DS Audio Grand Master Optical Cartridge Unveiled

Posted on 12th October, 2020

DS Audio Grand Master Optical Cartridge Unveiled

DS Audio announces details of its new flagship optical phono cartridge - The Grand Master.

DS Audio's Grand Master cartridge is not only the new range-topper but also sees in the company's third generation of its unique approach to phono cartridges. Moreover, the Grand Master features a radically re-designed optical system as well as a microridge stylus at the end of a diamond cantilever that requires 2.0g~2.2g (2.1g recommended) tracking force.

DS Audio Grand Master uk hifi news

DS Audio Grand Master Cartridge

The DS Audio Grand Master cartridge boasts independent LED' s and photo-detectors (PD's) for the left and right channels. As well as enabling optimised positioning of the optical system, the cartridge output voltage is dramatically increased from 40mV to 70mV (a 75% increase). The new design also sees a smaller, and 50% lighter (from 1.56mg to 0.74 mg), shading plate made from 99.9% pure Beryllium, rather than aluminium as in the second-gen cartridges. 

DS Audio Grand Master uk hifi news

The 7.7g cartridge's rigid construction, including its Ultra Duralumin body, has been designed to promote maximum rigidity and uses internal wiring 1.6 times thicker than used in the second generation cartridges to reduce impedance.

Even though DS Audio has dramatically increased the output, the signal to noise ratio has not been compromised, according to the manufacturer. We're told that the Grand Master cartridge offers a significantly improved S/N ratio when compared to its stablemates, resulting in an even lower noise floor and so greater musical clarity. Moreover, thanks to the independent design of the Grand Master cartridge, DS Audio proudly states that crosstalk has been eliminated, further improving left and right channel separation. The clever cartridge cobbler says that high-frequency separation is improved by10dB when comparing the Grand Master with its DS Audio forebears.

DS Audio Grand Master Equaliser

DS Audio Grand Master uk hifi news

Like all DS Audio designs, the Grand Master requires its own equaliser. Naturally, the Grand Master version takes the design to a different level. Firstly, the equaliser (25.1kg) and power supply (29.8kg) are in separate enclosures. DS Audio uses 2.34μF and 2.97μF electrolytic capacitors within the equaliser and power supply respectively, we're told, results in a significantly more robust power supply design which has improved the low-frequency reproduction.

DS Audio Grand Master uk hifi news

The Grand Master equaliser also features custom-built film capacitors and non-induction winding resistors. Additionally, the design incorporates three transformers (left channel, right channel, optical cartridge supple), each with 1.5 times greater capacity than DS Audio's Master One.

DS Audio Grand Master uk hifi news

Finally, the Grand Master equaliser offers both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs along with six optional low-frequency cut off points, ensuring that the Grand Master will seamlessly match any hi-fi system. 

The DS Grand Master system is available now and priced as follows:

DS Grand Master cartridge:                                           £11,995

DS Grand Master equalizer:                                           £38,000

For more information, visit DS Audio


    Jay Garrett's avatar

    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi
    Tags: ds audio  sound fowndations 


    Want to share your opinion or get advice from other enthusiasts? Then head into the Message Forums where thousands of other enthusiasts are communicating on a daily basis.