Japanese optical phono cartridge manufacturer DS Audio has released an entry-level optical phono cartridge, the DS-E1. Its retail price of $3,995 includes the all-important equaliser.

Despite its low price, the new DS-E1 cartridge uses exactly the same wire suspension mechanism as the flagship DS Master 1 model,’ said Boris Granovsky, of Absolute Hi End, which distributes DS Audio in Australia. ‘This means the signal generated by the optical system is very close to the stylus, so information retrieved is more accurate than when using any type of magnetic cartridge, either moving-coil or moving-magnet, where the information is always retrieved at the opposite end of the cantilever from the stylus.'

Much of the cost-saving has been realised in the equaliser that provides power to the optical cartridge, and then correctly equalises and amplifies the signal from it so it can be routed directly to the line-level input of any amplifier. DS Audio has reduced the component count inside the DS-E1 equaliser by greater use of operational amplifiers. This has in turn enabled DS Audio to reduce the size of the equaliser, so it’s just one-third the size of the company’s DS-002 equaliser (See size comparison below). ‘Despite the reduction in size and the use of op-amps, the DS-E1 still offers the world-leading performance audiophiles have come to expect from DS Audio,’ Granovsky told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine.

For more information, contact Absolute Hi End.

Manufacturer’s Specifications: DS Audio DS-E1 Optical Phono System

DS-E1 Cartridge:
Cantilever: Aluminium
Body Material: Aluminium
Rec. Tracking Weight: 1.7g
Stylus Shape: Elliptical
Channel Separation: >24dB (@ 1kHz)
Weight: 8.1g


DS-E1 Equaliser
Output Voltage: 500mV (@1kHz)
Output Impedance: 120Ω
Dimensions (WHD): 200×70×160mm
Weight: 1.4kg