van den Hul has a new flagship for its range of phono cartridges, the van den Hul Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius (pictured above).

A.J. van den Hul’s original Colibri cartridge first appeared in the mid-1990s and was named after a hummingbird native to the Americas. A.J. says this latest version of that original cartridge, the XGW Signature Stradivarius edition, is based on everything he’s learned over the past 40 years, and is the best phono cartridge he’s ever built.

The body of the van den Hul Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius is made from cross-grained Brazilian Pau wood, a high density wood that is often used in the bows of stringed instruments. It’s coated with what van den Hul calls a ‘Stradivarius’ lacquer, named after the famous violin maker, Antonio Stradivari. ‘van den Hul applies three separate layers of this secret formula 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,’ says Bruce Thierbach, of Audio Active, which distributes van den Hul cartridges and cables in Australia. ‘The advantage is that the harder outer coating destroys the standing waves inside the softer body, reducing unwanted resonances.’ 

The van den Hul Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius has a high output of 1.10mV, which is the result of pairing a high-strength magnet with six-layer, 24-karat gold coils. The solid boron cantilever is tipped with a proprietary van den Hul Type 1s, 2×85μm stylus. Each Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius cartridge is hand-built to order by A.J. van den Hul personally, and so the build process can be tailored according to the customer’s preferences, though this may increase the purchase cost. A 200-hour check-up service is offered free of charge to the original owner.

Available now, the van den Hul Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius phono cartridge sells for $10,499. For more information, contact Audio Active.

Manufacturer’s Specifications: van den Hul Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius
Cartridge Type: Moving Coil
Stylus Type: VDH Type 1s/radius 2×85μm
Cantilever: Solid boron
Output Voltage: 1.10mV 
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 50kHz –3dB
Tracking Force: 1.35–1.5g
Channel Balance: <0.2dB
Channel Separation: 40dB
Recommended Load Impedance: 50–600Ω
Weight: 7.8g
Warranty: One Year
Price: $10,499 (RRP)