Acoustic Sounds



TEAC TA-TS30UN turntable mat
By: Malachi Lui

September 18th, 2023



You Might Need This $30 Teac Turntable Mat

The most cost-effective upgrade ever?

Perhaps the most immediately noticeable upgrade I’ve ever made to my system was replacing my Rega wool slipmat with Stein Music’s The Perfect Interface Carbon Signature turntable mat. Exactly why it works seems to elude everyone who’s written about it, but the Stein mat produces noticeably greater soundstage depth and separation, quieter backgrounds, and improved realism. The Perfect Interface line uses Japanese paper from the “tapa cloth tree” (paper mulberry), further processed with carbon and Stein Maestro Lacquer then “optimized for perfect resonance control.” For $468-650 (depending on carbon treatment), you can’t overstate the top-of-the-line Stein mat’s quality; it’s so good you can even call it “cost-effective.”

Still, it’s several hundred dollars for what’s essentially a round piece of paper with a hole punched in the center. No matter the audible improvement, that’s a hard sell for those whose wallets have boundaries. Spending a few hundred dollars on a cartridge or phono preamp upgrade feels like a smarter and more fulfilling investment than an expensive turntable mat.

The TEAC TA-TS30UN, however, suggests that maybe you don’t need to spend that much on a good turntable mat. The TEAC mat uses two layers of a similar Japanese washi paper (sourced from mulberry) held together by a stone paper core. It’s heavier than the Stein, though still very thin. One side is gray with white wisps, the other is fully white. Both sides use the same “un-ryū shi” washi, yet supposedly sound different. The cost? Around $30 plus shipping at outlets like Turntable Lab, B&H, and Safe And Sound, though at the time of writing, Amazon has it for the special low price of $1,488.47. Maybe a typo on their end, but not on mine!

I was intrigued. If the TEAC was a fraction as good as the Stein Perfect Interface, it’d easily be worth it. Thankfully, the TEAC with the gray side up was way closer than I expected—about 85% as good. The Stein excelled in dynamic expression and transient delicacy, but the gray side of the TEAC had tighter bass and arguably better image stability (some might describe the TEAC as slightly more congealed). On Love’s “You Set The Scene” (Forever Changes, Rhino/Elektra R1-74013 2012 US reissue), the TEAC mat produced squeakier strings and less bite on the low horn notes. The space around Arthur Lee’s voice wasn’t as precisely carved out and the hi-hat had less air, but I’m making the TEAC mat sound far worse than it is. These differences were extremely subtle overall, and most people probably won’t hear them on modest systems.

Teac turntable matWith the white side facing up, the TEAC mat indeed sounds different… and worse. The white side has a warmer midbass bump but also an annoying, plasticky edge on the high frequencies. On a Rega P6 with an Ortofon MC Cadenza Bronze cartridge (review soon!), it sounded nice for 30 seconds then became grating. However, it might pair well with other systems. (Correction: TEAC's site says the different colored sides "gives [sic] different aspects on the platter of the turntable" yet claims audio performance is equal. I assume the "different aspects" part is only about color. Whatever the case, my findings surprised me because I heard a noticeable difference.)

I also have another Stein mat lower in the Perfect Interface line. I’m not sure which one it is, and they’ve changed things a lot since I got (I think) the Perfect Interface Carbon Signature in 2018. This other one is a darker black and feels more durable than my reference one: less likely to wear around the center hole or shed fibers from the back. It’s good, certainly better than felt or wool and probably cork and leather, but lacks the inner detail and background quiet of the higher-end one. The $30 TEAC mat (gray side) is more engaging and has sharper transients than the lesser Stein one (either $250 or $350), although it’s a tad brighter. Please don’t ask about VTA or SRA differences between these mats, because such differences would be negligible.

Yes, I’m aware how ridiculous it seems to scrutinize the sonic effect of different paper. It logically shouldn’t make a difference, but it does. If you don’t already have a paper turntable mat, I very highly recommend trying the TEAC TA-TS30UN. It’s $30, so what do you have to lose? For those entering this hobby, this TEAC mat should be high on your list of inexpensive, immediate upgrades. It completely obliterates the felt mat that comes stock with turntables, and you’ll hear it instantly. (Michael Fremer instructed me not to use felt mats on my carefully calibrated Rega, so I compared the TEAC to a felt mat using a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO. That turntable has the Sumiko Rainier MM cartridge that it came with, and the difference between mats was huge.) The TEAC has no right to come so close to the Stein gold standard; if you forced me into a blind test, I’d guess the price differential was $200 instead of $4-600. Further, the TEAC even has an advantage in being anti-static. The price you pay with the Stein isn’t just in your bank account, it’s that you take the record off the platter and then have to peel the Stein mat off the record almost every time. So yes, the TEAC mat is essential for anyone who doesn’t have or can’t afford the super-high-end Stein mat. I was skeptical too, but this really could be the best $30 you’ll ever spend on your turntable setup.


Made in Japan

Outer material: “Un-ryū shi” washi paper

Core material: Stone paper

Manufacturer Information

TEAC CORPORATION: 1-47 Ochiai Tama, Tokyo, Tokyo, 206-8530, Japan


  • 2023-09-18 03:05:31 PM

    otaku wrote:

    Hi Malachi. You state: "If you don’t already have a paper turntable mat, I very highly recommend trying the TEAC TA-TS30UN"

    Does the Ringmat Devlopments mat, which is paper with applied cork, count as a 'paper turntable mat'? I am tempted to try the TEAC, but not if it is very similar to the Ringmat (which I like a lot)

    • 2023-09-18 03:24:30 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I'll chime in: the Ringmat's sonic effect is (in my experience) due to the cork ring that the record rests upon, more than by the paper the cork is glued to, though the sonic result is in part based on both parts of it.

  • 2023-09-18 07:11:57 PM

    bill schweitzer wrote:

    Just ordered one. I can't wait to hear music like it was meant to be heard. (and for only $30). Thanks

    • 2023-09-18 10:03:40 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      It’s pretty much the mat Eaoteric supplied with its $80K Grandioso TT

      • 2023-09-19 12:21:57 AM

        Jeffrey C. Robbins wrote:

        Malachi and Michael — where does my Music Hall Mooo Mat fit in the spectrum? Thanks. JCR

      • 2023-09-19 12:22:00 AM

        Jeffrey C. Robbins wrote:

        Malachi and Michael — where does my Music Hall Mooo Mat fit in the spectrum? Thanks. JCR

        • 2023-09-19 12:46:46 AM

          Silk Dome Mid wrote:

          You're really milking this topic, Jeffrey.

          • 2023-09-19 01:01:41 AM

            Jeffrey C. Robbins wrote:

            Needless to say, I have quite the cow -abunga trigger finger. My apologies to all for my cattle faux pas. JCR

            • 2023-09-19 03:40:09 PM

              Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

              Lol.. it was cute.

    • 2023-09-20 07:59:58 PM

      JACK L wrote:


      "Just ordered one... (and for only $30)" qtd B schweitzer

      Right ! For some lousy $30, cheaper than a cheap sirloin steak from the Keg. Do we still have to get permission from your other half ???

      Go for it.

      JACK L

  • 2023-09-19 04:46:50 AM

    Jake wrote:

    Would love a comparison vs the hex mat. So far the latter has a sound that I prefer the most vs other mats I've tried (cork, funk firm, felt)

  • 2023-09-19 01:27:10 PM

    Malachi Lui wrote:

    man, it looks like we need to host a convention where everyone brings their preferred turntable mat and we spend all day comparing them! so many options out there... i can't speak for the ringmat, hex mat, or music hall moo, but the TEAC is certainly the least expensive of all the good ones.

  • 2023-09-19 03:34:16 PM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    THIS!!! I am buying it RIGHT NOW!! Thanks, ML.

    (and MF too... for the reference on the Teac Grandioso TT)

    • 2023-09-19 03:39:30 PM

      Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

      And the entire earth ate up the last one... sigh.

      • 2023-09-19 04:05:36 PM

        Malachi Lui wrote:

        it seems to regularly go in and out of stock. looks like this article made quite a few people buy it because it was widely in stock when i wrote this two days ago, but now it's 'temporarily' out of stock!

        • 2023-09-19 05:24:19 PM

          Silk Dome Mid wrote:

          So it's back to the brown craft paper for me.

        • 2023-09-19 06:13:41 PM

          Anton wrote:

          Influencer! And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear! Great review. Maybe Amazon does have the pricing right. ;-D

  • 2023-09-20 02:35:21 AM

    Sam L wrote:

    I tried the Washi a while back on my Rega, replacing a cork mat. I found it too brittle. The Funk Firm Achromat is much better on my setup. Thanks MF for that recommendation.

    • 2023-09-20 09:04:48 AM

      ken burns wrote:

      Malachi and others, is this mat too thin to replace the felt mat on a rega planar 3? Thanks very much for your replies!

      • 2023-09-20 11:12:04 AM

        Malachi Lui wrote:

        i think it really depends on what cartridge you're using, how VTA is set, and how much work you've put in to set that up. the TEAC mat itself is not 'too thin' to work in circumstances optimized for it. also i find the rega wool mat is the worst sounding felt/wool mat of the three i've compared.

        • 2023-09-20 07:46:08 PM

          ken burns wrote:

          Thanks very much for your reply!

  • 2023-09-20 04:23:27 PM

    Mr. Audio wrote:

    I have been using and touting this mat for years now. One of the best out there. I do like the Funk Firm Achromats better, but these are indeed very good!

  • 2023-09-22 05:22:17 AM

    Georges wrote:

    38 euros on Amazon Europe with postage). Even if it is less effective as some others, it is not expensive and pretty. Let's not forget that Teac/Tascam made excellent cassette decks and CD players (now Esoteric, out of my price range -even used-).

  • 2023-09-25 10:10:05 PM

    bwb wrote:

    Got my static reducing mat today. The second record I played was so tightly attached by static when the record finished I had trouble peeling it off the record

  • 2023-09-26 06:37:47 AM

    andy wrote:

    I have a Herbies Way Excellent 2 on my Technics, which I think sounds great, so I assume I just throw this on top of it as opposed to removing the Herbies to get the sonic benefits?

    • 2023-10-28 12:17:18 AM

      Robert wrote:

      Using the Herbies on my LP12 and like it more than ANY felt mat I've tried.

  • 2023-09-27 12:08:14 AM

    bill schweitzer wrote:

    Just got mine. It makes a difference. More presence and depth when compared to my generic felt mat. Thanks for the tip.

    • 2023-09-28 01:18:28 AM

      Malachi Lui wrote:

      glad to hear it!

  • 2023-10-01 02:41:22 PM

    Lemon Curry wrote:

    So, I tried it. I have a Rega Planar 8 with an Apheta3 cart. This then sits on a ZaZen 1 isolation platform.

    I compared the Teac sheet to my other two mats, the original felt, and a deerhide one.

    (It's notable that these 3 have different thicknesses, so VTA is being changed)

    The Teac sheet brightened things up. Less soundstage opening up and more tone control adjustment. The deerhide mat tightens up bass at the expense of depth. Ironically, the felt mat faired the best with good overall tonality and depth.

    What I've learned having (and fighting with) a Rega table is that you gotta let it do it's thing. That felt mat was provided for a reason. The Apheta 3 is a good match AND for whatever reason it sounds best when setup with a stevenson arc. Why? Who knows.

    The teac mat will likely stay with my Music Hall 5.1 table, which has the world's thinnest mat to begin with. It's a better pairing.

  • 2023-10-11 05:28:47 PM

    Sevenseas wrote:

    TEAC TA-TS30UN - Fantastic results with Rega RP.10.Ref !!!

    • 2023-10-17 03:16:56 PM

      Buzz wrote:

      Thanks for mentioning good results with RP-10 I have placed and order. I have a funk firm 3mm but that seemed to be too think to give it a go with limited bra adjustment on the Rp-10. I am already using shims to accommodate a Sumiko starling cart

      • 2023-10-17 03:17:48 PM

        Buzz wrote:

        I wish I could edit my spelling

        • 2023-10-23 07:52:08 PM

          Buzz wrote:

          Ok been living with the Teac Mat for over a week. Both sides better than the Rega felt mat, The gray side is very bright for me. White side not quite as exciting as gray but I can turn up my stereo again without covering my ears. Keep the comments coming curious about others experiences

  • 2023-10-23 03:08:00 PM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    Back in stock at B&H Photo. I picked one up. Commenting later...

  • 2024-01-27 12:02:31 PM

    Chris Humphrey wrote:

    I bought one for my PTP Lenco as well as a 3mm acrylic mat. The idea was that the paper could either work on its own or damp the platter with the acrylic on top. My Artemis SA-1 has a set up like that with paper under a hard mat so I thought it worth trying the fombination onthe Lenco platter. The acrylic matturned out to be dished so will be going back but the paper on its own is promising, except even with a grounded platter static sticks it to the record. For now it’s back to the original rubber, which is better than I expected.

  • 2024-02-11 04:55:44 AM

    Jack Pot wrote:

    Turntable mats make quite a dramatic difference, even on turntables costing almost euro 200 thd new (Clearaudio Statement: I got an exceedingly rare secondhand one which Clearaudio set up for me). This borders on the absurd. I transferred the Pluto copper+carbon mat from my previous turntable. Using the Clearaudio Statement record clamp, it sounds vastly superior to no mat at all, or a leather mat I happen to have. What we vinylistas need is a critical review of mat+clamp combinations! Since it is that combination that decides on the sonic signature. Synergetic Research, Acoustic Revive, Harmonix, Stein... come to mind. And of course, tested on 2 different turntables. Any taker?

    For those living in the EU, Kemp offers an array of hifi-upgrades

  • 2024-03-14 01:34:17 PM

    Robert DuPont wrote:

    I just got one, and coupled with a newly acquired MANI 2 pre-amp has improved the sound on my extremely modest Technics turntable ( complete with P-mount cartridge) Thank you