High End 2012

Cartridge and cable specialist van den Hul has extended its small range of electronics to include a pair of substantial cream-colored creations priced at $17,000 apiece. Shown above, the Grail SB phono stage uses inductors instead of capacitors in the RIAA stage and has a power supply that is claimed to be quieter than the battery supply of the standard Grail. The Emerald line stage comes in a matching 44-pound steel chassis and is likewise balanced in operation, although it also has RCA inputs and outputs. It’s DC coupled and very wideband, amplifying up to 300mHz. Both units were sounding extremely good with Aesthetix Atlas power amps and Audio Physic Virgo 25 speakers.

Company founder AJ van den Hul was on hand to explain that steel casework was chosen to keep magnetic fields at bay. He doesn’t hold with the notion that ferrous materials are a problem and would rather keep hum and background noise to a minimum by shielding the electronics.

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