Since 2013, DS Audio has been pioneering the world’s only optical phono cartridges, which have earned rave reviews from the international audiophile press. Now, the company is blazing another unusual trail, by releasing details of its unique technology so that others can join the optical audio market.
When you lead the way in something that’s described as ‘the biggest game-changer in decades’, typically, you patent it – or at least try to keep the competition at bay for as long as possible. Japanese DS Audio, however, is not your typical company.
Optical technology delivers what DS Audio considers to be a peerless approach to phono cartridge engineering, and CEO and chief designer Tetsuaki Aoyagi would like to see its benefits incorporated into many more high-end audio systems. To this end, rather than keeping the relevant knowledge and spoils to himself, he is publishing, free of charge, DS Audio’s technology and expertise in order to help others enter the market. “My goal is that optical cartridges move from being ‘unique’ to ‘popular’,” he explains.
At present, DS Audio’s optical cartridges require their own equalizer / phono stage, since the technology differs from that needed for a traditional MM or MC cartridge. In the future, Tetsuaki Aoyagi hopes that manufacturers of high-end electronics will begin to build in optical cartridge-friendly tech into their phono stage and amplifier designs, such that a separate unit is no longer necessary.
Circuit diagrams are now freely available on the company’s website at https://www.ds-audio-w.biz/optical-cartridge-phono-equalizer-circuit-info/
In addition, any manufacturer considering designing a phono stage compatible with optical cartridges is invited to contact DS Audio who will review the proposed design and answer questions, with no license or consultancy fee. Circuit diagrams and samples of the finished product can then be sent to DS Audio for final checking, after which details of the product will be published on their website as compatible with DS Audio cartridges.