Why buy an acrylic platter mat?
Thursday, 11 March 2021 | Admin
It's a good question. If my turntable comes with a mat, isn't that the best one for my turntable? In most cases we feel the answer will be no.
Many manufacturers construct their platters in such a way so as to not require an additional mat. For example, AVID HIFI, Brinkman, Clearaudio, Gold Note, Michell Engineering, some Nottingham Analogue, SME, TW Acustic, to name a few. However, equally there are some higher-end turntables that do still use mats such as Kuzma, Mark Levinson, Technics SL1000R, VPI and Well Tempered. (By the way, Brinkman make one of my favourite turntables, the Bardo magnetic direct drive system turntable. Coupled with the Brinkman RoNt valve power supply it is pure audio heaven, untouchable by anything else I have heard.) Interestingly, the material that is often used for heavy weight platters is a type of 'plastic'.
Their reasons for not adding a mat are not necessarily because they think the sound is better with their platter material of choice, although it may be. In fact the reality is if you were to place an acrylic mat onto an SME for example you will almost certainly notice a difference in sound, and it may be a more engaging sound. Don't write it off, I am not saying that everyone will enjoy that sound more but I am sure many will. You just have to make sure that when adding an acrylic platter mat to such a turntable that you have enough vertical tracking clearance when adjusting the tonearm.
That is another reason why some people do require a mat; in order to raise the record further to make the tonearm more parallel ensuring that the styli tracks in the grooves well, giving equal weight to all the frequencies.
And by the way if you are really skeptical about acrylic mats I will point out that Clearaudio use acrylic as their main chassis in their £120,000 Statement Turntable!
Acrylic platter mats do improve the sound quality overall, enabling you to hear more of the music. Notes can feel sharper and the sound stage more open. It simply handles unwanted resonances and noise very well due to its construction.
Another reason for a Supermat is the colours! Black, Black, and more black, well, that's okay if that's what you like, but when you realise you have the opportunity to not only make your turntable sound better but also customise it and add that special touch, well we think that's rather great, isn't it?