Let me mention two things before I get started with the review. While visiting with Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings, I said, “I can tell you this after living for three years with the Soundsmith Stain-gauge and now with the DS, I find these two cartridge technologies to be a real alternative to traditional magnetic cartridge. The reason is simple; You don’t need to fool with a phono preamp, a step up transformer and an active linestage. All of those devices add noise, hum and money to a system that a setup like a strain gauge or this optical cartridge don’t. This wouldn’t matter if magnetic cartridges were vastly better, but they are not. If you want to read more about why I feel that way, read my column “The Beatnik on the Best Way to Play LPs.”
Still, both Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith and Garth Leerer will tell you this isn’t the way most people see it. They know this because both sell vastly more magnetic phono cartridges. It seems most audiophiles are worried that something newer and better will come out, and they won’t be able to use it. The whole high-end audio industry is built around upgrading, but let me tell you a little secret my grandmother taught me; new and improved isn’t most often.
It is my understanding from Garth that this is the first review of the DS-W1 with the new version of output two from the EQ/Power Supply Unit.