van den Hul Colibri Grand Cru

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
4,952
1,688
680
Utah
Has anyone compared directly a Grand Cru (or any recent Colibri) on a Graham Phantom Elite versus on an SME 3012R?
Yes! You already know the answer :)!

david
 
Aug 22, 2020
6
16
5
59
Alsace, France
3009r should be in the same ballpark as the 3012r...
I made my decision. A SME IV or V, so I searched and found a Series IV for a decent price. It was actually mounted on an Oracle Paris, so I bought the TT as well.
The Oracle seems to be above the Clearaudio Performance, or maybe the SME is above the Clearaudio Unify (actually I believe it simply is).
The SME is a dream to set up (actually the Unify is a pain in the a**).
When I mounted the Crand Cru, straight out of the box (brand new), I was simply chocked! What a cartridge. I rediscovered many of my vinyls, and everytime I couldn't believe my ears. What when it's broken in...
Guess I found my final gear...
 

Attachments

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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730
Beverly Hills, CA
Congratulations!

Shocked in what way?
 
Jul 2, 2015
910
148
135
Scotland
I made my decision. A SME IV or V, so I searched and found a Series IV for a decent price. It was actually mounted on an Oracle Paris, so I bought the TT as well.
The Oracle seems to be above the Clearaudio Performance, or maybe the SME is above the Clearaudio Unify (actually I believe it simply is).
The SME is a dream to set up (actually the Unify is a pain in the a**).
When I mounted the Crand Cru, straight out of the box (brand new), I was simply chocked! What a cartridge. I rediscovered many of my vinyls, and everytime I couldn't believe my ears. What when it's broken in...
Guess I found my final gear...
Running in a Grand Cru is a terrible bind:)
Usually i would spin up Cardas or Clearaudio and leave running. Or perhaps keep replaying a record i don't listen to, that has all frequencies well recorded.
But the issue is that as soon as the needle drops, I'm experiencing a performance, and it feels rude to give any less than my full attention
 
Aug 22, 2020
6
16
5
59
Alsace, France
Congratulations!

Shocked in what way?
That there is so much hidden in a record. Or how much a cartridge can extract from a vinyl. Transparency and image found a new dimension with the Grand Cru.
I always thought that sound is better in analogue than any digital, just image depth was a bit better with digital. I was wrong!
- dan
 
Aug 22, 2020
6
16
5
59
Alsace, France
Running in a Grand Cru is a terrible bind:)
Usually i would spin up Cardas or Clearaudio and leave running. Or perhaps keep replaying a record i don't listen to, that has all frequencies well recorded.
But the issue is that as soon as the needle drops, I'm experiencing a performance, and it feels rude to give any less than my full attention
You hit EXACTLY the point ;)
 
Jul 2, 2015
910
148
135
Scotland
Thank you Dan

May i ask,
What does the assembly think of vdH's Grail phonostage?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,196
2,367
660
North Shore of Boston
That there is so much hidden in a record. Or how much a cartridge can extract from a vinyl. Transparency and image found a new dimension with the Grand Cru.
I always thought that sound is better in analogue than any digital, just image depth was a bit better with digital. I was wrong!
- dan
Dan, this is exactly how I think of it. The grand cru simply presents information that was heretofore hidden in the grooves. It is an incredible cartridge.
 
Aug 22, 2020
6
16
5
59
Alsace, France
Thank you Dan

May i ask,
What does the assembly think of vdH's Grail phonostage?
I had the Grail some years ago. It's a quite musical item, good staging, but when you look inside, there are a lot of components, and it lacks a bit of transparency. My actual has very little components in the signal path, maybe not as neutral, but highly musical and transparent.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,133
1,398
535
Hong Kong
Another friend of mine just got his.
He is very very happy!

IMG-20200914-WA0045.jpg
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
8,209
2,635
730
Beverly Hills, CA
After your Grand Cru breaks in, please kindly tell us your impressions versus the MC Anna.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,196
2,367
660
North Shore of Boston
Here is a photo from a different angle. This just came back from its 250 hour inspection and fine tuning.

IMG_0113 2.jpg
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,196
2,367
660
North Shore of Boston
I was just thinking about the vdH service. Mr. van den Hul offers a free inspection and fine tuning after 200-250 hours of playing time. I requested a lower output and commented that there was a slight "accent" in the very high frequencies during some program material. This first Grand Cru has been modified to Grand Cru specifications from my former Master Signature. I sent this Grand Cru back for the inspection and any fine tuning that could be done per my request. Two weeks later I got the cartridge back.

The output has been lowered from 1.1 mV (standard for Master Signature) to 0.75mV to match my other Grand Cru, and the damper was replaced with a new one of different compliance. I could tell immediately that the output was now similar because I did not have to change the volume setting when switching from one arm/cartridge to the other. And, the slight HF "accent" on muted trumpet and cymbals on one or two LPs is now gone. I knew something had changed when I went to align the cartridge in the same V-12 headshell as I had to slide the arm forward by quite a bit. I also had to lower the VTF as this cartridge came back slightly heavier. Interestingly, the VTA seems about the same, though after I listen to a few more LPs, I will know more.

You can see from the two profile photos that the two cartridges are not identical. The magnets appear to be the same size, so to lower the output, he must have removed some windings or done something else which I can't figure out. The silver cylinder collar where the round tube meets the square magnet is larger on the bottom cartridge. Also, if you look at the cantilever, the white section is different lengths. Finally, the size of the wooden body: in the top photo the front of the body reaches the lower assembly, while in the bottom photo, the wood stops well short of the lower assembly.

I am grateful that I can send my vdH cartridges back for an inspection and adjustment depending on what I am hearing and how they might sound in my particular system. This kind of customization seems rare in the cartridge world. The communication and turn around time were superb. I have a lot of respect for Mr. van den Hul. He is a gentleman and a real artist. He loves music and cares deeply about satisfying his customers. At least that has been my experience. These cartridges are the result of incredible passion for his art.

IMG_0118.JPG

IMG_0114.JPG
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
4,064
3,866
495
Bangkok
I was just thinking about the vdH service. Mr. van den Hul offers a free inspection and fine tuning after 200-250 hours of playing time. I requested a lower output and commented that there was a slight "accent" in the very high frequencies during some program material. This first Grand Cru has been modified to Grand Cru specifications from my former Master Signature. I sent this Grand Cru back for the inspection and any fine tuning that could be done per my request. Two weeks later I got the cartridge back.

The output has been lowered from 1.1 mV (standard for Master Signature) to 0.75mV to match my other Grand Cru, and the damper was replaced with a new one of different compliance. I could tell immediately that the output was now similar because I did not have to change the volume setting when switching from one arm/cartridge to the other. And, the slight HF "accent" on muted trumpet and cymbals on one or two LPs is now gone. I knew something had changed when I went to align the cartridge in the same V-12 headshell as I had to slide the arm forward by quite a bit. I also had to lower the VTF as this cartridge came back slightly heavier. Interestingly, the VTA seems about the same, though after I listen to a few more LPs, I will know more.

You can see from the two profile photos that the two cartridges are not identical. The magnets appear to be the same size, so to lower the output, he must have removed some windings or done something else which I can't figure out. The silver cylinder collar where the round tube meets the square magnet is larger on the bottom cartridge. Also, if you look at the cantilever, the white section is different lengths. Finally, the size of the wooden body: in the top photo the front of the body reaches the lower assembly, while in the bottom photo, the wood stops well short of the lower assembly.

I am grateful that I can send my vdH cartridges back for an inspection and adjustment depending on what I am hearing and how they might sound in my particular system. This kind of customization seems rare in the cartridge world. The communication and turn around time were superb. I have a lot of respect for Mr. van den Hul. He is a gentleman and a real artist. He loves music and cares deeply about satisfying his customers. At least that has been my experience. These cartridges are the result of incredible passion for his art.

View attachment 69457

View attachment 69458
Peter. Do you normally use the DB protractor or the card board protractor that came with the SME arm? What do you prefer?
 
Likes: Ralphio

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,993
1,561
420
the Upper Midwest
The silver cylinder collar where the round tube meets the square magnet is larger on the bottom cartridge. Also, if you look at the cantilever, the white section is different lengths. ...
Re first sentence - I think the round tube on the top photo cartridge is longer, regardless of length difference in the silver cylinder collar. Look at it relative to the plastic piece holding the wire solder points.

Re second sentence: the white cantilever surround is of different lengths but I think the cantilevers are also of different lengths. Maybe the photo perspective is skewing that to my eyes.

This kind of customization seems rare in the cartridge world. The communication and turn around time were superb. I have a lot of respect for Mr. van den Hul. He is a gentleman and a real artist.
Old world craftsmanship with personal service. Yes - much respect - he's a rare bird partilcularly since he donates proceeds from the cartridge work to charity.
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
1,626
1,556
590
Denmark
I was just thinking about the vdH service. Mr. van den Hul offers a free inspection and fine tuning after 200-250 hours of playing time. I requested a lower output and commented that there was a slight "accent" in the very high frequencies during some program material. This first Grand Cru has been modified to Grand Cru specifications from my former Master Signature. I sent this Grand Cru back for the inspection and any fine tuning that could be done per my request. Two weeks later I got the cartridge back.

The output has been lowered from 1.1 mV (standard for Master Signature) to 0.75mV to match my other Grand Cru, and the damper was replaced with a new one of different compliance. I could tell immediately that the output was now similar because I did not have to change the volume setting when switching from one arm/cartridge to the other. And, the slight HF "accent" on muted trumpet and cymbals on one or two LPs is now gone. I knew something had changed when I went to align the cartridge in the same V-12 headshell as I had to slide the arm forward by quite a bit. I also had to lower the VTF as this cartridge came back slightly heavier. Interestingly, the VTA seems about the same, though after I listen to a few more LPs, I will know more.

You can see from the two profile photos that the two cartridges are not identical. The magnets appear to be the same size, so to lower the output, he must have removed some windings or done something else which I can't figure out. The silver cylinder collar where the round tube meets the square magnet is larger on the bottom cartridge. Also, if you look at the cantilever, the white section is different lengths. Finally, the size of the wooden body: in the top photo the front of the body reaches the lower assembly, while in the bottom photo, the wood stops well short of the lower assembly.

I am grateful that I can send my vdH cartridges back for an inspection and adjustment depending on what I am hearing and how they might sound in my particular system. This kind of customization seems rare in the cartridge world. The communication and turn around time were superb. I have a lot of respect for Mr. van den Hul. He is a gentleman and a real artist. He loves music and cares deeply about satisfying his customers. At least that has been my experience. These cartridges are the result of incredible passion for his art.

View attachment 69457

View attachment 69458
Peter, like Van Den Hul you are on another level ! Your observations and meticulousness when it comes to all things analog is of the charts, and your steady hand takes some excellent pictures :)
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
150
59
235
Bay Area, California
eigenaudio.com
This first Grand Cru has been modified to Grand Cru specifications from my former Master Signature.
Hi Peter - are you saying you had a Master Sig converted to Gran Cru specs?

Thanks, Joe
 

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