Never have I heard a cartridge that can capture instrumental textures or vocal nuance, the skin of a drum and the air inside it, or the rasp of bow on strings as naturally and effortlessly as this. This isn’t the spot-lit presentation and bouncy bass of a typical high-end moving-coil: it is something altogether more delicate, more subtle, and (if you get it right) more real. The DS-W1 doesn’t pump up the drama or fatten up the bottom end. Instead it allows musicians and recordings to speak for themselves, in voices that are at once recognizable and authoritative. Its attack and pace give bass transients natural impact, and shorn of false weight and emphasis, its timing is sure-footed and agile.
If there’s a better cartridge for playing baroque or small ensemble music (classical, jazz or pop) I’ve yet to find it: if there’s a more believable cartridge when it comes to vocal reproduction, solo or choral, I’ve yet to hear it. Which makes DS Audio’s DS-W1 pretty special. There are cartridges with bigger names, cartridges with bigger sounds, cartridges that deliver more drama, and cartridges that also perform their own brand of transductive magic – but they all cost more than the DS Audio, especially when you take the phono-stage into account. Having said that, you might be trading your existing phono-stage for a new arm if you want to really hear what the DS-W1 can do: it’s well worth considering, ‘cos this cartridge really is that good.
Type: Phono cartridge with optical reading
Cantilever: Boron Rod
Stylus Profile: Shibata
Tracking Force: 1.5g
Compliance: 15cu vertical, 25cu horizontal
Output: 500mV (from matching PSU/equaliser)
Manufactured by: DS Audio
UK Distributor: Sound Fowndations
Tel: +44(0)118 981 4238