45 years of legendary cartridges sold in 70 countries.
Repairing and modifying cartridges had long been a passion of AJ van
den Hul's, so it was only natural that he began making his own
cartridges in the late 1970's.
In 1973 AJ van den Hul designed his first stylus. The original
design, the VDH Type 1 stylus, was revolutionary in design as it was
able to extract far more resolution from a record than previously
possible. Furthermore, van den Hul's stylus had an unheard of lifespan
of 3,500 playing hours! As a result of these innovations the VDH 1
stylus was purchased by companies including: Decca, Goldring, EMT,
Ortofon, Allaerts, Clearaudio, Audio Note and many others.
Today Van den Hul phono cartridges have attained legendary status the
world over, and the VDH stylus remains the market leader with over 1.4
million VDH styli sold worldwide!
Van den Hul is one of the few audio companies which remains deeply
passionate about quality sound reproduction and your enjoyment of great
music. That's why VDH is one of the very few companies that offers a
cartridge repair service and a custom cartridge design/build service. AJ
van den Hul will personally build the perfect cartridge for you;
optimized for your personal musical preferences and audio equipment.
Few, if any, other companies in the industry offer this level of
personal attention and service. Van den Hul offers a broad range of
moving coil cartridges, all of which offer excellent value for money.
The DDT-II Special is a hand built moving coil cartridge with the
VDH Type 1 tip, boron cantilever, matched crystal silver-wire coils and
0.65 mV/channel output. The
cartridge’s name DDT stands for Depth, Detail and Timbre. Coil
resistance 9 ohms. Effective tone arm mass
8-12 grams. 1.3-1.5 gram VTF.
The DDT-II is a great choice for entry to the world of high
performance MC cartridges. The DDT offers very good resolution with a
wide and smooth frequency response. It easily fits a variety of
tonearms, its threaded body makes it easy to install, and its medium to
medium-high compliance makes it compatible with a wide variety of
tonearms. Any load impedance between 100 ohms and 47k ohms is ok, with
200 ohms being optimal.
"I’m here to tell you that the DDT-II is special indeed, and a damn
good buy to boot. The vdH is richly but realistically textured and
colorful, and it stylus is supremely quite in the grove... The vdH
surprised me by being wonderfully dynamic... I can't imagine the person
it wouldn't please... I can think of no higher praise for a phono
cartridge, especially an 'affordable' one such as this. - Art
Dudley, Stereophile, 2003.
The most rigorously specially selected cartridge in the MC Series. For a
small premium this cartridge offers better components and tighter
tolerances. The MC-One Special delivers higher resolution, with a smoother
natural tonal balance, a wide even frequency response and an incredible
soundstage. A large helping of high end audio. Resistance, mass and
loading same as MC-10 Special.
"With the MC-One Special in my system, it was clear that its sound put it in
a class far beyond what you'll get from an entry-level cartridge. What
separates the MC-One Special from these is essentially the quality of
its frequency extremes." - Tom Lyle, SoundStage!
The MC-Two Special is a high output version of the MC-One Special with 2.25 mV/channel and matched crystal copper-wire
coils. Coil resistance 96 ohms. Recommended load 47k (>1k) ohms.
Effective tone arm mass 8-12 grams. 1.3-1.5 gram VTF.
"utterly and surprisingly great... this is a musically and
sonically stunning performer." - Art Dudley, Listener Magazine (MC10
The Frog was designed to be a no-fuss cartridge that would perform well
in many different set-ups, with very high resolution and healthy output. It is a hand built moving coil cartridge with the coil of a Grasshopper
III and the front pole and suspension of the Grasshopper IV. The Frog has matched crystal
copper-wire coils and an extra magnet modification. Coil resistance 21
ohms. Recommended load 500 (> 200) ohms. 1.35-1.6 gram VTF. Output 0.65
This well designed cartridge is easy to set up and dial in. Its
excellent resolution results in vivid musical insight, natural tonality
and a huge soundstage. It has tremendous dynamics with a very low noise
floor resulting in powerful crescendos, but without lacking
finesse. The Frog is one of the most popular Van den Hul cartridges ever
made due to
its true high end performance and outstanding value for money.
"I was impressed by the amount of musical detail van den Hul’s Frog
managed to extract from recordings I know well. Yet I never felt it was
emphasizing detail over the gestalt. Without ever cloying, the Frog was
unceasingly warm — music never lost its “human” touch. And the cartridge
mated with a wide variety of tonearms and phono preamps. The Frog is no
prima donna — it plays well with others.
It’s easy to use, easy to drive, and sounds great. Expensive cartridges
are going to be hard put to justify their cost with the Frog around —
I’d think long and hard before shelling out more. And I’m not really
sure that, in the long run, I’d save money by spending less. For my
money, right now, the Frog is the cartridge to beat." - Wes Phillips,
The Frog Gold is similar to The Frog but with matched crystal gold-wire coils and extra
magnet modification. Coil resistance 16 ohms. Recommended load 500 (>
200) ohms. 1.35-1.6 gram VTF. Output 0.65 mV/channel. The gold coils
give a smoother sound with more detail on extremely low level signals.
The Frog HO is a high output version of The Frog. Coil resistance 96 ohms. Recommended
load 47k (> 1k) ohms. 1.35-1.6 gram VTF. Output 2.25 mV/channel.
Canary replaces VDH's famous and much loved Grasshopper series of
The Canary is a completely new design, incorporating the best features
and principles of the Grasshopper series, but also utilizing the latest innovations
developed by AJ van den Hul for the Condor and Colibri cartridges.
Canary features begin with matched crystal pure 24 Carat gold
coils and a healthy output of .55mV. A strong Alnico magnet produces the very clean sound that is the
trademark of Van den Hul’s renowned Colibri and Condor cartridges. The
Canary’s nylon body and open design are key advantages which effectively
minimize harmful resonances and produce an extremely neutral sound, with
a precisely focused sound stage.
This spectacular ‘little bird’ is less sensitive to load variation
then most of the other VDH cartridges making it easier to match to
different phono stages and step-up transformers. Its front pole also
protects the cantilever from most small handling mistakes.
Listening to the Canary is like being in the concert hall with
a very precise projection of the instruments, the acoustics and even the
conductor in the space. The music as a whole sounds extremely realistic
and very convincing with a lot of authority, especially in the bass and
lower midrange, the high frequencies are very pure. Coil resistance
36 ohms. Recommended load 200 ohm. 1.35-1.6 gram VTF.
NEW! Condor Special
Available March 2010. The Condor is an ultra high performance, custom hand built moving coil
phono cartridge. It s a crossbreed of the Frog and Colibri and as such
it features the best of both. The Condor is based on the Colibri but it
is more robust and made to easily work well with many different arms,
particularly heavier arms, in the 12-20 gram range.
Utilizing the design philosophy of the Colibri, the Condor is made
as light as possible and with fewer materials which can resonate and
detract from the sound quality. The Condor features a very innovative
moving coil design specifically made for very high quality
playback. It is the world’s first cartridge with no mechanical signal
transfer to the tone arm or vice-versa resulting in an absence of coloration and
The Condor has no front-pole and employs a very strong magnet. The
suspension is an advanced three rubber system.
Although it is more
robust in construction and has a higher output than the Colibri, the Condor still
exhibits the same highly refined sonic properties - namely
very high resolution and extremely good spatial reproduction.
Tracking is excellent and the top-end is very smooth. 1.35-1.5 gram
VTF. The Condor is available in four basic models with either copper or
gold coils, and outputs ranging from 0.25 to 0.55mV.
“an immediately addictive top-to-bottom smoothness with no sense of
loss of transient detail, overall resolution, or spaciousness. In fact,
the Condor’s ability to re-create a natural acoustic space was, in my
experience, second to none… just the right balance of detail, air,
transient snap, and harmonic development. Wood sounded like wood.
Strings had that special silky yet piercingly focused translucence you
hear live… superb resolution, ultra quiet backgrounds, and a soothing,
calming presentation that was still convincingly realistic.
Fremer, Stereophile 2005, Class A Recommended Component.
“This cartridge produces three-dimensional stereo in a way that very
few source components can – the voices and instruments that it extracts
from vinyl have a presence and realism that is uncanny. A stunning
cartridge with stereo imaging, dynamics and detail resolution to die
for. The customization element means it will be perfect for your system
too. If your vinyl is sounding lackluster, a prolonged Condor moment is
what you need.”
– Jason Kennedy, Hi-Fi Choice April 2005, Editor’s
Choice award winner.
NEW! Colibri Special
Available March 2010. The Colibri is Van den Hul’s very best cartridge. It features matched
crystal copper coils and 0.40 or 0.65 mV/channel output. A version with
matched crystal gold coils and 0.50 mV/channel output is also available.
The Colibri is the improved version of the
Grasshopper Beauty series. Many of the components have been removed
in a highly successful attempt to return to the plain essence of phono
reproduction. The result is a very straightforward design with
clean and open sound. By minimizing and adapting the
cartridge’s total magnetic circuit, the related distortion and noise have
been considerably decreased. Due to the minimization of the
cartridge’s magnetic circuit, the cartridge’s mass has been reduced. The
Colibri has a very short cantilever, and no front-pole. This further
improves the ability to retrieve the directness and accuracy from every
single groove modulation.
The Colibri is noted for speed and detail, incredible resolution and
superb transient performance. According to Stereophile’s Michael Fremer:
"It’s a drum kit’s best friend, able to distinguish and communicate
the tonal and textural character of cymbals better than any other
cartridge I’ve heard, and equally adept at conveying their metallic
solidity. Mere ‘speed’ can’t do that. And it does so without adding
brightness or sheen. The Colibri is equally adept on the bottom,
offering impressive, overhang-free extension, explosive bass transients
and dynamics, and superb control and solidity. Walloping kick drums,
weighty toms, snappy snares, chiming, ringing splash cymbals, ‘cushy’
rides – the Colibri delivers a drum kit any rock or jazz fan will melt
hearing. The Colibri delivers the transient goods without spotlighting,
and without adding grain or sibilant edge.
First-rate dynamics, a neutral, open midband, superb top and bottom
extension and control, and seat-of-the-pants drive and focus help make
the Colibri an amazing performer."
Jason Kennedy of Hi-Fi Choice writes:
"The Colibri is an extremely sophisticated and smooth device, so
much so that initially it seems a little tame. But then you realise
that's because distortion has been virtually wiped out... this is a
cartridge that will tell you all about the instrument being played, what
it's made of, the environment it has been recorded in and, most
importantly, the quality of playing.
In its XGP form the Colibri is probably the finest resolver of
detail, tone and acoustic available. Its high-frequency performance is
staggeringly beautiful, extended, strong and pure, the bass is deep and
resonant while the midrange fills in the gap with a verve and resolve
that is rarely encountered."