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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 9:13 am 
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I have experienced a very interesting vinyl playback experience that was worth sharing.

As a result of my Hi-Fi visit to a friend’s house where I was able to audition a DS Audio 003 optical cartridge, I sprang for a DS Audio cartridge. I obtained the DS Audio DS E1 because I preferred an elliptical stylus and the smaller equalizer that can be upgraded (if desired) because it is based on an integrated-circuit op-amp.

Having lived with my DS Audio DS E1 cartridge now for about a week I initially found that although better than any moving coil cartridge in my experience (keeping in mind that I modify cartridges to optimize their sound) the DS E1 was only marginally better. To improve matters I coated the aluminum pipe cantilever (as I have done with other cartridges) with a semi-flexible polymer to suppress the characteristic metallic “zizz” that pervades the sound of what can be a really good cartridge.

Still after that tweak – I wasn’t experiencing playback that I expected that should be the promise of the optical cartridge. Keep in mind that the polymer cantilever coating is easier to do as a manufacturing step than doing it as I did after assembly. I would also recommend coating the shading plate, which I could not do, (a source of unwanted resonance) and feel that the use of Beryllium used in the 003 model is of no benefit unless the cantilever itself is Beryllium.

I determined that the photodiode cartridge output deserves better than just about any “audiophile” interconnecting cable in existence. I happen to have some seriously high-performance interconnects.

I then decided to fabricate a dedicated interconnect using micro-wave cable rated out to 24-GHz. That should not interfere with photodiode output since any cable mechanical or electronic resonances and reactance are way outside the audible range of frequencies and even the recording cutter-head resonances that can be in the 40-kHz. to 60-kHz. range.

Why not? Either my cable is better or at least no worse. I put on a Chasing the Dragon direct-disc LP and was shocked as to how the sound seemed to leave the speakers and create something along the lines of a sonic hologram. WOW!! Never in my experience have I ever heard vinyl playback like that anywhere. That includes the DS Audio 003 playing through a big-$$$ system. The audio magazines that reviewed DS Audio products I expect also have no clue as to what that product is capable of.

I expect that based on my experience, other current owners have not really heard what that cartridge is capable of. I did not expect that kind of performance from any device that is “dragging a rock through a grove” to playback music. It was to say -- at the very least -- truly remarkable.

By the way – the DS E1 equalizer is remarkably transparent and any plans I had to upgrade it are no longer an issue and could have been a waste of time. Although because of the need to have rock steady DC to bias the photo-diodes I discovered that the equalizer case was enabling acoustic breakthrough so I did have to beef up the case, which was worth the effort.

Finally -- since the cartridge does not have the benefit of some moving-system magnetic damping I found that my Denon's electronic arm damping was very effective at tightening up the sound as I advanced the amount of damping.



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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 10:22 am 
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Walt is always pushing the limits and usually with great results


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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 10:40 am 
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Pelliott321 wrote:
Walt is always pushing the limits and usually with great results

There are gambling, alcohol, and drug addictions. ME? I am a certifiable audio addict. :crazy:

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 12:21 pm 
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This is why I'm in the club: I knew nothing about this technology!

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 1:10 pm 
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Guy wrote:
This is why I'm in the club: I knew nothing about this technology!

What is interesting is the fact that DS Audio "re-invented the wheel." Trio and Toshiba had optical cartridges back in the "70s. They were not very successful because they had to use tiny incandescent lamps for the light source.

The heat from the lamps caused premature failures due to overheating. When DS Audio was first prototyping they used those cartridges for trials using LEDs. The rest -- as they say -- is history.

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 2:51 pm 
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SoundMods wrote:
Guy wrote:
This is why I'm in the club: I knew nothing about this technology!

What is interesting is the fact that DS Audio "re-invented the wheel." Trio and Toshiba had optical cartridges back in the "70s. They were not very successful because they had to use tiny incandescent lamps for the light source.

The heat from the lamps caused premature failures due to overheating. When DS Audio was first prototyping they used those cartridges for trials using LEDs. The rest -- as they say -- is history.


Chose to, not had to. LEDs were widely available by then....

Roscoe

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 3:08 pm 
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Roscoe Primrose wrote:
SoundMods wrote:
Guy wrote:
This is why I'm in the club: I knew nothing about this technology!

What is interesting is the fact that DS Audio "re-invented the wheel." Trio and Toshiba had optical cartridges back in the "70s. They were not very successful because they had to use tiny incandescent lamps for the light source.

The heat from the lamps caused premature failures due to overheating. When DS Audio was first prototyping they used those cartridges for trials using LEDs. The rest -- as they say -- is history.


Chose to, not had to. LEDs were widely available by then....

Roscoe

I know what you are saying, but LEDs were typically though-hole pilot lights and not given the respect they have now.

Besides -- back then -- to use a LED in a custom application probably cost too much where the little grain-of-wheat light bulbs were a common choice for applications needing tiny illumination.

Even Marantz used incandescent lights for their specialized isolation circuits in the 10B tuner.

The LED that's used in DS Audio cartridges for the photocells is a SMD IR LED. The pilot light is also SMD.

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 3:42 pm 
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The grain of wheats would have been through hole too, and no smaller than the available LEDs. By the early 70s, LEDs were available for <$.05, so they couldn't have cost that much more than grain of wheats... Reeks of a decision made out of ignorance, not necessity.

Roscoe

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2022, 4:39 pm 
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Roscoe Primrose wrote:
The grain of wheats would have been through hole too, and no smaller than the available LEDs. By the early 70s, LEDs were available for <$.05, so they couldn't have cost that much more than grain of wheats... Reeks of a decision made out of ignorance, not necessity.

Roscoe

I get that -- what else is new in the world of audio? :angry-banghead:

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PostPosted: June 13th, 2022, 9:16 am 
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Pelliott321 wrote:
Walt is always pushing the limits and usually with great results


Make him CEO of SpaceX for a week and see what he comes up with. :lol: :lol:


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