Calling all VDH Colibri Fanatics and Experts ...


In your own experience of this wonderful cart, what setup parameters has optimized the Colibri in your own system in terms of VTA, VTF, cartridge loading and others. Your valuable suggestions and experiences are all welcome and appreciated! Thanks in advance.
ctpilapil
I would be interested too. But, for some reason, Van den Hul does not have the standing on this board that other manufacturers do. Or perhaps its adherents pretty much keep to themselves.
I myself am curious. A difficult cartridge to setup to say the least.
I found that arm synergy is the most important parameter as the compliance is 35. I would wager that most people who complain about the cartridge have it on an arm with too high effective mass. I tried it on a jmw12, et2, ms505 and a SMEseries 3. The sme was the best by far but most people wouldn’t put it on that because the sme is not expensive or new enough. Mine is rewired all the way thru with a straight shot to the pre via male connectors. Best sound I’ve heard.
I run it at 1.4 vtf with level vta and no extra loading into a Herron 2 which has infinite loading. I always find I get better sonics on the lighter end of the vtf scale.
Also you really have to have patience with this cart, for the first 100 hours it had some sibilance and was edgy. I was actually so disappointed I was trying to trade it off but then I got it on the sme and it settled in and I am soooo happy with it!  It is a truth machine though that will still show sibilance if it is on the record. But a good pressing will sound like heaven. The best highs I have ever heard with deeeep tight bass. 
i have the XGP.
Dear @analogluvr : Even that this thread comes from 2008 let me to add that the Colibri is a quality performer very hard to beat and a real/true challenge for any today top/premium LOMC cartridge.

Set up is the name of the game ( as always ) especially on the Colibri. I agree with you that we need patience for over 100 hours of playing for the cartridge settle down and always take advantage of the 300 hours VDH fine tuning the Colibri ( we can with no charge return to VDH after those 300 hours of play for the FT. ). 
After this fine tunning when we listen again we can't just belive the unsurpassed quality performance. That fine tunning makes a paramount diferences.

I owned/own at least 4 diferent Colibri cartridges and normally I load it at 100 ohms with even VTA. I never had problem with tonearm diferent effective mass.

Again, very sensitive to minimal changes on cartridge set up parameters and we need patience with this little gem.

regards and enjoy the music,
R.
 Yes I understand that the thread was 2008 I just wanted to add it so the info would be out there for anybody looking. 
IMHE, I have to agree with @rauliruegas, especially regarding that it's worth the time and trouble to send it back to VDH after 300 hrs or play. When I first considered getting a Colibri, I asked H.W. at VPI if any/which Colibri would work well on my JMW12.7 arm (on TNT6HR table) and he confirmed that the light weight version of the Colibri that I was considering would be an excellent match. Perhaps it is a bit more finicky than some others about setup parameters, but overall it's very dynamic with an extended treble performance that it rare and exceptional in its price category. On the downside, it might not gloss over imperfections in LPs as well as other carts I've used, but IMHO with most setups if your records aren't in great shape, your experience won't be great anyway. 
Dear @sbank : """  overall it's very dynamic with an extended treble performance that it rare and exceptional in its price category.  """

Agree and I would like to add that the Colibri quality level " treble performance " is just second to none, at any price. Overall a great cartridge.

"""  it might not gloss over imperfections in LPs as well as other carts I've used,  """

as always that could be system dependent specially how good damped is the tonearm and the tonearm stability during playback.

Anyway, I love the Colibri.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.


@rauliruegas Thanks for that. Perhaps I'll experiment with a slightly higher level of damping fluid in the arm's trough. Cheers,
Spencer
Could you guys shed some light on your ways to set SRA at 92 with Colibri? I've got XGW version (wood) and find it hard to get that sweet spot with mine. 
In past years, some of my VDH Colibri's have demonstrated different characteristics, which makes sense due to the many different iterations of the cartridges.  The latest SPED.2 Colibri Grenadille Blackwood XGW in my system is a true standout and stands head to head with my Lyra Atlas, the main difference being the Atlas offers quieter tracking with tighter bass on classical recordings, especially those larger works having below 30Hz low frequency information.  I typically prefer the Colibri Blackwood cartridge to my Allaerts MC1B and Lyra Atlas. 

Somehow, the Colibri manages to be fast, dynamic and resolving but still retains an instruments tonal and timbre structure whereas the Atlas remains more neutral, clean and clear, even dry at times.

Forget about regular SRA settings with the Colibri, as each one is a little different, most of mine are riding a little low at the tail if examined by eye.  Patience is key and listen carefully every step of the way.
Thanks. On my XGW I tried to measure SRA with DinoLite USB microscope but I am not sure what line I should take. Some say that the flat cut line which is at the back of the stylus should be taken but I am not sure about it. It is hard given the stylus shape to find the right line. And this is critical as you get different results. So I am trying to set the angle just going with my tonearm up and down and let my ears to be the judge. This is quite a process. With my Audio Origami PU7 tonearm you need to raise the tonearm by hand so to know where I am I am using the ruler and magnifying glass measuring each time where exactly the tonearm is. I move each time by 1mm then align the cart with Dr Feickert protractor (Baerwald), check if VTF didn't change and then use Adjust+ for azimuth. Then I rip specific piece of music and have a listen and compare with the same piece ripped at different arm position. At 1mm above the level I noticed quite a change with the surface noise being more visible and the sound getting more dynamic and better soundstage. Then I moved up another 1mm and noticed that drums became more apparent but the other instruments went away slightly. Clear imbalance. That was I sensed moving away from the best sound so I went down with my tonearm by 0.5mm. The sound became overall better but some elements like cymbals work, bass sound when comparing the rips were telling me that it was better at 1mm above the level. So I got it down by 0.25mm and that was it. All elements in the right place, the best sounding cymbals, guitars suddenly became more apparent with dynamics being really there. This way I ended up with the tonearm being 1.25mm above the level having at this level sound quality the best to my ears. Adjust+ shows me the crosstalk in both channels at the same level of 33.8 and phase at 156/166 level respectively. So with the phase it is not truly ideal but close. Some say that the SRA optimum setting as seen in Adjust+ is reached when crosstalk and phase in both channels match perfectly so probably I will have to lower the arm very very slightly maybe 0.10mm to get really perfect level

I measured SRA from my Frog with USB-Microscope
http://orangeaudio.de/temp/Frog%20SRA.jpg

It sounds so good, that i think a inspection in Netherlands is not needful. Never touch a running system....
Channels seperation is 35 and 36dB - LR identity ist 0,2dB - Phase is 82 and 85°
http://orangeaudio.de/temp/frog_azimut.jpg

Interesting. I've got Colibri XGP LW with that stylus shape. I think it is called VdH 1S. However it looks like on my Colibri XGW there is a different shaped stylus: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yp1w5uc5u56p8vi/Photo%20Jan%2004%2C%2010%2003%2037.png?dl=0

Or it is the same but with more glue on it?

Link once more https://www.dropbox.com/s/yp1w5uc5u56p8vi/Photo%20Jan%2004%2C%2010%2003%2037.png?dl=0
I think it is the same. Tonearm was parallel adjusted and SRA at 93°
Here some more pictures
http://orangeaudio.de/temp/frog1.jpg
http://orangeaudio.de/temp/frog2.jpg

Mine on XGW looks like it is slighlty rounded on the front and has flat cut on the back. While yours and mine on XGP LW looks like a spade really.
Yes the front looks similar to my XGW: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rrrxy9nzzelzz6e/Photo%20Dec%2030%2C%2010%2059%2033.jpg?dl=0
So you're getting the best possible  sound at 93 SRA? Any sibilance at that level?
I never tested another SRA. Not each vinyl is cutted with the same angular.
Temperature and VTF affect it too.
Only one vinyl from 500 hisses a little bit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-zhkLm3pQM
at minute 1:02
Really nice rip. Here is some of my rips done with my XGP LW. Played on LP12
(Cirkus/Radikal/Kore) w/AO PU7 tonearm. What did you play it on yours?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3fmuu0lu0uygdu2/09%20Brain%20Damage%20A3%3AB3.wav?dl=0
It is not a rip. This is from digital file. From anyone. I want to show you, that the original audio file has to much sibilance.
Yes, your rip has hot s-tones and sound a bit bright. A lot of today masters sounds to bright with pushed treble. I don´t know if this is the reason or the cartridge.

If you want a cartridge which is unsensitive with sibilance, go for EMT
This is a rip from me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TndhsOrI6Nc
But the Frog sound so much more natural and with more resolution. I have sold the EMT
Well that is historical rip from 2015 done on my 2nd XGP LW. I will try to post fresh one later on today with my XGW. 
So here is fresh rip with XGW. Do you think I could get better settings with my XGW than this? I am not sure if that is the sweet spot.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4kwanj9iknnaql9/Sample.aif?dl=0
Hi, it sounds good. A little bit of less low end, but here at work i have not the best playbacksystem.

Is the recording from the original Japan pressing?
You can look at my Discogs collection (name: orangeaudio)
If you find a vinyl that you also have, we can compare the recordings.
No. This is original UK1P A2/B3. 
OK. I went through your collection and I have some of these pressings. I will try to rip something of this and post the sample so we can compare. Interesting that you have Gwrman pressing of Van Halen 1984 which I just ordered as I am not too happy with Rhino 2010 and 30th Anniversary from 2015. Rhino is very bright and sibilant while 30th Ann. Is about right but Hot For Teacher is quite sibilant.  I hope original German press is free of this. 
Here is the sample from Suzanne Vega st German pressing. Very good example of the my major Issue with my Colibri - sibilance in the right channel. I think I dialed all antiskating possibilities yet it is still there. Does your copy have that sibilance?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/o8oxaajycvj81ho/Sample%202.aif?dl=0
Puhhhh, this is heavy. I have no vinyl with this problems.
The Van Halen is from my youth and in no good condition.
Do you have listet your collection online?

What tonearm do you have?
I use Audio Origami PU7 tonearm. Compatibility test with Colibri gives me 9Hz resonance. 
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what is the source of this sibilance in the right channel on too many records. 
Last week i have measured 4 Frog´s with Adjust+.
All tracked well and had good measured datas. If you want, i can measure your Colibri, but i am from Germany.

Please tell me a view vinyl´s from us both to compare the recording.
I am not sure what you mean with telling a view vinyl's. Pls clarify. 
What vinyl`s do we have both?
Not too many. Apart from SV I see The Beatles UK Blue Box, German press Tracy Chapman, Sgt Pepper UK1P, German press Abbey Road, EU McCartney New and 2011 EU Pink Floyd Dark Side. Thats about it. 
Ok, i will record "For my Lover" from the Tracy Chapman LP. Please make it too in 96kHz/24Bit Wave. We can compare it.
Got it. 
How long the sample should be?
I think 2min?
OK
OK. Here it is. For My Lover sample from Tracy Chapman s/t German pressing in the form of WAV 96/24.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0dnir6m00ei2gmf/Sample%20TC%20ForMyLover.wav?dl=0

Thank you, here is mine. The first song is the Tracy Chapman song
http://orangeaudio.de/temp/Frog_SMEV_XP25.wav
Thanks. Quite a different sound but really nice and very well balanced overall. Mine is perhaps too edgy in comparison, too bright with less bass present. I noticed that either you or I have L/R channels swapped.
Hi, i have not considered of L and R when connecting the Focusrite Saffire audio interface.

Yes, i hear the same as you. I have recorded 4 different Frog cartridges and all sound´s the same. On a Micro Seiki MA505 it sound´s not so balanced like on the SME V. Maybe you habe the wrong tonearm.
Or my load is too much. I run my preamp at1kOhm. And you?
http://orangeaudio.de/temp/Tracy_Frog_Colibri.wav
First the SME-Frog and than your´s
160Ohm
And how did you set antiskate for your Frog?
By hearing 1 at SME Scale. A.J. wrote about 0.6-0.9
I know this AJ recommendation. He also says that the optimal antiskate is at 1/3 of VTF. But  in my case AO PU7 does not have the scale but the weight that you can slide up or down the metal stick with no scale. So my settings could be wrong yet I do not know where I am with these settings in terms of measured value. I think I would have to use some math formula to measure it. I measured all the elements of this mechanism and this is as follows: 
Metal Stick length: 17mm
Wheel diameter: 20mm
Weight mass: 0.73g
Metal stick weight: 0.30g
I think having the right formula I could measure specific antiskate force but I can't find that formula. Maybe that is physics formula.