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So I've been messing about with the Achromat on and off for a couple of weeks now as I've become acquainted with my Xerxes.20, but not terribly seriously until this past weekend.
I'd been impressed by The Funk Firm's (formerly Pink Triangle) demonstration at the London Heathrow Show, and I decided to take a punt. The thing that intrigued me most was their claim that the Achromat composition was an exact impedance match to vinyl:
[QUOTE=The Funk Firm] Now The Funk Firm introduces the next stage in vinyl evolution: Achromat.
â€¢ With is patent pending, Achromatâ€™s new material matches records a full 100%, (it canâ€™t get better)â€¦but doesnâ€™t stop there.
â€¢ Achromat is further optimised by the introduction of bubbles. These gradually increase internal damping making Achromat more effective. The reduced weight helps for use as a universal mat. So, what does this all mean for you ?
â€¢ better midband resolution
â€¢ more space and air
â€¢ inky blacks
â€¢ layered timbral colour
Put simply, we canâ€™t think of a better support for a record on any turntable. For the technical people out there, the principle isnâ€™t hard to grasp. Friction from a stylus dragging in a wobbly plastic groove sets up vibrations in the thin record. Left to hang around, the vibrations can be heard - muddling and colouring the sound. There is only one solution: Absorb them away (by fully matching record to support). But soft felt, bouncy rubber, hard glass, paper, cork, thin air etc. simply cannot do this. They all result in a poor, varying performance. Match the record to support, however and colourations vanish â€“ Just what we are after. The music immediately sounds cleaner and this is precisely what Achromat is designed to do.[/QUOTE]
So for the past few days, I've been swapping between the Roksan Rmat-5 and the Achromat attempting to discern the differences and trying to decide which I ultimately preferred. The difficulty was that each was providing benefits in varying proportions. The Rmat-5 was excelling in pure visceral pace and drive, while the Achromat appeared to specialise in bass extension and spatial depth.
Then it dawned on me--since the theory behind the Achromat is that its characteristics precisely mimic those of vinyl, why not try it with the Rmat-5 in place?
So I made the necessary 2mm VTA increase adjustment on the TecnoArm and listened to a few LPs I had tried before. To my surprise and delight, every aspect that I had noted about the two mats separately was now present concurrently, and in perfect harmony with each other! The Xerxes.20 now had the speed it displayed with the Rmat-5 alone plus the added dimension and authority conveyed by the Achromat. This effect appears to be entirely additive in total with no tonal colourations or downsides whatsoever.
I can only suppose this is down to the direct synergy between the Achromat and vinyl; the Rmat-5 is still able to do its business as before while the cartridge now "sees" a far more substantial LP. I'd liken the cumulative effect to having the ability to wave a magic wand over any standard LP and transform it instantly into a 200g audiophile pressing (well, maybe not the virgin vinyl part, but you get the idea).
So, yeah, the market is glutted with mats costing anywhere upwards of Â£250. Carbon fibre, acrylic, ceramic, cork, kitchen shelf liner, you name it. But I sincerely doubt that any of them could perform like the Achromat does on my Xerxes in concert with the Roksan mat and still come with a 14-day money-back guarantee. At 40 quid, the Achromat seems an absolute snip!
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Topic - Funk Firm Achromat - Dexter 02:56:10 10/18/05 (4)