A short history of Vitus Audio and the quest for audio perfection
The history of Vitus Audio starts with a 12 year-old Hans-Ole Vitus – the founder – when he joined a street marching band – Åbyhøj Tambourkorps – playing the snare drum. This was his first foray into music. It took him across Europe playing with the band and fomented what would become a lifelong love of music.
He played drums in the school band and in a local rock band from the age of 15, playing covers of Thin Lizzy, Rolling Stones and the like.
But it was at aged 14 when he got his first hi fi system, all Pioneer separates – turntable, tape deck, amplifier, tuner and speakers – that his passion for electronics was sparked. The Pioneer tuner and amp were soon swapped out for a Sanui tuner and separate Sanui amplifier (both of which are still working at the Vitus Audio factory today).
Thus began his search for audio perfection, getting his hands on Mission separates, an AR turntable, making his own speakers and DIY amplifiers. Tinkering with electronics, disassembling things, putting them back together (successfully or otherwise) is the birthplace of all electronics engineers. This curiosity is what hooked Vitus.
And so at 18, Vitus began an education in electronics. By this age, he had developed a taste for high-end audio equipment, specifically Danish audio manufacturer Gryphon Audio Designs. But of course, being 18 and without the funds to support such expensive tastes, this equipment was out of his reach. The only alternative was to learn how to develop equipment of this standard himself. And so, around 1985 – 86 the seeds of what would become Vitus Audio were sown.
Vitus Audio was unofficially founded in 1995. It would be 8 more years of development and circuitry refinement before the first products were ready to be unveiled.
These products were;
The RP-100 Phono Stage – predecessor of the current RP-102
The RL-100 Line Stage – predecessor of the current RL-102
The SM-100 Monaural Power Amplifier – predecessor of the current SM-103
Their public unveiling took place at the Stockholm show in February 2003 with subsequent demonstrations at the Copenhagen show the following week and the Frankfurt (now the Munich High End) show in May of that year.
Critical reception of these initial units was positive and this laid the foundations for the coming decades of development and a brand that is beloved by audiophiles today.
In 2004 we introduced the first line stage to accompany our SM-100. The SL-100 was our first fully balanced line stage, based on the SM-100’s input stage technology, optimised for lower signals including a full relay volume control.
With an impressive collection of turntables, it was always a given that we would turn our attentions to phono stage for the Signature Series. In 2005 the SP-100 was introduced to the world. The SP-100 was our first fully balanced phono stage based on technology used in the SL-100.
Iterating on our well received SL-100 and SP-100 components, 2006 saw the introduction of of the SL-101 and the SP-101.
In the SL-101 we redesign the PSU and undertook a range of steps to fine tune the audio circuitry, most importantly optimising the step attenuation in the relay volume control.
in the SP-101 we changed the RIAA correction topology to pure shunt filtering. We also undertook a redesign of the PSU and a suite of fine tuning to the audio circuitry.
This was the year that we started expanding on our range introducing two new products an iterating on another.
The SS-010 was released in this year. Designed as a stereo power amplifier with a volume control, it essentially uses the same technology as the SS-101 but scaled down to a much smaller chassis. It featured 2 inputs and a limited resolution in the volume delivering 25W cl. A in 8 ohm RMS.
The SS-101 was a stereo version of the SM-101 (also released this year). This unit included the same preamplifier stage found in the SS-010, but due to its size this was considered to be more of a power amplifier with a volume control and only two inputs. This unit was true balanced from input to output.
In this year we also released the first iteration of our original monaural power amp, the SM-100. The SM-101 dropped the battery supply and introduced a split rail supply. At the same time several modifications were made to the overall circuitry to utilise the split supply rail in the most optimal way.
In 2008 we expanded the range further introducing the SS-050. This unit was a high biased cl. AB pure stereo power amplifier based on the SS-010 power stage but further refined. This amp delivered around 120W cl. AB into 8 ohm RMS.
2008 also saw the introduction of the SM-010. A pure cl. A / AB mono amplifier version of the SS-010, this amplifier was further optimised and modified to deliver the next level of performance delivering around 40W in cl. A and about 100W in cl. AB into 8 ohm RMS.
Finally, our first foray into digital products was introduced this year. The SCD-010 used an AnagramTech SRC converter module and AD1955 DAC chip with a fully balanced analogue stage. The reference source when designing this product was an analogue rig as the intention was to make a digital source unlike anything else on the market, one that sounded non-digital.
2009 saw the release of the first product in our extremely high-end Masterpiece Series. The MP-P201 is a phono stage with absolutely no expense spared. It’s a two chassis product one of which houses a massive power supply for incredible noise performance with a huge amount of regulation steps. This design was based on the SP-101 with a new approach to modular design taking all of the available technology to the limit.
We also released our first remote control, the RC-010, this year which remained unchanged up to 2022.
This year saw the release of seven new products to the market.
The SIA-025 was created based on the lessons learned in the design of the SM-010. With the newly purchased Solidworks design software, we we able to seriously optimise our designs from a density point of view enabling us to fit everything we needed into the SIA-025 chassis which was shared with SS-010, SM-010 and the SS-050.
This was the first true integrated amplifier we ever made and launched about 6 months prior to the RI-100.
The amp produces 25W cl. A and about 120W cl AB into 8 ohm RMS. Its high level of integration also meant switching away from leaded components to SMD components wherever possible. Maintaining our high quality standards was only possible when we setup our own in-house SMD production line this year.
The SP-102 was released this year. This was a new design based on technology developed for the MP-P201, including the modular design enabling user friendly upgrades moving forward and an external power supply.
The SL-102 was also released in 2010. With inspiration taken from the MP-P201, a full overhaul was undertaken to utilise the modular design from this stunning phono stage. The number of regulation levels in the power supply were increased and more volume steps were introduced to accommodate higher resolution in the attenuation.
This year also saw the release of the RI-100, the first product in our newly minted Reference Series. Taking everything we learned from the development of the SS-010, SS-101, SS-050, SM-010 and SIA-025, we set about designing a cost optimised integrated amplifier with as few compromises as possible. The RI-100 was simply an exceptional amplifier with an optional DAC. This product has received many awards over the years.
We also added three new products to our Masterpiece Series this year.
The MP-L201 came about after our development of the the SL-102. This Line stage goes all in with inspiration from the MP-P201 and, of course, a no expense spared approach.
This year we also released the MP-T201 our finest CD Transport and the MP-D201 DAC.
The MP-D201 took the work done on the SCD-010 and took things to the next level. More AD1955 chips per channel, a more precise master clock, a better power supply and much more.
We introduce the RS-100 to our Reference Series. The RI-100 is a pure power amplifier version of the RI-100 designed to be used with the RL-101 line stage designed and released the following year.
The RL-101, the first line stage in our Reference Series is released. Featuring our new regulated “on mains” power supply and single ended topology as well as the volume control from the RI-100.
We further expanded our Reference Series with the RCD-100, RP-101, RL-101 and the RD-100.
The RP-101 was the first refresh of one of our first products from 2003. For this version, the battery supply was removed and replaced with a new regulated “on mains” power supply. Everything internally was optimised to accommodate this change. Single ended topology was also introduced.
The RL-101 saw the same changes found in the RP-101 and introduced the volume control from the RI-100.
We also introduced the RD-100, a scaled down version of the SCD-025 using a BB4196 SRC chip instead of the AnagramTech module and a less extreme power supply. We also introduced a USB interface from M2Tech and Toslink.
The SCD-025 is released, a trickled down version of the MP-D201 creating the most analogue sounding red-book cd-player in existence. A demanding task with the limited space available!
And finally, 9 years after we first floated the idea of a four chassis power amplifier, the MP-M201 is released. Featuring a complete separation of audio circuitry from everything else and designed for correct bi-amping with two separate output stages fed by the same input stage. This mammoth amplifier also features a fully regulated power supply for everything including both output stages. Truly a game changing amp.
Two more iterations to our Signature Series are released this year.
The SS-102 stereo power amplifier saw the removal of the volume control to make ways for a higher performing power supply. Our modular design was introduced to this model allowing for better upgradability. Still providing around 40WRMS cl. A in 8 ohm, but increasing the cl. AB power to about 120WRMS in 8 ohm.
The SM-102 saw a move into our modular design, a full update to the input stage module and refinements to the output stages. The power supply also received an update and we made significant updates to the PCB layout resulting in lower noise.
The RCD-101 was released. An SACD player based on technology developed for the RD-100 using the AD1955 DAC and support components and replacing the M2Tech USB interface with a JLSounds interface. This product was obsoleted due to the SACD drive no longer being available. It was superseded by the RD-101 with streaming capabilities.
The RP-101 Mk.II is released featuring a general design overhaul optimising for better performance and lower noise.
The SM-011 is released. This model incorporates updates from the SM-102 into a much smaller space. Adding a higher level of SMD allowed us to fit everything into a smaller space and had the added benefit of higher performance on speed and resolution.
This was the first power amplifier with this extensive usage of SMD in the power stage, showing us the direction we needed to take on all other products.
This set of amplifiers also featured the newly designed and introduced (in the MP-S201 – see below) two different modes of coupling the output stages – Rock and Classic, initially nicknamed Rambo and 007.
The MP-P201 Mk.II is released featuring a total redesign of the power supply. Offering a more linear, more rigid and a lower noise floor. The load modules are replaced with completely new system that allows all loads to be selected from the remote control without having to exchange boards on the inside.
The MP-S201 was also introduced in 2014. The market requested a stereo power amplifier in our Masterpiece Series. We really wanted to take the MP-M201 technology into one chassis, but the regulated power supply for the output stages could not fit within the space (at the time) especially from a heat point of view. As a result, we left the power supply for the output stages unregulated, instead adding a serious amount of capacitors. The MP-S201 was also the amplifier in which we introduced the two different modes of coupling the output stages Rock and Classic.
The SCD-025 Mk.II is introduced to the market. This model added the new JLSounds USB interface supporting DSD. We also refined multiple areas of the technology and the AnagramTech Q5 sample rate converter module was upgraded to an Engineered Q8 sample rate converter.
We unveiled the SS-025 this year. Designed as a perfect option for people already owning a SIA-025, but wanting to take things to the next level. With the SS-025 used together with the SIA-025 in a bi-amp configuration, the lower frequencies benefit tremendously from extra power handling and control.
The MP-T201 Mk.II is released making our Masterpiece CD Transport component even more precise.
The MP-I201 is also released this year. The first integrated amplifier in the Masterpiece Series. We were getting requests for an integrated amplifier version of the MP-S201, so we added a preamplifier section to this model with a different rear plate. It is likely the biggest and most impressive integrated amplifier in the world.
The fourth iteration of our Signature Series phono stage, the SP-103 is released. Its designed using all the new features and technology found in the MP-P201 Mk.II, scaled down to fit in 70% of the chassis size.
The SL-103 is released improving on the SL-102 with a better power supply and greater resolution in the volume control.
The SS-103 is released building on the previous version with next level performance via a lower noise floor, increasing resolution. This was achieved with a better power supply with a higher level of regulation and refinement of the audio circuitry on multiple levels.
The RP-102 is released featuring a complete redesign of the main board, PSU and all logic controls. Added support for mono cartridges. A new power supply design lowering noise significantly and in turn increasing resolution and microdynamics. All load selection is now handled from the front of the unit or via the optional remote control.
Finally in this year the RL-102 is released featuring a complete redesign of the main board, PSU and all logic controls, higher resolution in the volume control and true balanced topology.
The RL-102 is released with a complete redesign of the main board, PSU and all logic controls with higher resolution in the volume control and the introduction of true balanced topology.
The RI-101 is released with an optimised output stage, a full redesign of the preamplifier stage using balanced topology and higher resolution volume control. We also introduced an optional DAC/Streamer board and a new transformer design.
The RS-101 is released building on the RS-100 with an optimised output stage, a full redesign of the preamplifier stage using balanced topology and a higher resolution volume control. An optional DAC/Streamer board was introduced along with a new transformer design.
The SM-103 is released. Utilising everything we learned from the design of the SS-103 we optimised and over-exaggerated for this next iteration of our monaural power amplifier.
This year the RD-101 is released improving on the RD-100 with the addition of streaming, an updated USB board from JLSounds to support SACD playback via USB and moving to the ESS ES9028PRO DAC chip. This unit also features an updated power supply.
The SD-025 is released using the technology found in the SCD-025 but replacing the now obsolete CD drive with a streaming board and a Toslink optical input.
MP-D201 Mk.III is released with an updated clock, updated PSU, and 16 DACs (8 in parallel pr. Ch.) in total. This called for a massive updating of the clock circuitry for precise timing of each DAC chip. A USB module was also implemented supporting DSD.
The SIA-030 is released, a product 12 years in the making! This is our most compact/dense product to date. Key to this design was including the regulated power supply from the MP-M201 for the output stage in a much smaller space. This was a huge challenge. This amp also allows for the addition of an optional DAC/Streamer as well as a full-blown phono stage.
The RI-101 Mk.II is released iterating on the popular RI-101 Mk.I with an optimisation to the digital power supply increasing the performance of the DAC/Streamer option. We also undertook fine tuning of preamplifier section.