Continuing with the turntable accessories; and in today’s instalment, it’s time to tackle the topic of turntable mats. 1 Mat in particular – the ‘Cork-It’ from Pro-Ject audio systems, recently purchased to complement our highly modified Rega RP6 turntable.
The cork-it is, you guessed it, nothing more than a cork turntable mat. Both it and its leather-it counterpart are designed to replace the common felt mats, which are said to over damp records and cause excessive static buildup. The cork-it comes only in brown, and has a 300MM (12”) diameter, coming in at 1.5MM thick.
The leather counterpart adds an extra 0.5MM in thickness and doubles the price. as for whether there’s a sound quality difference, only time and testing will tell; I didn’t have a leather mat on hand for this review to compare. I needed to drop the VTA by 1.5MM, so opted for the cork-it which is exactly half the thickness of the standard 3MM felt mat.
The cork-it mat has excellent damping characteristics, designed primarily for users of metal platters though also perfectly suited for use with glass platters. It’s thick and relatively smooth to the touch, with a label recess in 1 side. While I didn’t find its ability to damp the glass platter of my Rega significantly better than that of the previous felt mat, it was an improvement. Records placed on the mat feel more stable, and, as promised, static was never an issue.
Sound wise, the noise floor is lower; allowing detail to rise to the surface. The mats natural anti-static properties also help to further reduce noise; far fewer pops and clicks were encountered with the cork-it mat in place. The bass is slightly softer (probably due to the VTA alteration), though more musical, and there’s a slithy sparkle to the high-end that was lacking previously, I’m guessing as a result of less overdamping of the record itself.
In summary; the Pro-Ject cork-it is an inexpensive and effective turntable accessory. Users of felt and / or rubber mats should give this one a try; you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The Cork-It can be purchased from Amazon. Highly recommended.