Van Den Hul and friends with the VPI Avenger Reference at Axpona 2018
This was a real treat for me! Forget about the system and Axpona for a second, I had a chance to meet A.J. Van Den Hul! We had emails and interactions but always missed each other at shows for the past 20 years. I grew up listening to Van Den Hul on my dad's older VPI models being identified as the gold standard for cartridges. When I was a child my mom gave me a Van Den Hul Frog cartridge box with a toy frog to play with. At the New York show we used the Van Den Hul Frog on a TNT but someone stole the box with my toy. Years later I figured out they were not interested in my toy and were most likely disappointed in their heist!
Full of energy, knowledge, and drive to set-up the system AJ is not your typical 80 year old. Using an Avenger Reference, It was a pleasure working with him on the cartridge set-up to dial the system and witnessing his finesse around a tonearm. AJ was also not shy about getting down and handling the heavy lifting for the system set-up!
A quick listen revealed an extremely detailed yet exciting system. I didn't have as much time to listen with them as I would have liked but if I wasn't bouncing between rooms I could have very happily stayed there the whole show.
Mounted on a JMW 12-3D Reference arm with dual pivot adapter, the tonearm - cartridge synergy was dead on! I'm intimately familiar with the Colibri Stradivarius since I use the same cartridge and arm in 10" form on my Prime Signature at home.
The rest of the system included Convergent Audio Technology, Acoustic Arts, Essential Sound Products, Finest Fidelity, Galen Carol Audio, MusicCord, The Essence, Vermeer. This is a system I hope to hear again at future shows!