I like the anti-mat (very cheap with a kind of tube sound), and the Boston mat (little more expensive with a more solid state sound)
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I am in the throws of trying a few different mats on my 'table as I type. I have the Boston mat, the Herbie's, and the Archromat. I rank them 1THe Achro; 2 Boston; 3 Herbie's.
THe Achro definitely has more bass and a more organic sound. It is very quiet and and resolving. I agree with the above that the Boston is more of a Solid State sound.... Kind of hyped and analytical (It might have the most resolution of the bunch though). The Herbie's in nice but can't really match the other two in any way..... It's the cheapest by far though. And, I'll say it again, it's very nice.
One other thing about the Achromat..... It seems to separate the instruments, and keep things in order the best; especially during complex musical passages.
Take all this with some grain of salt since it's my 'table and in my system.
Thanks for all the responses! Those with Achromat experience, do you have the 3mm or the 5mm? The Music Direct guy I spoke with says the 5mm is signifacantly better. Stringreen, I am not familiar with the antimat, who sells it? I have tube gear and definitely like warm and organic. Cmo, it sounds like you and I are on the same page. I was already leaning toward the Achromat. I have no doubt the Boston or the Funk Firm would be an improvement over my none felt w/skin (a royal PITA).
I, like Cmo own the Achromat(3mm), Boston mat, and Herbies, however I also own the Harmonix TU-800EXi mat. The Harmonix mat is by far the best of the 4 but it will cost you $300. It seems insane to pay that much for a record mat but given they offer a 30 day money back guarantee, you have the choice to keep it or return it. I couldn't let mine go so now I have it at the top of the heap. It offers an element of presence that the others can't match....in my system of course but if you search the archives you'll find more info from fellow users.
The RingMat is a great sounding mat on many tables and in many systems. like anything else, it is system dependent. They have a neutral and somewhat lively sound with excellent bass depth and definition. They work especially well on acrylic platters where a softer mat really sucks the life from the sound. They also work well on tables with glass platters where the set-up has a warm or neutral balance. They will not do a thing to dampen a platter.
In this case, the fellow wants a warmer, more lush sound and the aluminum platter on an AR needs some dense rubber to best deliver that. Having his table inside of a cabinet doesn't help with resonance control either.
Mats and cartridges as well as tubes and SS all seem to come and go as far as audiophile fashion has it ;-). What self respecting analog maniac would be caught without the most unusual and latest of platter coverings?! I think it's silly actually and although I have tried a lot of mats on my Rega tables, I still go back to the old felt mat that came along in the box. Boring perhaps, but very nice sounding. I also have a RingMat which I don't use since I have had the Regas and have found the felt to work best in my almost always neutrally balanced systems. However, I have made yet another change in terms of system balance and it is a bit on the warm side these days. Hmmm... I think I stuck that RingMat jacket in the Lp library right at the begining of the A's... ;-D.
I tried number of mats and home made materials and nothing really works better than other. All those descriptions of blacker blacks and cleaner transients make me smile. Power of self-delusion is unlimited in humans.
Nothing sounds better than 10 dollar felt mat.
Save your money and energy for better components and cartridges.