(Vibro-stop Platter mat)
I was pleasantly surprised by it’s performance, which did indeed go beyond what I was experiencing with my previous set-up. The deck I’m currently running is a Pro-Ject Xpression III with stock acrylic platter, sitting atop a trio of isolation bearings which then sits above an air bladder.
One of the weaknesses on this particular turntable is that the platter, while constructed from an acoustically sound material, is not properly sized to the playing surface of an LP. It extends to 300mm in diameter, which doesn’t fairly accommodate the groove-guard of a typical pressing.
One of the first things I noticed and appreciated in the design was that it is sized, at 287mm, to fit just inside of the groove-guard, giving you an effective and stable surface in which to mate the record to the platter. Also I recommend using a clamp or weight with this design to completely couple the LP/Mat/Platter.
The mystery ‘polymer’ material really is doing something interesting here. Surface noise is better attenuated, giving you a much quieter background for the elements of a recording to be built around. As a result of this greater ability to track quietly, you are getting much better spacial relationships within various parts of a mix. Instruments are easier to understand, the sound stage comes more into focus.
LPs that previously tracked with grit and grain are now kept in check and smoothed out more. The VTA will most likely change slightly for you; but depending on your set-up, it may be for the better. One of the effects of having this lessening of noise overall is that everything sounds more relaxed and balanced, which is as it should be. In my experience it has also created a much more stable environment for making changes to the turntable set-up. Overall, this is a much welcomed improvement to the sound as a whole, and I would recommend the product to anyone, regardless of equipment.
One of my only qualms is in the sizing of the spindle hole. It’s slightly oversized on my deck, which I understand as being a necessary accommodation in the design to be cross compatible with various tables. However, it’s difficult to center it properly in this case, and I’ve yet to conclude if that has an effect on performance.
Benjamin Marsh, US
Editorial Comments (Hologram Acoustics):