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Results, Full Cork, Rubber Mat Test



Two weeks ago I became obsessed recording samples and playing them back on to test turntable configurations. The goal was to find the overall best presentation using cheap do-it-yourself (DIY) record mats one rubber sink the other a full cork mat. Each configuration was recorded using the Audio Technica 440mla cartridge. Since it has broken in (6-months) I felt it was time to test its sound with my system.

The results are close and in comparison but both materials were a significant improvement over the felt slipmat I had before. The first notice was that the full cork mat controlled that midrange and high end better that that rubber sink mat. I found it was important for the mat to adhere to the platter to silence those waveforms and stabilize the record. The cork mat covers more area on the platter’s surface so it sounded better than the rubber sink mat. Alone on the turntable, the sink mat performed better with the grid side down. The recording was heavier with bass but the high end remained faintly overactive when the bumps faced the platter.

However, magic happens when the cork mat hits the platter first and the rubber mat goes down grid to cork. The resulting sound is much better than all other mat combinations. The sound was fuller and tight (the timing picks up). I also noticed the instruments went deeper into the soundstage (love when that happens).

Side note: When placing the grid side was down (bumps up) and the cork mat on top, the record would crackle with static when removed. I figured those vibrations were rubbing across the cork as feet would across carpet.

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