In 2013 DS Audio pioneered the world’s only optical phono cartridge, the DS-W1, which was an immediate hit in its native Japan. International distribution soon followed, now the company is proud to announce its new flagship, the Master 1. DS Audio’s new flagship Master 1 features a number of advances over the company’s original DS-W1. During a two-year development process, every aspect of design and construction was re-evaluated and no detail overlooked.
The Master 1 uses a Micro-ridge stylus in place of Shibata and a sapphire cantilever rather than boron. A duralumin body provides rigidity, while an enhanced optical-mechanical system enables the re-designed micro-optic sensor to be placed closer to the stylus, resulting in a much shorter optical path length. In addition, the use of a wire-suspended cantilever considerably lowers the compliance, making the Master 1 able to perform at its best with a much wider range of tonearms (whereas the DS-W1 should be paired with a low-mass tonearm for peak performance). The Master 1’s matching phono stage/equaliser features fully discrete dual-mono analogue circuits. Each channel has its own dedicated power supply, while a third supply is dedicated to the cartridge’s LED drive system. Both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs are provided, with a choice of three subsonic filter settings. The unit’s robust 24kg weight is the result of the twelve 120K μf electrolytic capacitors and three transformers housed within. To achieve the lowest possible impedance, a pure copper bus-bar provides the optimal connection between them.
Price for the cartridge and phonostage £19995 inc VAT