RINGMAT

 

Launched in 1992, RINGMAT was then a new method of record support and the first that had been properly designed for the generation of an accurate, low distortion signal. Its unique design enables 12" records to be supported so that the main vibrational modes of record movement - caused by the input of stylus energy - give the minimum possible error signal. This allows for improved tracking and, as a result, a reduction in stylus and record wear.

With RINGMAT, there is a reduction of background noise with a cleaner, crisper and yet more delicate sound, together with a wider and deeper soundstage; there is an enhanced sense of power, with greater weight and authority in the bass.

 

Currently available in two main thicknesses, RINGMAT is a direct replacement for most felt and rubber mats on leading turntables, as well as all bare platters, including those made of acrylic and glass, provided they are flat. Remember, the Ringmat was designed for the acrylic platter of the DNM ROTA turntable, initially using a Linn LP12. Click here to read 'The Story of Ringmat'.

 

The five current Ringmat models are as follows:

  • RINGMAT 200 about 2.4mm thick (original 1.8mm version not currently available)

  • RINGMAT 250 about 3mm thick (original 2.4mm version not currently available)

  • RINGMAT 330 MkII XLR about 3mm thick

  • Anniversary Ringmat 330 about 3mm thick

  • Anniversary GOLD SPOT Ringmat about 3mm thick - For NEW 'Real Ale' Version - CLICK HERE

To view images of the current Ringmat range please click here.

 

Except in the case of those few turntables that normally have an extremely thin rubber or felt mat and have no tonearm height adjustment, it is recommended that the new Anniversary Gold Spot “Real Ale” version, Anniversary 330 or 330 MkII XLR should be chosen. Accordingly, Linn, Roksan, Rega and similar turntables should use one of the aforementioned Ringmats. If in doubt consult your supplier or Ringmat Developments as to which thickness you require for your turntable.

 

ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT 330
Celebrating 10 years of RINGMAT design, this was the first new RINGMAT to be introduced since 1996. Based on the immensely successful 330 MkII XLR, which continues in its new guise (see below), the ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT (see right) has the anti-resonance “cut-outs” to be found in RINGMAT Spacers and new concepts for the operation of the rings.

With the other RINGMATS, the rubber-based adhesive used included a polyester carrier, which acted as an interface between the cork rings and the special paper substrate. With the ANNIVERSARY, the acrylic adhesive used does not involve a carrier and a more direct contact is made between the cork rings and the substrate. This not only creates a more immediate sense of presence in the sound, with far more detail retrieved, but also provides a much stronger bond between the rings and the paper.

The anti-resonance “cut-outs” improves the dynamics of LP sound reproduction; the amount of information retrieved is greater and this also helps create a much larger, wider sound stage. This is particularly impressive when the ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT is used as part of the RINGMAT SUPPORT SYSTEM. In this instance, we suggest the “cut-outs” in the ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT are aligned with the direction of the “cut-outs” in the Spacers, with the LP STATMAT and RINGCAP also following the pattern. Because the individual components are of a different size, the “cut-outs” do not directly overlay each other, but the general layout and direction, based on the position of the Spacers, will be clear.

 

ANNIVERSARY GOLD SPOT RINGMAT
Nearly six years later, in August 2007, we introduced the Anniversary Gold Spot Ringmat. Here we introduced a more advanced, and thinner, adhesive, thereby further reducing the layers of substance between the cork rings and the paper substrate to provide an even more “immediate sound” when playing LPs. We also introduced a new concept in sound technology in the design and manufacture of the “Gold Spot” itself, which has incredible beneficial results in sound reproduction. Initially, it is being used just for the Anniversary Ringmat, but in due course it will be used with other Ringmat products.
 

ANNIVERSARY GOLD SPOT RINGMAT – ‘REAL ALE’ VERSION
In 2012, we were delighted to announce a revised version of our best selling Anniversary Gold Spot Ringmat called the “Real Ale” version. This primarily involved a change in the paper we used, to one containing beer grains instead of cotton. This happily occurred because the paper we had been using from the very beginning of Ringmat suddenly no longer became available due to the closure of the paper manufacturer we had been using – we say “happily”, because when it happened there was great concern whether we could find an alternative paper that would provide a level of performance to that which we had enjoyed for many years; in the event, the “Real Ale” paper was even better for making Ringmats, but it was thicker and therefore could not so easily be used for the thinner Ringmats, especially as the thinner paper that had been used for the Ringmat 200 and 250 was also no longer available.


RINGMAT RANGE
Fortunately, we still have some stocks of the original Anniversary Ringmat paper and also stocks of the same Ringmat paper but in a blue/grey colour instead of the buff coloured paper we had been using. The blue/grey paper is slightly thinner than the buff coloured paper (by about 0.030mm) and will in future be used for the Ringmat 330 MkII XLR; also for the Ringmat 200 (which will now be 2.4mm thick) and the Ringmat 250 (which will now be about 3mm thick). If we come across suitable thinner paper to enable us to make thinner 200s and 250s, we will do so. Once adjustment has been made for the very slight reduction in thickness of the blue/grey paper, the sound of the XLR is identical to that in recent years using the earlier buff coloured paper, whilst the performance of the new Ringmat 200s and 250s is greatly improved, not only by the use of the better quality paper but also because of the use of a better and thinner acrylic adhesive. So all round, the quality of the Ringmat range has now vastly improved.

 

 

Ringmat 330 XLR Mk II

SET UP
The overall thickness of the ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT is similar to other 330 MkII models and therefore the advice given in respect of the cartridge and tonearm alignment when using them should continue to be followed with the ANNIVERSARY. For those users who have not previously used a RINGMAT, the instructions given with the 330 MkII and MkII XLR models are reprinted below.

USING YOUR RINGMAT
For many record lovers, it may be sufficient to just replace an existing felt or rubber mat with a RINGMAT. The notes that follow are therefore written for those who wish to go further in extracting maximum pleasure from their records and to explain what is happening, and then what is required, if it is felt that the sound could still be improved upon.

YOUR TURNTABLE PLATTER
The ANNIVERSARY series of RINGMATS, in common with the 330 MkII and MkII XLR, has an extra ring on the underside about 2¼ inches (58mm) from the centre of the spindle. As it is important that this extra ring rests securely on the platter, gently press the RINGMAT down onto the platter by applying slight pressure on top of the RINGMAT immediately above the small underside ring. Only the three underside rings of the RINGMAT should rest on the platter, so do not press the RINGMAT down so hard that any part of the paper substrate (disc) itself is pushed down onto the platter.

In the case of those turntables having a split platter, such as certain of those from Linn, Roksan, AR, Thorens, etc., the inner platter or hub is usually slightly lower than the outer platter, often by 0.15mm or 0.3mm. So long as the inner underside ring still rests securely on the surface of the inner platter, even though it is very slightly lower than the outer platter, this should give an excellent result. However, should the difference between the inner and outer platters exceed 0.5mm, it will be best to build up the inner platter so that its surface is not more than, say, 0.3mm lower than the surface of the outer platter.

For Roksan Xerxes and Garrard turntables, Ringmat Developments have developed special platter inserts for significantly improving sound quality when using the ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT and other 330 MkII models with these turntables. For more information on this matter, or to order a platter insert, contact Ringmat Developments.


CARTRIDGE & TONEARM ALIGNMENT
In the RINGMAT instructions it states: "If there is height adjustment to the tonearm, make such adjustments as are necessary to ensure that the tonearm and cartridge are aligned to the surface of the record as is appropriate for the design of the cartridge." Most instructions for aligning the tonearm and cartridge suggest that these should lie parallel to the surface of the record. Following the pioneering work of Russ Andrews and others, further research has shown that the 'parallel' concept (virtually an industry standard) is not usually the best approach for most cartridges.

The aforementioned research has confirmed that a far more accurate signal, with much less distortion, can usually be obtained by having the tonearm sloping slightly down towards the back (i.e. towards the pivot). It was also found that when the stylus pressure of the cartridge was set at a point that was more suitable to the room conditions (see following paragraph) the pivot end of the tonearm needed to be between 2mm and 2.5mm lower than the headshell end. The reason for the range of 0.5mm is that the optimum setting varies from cartridge to cartridge (the foregoing seems to be good for most cartridges, typically with a nominal tracking angle of 20° - 23° ) and also from record to record, according to the thickness of the vinyl and the angle at which the record was cut; indeed, the actual variation to achieve an optimum stylus rake angle for any record is around 1mm or more, but the suggested range is typical of many records.

Where the tonearm is aligned as suggested above, then in rooms of an average temperature and humidity, stylus pressure should be set half way between the mid-point and the bottom of the recommended range for the cartridge - for very warm rooms, stylus pressure should be lowered towards the bottom of the range; for cooler rooms, it should be increased towards the mid-point. Further background information is available from Ringmat Developments.

A suggested way to align the tonearm for an ANNIVERSARY RINGMAT and other 330 models (which raises the record about 3mm above the platter), is to place a flat sheet of card or plastic with a thickness of around 0.75mm* on the bare platter and place a record on top. Then, by measuring the distance between the surface of the record and (1) the front and (2) the back of the headshell (e.g. to the underside edge of the headshell in each case), adjust the height of the tonearm so that the distances, (1) and (2), are the same. Then remove the sheet of card or plastic and replace with the RINGMAT. Initially, set stylus pressure according to room conditions (see previous paragraph) and fine tune by listening to one or two records in the normal way - reducing pressure if the sound is heavy, thick and slow, or increasing pressure if the sound is rather thin with a hard edge, the bass over-dynamic and lacking in extension, and the sound generally too fast or 'mechanical sounding', lacking emotion.

* A plastic Shim of 0.75mm is available, if required, from Ringmat Developments.

 

RINGMAT SPACERS & RINGMAT SUPPORT SYSTEM
Now that RINGMAT Spacers are available, either separately or as part of the RINGMAT SUPPORT SYSTEM, this will not only make many of the aforementioned procedures much easier, but it will also be possible to establish, quickly and easily, an accurate setting for the LPs in a collection. It should be appreciated that, in a well optimised system, an error of as little as 0.1mm in the height of a record on the platter will degrade reproduction considerably. It is, in fact, the dominant parameter affecting sound quality and that is why so much emphasis has been placed on it in these notes. RINGMAT Spacers also provide an improved interface between the low mass of a RINGMAT and the very much higher mass of the platter, generating a significant improvement in the dynamics of music and other sounds on playback, as well as enabling the user to achieve a more accurate stylus rake angle.

 

Ringmat Spacer

Mat Stud Engaged

 

© Copyright Ringmat Developments 2012, web design by Mark Wilson