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SOLD - FOR SALE: VERY RARE: Warren Gehl Turntable Mat, Original Owner

Item #649433231
Info: VERY RARE: Warren Gehl Turntable Mat, Original Owner

Asking Price:
USD $500.00
Payment method: Paypal, Cheque, Money Order
Shipping weight: 5.50 (lbs) Calculate Shipping
Shipping Dimension: 13.00in x 13.00in x 1.75in
Condition: 9 - Excellent (?)
Date Posted: Jun 23, 18 4:17pm (PST)
Edited: Jun 24, 18 8:08pm
About Seller: CA, United States
External Feedback: icewater_7 (83)
Days in System:1

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This is a genuine article from Warren's first production run in October of 1986 (see closeup photo of Warren's inspection sticker on the back side of the mat). I am the original and only owner. 

Before replacing Jack Hejlm as the Audio Research Quality Control Manager when Jack retired, Warren was a corporate materials scientist. He had knowledge of and sources for exotic industrial polymers and other materials he thought would have an application for a state-of-the-art turntable mat of his own invention. His desire was to create a critically damped mechanical/acoustic transmission line between the LP and platter. As I best remember the explanation, his mat would sink away the acoustical energy in the vinyl and keep it from reflecting back into the cartridge from the stock TT platter. The goal was to not be over or under damped, but critically so by using multiple layers of proprietary materials. Thus, that absorbed energy would not mix with and blur the pure original musical content read by the cartridge. He succeeded brilliantly. With cartridges going for $10k and over, today, I believe this mat can bring about similar refinements in audio quality to today's highest end analog reproduction systems in ways I would never have been able to hear on my own system. But even back then, the improvements I heard were pretty amazing.

Warren was a colleague/friend of mine in the Minnesota Audio Society and had the best sounding vinyl collection of the broadest musical genres I ever knew. Warren used my own and other society member's audio systems to evaluate his mat prototypes, and that is how I came to buy one from him. 

I originally added this mat on top of a SOTA Sapphire TT with an ET2A tonearm and it brought a performance refinement that I just could not live without. Unfortunately for me, after I moved to California in 1989 I switched from the SOTA to a VPI HW-19 mk III and discovered that I could not use Warren's mat with that table. This mat is fairly heavy ( 4 lbs, 2.7 oz) and it bottomed out my VPI's suspension. The mat's thickness (5/16") also shortened the free height on my threaded spindle so I could no longer use the great VPI clamp. I put the mat aside in its original packing and have not used it since. 

I would recommend this mat to be used on unsuspended turntables or ones whose suspension can be adjusted by the user. Audio Research used Warren's mat in their corporate testing/demo listening room on a VPI TNT. It is also very important to use a clamping system that will bring the entire LP bottom surface in contact with this mat right out to the LP lip (note the mat thickness above versus your own spindle length). I think thats essential to get the highest possible performance improvement. Be also aware that the mat has "amorphous" qualities (like glass) in that it will "flow" slowly over time to conform intimately with the platter surface, but it is still perfectly rigid in basic character. Therefore, do not be concerned if the mat takes on a slight warpage during shipment, it will relax and flatten out on your platter.

Warren's total production run was pretty small as he did all the manufacturing mostly by himself and it was not practical for him to continue indefinitely. This is a "rare bird" in high end circles so I have not yet found a published full formal review, However, the mat has captured the attention of several influential audio writers. Some of their attributed comments are excerpted below:

From audioasylum.com: "The Warren Gehl mat is a 1/8" thick sophisticated platter multi-layer mat made of materials that damp the record with its top surface, the platter with its bottom surface, and still provides a good, fairly rigid surface for the record to sit on. It is sufficiently flexible to follow the contour of the platter... it has been by far the best record interface I've used.The sonic presentation is MUCH clearer, less congested, and with more vivid tonal colors with the mat on versus the record on the bare platter with a only very sight reduction in percussive impacts (and an increase in the clarity and detailing around those impacts)."

From soundfountain.com: "The Warren Gehl mat (if you have ever heard of it) is a favorite of certain audiophiles. It is a multi-layer, heavy plastic composite that does a great job of damping the record on the topside and damping the platter on the bottom side while providing a rigid surface for good impact, slam, and bass. The mat was extremely expensive and rarely seen, but is by far the most detailed, accurate, neutral, and revealing mat."

From user "atmosphere" (Ralph Karsten) commenting in Audiogon Discussions Forum https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/record-mats-for-vintage-tts : "IMO its unfortunate that Warren no longer makes his pad. When he did, what we found was that as long as the 'table could manage the weight, that table would sound instantly better (better bass, smoother more detailed highs) than any table without it. ... They were pricy and hard to make, but they worked beautifully. Once you've heard one, you know what I say they are the best."

This will be my very first ad on this selling platform, so I won't have established feedback. However, I have sold many pieces of professional audio equipment on eBay and you can check out the 80 responses I have gotten over the years buying and selling there. My ID on eBay is "Icewater_7"

I will ship the mat in a recycled heavy duty LP shipping carton designed to hold multiple LPs but with several cardboard spacers around both sides for rigidity and protection (inside carton width is 1-5/8"). The mat will be enclosed in a MFSL Original Master sleeve before inserting it into Warren's original packing which has a hard board on the backside of the mat to keep it coplanar and softer cardboard on the topside.


Original manufacturer's packaging to protect the item during shipping


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