Vitus RI-101 Mk II, Integrated Demo

Audire

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Oz, the U.S. rep of Vitus, is an amazing audiophile. I’ve only spoken to him on the phone, and thru email, but he has extensive experience in High End Audio, and is a true gentleman. He knows audio.

Oz sent us a demo (thru our dealer - Tony @ Ellington HiFI) of a Vitus Integrated Amp - the Vitus RI-101 MK II (an entry level Vitus unit). If we enjoy the sound, then our plans are to obtain the Vitus SM-103 Mono Amps - Class A. According to Oz the sound between the two is very different, but the RI-101 Integrated Amp demo will give us a sense of what Vitus is all about. They are competing with the Westminster Labs REI monos.

The unit is all but brand new - maybe 25 hours or so. So, I’m definitely going to have to allow it some more hours before making any comments on the sound. It will be on 24/7 for the next week or so.

I will comment about the mighty small remote that is supplied with the unit. It’s app the same length as an Apple remote, but not as wide. It is thicker than an Apple remote and much more beefy. From what I understand, this isn’t the same remote that is supplied with the 103s.


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Audire

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The amp is beginning to open up some - just a little. It still needs some more (many I’m guessing) hours on it.

This said, you can tell the soundstage is there, but it’s like it is being held back. I’m waiting for that magic moment when it becomes life-like. The instrument separation still isn’t entirely right. It’s getting more spacious, but not satisfying at this point.

The piano and violin playback is just beginning to take shape now. Bass is fair. Some of the muddiness is disappearing. Female vocals still sound a little flat.

It‘s barely warm, definitely not hot to the touch - cooler then the Pass 260.8s and EMM MTRX2s.

The Vitus will run all night. We will see what she sounds like late tomorrow morning.
 
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dan31

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Jul 22, 2010
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Careful with Vitus products. As you go up the chain you rarely return. They make some fine components.
 
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Audire

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At the beginning of breaking in this amp in it sounded like the Nightmare on Elm Street. Now it's beginning to sound like the Love Story.

I don't think it's at its full potential yet, so I will hold off on further comments until I think I can more fully describe what I'm hearing.
 
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Audire

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While the amp is still breaking in, my initial impressions are:

Vitus amps definitely need to be broken in. This 101 isn’t fully broken in yet, but it sounds 1000% better than when it was first plugged in. IMO, plug a new Vitus in and leave the listening room for three days or so. Then begin listening.

Vitus is Overbuilt:

Vitus = quality. The face plate is a work of industrial art. The detail is excellent! Great design. Ascetically it’s very pleasing.

I’d prefer aluminum sides and a top panel rather than the steel that Vitus provides on this amp (though not aluminum, the WL REIs win this point hands down with their carbon fiber top) - but the aluminum top and sides are present on the Vitus 103 monos.

It’s a massive integrated amp, with a sound to match.

RI-101 Mk II is a Class AB Int Amp:

Like the EMM MTRX2s and our Pass 260.8s, the 101 is a Class AB amp. It is one of the most enjoyable AB amps we’ve ever had in our system. It is surpassing the Pass with ease and is right on the heels of the 85k EMM mono amps. IMO, it even exceeds some Class A amps (i.e my friend’s Pass XA60s ) in its sound presentation. However, it’s no match to something like a Vitus SIA-030 (or better) …

EMM never told us how many Class A watts they ran in their MTRX2s, but it is definitely less than the Pass 260.8s at 34w. The Vitus is 12w per channel in Class A mode. Double this for 4 ohm Magicos.

Magical with Magicos:

We presently have the Vitus connected to Magico M3s with Shunyata Sigma cabling. Vitus and Magico are brother and sister. They come from the same DNA = great design and sound; a “perfect” match. Like Eve was made for Adam, Vitus is made for Magicos. I’m wondering if Vitus would sound good with Von Schweikert’s or Alsyvox speakers, which I’m seriously looking at for our new dedicated room “later.”

The Amazing Sound:

Vitus is tube-like, and very open and musical. Impactful. Stunning. Genuine analogue mastered vinyl sounds true to the source material. I didn’t know it could be, but our digital has improved significantly - its closer than ever to genuine analogue. Our EMM gear enjoys good clean authoritative pure power.

A smooth, non-peaky, overall wonderful presentation. A notable bass slam and definition; a deep impactful detailed bass, that sounds very musical and yet controlled. At times it will make you jump. For an AB amp every aspect of the mids and highs is top drawer. It’s transparent. There’s no over-emphasizing of higher harmonics. There’s no hardening of the attack.

I wasn’t expecting this level of sound in a 20k amp (app 30k with DAC and Streamer). There’s an exquisite flow to the music. The equipment disappears and the music just draws you in note after note and captivates you. I enjoyed the EMM soundstage immensely, but the Vitus surpasses it. A 3D and fleshed-out soundstage. From a spatial perspective it seems to be a more forward presentation. Sometimes the images are cast out in front of the M3s instead of behind them. There’s more separation between the instruments. Female vocals sound ever so real. Spooky real like they rang the doorbell and entered your home. There’s just more, more, more. It’s addictive.

The backgrounds are something very special. They are a pure solid black canvass (silence) upon which the detail on the recordings really shines. While you hear immense detail everything remains very musical. In some respects, it’s more enjoyable than a Boulder 2160 amp I heard at a friend’s home recently - just a more real natural sound. And I mean truly natural. (i.e. Boulder is too analytical for my taste). Pianos and violins are most enjoyable on this Integrated. It’s like each string has been individually miked, yet there’s no loss of the whole melody and impact of the song. So detailed and yet wondrously musical. This amp is a work of musical obsession. The sound is so very satisfying.

The Who’s, “Baba O’Reily,” on the Who’s Next album is stunning. When it began to play I heard the drums snap and it immediately grabbed me; I looked up suddenly. This amp gives an impactful rememberable presentation of this song. On Krall’s, Live in Paris album, “The Look of Love,” is magical. Her voice is heavenly and it feels as if you can literally reach out and touch her piano. The key strokes are just that real. On Eva Cassidy’s, “You Take My Breath Away,” her guitar is so exacting and exciting. The detail is uncanny and so musical. On Nana Mouskouri’s, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the beauty of her voice is elevated like I’ve never heard before. Transcendent! And you haven’t heard Chris Botti on trumpet or Lucia Micarelli on violin until you’ve heard them on Vitus.

For an entry level Int., others need to pay close attention to what Vitus is doing. Since an entry level amp sounds this good, what will the Signature 103s monos be like? Those babies are Class A as well - 200w of Class A into our Magicos.

Initial Summary:

Overall this amp provides a crisp, clean, powerful sound, and gives a tremendous musical satisfying performance. Unless something changes, it’s not a sound I desire to be without.

I’m listening for all the concerns some have expressed on the forums and have yet to confirm any of those in this integrated. However, I have the 101 for two weeks, so I’m confident if they are present “in our system” they will come to the surface.

One thing I have heard is that when drum sticks hit the rim of the drums the sound isn’t as crisp and sharp as with the REIs (love that in the REIs). But this may change with the Vitus with some more break in time.

I haven’t heard the Vitus DAC yet, but understand it is very good and on par with some highly recognized name brand DACs on the market. While that’s not my primary goal in this demo, if I decide to go with a Vitus Masterpiece DAC “later” it would be good to have a listen.

Presently, overall I’m pretty smitten!

More listening to do.

8015E98A-7EA9-4E27-861D-F6940E217E5A.jpeg
 

matakana

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2020
329
160
50
60
UK
While the amp is still breaking in, my initial impressions are:

Vitus amps definitely need to be broken in. This 101 isn’t fully broken in yet, but it sounds 1000% better than when it was first plugged in. IMO, plug a new Vitus in and leave the listening room for three days or so. Then begin listening.

Vitus is Overbuilt:

Vitus = quality. The face plate is a work of industrial art. The detail is excellent! Great design. Ascetically it’s very pleasing.

I’d prefer aluminum sides and a top panel rather than the steel that Vitus provides on this amp (though not aluminum, the WL REIs win this point hands down with their carbon fiber top) - but the aluminum top and sides are present on the Vitus 103 monos.

It’s a massive integrated amp, with a sound to match.

RI-101 Mk II is a Class AB Int Amp:

Like the EMM MTRX2s and our Pass 260.8s, the 101 is a Class AB amp. It is one of the most enjoyable AB amps we’ve ever had in our system. It is surpassing the Pass with ease and is right on the heels of the 85k EMM mono amps. IMO, it even exceeds some Class A amps (i.e my friend’s Pass XA60s ) in its sound presentation. However, it’s no match to something like a Vitus SIA-030 (or better) …

EMM never told us how many Class A watts they ran in their MTRX2s, but it is definitely less than the Pass 260.8s at 34w. The Vitus is 12w per channel in Class A mode. Double this for 4 ohm Magicos.

Magical with Magicos:

We presently have the Vitus connected to Magico M3s with Shunyata Sigma cabling. Vitus and Magico are brother and sister. They come from the same DNA = great design and sound; a “perfect” match. Like Eve was made for Adam, Vitus is made for Magicos. I’m wondering if Vitus would sound good with Von Schweikert’s or Alsyvox speakers, which I’m seriously looking at for our new dedicated room “later.”

The Amazing Sound:

Vitus is tube-like, and very open and musical. Impactful. Stunning. Genuine analogue mastered vinyl sounds true to the source material. I didn’t know it could be, but our digital has improved significantly - its closer than ever to genuine analogue. Our EMM gear enjoys good clean authoritative pure power.

A smooth, non-peaky, overall wonderful presentation. A notable bass slam and definition; a deep impactful detailed bass, that sounds very musical and yet controlled. At times it will make you jump. For an AB amp every aspect of the mids and highs is top drawer. It’s transparent. There’s no over-emphasizing of higher harmonics. There’s no hardening of the attack.

I wasn’t expecting this level of sound in a 20k amp (app 30k with DAC and Streamer). There’s an exquisite flow to the music. The equipment disappears and the music just draws you in note after note and captivates you. I enjoyed the EMM soundstage immensely, but the Vitus surpasses it. A 3D and fleshed-out soundstage. From a spatial perspective it seems to be a more forward presentation. Sometimes the images are cast out in front of the M3s instead of behind them. There’s more separation between the instruments. Female vocals sound ever so real. Spooky real like they rang the doorbell and entered your home. There’s just more, more, more. It’s addictive.

The backgrounds are something very special. They are a pure solid black canvass (silence) upon which the detail on the recordings really shines. While you hear immense detail everything remains very musical. In some respects, it’s more enjoyable than a Boulder 2160 amp I heard at a friend’s home recently - just a more real natural sound. And I mean truly natural. (i.e. Boulder is too analytical for my taste). Pianos and violins are most enjoyable on this Integrated. It’s like each string has been individually miked, yet there’s no loss of the whole melody and impact of the song. So detailed and yet wondrously musical. This amp is a work of musical obsession. The sound is so very satisfying.

The Who’s, “Baba O’Reily,” on the Who’s Next album is stunning. When it began to play I heard the drums snap and it immediately grabbed me; I looked up suddenly. This amp gives an impactful rememberable presentation of this song. On Krall’s, Live in Paris album, “The Look of Love,” is magical. Her voice is heavenly and it feels as if you can literally reach out and touch her piano. The key strokes are just that real. On Eva Cassidy’s, “You Take My Breath Away,” her guitar is so exacting and exciting. The detail is uncanny and so musical. On Nana Mouskouri’s, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the beauty of her voice is elevated like I’ve never heard before. Transcendent! And you haven’t heard Chris Botti on trumpet or Lucia Micarelli on violin until you’ve heard them on Vitus.

For an entry level Int., others need to pay close attention to what Vitus is doing. Since an entry level amp sounds this good, what will the Signature 103s monos be like? Those babies are Class A as well - 200w of Class A into our Magicos.

Initial Summary:

Overall this amp provides a crisp, clean, powerful sound, and gives a tremendous musical satisfying performance. Unless something changes, it’s not a sound I desire to be without.

I’m listening for all the concerns some have expressed on the forums and have yet to confirm any of those in this integrated. However, I have the 101 for two weeks, so I’m confident if they are present “in our system” they will come to the surface.

One thing I have heard is that when drum sticks hit the rim of the drums the sound isn’t as crisp and sharp as with the REIs (love that in the REIs). But this may change with the Vitus with some more break in time.

I haven’t heard the Vitus DAC yet, but understand it is very good and on par with some highly recognized name brand DACs on the market. While that’s not my primary goal in this demo, if I decide to go with a Vitus Masterpiece DAC “later” it would be good to have a listen.

Presently, overall I’m pretty smitten!

More listening to do.

View attachment 96311
It certainly complements the rest of your ancillaries as well ! Thanks for the write up.
 
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Audire

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This Vitus 101 continues to improve. Small improvements at this point but we are going the right direction …

I‘ll probably be ordering the Vitus SM-103 monos. Just have to decide on the color: Black - one month; Silver - 6-8 months.
 
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benito

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Jul 23, 2018
51
28
90
France
I‘ll probably be ordering the Vitus SM-103 monos.
Prepare you to buy as well the vitus SL-103 in the case that your pre-amp does not match the SM-103. Difficult to test a brandt with an integrated and buy only the amp.
 

Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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Prepare you to buy as well the vitus SL-103 in the case that your pre-amp does not match the SM-103. Difficult to test a brandt with an integrated and buy only the amp.

Agreed but it’s the only demo they have. The EMM Pre though is excellent. So, I should be good until I begin possibly purchasing other Vitus gear; pre, DAC, CD, and phono.
 

rubinken

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Jan 15, 2020
112
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Olympia, WA, USA

Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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FWIW, the titanium orange finish by Vitus Audio is stunning. It's a step up color from silver or black. Shown here on an sia-030 for you to view.
https://www.vitusaudio.com/products/sia-030/

Thanks. Yes my dealer and I were speaking about that the other day. It is stunning. Really appealing.

I'm thinking of separating my digital from our analogue ”if” we move out to a new dedicated room. In the event I do this then possibly all black Vitus gear except the Transport which would be in orange. This also means purchasing a black Taiko Audio Extreme as well.
 
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rubinken

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Jan 15, 2020
112
63
95
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Olympia, WA, USA
If that happens, I please post photos. It would look great!
Good luck with your adventure.
 
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Audire

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Tomorrow we begin playing some vinyl. We’ve been streaming and the amp sounds incredible. I have app 50 records planned for over the next 5 days. Then I’ll have some friends, whose ears I trust, over to have a listen. Then the testing for this amp will be completed.
 

George47

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2018
7
2
83
Great write-up and I have to say I agree with everything you said. I reviewed the RI101 Mk II, after giving it a few weeks of run-in and at least 24 hours to 'warm-up', after a shutdown. It had the magic of real music. I was impressed enough to buy it. They have a really great synergistic relationship with Avalon speakers, especially the newer PM Range. It works really well with my PM1s. Built like a battleship but take care as these amps weigh rather a lot and my days of flinging 45kg amplifiers are long gone.
 
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Hobblecreek

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2018
13
21
85
Colorado
Vitus SM-103 Mono Amps
Audire: it's been a month and I was wondering if you have you taken the next step yet to audition the SM-103s -- I am curious how you will describe their sound quality in your system, in your room. I sincerely appreciated your thoughts and description above about the Vitus RI-101 MK II. The Magico M3 loudspeakers are tremendous and deserve to be given their best chance to sing as they should. My one chance to hear them a couple of years ago was with Soulution 7 Series gear and Kronos Pro TT and I was amazed. Please know that I am not suggesting anything negative about the Vitus products, I am merely commenting on the M3s and how great they sounded with Soulution and I am sure they will sound as remarkable with Vitus.
 
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Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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Audire: it's been a month and I was wondering if you have you taken the next step yet to audition the SM-103s -- I am curious how you will describe their sound quality in your system, in your room. I sincerely appreciated your thoughts and description above about the Vitus RI-101 MK II. The Magico M3 loudspeakers are tremendous and deserve to be given their best chance to sing as they should. My one chance to hear them a couple of years ago was with Soulution 7 Series gear and Kronos Pro TT and I was amazed. Please know that I am not suggesting anything negative about the Vitus products, I am merely commenting on the M3s and how great they sounded with Soulution and I am sure they will sound as remarkable with Vitus.

Thanks very much for your comments.

The SM-103s are supposed to be here tomorrow along with a Vitus Signature Pre Amp. I’ve received a phone call on the Pre, but none yet on the 103s, so there may be a delay, I’m not sure. Oz - US Vitus Distributor - and my dealer (Tony of Ellington HiFi) is supposed to be here on Friday to install the amps.

All the above will need to burn in. My dealer states the Class As will take 2-3 weeks of constant burn in before they sound superb. So, it may be a while before I can write anything. But I’ll post pics when they arrive.

Thanks again.
 

Hobblecreek

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2018
13
21
85
Colorado
Much appreciated, I always enjoy real-world listening comments from buyers vs the write-ups from "professional" reviewers. I just saw that you have another similar post on the SM-103s (having ordered the amps) so I will check back there as well.

And yes, the interactions I've had with Oz have been super.
 
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