The new DS Audio DS E1 cartridge represents a breakthrough in pricing, offering the company’s optical pickup technology at a most reasonable cost.

Using the same design philosophy as DS Master 1 and DS-W2 and DS002, the DS-E1 scales back on some of the exotic parts while still offering many of the virtues heard in their far more expensive stable mates. The DS E1 employs the aluminum cantilever with an Elliptical stylus similar to those used in the more expensive DS Audio cartridges. The DS-E1 cartridge body is machined from aluminum and echoes the distinctive design of the company’s other models.

Small size, big performance, the DS-E1 equalizer employs an operational amplifier at the heart of its circuit, greatly reducing the number of components required. This also allows for a more compact form factor, around 1/3 the size of the DS-002 equalizer, whilst still offering the world leading performance you have come to expect from DS Audio.

Proudly manufactured in Japan, the DS-E1 features precision machined aluminum casework, an element it shares in common with its illustrious stable-mates. Each DS-E1 is manufactured by hand in DS Audio’s facility in Sagamihara City.

DS Audio:

DS Audio is a division of Digital Stream Corporation, a front runner in the laser optics market for the over 25 years and co-developer of the optical mouse with Microsoft. Using their expertise in optics combined with modern technology, their engineers have perfected the optical phono cartridge, using light to create the musical signal. Immersed in the high-end audio space, DS Audio offers a complete line of optical phono cartridges and matching phono stages. All DS Audio products can be mixed and matched giving the listener the ultimate in flexibility and a true upgrade path. 

The Optical Advantage:

Traditional Moving Magnet and Moving Coil phono cartridges use electromagnetic generators. For an MC cartridge, the stylus/cantilever moves a coil of wire within a magnetic field and is superior to an MM cartridge due to its lower moving mass. An MC cartridge has to combine coil design, magnet strength, and generator characteristics to create real-world output without distortion and overload. Resistive loading of the MC cartridge helps adjust its performance both mechanically and electrically.

 A Better Interface:

Moving Magnet and Moving Coil cartridges belong to the “velocity proportional” method where the output signal depends on how fast a magnet or coil moves within the magnetic field. At lower frequencies, it moves slowly in the magnetic field, so the output signal is very weak. Conversely, at high frequencies, it moves faster, so the output signal becomes disproportionately strong. A phono preamp requires complex circuitry to compensate and correct velocity proportional output signals in addition to RIAA equalization. 

The optical cartridge belongs to the “amplitude proportional” method where the output signal depends on how much distance the stylus is moved, and is not frequency dependent. As such, it only requires a very simple, high quality circuit and uses passive RIAA equalization. 


Hi-Fi News: "What can I say? Being offered this level of performance at a fraction of the cost of what came before is a godsend at a time when most high-end brands seem blissfully unaware that value-for-money matters more now than it has for decades. If the thought of a radical change in technology
doesn’t scare you, the DS-E1 provides the chance to hear your LPs as you’ve never imagined. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief" - Ken Kessler:

The Cartridge Dude: A new benchmark - "It would be easy to call the DS Audio E1 optical cartridge and equalizer a benchmark at the $3k price point. I think that it’s easily a benchmark at twice, maybe even three times that price. If that doesn’t qualify for one of our Exceptional Value Awards, I don’t know what does. I haven’t had this much fun with a cartridge in a very long time."


DS-E1 Optical Cartridge:

Signal output: Photo-electric Conversion
Channel Separation: > 24db @ 1KHz
Output Level: 50mV more
Stylus Profile: Elliptical
Cantilever: Aluminum
Body: Machined Aluminum
Tracking Force: 1.6g - 1.8g (1.7g is recommended)
Weight: 8.1g


DS-E1 Equalizer:

Output Voltage: 500mV(1kHz)
Output Impedance: 120Ω
Preamp Input Impedance: > 10kΩ
Input Connection: RCA
Output Connection: RCA (two outputs with switch)
Dimensions: W 20cm × H 7cm × D 16cm
Weight: 1.4kg

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