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If you run a relatively hard-suspended turntable and haven’t until now thought of properly decoupling it, the bFly base is an effective, attractive and most of all affordable problem solver. Such a base can become a good basis for better sound. But Reinhold Schäffer isn’t solely concerned about what the table sits on. He’s also keen about what you put on it. For that he offers various platter mats plus a record weight. The €99 record weight avoids undue mass with deliberation. It clocks in at 350 grams which Schäffer calls suitable also for suspended sub-chassis constructions.  The plain aluminium affair sports three rubber rings along its edge which not only affords a secure grip but harmonized optically with my VPI whose aluminium platter is driven from a black rubber belt. Synchronicity. Its base isn’t mere bare metal as I’ve seen it elsewhere but festooned with nine round Sorbothane dampers for vibration control. I liked that. To be honest, I also liked it because it meant one can place it anywhere without risking scratches. Where it slips over the platter shaft, the bFly stabilizer doesn’t use aluminium but the synthetic POM compound already beloved by analogue fans to protect the shaft and create another vibration barrier.

How about the platter mats? Here we get a choice of three in different strengths. These start with the 1mm PA1/1 for €24 which combines a cork/rubber mix for a higher absorption index than pure cork. Its thinness is practical particular for platters featuring a record label depression since the mat’s thinness follows its contour. That’s not the case for the 3mm PA1/3 for €29 whose increased thickness creates more damping. Those keen on label depressions should find happiness with the €34 Duo available in 2mm and 4mm thickness. As the name suggests, these are two cork/rubber mats delivered together. The lower one is solid, the upper one exhibits a large central hole, i.e. space for the label to disappear in.

The most ambitious €59 Vario does it similar but for the lower layer uses a white or better, eggshell-coloured foamed natural rubber in 2mm strength. Its surface exhibits a matrix to guarantee "best non-slip texture with minimal surface contact" whilst offering even better vibration damping than its cork sibling. But this rubber layer needn’t be used on the bottom. After all, this model is called Vario for a reason. Schäffer recommends to also try it upside down, with the cork below. Depending on system, that might sound even better.

To be blunt, soft platter mats thus far haven’t really impressed. I’ve routinely felt that they damp in excess to smooth over impulses and even diminish the frequency extremes. And I also have a practical complaint. Felt and natural leather are dust magnets which are hard to clean properly. Is it really that smart to place statically charged plastic discs atop dusty place mats? Not really, I’d say. And tomfoolery continues when you change a record and the felt sticks to it. Even better, then it detaches to fall atop the spinning platter whilst—hopefully—whisking past the needle without depositing a dusty felt speck on it. That type of fun won’t happen with the bFly mats. Dust is easily blown off or brushed away and nothing will stick to them.