DS Audio DS-W3 Cartridge Light Speed

Light Speed

Strictly speaking, while all DS Audio's phono cartridges use photo-electric technology – derived from the guitar pick-ups and computer mice of the Digital Stream 'optical device development' company – they still 'pick-up' from the groove using a mechanical stylus and cantilever. However, the stereo current that's output via the DS-W3's L+ and R+ terminal pins is derived from the light of two fixed, narrow-beam 5V LEDs (one per channel) shining on a pair of photocells. This output directly reflects the passage of the stylus through the analogue groove because the LED light paths are partially interrupted by what DS Audio calls a 'shading plate' – a lightweight beryllium film that's connected to the moving cantilever. The LEDs, meanwhile, are powered via the DS-W3's L– and R– pins using a proprietary PSU and equaliser [inset picture].


Because DS Audio's photo-electric conversion is sensitive only to the amplitude of the movement of the stylus, unlike velocity-sensitive MC/MMs whose output increases with both groove excursion and frequency, the DS-W3 requires only a relatively subtle HF boost to realise a 'flat' response with all RIAA pre-equalised LPs. So while DS Audio's various 'optical' pick-ups can be mixed-and-matched with its range of PSU/Eq boxes, none are compatible with traditional phono preamps (and vice-versa). PM

Digital Stream Corporation
Kanagawa, Japan
Supplied by: Soundfowndations Ltd, Berks
0118 9814238