Helping to control and focus sound frequencies, a player mat can be of use for many turntables. Paul Rigby reviews The Soundeck PM
Produced as a development of the SoundDampedSteel isoplatmat, this new variation arrives in two flavours: the standard 295mm diameter model and the 285mm version for those turntables with a lip on the perimeter. The model is available in black and silver.
I began the sound tests by spinning Nat “King” Cole’s Shooting High backed by a jazz orchestra and added the mat to my Wilson Benesch Circle turntable. Without a mat, the frequencies seemed rather uncontrolled and liable to zoom off in a random direction at any given moment. Vocals were rather bright, the brass section seemed determined to clash and almost fight amongst itself while the bass sounded more like the snoring from a bear in a cave.
With the SDS in place, there was far more dynamic reach, in terms of the upper midrange. Cole’s vocal delivery was smooth and now under control while previous bright points during crescendos were removed. The brass section now appeared all to be pulling in the same direction while the lowering of noise and increase in air gave the bass room to manoeuvre, adding weight in the process.
As with the puck reviewed elsewhere, I would experiment with your own particular turntable in terms of trying different mats to measure their own performance. Some will shine with the attention of a dense bass-driven Butyl/Tungsten rubber mat, such as my reference BR-12 from Oyaide while others will prefer the lighter, slightly more open and fresher sound from this steel SDS mat. If you are able, ask your dealer to loan both types to you to see which is best for your system. In general terms, the SDS sample does correct sonic issues that will be exhibited on many turntables. You just need to decide on your tonal preference when compared to competing designs.
SDS SOUNDECK PM PLATTER MAT £90
Tel: 0191 2590700
GOOD: focus, frequency control, low noise, clarity
BAD: careful matching required