February 7, 2017
Show Exclusive: DS Audio To Launch New Entry Level DS 002 Optical Cartridge
In 2013 DS Audio pioneered the world’s only optical phono cartridge, the DS-W1, attracting rave reviews from the worldwide audiophile press. A further-advanced flagship model, the Master 1, followed in 2016. Now, the company is launching a new entry level design: the DS 002, drawing on innovations from the Master 1 while offering a more affordable way in to optical cartridge technology.
DS Audio’s UK distributor, Sound Fowndations, will launch the DS 002 at The Bristol Show.
Why go optical?
In contrast to moving-magnet (MM) and moving-coil (MC) cartridges that work on the principle of electromagnetic induction, an optical cartridge uses a beam of light to read stylus/cantilever movement. The advantage of this system is twofold: it makes the cartridge much lighter and more agile, while also completely eliminating the frictional force caused by magnets and coils and the resulting influence on stylus/cantilever movement.
A further key advantage lies in the cartridge’s output. In conventional MM and MC designs, the output signal depends on the velocity at which a tiny magnet or coil moves in an electromagnetic field. At lower frequencies the magnet or coil moves slowly so the output signal is small, while at higher frequencies it moves more quickly and so the output signal is disproportionately large – hence the need for equalization. In contrast, in an optical cartridge the output signal depends on the distance that the styles moves, so there are no disparities between high and low frequencies. Therefore no equalization is required (other than RIAA curve correction) and low frequency reproduction is much enhanced, since an optical cartridge can theoretically detect signals as low as 1Hz.
The resulting sound has delicacy, subtlety, natural warmth and a deep richness. Most important, it is stunningly real, capturing all of the miniscule yet critical details that make a musical performance come to life.