I've been geeking out with audio equipment since I was a toddler listening to my dad's components from the 70s. There was such a presence compared to listening through my FM transistor radio! Once I could start buying my own equipment, it just got more fun.
Fast forward to now, and I've been tweaking a somewhat modest home system with an upgraded Project turntable, Yamaha integrated amp (which should be my next tweak) and Rega R3 speakers. It's been fun to play with, and I feel like it's really delightful sounding too. I tweaked the turntable with an acrylic platter and the external power supply. I added a record weight too. Some of these had a negligible effect alone, but when combined, things seemed to add up.
We've been making leather desk pads for a bit, and I took one home that had some minor blems and thought it might look fantastic under my turntable. I love my hi-fi, but I also love good furniture and old houses. These old house floors can transmit vibration, and while my furniture is super sturdy, it's not lab-engineered like audiophile equipment racks. I figured a dense mat of natural leather at least wouldn't hurt any of these issues.
After listening and living with it for a while, I found that it's perfect. Does it give a pronounced audible upgrade? Not really. Does it help at all? Sure. I think. Of course it does, right? Will it help with your setup? Maybe. Perfect tonal damping aside, it's good looking in the space and it's an excellent surface if you have your hi-fi on fine furniture like I do. I can set the record weight down, fumble the dust brush, futz with accessories and never worry about dinging the furniture. The leather looks better with age and protects furniture too.
In addition with this new use, I've added another version of leather desk mat into the store... Grade B. While the leather is still the finest US vegetable tanned leather around, it's very difficult (and expensive) to only cut perfect, unblemished pieces. If you're going to put a turntable on yours, a minor imperfection will be likely hidden anyway. Plus at this price point, you can treat your equipment right, while putting more money towards new records!