Living Voice Mystic Mat : Turntable Mat

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Living Voice Mystic Mat

Living Voice Mystic Mat

"We have developed and refined the mat over the last 9 years, for use with high- mass turntable designs. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

 

I am sure you know all too well that high mass and low mass platter materials offer almost diametrically opposite strengths and weaknesses. Whilst we want the pitch stability, and the assured, planted presentation of the high mass platter, we also desire the naturally illuminated tone colours, lucidity and dimensionality of low mass platter materials like acrylic and polycarbonate.

 

On the other hand, low mass platters can lack bass extension and pitch stability whilst the high mass platters can sound monochrome and dynamically pinched.

 

It seems that just as high mass stores energy as rotational inertia, so it stores vibrational energy from the interaction of the stylus and record. This energy is released back into the record producing constructive and destructive interference, and hence the lack of low level resolution / dynamic range / tonal colour. "

"Polycarbonate, for example, disperses this energy very rapidly without either storing or damping (which is why in polished form it is used as bullet-proof glass). As a platter material it has some very remarkable qualities, but unfortunately, simply using a 'super' mat of polycarbonate on top of an existing high mass platter does not produce the same result as using a single homogenous platter material. Something more involved is required.

 

The material we have evolved over the years is composite in construction.

 

The shiny side is a hard gel coat glaze impregnated into the carbon fibre fabric. This is a poor energy transfer interface and an ideal surface to face down onto the existing platter material. It is advisable to remove any supplied felt or rubber mats before fitting. This glazed carbon fibre surface is backed with a layer Spheretex. This is a ceramic textile which pulls the gel coat through the carbon fibre weave to create a substrate of remarkable compressive strength. On top of this is a 2mm layer of expanded polyurethane foam and then another layer of carbon fibre, but this time without a gel coat. It is this matt surface that the record sits on. The centre hole is made deliberately tight so that the mat does not slip on the sub platter during use. It also obviates the need for bonding materials like double-sided tape."

dps Turntable

 

Living Voice Mystic Mat

Technical Summary

 

 

"The Mystic Mat is composed of a layer of gel-coated resonance-controlling carbon fiber mated to a layer of CF polyurethane and followed by another sheet of carbon fiber. It•s thin (about 3mm) profile makes it a perfect candidate for any •table needing immediate musical improvements from conventional felt or rubber record mats. It fits snugly on your turntable•s spindle and lies nice and flat on the platter with the smooth side down."

 

The Mystic Mat is a hard mat, is lightweight, and it comes with a Michell Record Clamp as well, which is an optional item, to use with warped or slightly difficult LPs.

 
Mystic Mat on a Scheu Premier MK2 turntable

Front view - surface where record is placed on

Living Voice Mystic Mat

 
Mystic Mat - back view (shiny side - surface that touches the platter)

Living Voice Mystic Mat

 
Mystic Mat on a Nottingham Analogue Hyperspace turntable

Living Voice Mystic Mat

SixMoons.com

sixmoons.com

Dec 2005

 

by Edward Barker

"Anyway, returning with the Mystic Mat, I put it on the Scheu and to my complete amazement, it was like putting on another isolator - or arguably more so."

 

"I was so thrilled with the Mystic Mat that I immediately tried it on the Garrard 301 for again the same effect - a blacker background, better instrumental definition and a richer harmonic envelope. The special energy that is the secret of the Garrard emerged even more clearly. I was very impressed."

 

►► Read more on the Living Voice Mystic Mat review at sixmoons.com (scroll to the bottom)

 

Stereophile Review Excerpts - Michael Fremer,

Analog Corner

** A Stereophile Recommended Components product **

 

"Expensive, but the best platter mat Mikey has ever tried ... The Mystic blackened the spaces between notes, and  seemed to allow a lushness and depth to develop that I hadn't had before, while causing no sonic damage in terms of transient speed and detail ... A real find, and highly recommended."

 

"I have found (or should I say, I was sent for evaluation) the best platter mat I have ever tried."

 

"I normally use a carbon-graphite mat, but the Mystic blackened the spaces between notes, and seemed to allow a lushness and depth to develop that I hadn't heard before, while causing no sonic damage in terms of transient speed and detail."

 

"It will dent your bank account, however: the Mystic Mat, which Living Voice claims is difficult to make, costs US$300.  But if your experience with it is like mine, you'll agree that it's worth the money.  A real find, and highly recommended."

 
Our own findings

We promptly tried one, and we concur with Stereophile writer Michael Fremer's comments that it is an outstanding turntable mat, as it didn't change the original sonic character of the turntable, it just improved on the sonics. We've tried several other mats, and these changed the tonality, unnaturally boosted up certain frequencies, slowed down the pace, or simply deadened the sound.  We also concur on the lushness comment highlighted above in the review excerpt, where it indeed surfaced naturally, without any tricks in changing the frequency balance.  To roughly quote one user, which says it well - "like hearing something through a very good tube system, as opposed to a so-so tube system."

Since the Scheu/Eurolab turntables already have a super quiet background, we did not notice much of Fremer's assertion that it gave a blacker background.   This would be probably be more evident in other less quiet turntables.  Rather, we found the Mystic Mat's main contribution was in the improved bass definition, more body and scale to the sound, and improved timbre.  Strings just sound so much more natural.  "Meaty" and weighty are the words to sum up its most profound effect, at least in our system, where the full harmonic bloom in a recording is further realized.

 

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