Posted on 9th November, 2018


A.J. van den Hul doesn't seem to be able to stop inventing and re-inventing his cartridges. This time he as announced a new edition of the top-of-range model - the Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius.

The first van den Hul Colibri cartridge appeared in the mid-1990s and was named after a hummingbird native to the Americas. The reason for the name was apparently due to the cartridge's swiftness, elegance and beauty. 

Since then, the Colibri cartridge has continually evolved through a range of versions and editions but remained at the top end of the van den Hul range. With the new XGW Signature Stradivarius edition, it now reaches even higher. Indeed, van den Hul's stated goal in creating the new edition was to make the best possible cartridge based on his more than 40 years' experience.

The new Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius is crafted from cross-grained Brazilian Pau wood. The high-density wood offers excellent sonic properties and so is often used in the bows of stringed instruments. However, in the cartridge, its the strong internal damping limiting vibrations travelling between cartridge and tonearm that's employed.

van den Hul Colibr iXCW Strad

The nod to the famous violin-maker is due to the ‘Stradivarius formula' lacquer coating the Colibri's body. 

Naturally, van den Hul is not giving anything away in regards to the formula's composition, but its inspiration comes from Antonio Stradivari's iconic violins. van den Hul applies three separate layers of the lacquer, and each layer takes several weeks to fully cure and harden. This gives an insight into the months of work undertaken before any further construction can even begin. 

van den Hul told StereoNET:

The advantage 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. That particular performance comes by way of a magnet with double the strength of that found in the regular Colibri. Additionally, there is a coil assembly with matched, six-layer, 24-karat gold coils that has three times the output of the standard two-layer coils. 

Together, this incredibly efficient generator assembly endows the cartridge with quite incredible dynamic range and accurate retrieval. The cantilever is solid boron and uses the proprietary van den Hul type 1s, 2x85µm 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 hi-fi system, musical preferences and other sonic tastes. What's more, van den Hul offers a 200-hour service check-up free of charge to the original owner.

Technical specification

  • Type: Moving Coil
  • Stylus type: VDH Type 1s on solid boron cantilever/radius 2x85µm
  • Output: 1.10mV
  • Frequency range: 10Hz (+/- 0dB) – 50kHz (-3dB)
  • Tracking force: 1.35g to 1.5g
  • Channel balance: < 0.2dB
  • Channel separation: 40dB
  • Load impedance: 50 Ohm – 600 Ohm
  • Weight: 7.8g

Pricing and availability

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


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: decent audio  van den hul