Cartridges better than Colibri XGP?

It's time for me to change my cartridge ( I'm using a ZYX Airy 3 Gold) trying to improve my analogue source. So, I'm using a DIY suspended turntable and my technician believes in low mass tonearms - low mass / high compliance cartridges combo. I know that Colibri is a major cantidate but with which tonearm? Do you believe there are cartridges better than colibri? Which would be your favor tonearm/cartridge matching? Please give me your opinions.
Thanks a lot in advance.
This is an impossible question; any response is going to be purely subjective. And since you cannot get into someone else's head, I suggest that all you will get is a list of opinions from the probably very few of us who have ever heard a Colibri XGP variant. Furthermore, I don't think of the Colibri as a "high compliance" cartridge, but I could be wrong. It so happens that I do own a Colibri. I don't think it is an XGP type, however, but I could be wrong. So far it is the best sounding cartridge I have heard in my system. This includes a Koetsu Urushi and a top end Ortofon, among many others. On the other hand, it is rated for 1.0mV output, so it is hardly "low" in output. And it is mounted in a medium mass tonearm. There you have my opinion, for what it is worth.
Dear Pentatonia: Better than...?, this fact is dependent on the tpnearm match for a cartridge, the analog rig where it will work, whole audio system performance, your quality performanve priorities and many other factors.

I like the Colibri as other Van denHul cartridges but maybe you don't have to go in that high price " direction ". You can try what IMHO is worth to invest with: the MM/MI alternative and these are very good choice that not only are different of what you have but that outperform what you have:
the MMC2 model.


here see " cartridges: Grado Amber. ".

Regards and enjoy the music,
i've owned 7 Colibri's over the last 9 years, and typically 3 at a time. there are a few different Colibri's, but i'm not exactly sure what an XGP is. i've had XGW's (wood body, gold windings), a couple of XCP's (copper windings, polycarbinite body), and an XPP (platinum windings, ploycarbonite body).

when a Colibri is at it's best; it is super explosive and detailed, very natural and with see-thru transparency. really breathtaking. unfortunately; any Colibri is also knife-edge in it's character......always borderline to being too edgy and splashy. it really needs an arm with a good amount of dampning to control the 'zingy' nature. i've heard that the Graham Phantom is a good match, there are likely others.

at this point i don't own a Colibri; but i will in the furture. i got tired of fighting the damn things. but i still miss the moments when heaven openned with the Colibri.
The Colibri is a terrific product but please proceed with great caution because the distributor, Bluebird Audio, sucks.

I dropped the line when Bluebird took over 3 months to rectify a situation involving a faulty Condor.

I'd still be selling vdH products, they are terrific, if the distributor had a clue what customer service means.
Dear Audiofeil: I never had problems like the ones you posted.

Due to that I have mounted so many tonearms/cartridges in my TT's time to time I " suffer " " bent cantilever accidents ", well four times with my Colibri and in each one the Van den HUl service was first rate, but this is my experience aand different from yours and maybe different from other people.

I agree with you the Colibri is one of the best LOMC cartridges out there, carefully tonearm match is very important here, at least with my very low weight ( 2.5grs. ) and low output ( 0.22mv ) sample.

regards and enjoy the music,
Raul, please note it was a Condor not a Colibri that was defective but that's not the case.

Furthermore, I'm not faulting vdH. It was the distributor, Bluebird that was the problem.

They are so bad the US agent dropped them as well.
IMO, there are so many structural variants of the "Colibri", as partially outlined by Mike Lavigne, that I don't know how any one person could say he knew the sound exactly. Not only do the materials vary but also the output voltage seems to vary from low, like Raul's, to high, like mine (1.0mV). Yet, there does seem to be remarkable agreement on the qualities, both good and evil. I am finding mine to be much more good than evil, in a Triplanar. Mike, maybe an "XGP" has gold windings, polycarbonate body.
The X stand for cross shaped coils(standard as far as i know ) , the second letter stands for the coil material and the third for the bodymaterial.
XGP would be X coils , gold coil windings , plastic body.

everything can be found on the vd hul site /cartridges . /cartridges

Any body has any recommendations as to what is the most dynamic /revealing colibri type?
of the Colibri's i've owned; the most 'explosive' is the copper windings/polycarbonite body XCP (i've owned 4 of those--2 series 1 and 2 series 2), the most detailed is neck and neck between the XCP and the XPP, which is platinum windings and polycarbonite body.

the A90 approaches very closely to the explosiveness of the XCP; i think it's because the A90 is the only other cartridge with such a minimalist body. nothing to slow down that energy.

if you are going to own a Colibri, get over being concerned with a cantiliver being aligned to the body of the cartridge, it will only happen by accident. which is not problem, just align the cantiliver and ignore the body. and if your arm does not naturally handle resonance easily you will be fighting edgyness. the Colibri is a truth machine; not glossing over arm shortcomings.
Thanks for the tips , the one i go for will then be one with copper coils ,some time in the future , have you ever heard a XCM version?
I read somewhere that the metal body also contributes to the explosiveness/dynamics of the colibri , also i "reckon" the lower the output the better as there will be less moving mass/coils .
I have had 3 cartridges at this time a zyx fs and the current ones , the zyx had the plastic body , on which i had too put extra weight to get to the correct tracking weight so far i had not any problems with the arm/resonances , im concerned i would need extra weight with the xcp version so metal might be better.
I heard indeed that the colibri is tricky with arms , i dont know how well it works with the sme 5 , i just have to expirience that i reckon
In a german magazine (link vd hul site)also was mentioned that the colibri was on the edge ,, the condor was a saver bet that was in my mind a couple of years ago.
Here s M fremers opinion.
Raul, Mike,

I have an AudioCraft AC4000 Unipivot tonearm with 3 different arm wands from Medium to light mass. Now, the AC4000 has adjustable silicone oil damping on its unipivot. Do you think this arm is a good match for the Colibri, especially if I choose a light-medium arm wand?


You mention that the Copper and Platinum coiled versions of the Colibri were more "explosive" sounding. Does it therefore stand to reason that the Gold coiled version is more warmer and smoother?

Best Regards,


i don't know about your arm so i cannot really help you there; although a varible dampning like that should help to allow you to tune it. my perception is that the Colibri really loves a 'fast and neutral' arm, whatever that is, to keep up with it. if that's how you precieve your arm then it will likely work well.

yes; i owned an XGW, which is the gold windings and Mytlewood body, and it was softer/warmer (only a touch) and more forgiving. it had less a tendancy to be edgy, so it was smoother.

beautiful and interesting system you have there, congrats.
Dear Ddriveman: As already mentioned the Colibri is very good cartridge but not an " easy " one on tonearm set up.

The latest I own is alow output ( o.23mv ) in polycarbonate/plastic like body and gold coils. All the ones I owned are at the very border line of " edgy " on HF and to not cross that line it is not only that you need a good tonearm ( the AC4000 could woks but I prefer in that line the 3300 or 4400. ) but a neutral speaker/electronics.

As Mike said it: when the Colibri is right on target is a very hard LOMC cartridge hard to beat for other LOMC ones, yes the Colibri is very demanding one and VdH makes things more in " trouble " with so to many Colibri options.

Regards and enjoy the music,
If all goes well , i will have a new Colibri XCP with a 0,22 mV output by the end of next week .
i ll post on my expiriences.
Andromedaaudio, how about an update for us? Cheers,

That never happened , sorry.
Some audiodealer i will not mention here owned me some money , and the colibri should have been part of that deal , but he choose not to keep up on his part .
The case now is a juridical one unfortunately.

But i have good news , i bought a Moving Iron london decca cartidge as there were some raving reviews about them.
I have the london decca supergold now playing for a couple of months and i think its the best i ever had .
No need for transformers you just need a (tube) MM gainstage .
That thing is very microphonic /sensitive its also very dynamic , full of body and detail.
I think its a gamechanger , i have not touched my mc s again.
Retips are cheap , so is the cart, i will buy a reference later this year.
I m sorry that i cannot comment on the colibri.

I dont have any plans for upgrades at the moment as i am very happy with the soundreproduction , although i have plans for another (better? ) speakermodel .