PS, London

27th September 2013


By a happy coincidence, the family were out last night, and so I got the opportunity to try out the Real Ale Ringmat. I am amazed at the effect it has had. The first thing that I noticed was how natural the voices sounded, and then how ‘fast’, as John says, the music sounded. I reckon that what is happening is that when a musician plays eight notes, say very quickly, instead of hearing five or six, you actually hear all eight. Everything was so much more ‘musical’. In the larger picture, I suppose it’s all the different Ringmat components coming together. So thanks again for another great product!







17th September 2013

Just to say that I’m unexpectedly very impressed with my Gold Spot Ringmat Real Ale version. It is far superior – a quantum leap better – than the previous Anniversary Gold Spot. The music is faster, crisper, notes start and stop quicker, allowing more spaciousness and better stereo image. A phenomenal improvement – glad I bought it.






D. B., Wigan, England

15th March 2013


When I first used it I thought 'Bit warmer, slightly bigger soundstage, vocals clearer and easier to follow.' What I soon realised was that, in the same way that when you watch a 3-D movie and you put your 3-D glasses on and you see an immediate change - it's only after perhaps 15 minutes or so that you really grasp the clarity and depth of the images, so it is with the Real Ale mat. Once your ears become re-educated, the improvements are much more obvious and REMARKABLE.

So, going back to the start, the sound with the Real Ale mat wasn't warmer, as I thought, it was a 'warmly recorded' LP. The mat was simply allowing the turntable et al to reveal what was there. In fact, I've not heard such clarity from my LP's ever before. It's though a layer of mush I didn't know was there has been removed, and the 'blackness' between tracks on some tracks is really black.

A bright, rough recording, such as most Motown, will still sound bright and rough but there are still improvements in terms of the quality of the vocal being so realistic and the way it can be easier to pick out and follow backing musicians and instruments. But put on a well recorded and well pressed LP and the reproduction is near master tape, in my opinion. Width and depth of the soundstage, placement of instruments in that soundstage, ease of following any instrument and hearing 'all the notes' being played, and superb dynamic range. Well recorded vocals are stunning, it can be like the singer is sat on a chair in front of you, notes have a sharp leading edge and note decay seems to go on forever, so that well recorded guitar is wonderful.

I have tried to catch it out thinking that if the top end and midrange is so good, perhaps the bass is compromised, and so on. I have to say I have failed, I can't find a fault at all. The weakness is the quality of the software, the LP. I have 'identical' copies of some LP's and you can hear the difference between a UK pressing and a German pressing (UK usually brighter and instruments less well defined), between a UK pressing and a USA pressing (USA pressings often warmer, less exciting). Good pressings (most Japanese and most 180gram) can sound unbelievably good.

I have played LP's I've listened to for many years and they sound better than I have EVER heard them. Why didn't you develop this mat 40 years ago?






R.A., Hi-Fi Reviewer, Norway

12th November 2012

REAL ALE ANNIVERSARY GOLD SPOT - Ringmat fully vindicated

At long last I have been able to audition the most recent iteration of your classic Ringmat. My valve preamp needed a new voltage regulator, which has now been duly installed. With my preamp fully operational, it has been possible to hear the improvements wrought by your Real Ale Anniversary Gold Spot.

And it delivers in spades - exactly as you promised.

Here are my notes:

Compared to the earlier version, which I've been using for a number of years, the "Real Ale" has:
Improved definition (detail resolution) and focus, and an audibly more energetic and immediate presentation of the musical content. Timbres are richer, bass is fuller and tauter, the midrange is more open and articulate, and the higher frequencies are purer and more extended. One is brought into closer contact with the music itself and drawn into it in a more intimate way than the previous mat was able to.

In short: all the musical parameters have been improved across the whole frequency range. It's tantamount to listening to a better cartridge or phono stage. Your claims for the new mat have been fully substantiated. And I'm a greater fan of Ringmat products than ever before. I must interrupt here so I can put on another record...

My impressions are shared by a good friend who has taught music for many years. Other people who have also heard your product are similarly impressed by the improvements wrought by your turntable mat.






by Christopher Breunig

Spot the Difference

An evaluation of the new Gold Spot Ringmat by Christopher Breunig


So similar is the new Gold Spot Ringmat in appearance to the Anniversary Ringmat 330 (apart from the spot itself) I suspected that I would not find substantial audible differences between them - but this proved to be not the case! As noted in the accompanying literature, with a different adhesive used to bond the cork rings, the Gold Spot is thinner by 0.1mm, so for precise A-B comparisons some height compensation is necessary. Using the complete Ringmat Support System (on a Linn LP12 driven by Origin Live’s most highly specified motor kit) I added a green spacer for these listening tests.

But even without it, sound differences were immediately noted. A 1961 Mercury recording of Copland ballets with the LSO conducted by Dorati had just been reissued as a Speakers Corner 180g pressing, and I had already noted, via headphones, a degree of traffic noise outside Watford Town Hall picked up by the three-channel microphones. This was now much more distinct over Quad Electrostatic speakers; the orchestral sound itself becoming more focused and dynamic.

Putting in the spacer added weight to the sound. This gave a very convincing immediacy to a 1966 Decca pianoforte LP of Schubert played by Vladimir Ashkenazy [SXL6260], notorious for the tracking difficulties presented in the finale of the Sonata D664 - though not to my current OL Conqueror tonearm and Zyx moving-coil cartridge. Adding or subtracting the spacer changed the tonal nature of the sound, making it thinner when (effectively) the arm-rake was not the same as set up with the earlier Anniversary mat. With the Gold Spot and the extra spacer I found the stereo image more centred and solid.

Turning to two historic discs, of Mozart symphonies with Peter Maag and the Suisse Romande [Ace of Clubs ACL157] and Duke Ellington 1940s transfers to LP [RCA LSA 3069], and playing these as double-mono, amply confirmed that the sounds of the original tapes/78rpm shellacs were more accurately reproduced than I had heard from them before - by a wide margin in the case of the jazz LP.

My conclusions are that the Gold Spot is better able to convey timing - the articulate stream of notes in the Schubert Allegro, the attack and imaging of solo instruments such as harp, or xylophone, in the Copland. The music reproduction is cleaner and thereby allows increases in comfortable listening levels. It might seem extravagant to consider exchanging an Anniversary Ringmat 300 for a Gold Spot, but a moving-coil upgrade to achieve a comparable quality uplift would involve a far greater outlay!




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