The audio accessories world has gone a little bit loopy of late. The fact you can spend more money adding the right cables and equipment supports to hook up an £80,000 dCS Vivaldi four-box stack than you might spend on the dCS Vivaldi itself points to a world out of balance. But it needn’t be this way. Cro Audio’s new turntable mat and record clamp have all the right high-end credentials and sound quality, just not the price tag.
The ‘Cro’ in Cro Audio is short for Croatia, and the most obvious sign of the brand’s Slavic roots is the company’s Turntable Stone Weight. This is a machined and polished puck of Dalmatian Brac limestone, with a rubberised cork particulate surface facing the record, and a little black rubber o-ring set into the pale stone surface to make handling the polished weight a little easier. The weight notionally weighs 450g, but being made of natural stone, there is slight variance in the weight, and our sample came in at 446g. It’s supplied in a nice little cardboard gift box, about the size of a small tube of Pringles.
Of course, adding a half-kilo weight on the spindle of an LP means this weight isn’t designed for use with most suspended turntables (although some of the more heroic suspension systems – like the SME Model 20 and 30 – could accommodate the Cro Audio turntable weight), but it works well on many rigid decks. There is no screw thread on the weight, just pop it on the spindle and play.
Currently, the other product in the Cro Audio range is an LP mat. Like the base of the weight, this is made of a proprietary mix of cork and rubber particles. The mat is available in two different thicknesses; 2mm, for those with existing felt mats and no means of adjusting the arm’s vertical tracking angle (Rega springs to mind here), or 3mm for those who want the maximum Cro Audioness and can adjust VTA accordingly.