If you’re new to owning a record player, one of the first accessories to learn about is the turntable mat. Also more experienced vinyl listener can truly benefit from understanding the differences in turntable mats. Let's dive deeper!
What's a turntable mat?
A turntable mat, also known as a platter mat or record mat, is a circular pad that is placed on the turntable platter. It serves several purposes and can have an impact on the overall sound quality and performance of a turntable.
Here's some benefits about turntable mats:
Surface for record placement: The primary function of a turntable mat is to provide a smooth and non-slip surface for placing vinyl records. The mat helps hold the record in place during playback and prevents it from slipping or moving while it spins.
Vibration damping: Turntable mats often have properties that help absorb vibrations and minimize resonance. They can help reduce unwanted noise caused by external vibrations, such as footsteps or speakers, and provide a more stable playback environment.
Improved sound quality: A turntable mat can have an impact on the sound reproduction. Different materials and thicknesses can affect the overall tonal balance, dynamics, and even reduce surface noise. Some mats are designed to enhance certain frequency ranges or provide a warmer sound, while others aim for neutrality.
Protection for records: Turntable mats act as a protective layer between the vinyl record and the hard surface of the turntable platter. They help minimize direct contact, reducing the risk of scratches or damage to the record's surface.
Turntable mats can be made from various materials, including rubber, cork, felt, leather, acrylic, and more. The choice of material can impact the sound characteristics and performance of the turntable. Some mats may also incorporate additional features like anti-static properties or special treatments to further enhance their performance.
Types of Turntable Mats
Rubber Turntable Mats
Rubber turntable mats provide a strong grip between the turntable platter and the record, ensuring stability during playback. They have natural vibration-damping properties, reducing unwanted noise and enhancing audio clarity. Rubber mats are durable and can withstand repeated use without losing their grip or performance. They are relatively easy to clean, requiring simple wiping or mild soap and water. Additionally, rubber mats are compatible with various turntables and record players, making them a versatile choice for different setups.
Felt Turntable Mats
Felt mats come in various colors and designs, allowing users to personalize their turntable setup and enhance the overall aesthetics of their listening area or DJ booth. Thickness and density variations in felt mats provide users with options to tailor the sound to their preferences, with some opting for thicker mats for added cushioning and vibration absorption, while others choose thinner mats for a more direct and dynamic sound. On the downside, felt mats are renowned for attracting static, dust and hair that can affect the sound, and often feel cheap compared to other platter mats. They also may not stay as tight to the turntable if you’re only using it for listening.
Cork Turntable Mats
A text about a cork turntable mat
Leather Turntable Mats