If you’re new to the world of vinyl, you may have heard the term “slipmat” thrown around. But what exactly is a slipmat, and why do you need one?
In short, a slipmat is a circular piece of material that sits on top of your turntable platter. But its purpose goes beyond just being a decorative addition to your setup. A slipmat plays a crucial role in allowing DJs and turntablists to manipulate records with precision and ease.
In this article, we’ll explore the various functions of a slipmat and why it’s an essential accessory for any vinyl enthusiast. So, let’s dive in and discover what a turntable slipmat does!
What Does A Turntable Slipmat Do
The primary function of a turntable slipmat is to allow the vinyl record to spin freely while the platter continues to rotate underneath. This is especially important for DJs and turntablists who need to cue and scratch records with precision. A slipmat creates a discrepancy between the record and the platter, allowing for more accurate manipulation of the vinyl.
Slipmats are typically made of felt or other synthetic materials that are designed to be slippery. This allows DJs to slide the record back and forth on the platter, making minute adjustments during beatmatching and mixing, and pulling the record back and forth for scratching. The slipmat’s slippery surface also helps to reduce friction, making it easier to cue records and scratch without damaging the vinyl.
Another important function of a slipmat is to dampen vibrations. When a record is played, vibrations can be induced through the stylus and picked up by the platter. A slipmat helps to absorb these vibrations, reducing unwanted noise and improving sound quality.
Slipmats can also be used for decoration purposes. Many slipmats feature various designs, including band logos and artwork, allowing you to personalize your turntable and add some flair to your setup.
What Is A Turntable Slipmat?
A turntable slipmat is a circular piece of cloth or synthetic material that is placed on the platter of a turntable instead of the traditional rubber mat. Unlike the rubber mat, which is designed to hold the record firmly in sync with the rotating platter, slipmats are designed to slip on the platter, allowing the DJ to manipulate a record on a turntable while the platter continues to rotate underneath. This is useful for holding a record still for slip-cueing, making minute adjustments during beatmatching and mixing, and pulling the record back and forth for scratching.
Slipmats were originally invented by Grandmaster Flash to improve sound quality and allow for easier manipulation of vinyl records. They are typically made of felt or other synthetic materials that are designed to be slippery, allowing DJs to slide the record back and forth on the platter with ease. Slipmats also help to reduce vibrations and unwanted noise by absorbing vibrations induced through the stylus.
In addition to their functional uses, slipmats can also be used for decoration purposes. Many slipmats feature various designs, allowing DJs to personalize their turntables and add some flair to their setups. Slipmats are available in different materials, thicknesses, weights, and sizes, allowing DJs to choose the best option for their needs and preferences.
How Does A Slipmat Work?
A slipmat works by creating a slippery surface between the vinyl record and the turntable platter. Unlike a traditional rubber mat which is designed to hold the record firmly in sync with the rotating platter, slipmats are designed to slip on the platter. This allows DJs to manipulate a record on a turntable while the platter continues to rotate underneath.
The slipmat’s slippery surface reduces friction between the record and the platter, making it easier to cue records and scratch without damaging the vinyl. The felt material used in slipmats also helps to absorb vibrations induced through the stylus, reducing unwanted noise and improving sound quality.
Slipmats are typically made of felt or other synthetic materials that are designed to be slippery. They are placed on top of the turntable platter, and vinyl records are placed on top of the slipmat. This creates a discrepancy between the record and the platter, allowing for more accurate manipulation of the vinyl.
In addition to their functional purposes, slipmats can also be used for decoration purposes. Many slipmats feature various designs, including band logos and artwork, allowing you to personalize your turntable and add some flair to your setup. Overall, slipmats are an essential tool for DJs and turntablists, allowing for precise cueing and scratching while protecting your vinyl records from damage.
Why Do You Need A Slipmat For Vinyl Manipulation?
If you’re a DJ or turntablist, a slipmat is an essential tool for vinyl manipulation. Without a slipmat, the record would be firmly held in sync with the rotating platter, making it difficult to manipulate the vinyl with precision. The slipmat creates a layer of slipperiness between the record and the platter, allowing for more accurate and controlled movements of the vinyl.
Using a slipmat also helps to protect your vinyl records from scratches and damage. Placing a record directly on the turntable can cause scratches on one side, which can affect the sound quality. A slipmat provides a protective layer between the record and the platter, reducing the risk of damage to your vinyl.
In addition, using a slipmat can improve sound quality by reducing vibrations. When a record is played, vibrations can be induced through the stylus and picked up by the platter. A slipmat helps to absorb these vibrations, reducing unwanted noise and improving sound quality.
Different Types Of Slipmats
There are several different types of slipmats available on the market, each with its own unique characteristics and advantages.
Felt slipmats are the most common type of slipmat and are often used by DJs as “slip mats”. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to adjust. Felt slipmats are also aesthetically pleasing and can feature colorful designs and graphics, making them a popular choice for home systems. However, felt mats are known for attracting static, dust, and hair, which can affect sound quality. They may also not stay as tight to the turntable if only used for listening.
Rubber slipmats are designed to grip the record and stop it from slipping. They help to reduce vibrations and protect vinyl records from scratches. Rubber mats are also great at isolating the record to decrease vibrations. However, they can attract dust and stick to the record, which can be a downside.
Acrylic slipmats are regarded by many as one of the best options for turntable platters. The material is virtually the same as a vinyl record, allowing records to couple with the playing surface without a mat. This makes acrylic far better at controlling resonance generated by the stylus scrubbing in the record groove than traditional felt, cork, or leather mats. In turn, this results in better performance and sound quality. The chance of mistracking caused by movement between the mat and platter is also eradicated.
Cork slipmats do not allow for movement of the record on the platter, making them unsuitable for DJ use. However, they have excellent damping properties that help reduce vibrations and improve sound quality. Cork mats are also eco-friendly and sustainable.
Leather slipmats are sometimes used by analog DJs but are not as popular as felt mats. They allow for some freedom of movement but not as much as felt mats. Leather mats also attract dust and can be expensive.
How To Choose The Right Slipmat For Your Turntable
When it comes to choosing the right slipmat for your turntable, there are a few factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Material: The most common material for slipmats is felt, but there are also options made from cork, leather, and other synthetic materials. Felt is a good all-around choice, but if you’re looking for a slipmat that will reduce static and dampen vibrations even more effectively, cork or leather may be a better option.
2. Thickness: Slipmats can vary in thickness, typically ranging from 1mm to 5mm. Thicker slipmats may provide more cushioning and better sound dampening, but they can also make it harder to cue and scratch records with precision.
3. Design: As mentioned earlier, slipmats can be used for decoration purposes as well as functional ones. Consider choosing a slipmat with a design that reflects your personal style or favorite band.
4. Price: Slipmats can range in price from a few dollars to over $100. While more expensive slipmats may offer better sound quality and durability, there are plenty of affordable options that will do the job just fine.
Ultimately, the right slipmat for your turntable will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Consider the factors above and choose a slipmat that will help you achieve the sound and performance you’re looking for.
Tips For Maintaining Your Slipmat
To ensure that your slipmat remains in good condition and continues to function properly, follow these tips for maintenance:
1. Keep it clean: Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on your slipmat, affecting its slipperiness and potentially causing damage to your vinyl. Clean your slipmat regularly with a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or debris.
2. Store it properly: When not in use, store your slipmat in a clean, dry place. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can cause it to warp or deteriorate.
3. Avoid using harsh chemicals: When cleaning your slipmat, avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents that could damage the material. Stick to mild soap and water if necessary.
4. Replace as needed: Slipmats can wear out over time, especially if they are heavily used. If you notice that your slipmat is no longer providing the necessary slipperiness or is showing signs of wear and tear, it may be time to replace it.
By following these tips for maintaining your slipmat, you can ensure that it continues to perform at its best and provides you with the necessary control and precision for your DJing or recording needs.