Review: van den Hul Blackbeauty Cartridge
Music tested: Jazz, classical, vocal, pop, classic rock
Listening preference: Transparent, live sound
Turn-off system: harshness, muddy, out of pace, unbalanced
I've been using VDH Black Beauty for over 2 years now and I truly believe that it is one of the most musical cartridge out there with great tracking capability.
I used to own EMT 930ST turntable which uses VDH cartridges. Becuase the table I got was 50Hz version, I had to use frequency adjustment to play the LP. I got fed up one day and decided to trade for a regular turntable. I really enjoyed how VDH cartridge sound on EMT table, therefore, I went out and bought this cartridge and figured that retip is $500 for any of the VDH mid to high end model.
The turntable setup swap improved the high frequency detailed response with larger sound stage. The string instrument playback on this cartridge is the most amazing sound.
I tried all different music just to see how it plays them.
Overall its great, except it's not as "excited" when played with Rock. Rock music usually sounded more noisy which makes more exciting but this cartridge is very quiet. Without the distorted background, it is too polite for rock music.
This cartridge suppose to last 2000 hours before retip. However, it will take 200 to 500 hours to break-in.
Strength: One of the best cartridge out there regardless of cost. Very musical. Good output level. Very reasonable retip cost.
Weakness: Naked body design can easily break the cantiliver beam if one is not careful ( I broke my by accident.)
VPI HW-19 IV with Graham 1.5T and SW-3 wan. XLO reference 3A phono cable
EMT, Ortofon MC3000, Supex 901