We have posted reviews from users of DS Audio products here.
Please write a review of the model you are currently using.
Submit your review
Having used numerous MM and MC cartridges with various phono stages, I was becoming more disappointed with analogue replay. As I spent more money on better but lower output MC cartridges and more sensitive phono amplifiers, I liked the improved sound quality but I was noticing an increased level of low level hum and general grunge or noise. This was really spoiling my enjoyment. Moving to the DS-E1 was a revelation, not only is the sound quality completely natural but all the noise has gone. The sound now comes from an inky black background. This is wonderful and I can't stop my foot from tapping! Thank you Guilford Audio for introducing me to this cartridge and equaliser and thank you DS Audio for a fantastic product.
DS-E1 Happy days with music
I used to listen to it with DENON's station blur, so I used many types of MC, including the genuine DL-103.
Since the DN-308F is equipped with an equalizer amplifier, there was no need to prepare an equalizer amplifier or preamplifier.
MC listening with the equalizer of DN-308F is fun with this, but I still feel the age.
Recently, I considered the introduction of DS-E1 on the occasion of converting SAEC's 407/23 to a pure straight titanium pipe.
If you borrow an E1 listening device and listen to it, it will listen to only music while being more neutral than any cartridge you have ever heard.
You have to be prepared for a considerable expense when upgrading the MC and phono equalizer amplifier, but the DS-E1 is a set of cartridge and equalizer, and this price is really surprising.
It is difficult to make the sound into letters, but in the low range, the resolution or subduction is drawn properly, and when you listen to Bronberg's bass, you can understand the fingering and scale firmly rather than letting it be heard in the atmosphere.
The drum solo at MJQ's pit-in live Rosary, and the repeated hits of tamtam, bass drum, and bass drum do not become muddy, and the expression of texture is amazing.
The high range feels smooth and comfortable, and Kanae Izutsu's direct-cut board allows you to listen with peace of mind without any exaggeration so that you can clearly see how the echo disappears.
At my home, the DS-E1 is used as a reference.
DS Audio Grand Master Set & ION-001 Vinyl Ionizer
Day 1 after installation of the DS Audio Grand Master (GM) cartridge on the Sikora tonearm and readjusting of SGR Model V racks to accommodate the heavy GM Phono Equalizer with separate power supply:
Like my previous DS Audio Master 1, it’s forward and details are bundled when I first turned it on. After two to three songs, I saw some light above my all-time favorite very dynamic Apollo cartridge with a wide soundstage. The soundstage of the GM is not wide at first but increased by 1 to 2 feet with the images too. I noticed that the GM exhibited better dynamics also noticed by the DS Audio distributor that led him to take a video of the classical music we played.
Day 2 of listening to the GM alternately with my regular Apollo cartridge, in our audiophile world we are trying to discover any advantages, merit, or differences. My tweaking impulse without me noticing came out again. Bending my body and arm, inserting and changing the power cord again and again. Changing them from section to section. I feel I have not achieved more than 86% with my analog. I seldom listen to good audiophile recordings. It is my belief that I can satisfy myself with a non-audiophile recording.
Day 3 after the DS Audio distributors’ advice not to turn off the GM Phono Equalizer, I listened in the morning to another vinyl. After two vinyls, going back and forth between the GM cartridge and Apollo cartridge there are no significant differences. By the fourth vinyl, I suddenly noticed a very transparent real musical sound. The transparency is characterized by a see-through sound beyond another sound, nuances that are unleashed from other nuances that I never experienced before even in my mastered digital rendered sound. In my previous encounter with my DS Audio Master 1, for me, the sound is hybrid like in between analog and digital. After tweaking and a few days of using the GM, I can give it a new name: ‘Beyond analog sound. The new benchmark!’
The GM’s sound with layers and layers of transparent sound beyond the front wall sound like a genuine real musical instrument and not a noticeable reproduced sound. Extension of sounds really so long I never experienced in my music room before. This is really a WOW factor! Unfortunately, this kind of nirvana is achieved at a very high cost. The sound now is not sounding forward, detailed but never sounded lean, images with corresponding nuances making it sounded warm. Yes, this time it exhibited air (wind) sound and air (space) too. The noise floor is extremely quiet that tick and pops are more noticeable. Make sure to brush the vinyl and clean the cartridge as Michael Fremer always tells on us to do after each vinyl play.
I bought the DS-W2 two years ago. I've used many MC cartridges so far, but the W2 sounds quite different from those MC cartridges. It is a natural and realistic sound without coloring. The resolution is high, and it reproduces precisely and realistically from low to high frequencies, but the W2 does not feel the unique sound of the cartridge. With MC cartridges, there are characteristics depending on the range, and you can feel the unique coloring of the tone, but this W2 does not feel that tendency. The sound engraved on the record is reproduced with high freshness as it is. The sound is just natural and full of dynamism. Compared to SACD, it is not inferior in sound quality. When I realized that, I had to dispose of all the MC cartridges I had. Some of them cost hundreds of thousands of yen. I thought, "If you have this W2, you don't need anything else." I've been quite happy with W2 for the last two years, but recently I'm getting lost. I heard the high evaluation of GRAND MASTER released by DS Audio this summer. If you listen to GRAND MASTER, you will surely like it. It's not an easy price to buy, what should I do?
After some thought, I introduced DS Maste 1 when I started analog again. If you want high-quality sound with MC & Phonoiko, you will need to invest many times more.
After the introduction of DS Master 1, the analog sound quality exceeded that of digital playback on dCS, and we had to replace it with the company's successor model. It is a sin-making product.
I used a static elimination product from another company, but the effect of the ION-001 ionizer is outstanding, the SN is improved, and the amount of information and spatial reproducibility are significantly improved. The price is not cheap, but considering the effect, it can be said that it is an essential item.
I sympathize with DS Audio's corporate philosophy and have used it with DS002, W2 and Grand Master from DS001, the debut work of DS Audio. I think the common features of DS Audio are the quiet background sound and the delicate and beautiful sound. With the DS001, the left and right were not sufficiently separated, and the sound field sometimes felt a little narrow. With W2 (first delivered in Japan), this point was also improved, surpassing conventional cartridges in all respects, and I thought it was almost complete.
But when I listened to the Grand Master, I realized again that there was more. Even if I drop the needle, I can't hear the scratch noise, and suddenly the singer starts singing in the spotlight. A singer with a strong presence will sing in front of you, as you can understand the good localization that does not even make slight movements and the small differences in mouth movements and vocalizations. The backing chorus is also drawn with great descriptive power. Bass and drums can distinguish subtle differences in sound. It is a cartridge that further deepens the delicacy of W2 and invites you from an auditory sound field to a colorful visual sound field.
If you compare it with a video, from 4K (W2) to 8K3D (Grand Master)!
The combination of Grand Master (Cartridge) and W2 (Equalizer) is my recommendation!
The performance of the DS-W2 optical cartridge was far beyond imagination.
No matter what kind of record you play, you will only hear the music. Cartridges with habits often produce "audio-like" playback sounds, which makes the "sound" annoying and makes it difficult to enjoy music. With the optical cartridge, you can immerse yourself in the excitement of playing music. I think it's a great cartridge.
There is only one request, or the size of the equalizer. Our system has limited equipment installation space, so we appreciate the size as small as possible. If possible, it would be nice to have an equalizer amplifier that is about the size of a mini component system and has the same performance.
* Analog system used
I attached it to an ultra-low torque turntable called Tien TT-3 and the attached Viora arm, and connected it to the XLR input of the EAR912 preamplifier to listen.
This is a continuation of what I wrote earlier. Compared to SACD players, which one has better sound quality than analog players.
In my case, I think the analog equipment currently in use is better. The SACD device used is the top model of domestic manufacturer E, but it has a well-organized sound, is perfect from low to wide areas, and is a very satisfying sound.
However, when switching to a British-made analog player equipped with DS Audio, as mentioned above, the abundant low range and the wide area that stretches out obediently are more attractive, and the sound is glossy and moisturized, and It's very hot. This is a characteristic that SACD does not have. The only weakness is the hassle of having to turn it over every 20 minutes. This is a sad result for me, who paid a lot for SACD equipment.
Everyone, you shouldn't listen to DS Audio, because you have to buy it (laughs)
I forgot to write something important. Not limited to DS Audio cartridges, this "Vinyl ionizer ION-001" is indispensable. When you switch it on, you can see that the noise level goes down quickly. It's a little expensive, but it's worth it. I recommend it.
After listening to the optical cartridge that I was more interested in than before, I decided to introduce it.
The record mainly enjoys Showa Kayokyoku. When you play Showa Kayokyoku with an optical cartridge, the difference in texture, the difference in sound making, and the difference in singing voice depending on the recorded age are firmly expressed.
This feeling is different from the cartridges and phono equalizers I have tried at home, and I got the impression that the detailed information recorded on the record was picked up firmly and accurately.
In addition, due to the low noise and wide dynamic range that are characteristic of optical cartridges, you can listen to stringed instruments delicately, and the vigorous sound of 45-turn singles and donuts is addictive. .. I think the optical cartridge is the best choice for handling various genres.
It was a casual audition at home, but I couldn't let go of it before I knew it.
In terms of setting, there were some difficult parts due to the high sensitivity, but it was very helpful to have the support by phone or email.
The DS-E1 has a vivid sound that makes the music lively and dynamic.
It doesn't matter what the genre of music is.
Even the DS-E1 has a performance that exceeds that of conventional MC cartridges.
If you only listen to the DS-E1, that's enough.
However, compared to W-2, I feel that W-2 has a different dimension.
I'm curious about what the Grandmaster will sound like.
I started with the early model DS-W1 and upgraded to Master 1 to the present. The optical cartridge is completely different from the MC cartridge in terms of power generation principle, and I was surprised at the difference in low-frequency reproducibility. The sound is tight even though there is a sense of volume in the low range. There is nothing to emphasize in the high range and it grows naturally. The Grand Master came out recently, but I'm afraid I'll buy it if I listen to it.
I was interested in optical cartridges, but when I wasn't ready to introduce them, I had the opportunity to listen to them at my favorite audio shop. The moment I heard it, I felt "this is my favorite sound" and immediately ordered it. The bass range is very rich, and the reproduction of silence feels different from the environment I've heard so far, and I'm very satisfied.
After that, by introducing ION-001, noise due to static electricity is completely eliminated, and you can enjoy your favorite sound field.
Many people say that records sound better than CDs and SACDs, but I felt the superiority of digital in CDs, where a dynamic sound field instantly rises from silence.
This is because most master sound sources are digitally edited and produced, and are made into media with a quality close to that, or distributed in high resolution.
As such, I used record needles and phono equalizers, which are called famous machines.
However, I thought it was not necessary to cut it into a vinyl plate and pick up the sound while scratching it with a diamond needle. I thought so until I came across the DS AUDIO optical cartridge.
After experiencing the DS AUDIO optical cartridge, that thought was overturned.
When you play jazz live with GRAND MASTER, the artist will appear there.
Music that is far higher quality than the live performance that you listen to through the PA at the live venue spreads in front of you.
With the E1, you can feel the three-dimensional effect of the sound and fully enjoy the atmosphere of the optical cartridge. Given the price, I don't think the term game changer is exaggerated. At W2, ordinary record needles and phonoiko look small, but the impression is that the Grand Master is slightly less natural.
I've been hobbyizing audio as a way to get in touch with live music, but I'm thinking of introducing GRAND MASTER as the last piece.
This is a great cartridge and equalizer. I used to think that if I had JVC's MC-L1000, I wouldn't need anything else. Also, I didn't listen to the optical cartridge because it had the image of a cheap item when it was made by Toshiba and the trio. Since it was introduced by some of the audio friends including the members of Double Woofers', I decided to listen to it at home. In my heart, I had to spend money, so I wanted Victor to win, but as soon as I heard it, it was completely done. I don't take time to evaluate the sound. It's the same as a bite of soba or sake. For the equalizer, I compared the genuine and EMM Labs, prioritized the light and bouncy bass that I liked, and decided on EMM Labs. I've always liked the sound of EMM Labs since the days of SACD Player. It's just like the velvety sound of early Krell, which I love. Listening to the stars of Koji Tamaki's narration group image that I reviewed on Stereo Sound on line, I really feel a big difference from other cartridges.