Product of the Year Award: van den Hul The CONDOR

The magazine’s comments:

Normally when you choose a cartridge you are selecting one man’s vision, his (or her!) choice of balance and attributes. You can do the same with the Condor, buying an off-the-shelf sample. Or, you can have it tailor-made! The good Doctor can, by selecting from a range of components and materials, trimming and tuning the various elements, match the physical characteristics of the cartridge to your chosen tonearm and phono-stage. Even more remarkable, he can match the sonic character to your tastes too. The sample he built for me is amongst the most enjoyable and musically impressive cartridges I’ve ever used, which at between a half and a quarter of the price of the other contenders makes it a bargain – even if it is the wrong side of £2K. It also makes it a bespoke product in a world of cookie-cutter conformity, which brings its own special satisfaction to ownership. Roy Gregory