Nowadays, many new turntables are shipped with felt mats. “So what?” you might ask. There are several reasons to switch mats. First of all, these felt mats, used by DJs, are called slipmats. The reason for that is simple: they are designed to slide easily both on the record and on the turntable platter. They also have a tendency to increase the build-up of static electricity, which is a major cause of pops and ticks you hear in record playback. And they have little damping effect.
My favorite fix is to use a cork mat. They’re non-conductive: since they don’t conduct electricity easily, they help reduce static. They help sound quality by improving contact, and they help reduce resonance. They don’t easily attract dust. They’re relatively inexpensive. And I happen to think they’re attractive.
A simple, inexpensive upgrade to your turntable!