Mukatsuku 7 inch Cork Slipmat
23rd March 2021
Mukatsuku 7 inch Cork Slipmat
£18.49 for a pair
The technology of slipmats has progressed in all sorts of directions in recent years with some definite winners in the stakes of what slips best, and that is often when 2 different products combine. Ultimately, a pair of Syd Def Jam adapters and a pair of Kuttin Donuts is, in my opinion, the absolute best solution for DJing 45s, where large hole and small hole sevens don't cause any flow issues, the slip mat's design means a dished 45 is catered for and the weight of the SDJs holds everything down beautifully. This doesn't mean that any other solution is not worthy of attention, as different DJs/selectors don't necessarily require high-performance level results, and maybe other factors are more important, like sound...
The material to lay your wax on that is currently 'en vogue' is cork. Once the preserve of 1970s ceiling tiles and plugging up wine bottles, cork has found a new home as a HiFi buff's best friend for a slipmat. Why? In the snake oil world of HiFi where the laws of diminishing returns are probably most exhibited (£20,000 speaker cable anyone?), equipment that does, or suggests that you'll get a better sound is always desired. Cork, being a natural material is regarded as a very good solution to help reduce unwanted static electricity from handling records and is also said to improve bass response and give some added isolation from the motor of your turntable. All very worthy selling points.
Mukatsuku has already produced 12" cork mats, but here they have made a limited edition 7" version with an incorporated adapter and emblazoned with some printed graphics. Designed to sit on top of some conventional 12" mats, this means you can manipulate your record by touching the 12" mat and not the vinyl itself, and this does work as long as you've stuck a biro pen through the hole first to widen it just a touch, otherwise, it grips the spindle too much. The fact it has a built-in adapter is a small problem for DJing, not all 45s are big hole pressings, so you're going to be taking it off and on the turntable, as required. Also, with some vigorous back and forth manipulation of a record, I did find it slipped on the 12" mat somewhat, meaning accurate cartridge and hand synchronicity wandered. All this in my mind suggests that these are better mats for selectors more than scratch heads, and the SDJ/Kuttin Donuts combo is still the best solution in that regard. But if sound quality is high on your list of requirements, then cork mats could aid a sound reproduction improvement, although it's probably imperceptible unless you're going through quality carts and speakers!
Personally, I think cork mats are more 'home listening' mats, and I do indeed have a 12" cork mat on my lounge turntable which in turn goes through some vintage Tannoy speakers, that set up is ALL about sound quality, and any tiny improvement easily and cheaply attained through something like a slipmat is an easy decision. So if you're playing your dinked 45s at home a lot, for straight-up listening sessions, then 1 or indeed 2 of these Mukatsuku Cork Mats could well be tempting, and they look nice too. At the end of the day, most equipment doesn't suit every occasion or customer's needs, so depending on how you play your records, only you will know what is going to work best, for you!