A turntable slipmat is a circular mat that sits on top of the platter and underneath the vinyl record. Slipmats can be made of various materials for various purposes, including as a way to help DJs spin records and to dampen vibrations from the turntable.
I’m Donovan, and I’m an avid music lover. I have first-hand experience with turntable slipmats and am a huge fan of listening to vinyl. I know the various types of slipmats and how they can be used to improve your listening experience.
This post will explain what a turntable slipmat is. I’ll highlight this piece of your turntable, if you need one, and also provide some insight into the different types of slipmats. My goal is to help you have a better vinyl listening experience.
Let’s get rolling.
- Key Takeaways
- What is a Turntable Slipmat?
- Do I Need Slipmat for Record Player?
- How to Use a Vinyl Slipmat?
- Final Thoughts
- A turntable slipmat is a round piece of material that sits on top of the plate. You put a vinyl record on top of the slipmat.
- Not every turntable has a slipmat. You don’t necessarily need one, depending on the design of your turntable design and any personal preferences.
- Slipmats are made of different materials, and you should choose on based on your intended need or use for one. Felt, rubber, and cork are the most commonly used materials.
- A true slipmat is the rubber kind that DJs use to help them spin records. But plate mats made for other purposes are also called slipmats, even though they have nothing to do with slipping or spinning records.
What is a Turntable Slipmat?
A turntable slipmat is a piece of material shaped like a record, which sits on top of the turntable platter. You place vinyl records on top of the mat, and these mats serve various purposes.
True slipmats were created by DJs who wanted a better way to spin or scratch records. These mats allowed DJs to move a record back and forth on the platter, creating the scratching sound without damaging the turntable’s motor or other moving parts.
Other types of slipmats aren’t really used to allow the records to slip, even though they are still called slipmats. Some mats are used to help increase audio quality by impending vibrations and reducing static.
The type of slipmat you use will depend on your needs or preferences. I’ll explain the various types and what they are used for shortly. Be sure to read through those, so you understand when and why you might want a slipmat.
You don’t need a slipmat to play records. Nearly all turntables allow you to place records directly on the platter without using a mat. Some models also include mats that you can use or change to a different material if you want or need to.
Slipmats can also add a little bit of style to your turntable. They are available in various colors or designs, which you might want if you like a little flash or color to accompany your setup.
A felt slipmat is the most commonly used type of mat for DJing. These are true slipmats in that they are designed to allow a record to slip on top of the platter with less resistance. This makes scratching and spinning records easier and doesn’t create as much wear on the turntable.
Felt slipmats are easy to find and affordable. If you buy a DJ turntable, it will likely include a felt slipmat or two. Pairing a felt slipmat with a direct-drive turntable will give you an ideal DJing setup that is easy to operate.
Felt slipmats can be used to help dampen vibrations if you are not DJing, but other materials are better suited for this purpose. Felt can also wear out because it isn’t as durable as other materials, and you’ll need to replace the mat at some point.
Leather slipmats are a lesser-used option for DJs. These can be expensive and aren’t readily available, but they provide similar characteristics to felt when it comes to allowing a record to slip easily on a turntable platter.
You probably don’t need a leather slipmat unless you are an active DJ. You might want to try one out if you aren’t on a budget, but the average vinyl listener or DJ does not really need a leather mat.
Rubber slipmats are also pretty common on many turntables. These aren’t always slipmats from a technical perspective, as they don’t allow a record to slip on the platter. Instead, rubber mats help dampen vibrations.
By adding another layer of material between the platter and vinyl, your stylus won’t pick up as many vibrations from the turntable itself. A rubber mat can help achieve authentic audio quality from the record compared to when used without a mat.
Rubber mats are easy to find and pretty affordable. They are included on many turntable models but can also be purchased at music stores or online. Rubber mats can last a long time but also hold more static than other types of mats.
Cork slipmats are the preferred choice for most audiophiles looking to achieve the best audio quality they can get from their setup. This means that, like rubber mats, cork slipmats are designed for audio reasons and not for DJing.
A benefit of cork slipmats over rubber ones is that cork does not hold as much static. This can produce a more authentic listening experience with reduced electrical buzz or hum. That’s why audiophiles appreciate this type of mat.
Cork slipmats can be expensive, so it’s not really a recommended beginner option if you are on a budget. But a cork mat should last a long time and give you plenty of use. You might never need to replace it if you are careful with it.
Acrylic slipmats are another option that true audiophiles like to use. These are very stiff mats made out of rigid materials, and they look more like a record than any of the other options. They are thin and more fragile than other types of mats.
Acrylic options can be good if you are looking for the best possible audio quality. These mats don’t hold static and provide a very authentic listening experience. They also do a good job of helping to reduce other sound disturbances in your turntable.
The downside to acrylic mats is that they are pretty expensive and can break if you drop them. I don’t recommend these for beginners or anyone looking for a budget-minded setup. But they are nice to explore if you have some experience with vinyl and turntables.
Do I Need Slipmat for Record Player?
You do not technically need a slipmat for all record players. Some turntables will work fine without a mat and have a platter that will hold the record in place and spin it effectively during normal operations.
But if you are a DJ or want to become one, you’ll want to use a slipmat. And you should always use one that is designed for DJs, like felt or leather models. This will allow you to spin or slip records to achieve the scratch sound that DJing is all about.
The other reason to use a slipmat is if you want better audio quality. And since using one is so easy and affordable, it’s a good idea for just about everyone to use a slipmat of some sort to improve their listening experience.
So even though you don’t have to use a slipmat, you still might want to. There’s also a pretty good chance that the turntable you are already using comes with a slipmat. Experiment with using it if you haven’t done so already.
How to Use a Vinyl Slipmat?
Using a vinyl slipmat is super simple. You just need to place the mat on top of the platter like you would with a vinyl record. Then you can put your record on top of the slipmat and drop the needle to listen to records.
All slipmats, no matter what they are made out of or the brand, sit on the record player in the same way. You just need to ensure you line up the hole in the center of the mat with the peg in the center of the platter for proper placement.
Using slipmats for DJing is another topic altogether. If you want to learn DJing technique, you should take a course or watch some online tutorials about it. Installing the slipmat is the easy part, and things can get pretty complicated from there.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to what a turntable slipmat is.
Do you leave a slipmat on while playing a record?
You do leave a slipmat on the platter while playing a record. This is true no matter what type of slipmat you use or why you use it. Slipmats are designed to sit between the turntable platter and vinyl record to help spin the record or provide dampening for better audio.
Do you need a slipmat to scratch?
You can technically scratch records without a slipmat, but using one is highly recommended. A slipmat will help you scratch easier while also keeping your turntable in better condition. Felt slipmats are the most commonly used for scratching records.
What is the purpose of a vinyl slipmat?
There are different purposes for a vinyl slipmat, depending on the material the slipmat is made of. DJs use felt slipmats to help scratch or spin records, while rubber or cork are often used to help dampen vibrations to increase audio quality.
What type of slipmat is best for record players?
The best type of slipmat depends on the reason why you want a slipmat in the first place. If you are a DJ and want to scratch records, you should use a felt or leather slipmat. If you want to increase audio quality or dampen vibrations, use a rubber or cork slipmat.
Why use a cork mat on turntable?
Cork slipmats can be a good option for anyone looking to improve audio quality and keep their turntable clean. These mats help to reduce vibrations from the motor or other moving parts, increasing the audio quality of the record being played.
How do you put on a slipmat?
Putting on a slipmat is really easy, and you just need to place the mat on top of the platter, like you would with a vinyl record. Most slipmats look basically like a record and have a hole in the center that fits over the peg on the platter.
Are cork slipmats better than rubber?
Most audiophiles prefer to use cork slipmats over rubber ones. This is because cork has better dampening characteristics while also not holding as much static. Cork is more expensive but can deliver better results right away for improved sound quality.
Turntable slipmats sit between the turntable platter and the vinyl record. They can serve several purposes, including helping a DJ spin and scratch records or reducing vibrations to provide better audio quality. You don’t always need a slipmat, but using one is usually worth it.
Be sure you understand what the different types of slipmats are designed for before you purchase one. You don’t want to get a cork mat for DJing or a leather mat to improve audio quality. Knowing what you need is critical to getting a better experience.
Do you have a favorite type of slipmat for your turntable? Let me know in the comments below.