Nikos Kostadimas kindly arranged for the second test instalment of his graphite based high-end audio accessories. We set for the Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat and Cable Isolation review and test samples arrived good week after. I’ve already raved about Chameleon racks graphite turntable clamp and isolation feet in my review here: http://www.monoandstereo.com/2013/04/chameleon-racks-graphite-turntable.html and concluded passionately:
This is the first part of the test and review with focus on Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat. Cable Isolation review is coming in due time. Let us take a look at what makes this Graphite Turntable Mat special:
Three years ago Nikos created many products, that deal suppressing of the vibrations from audio machines. The results from using isolation feet and graphite clamp was amazing step up for him. It was time for introduction of the Turnatble MAT.
This was a difficult process as in Nikos view the vibrations from the cartridge head are very great and only the 10% of those vibrations becomes a recognisable sound. "One cartridge very discerning and sensitive".
After three years of work, research and design the results started to made its way up.
Chameleon Racks audio team managed to suppress the large part of the cartridge vibrations and that opened up the new doors to elaborated sound.
Graphite Turntable Mat is designed to be used with any turntable, be it mass loaded or with suspension.
"It is not magic,it is real." Nikos concluded. New mat opens the presence of the voices, creates a natural warm energy and offers a palpable positioning and three dimensionality within the soundstage. Hard to transcribed distances between the notes of the organs became very clear, with the clean and deep bass, large soundstage and high pressure levels.
Graphite Turntable Mat shaped quite differently and for better lowwer details and helped transforming the naturally flow of the music.
Nikos further feels, that years of invested money in expensive best cartridges would now be ready in taking the full advantage of their dedicated daimonds.
More as with any other component, the turntable is highly prone to any kind of resonances and micro vibrations. Materials being used for the turntable chassis construction or any sub parts like a platter introduces certain level of sound shaping. When cartridge gets in touch with the vinyl the “war” of materials starts to emerge. This is where all the science and art comes in place. And the results are either positive or negative. The instant changes are vividly pointed at.
I’ve recently got lucky in acquiring few of the rare pressings of the vinyl. Not exactly audiophile records by default, but smaller outputs from not so known labels and performers. Still, these marvels can go quite crazy in prices. It seems like with rare exquisite wine, some of the vinyl will always have a strong trace and some people will always cherish and hunt for those treasures. An endless love labour hunt as it seems :).
Two of such albums coming into my possession recently was highly affected with Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat. I won’t mentioned the names of these two as eBay goes crazy whenever something rare got mentioned by me. Anyhow. Sitar and violin based performances got instantly bursted in full energetic swing and intimately evoked. The share energy of interaction raised to the impressive turn of the usual “safe” scenario.
Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat seem to tame the Kuzma Stabi S’s platter with a vibrant addition in a clear favour of the music. All of my well known repertoire from Dire Straits, Belafonte, Miles, Coltrane, Toscanini etc. showed the same guidance line and musical benefit.
This is Nikos Kostadimas prolonged execution of his high-end graphite accessory line. Based on the same basic materials and principles he used for the Clamp and Feet his all new turntable Mat brought an interesting impact to my turntable setup.
This was not just a small difference, but quite a markable step up in performance. Interestingly many people connects the graphite with speedy, but harsh and unsettled sound. In quite opposite Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat lifted up performance with a harmonious touch and in absence of edginess. First most recognisable step was for sure the gain in speed and stability. I’m not talking about outrageous non controlled speed and lifeless stillness. The pace, attacks and smallest nuances of reverberation, delays and decays all helped with the creation of fuller, more convincing and surprisingly more life like calm presentation.
I can already hear few complainers with the hard coded messages of do we really need to adjust new height of the tonearm. In my reply to all of them I’m giving the clear bold statement. You should! Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat offers a such a noticeable change, that is more then worthy of few turntable adjustments.
In the high-end audio world where to often most of accessories got crucified by audiophiles and often by good reasons, Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat comes as an refreshing antidote to those worthy of such attacks. Here the difference is obvious and on positive, musical side.
Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat is great tuning addition to the turntable platter and it quickly shows the guts and glory. In my setup the gain was instantly evident and easy to demonstrate to my guests.
Turntable is a highly complex front end for high-end audio reproduction. It might be seen as a simple machine, but in reality there is no other front end or component, that is as susceptible to the minor changes as our beloved vinyl replay machine. Everything matters here. Even the minor changes.
In the spirit of 21st century vinyl playback Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat comes as an elaborated accessory with interesting potency of performance shift. For the given price its more then worthy of exploring even by the hard core doubters.
Text: Matej Isak
Chameleon racks Graphite Turntable Mat is 5mm thick and made from exotic quality graphite material like all other company products but with different development.
This quality graphite is the most expensive in the world and the steps for develop are very difficult. Yet this Nikos Kostadimas appach.