APPLICATIONS: Using an AQ SorboGel Record Mat will greatly improve the sound of any turntable with a glass or metal platter. Vinyl or composite turntable platters, which include an effective clamping system, will not usually need an AQ Record Mat.
WHY THE RECORD/PLATTER INTERFACE IS IMPORTANT: When playing a record, the cartridge stylus presses against the vinyl surface with a force of many tons per square inch. This enormous pressure transfers energy into the record, causing it to vibrate. In addition, the platter can also resonate as some of this energy is transferred into the platter. The platter con also be caused to resonate by vibration from the turntable’s motor an bearing, some of this vibration will then be transferred to the record. A cartridge “reads” the difference between the motion of the stylus tracking the groove and the (hopefully) stable platform provided by the tonearm and headshell. The information being read is of the order of billionths of an inch (0.00000025mm). Even extremely small vibrations in the record will modulate with the music, compromising all aspects of the musical performance.
HOW DOES SorboGel HELP?: If vinyl records were each a few inches thick, there would be no problem. This ideal would provide a stable surface for the cartridge to read, and vinyl’s natural mechanical lossiness would filter platter resonances. The AQ SorboGel Record mat approximate this ideal by absorbing record and platter vibrations while maintaining a strong foundation for the record.
SorboGel (a specialized variation of Sorbothane®), is a synthetic material made up of very long molecules, many of very long molecules, many of which are not cross-linked.
SorboGel is technically somewhere between being a solid and a liquid. All the “loose” molecules are free to wiggle (microscopically), and thereby convert the incoming kinetic energy (motion) into heat. Platter and vinyl vibration is absorbed and “killed.”
Some other materials are able to provide comparable isolation from platter vibration, but do not absorb as well. This causes the record vibrations to be bounced back into the record, usually causing more damage to the sound than any good. Some materials are also able to absorb fairly well. Unfortunately most of these materials also cause ore instability or lack of a support foundation for the record, causing a loss of the recording’s dynamics, something which is most often heard as “soggy” bass.
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