Replacing cork platter mat with acrylic mat

After reading some reviews touting the benefits of acrylic platter mats, I ordered one, out of curiosity.

It arrived yesterday and I sat down for an A/B listening session. Played "Car on a Hill" from Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark". Beautiful, gorgeous, lush sound.

Then replaced my cork mat with the acrylic mat. Played the same track -- WTF? Terrible, congested sound, the bass became timid and all the sparkle was gone! The sound was wimpy, claustrophobic.

Placed the cork mat back on, played the same track -- aaahhhh, what a relief! Gorgeous sound is back in its full glory.

So what gives? How is it possible that such minor change results in such shocking degradation in sound?


I am liking my Stein music mat. Made in Japan of some sort of paper fibers and resins...not cheap, I paid $250 , probably selling at higher prices now. Using it on an acrylic platter. It is stuck onto the platter with 4 glue dots, to keep it perfectly flat. I’m using a hide in the sound leather/suede mat on another turntable with a metal platter. I think the leather mat sounds great, plus zero static. About $30 bucks plus shipping from hideinthesound. On my Technics 1200,  I'm using a KabUSA glass platter mat with a thin technics rubber mat on top. 

Is there a small difference in the thickness of the mat? It only takes a small difference in thickness to impact the setup.

Could be. I haven't measured. Can slight VTA difference really make such big change?


I’m not sure. But my audio guy (who is the only one to adjust my LInn LP12) was explaining what one and two playing card thickness would do to change the sound. I am constantly amazed at what precision is involved in making a turntable and cartridge sound great. I am fortunate enough to own a fantastic one. One that I only use and absolutely never touch or make any adjustment to. I am a klutz… and very impatient.


If a highly  reviewed accessory doesn’t do what others say it does… I look for a possible cause… which is, of course, what you are doing. There are some really knowledgeable folks here that 

I am with ghdprentince on this. Does not take much to change the frequency response. If one is thinner, take a record you hate and put it underneath the mat. See if they sound closer.