Funk Firm Achromat Universal Record Mat
Throw the Felt away!In the 1980s, rubber, silicone, and cork all had proponents claiming to be the best at "damping", but how could they all be right? Obviously, no one had a clue.
Then Arthur Khoubesserian arrived. Forwarding a theory matching disc/platter impedance, he released the Pink Triangle with its naked acrylic platter. His (now logical) suggestion to sit a record directly on "hard" acrylic was nothing short of heresy, but the idea worked!
Today, survival of the fittest means acrylic platters are "de rigueur" in all high end turntables. Unfortunately for today's competition, and despite the benefits, acrylic's own limitations, as well as further innovations, have caught up with it. Its mechanic-acoustic impedance doesn't precisely match that of the record.
Now, The Funk Firm introduces the next stage in vinyl evolution: Achromat. Achromat's new material matches records 100 percent. It doesn't stop there. Achromat is further optimized by the introduction of bubbles, which gradually increase internal damping and reduce weight. The results you'll hear: more space and air, inky black backgrounds, layered timbral color, better midband resolution, and a more sonorous, deep bass.
Ratings & Reviews
I just tested my new Achromat Record Mat by recording and testing the first 90 seconds of More Than A Feeling by Boston. My turntable is an Audio-Technica AT-Lp120 with the preamp removed with custom built RCA cables soldered directly to the tone arm wires for a direct connection. I’m using a Cambridge Audio 551M preamp. Cartridge is an Audio-Technica AT440MLa. First I tested my 3 pads (bottom pad is a cork RINGMAT, middle is an anti-static pad, and top pad is a Herbie Foam pad). Next I tested the Achromat by itself, but it left my tone arm nose down (can’t adjust tone arm far enough down to level it off). Third test was with my Herbie Foam pad on platter with Achromat on top. This raised the tone arm back to level. 2nd test sounded good, but 3rd test was the best. The part I noticed was the hand clap section as it came through more clearly. The bass guitar at the beginning was much more tight and didn't sound reverberated as in the 1st test. My conclusion is that it does what it says it'll do. It was pricey, but I'm happy with the improved sound quality. If ordering for the AT-Lp120 you will need to order the 1200 as it has the same lip on the platter as the Technics 1200. But, if you have the same issue of the tone arm VTA not going far enough down to level the tone arm then the lip part won’t matter and the 5mm will probably work.
Better than the flimsy mat that comes with base Pro-ject RM 1.3, but I don't hear any difference whatsoever. Hopefully that changes.
Added a 5mm 1200 version of this to a Technics 1210-M5G. WOW! Bass hits are harder than ever. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble never sounded so good! Thanks to Patrick and the guys up in the store for the suggestion to get this. Not sure you could spend $120 on anything else and improve the sound so well.
I don't understand how this works, all I can say is that it does. Significant improvement in overall sound. System: Atma sphere amps, Berning pre-amp, Denon turntable. Tested with AT OC9 and Dynavector 10X5 cartridges
Used the 5mm on my LP12, smeared and dulled the sound. Much inferior to my SDS sub mat and cork platter mat combination.
by Jim C.
Simply amazing, setting on acrylic platter .This matt does every thing it claims .Takes my TT to next level...go for 5mm if you have VTA adjust
I seriously love this mat! I have the 3mm version now and would never think of giving it up (even perhaps upgrading). On my system I can tell you that all brass and percussion instruments sounds 10x better. It really is an amazing improvement.
I was skeptical...
After placing this on my legacy Dual 1219 and lifting the arm to dial in VTA, I was amazed at the difference! At low volume, the detail was effortless.. i took the pad off, set the arm back down, and replayed the same Diana Krall tracks at the same volume, and it sounded "tired"-- not quite quiet, but more like it was straining to play quietly if that makes sense. I put this pad back on, and the life was back... still quiet, but blacker, firmer, fuller and brighter--almost like the record grooves got deeper. That's actually a good way to describe it.. its like going from a worn out record to a fresh pressed copy. I need to study the physics of this as it doesn't take a sophisticated ear to notice the difference here.
I bought this because the felt mat that came stock with my Rega P3 was a real dust magnet. I’m not an upgrade junkie, and I just wanted a replacement mat that was the exact thickness spec for non-VTA arms like the Rega (3mm). I’ve been reading various positive reviews of the resonance qualities of the Achromat for some time, so decided to give it a shot. It’s obvious that the Achromat is well-engineered, and I really like the double-sided adhesive tabs (which get the mat flat and snug against the platter). The noticeable sonic attribute of this mat is that it produces a noticeable silent/dark background. As for all the other sonic claims I read about in reviews, I really don’t hear them. But the black background, that’s definitely there. I bought this as an open box/return from ND. As always, ND products are well-packaged, show up on time, and ship as described. Thanks, ND!
Brings LPs into focus
I knew the Achromat would work as advertised as soon as I put it on the platter. The 5 mm version is really inert. Every time I placed an LP on it, the mat made no sound. Once I played back LPs with the Achromat, I could immediately hear much further into the mix, or in the case of acoustic music, the notes started and stopped with much less smearing. Upon removing the Achromat and replacing it with the stock felt mat, the same records sounded blurred.