If you’re a vinyl enthusiast or a DJ, you’ve probably heard of slipmats.
But what exactly are they and why are they important?
Slipmats are circular mats that sit between the vinyl record and the turntable platter. They allow the record to spin freely while the platter continues to rotate, making it easier for DJs to manipulate the record for scratching, beatmatching, and cueing.
Slipmats also protect against scratches and scuffs, making them a must-have for any serious vinyl collector or DJ.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the world of slipmats and explore their various uses and benefits.
What Is A Slipmat For Record Player
A slipmat is a small, thin mat that is placed on the turntable platter 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 DJs to manipulate a record while the platter continues to rotate underneath.
The true reason for a turntable slipmat is to allow the record to spin freely, so that a DJ can back cue a record to the precise spot they want a cut to begin when transitioning from track to track. Slipmats are also useful for making minute adjustments during beatmatching and mixing and pulling the record back and forth for scratching.
Slipmats are usually made out of synthetic fabric, with some having thin plastic backings to make the mat slick. Since slipmats are most commonly made out of felt, static can become an issue. Vinyl records can stick to the felt which makes swapping records tricky. Many slip mats are made out of synthetic, non-static fabric to avoid this problem.
Slip mats are classified by material, thickness, weight, and size. Thickness and weight selections are based on the preference of the DJ. Thicker, heavier slip mats weigh down the deck platter which slows the rotations. Thinner and lighter slip mats are easier to use but also deteriorate quickly. The size of a slip mat is simply based on the size of the records being used by the DJ. Slip mats are available for 7-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch records.
The History Of Slipmats
The history of slipmats can be traced back to the early days of hip-hop and DJ culture. According to legend, Grandmaster Flash invented the slipmat in the 1970s to improve the sound quality of his turntables and to make it easier to manipulate vinyl records while DJing. He experimented with different materials, eventually settling on felt as the best material for slipmats. However, he found that felt was too limp and would drape over the turntable platter. To solve this problem, he used spray starch to stiffen the felt, creating a thin, circular mat that would slip on the platter.
As hip-hop culture spread throughout the United States and around the world, slipmats became a staple of DJing equipment. DJs used slipmats to scratch and manipulate records in new and innovative ways, pushing the boundaries of what was possible with vinyl records. Today, slipmats are still an essential tool for DJs and are available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and designs. Whether you’re a professional DJ or just a vinyl enthusiast, a slipmat is an important accessory for any record player setup.
The Importance Of Slipmats For DJs
Slipmats are an essential tool for DJs who want to take their performances to the next level. By allowing the record to spin freely while the DJ manipulates it, slipmats provide greater accuracy and control over the music being played. DJs can back cue a record to the precise spot they want a cut to begin, making transitions between tracks smoother and more seamless.
In addition to improving cueing and scratching abilities, slipmats also help reduce vibrations and resonances, resulting in better sound quality. They also protect vinyl records from scratches and damage that can occur when using a traditional rubber mat.
When choosing a slipmat, DJs should consider the material, thickness, weight, and size that best suit their needs and preferences. Thicker and heavier slip mats can slow down rotations, while thinner and lighter ones may deteriorate more quickly. The size of the slipmat should match the size of the records being used.
How Slipmats Protect Your Vinyl Records
Slipmats are designed to protect your vinyl records from scratches and other damages that could occur during DJing or regular use. The slipmat’s smooth surface allows the record to glide effortlessly across the platter, reducing the risk of scratches caused by friction. Additionally, slipmats help to reduce vibrations that can damage your vinyl records over time.
Rubber turntable mats, on the other hand, are designed to grip the record and stop it from slipping. While they do offer some protection against scratches, they can also attract dust and stick to the record, causing damage when removed. Slipmats, on the other hand, are designed to slip on the platter, making it easier to remove and swap out records without damaging them.
Slipmats also help to isolate the record and decrease vibrations that can cause distortion or other audio issues. By reducing vibrations and isolating the record from the turntable’s motor, slipmats can help to improve the sound quality of your vinyl records.
Different Types Of Slipmats
There are various types of slipmats available in the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common material used for slipmats is felt. Felt slipmats are the go-to option for DJs as they allow for smooth and easy movement of the record on the platter. They are also lightweight and easily adjustable, making them a popular choice for general use. However, felt mats are known to attract dust and static, which can affect the sound quality.
Rubber mats are another type of slipmat that comes with most record players. They are designed to grip the record firmly in sync with the rotating platter, but they can create a lot of static, which can be unpleasant to listen to.
Plastic slipmats are also available, which are great for scratching but can create a wind-like sound in the background during recording. They are not recommended for professional recordings.
Leather slipmats are used by some analog DJs as they allow for more freedom of movement than felt slipmats. However, they are not as commonly used as felt mats.
Cork slipmats are not very common as they do not allow for movement of the record on the platter. However, they can be useful for reducing resonance and improving sound quality.
How To Choose The Right Slipmat For Your Needs
When it comes to choosing the right slipmat for your needs, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, you should consider the material of the slipmat. Felt slipmats are the most common and are great for DJing, but they do attract dust and lint. Synthetic slipmats are a good alternative as they don’t attract dust and are easier to clean.
Next, consider the thickness and weight of the slipmat. Thicker and heavier slipmats can slow down the platter rotation, which can be useful for beatmatching and mixing. However, thinner and lighter slipmats are easier to use and manipulate.
The size of the slipmat is also important. Make sure to choose a slipmat that matches the size of your records. Slipmats are available for 7-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch records.
Lastly, consider the design of the slipmat. While this may not affect performance, it can add a personal touch to your setup. There are many designs available, so choose one that fits your style.
Tips For Maintaining Your Slipmat
To keep your slipmat in good condition, it’s important to clean it regularly. Here are some tips for maintaining your slipmat:
1. Use a lint roller: If your slipmat is mainly covered in dust or hair, a lint roller can be a quick and easy solution. Simply roll the lint roller over the surface of the slipmat to pick up any debris.
2. Hand wash gently: If your slipmat is dirtier, you can try hand washing it under cold water with a mild soap. Be sure to handle it gently, as slipmats are delicate when wet.
3. Avoid machine washing: Slipmats should not be machine washed, as the fibers can easily unravel and become damaged.
4. Consider replacing: If your slipmat is too dirty or damaged, it may be best to replace it altogether. Slipmats are relatively inexpensive and can easily be found online.
5. DIY alternative: If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own slipmat using a cork sheet. Simply trace the shape of your old slipmat onto the cork sheet and cut it out with scissors and an X-Acto knife. This alternative can improve sound quality and reduce static issues.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your slipmat stays in good condition and continues to help you create great music.