How many Van Den Hul cart users do we have in the community? I received and installed a MC-One Special yesterday. It is added to my existing stable of a Sumiko Starling and Koetsu Rosewood Standard. My Starling gets a break (still mounted in the headshell) while the new toy gets a spin. So you all know, I’ve been fooling around with the idea of a VDH for years. Confess to not being a fan of the company’s cables and have never tried any of the electronics, but I’ve been intrigued by the cartridge line-up for some time. For reasons unknown, the company is loath to publish specifications of any kind on the website. It was the highish static compliance listed on dealers websites (have never seen a dynamic compliance listed anywhere) that had me concerned about tonearm compatibility with my SME-309. To VDHs credit, every cartridge is delivered with the recommended tonearm effective mass range (wish more manufacturers would include it) and that is what broke down any residual concern I had.
So how does it sound? With few hours on it, run into my Rega Aura (I didn’t even bother to play with the 200 ohm load I’ve been using with my Starling) this thing is an absolute wonder with small ensemble Jazz and human voice. I’m stunned by how juicy and reach out and touch inviting it is in the midband and bass. I have done nothing but rough it in alignment-wise and it already knocks me out with harmonic complexity I’m loving. Can’t comment on the high end until I accumulate hours on it and tweak loading. All I can say so far is wow, synergistic combination with the SME and Rega phono stage and I get why VDH has a loyal base of users everywhere. I’m kicking myself for futzing around for so long before taking the leap. To think … the MC-One Special is nowhere near the top of the line.