so it takes that variable out of the equation. after that, i would consider some step-wise mods/tweaks of the rega arm. my $0.02
you could request a trial from the seller. never hurts to ask...
I used a DIY spotmat on each table and like it very much.
For help with that go here: the Analog Dept
I recently bought a funk firm Achromat which beat the spotmat by a few points but that mat was about $100. Spotmat cost about $5 to make. You could actually just get those stick on cork dots at ACE hardware and apply them to the top surface of the glass platter. Don;t like it, peel 'em off. cleans up easy.
Adam, mats are kind of a personal preference. And they really don't make or break a turntable. The problem is, you could end up spending $300 or $400 trying different mats and that's money you could have spent on a cartridge.
Step 1: Get the glass platter. Enjoy the table for awhile. Change only one thing at a time so you can listen and evaluate with just one variable.
Step 2: Happy? Stop. Unhappy? Call a good dealer like Needle Doctor or Music Direct or Elusive Disc and tell them what you don't like and ask if a mat may alleviate it.
I love Gadfly's idea of using the $5 cork dots. Compare the felt mat to the cork dots AFTER you spend some time with the glass platter.
I will say this: I don't like acrylic platers. The ones I've tried, compared with glass or MDF or even metal, sound wrong to me though tables designed from the ground up to use an acrylic platter don't suffer as much. Your mileage may vary. Rega designed your table to be used with glass. They switched to MDF because NAD needed to bring the 533 in at a certain price point. Consider that when making your decision.
Gadfly.......Thanks for the corrected link. Looks cool.
A question for all who may know......From whom should I buy the glass platter ? Audio Advisor sells one (10 mm. thick, 3.7 lbs.) for $69, and there's an "official Rega glass platter" listed on E-bay (salt lake audio) for $79. Does anyone know if these are the same ?
Hi Ekobesky............Well, I got the new Rega 10 mm., 3.7 lbs. glass platter today, FedEx'd from Audio Advisor, with a new Rega 2 mm. felt mat. I immediately compared one of my "reference recordings," Sonny Rollins' "Way Out West," first using my MDF platter, and then switching to the glass.
Holy Cow !!!! I'm not sure of the correct "audiophile terms," but the improvement in the sound of the music with the glass platter was pretty amazing !! I will slowly work my way through various records and keep on comparing. But, if my first impressions are any indication of the satisfaction ahead, I made a wise choice. Thanks so much for your "step-wise" recommendation.
I'll soon experiment with the cork discs directly on the glass, replacing the felt mat, and I'll see what happens. But, it seems as if glass is the way to go. Which makes sense, since I switched from solid state (Arcam) to "glass" (Rogue Audio tubes) a while ago. Glass tubes, glass platter.....neat stuf. I'll keep you posted.
Happy Listening, my friends !!!!!