There has always been a big debate about how mats influence the sound of records. The interaction between the record and the surface can be tracked very easily by the super-sensitivity of a good pick up cartridge.
Common felt mats ensure smooth contact between the record and platter but has the disadvantage of static. That means that felt mats often collect a lot of dust which can then be transferred to the record. Also, the damping ability is very limited, which can be a problem with metal platters. Thick rubber mats over-damp the record and have an isolation effect, which leaves the static on the record and noisy clicks are the result.
Leather and Cork are two different but very interesting options to upgrade your sound quality. Resonances are damped more effectively than felt and static is reduced, meaning less dust interference.
What is better depends on taste and the actual platter design.
A Leather or Cork Mat is a very cost-effective way to enhance the sound quality of playing your vinyl.
Alternatively you can Upgrade your Debut or Xpression turntable with the Pro-Ject Acryl It. Acryl It is made from acrylic with a satinised surface, delivering a more fluid sound that leaves no space for platter resonances.
The change is easily made: just exchange your metal platter for Acryl It. Unlike metal platters, where you will need to place a felt met between the record and the platter to damp metal resonance, you can put your record directly on the acrylic surface, with nothing in between. Acryl It will improve the overall performance of your turntable significantly.