BEYOND RINGMAT

 

FURTHER UPGRADES FOR YOUR TURNTABLE
Enthusiastic purchasers of Ringmats frequently phone me and ask, “What should I do next to improve the music from my LPs?”

They have usually heard about the Ringmat Support System, and have perhaps read some of the reviews, but this involves several different components and they are not sure where to start. The purchase of the full Ringmat Support System, excluding the Ringmat itself (if they already have one), may seem a lot of money to buy “in one go”, but in terms of performance for money it is far better spent this way before any upgrade to the cartridge or tonearm.

 

 

 

If, instead, they were to buy the System in stages (it is modular), what should they buy first?

I would recommend the latest LP Statmat configuration, called “LP Blue and Statcap”. Whereas the standard LP Statmat is a single layer of our patented conductive film, the LP Blue comprises two Statmat films, one each side of a polyester substrate, and in addition there is a third Statmat film called a Statcap. These three antistatic films work together at 90º to each other. The configuration is very much more powerful that way, eliminating all those “clicks” and “pops” caused by static and preventing the record mat from being “stuck” to the underside of the disc when it is lifted at the end of play. There is also a further benefit in using the latest LP Statmat configuration in that unwanted electronic fields arising from playing LP records, which cause phase distortions to the signal, are largely eliminated. The full extent of this problem is not appreciated without doing A/B comparisons with and without the Statmat devices.

Next, because it is so relatively inexpensive, I would recommend the Ringcap, which is now in MkII form. This unique but simple device absorbs vibrations that radiate from the centre of the record whilst it is being played. It rests on top of the LP, occupying an area smaller than the record label. Very light in weight, it comprises a single ring underneath an absorbent, low resonance disc, like a very small, upside down Ringmat.

The rest of the Ringmat Support System comprises the Ringmat Spacers, the instruction manual and, when the full System is purchased, the booklet ‘How to Set Up and Fine Tune a Turntable’. Although originally conceived as a means by which the record’s cutting angle can be replicated on playback, the design of the Ringmat Spacers has evolved to provide massive improvements in analogue sound reproduction in their own right. This is in addition to fine tuning the stylus rake angle and maintaining the correct VTA.

 

In summary, the Ringmat Spacers improve LP sound reproduction by overcoming the following engineering and alignment shortcomings inherent with all turntable designs, irrespective of price:-

  • LPs of different thickness. Differences in vinyl thickness have always existed, but the advent of an increasing number of 180g audiophile pressings makes the current problem far greater.

  • Different angles at which records are cut.

  • The adoption of platter diameters smaller than that which is ideal from an engineering aspect.

  • The unequal mass of record and platter, which needs to be graduated.

  • Unwanted resonances, which feed up through the turntable and are inherent in all platters. These will otherwise deflect stylus tracking and compress dynamics.

  • The “ringing” of some platter materials, which needs to be damped.

If the ability to adjust height is not critical (such as instances where the stylus tip is spherical), then the MRA version of the Ringmat Support System can be purchased – this version has only two Spacers instead of the eight in the full System. In this situation, the reasons for having the Spacers listed in 1. and 2. above are not important and the advantages of having them for reasons 3. to 6. can be acquired at a much reduced cost. The MRA version does not include the booklet ‘How to Set Up and Fine Tune a Turntable’, which is then available separately.

Of course, the improvements brought about by the LP Statmat and Ringcap will be far more noticeable once the Ringmat Spacers are in use. I often find when talking through the Ringmat Support System with customers that they appreciate the benefit of using the full Support System (or the MRA version) straight away and opt to buy it in one go.

An additional, but very important, stage beyond Ringmat is the support of the turntable itself, using Ringmat Feet, Statfeet, Ringmat Domes and, in due course, an anti-resonance platform for turntables. Then there are the other Ringmat accessories for improving the rest of the hi-fi system, including the full range of isolation, decoupling and anti-resonance products and platforms plus interconnect, tonearm and speaker cables.

For further help and advice, contact Ringmat Developments.

© Copyright May 2003
John Rogers
Ringmat Developments

 

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