In the weeks leading up to a show like High End 2023, I research what new products have been announced and ask manufacturers to let me know what new products they’ll be displaying. I plan my initial coverage around products for which I’ve received advance information. Everything else I discover at the show is secondary.
Following my usual practice, I walked into Vitus Audio’s room intending to cover the Signature Series SM-103 Mk.II monoblock amplifier I’d learned about before the show. A pair of SM-103 Mk.II amps were the centerpiece of the room. But founder Hans-Ole Vitus told me that the more important product to cover was the Signature Series SD-025 Mk.II digital-to-analog converter because of its new streamer board. The reason I didn’t know the SD-025 Mk.II would be an item of focus became clear when Hans-Ole told me that the board he was holding was the first of its kind—it had just come in. I guess Vitus Audio didn’t want to make a big deal of a product it might not have been able to show—but now it could.
That didn’t change the agenda for my visit: covering the SM-103 Mk.II. But it did shift my attention to the SD-025 Mk.II for a bit. COO Lukas Birk Eriksen winced when I asked him to place the board on the carpet so I could take a picture of it with the DAC, because a static shock from the carpet could kill the board. He placed it very, very, very carefully on the ground—but didn’t let me come too close to it.
Vitus Audio products are not inexpensive. But if you know anything about hi-fi, when you look at any product from the entry-level Reference, mid-tier Signature, or flagship Masterpiece lineup, it’s easy to see where your money is going. In fact, it’s easy to see that even if you don’t know hi-fi, but do know a thing or two about manufacturing and product quality. Vitus’s products are attractively styled and exceptionally well-built. And Vitus Audio’s approach to quality control is almost fanatical. Every part and sub-assembly in every component gets registered and kept on permanent record. Should there be a failure in the field, anywhere in the world, Vitus Audio stands a good chance of being able to diagnose exactly what the problem is. The products are made entirely in the company’s facility in Denmark, and the warranty with registration is six years, so slightly above the norm. These things don’t come cheap.
The SD-025 Mk.II is priced at €26,500, and the new streamer board that goes in it supports gigabit-speed networks. Given the newness of the DAC and streamer board, few other details were available. A pair of SM-103 Mk.II amplifiers costs €70,000. That might seem like a lot of money until you see it in the flesh. Measuring 17.1″W × 23.7″D × 12.2″H (including feet) and weighing 165 pounds, this amplifier is a beast. I inspected the finish work, and it’s as close to flawless as I’ve seen.
The SM-103 Mk.II’s power output might seem modest for its size and price. It’s rated at 100W into 8 ohms or 200W into 4 ohms, whether operated in class-AB or pure-class-A mode. But Vitus Audio amplifiers are known for their ability to supply close to endless amounts of current and to drive the most difficult speaker loads, so that’s enough power for almost any application. One word of caution: although the amplifier outputs the same power in class-A or class-AB mode, the amplifier runs much hotter and consumes roughly double the energy in class-A mode compared to class-AB.
Vitus Audio offers some striking finishes. For Signature Series components, the standard finishes are White, Jet Black, and Warm Silver. Optional finishes, including Titanium Orange, Titanium Grey, and Dark Champagne, are available for an additional charge. FWIW, my favorites are Warm Silver and Titanium Orange. If you want a different look entirely, Vitus Audio has a bespoke service that can create a custom finish to make your product unique.