DS Audio DS003 Optical Cartridge

The third generation of optical cartridges from the Japanese company DS Audio features a completely redesigned optical system that has been optimized using independent LEDs and photodetectors for the left and right channels. As a result, the output voltage of the cartridge has increased significantly from 40 mV to 70 mV. At the same time, the signal-to-noise ratio that DS Audio optical cartridges are famous for has not deteriorated. In addition, the new independent design of the DS003 cartridge has eliminated crosstalk, significantly improving left and right channel separation (in particular, high frequency separation is 10 dB better than previous models).

New DS Audio DS003 Optical Cartridge

The weight of the new redesigned beryllium shade plate has been reduced by 50%. The implementation of independent LEDs for the left and right channels allowed for optimization of the positioning of the optical system, but also necessitated the use of a new dimming plate, which is significantly reduced in size compared to earlier designs. In addition to this reduction in size, the material used to make the shade plate has been changed from aluminum (which is used in second generation cartridges) to 99.9% pure beryllium. As a result, DS Audio was able to reduce the weight of the shade plate by more than 50% – from 1.56 mg to 0.74 mg.

New DS Audio DS003 Optical Cartridge

The DS Audio DS003 cartridge is a combination of an aluminum cantilever and a line contact sharpened needle. The head body, made of aluminum, is designed to provide maximum structural rigidity. In addition to these features, the DS003 uses internal wiring 1.6 times thicker than second generation cartridges to reduce resistance.

Compared to the DS Audio DS002 equalizer, the PCB thickness has been increased from 1.6 mm to 2.0 mm, and the copper foil thickness has been changed from 35 µm to 70 µm. In addition, the DS003’s equalizer allows you to select the cutoff frequency for the low frequency range from four values.


Signal output: Photo-electric Conversion
Channel separation: 27db (1KHz)
Weight: 7.7g
Output signal level: 60mV (1kHz cartridge output)
Cantilever: Aluminium
Body material: Aluminium (A5052)
Cantilever holder material: Stainless
Needle pressure: 2.0g~2.2g (2.1g is recommended)
Stylus: Line contact

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