van den Hul’s top-of-range model the new Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius has been launched.

van den Hul’s Colibri cartridge first appeared in the mid-1990s and was named after a hummingbird native to the Americas. While the Colibri cartridge has continually evolved in the form of a range of versions and editions since, it has always remained at the top end of the van den Hul range.

The new Colibri
XGW Signature Stradivarius is crafted from cross-grained Brazilian Pau wood, a high-density wood often used in the bows of stringed instruments.

A further key distinction in this new edition is the ‘Stradivarius formula’ lacquer that coats the Colibri’s body, a treatment which was recently tried and tested on the company’s ‘Crimson’ mode. While the details of the formula’s composition remain under wraps, its inspiration comes from that used on Antonio Stradivari’s iconic violins, hence the cartridge’s name. van den Hul applies three separate layers of the lacquer and each layer takes several weeks to fully cure and harden, meaning that every cartridge body undergoes months of work before any further construction can even begin. “The advantage,” explains van den Hul, “is that the harder outer coating destroys the standing waves inside the softer body, reducing unwanted resonance.”

The Colibri
XGW Signature Stradivarius has an extremely high (for an MC model) output of 1.10mV, thanks to a magnet with double the strength of that found in the regular Colibri and a coil assembly with matched, six-layer, 24-karat gold coils which have three times the output of the standard two-layer coils. The cantilever is solid boron and uses the proprietary van den Hul type 1s, 2×85μm stylus.Each individual cartridge is hand-built to order by A.J. van den Hul himself and can be tailored according to the customer’s hifi system, musical preferences and other sonic tastes.  van den Hul offers a 200-hour service check-up free of charge to the original owner.

Technical specification

TypeMoving coil
Stylus typeVDH Type 1s on solid boron cantilever / radius 2×85μm
Frequency range10Hz (+/- 0dB) – 50kHz (-3dB)
Tracking force1.35g to 1.5g
Channel balance< 0.2dB
Channel separation40dB
Load impedance50 Ohm – 600 Ohm
WarrantyOne year parts and labour (200-hour refresh available to original owner)

The van den Hul Colibri
XGW Signature Stradivarius phono cartridge is available now, priced at £7,450 (incl. VAT / variable according to customisation preferences).



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