Olympia-Oce Optical Cartridge Equalizer

PBN Audio is the first U.S. audio component developer to tackle, and master, the potential of the ground-breaking Optical Cartridge developed by the Japanese company DS Audio—a major innovation in turntable cartridges that uses an infrared light beam to read the analog recording embedded in a vinyl record’s grooves. Its amazing output: pure, vivid, analog sound.

Optical cartridges detect music signals by capturing shadow changes (brightness modulation) using infrared LEDs and photo cells. The shading plate vibrates in front of the LED, and the photo cells behind it detect the changes in brightness. There is virtually no magnetic resistance at the point of the needle. Moving the light shading plate to a thickness of only 100 microns picks up the most delicate nuances. As the photo cells detect changes in brightness created by the record’s groove movement, the output voltage changes accordingly. The movement of the shielding plate will be read as two separate stereo channels, by two photo detectors. The basic detection principle is the same as earlier photoelectric cartridges, but the technology has now come of age.

A key indicator: The Olympia–OCE registers a much higher output with just 26dB gain—less than one-third what might be expected in a traditional phono pre-amp.

The PBN Olympia–OCE pre-amp has been meticulously engineered to awaken the most nuanced performances in your vinyl collection. The future of the Optical Cartridge is now.


  • Fully differential All-FET circuit design. The Olympia OCE is complete with a CPS/OCE power supply featuring two 375VA transformers, eight filtering chocks and 80,000 uF power supply capacitance
  • Super low-noise onboard shunt voltage regulators
  • RIAA accuracy better than +/- .5 percent
  • Overall gain is 26dB
  • Pre-Amp: 19″W x 4.5″H x 15″D
  • Power Supply: 19.5″W x 4.5″H x 15″D

Ask about our full line of custom-designed GrooveMaster turntables, amplifiers and speakers. Whether a single component or a full audio system, PBN Audio delivers uncompromising excellence.