First there was the moving-coil cartridge, then the moving-magnet cartridge and then the optical cartridge and now, at CES 2017 another optical phono cartridge…

Japanese company DS Audio released its first optical phono cartridge to great acclaim more than two years ago, becoming the first company to create a phono cartridge that didn’t depend on magnets and coils of wire, eliminating not only mass and momentum, but also the need for precise cartridge/pre-amp matching. In DS Audio’s optical phono cartridge, movements of the cantilever modulate a light beam inside the cartridge, and this modulation is translated into an audio signal that, after conversion by DS Audio’s pre-amplifier/equaliser stage, can be amplified by any standard preamplifier. Sounds simple, but it’s quite complicated to achieve and the price of the first model, the DS 001 reflected this.

Two years down the track, at CES 2017 DS Audio released the DS 002, which incorporates all of the technologies of the original DS 001, but retails for only $US2,750. However, like the original, it has an aluminium cantilever and a classic Shibata stylus. DS Audio says that with the new model, it’s been able to more precisely position the cantilever within the newly-developed wire suspension system, which means increased channel separation and a more accurate stereo image.

Available now in the US, the DS 002 retails for $US2,250. For local Australian pricing, contact DS Audio’s Australian distributor, Absolute Hi End.