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VAN DEN HUL DDT -II MOVING COIL CARTRIDGE
This is a cartridge with a long history. The original DDT (which stands for Depth, Detail and Timbre) was A. J. Van Den Hul’s second cartridge design, and the first to be released under his own name in 1983. Over the years various upgrades have been introduced, including a better shaped front pole and better dampers. The suspension wire diameter has been reduced and an extra support magnet introduced at the front pole. The Special designation means that it comes equipped with an 85 x 1.5 micron stylus which is shared with the high-end Colibri model; it is mounted on a boron cantilever. The stylus comes from the centre of an octahedral diamond which produces predictable and regular shapes after processing, unlike synthetic diamonds which can vary in shape somewhat. The coils are made of crystal silver wire.
After a few minutes spent setting the DDT-ll Special up, I played the ‘Appalachian Spring’ and was immediately hit by the increased levels of definition and shape that spending a lot more on a cartridge could bring to the proceedings. Good though I felt the Benz to be, the Van Den Hul provided a more holographic shape to the instruments, and a real feeling of effortlessness and flow to the sound. The differing tonal colours of the instruments was far better displayed than with any other cartridge in this group, and I felt more immersed in, and drawn into the sound.
Moving over to the Pearl Bailey record proved equally impressive, and the performance belied the age of the vinyl. I was barely aware of any wear points on the disc and was thoroughly immersed in listening to Pearl strut her stuff. The orchestral backing surrounded her, without infringing upon her space, and the differing inflections in her voice caused me to almost believe that she was giving me a knowing wink and she delivered a rollicking version of Cole Porter’s ‘Always true To You Darling In My Fashion’.
Janis Joplin’s vocals range from agonised power house to almost incoherent throwaway mumbles, but the Van Den Hul treated them all with aplomb, seeming to reach into her heart to extract that little extra bit of emotion. Despite it’s ease with well mannered classical sounds it seemed unfazed by the potentially abrasive mixture of guitar, organ, tenor and baritone sax, and trumpet. Each seemed planted in front of me, ready for my perusal.
After that, the gentler sounds of ‘Moon Safari’ were a doddle to reproduce, creating a sonic space that was full of floaty, wispy noises and effects accompanying the vocals. ‘Sexy Boy’ was driven along by the opening bass sounds, time being kept exactly by the high hats ticking away, and the vocals weaving in and out of the mix of Moog, Syrinx and Korg synthesizers. I just sat back a floated away with it.
Long established cartridge from Holland with open and dynamic sound.
- rich and full bodied tonality.
- controlled bass.
- excellent imaging.
- nothing apart from price.
Van Den Hul DDT-ll
+44 (0)115 973 3666