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.
The rubber mat that came with my Technics SL-D2 had been replaced some years ago by a basic felt mat. Back then, I wasn’t playing vinyl records very often, and one day I noticed the rubber mat wasn’t laying flat on the platter. In fact, this material had dried with time and lost its suppleness. Taking it off the platter made it broke in pieces!
I found a felt mat as a substitute.
Now that I’m playing more vinyl records, I’m tired of the felt mat (too light, too thin, sometimes coming off with the record) and I was looking at cork mats, wondering wether they’re good, bad or something in between. Some users are happy, others are not. I found this review on your blog, but I read on other posts the good comments you wrote about SRM/Tech products. I’ve checked their website. There’s a line (Arezzo) of mats in neoprene, with a wide choice of thicknesses, but they’re so light! There are acrylic models too, but I finally ordered a 2mm silicone one. It looks interesting. I hope it’s not too heavy at 170g. (I can’t remember the weight of my original rubber mat).
Interesting, it’s quite common for rubber mats to harden over the years but I’ve never seen one fall to pieces. The silicone mat would be my choice on that table to dampen the platter. It certainly won’t be too heavy; the original mat is heavier than 170G, in fact it’s probably closer to the weight of their ‘extra thick’ silicone mat. It’s also somewhat thicker from memory at about 4-5 mm. To that end you could possibly experiment with using an acrylic mat on top of the silicone one.
Well, you’re likely right with the thickness of the original mat. From memory, I’d have thought it was more than 2mm, but I wasn’t sure at all and, considering the weight of the silicone mat, I was thinking it’d be enough.
As you suggest, adding a second one (acryl or maybe neoprene) on top could do the job.
Thanks for your help and your interesting reviews.