A new addition to my system – and it’s Foo! (Well, sort of…)
Pictured above is the Tenuto platter mat from Pure Sound. Paul, the previous owner of the lovely Palmer 3.0 under the mat, recommended this as a must-have upgrade – plus it looks the dogs – so I bought one. Like the spiffy new Audio Note arm, it came from Jack at BD Audio.
The mat is made from Gunmetal, which is a type of bronze originally used for casting cannon. It is just slightly smaller in diameter than a 12″ record, and slightly dished in profile. It weighs in at a chunky 1.4 kg, so if your deck is of the bouncy-bouncy variety then some suspension adjustment may be in order.
No such drama on the Palmer: it just dropped on top of the high-mass platter in place of the standard cork mat. It’s even the same thickness, so no VTA fiddle-faddle needed. Unlike the cork mat, it isn’t at all grippy – so expect a little wheelspin when you drop a record onto the spinning platter.
As you can see, this mat really looks the business on the Palmer. It’s a perfect fit on the platter, and the colour is a great match to the brass arm board. So far so good.
I must admit I bought it largely for the looks – I’m a tart! I tend to think of this kind of thing as harmless foo, and I wasn’t really expecting it to have much of an effect on the sound.
But it did! Swapping back and forwards between the Tenuto and the cork mat while playing Paul Simon’s classic Graceland album (on flimsy 1986 vinyl) and it soon becomes clear that something unexpected is going on. There is nothing that you can put your finger on that actually sounds wrong using the cork mat, but somehow the Tenuto adds a bit of energy to the music – the whole presentation just seems to have more get-up-and-go about it. Moving forward in time to I Like Trains recent album, The Shallows, on hefty 180g vinyl and the effect is the same: more sparkle, more fizz, more life. Which considering it’s an I Like Trains record, says a lot…
Now the not-so-good news: the price. At a whopping £259.99 you can’t fail to notice that a whole record player including deck, arm, mat and cartridge can be had for less than this. Nevertheless I would recommend it as a worthwhile upgrade, assuming your wallet can stand it.
Pure Sound: http://www.puresound.info/
BD Audio: http://www.bd-audio.co.uk