Have you heard about the new kid on the block? What is an acrylic turntable mat? What does it mean for audiophilia? And for the audiophiles practicing it?
Read on to find out as we explore the ins and outs of the acrylic turntable mat, the benefits of using it, and what they are good for.
Improved Speed Consistency
Acrylic platter mats are automatically denser than most other kinds of turntable platter mat out on the market today. This record protection automatically gives the platter a greater mass. Both this density and increased mass will come in very handy for those worried about issues with speed consistency.
It should be no surprise to the more seasoned record collector that records are far from a perfect medium with which to listen to your favorite music. In fact, some of you might already have taken matters into your own hands and purchased a record weight, a tool that can help to stabilize the speed of a platter if it is spinning too fast.
The more adept you will be able to hear the difference. An acrylic turntable platter is simply a way for you to double down on this speed stability. With a turntable mat like this, you are rarely going to be left desiring a better and more stable apparatus with which to listen to your favorite music.
Another of the main reasons that many now opt to use an acrylic platter mat over any other substitute is its keen and nuanced ability to dampen vibrations before they have a chance to impact the listening experience.
Again, this is something that many audiophiles use a record weight – otherwise known as a record clamp – for. But little did you know that you could use an acrylic platter mat for the same purpose.
Acrylic is, as we have discussed, a material with a considerably high density. This renders it an apt tool for the dampening of unwanted vibrations before they have any sort of chance to impact the overall listening experience.
We have all experienced it. The one thing that many initiates to audiophilia will notice is the way that external influences can have such a grave influence on the listening experience, especially compared to digital means. This usually comes in the form of vibrations elsewhere, knocking the needle off its course.
Using an acrylic platter mat alongside a record weight will elicit such a change that you will scarcely be able to ignore how much of an improvement it makes.
Improved Sound & Clarity
The keener amongst you might have noticed that acrylic and the PVC that vinyl records are made from share a similar material density. They are each made from a different form of plastic, acrylic and polyvinyl chloride.
This analogous material density results in a relatable resonant frequency – each material is better suited to the conveyance of the other, at least more than some other materials.
This similarity is not only helpful in the abating of unwanted vibrations. No, this has a very real and noticeable impact on the overall sound of a record.
If you listen out, you will hear the way that the acrylic can cancel out unnecessary vibrations and unwanted resonances, erasing unneeded frequencies from inside and out.
This, thus, results in a supposedly more 3-dimensional soundstage – whatever the heck that means. Thankfully, this is also supposed to result in improved bass definition, a richer mid-range, and, overall, greater signal clarity.
Whether or not this is true is down for you to decide. For many, this is the domain of the audiophile – spending their whole lives trying to tell whether a certain improvement has actually made a difference until they are dead.
Of course, there is also the added bonus that, in using an acrylic platter mat, you will no longer need another kind of platter mat.
This goes for most circumstances unless you are intending to use your platter for the purposes of DJ’ing. The slipmat of a DJ will be no good if it can not move underneath the record while it has stopped.
A DJ will need to perform these kinds of free movements in order to properly cue up a song at the correct place without constantly needing to turn off the motion of the turntable platter.
Thus, in these instances (and if using an acrylic platter), a felt platter mat (like the one depicted below) will be necessary to ensure that this DJ can perform their duty properly.
Felt slipmats are pretty easily removed from the apparatus, so rest assured that you are not going to have to perform any changes that will last permanently.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are feeling a little more enlightened on the topic of acrylic turntable mats, sufficiently well-stocked with new knowledge, and able to take this knowledge out into the world anew.
FAQs Acrylic Turntable Mat
Are acrylic turntable mats any good?
This depends on why you will be using a turntable mat in the first place, though they do objectively have a number of uses and functions that render them desirable. Chief among these uses is their supposed ability to more properly regulate the speed at which a platter spins. These platter mats are denser and heavier than most, thus weighing the platter down properly. This is also why an acrylic platter mat is so good at dampening external vibrations that might otherwise ruin the sanctity of a listening experience. Some even purport that such a mat can improve the overall sound quality rather than simply keep these undesirable aspects at bay.
Does an acrylic turntable platter need a mat?
Not necessarily, though perhaps it might if you intend to use it for anything other than simply listening to music at home. Sure, acrylic turntable platters are very good at eschewing external vibrations from impacting the listening experience as well as for stabilizing the speed at which the platter spins itself. However, if you are wanting to branch out and start DJ’ing or something, then an acrylic platter is not going to do you any favors. As a DJ you will want to move the disc back and forth while the platter is still spinning, something that the addition of a felt mat will help with to no end.
What is the best material for a turntable mat?
There is no one ultimate material from which a turntable mat is constructed. Rather, each different material provides its own set of strengths and weaknesses. For the eschewing of extraneous vibrations and for improved speed stability, an acrylic platter mat really is unbeatable. If, however, you are wanting to DJ and, thus, move a disc back and forth while the platter itself still spins, then a felt mat is going to serve you far better.