Turntable Mat question


I read a turntable Mat comparison which mentioned that although there are many different choices,
some audiophiles will use LP Records as a mat
What is your opinion about this ?
rocky1313
I use a 10" EP and it beats everything I've tried on my slate- plinth Garrard 401.
some audiophiles will use LP Records as a mat

Seriously? This is nuts.
Ever look at a record? The center is thicker.
Ever look at a platter? The center is recessed.
Now why do you suppose that is?
Do I need to paint you a picture?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxj3xLDNxo0
So ya stack one record atop another, what do you think is gonna happen? Centers be touching, edge be floating. Wafting up and down. Totally unsupported. All outta kilter.

Nuttiest thing I ever heard of.

Saec SS-300 lightweight allow mat or heavier gunmetal Micro Seiki CU180 - this is everything i need for my DD turntables. 

I use Micro Seiki ST-10 Disc Stabilizer on top or my rare Noritake record weight. 

I've never seen anything better that Micro Seiki and SAEC stuff. 

What kind of turntable do you have?  What kind of platter does it have?  Why do you think you need a different mat?  What are you expecting the new mat to do?

Most of my tables have acrylic platters and I use a clamp or weight and no mat.  I have a couple of DD tables with metal platters and find that the mats that came with them work fine.  I've tried cork and also some deer skin mats.  The cork was good, the deer skin seemed to quiet things down and help with static, but also took some of the life of the music away.  In the end, I'm not using either.

That's why all the questions above.  Maybe you already have things set up well and don't need to change anything.
Here's what I like and use: Hiraoka Diskmat SE-22. MIJ. Bought it in 1977 at Harvey Sound (48th St. NYC). Cost: $20! I regret not buying several! Well, only had one TT then! It does what the mfg claims: provide the most neutral playback of LPs for any TT! I'll bet I'm the only one here with the SE-22!
@rocky1313 - I have not used a mat ever since I changed from the glass  platter on my completely rebuilt Rega Planar II - to an acrylic platter

All TT's are different and the selection of the right mat can be difficult and time consuming.

Using an album for a mat is not the best solution for the reasons pointed out above.

If you have a Rega I can suggest an acrylic platter that should work well, but I would not consider recommending you try any of the mats I have tried, simply because they did not work for me and may not work for you.

The abilities of the mat are dependent the turntable it is used on and will vary greatly from one turntable to another.

There is no "one size fits all solution", as many members on this forum can tell you.

If I were you i would repost with the make/model of your turntable in order to solicit opinions from those members with similar turntables. It will save you serious $$$ in the long run

Regards - Steve
I'll go with millercarbon on this one. Bad idea unless all your records are 200  grams. The best mat I ever used was glass plate with a thin layer of felt on top. It had a recessed center and the diameter was slightly less then a record. Dead as a door nail. SME,  Kuzma, Walker, SOTA, Basis and the Air force tables use the best record hold down systems. SOTA was the first to use vacuum. SME, Kuzma and Walker flex the record into the mat. 
It has been suggested that I post the type turntables that I have..
I have :
          Technics  SL 1600
           Pioneer PL 122D belt drive
           Yamaha P350
            Rotel RP 9400
I read this article about Mats which stated that LP Records were being used for mats and this surprised me....this is the reason for my post asking for opinions .
I agree with millercarbon but without the condescending attitude.
It has been suggested that I post the type turntables that I have..
I have : Technics SL 1600 ...


For Technics platter SAEC SS-300 is absolutely perfect, look at SAEC on SL1200mkII or on SP-10mkII , same about Micro CU-180 on Technics platter. Those mats looks like they are designed for use with Technics DD. 

Saec is cheaper and much more complicated in design, look here

I doubt you can find anything better that those 2 mats. I'm telling you as the user of Technics for more than 23 years. 

No offense meant to the OP...

There are MANY threads dedicated to TT mats/clamps. I'm wondering why we have to keep re-writing our similar responses when, IMO, the people who have interest in this should be investigating for themselves. I mean, come on!...... mats/clamps?......this is fairly easy if one is willing to actually spend their own time and little money on it? In actuality, it may come down to one's own personal listening bias anyway.

There, I said it.
I moved away from a felt mat. Too much static electricity developed and questionable isolation. Now I just use a cork mat with a VPI record weight and Wayne’s outer ring. 
I am using an Oracle record mat and HRS record weight on my Technics SL1200G.  Sounds much better than the stock mat and no weight.  There is more air, an intoxicating sound that makes me want to keep listening and playing more records.  another Audiogoner deserves the credit to what I am now using as he is using it as well and advised me.
All record mats sound different from each other....you can make your own easily by cutting a disc from cardboard, linoleum, anything.  If you like the results fine, if not, keep listening.
I'm taking some heat for my 10" vinyl record mat. It sounds better on most material than many other mats I've listened to and that's all that matters.
I have a Clearaudio turntable. It has no mat when purchased. The dealer/shop/owner frowned at me when I asked about a mat, he said not nessessary. After I got it I have tried a cork and a felt and a lp record. I find it best without a mat. I do use a light weight. I supose if a mat was a needed part it would be supplied?
Absolute correct, no mat is best. I have a VPI Prime Signature. VPI recommends no mat. I tried several of them and they all deteriorated the sound. 

Those platers were specifically designed to use w/o a mat but to couple the record appropriately to the plater you have to use a clamp and a ring
(for another $1000). The ring is a PIA. SOTA, SME, Kuzma and Walker have much more elegant solutions to that problem. There is no such thing as a flat record although properly pressed 200 gm records come close. With any pivoted arm you are going to get warp wow unless you flatten out the warp. That is something you can actually hear. And, an appropriate mat should sound like absolutely nothing. All good mats should sound exactly the same unless you have a problem with your platter ringing. Tap to find out!
@browndt So do you place the LP directly on the metal platter on your Prime Signature? I have a Prime Signature too. Do you use the included record weight? How about an outer ring?
I’ve tried a lot of mats on my SL1200, and ended up going with a Herbies Way Excellent ll Mat. You can get them in basically any diameter and thickness to suit your particular turntable. 
Herbies Mats are the way to go. I am using the Grungebuster Mat with a Ceramic platter turntable with excellent results. You can't go wrong.
@hifijunky and @technick What is the optimal thickness for a Herbies mat on a VPI Prime Signature turntable? Thanks.
no mat for me.... VPI Classic platter
I replaced my stock Technics SL-D2 turntable mat with a GEM Dandy rubber cork compound mat and enjoy the quietness it brought to my ’daily driver’ very much.

It’s also not to expensive at $60 and they always go on sale for less. And be aware that all rubber cork compound mats are not of the same quality.
I've been using a Mission Sorbomat ( Sorbothane) on my turntables for over 30 years with excellent results.  Unfortunately , they are no longer made and rarely available. 
If I had to choose, Sorbothane would probably be my least favorite material of all time. 
 I had the mission sorbothane mat on my glass platter for several years and it sounded better than bare glass, or any other mat I had tried at that time, like cork and felt

But my current acrylic platter, without any mat provides the most vibrant and expressive reproduction on my turntable at present.

For that reason and since replacing the platter may not an option on the turntables listed - If I were to try any mat I would opt for something like this one...
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/slredirect/picassoRedirect.html/ref=pa_sp_atf_aps_sr_pg1_2?ie=UTF8&adId...

But I would make sure it has the recess for the label

Regards - Steve
Well, wouldn’t you know it? I took off the 10" record mat and played Basie Jam #2 again directly on the CTC oversize aluminum platter on my 401. Heck, better. Tighter bass, faster 3D cymbals, more color and emotion. I didn’t even bother adjusting VTA as it sounds perfect. Thanks for berating me!
Boston Audio developed a carbon graphite mat that many found to their liking, and sold it for quite a few years. BA is out of business, but Sakura Systems is now making and selling it for $250.
I did try the Hudson acrylic mat ( with label recess) but still preferred my 5mm Funk Firm Achromat.

However it is all going to be tt dependant as well as platter material.

Everyone is likely to have a slightly different experience.

My tt is Nottingham Analog Spacedeck.
A 20+ yr old ringmat. They appear to have gone Uber complex now with extra things you put under them. 

I’m really happy with the basic mat.
Post removed 
Next stop, Graphene mats. Hel-loo!
Tried the Boston mat and it killed the sound. Yes, it made things quieter and more controlled but it robbed the music of soul. Almost like going from a great original analog pressing to a remastered CD.
Sorry, i was wrong about the measurement of my platters, so i delited my post regarding The Mat vs. Micro Seiki mat.

The Mat (aka BA mat, 293mm diameter) should be fine for Technics platter. But Sakura Systems does not ship overseas.

But i prefer Micro Seiki gunmetal mats anyway.
Nobody here heard a turntable with vacuum hold down? Basis, SOTA and Air Force take things to a whole new level. Walker also. 
You do have to be careful with vacuum hold down. I have records that are permanently noisy on that account alone. 


A record mat has a specific job: control platter resonance and control LP resonance. If you can tap on the raw platter and it rings- the platter pad will help. But the LP is trickier- the platter pad has to be very nearly the same hardness as the vinyl (a durometer is helpful) to be most effective. Otherwise the pad will fail to absorb certain frequencies and may reflect them.

One way to tell your platter pad is working right is to turn the volume all the way down and just listen to the stylus in the groove. It should be pretty quiet. But if you can hear it from a foot or more away that's a pretty good sign your platter pad is failing at its job.
I have a KD 500. Using the original mat. Sounds fine. Are there particular ones I might investigate for this turntable? Only if you have personal experience. Theory only goes so far. Thanks.
I had a Kenwood KD-500 for about 18 years with a Grace G-707 arm.  I used the Platter Pad on it and it was a very good sound.  Only traded it in at the end as the speed started having problems staying true.  Bought a Maplenoll Ariadne air bearing TT/ arm that after about 9 months, I got working perfectly finally.  The Kenwood with Grace combo was highly reviewed by at least 2 rags at the time.  It was a very good sounding combo.  The 'Noll was much better sounding, but the PITA factor of all the possible ways the air delivery from the pump could go wrong wore me out.  Twice it caused the cantilever to snap close to a 90 degree angle.  I bought the Kenwood for $160 new and the Grace for $97 new from mail order places in California in the late 70's.  Tough to beat combo for that money.

Bob
Hi ...Thank you for all your responses. 
Atmosphere ...I would like to ask you about using record for record mat.
You said that using an LP for record mat is trickier but should be the same hardness as traditional record mat. I have tried it ...sounds good.
Am I losing anything sound wise ?
Thanks Ralph
Atmosphere ...I would like to ask you about using record for record mat.
You said that using an LP for record mat is trickier but should be the same hardness as traditional record mat. I have tried it ...sounds good.
@rocky1313 What I said was
But the LP is trickier- the platter pad has to be very nearly the same hardness as the vinyl (a durometer is helpful) to be most effective.

What I meant by this was that the interface with the LP is trickier to get right with a platter pad because it has to be the same hardness as the LP itself.
I have thought about using vinyl as part of a platter pad material, but as has been pointed out, an actual LP won't work because its the wrong shape. A platter pad has to be a complementary shape so its in contact with the LP surface and another LP or stack of LPs won't let that happen.
Interesting test Ralph.
I literally had to place my ear within 3 inch of the arm/cart before I could hear it.
One foot away absolute silence.

Nice to have some type of confirmation of what my listening tests have told me.

Thanks!
Atmasphere, I have been using vacuum hold down for 30 years and have never damaged a record. I suppose if you threw sand on the platter before the record you might be able to do some damage. No flat mat of any material can control a record that is not flat. They can dampen platter resonance and to some extent in the record (fortunately vinyl is pretty lifeless stuff) A properly designed vacuum system works perfectly all the time and every time regardless of the condition of the record at some additional expense and another box ( big box for the Walker) 
Ralph....in response to your latest post, I need clarification ...I am confused....explain complementary mat shape   
since the record is the same size as the platter and being used as a mat,both mat and record are same size and shape.Please explain
Thank you
@rocky1313 you’re thinking about diameter, but think about the thickness and concave of the vinyl, look here

Then look at the proper mat and try to understand why it is not flat as a pancake, but curved inward on the label area and on the area under the edge of the record.

SAEC engineers were a bit smarter and designed their mat not only for LPs, but also for 45s, this is why SAEC SS-300 mat shape is not flat. There is an inward curve circle for the 7 inch size of the recod.

Using an LP as a mat is bad idea. The best mats designed 30-40 years ago, you can’t find a better solution than Micro Seiki CU-180 / CU-500 Mats and SAEC SS-300 mat in my opinion.
rocky1313,

In my post, the Platter Pad is the name of an actual mat that is almost 1/4" thick. It was a somewhat flexible, but firm mat. This was sold back in about 1980 and is probably not being made anymore. Someone might still have one if you put in a wanted ad.  The combo with the KD-500 and Grace 707 was very highly reviewed back in the late 1970's to early 1980's.

Bob
Rocky what Ralph is saying  is that the center of the mat should be recessed to fit the elevated label area and have a total diameter slightly less than the record so that the fatter record lip can hang over the edge of the mat. This way the playing surface of the record is in fill contact and supported by the mat assuming the record is flat. Any mat or platter that does not do this should be avoided. Now no record is perfectly flat.
There are three systems to press there are three systems to press the record into the mat forcing it flat. All systems use a center record clamp. The there is the periphery ring ala VPI, Clear audio. Vacuum hold down ala SOTA, Basis, Air Force and finally the SME, Walker, Kuzma solution which is a bit harder to describe. There is a thin washer about 1" in diameter placed over the spindle under the mat. The record clamp is designed so that it only contacts the record label at  the clamps very periphery. So, now you have the record floating in the air the thickness of the washer so that when you screw the clamp down it flexes and forces the record into the mat. If you try this with an old 78 (shellac) it will crack and they warn you not to do this but vinyl is suitably flexible to take this.
My own opinion is that the periphery ring is a PIA. The SME clamp method works but stresses the record and I have seen 200 gm records crack a little at the center. 180 and below no problem. I personally like the vacuum method best assuming it is designed correctly using low vacuum pressure and a noiseless pump. It is easy to use and it works brilliantly. I think the bass and dynamic range are improved but I have no evidence to back that up and as always it could be psychological. If you want to think it sounds better it will. 
I have been using the Mitchell record clamp for a few years now in combination with the 5mm Achromat.

The beauty of the Mitchel is that you can apply as little or as much pressure as you desire. And it comes with two different thickness felt washers so some flexibility there too.

Not seen any issues on 200g vinyl and it really does flatten down some of the "flexi flier" records very well indeed.

YMMV
@rocky1313 Others have given you the clarification you asked for as well as I could.