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Vinyl Asylum: REVIEW: Herbie's Audio Lab Herbie's Way Excellent Turntable Mat Accessory by mt10425

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REVIEW: Herbie's Audio Lab Herbie's Way Excellent Turntable Mat Accessory

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Model: Herbie's Way Excellent Turntable Mat
Category: Accessory
Suggested Retail Price: $44.95
Description: Turntable Mat
Manufacturer URL: Herbie's Audio Lab
Model Picture: View

Review by mt10425 ( A ) on June 10, 2004 at 05:50:33
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for the Herbie's Way Excellent Turntable Mat

I stumbled across this mat accidently just cruising the Audiogon classifieds. I've been trying to get a more balanced sound from my Linn Sondek LP 12/Grado Gold setup. The felt mat emphasizes the mid/lower midrange frequencies and rolls off the high frequencies. any complex musical passages are smeared. so I purchased a Ringmat 330 MkII XLR. This mat added some upper midrange detail but also some sibilance to many vocals. The lower frequencies also thinned out. So, I was wondering if it could be the associated equipment; cartridge, cables, etc. I began my research into the Herbie's Excellent Mat.

I called Audio Connection in NY, where I first saw the ad on Audiogon, and talked with some rude moron. Undeterred, I called Steve at Herbie's in Texas and talked to him about his mat. After a very pleasant conversation, I ordered a mat, which arrived in two days.

Let me first state that I had minimal expectations considering what the Ringmat did/didn't do for $80 and Herbie's was only $45. Herbie's mat is different than anything I'd seen or felt before. The instructions are simple. A reference album for me is Paul Simon's Graceland which has many dynamic swings and is a very percussively complex album. I was "shocked" at what I heard. I heard every consenant that was sung, especially "f" and "t" at the end of words, no sibilance on "s" and no extra sizzle on cymbals. The first song on the lp has Kettle drums (I think) which had always sounded just like an undistinguished drum boom. Not any more. I could hear every inflection in vocals and instruments along the whole bandwidth. Bass was a bit deeper but more defined and imaging became more focused. The balance of the music without any frequency emphasis was simply amazing. I know, this sounds too good to be true and generally when I read reviews like this one, I take them with a grain of salt. So, for me to even write this ...well, the mat just impressed the hell out of me.

Lastly, the thing that impressed me the most was that the noise floor lowered so much that between songs (on used albums) it became so quiet that I kept looking at the turntable to see if it was the last song on the side! This mat should come automatically with any Linn turntable.

Product Weakness: none so far.
Product Strengths: Clarity, definition, balance

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Parasound HCA 1000
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Parasound HP 850
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Linn LP12
Speakers: NSM model 15
Cables/Interconnects: Vampire wire AI-II
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Randy Newman, Cold Blood, Mel Torme
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Herbie's Audio Lab Herbie's Way Excellent Turntable Mat Accessory - mt10425 05:50:33 06/10/04 ( 8)