The SAEC mat is in between
I have had much experience with both the Final Audio copper mat 4.5kg and the Micro Seiki 180 copper mat on a variety of TT's. Both of them sound significantly better when used with either a heavy stabiliser/washer or reflex clamp/washer.
I have both the Final Audio stabiliser (1.8kg) and Goldmund Reflex Clamp - different sounding but both are good. The Sota and Simply Physics Reflex clamps would be worth a look. You get the benefits of the copper and clamping properly takes the "edge off".
I also think the use of the copper mat on the SP10 provides a bimetallic dampening effect on the platter overall. I prefer it in this application to an acrylic mat.
Downunder, I used a BA Mat1 for quite a while on my Lenco platter. It's excellent in that application, but I found that the Mat2 is far better than the Mat1 on my SP10 Mk3. I have not tried the Mat2 on the Lenco, because now the Mat2 "belongs" to the Mk3. I would guess you will like the Mat2 better than the Mat1, for your P3. (By the way, if you hear of a P3 for sale, let me know.)
One thing I don't like so much about the BA mats is that they tend to slip against the platter. That is not good for those of us who worry about torque and stylus drag. What good is a powerful motor if the platter mat is slipping, even a tiny bit? So I use a very small piece of Scotch Tape along the rim, to prevent slippage on the Mk3. On the Lenco, I used double sided tape, between mat and platter.
Dover, I never met a record clamp I could really love. I do occasionally use the SOTA clamp, but I almost never actually clamp it. I just sit it on top of the spindle so as to dampen vibrations just by virtue of its mass. Yes, it's rather light in weight for this application, but I always have found that the really heavy gravity-dependent record weights suck life out of the music. On the other hand, I don't own any of the very heavy copper or other metal mats. The SAEC SS300 (my only metal mat) is quite a bit lighter than the CU180. I think it weighs only a bit more than the stock rubber mat made for the SP10 Mk3. The Kenwood L07D uses a 5-lb stainless steel "platter sheet" that is part and parcel of the platter itself, altho it is removable. I don't like the OEM Kenwood record weight either, for its effect on the sound of the L07D.
Dear Lewm: +++++ " I always have found that the really heavy gravity-dependent record weights suck life out of the music. " +++++
other people like you do not likes vacuum type mats because similar reason.
Could be interesting that we ask our self: need we a mat/clamp , why?
Which is the function of a mat: IMHO to present a better mate/match to the LP when the stylus is riding the LP grooves " eliminating " TT feedback platter/bearing and mat feedback to the cartridge during playback. So this could tell us that the mat must be as a damper tool with out self additional minute resonances/vibrations on playback.
From that point of view metal mats could be the worst ones ( as the MS and others. Metal here is the MUSIC information enemy. ), metal tends to resonate when in motion and because the stylus/LP vibrations that return to the cartridge due that the metal can't damp it.
Jarret said about: " bit too lively but outstanding in terms of dynamics and soundstage " , that " feeling " of dynamics is no other thing that additional distoritons but not MUSIC grooves information.
You said some clamps " suck out life out of the music ": too much damping????
Lewm, what could be what we are looking trough the mat/clamp kind of help?:
that through the cartridge obtain the MUSIC information recorded in the grooves with out adding or losting " nothing ".
The cartridge stylus/cantilever riding groove modulations generate non musical vibrations in the LP that goes to the mat/clamp/TT platter and return to the cartridge along TT self vibrations/resonances. All these kind of non-musical information degrade the cartridge signal, so we need " something " that really could damp it. A good designed mat is supposed that was designed to makes exactly that: damp.
IMHO, we can't overdamp the cartridge/LP during playback but through several years our brain is accustomed to those non-musical information ( added distortions, non-damped ones. ) and when we really damp down there what we listen is that " suck life out of the music " but is not because an " overdamping " subject but because non-musical information tends to disappears and that's why we don't like it. Of course that a heavy clamp other than damp it changes frequency resonances between the LP and cartridge/TT platter and create other kind of resonances/distortions.
In the other side that " suck life out... " could be because it's the way the LP was recorded it's the way must be heard.
It is not easy to re-equalize our brain for non-distortions ( lower ones. ) in what we are listening trough each one audio system.
There is a lot to discuss on the whole subject and certainly different points of view.
Regards and enjoy the music,
Raul, I freely admit that what you say may be true. I believe it myself. Nevertheless, I do not like heavy record weights. (I said nothing at all about vacuum hold-down; you impute to me an opinion I do not hold. Nor did I say I prefer metal mats; as you know, I am not using any metal mat except the one designed to be part of the L07D platter) It is my opinion that the analog/vinyl medium is so full of imperfections at all levels, from recording venue to playback system, that sometimes by serendipity one "distortion" can complement another, with the net result that the listener is more pleased, the sound is more "real". I know you detest the "I like it" school of thought, but there it is. Live music can be very "ragged" and full of life; I do not want to use a device that removes that possible sensation completely, as do many very heavy record weights and peripheral rings. If you want to do that in the interest of removing "distortion", that is your choice.
I am a scientist by profession. You have no idea how far from real science is this art of reproducing music at home. It's nearly impossible even to do a valid "experiment" in home audio.
The goal of the TT is to have the stylus trace the groove accurately. So, the analogous question to ask is, is it easier to walk on a vibrating floor or a stable one?
Your TT is the source for sonic information. If you desire to hear what is truly recorded from the LP, then choose components that will maximize the accurate reproduction of sound from the groove. With that being the goal, compliance anywhere in the chain of LP through tone arm will be deleterious (translated: no rubber, foam, or soft mats). Additionally, sonic resonances from the bearing; ambient resonance transmitted through plinth, tone arm, platter; and stylus-resonant feedback need to be mitigated. This is accomplished through materials that dissipate resonant energy.
I have found that TTW Audios mats are products focused on that goal and do a superlative job. I have used a variety of their mats from alloy, copper, Delrin, combination mats with the carbon fiber. The Ultimat provided the best platform at reducing resonances. I believe TTW has a mat priced above the Ultimat. I have no experience with it.
Your LP needs to be coupled to the platter/mat with a periphery weight and center weight to maximize sound retrieval. The greater the mass, the more resonant energy is absorbed. Ideally, the only thing to resonate is the stylus from tracing the LP groove.
I have no affiliation with TTW.
Then why not sit on the f***in' thing? Be my guest.
"Resonance" is one of the most used and abused terms in audio. Like I said in reply to Raul, the theoretical advantages of record dampening are obvious. I only know that when I do it using the available mechanisms, most of the time I do not like it. So I don't do it. (Most of the time.) Same goes for hitting myself in the head with a hammer. I could counter with some equally hypothetical arguments about why record weights might not be so good, but I believe we are speaking past each other (plural), and it would only lead to more misunderstanding. The OP asked about platter mats, and I have offered my opinions.
I'm using the OMA carbon mat which is similar to the Boston Audio 2 only thicker and it's designed to fit the the recessed SP 10 platter exactly.
Probably the best value is the Herbie's "way excellent" 2 turntable mat. They have a 4mm thick, 292mm diameter version that fits the SP 10 platter. It's around $75 and has a 90 day home trial so you can decide for yourself.
I like the Herbie's business. They sell a lot of nice accessories for reasonable prices, but I would not rate their tt mat in the same league with the best of the others that have been mentioned. In my mind, therefore, the mat is a false economy. For less than $200 more you can have the Mat2. Since the SP10 (Mk2 or 3) is worth a few to many thousands of dollars, it does not make sense to save a few hundred on something as crucial as a platter mat. That's just my opinion developed over a few decades of looking for least expensive ways out. I stopped thinking that way. I do respect your opinion which may differ from mine as far as ranking the Herbie's mat. (I do own a Herbie's mat, by the way.)
Then why not sit on the f***in' thing? Be my guest.
funny - you made me spit up some coffee on my keyboard Lew.
I have a riddle and this is for the serious "mat lovers" - hmmm....lets define it has those with at least 3 different mats. Or at least one that is made from an animal.
ok the riddle.
How do you know when somebody "really" loves their mat ?
JB, Thanks for that URL. If the mat is made the way they claim, it might be very effective, and it is quite reasonable in price.
Ct, I kind of regretted that remark; it's the kind of thing one can say in face to face conversation with a friend but might be taken the wrong way on the internet. I meant no offense to the previous post-er, only good fun. Glad it made someone laugh. It made me laugh too.
I use the Herbie's mat on both my SP 10MK3 and MK2A and really like them. They allow a very natural and unperturbed view of the midrange and highs...possibly less perfect in the bass (maybe a slight sloppiness there). They reduce noise. I have tried the vintage Micro Seiki mat and do not care for the added brightness and slight glare that I hear, but the bass is better defined. Having said that, many people I respect like these and similar mats, so I intend to try them again, as my system has evolved since trying the Micro Seiki.
Downunder, a MK2 that has been electronically upgraded with the Krebs modification is a formidable turntable. It does sound different from the MK3 - something I had commented about under Albert Porter's virtual system forum. Perhaps those comments will be helpful to you.
Downunder and Kmc, I have not heard any Krebs-modded SP10s. Perhaps they bring the Mk2 closer to the Mk3. However, IMO between the unmodified versions, the Mk3 is indeed far and away superior to the Mk2, albeit the Mk2 is excellent. It doesn't take 5 minutes of listening to know that. This difference between Mk3 and Mk2 makes sense, because of the vast price difference between the two in the current market. I am curious to know how the Dobbins The Beat compares to Mk3, myself. Clearly, he was influenced by the Mk3 in designing The Beat.
Kmc, All I can recall is that a head to head comparison of the Boston Audio Mat1 to the Herbie's mat led me to use the former, but this may have been on my restored Lenco. Don't think I did a head to head on the Technics. On the Technics, I compared an SAEC to the BA Mat2, and the latter won narrowly. Thus I ended up with Mat1 on Lenco and Mat2 on SP10 Mk3. On matters of this sort, I tend to make a decision and not look back.
Thoughtful exchange above from many posters and valid points, including some helpful direct experiences shared. In my personal experience, the Technics Sp10Mk2 will indeed benefit from the use of an appropriate mat, the exact type and subsequent composition will depend upon the listeners tastes. I for one, enjoy both Copper based mats (i.e.. Micro Seiki CU-180) or a composite (rubber, or cork/rubber/leather) mat used in conjunction with an aluminum based mat, such as the Oyaide MJ-12. In fact, during testing, I found Copper based material to be so desirable, the result early this year was our manufacturing a brand new Sp10Mk2 composite platter consisting of stress relieved Aluminum + Copper. For those who may prefer certain playback characteristics of different materials, I am working on a design revision which will allow interchangeable upper platter combinations.
The material Delrin, solely used as a platter mat material, as suggested above by Mosin, we actually designed and manufactured for a brief period of time but production ceased immediately when the mats began to develop warping anomalies. Their musical characteristics I found to be pleasant, albeit slightly polite. A different type of Delrin composite based platter mat we are developing however, but the release date is unknown. Another issue faced when using pure Delrin is the potential for excessive residual static build up. I've yet to listen to (evaluate) the Boston Audio Mat1 or Mat2, however, the use of Carbon/Graphite seems logical and a good choice for material selection, given its rigidity and density. TTW Carbon hybrid record mats I have heard positive things about, although personally have not had the opportunity to evaluate at length, so I cannot comment.
Lewm, I wholly agree with your assessment of overtly heavy record clamps. In my experience, I have found that time again, they result in more degradation than good. This applies to all drives types mostly, with few if any known exceptions.
A quick word, comment rather, with regards to the Sp10Mk3. Having spent years designing plinths, playing, owning and testing this Technics model, I agree in that they are indeed a reference level analog playback machine and remain worthy of serious consideration. However, the secondary market prices for stock units, in my opinion, have now inflated to an extent which has made them less attractive an option than at one time in the not so distant past. It is for this very reason, that I continue to exploit the undeveloped playback potential of the Sp10Mk2 platform.
With respect to the forum thread poster, my apologies for straying off track of the original record mat subject.
Chris, Have you considered that part of the possible benefit you perceive from copper or copper-containing mats is related to shielding of the cartridge from EMI radiated by the motor? I doubt this is much of an issue for the Mk3, with its massive copper-containing platter (and maybe that's why it contains copper), but it certainly could theoretically help the Mk2. For the Kenwood L07D, the cognoscenti know to add such a shield, even though the platter is already stainless steel, a pretty good shield. I personally heard an improvement, removal of a kind of faint dull coloration, when I added an LP-size shield between the platter and the L07D "platter sheet" (which is 5 lbs of stainless steel). I made it out of TI Shield.
Lew, keen observation. Yes, I believe part of the enhancements gained when using Copper in conjunction with the stock platter I believe is its ability to provide an extra layer of shielding between the powerful motor magnets and stray EMI radiating within the Mk2. Fortunately, the stock factory damped aluminum alloy Mk2 platter exhibits very low levels of magnetism, which aids a hand as well.
I've been following this thread with interest because my latest project, an sp10mkII (early model) is in the works.
Here's a recent photo of the TT up inits plinth and doing its job.
and a link to the page where I document the entire process:
At present I have the original mat on the unit. I was able to try out a BA mat 1 last Sunday. This was allowed when another sp10mkII owner brought over his BA mat1 for me to try out. I dealt with the obvious problem of the mat thickness being undersize for this TT. I placed a thin mat underneath the BA mat 1 and this resulted in a total mat thickness that was within a few thousandths of the oem mat thickness. this allowed me to hear the difference between my standard mat and the BA1.
Fwiw, I'm using a Graham 2.2 tonearm. And that allows a very convenient method for making adjustments to VTA/SRA on the fly. With that out of the way I can say that the BA mat definitely provided an overall improvement in comparison to the oem mat. The first thing I noticed was greater clarity in the upper frequencies. It might take me more time to fully evaluate the difference. But what I heard was enough to convince me that a solid graphite mat could be the ticket for this motor unit (and likely most others).
It is possible that the thin mat on the bottom may have improved "traction" between platter and mats.
The one negative I noticed about the BA-1 mat was that it was warped. When placed on a flat surface the BA-1 mat showed as much as 1/16th " of warp. And this was apparent as the mat was spinning on the platter. At one point I removed the underneath mat to allow the BA-1 mat to lie directly against the SP10 platter. Warp still the same and VTA was corrected via the Graham VTA adjustment facility. Roughly the same SQ. At least as near as I could tell during this brief listening review.
So my question now is; does anyone else have experience with a BA-1 carbon mat being warped? 2nd quetion would be; is it possible to straighten one of these mats without breaking it? I say this because I noticed that the mat is coated with some sort of polymer that (seems to) give(s) it a certain amount of flexibility.
Another thought to put out there:
Has anyone tried one of these players with a vacuum platter mat? I was thinking of the Vacuum mat produced by Thorens back in the 1980s. Now kind of rare, but interesting.
Td, That's the first I have ever heard of a Boston Audio Mat being warped. Both my Mat1 and my Mat2 appear to the eye to be perfectly flat, and certainly there is no tell-tale sign of warpage when they are spinning. I trust your judgement, but be sure there is no other possible cause of your perception that yours is warped. If it IS warped, BA should take it back and exchange it for no cost, IMO.
One other thing: Why do you deem it to be so important to maintain the exact same thickness as the OEM rubber mat? A slight tweak of your VTA should take care of any minute difference between the BA and the OEM mats, and placing the rubber mat in between the BA and the bare platter will probably alter the sound, for good or ill.
Considering the materials of which they are made, I cannot imagine a BA mat warping post-manufacture. It could conceivably have been warped as a manufacture defect, I guess.
Chris, would love to know what you think of the two Mk3's, with vs without the Krebs' mods. (Of course, there are nothing but positive reports from other sources of which I am aware.)
Lew, thanks for your response.
re: mat thickness versus vta/sra. Plus one other factor; the sp10mkII platter has a pocket that a mat must fit within. And to be functional any mat would need to at least show proud of the platter rim. Just noting that part.
In any case vta/sra becomes a necessary adjustment when comparing one platter mat to another. And I keep a number of platter mats around handy just because I like to experiment with these items. Yes, the arm I'm using makes it convenient to adjust vta/sra. And I did make use of this feature during the comparison. But combine with with some earlier comments made to this thread about the BA mats.....that there might be some concern about the carbon mat losing traction against the platter under moments of higher stylus drag / speed corrections, etc. So, with the BA Mat One, its undersize thickness does allow the placement of a layer of "something" that could, conceivably improve traction between the carbon mat and the platter. Just a thought.
RE; BA Mat One and warpage.
1) I'd think that the solid graphite material, if left bare, may or may not be susceptible to warpage. Either during production or at a later date if improper mat storage became a factor. Just a guess. Why not check to see if solid graphite is or is not susceptible to warp.
2) These mats are coated by the mfr with a "proprietary" clear coat of some polymer material. I say polymer because I've held the mat and detected what I perceive to be a minimal flexibility to it. And I suspect that the mat prior to these coatings may not exhibit the same properties. and the coating will keep the graphite from shedding its graphite surface whenever it comes into light contact with.....anything. Graphite; very soft stuff that rubs off.
3) yes I'm certain that the sample I saw was indeed warped. As noted, ~1/16th inch. I observed this while allowing the mat to lay flat against a thick pane of glass that I keep around. and the glass I have proved to be very flat.
4) The mat does not belong to me. It was on a brief loan from another audiophile living in my area so that I could try it out on my SP10 mkII. And I liked what I heard. I'd probably look into a BA Mat 2 for this application. Also, I'm thinking about the benefits of gunmetal copper in this platter. I'm also thinking about any diy mat I may try in the meantime.
5) back to the clear coating that BA applies to these graphite mats. Perhaps during this process, when the coatings are applied and allowed to cure, it could conceivable be possible for the polymer to shrink while it cures / hardens. If applied unevenly.... Just conjecture.
But I did mention the warping I observed just to see if anyone else had seen a similar situation with one of these.
I've just received my Mat 2 today. Austin Jackson was very adept at quickly responding to my request for this mat. So far I've had enough time to spin a few albums through. My impressions are favorable as I had expected.
Some early observations:
Yes, it is a nicely flat sample. (see my earlier post to this thread)
Mat thickness. Both the BA Mat 2 and the original SP10 mk2 rubber mat are within .005 inches of the same thickness. Just call it 5mm thick for both mats.
Traction against the platter. The BA Mat 2 is lathe cut from a solid chunk of carbon graphite. It seems to have rather poor traction against the aluminum platter.
And the first evidence I saw of this was while holding a record brush against the spinning record. The brush did stop the record while the aluminum platter continued to spin unhindered.
At first I could not tell if it was the record spinning against the upper surface of the BA carbon mat, or if the BA mat was spinning against the sp10 platter.
I solved this by looking for a means to improve traction between platter and mat. Sparingly, I brushed a small amount of liquid solder flux (rosin based) in an array of spots onto the surface of the sp10 platter. Equally spaced. Not much. Just enough to see if when the rosin began to solidify it would improve traction between mat and platter. And then I replaced the BA Mat 2 onto the sp10 mk2 platter
After this I could hold the record brush against the spinning record and observe that the record did not slow or come to a stop as it had before. It was the mat spinning against the platter.
I expect the small amount of rosin I used to be a benign method. Hopefully I'm not wrong. I'll know next time I need to remove the BA Mat2 from the SP10 mk2 platter.
it's early but I've already heard improvements over the standard rubber mat. Firstly, there is an improved clarity in the reproduction of various detail. Inner detail stands out a little nicer. But also macro detail improves as well.
Haitink / Amsterdam Concertbow....Mahler No. 5 on Phillips. Firstly, the horns are reproduced with less blare and more air. Less Glare.
Led Zeppelin II / Classic Records 180g remaster. No loss in rhythmic drive as noted before. No loss in bass energy. No loss in energetic drive. Improvements heard seemed to be a clarity throughout all frequencies...and the improved definition of micro detail such as harmonic overtones. Sustain and decay on the cymbals is very nice. Already nice before but just a touch better now.
Just a few notes. I'll spend more quality time listening to this and write down my observations to my website.
Glad to hear the BA mat 2 worked out for you Steve. I'm not really sure when my BA mat 1 got warped but I don't think it was when I first received it. I always stored it with my records standing straight up in a temperature controlled environment.
I don't use the BA-1 anymore since I got my Micro Seiki CU-180 mat. I initially used the CU-180 by itself but found it to be over damped in my system. I then started experimenting with other materials between the platter and CU-180. I found I liked the sound better with something else in between the CU-180 and platter. I ended up using strips of 1/16 isodamp 1002 in between. Luckily with the SP10's spindle height you can try all sorts of things as long as your arm height has enough adjustability. Isodamp is kind of sticky and oily and can stain stuff so keep that in mind if you try it.
Yesterday I was able to remove the BA Mat 2 from the SP10 platter. Residue from the rosin was where I had placed it the day before. A circular array of spots. Just slightly sticky. And there was also residue on the bottom side of the Mat 2. I don't think the rosin attacked the sealant that Boston Audio Design sprays onto this mat. No evidence of that. This method does not seem too aggressive.
I could have cleaned the Rosin away had I wanted. But a small amount of "stiction" is wanted at this important interface.
Other methods suggested, like 2-way tapes or adhesives that will tack up without hardening seem good. My exp. with 2-way tapes is that some of these can result in a strong bond when enough tape is used. I use the stuff routinely in my day job (cmm programmer) to hold odd shapes in place for the cmm inspection. So my caution there is to be sparing with the 2-way tape, or it may become extremely difficult to extract the mat from the platter. (use just a little)
Thanks for the compliment. This SP10 mkII project has been a challenge for me.
Good to see you on this forum.
Td, As to the carpet tape, yes, only a few tiny pieces do the job more than well enough. On my Mk3, I was too anal about leaving goop on the platter, so I just used small bits of scotch tape around the lip. Two tiny pieces placed so as not to touch the top surface of the BA Mat2, just its edge and the edge of the platter itself.
I recently picked up a SL1000Mk3 and used the stk Technics mat.
About 3 weeks ago I put on my SAEC SS-300 alloy turntable mat. WOW - a lot better sounding - reduces a bit of bass blur and better clarity and attack across the board.
Funny, when I put the SAEC on my Exclusive P3, I preferred the Pioneer rubber mat.
My Boston mat1 does not even fit onto my SP10 mk3 platter.
I have taken the plunge and bought a Micro Seiki CU-180 off @chakster. Now just have to wait for it to arrive as looking forward to it.
Thanks Misha. I am content now :-)
I am afraid I have zero interest in the pigskin TTM mat. I tried the Jico leather mat and it softened transients. They may to a good job in systems needing some refinement.
. Using a clamp does a similar thing to the life in music. I own an Orb record flattener, so all my records are flat. All my clamps sit alone being unloved.
I want to hear the full transients and life in music and the cu-180 does that. I have finished ny search for platter interfaces.
here is a nice shot of your cu-180 mat on the SP10 mk3. It does look great on the table
There is a seller on eBay that sells replicas of the MS CU mats, I have bought over 30 of them from him in various configurations, including custom made mats for my DN308 builds and DP6 / 7 builds too.
Below a link to a current listing, no affiliation other than being a satisfied customer.
here a link to the Custom DP 6 / 7 platters in action
and finally a link to the DN308 14" platter in action
I too greatly prefer the sound produce with a Copper platter over any rubber mat.