DS Audio DS-W2 Optical Cartridge
World beating optical cartridge technology
The DS-W2 is the successor to our DS-W1 optical cartridge design, which was awarded the title of world's best phono cartridge by two major audio magazines in Germany: Stereo and Audio. This praise helped to establish the popularity of our unique technology, setting a high standard and paving the way for further development. The extensive advancements and refinements of the DS-W2 design have resulted in performance that is far in excess of the already impressive DS-W1.
Upgraded equalizer featuring a sophisticated power supply
The DS-W2 equalizer houses 12 large capacitors, each with 56000μF capacity; more than those normally found in a phono pre-amplifier. In use, the benefits of this design choice are obvious, with fantastic musical control and an effortless presentation. A 1.5mm thick pure copper plate bus-bar is employed to connect these capacitors, ensuring maximum power transfer. This also functions as a shielding plate for the transformer, revealing more low-level musical detail. All of the improvements of the DS-W2 equalizer have created a component three times larger than the predecessor DS-W1, and sonic performance is of an even greater magnitude. The result is ultimate enjoyment from your record collection. Expect to hear more from DS Audio.
Boron Cantilever with Micro-ridge stylus
The DS-W2 is equipped with a boron cantilever and Micro-Ridge stylus representing a further upgrade from the Shibata stylus used on its predecessor DS-W1. This combination precisely traces the record groove and yields the utmost quality of sonic reproduction. A hand-crafted, “Natural Rose quartz” LED indicator adds an eye-catching detail to this unique piece of audio technology. Hand-made in Japan circuit board Every component part used in our products is tested and evaluated by our expert Japanese technicians. In addition to using a specially printed circuit board, twist-connection of the component legs is further evidence of DS Audio’ s excellent attention to detail. Each and every product is hand-made and quality assured by our skilled engineers.
Hand-made in Japan circuit board
Every component part used in our products is tested and evaluated by our expert Japanese technicians. In addition to using a specially printed circuit board, twist-connection of the component legs is further evidence of DS Audio’ s excellent attention to detail. Each and every product is hand-made and quality assured by our skilled engineers.
Fully balanced XLR output
Offering a choice of outputs and low frequency response options, the DS-W2 preamp/equalizer features two sets of RCA and XLR outputs and two separate low frequency cut-off points.
Benefits of Optical cartridge design;
Many audiophiles will remember Optical cartridges from the 1970’s. The performance of these was hailed as a radical step forwards at the time, with reviewer comments, ‘Pure, like mountain dew, yet strong like a waterfall’. Unfortunately optic technology in the 1970s had many flaws, issues with heat and signal-to-noise ratio meant that with the dawn of Compact Disc and the digital era, these products disappeared from the market – although still revered in audiophile circles. Now, 40 years later, the massive improvements in optic technology have allowed DS Audio to completely redesigned the Optical cartridge for the 21st century.
Whereas MM & MC cartridges rely on magnets and coils to generate the electrical signal, the Optical cartridge uses a beam of light to detect cantilever movement, making the cartridge much lighter, and more agile. This also removes the magnetic field inside the cartridge caused by the coils & magnets in conventional cartridge designs, and it’s subsequent influence on cantilever movement.
Faraday’s law of induction governs the design and operation of both MM and MC cartridges. As a result, both designs are subject to Lenz’s law. In audio terms, Lenz’s law states that the movement of the coil and/or magnet will produce a frictional force that affects the movement of the cantilever and hence the stylus, such that exact stylus vibration can never be reproduced by an MM or MC cartridge system. DS Audio’s optical system, on the other hand, has absolutely no effect on the vibration of the stylus/cantilever system.
Another benefit of the Optical cartridge design is the output from the cartridge itself. Whereas conventional MM & MC designs rely on ‘velocity-proportional method’, in which, the output signal depends on how fast a tiny magnet (or a tiny coil in MC) moves in the magnetic field. At lower frequencies, the magnet moves slowly in the magnetic field, so the resulted output signal level is very small. Whereas at high frequencies, the magnet moves faster, so that the output signal becomes un-proportionally large. This means MM or MC cartridges require equalisation between high and low frequencies.
In contrast the Optical cartridge system uses the ‘amplitude-proportional method’ in which, the output signal depends on how much distance the stylus moves, without the huge disparity between high & low output frequencies seen in MM and MC cartridge design. It results in no equalisation being necessary in the output signal except for RIAA curve correction. This is especially important when it comes to low frequency reproduction, as the Optical cartridge design can theoretically detect signals as low as 1Hz, as it does not rely on the speed of cartridge movement which dictates MM & MC cartridge output declines 6db/octave.