Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years, and with that comes the need for proper equipment to play them on.
One essential piece of equipment for DJs and turntablists is the slipmat. But what exactly is a slipmat and how do you use it?
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of slipmats and explore their purpose, materials, and how to use them properly. Whether you’re a seasoned DJ or a vinyl newbie, this guide will help you get the most out of your turntable setup.
So, let’s get started!
How To Use A Vinyl Slipmat
Step 1: Choose Your Slipmat
Before you can use a slipmat, you need to choose the right one for your needs. Slipmats come in various materials, including felt, cork, and leather. Felt slipmats are the most popular choice for DJs as they allow for the most freedom of movement when back-cueing a record.
Step 2: Place Your Slipmat On The Deck Plate
Once you have chosen your slipmat, it’s time to place it on the deck plate of your turntable. Simply remove any existing mat or platter cover and place the slipmat on top of the platter.
Step 3: Place Your Record On The Slipmat
With the slipmat in place, it’s time to put your vinyl record on top. Make sure the record is centered on the platter and that it sits flat on the slipmat.
Step 4: Start Your Turntable
Now that your record is in place, it’s time to start your turntable. The slipmat will allow the record to spin freely while keeping it in place, allowing you to cue and scratch with ease.
Step 5: Consider Record Stacking
If you’re a DJ who needs quick access to multiple records, you may want to consider record stacking. This involves placing a slipmat on top of a record and then placing another record on top of that. This allows for quick access to the next record without having to remove and replace each one individually.
Different Materials Used In Slipmats
When it comes to slipmats, there are various materials to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Felt is one of the most popular materials used in slipmats, particularly for DJing. Felt slipmats are lightweight and allow for easy movement when back-cueing a record. However, they are known to attract static, dust, and hair which can affect the sound quality.
Cork is another popular material used in slipmats. Cork mats are lightweight and perform well with all types of music. They are also known for their ability to reduce vibrations and dampen resonances, resulting in a more natural and pure sound. However, cork mats may not be as aesthetically pleasing as felt mats.
Leather slipmats are less common but can provide excellent sound quality, particularly when it comes to bass tones. They are also durable and long-lasting, making them a good investment for DJs or anyone who frequently uses their turntable. However, leather slipmats can be more expensive than other materials.
Plastic slipmats are another option, particularly for scratching and mixing. They provide a good grip for the record and allow for easy movement when manipulating the vinyl. However, they can produce a wind-like sound that may not be ideal for professional recordings.
Ultimately, the material you choose for your slipmat will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Consider factors such as sound quality, durability, and aesthetics before making your choice.
Purpose Of A Slipmat
The purpose of a slipmat is to provide a smooth surface for your vinyl record to sit on while also allowing for easy manipulation. Slipmats are designed to reduce friction and static, which can cause damage to your vinyl records over time. By reducing friction, slipmats can help protect your records from scratches and other damage.
In addition to protecting your records, slipmats can also improve the sound quality of your turntable. By reducing vibrations and resonances, slipmats can help create a clearer and more accurate sound. This is especially important for DJs who need precise cueing and scratching.
Slipmats also allow for greater customization of your turntable. Many slipmats come in various designs, allowing you to personalize your turntable with your favorite band logos and artwork. This not only adds a unique touch to your setup but can also be a great conversation starter.
Finally, slipmats are essential for DJs who need quick access to multiple records. By allowing for easy manipulation and record stacking, slipmats make it easier for DJs to perform seamless transitions between tracks.
How To Properly Install A Slipmat
Properly installing a slipmat is crucial for ensuring that your turntable functions correctly and that your records are protected from damage. Here are the steps to properly install a slipmat:
Step 1: Remove Any Existing Mat or Platter Cover
Before you can install your slipmat, you need to remove any existing mat or platter cover from your turntable. Be careful not to damage the rubber coating on your turntable while doing this.
Step 2: Place Your Slipmat on the Deck Plate
Once you have removed any existing mat or platter cover, it’s time to place your slipmat on the deck plate. Make sure that the slipmat is centered on the platter and that it sits flat.
Step 3: Ensure That Your Slipmat Is Clean
Before placing your record on the slipmat, make sure that it is clean and free of any dust or debris. This will help prevent any unwanted noise or skipping while playing your records.
Step 4: Place Your Record on the Slipmat
With the slipmat in place, it’s time to put your vinyl record on top. Again, make sure that the record is centered on the platter and that it sits flat on the slipmat.
Step 5: Start Your Turntable
Now that your record is in place, it’s time to start your turntable. The slipmat will allow the record to spin freely while keeping it in place, allowing you to enjoy your music without any interruptions.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your slipmat is properly installed and that your turntable functions correctly. Remember to choose a slipmat that is appropriate for your needs and to keep it clean to prevent any unwanted noise or skipping while playing your records.
Tips For Maintaining Your Slipmat
To keep your slipmat in good condition and ensure it lasts as long as possible, there are a few tips you should follow:
1. Clean Your Slipmat Regularly
Slipmats can attract dust and debris, which can affect the sound quality of your records. To prevent this, it’s important to clean your slipmat regularly. You can use a lint roller or a soft brush to remove any dust or debris.
2. Avoid Getting Your Slipmat Wet
Slipmats are typically made from materials like felt or cork, which can warp or become damaged if they get wet. Avoid using water or any other liquids to clean your slipmat, and never soak it in water.
3. Store Your Slipmat Properly
When you’re not using your slipmat, it’s important to store it properly. Keep it in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid storing it in a place where it may get crushed or bent.
4. Replace Your Slipmat When Necessary
Slipmats are relatively inexpensive, so if yours becomes damaged or worn out, it’s best to replace it rather than trying to repair it. A damaged slipmat can affect the sound quality of your records and may even damage them.
By following these tips, you can keep your slipmat in good condition and ensure that your turntable continues to function properly for years to come.
Choosing The Right Slipmat For Your Needs
When choosing a slipmat, it’s important to consider what you will be using your turntable for. If you’re a DJ who will be scratching and mixing records, a felt slipmat is the best choice. Felt slipmats allow for the most freedom of movement when back-cueing a record and are designed to have less friction, making it easier to scratch the record.
However, if you’re using your turntable for home listening, you may want to consider a slipmat made of cork or rubber. These materials can provide better sound quality and reduce static issues.
If you want to add an additional slick layer between the deck plate and the slip mat for scratching or mixing, thin plastic sheeting or wax paper can be used. But keep in mind that plastic can sometimes make a windy or swooshing sound when placed under slip mats. If you want the smoothness and speed of the plastic sheet without the added noise, consider buying a synthetic fabric slip mat with a thin plastic coating on the back.
It’s also important to consider aesthetics when choosing a slipmat. Felt slipmats offer colorful designs and graphics that can make your turntable more personal, while cork and rubber mats are more subdued.
In summary, when choosing a slipmat, consider what you’ll be using your turntable for, whether you need an additional slick layer for scratching or mixing, and what design options are available.