Are you new to turntablism and wondering how to use a turntable slip mat?
Look no further!
This small but essential accessory can make a big difference in your music experience.
A turntable slip mat is placed between the vinyl record and the deck plate of your DJ turntable, allowing the record to spin freely while the plate continues to move underneath.
This is especially useful for DJs who need to back-cue a record to a precise spot when transitioning from track to track.
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of slip mats available, their pros and cons, and how to properly use them for optimal performance.
So, let’s get started!
How To Use A Turntable Slip Mat
Step 1: Remove the Rubber Mat from the Deck Plate
Before you can use a turntable slip mat, you need to remove the rubber mat that comes with your turntable.
This is because the rubber mat creates too much friction between the record and the platter, making it difficult to scratch and cue in a particular track.
To remove the rubber mat, simply lift it off the deck plate and set it aside.
Step 2: Place the Slip Mat on the Deck Plate
Once you’ve removed the rubber mat, it’s time to place the slip mat on the deck plate.
There are different types of slip mats available, but felt slip mats are the most popular among DJs.
Felt slip mats allow for the most freedom of movement when back-cueing a record and are also aesthetically pleasing with various designs available.
Simply place the slip mat on top of the deck plate, making sure it’s centered and flat.
Step 3: Place the Record on Top of the Slip Mat
After placing the slip mat on the deck plate, it’s time to place your vinyl record on top of it.
The slip mat will keep your record still while allowing the platter underneath to continue rotating.
This creates a discrepancy that allows for more accurate scratching and cueing in a particular track, improving your overall performance.
Step 4: Keep Your Turntable Covered When Not in Use
One thing to keep in mind when using a felt slip mat is that it attracts dust.
To prevent this, it’s best to keep your turntable covered with its lid when not in use.
Additionally, using a vinyl record cleaning kit can help keep dust and static issues at bay.
Types Of Turntable Slip Mats
When it comes to turntable slip mats, there are different materials to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
1. Felt Slip Mats: Felt slip mats are the most common type of slip mat used by DJs. They are lightweight, easily adjustable, and allow for the most freedom of movement when back-cueing a record. However, they are notorious for attracting dust and static, which can affect the sound quality.
2. Acrylic Slip Mats: Acrylic slip mats are regarded by many as one of the best options for turntable platters. The material is virtually the same as a vinyl record, which makes it better at controlling resonance generated by the stylus scrubbing in the record groove than traditional felt, cork, or leather mats. This results in better performance and sound quality.
3. Cork Slip Mats: While there really are no cork slip mats available, they do have some usefulness. Cork is a natural sound insulator and can help reduce vibration and dampen unwanted noises. However, they do not allow for movement of the record on the platter, making them unsuitable for DJ use.
4. Leather Slip Mats: Leather slip mats are used by some analog DJs as an alternative to felt slip mats. They offer less friction than felt mats and can provide a unique aesthetic to your turntable setup. However, they do not allow for as much freedom of movement as felt slip mats.
Ultimately, the type of slip mat you choose will depend on your personal preferences and needs. It’s important to consider factors such as sound quality, ease of use, and aesthetics when making your decision.
Pros And Cons Of Different Slip Mat Materials
When it comes to slip mat materials, there are several options available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common slip mat materials:
1. Felt – Felt slip mats are the most popular among DJs due to their ability to allow for smooth back-cueing and scratching. They also come in a variety of designs, making them aesthetically pleasing. However, felt mats tend to attract dust easily, which can affect sound quality and cause static issues.
2. Rubber – Rubber slip mats provide a firm grip on the platter, which can help reduce vibrations and improve sound quality. They are also more durable than felt mats and do not attract dust as easily. However, they do not allow for as much freedom of movement when back-cueing or scratching.
3. Cork – Cork slip mats provide a smooth contact between the record and platter, reducing static and improving sound quality. They are also less prone to wear and tear than felt mats. However, cork mats tend to be less durable than rubber mats and may not provide as much grip on the platter.
4. Leather – Leather slip mats provide a warm sound for bass tones and dampen some sounds while enhancing others. They are also durable and do not attract dust as easily as felt mats. However, leather mats tend to be more expensive than other materials and may not be suitable for all types of music.
Ultimately, the choice of slip mat material will depend on personal preference and the type of music being played. It’s important to consider factors such as durability, grip, static reduction, and sound quality when choosing a slip mat material.
How To Properly Place A Slip Mat On Your Turntable
Properly placing a slip mat on your turntable is essential for optimal performance. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Make sure the platter is clean and free of any debris or dust. This will ensure that the slip mat adheres properly to the platter.
Step 2: Remove any existing mat or cover from the platter. This may be a rubber mat or a cover that came with your turntable.
Step 3: Take your slip mat and place it on top of the platter. Make sure it’s centered and flat, with no wrinkles or bumps.
Step 4: Gently press down on the slip mat to ensure it adheres properly to the platter. You don’t want any air pockets or gaps between the mat and the platter.
Step 5: Place your vinyl record on top of the slip mat. The slip mat should keep the record still while allowing the platter to rotate freely.
Step 6: Test out your turntable to make sure everything is working properly. You should be able to scratch and cue in a particular track with ease.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your slip mat is properly placed and ready for optimal performance. Remember to keep your turntable covered when not in use to prevent dust buildup on the slip mat.
Tips For Maintaining Your Slip Mat
To ensure that your slip mat is in good condition and continues to function properly, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind:
1. Clean your slip mat regularly: Felt slip mats tend to attract dust and dirt, which can affect the sound quality of your records. To prevent this, it’s important to clean your slip mat regularly using a soft brush or cloth. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or cleaners as they can damage the material.
2. Store your slip mat properly: When not in use, it’s important to store your slip mat properly to prevent it from getting damaged or dirty. Keep it in a clean, dry place and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
3. Avoid touching the surface of the slip mat: The oils and dirt from your fingers can transfer onto the surface of the slip mat, affecting its performance. To prevent this, avoid touching the surface of the slip mat as much as possible.
4. Replace your slip mat when necessary: Over time, slip mats can become worn out or damaged, affecting their performance. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, it’s important to replace your slip mat as soon as possible to ensure optimal performance.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your slip mat remains in good condition and continues to enhance your DJing experience.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using A Slip Mat
While using a slip mat can greatly enhance your turntable experience, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid to ensure the longevity of your records and turntable.
One mistake is not properly cleaning your slip mat. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on the surface of the slip mat, affecting the sound quality of your records. To avoid this, make sure to regularly clean your slip mat with a soft brush or cloth.
Another mistake is not properly aligning the slip mat with the center spindle of the turntable. If the slip mat is not centered, it can cause the record to wobble and affect the sound quality. To avoid this, take your time when placing the slip mat on the deck plate and make sure it’s centered before placing your record on top.
It’s also important to avoid using too much force when scratching or cueing a record. While slip mats reduce friction, they don’t eliminate it completely. Using too much force can damage both the record and the turntable platter mat. Instead, use a light touch and let the slip mat do its job.
Finally, don’t forget to replace your slip mat when it becomes worn or damaged. Over time, slip mats can become stretched or warped, affecting their ability to reduce friction and properly hold a record in place. To ensure optimal performance, replace your slip mat as needed.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enjoy a seamless turntable experience with improved sound quality and longevity for both your records and turntable.
Advanced Techniques For DJs Using Slip Mats
Now that you know the basics of using a turntable slip mat, it’s time to explore some advanced techniques that DJs can use to take their performances to the next level.
1. Adjusting the Thickness and Weight of the Slip Mat
As mentioned earlier, slip mats come in different thicknesses and weights.
Thicker and heavier slip mats will weigh down the deck platter, which slows down the rotations. This can be useful for DJs who want to create a more deliberate and controlled scratch or mix.
On the other hand, thinner and lighter slip mats are easier to use and allow for faster back-cueing.
DJs can experiment with different thicknesses and weights to find the one that suits their style best.
2. Using Cork Mats
While felt slip mats are the most popular choice among DJs, cork mats can also be useful in certain situations.
Cork mats provide more grip than felt mats, which can be useful when scratching or back-cueing. They also reduce vibrations and resonances, improving sound quality.
However, cork mats don’t allow for as much freedom of movement as felt mats do, so they may not be suitable for all DJs.
3. Cleaning Your Slip Mat
Slip mats can accumulate dust and dirt over time, which can affect their performance.
To keep your slip mat in top condition, it’s important to clean it regularly.
You can use a soft brush or a microfiber cloth to gently remove any dust or debris from the surface of the slip mat.
Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the slip mat.
4. Using Multiple Slip Mats
Some DJs like to use multiple slip mats on their turntable for different purposes.
For example, they may use a thicker slip mat for scratching and a thinner one for mixing.
Alternatively, they may use a slip mat with a specific design or texture for a particular track or genre.
By experimenting with different slip mats, DJs can create unique sounds and performances that set them apart from others.
In conclusion, using a turntable slip mat is an essential part of DJing. By following these advanced techniques, DJs can improve their performances and create unique sounds that wow their audiences.