I received the SPEC AP-UD1 Analog Disc Sheet (turntable mat) from Mr. Yazaki-san of SPEC while I was finishing up the Garrard Project 2015 article for Positive Feedback Online (and mentioned it in the article). I’ve been too busy to write the AP-UD1 up until now, so this is a bit of a belated ‘Today’s Fresh Catch’ post.
The AP-UD1 is a very thin aluminum plate with a ‘special surface treatment’ that is the same diameter as a record, and you put on the platter in place of a record mat. Mr. Yazaki-san uses the AP-UD1 on his gorgeous SPEC GMP-70 turntable to get the highest possible performance from it.
Normally I’m not keen on record mats, and on my VPI Classic turntable every record mat I tried I thought degraded the sound quality, so I used it with a ‘nude’ platter to get the best sound.
On the Garrard Project 2015 I tried stock rubber Garrard-style mat (above), as well as a cork mat (below), and I was less than enthusiastic about both (although I have to say the cork mat looked great from a visual standpoint).
I was prepared to go with the ‘nude’ platter approach on the Garrard too, and then Mr. Yazaki-san sent me his SPEC AP-UD1 Analog Disc Sheet to try.
The AP-UD1 is a tremendous improvement over the stock turntable mat that came with the Classic 301, as well as the cork mat that I bought a while back to try. The AP-UD1 is the first record mat that I’ve tried that I thought sounded better than a nude platter, and a lot better at that, preserving every last little bit of texture and nuance that my softer mats seemed to rob from an album. I really like it.