Turntable Mats: Rubber, Felt or Cork.


I have a Linn Basik Turntable with an Akito tonearm and Rega Exacta 2 cartridge. Would one expect a noticeable sonic difference when changing from a felt mat to a rubber and cork mat?
joscow
Ime yes.

Best way though is always to just try.
Mats are cheap enough to give one of each a whirl.

And then of course there are many more options on mats.

Consider member Slaws MyMat for instance.
Good luck
Thought I said that Eric.... Lol
When I had a P3-24, I replaced the felt mat with a Herbies Mat. Very nice inexpensive upgrade.
@joscow,

First, thanks to those who mentioned MyMat.

While MyMat isn't as inexpensive as cork, felt, and....I can't bring myself to say r_bb_r,...... it will best those easily and most other mats at 4 times the price.

Check my ad on US Audio Mart. Also, check out the post under Member Reviews here.

Thank you,

Steve (Slaw)
Oops @uberwaltz, I somehow missed that line in your post!
rubber, cork or felt mat is a waste of time, they must be replaced with a proper mats if you want to hear the difference.

you will find tons of reviews about Boston Audio graphite mats and the latest version of BA mas is The Mat by Sakura Systems.

Boston Audio has been known for their pure carbon graphite turntable mats and insulation accessories, many of them received rave reviews and awards worldwide.

After some hiatus period, Boston Audio has teamed up with SAKURA SYSTEMS and now proudly introduces "The Mat", the culmination of our experiences through developping Mat 1 & 2. By incorporating different carbon graphite material, we successfully achieved the identical performance of Mat 2 with less thickness (4 mm) and the reduced price.

diameter/293mm
thickness/4mm
weight/454grms



manufacturing tour is here

P.S. I have some of the best metal mats like Micro Seiki and SAEC and last year i bought my first Sakura Systems The Mat, been using it and i must say this is a great mat! 

Unlike many other mats The MAT looks great on turntable platter! Here is the only picture of The Mat i took with Grace Ruby on it on my platter.
Another +1 for Slaw's MyMat. 
I expected that we’re all have different aesthetic preferences, but are you serious ? I must say i never seen Slaw’s MyMat, so i just check it, this is how it looks for $49 (original listing is here)


Definitely not for everyone in my opinion, i would rather pay $350 more on top of it to have something like this SAEC SS-300. 

Thanks @chackster for the slight misleading of everyone.

That picture I posted was of a MyMat (one of three) that just came fresh off a new role. I mention this in my ad. I assumed as well that thoughtful people who looked at MyMat's advertised thickness would understand this. 

I am somewhat surprised that chackster continues to dismiss MyMat without even wanting to try it and in spite of all of it's glowing reviews, in addition, I have never had one complaint.
Having said this, I should update my pictures soon.

When I mail an order, the way it is packed and the shipping time involved will assure the customer receives a perfectly flat MyMat.
A little churlish of you Chakster.

Especially as you have NOT tried one.

Slaw has quite a number of happy customers right here as well as external sales.
@joscow,

This may be as good a time as any....

The type of mats you listed are just off-the-shelf products cut in a circle with no actual thought behind them. Anyone can go to a craft store and find these materials and go home and cut out a decent circle. These range in price of 20 to 30 $. Now there is a rip off!

My MyMat has actual thought and testing behind it. It may not look like a $250.00 mat and on up but the proof is in the pudding. The fact that one MyMat is just around 1mm thick is very significant given the construction and effect it offers.Even using two, which more than doubles one MyMats’ positive contributions to one’s listening experience, at $99.00 is a steal. It will actually improve the sound of any existing mat one may have.

As you may have read in the Member Reviews section, I am not in this to make a buck. I really developed it as a labor of love for the (hobby) that I love so much. (much more than a hobby to me).

I was tempted to offer @chakster a deal but his preclusion to determine the effectiveness of a product based upon a glimpse of it, is a no go.

Peace,

Steve


I like my sorbethane may.
All you should do is try different ones on your rig.
@fuzztone,

Have you tried others?

Sorbothane traps resonances, very similar to rubber, Not good!.


I am sorry, but i would never even try any mat that looks like that one in the ad. And i would not use such mats even if it’s claimed to be superior to $400 mats, because i own those $250-1200 mats and they are just great.

I think it is also important how a seller represent his product for his customers, i hope my criticism will help to improve it, nothing personal here, just a good advice.

This is DIY product, very simple, in my opinion with very high price for a piece of something that looks like a 5 year old kid just cut it for fun. That was my first impression, today i just checked again and i have the same feeling. 

Again, nothing personal here, if someone like then it buy it for $49.

I do not sell Sakura Systems THE MAT and i am not related to that company at all, i bought THE MAT for $250 + shipping and i can highly recommend this mat here on audiogon, because it is a top quality product even after i have compared it to gunmetal mats that cost over $1k. Boston Audio designed first 2 versions of the mat.

For $250 it’s the best buy (imo).




Well @chakster, thankfully I’m not selling these to make a living or to make a profit. It is a labor of love for those of us who can appreciate a superior sounding product for what it is. Sorry you feel a need to tear it down without giving it a chance.
I tried a Boston Mat2 on my 401 years ago and sent it back. I have comments in another thread. Basically, while it did quiet things down by removing background grunge and offered what I'd call a stable panorama, it also removed the life and soul of the music to the point of my disbelief.
I also tried Slaws MyMat. Some non-scientific notes below from memory. VTA was adjusted for thickness.
Musicality/Detail/Soundstage/Quietness
Boston Mat - 5/5/6/10
Rubber - 7/6/7/7
Cork - 6/6/7/8
Vinyl 10" EP - 9/9/9/6
Bare PAC aluminum platter 10/10/10/7
MyMat 9/8/7/8

@noromance,

That's a pretty detailed way of remembering. 

Thanks for chiming in.

Steve
I think @noromance comment is a very fair way of saying how MyMat’ effectiveness can be had for a wide range of different tt/systems.

What would be interesting, a price/performance by a user.
I was re-reading the comments above.... It seems that @chakster prizes looks & price over effectiveness.
MyMat is fine. Even better get a Michell Reflex clamp with the MyMat. With this combo I am pretty sure you will hear an improvement. Don't expect to be knocked over by it but definitely noticeable.
@mijostyn,

You're recommending something unheard by you.

I don't recommend clamps.

We need proper user's comments here.
Just to clarify, I use the bare platter most of the time. Sometimes a recording is just too much. That’s when I throw on the MyMat to take the edge off without losing the essence. Being thin, there’s no need to adjust VTA.
Disclaimer: Steve sent me an early version to try.
@noromance,

Knowing your system/posts like i do,,,, I think you’re getting it! You still have the current version. Why change a good thing?
Any turntable mat will change the sound. I happen to like the SPEC Audio AP-UDI. Will you? Who knows.
if you want to try out an inexpensive interesting  mat try the washi mat by Teac, currently on sale on parts connection in CA , I,m getting good results with it on my Roksan Xerxes 20 , not staic like felt mats, its made oft thin  japanese papyrus. YMMV but at least is around 20 bucks.
I was re-reading the comments above.... It seems that @chakster prizes looks & price over effectiveness.

Design is definitely very important for me when it comes to any high-end gear (turntable or mat, speakers of amps).

But do you think that Sakura The MAT, SAEC SS-300 and Micro Seiki CU-180 and CU-500 are all inferior in comparison to your mat ?

If you never tried those mats i recommend you to try.
If you already tried please comment

@chakster ,

You were the "instigator", by dismissing MyMat based upon a picture. Several MyMat users chimed in. Given the construction of MyMat, it’s flexible nature, it’s 1mm thick design, it’s ability to dampen motor noise and still decouple a record from a platter in a 1mm thick mat, is incredible!. I have all positive users’ posts. It seems to me, I have nothing to prove. Actually, one MyMat user said he didn’t like the Boston Mat (Sakura) at all in his system. Which brings me to another point...all of my customers , with different TTs, have all reported good things. Again, I have nothing to prove.

This is with just one MyMat, ...I have had one repeat customer. Two MyMats are better than one, and two are just 2mm thick, perfectly connected to your  platter.
No you will not. Using a reflex clamp like the Michell should make a difference. 
@mijostyn,

Please tell us all how, by using a clamp that connects to a mechanical bearing makes a (positive) difference?
Slaw, you make a good point about the possible coupling effect of a reflex clamp. In one of my systems I use a Sota reflex clamp. I noted that the interface between the bottom surface of the clamp where it contacts the record label is isolated from the record label by some standoffs. I don’t know how effective that is to eliminate coupling of vibration from a motor , But I certainly do not hear a problem. When we talk about vibration from a motor, I guess we are limiting ourselves to direct drive turntables. There really is almost 0 vibration from a good direct drive turntable motor, but there could be bearing noise. I don’t hear that either, with the Sota clamp. This is not to say you are wrong and I am right, it is just my observation. And in general I think coupling of the LP to the mat by using a weight or a clamp has been beneficial for me. I do not go in for superheavy record weights, however.
Coupling by a weight is recommended. What some will be spend on a periphery ring is equal to a nice record flattener.
@lewm ,

I appreciate your post. However, I have paid much Attention to how all of this sounds. Probably, 6 years.. The difference in SQ is striking, to an astute  listener.
You were the "instigator", by dismissing MyMat based upon a picture.


maybe, but it’s my impression, and it’s DIY producs.

Several MyMat users chimed in. Given the construction of MyMat, it’s flexible nature, it’s 1mm thick design, it’s ability to dampen motor noise and still decouple a record from a platter in a 1mm thick mat, is incredible!.

Every felt mat is as flexible as yours, this one is the thinnest ever, not sure why thin mat must be better than thick mat ?

I have all positive users’ posts. It seems to me, I have nothing to prove. Actually, one MyMat user said he didn’t like the Boston Mat (Sakura) at all in his system. Which brings me to another point...all of my customers , with different TTs, have all reported good things. Again, I have nothing to prove.

You don’t have to, i believe none of your customers compared it to Micro Seiki CU-180 gunmetal mat or SAEC SS-300 mat then. The comment about Boston Audio is just one opinion, you will not find negative feedbacks about BA mats, but latest Sakura System The Mat is not exactly BA mat, it’s mk3 version (it’s thinner if it’s important for you).

This is with just one MyMat, ...I have had one repeat customer. Two MyMats are better than one, and two are just 2mm thick, perfectly connected to your platter.

The question was about direct comparison of Your Mat to some of the best mats out there (such as Micro Seiki and SAEC people using for over 40 years, and modern mat like BA or The Mat from Sakura which is relatively new product).

An opinion of someone will be more valuable when i will see a list of mats compared to your mat. There are many bad mats of the market, especially new mats, but i want to remind you about the most popular expensive mats.

Did you ever try Micro Seiki CU-180 or CU-500 or maybe SAEC SS-300 ?
I guess you failed to remember @ noromance list of his personal mats and their benefit. 

This was early on in this very thread.

Like I said, I have nothing to prove.
@chakster,

Let us all read personal remarks about the mats you are high on. I've done that. You????
I don’t have any of the mentioned mats and so ( as I would about ANY unheard product ) feel comments about an unheard product other than aesthetics or some other non-sonic feature are close to worthless.

obviously a wide sample of mats would / could be a fairly significant investment and require many hours of listening.

personally, I praise Steve for creating something new which more than a few people enjoy :-) how wonderful is that!

enjoy the music!

my primary table is a Bardo with a uniquely engineered platter and clamping system.
noromance,  what is a PAC aluminum platter?  Nothing comes to mind for those initials.

Could it be any aluminum platter, like one of the Technics, or a specific one?

Thanks
In my opinion, platter mats are like seasoning of very fine food.  Each palate will react differently to one particular choice or another.  And fish requires different seasoning compared to beef stew. Although each of us like to think of ourselves as a searcher for the Absolute Sound, and although most of us believe that such a Holy Grail actually exists, I think in fact we are all prisoners of our own senses and biases.  Therefore, I would make no definitive pronouncement on what is the "best" mat, although I think we can all agree that rubber mats, and maybe also rubbery mats, are not so great (to put it as diplomatically as possible).  Also, within this argument about mats there is a minority who prefer to elevate the LP above the platter (e.g., the much loved Resomat), which is like saying they prefer no mat at all. So this is why I am not blown away that Noromance does not like the Boston Audio mats (whereas I do) or that someone else doesn't like metal mats of any type, or etc.  Likewise, I would have to try Slaw's mat for myself before giving it a thumbs up or down.  I am by the way, blown away by Noromance's ability to give precise numerical rankings in 4 categories for each of about a half dozen mats, especially since in every category, all the mats ranked >5, on a 1 to 10 scale.  So the rankings are really on a 1 to 5 scale.  Seems to me the nature of the platter itself, of the drive system, and of the other elements of the turntable, tonearm, and cartridge are critical co-determinants of the end result.  So Noromance's rankings are only relevant to his turntable, tonearm, and cartridge, not to mention his phono stage/amplifier/speakers/room.
I guess you failed to remember @ noromance list of his personal mats and their benefit.

This was early on in this very thread.

Like I said, I have nothing to prove.

There is nothing interesting in his list and nothing serious to compete with your mat. 

Apparently this thread is not the advertising of your mat i hope, so i've mentioned some killer mats for the OP to consider as a serious alternative. 
I don't use a platter matt with my Thoens TD-203. It did not come with one and the platter is recessed where the record label is thicker so the actual vinyl record sits in contact w/ the platter. A record clamp might be worth trying for the TD-203.
@lewm
I agree with your comments and others should also be aware of the default subjectivity of my notes.
Some additional notes. First off, I have an almost eidetic and long memory when it comes to the senses. I can’t help it. I also prefer a brighter, transparent and airy sound. Second, my grading of the mats is obviously based on my system and how I hear the mats. I noted in my post that it was non-scientific. I also used the 10 point scaling to denote the differences with more granularity.
Third. I stand by my comments on the BM2. Damped the hell out of the music. Lastly, while I did comment on Slaw’s MyMat, and suggested it sounds pretty good, it is not my intention to promote it. That’s why I made the disclaimer in an earlier post that Slaw sent me a mat to try. It simply is one of the few mats I had to make some comparisons. Certainly, the OP should try other mats. Nowhere did I suggest that more expensive mats like the gunmetal suggested by Chakster would be inferior or not options. Thanks.
Joscow, I have a highly modded Linn lp12 that I find the felt mat on the rough side sounds better. I also have a table like yours a Linn Axis with an Ittok on it. I tried everything I could get my hands on I did a Merrill cork, metal, rubber hybrid. Rubber, leather, and so on everything has a sonic signature but went back to the dusty dirty felt mat. If you do use a felt mat try both sides I do hear a difference some may argue and if you like make sure it is a Linn mat that may make a difference also.
hopefully all this accumulation of wisdom is helping the original poster in the search for musical happiness!
I love the detail this topic is receiving.
If the OP learns anything here, it ought to be that he has to try a few different types of mat for himself, and then decide for himself which is best.  On the scale of the cost of audio things, that is not such a very expensive experiment to do for oneself.  In one way or another and over a period of years, it is how each of us arrived at our own preferences.