DS Audio Optical Phono Cartridge+Equalizer Debuts at RMAF

If you need more proof that vinyl is here to stay, consider this product from DS Audio a newly formed business group of the Digital Stream Corporation (DSC). DSC co-developed with Microsoft the optical mouse and for more than 25 years has provided industrial laser optics for medical testing systems and for laser-based medical optical instrumentation.

DS Audio's DS-W1 is a pure analog system that uses a beam of light to detect stylus vibration rather than the standard method of electromagnetic induction to produce an output voltage. Here photo-electric conversion generates the audio signal. The system is house in a machined aluminum body and weighs 6.5 grams. Using a boron cantilever and Shibata stylus, the DS Audio DS-W1 tracks between 1.3 and 1.7 grams with 1.5 being optimal.

While this new technology is not a strain gauge, like a strain gauge it measures displacement rather than velocity. Therefore it does not require RIAA compensation but to work properly and deal with the RIAA equalization used to cut lacquers it does require an equalizer/power supply, the output of which plugs directly into a line level preamplifier input.

The cartridge/equalizer combo's projected retail price is between $8000 and $10,000 according to U.S. importer Musical Surroundings. Unfortunately there wasn't time for listen during the room visit.

Musical Surroundings
(510) 547-5006

jarroyoeq's picture

This cartridge really surprised me ´cause I´ve tried (all of us) to imagine how to combine cd´s and lp´s playback systems to create a noiseless analog one. Somehow I suposse this is not the case, isn´t it?