Posted on 21st August, 2018


DS Audio have announced that their replacement for the DS-W1, the DS-W2 optical phono cartridge, is now available in the UK.

Japanese company DS Audio broke new ground with the world’s only optical phono cartridge four years ago. Since then we have had a choice between the DS-W1, the flagship DS Master 1 and entry-level DS-002 models.

DS Audio DS-W2 Optical Phono Cartridge

DS AUDIO DS-W2 optical cartridge

The new DS-W2 is a direct replacement for the DS-W1 which will now be phased out. The new model incorporates the advanced optical-mechanical system in which the micro-optic sensor is positioned closer in proximity to the stylus, as seen on the Master 1.

The main benefit of this closeness is that it improves photo-electrical conversion of the signal and therefore extracts an even more accurate and detailed level of information from the vinyl’s grooves. Additionally, the DS-W2 adopts the Master 1’s wire-suspended cantilever which is designed to lower the compliance considerably. What all that adds up to is the DS-W2 can perform effortlessly at its best with a much more extensive array of tonearms.

The DS-W2 sports an aluminium body, a boron cantilever and a Micro-Ridge stylus. The rather lovely use of hand-crafted natural rose quartz for the LED indicator adds eye-catching detail. As with the Master 1 and the DS-002, the new cartridge delivers an output of 500mV and more than 25dB+ of channel separation. DS Audio recommends a tracking force of 1.7g.

DS AUDIO DS-W2 optical cartridge EQ

All DS Audio optical cartridges use their own separate, dedicated, phono stage/equaliser and the DS-W2 is no exception. Here you get a massive, sophisticated power supply that features twelve 56,000μF capacitors which are all connected via a 1.5mm thick pure copper-plated bus-bar, designed to maximise power transfer.

Signal-to-noise performance is given a boost thanks to the special shielding used to cover the entire transformer. Furthermore, the shielding is also designed to block external RF and other environmental interference. A specially printed circuit board promises a short and clean signal path, and there are both RCA unbalanced and XLR balanced outputs.

Pricing and availability

The DS Audio DS-W2 optical phono cartridge with phono stage/equaliser is available now, priced at £9,900 (inc. VAT).

For more information go to DS Audio.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: ds audio  sound fowndations