Analog Corner #321: EMT JSD Novel Titan MC cartridge, Fozgometer V2, Mat Chakra, WAM Wallyscope Page 2

Next, you measure the dynamic cantilever angle by installing the cartridge—overhang is not critical at this point—and, after making sure the arm is parallel to the record surface in both axes (the Wally Reference tool is useful here), and with the supplied lipless record on the platter and the stylus on the record, you slowly rotate the platter with a finger and snap a picture using either the WallyScope or a digital microscope or smartphone camera. (Whichever device you use must be precisely located to achieve an accurate measurement.)

Then, using the WallyScope software, you measure the angles and enter them into the calculator, and it gives you the dynamic stylus rake angle (SRA) with far greater accuracy than you can achieve with just a low-resolution digital microscope on a nonrotating record and guessing the stylus deflection. Anyone who uses a low-resolution digital microscope like a Dino-lite knows how difficult it is to achieve measurement consistency. With this approach, the WallyScope was accurate and repeatable. This is a useful tool for any analog-focused reviewer, retailer who sells analog gear, or audio society—not to mention the fanatics who have so far bought all the WallyScopes Boisclair can manufacture.

The EMT JSD Novel Titan MC cartridge
Last August, EMT Tontechnik, which is now owned by HiFiction AG, introduced three new "Novel" cartridges said to be the result of 6 years of electromechanical research and development. The three cartridges in the Novel line feature a multilayer core transducer in which a sapphire cantilever is inserted into a high-strength titanium structure with a DLC coating and a double layer core designed to reduce eddy current loss. (DLC is short for diamond-like carbon; it's a nanocomposite with high electrical insulation properties.) The stylus is a multiradial nude diamond.


The JSD Novel Gold features gold coils, the Titan features a diamond-plated titanium body and silver coils, and the TSD Novel integrated, which comes mounted in a plug-in headshell, incorporates a magnesium body and copper coils.

The Novel Titan outputs a generous 1mV (@ 5cm/s), has a relatively high 16 ohm internal impedance, an appropriately low 12µm/mN compliance, weighs 13gm, and tracks at 2.1±0.1gm. The recommended load impedance is 200–300 ohms. The retail price is $7760 (footnote 7).

When I visited HiFiction's Turbenthal, Switzerland, factory in 2019—it seems like a lifetime ago—I watched a skilled team in a sunny corner of the factory winding coils and assembling cartridges. In another room, I watched finished cartridges being tested and adjusted for azimuth, compliance, and other performance parameters. At one point, I was tasked with adjusting the damping on a costly cartridge, which required loosening a tiny screw under a microscope and using an index finger to press back on the cantilever to adjust the damper's compression before retightening the screw (footnote 8). One slip of the finger and the cartridge was toast! I was so afraid of breaking it that I never pushed back with enough force to change anything. I happily let HiFiction's Micha Huber finish the job. I'll stick to writing and setting up, not adjusting cartridges!


With its semi-open design, featuring a long cylinder terminating in a grub screw that holds the cantilever/coil assembly's rear pipe, the Novel Titan has the same form factor as EMTs going back many decades, probably to the company's broadcast-based founder Wilhelm Franz, who is also cited in this issue's EMT 128 review. It's a familiar design that's robust and not at all exotic. What's changed are the transducer materials, which weren't available back then.

I installed the Novel Titan on the OMA K3 arm and tracked it at 2.1gm. The Titan does not include a stylus guard, which could be a problem for people with cats, children, or housekeepers.

Having watched EMT cartridges being hand-adjusted with Swiss precision, I was not surprised to find 93° SRA was with the arm close to parallel to the record surface and crosstalk minimized and balanced with the cartridge carrier—there's no "headshell" on the OMA tonearm—just about parallel to the record surface. I measured –33dB crosstalk, which is very good but somewhat lower than the spec'd –36dB. The cartridge tracked the Ortofon test record's 70Êm band perfectly and produced barely perceptible buzz at 80Êm, which is typical of very good MC cartridge tracking performance.

EMT is one of the few cartridge manufacturers that still includes a frequency response plot for each cartridge. Other than a slight ripple between 55Hz and 65Hz (probably a resonance), response is flat from 20Hz to 5kHz, rising a scant 2dB to 10kHz, after which it exhibits the usual MC high-frequency rise.

In addition to running it into the EMT 128 phono preamp, I used the CH Precision P1 phono pre via its voltage-amplification input, loading the cartridge at 200 ohms. The most significant qualities heard through the EMT 128 were also present when heard through the CH Precision, especially the generous low-frequency transient textures—fingers plucking double bass strings, for example, as noted in the 128 review.


A record label I can't reveal will soon release an all-analog cut of The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (originally A&M 4158), an album that's as pleasurable as it is short (less than half an hour). On the first play of the test pressing, David Jackson's string bass had never been so delicately and incisively delivered. I went back to the original, and while the weight and extension were not quite as good, the EMT's generous presentation of bass transient textures was there too, without overhang. In other words, it was the cartridge, not the test pressing, doing the talking.

There was nothing old-fashioned about the Novel Titan's sound, unless you consider smoothness, refinement, good timbral balance, and commendable transparency old-fashioned attributes. The Novel Titan's velvety character never produced softness where there should be edge, nor did it ever become overly analytical.

The only coloration or character I noticed was a particular vocal sibilant characteristic—a super-narrow, almost sweet peak that showed itself and then evaporated.

Both massed and solo strings sounded full, rich, and supple. Beethoven Cello Sonatas No.3 and 5 (EMI HQS 1029), performed by Jacqueline du Pré with Stephen (Bishop) Kovacevich on piano, was effectively delivered, with piano transients neither softened nor etched. Du Pré's cello produced attractive sheen in the upper registers and full growl below, rounding out a believable, satisfying picture of two musicians playing in a studio space.

There are cartridges with more dynamic slam, detail retrieval, spatial expansiveness, rhythmic swagger, and hyper everything (many of them considerably more costly and some with some thinness and etch), but the Novel Titan's ability to reliably deliver satisfying musical goods while never calling attention to itself (other than that one sibilant characteristic) never disappointed. It always produced musical pleasure on a rich, colorful pallet.

If hard rock is your thing, I'd look elsewhere, but otherwise, with its relatively high output, precise build quality, and seamless delivery, if the price is in your neighborhood, the Novel Titan is worth considering. EMT has taken a classic design infrastructure and, using modern materials, made it fast and fresh.

New Mat Chakra Limited Edition
I recently received a new washer for the OMA K3 clamp. I'm sure you're familiar with the concept: Screw a clamp down on a platter with a washer under the record and the record edge is forced down onto the platter. The result is better platter/record contact, which reduces vinyl vibration and thus improves the sound. It can tame warps, too.


The new washer was slightly taller, which made for a tighter clamp. The sonic difference was obvious, increased midband richness being the main (but not the only) improvement. It was subtle but significant.

The new Mat Chakra, from Sublima Research in Italy (footnote 9), is a thin, stiff, lightweight, moderately flexible platter mat made from an undisclosed material with a sandpaper-like finish and three other mysterious things. One is an approximately ½" × 1/16" cutout in the groove area about an inch from the outer edge. The other two are gray, flat, circular blobs of paint (which is said to act as "an electromagnetic interactor") that fill small, maybe ¼"-diameter circular holes, one located in the label area, the other close to or within the lead-out groove area of many records, depending upon speed and/or cut.

The design of the Mat Chakra is based on "10 years of experimentation and improvement on little known electromagnetism interactions." These are never explained and so remain little known. According to the company's website, the mat is based on three "unique" principles, translated on the Sublima website as "electromagnetic interaction," "tuning and resonant recess," and "understood/mechanical decoupling."

By "tuning and resonant recess," I assume the designer means that the mat is "tuned" to reduce vinyl resonances. Mechanical decoupling is easy enough to grasp: The pebbly finish could decouple the record from the mat to some degree.

The letter I received with the Mat Chakra avers that it "allows you to extract more information from the vinyl and decrease wear!" According to the website, wear reduction is achieved "by reducing the contact charge and allowing the needle a much more natural and complete reading."

"Studies carried out in the Sublima Research laboratory in Rome have revealed that the reading of the LP is continuously error [sic] because these disturbances generate a sound degradation and a displacement of the original timbres, as well as shifting the tones and reproducing a sound of different pitch (frequency). The Mat Chakra Limited acts on the capacitive/mechanical behavior between the vinyl head (cartridge?) and the turntable."

Even allowing for the obvious translation issues, there's a lot of undecipherable gobbledygook here. I don't know what "these disturbances" are. There's no explanation of exactly what the "capacitive/mechanical behavior" is between the cartridge and the turntable, or what causes it. Nor is there any indication of what it is about the mat that reduces it. Also, what is the pebbly material on the surface of the mat? Don't know. What's the mat itself made of? Don't know. What's the purpose of the opening and of the two blobs, and what are they made of? Don't know.

What I do know is this: I played a series of records placed directly on the OMA's polycrystalline graphite platter mat using the clamping system. Then I placed the Mat Chakra on top of the graphite platter followed by the clamping washer and I clamped and repeated play.


I've been fixated on Shostakovich's The Age of Gold Ballet Suite (RCA LSC-2322) with Jean Martinon conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded in stereo in 1957 at Kingsway Hall, probably by the Decca Records recording team, but not released until 1959. It's a sonic spectacular that can sound a bit bright on orchestral crescendos, especially on cymbal crashes and massed strings.

With the mat in place, the stage deepened, the massed strings had a touch of added warmth, and the woodwinds were a bit less shrill. The first major cymbal crash was more natural sounding, with better control and less aggressive splash, and the pizzicato strings had more supple "pluck." The first major orchestral explosion a few minutes in was far less aggressive, presented with greater realism and especially control—it didn't jump forward on the stage. The recording continued to be somewhat aggressive on top, but it was far more enjoyable with the mat than without it. I heard these differences with every record, but it was more significant on orchestral and acoustic music generally.

The sonic effect is very similar to record "demagnetization," which as of course you know is impossible, though every person who's visited here hears the difference it makes. I don't write about stuff like this unless I hear it and mean it!

Inventor Alex Cereda says these mats are manufactured one at a time and cost €350, which is around $398. With a demo at an audio show, he could sell a stack of them. Otherwise, the Mat Chakra is sold factory-direct from

Footnote 7: EMT JSD Novel Gold, HiFiction AG, EMT Tontechnik Industriestrasse, 25 Mahlberg 77972, Switzerland. Web: North American distributor: Wynn Audio,20 Wertheim Ct. #31, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3A8, Canada. Email: Web:

Footnote 8: Watch the video here/

Footnote 9: Mat Chakra, Sublima Audio Research. Email: Web:


Glotz's picture

I think it's wrapped around the stylus! If you look closely, there is a light blue ring around and near the top of the stylus as well! It's like a cute ascot! Lol...

I think this situation is the only reason (truly) I will hang on to my DS Audio ST-50. I just had this situation for myself this month, but it has happened quite a few times in the past. Use the Flux Hifi electronic cleaner or the ST-50... it worked for me.

Thank you for the immensely helpful work you do to bring out the cutting edge of analog and bring new important developments like WAM's (and the dangers of gel-based stylus cleaners), every month.

4kmusic's picture

The WallyScope marries a high-resolution digital camera with an optical microscope on a platform designed for fine-tuning of height and focus