Van Den Hul Snowline review

Weighty sound, if a bit muzzled

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A somewhat muzzled performance keeps the Snowline off the top table – with more dynamic heft it would be a lot better


  • +

    Decent balance

  • +

    composed and weighty sound


  • -

    A little too restrained and flat

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Chord won several Awards for its Carnival Silver Screen cable at £6 per metre. So, for a quid more than that we'd expect to see something pretty special from this well-built, weighty-feeling range from Dutch company Van den Hul.

Duly hooked up to our all-star reference system (an Audiolab 8200CD player, Roksan Caspian M2 integrated amplifier, ATC SCM11 standmounters and Chord CrimsonPlus interconnects, all Award winners), with Joan Osborne's 90s-tastic One Of Us primed and ready in the CD player, we're ready to go.

There's certainly decent balance here, and a surprising amount of weight to the sound. It's reasonably composed, too, with the dirty, soaring guitars never threatening to break free and swamp proceedings.

A change of pace to Buena Vista Social Club's louche, pulsing Chan Chan starts to show up a few cracks in the Snowline's armour, though. Reproduced correctly, this track will have you right on the streets of Havana, a cold beer in your hand and your head moving to the beat. Done wrong, it's more like being in a greasy spoon in Brentwood.

The Snowline sits somewhere in the middle. There are occasional moments of toe-tappage, but the overall impression is just a little too restrained for our tastes. Flat is the best word to describe it.

However, this reined-in sound, coupled with that weighty bass, could work to your advantage if you've a smaller set-up. In a micro-system, for instance, this could really help to beef-up the sound from the smaller speakers.

So, not one for listeners that like a bit of get-up-and-go, then but if you've a system that needs calming down or a bit more weight, then it's worth considering.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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