DS Audio Introduces $5000 Optical Phono Cartridge Plus Power Supply

Japan-based DS Audio introduced at CES 2017 its latest optical cartridge design, the DS002 at an attractive $5000 price point. The DS002 places the optical sensor in front of the elastomer suspension, which should produce faster response analogous to Audio-Technica's ART1000 cartridge that puts the coils on top of the stylus (not that there's really an comparison to be made between a coil and magnet based generator and one that uses an LED and optical shutter to generate a voltage).

The Shibata stylus is attached to an aluminum cantilever, which in part explains the lower cost of the DS002. It also features a more traditional wire suspension system that makes its compliance more compatible with today's medium to high mass tonearms. Suggested tracking force is 1.7 grams.

The required power supply appears to be very high quality, using premium parts and excellent build quality. The $5000 DS002 puts an optical cartridge within reach of a wider audience. No other phono preamp is needed. The power supply output plugs into a line level preamp or integrated amp input.

The speakers shown are new ones from Rockport Technologies. The sound in the Musical Surroundings room (Musical Surroundings imports to America the DS Audio optical cartridge line) was impressively transparent and well-balanced.

Here's a picture of the cartridge without the body, showing the optical "guts":

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

Always love the editorial/videos you post when you go to the big shows! Keep them coming Michael!

James, Dublin, Ireland

timbray's picture

Serious listening-oriented reviews of opticals are thinner than expected on the net.

My old Linn cartridge should be looking worried…

timbray's picture

Pardon for bumbling in here twice, but just wanted to say I think the lack of a phono-stage requirement is a big deal. My pre-amp is getting seriously old but when I’m shopping, I find it really hard to satisfy the requirements of (a) sonic excellence (b) good MC phono stage (c) somewhat minimal - I now only have two inputs, DAC & phono, (d) remote control. Losing (b) opens up all sorts of options.

Eskisi's picture

...why a cartridge that benefits from lighter moving parts has to track at 1.7g. Counterintuitive.