Advice for an unsatisfied Vitus RI-101 mk II new owner

Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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I have just discovered this forum after having been reading Audiogon and Hifiwigwam for a while and it seems this forum is the one suiting best my taste and .

A bit of system history before getting to the point:

I have recently went through many changes in my system.

After having been many years in company of Graham LS5/9 and Accuphase A46 I have changed the amp with a Allnic T2000 which was a great move to my taste.

Then the Allnic gave me a lot of problems and I have asked the dealer to replace it with a McIntosh MA5300. Not a good match with Graham as expected which anyway were about to go.

Replaced loudspeakers with Avalon Idea which I liked very much despite the poor amp match. I have put the McIntosh on sale and in the meantime did a deep search for an ideal matching amp. The Vitus RI-101 mk II seemed to be a perfect match.

I have listened to the Vitus in a different (way higher level) system than mine. I have brought the Vitus home and the frustration started. This was one week ago and I can’t spend a moment of any day if not looking for a fix.

My musical tastes are classic rock, blues and jazz.

Ideal sound presentation - sorry in advance for the poor description - is wide and big soundstage, musical, dynamic, clear but not analytical nor cold. A tad warm but not overly so. I am 50/50 vinyl / dac.

the Vitus sounds to me too flat, not dynamic at all, not engaging (sorry if what I’m saying is considered objectively wrong). And especially at low volume I don’t see to appreciate the music. I can’t listen at high volume in my apartment.

the listening was done with Nordost frey2, heimdall2, Naim Powerline PC and frey2 and TQ2 black diamond IC. TQ2 black SC.

I have Tara labs xlr IC and Purist Audio aqueous PC on the way. I’m waiting to adjust SC as I’ll need 4m and it’s quite a bit of cash for me, Tara labs Forté are the best candidates.

So it seems that I have to sell both the McIntosh and the Vitus. A lot of immobilised cash for me.

After reading a lot on this forum and elsewhere I have thought that it could be a good move to add a preamp to the Vitus and if things don’t get seriously better I’ll sell the Vitus.

a shortlist of preamp which I would like to submit to this audience is:

- BAT VK33SE
- BAT VK80
- EAR YOSHINO 912
- VTL TL-6.5 II

I know the 912 features a tremendous phono stage but the preamp section is my priority.

if the result won’t be satisfying after adding the preamp, I have thought replacing the Vitus with the Plinius A150.

I would be glad to hear advice from owners of similar gears or owners of different systems with similar taste to mine.

the budget is $12000 very max for both preamp and power amp.
To make things more complicated, I need
to face a very tough WAF who approves only for well designed not so defined tacky components. As an example, Nagra Classic is out of question as too similar to hospital gear.

thank you so much in advance and happy to have found this community.
 
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ashandger

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May I suggest a couple of other options to consider if you can, especially if you don't listen at high volumes - for preamp look at a new or used CAT SL1 Renaissance and for power amp used or new Pass Labs XA25 Class A power amp. If you have a Pass Labs dealer then try vertical bi-amping with 2 Pass Labs XA25. This may be baby Pass Labs amp but it has a very short signal path and has excellent transparency and micro dynamics. As an aside, I have found that, for my tastes, Avalon speakers tend to sound flat at low volumes. Best of luck!
 
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2fastdriving

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I don't have experience with that amp, but I doubt that the Vitus is "flat" sounding. It might just not work well with your current setup and that can be adjusted somewhat.

A few years ago, I worked with a dealer who recommended a Luxman M-900U power amp to go with my Ref6SE preamp. I am running wilson speakers. Well, I didn't care for the Luxman...it sounded soft and weak, despite everyone telling me how great it was. I panicked, sold it immediately and lost thousands. I ended up getting Audio Research amps that match my preamp better at a great price, so it's not a bad story, but I will admit that I never gave the Luxman a chance. After I sold it, I repositioned my speakers which changed (and improved) the presentation quite a bit and I always wondered...how would it have sounded with the Luxman if I had done that back then?! What if I bought a second Luxman and ran mono?!

I know that's not your exact situation because the Vitus is an integrated.

So you may want to try different cables, different power conditioning, different speaker positioning or room treatments (or maybe less room treatments if you have a lot, i.e. remove corner traps etc). It's worth spending a little time tweaking, because you will probably lose some money if you sell. Frustrating to be sure.
 
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Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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May I suggest a couple of other options to consider if you can, especially if you don't listen at high volumes - for preamp look at a new or used CAT SL1 Renaissance and for power amp used or new Pass Labs XA25 Class A power amp. If you have a Pass Labs dealer then try vertical bi-amping with 2 Pass Labs XA25. This may be baby Pass Labs amp but it has a very short signal path and has excellent transparency and micro dynamics. As an aside, I have found that, for my tastes, Avalon speakers tend to sound flat at low volumes. Best of luck!
I’m glad you have mentioned the CAT SL1. It was on my list but not sure since I have read mixed reviews. Especially it seemed it could be complicated when down to tube rolling. Would the Ultimate be a good option too in your opinion? The Renaissance is hard to find second hand in Europe and more expensive. What do you think makes the SL1 a better choice vs 912 and BAT in general?

regarding Pass, honestly I had the wish to try something more exotic, that’s why I went the Vitus route instead of Pass int. 250 which was on my very short list. For my better understanding, what would be the benefit to run two XA25 in bridge mode vs one XA60.8? Also I’m not sure any of those will be sufficient to drive the Avalon.
 

Audire

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Jan 18, 2019
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We have Vitus Masterpiece components (Line Stage, DAC, Transport and soon the Phono) and Vitus Signature monos.

Cables make a difference with Vitus. Seeing your budget I’d try some Shunyata Alphas, or if you can swing it some Sigmas.

I tried Vitus monos with EMM Labs Pre. While it sounded good when we added the Vitus Line Stage things went off the charts. So, I suggest adding a used Vitus Signature Line Stage.

Of course you could sell what you have and get the SIA025 MK.II or SIA030 and be in audio heaven. If you don‘t have a Vitus dealer PM me and I’ll hook you up with ours …
 

Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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I don't have experience with that amp, but I doubt that the Vitus is "flat" sounding. It might just not work well with your current setup and that can be adjusted somewhat.

A few years ago, I worked with a dealer who recommended a Luxman M-900U power amp to go with my Ref6SE preamp. I am running wilson speakers. Well, I didn't care for the Luxman...it sounded soft and weak, despite everyone telling me how great it was. I panicked, sold it immediately and lost thousands. I ended up getting Audio Research amps that match my preamp better at a great price, so it's not a bad story, but I will admit that I never gave the Luxman a chance. After I sold it, I repositioned my speakers which changed (and improved) the presentation quite a bit and I always wondered...how would it have sounded with the Luxman if I had done that back then?! What if I bought a second Luxman and ran mono?!

I know that's not your exact situation because the Vitus is an integrated.

So you may want to try different cables, different power conditioning, different speaker positioning or room treatments (or maybe less room treatments if you have a lot, i.e. remove corner traps etc). It's worth spending a little time tweaking, because you will probably lose some money if you sell. Frustrating to be sure.
Of course I have meant to say the RI-101 mk II is sounding flat - or let’s say scarcely dynamic and engaging - to my ears and with my system. I have purchased this amp based on several positive comments specifically with Avalon Idea, so I’m very surprised as you are. I will try different cables first and I have thought to add a preamp to it. I have listened to it with a CSPORT preamp and I was blown away, with Thrax Lyra SE speakers including the bass units which I don’t recall their name, simply an amazing system.
If changing cables and adding the preamp won’t work, I have the wrong amp for my taste or for my system.
I will look at room treatment too but I had very pleasant time with my previous loudspeakers and amp: Graham LS5/9 and Allnic T2000.
 

Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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We have Vitus Masterpiece components (Line Stage, DAC, Transport and soon the Phono) and Vitus Signature monos.

Cables make a difference with Vitus. Seeing your budget I’d try some Shunyata Alphas, or if you can swing it some Sigmas.

I tried Vitus monos with EMM Labs Pre. While it sounded good when we added the Vitus Line Stage things went off the charts. So, I suggest adding a used Vitus Signature Line Stage.

Of course you could sell what you have and get the SIA025 MK.II or SIA030 and be in audio heaven. If you don‘t have a Vitus dealer PM me and I’ll hook you up with ours …
I have a vitus dealer in the UK - I live in France - who recommended me to get Shunyata PC - at least Delta - and Tara Labs - at least Forté - IC and SC. If not happy he suggested me to trade the Vitus in for an integrated Thrax, he thinks the SIA025 may suit my taste less. I have also read the Purist Audio Aqueous are a good match for Vitus, what do you think compared to Shunyata Delta? I am not comfortable yet spending $3500 for a PC.
 

Audire

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Jan 18, 2019
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I have a vitus dealer in the UK - I live in France - who recommended me to get Shunyata PC - at least Delta - and Tara Labs - at least Forté - IC and SC. If not happy he suggested me to trade the Vitus in for an integrated Thrax, he thinks the SIA025 may suit my taste less. I have also read the Purist Audio Aqueous are a good match for Vitus, what do you think compared to Shunyata Delta? I am not comfortable yet spending $3500 for a PC.

We use a Shunyata Everest, and it’s excellent. A Denali would go a long way to improving the sound. You would definitely hear a change. I would stay with one brand of cables though and not mix them…

We tried a Thrax DAC and Pre demo with our SM-103s and it was a no go for me. Not as much life in the system as with the Vitus, BUT some people mix Thrax and Vitus and like the result. I just had a friend get the SIA030 and he loves it. He bought it after hearing our system.

Besides Shunyata, Albedo cables are very good - but expensive. A lot of people also use Jorma Cables. As I write I’m going back and forth with the Omega and Albedo. Both exceptional IMO.
 
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AudioLibertarian

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Dec 25, 2017
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I have just discovered this forum after having been reading Audiogon and Hifiwigwam for a while and it seems this forum is the one suiting best my taste and .

A bit of system history before getting to the point:

I have recently went through many changes in my system.

After having been many years in company of Graham LS5/9 and Accuphase A46 I have changed the amp with a Allnic T2000 which was a great move to my taste.

Then the Allnic gave me a lot of problems and I have asked the dealer to replace it with a McIntosh MA5300. Not a good match with Graham as expected which anyway were about to go.

Replaced loudspeakers with Avalon Idea which I liked very much despite the poor amp match. I have put the McIntosh on sale and in the meantime did a deep search for an ideal matching amp. The Vitus RI-101 mk II seemed to be a perfect match.

I have listened to the Vitus in a different (way higher level) system than mine. I have brought the Vitus home and the frustration started. This was one week ago and I can’t spend a moment of any day if not looking for a fix.

My musical tastes are classic rock, blues and jazz.

Ideal sound presentation - sorry in advance for the poor description - is wide and big soundstage, musical, dynamic, clear but not analytical nor cold. A tad warm but not overly so. I am 50/50 vinyl / dac.

the Vitus sounds to me too flat, not dynamic at all, not engaging (sorry if what I’m saying is considered objectively wrong). And especially at low volume I don’t see to appreciate the music. I can’t listen at high volume in my apartment.

the listening was done with Nordost frey2, heimdall2, Naim Powerline PC and frey2 and TQ2 black diamond IC. TQ2 black SC.

I have Tara labs xlr IC and Purist Audio aqueous PC on the way. I’m waiting to adjust SC as I’ll need 4m and it’s quite a bit of cash for me, Tara labs Forté are the best candidates.

So it seems that I have to sell both the McIntosh and the Vitus. A lot of immobilised cash for me.

After reading a lot on this forum and elsewhere I have thought that it could be a good move to add a preamp to the Vitus and if things don’t get seriously better I’ll sell the Vitus.

a shortlist of preamp which I would like to submit to this audience is:

- BAT VK33SE
- BAT VK80
- EAR YOSHINO 912
- VTL TL-6.5 II

I know the 912 features a tremendous phono stage but the preamp section is my priority.

if the result won’t be satisfying after adding the preamp, I have thought replacing the Vitus with the Plinius A150.

I would be glad to hear advice from owners of similar gears or owners of different systems with similar taste to mine.

the budget is $12000 very max for both preamp and power amp.
To make things more complicated, I need
to face a very tough WAF who approves only for well designed not so defined tacky components. As an example, Nagra Classic is out of question as too similar to hospital gear.

thank you so much in advance and happy to have found this community.
Try Cardas Clear Beyond cable, speaker & inteconnect& power cords as well....Pricey , I know, but well worth it. Cardas cables will (should) bring a large dose of musical soul and dimensionality into your system. Also, try some great passive preamps, like Townshend Allegri Ref, or EMIA , or or Icon 4 if using stand alone amps. Get rid of any unmodified Naim gear, its as flat sounding as pizza dough. Nordost cables , at least the ones that I ve heard, no matter how pricely just suck the life out of music. Just speaking from my own personal experience, so naturally YOUR impression may differ.
 
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TDX

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Jan 14, 2020
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What you want is $120k sound. what you can offer is $12k. There is a zero missing somewhere. Vitus Integrated is not powerful enough. Get separates.
 
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Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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What you want is $120k sound. what you can offer is $12k. There is a zero missing somewhere. Vitus Integrated is not powerful enough. Get separates.
That’s what I have thought. I need to identify which separates suit my taste and my speakers.
On top of the above mentioned references, and the suggested CAT SL1 preamp, I was considering Atma-sphere mp3 preamp and Burmester 911 mkiii power amp. BTW for both amps the budget is $20 new or used.
 

Ron Resnick

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Welcome to WBF, Ricco!
 

Ron Resnick

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To make things more complicated, I need
to face a very tough WAF who approves only for well designed not so defined tacky components. As an example, Nagra Classic is out of question as too similar to hospital gear.

Nagra Classic looks well-designed to my eyes. I am not sure the sonic equation and a strict aesthetic equation can be solved simultaneously.

What WAF aesthetic is required?
 
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Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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Nagra Classic looks well-designed to my eyes. I am not sure the sonic equation and a strict aesthetic equation can be solved simultaneously.

What WAF aesthetic is required?
Thanks Ron!
I had thought Nagra Classic would aesthetically work too but at home they have been defined as hospital looking gears rather than Leica M-like
I’d say components with clean lines and qualitative materials are easier to get accepted. No to massive units or chrome finish, she may like Spectral perhaps, definitely yes for Esoteric’s design. She was the happiest when I had a full Linn system, except for Isobarik speakers which were too bulky for her.
Obviously I will try to get strong performing components validated despite their appearance.
To summarise we are a very Bauhaus couple.
 

Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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Nagra Classic looks well-designed to my eyes. I am not sure the sonic equation and a strict aesthetic equation can be solved simultaneously.

What WAF aesthetic is required?
Pass Labs are perfect for instance.
 

TDX

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Jan 14, 2020
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Pass Labs are perfect for instance.
Yes that’s what was in my mind to suggest you. 350.8 would be nice.
I have one friend tried integrated to drive big speakers and I heard exactly the same result as you described the vitus one.
 
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Ricco275

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Yes that’s what was in my mind to suggest you. 350.8 would be nice.
I have one friend tried integrated to drive big speakers and I heard exactly the same result as you described the vitus one.
350.8 too bulky though. I thought a 250.8 or int. 250 would suffice, no? I like the suggestion of @ashandger to bridge two XA25 even though not sure will drive well enough the Avalon idea at low volume.
 

TDX

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Jan 14, 2020
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350.8 too bulky though. I thought a 250.8 or int. 250 would suffice, no? I like the suggestion of @ashandger to bridge two XA25 even though not sure will drive well enough the Avalon idea at low volume.
I love bulky stuff. You hear more at low volume due to enough current.
 
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Rocoa

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Oct 17, 2018
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I own Avalon Idea since 8 years ago feeded by darTZeel 108, and Jeff Rowland 625 SII too. Cardas Clear and Clear Beyond.
The sound is gorgeous.
I have a friend who uses Nagra classic amp with Cardas cables too and the result is fabulous too.
 
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Ricco275

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May 22, 2023
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I own Avalon Idea since 8 years ago feeded by darTZeel 108, and Jeff Rowland 625 SII too. Cardas Clear and Clear Beyond.
The sound is gorgeous.
I have a friend who uses Nagra classic amp with Cardas cables too and the result is fabulous too.
No doubt with darTZeel 108! My issue may be cables plus the fact I need amplification suitable to listening at low volume. Perhaps speakers change would be an effective solution. Wondering if Vimberg Amea or VSA unifield 2 would solve my issue. I have understood Avalon Idea could sound flat at low volume.
 

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