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Phono Cartridges     

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 Colibri moving coil phono cartridge
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.
 

DDT-II Special

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.

MC-One Special

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 more 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!

MC-Two Special

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 Review)

The Frog®

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 mV/channel.
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, Stereophile.
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.

The Canary

The Canary replaces VDH's famous and much loved Grasshopper series of cartridges.
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 Edition

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 background noise!
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.
  – Michael 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 Edition

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 unbelievably 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."