VITUS Reference RP-102 Phonostage preamp

VS 05 PS RP102
NZ$ 23,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Vitus Audio

"leading edge technology" enables VITUS AUDIO to make some of the Best Hi-Fi products in the world.

New

In 2004 Roy Gregory at HiFi+ reviewed the RP and RL-100. He was more than thrilled with the performance of both units, and hence they both received an award for their performance.

The new RP-102 phonostage, is an upgraded version of the previous RP-100. However the new RP-102 does not use a battery power supply as before, the new technology we have developed for our Signature and MasterPiece Series offers superior performance over any battery driven power supply. The RP-102 is based on modules, which gives the owner a lifetime warranty on performance, as any new sound enhancing modules can easily be installed by the owner. 

Cartridge loading, is set directly from the front of the phonostage - or by a MAC remote which can be purchased separately. It offers direct switchable impedances from 10ohmsto 47Kohm without having to access the rear plate or to open the phonostage for making hardware changes. 

It offers both RCA and XLR inputs and outputs for optimal compatibility with any system configuration.

Specifications

Reviews

Specifications

Input Available: XLR: 1 / RCA:1
Sensitivity Impedance: 
XLR: 2KΩ Switchable 10Ω - 47kΩ 
RCA: 2KΩ Switchable 10Ω - 47kΩ
Slew rate: XLR: 500V/μs / RCA: 500V/μs
Output Available: XLR: 1 / RCA: 1
Impedance: XLR: 75kΩ / RCA: 75kΩ 
Frequency response: XLR: +800kHz / RCA: +800kHz
Signal to noise ratio: XLR: >70dB / RCA: >70dB
THD + noise: XLR: >0,01% / RCA: >0,01% 
Gain MM: XLR: >30dB @ 1KHz / RCA: >30dB @ 1KHz
Gain MC: XLR: >60dB @ 1KHz / RCA: >60dB @ 1KHz
Power Consumption Standby: 20 WRMS
Operation: 20 WRMS
Dimensions” Height: 100 mm x Width: 435 mm x Depth: 377 mm 
Weight: 9 Kg

Reviews

The Vitus RP-101 stands up with the best we have auditioned regardless of price.
Paul Blizel

REVIEW SUMMARY: What does the Vitus Audio RP-101 sound like? If I had to choose one word was to describe it, the word would be seductive. The big soundstage and air combined with beautiful timbre makes you forget about stereos and just melt into the chair and enjoy the music. At this moment I am listening to the new Speakers Corner Decca reissue of “The Sleeping Beauty” and I find myself constantly sitting back and listening rather than pounding away at the keyboard. From the gorgeous strings to the brassy horns, the orchestra is presented with a very resolving, yet relaxed manner.

EXTENDED REVIEW: The down-side of hitting a grand slam the first time at bat is that fans expect it on each subsequent appearance. Back in the mid 2000’s, Vitus Audio scored big with the RP-100 phono stage. With technology borrowed from its big brothers the Signature and Masterpiece, the RP-100 was a battery powered phono stage with outstanding resolution, inky-black backgrounds and bass that most would kill for. Best of all, it was priced at about one third of the price of the Signature.  Can Vitus Audio knock another one out of the park with the new RP-101 phono stage?

 Under the Hood of the RP-101

The RP-101 shares the same chassis design as the Reference Line Stage (RL-101), CD Player (RC-100) and DAC/Line Stage (RD-100). Measuring 17 x 15 x 4 inches, it is a relatively small unit that will fit nicely into most racks. As opposed to the Signature and Masterpiece’s multi-piece non-magnetic alloy enclosure, the RP-101 uses a more traditional single piece enclosure to help reduce production costs. It should be noted that the front face does use the thick alloy to give the unit the traditional “Vitus look”. Fit and finish is impeccable and the use of uniformly sized hex-head cap screws makes service work a breeze.

As with all Vitus products, the RP-101 utilizes surface mount technology and as the pictures show, present a very tidy interior. A very unique feature of the RP-101 (and all Vitus products) is the use of daughter boards for easy field upgradeability. Essentially, all components on the main board serve to control or deliver and regulate voltage. All of the personality and audio circuits are found in the daughter boards making it a snap to upgrade the unit when improvements are made.  As seen in the pictures, the daughter boards are easily identified by the distinctive Vitus logo and placed in a manner that allows for quick change. Other components we found to be very well laid out and assembled with care. The bottom line is that the RP-101 protects the owner by providing an upgrade path that will ensure top shelf sound and service for a very long time.

Finally, rather than point-to-point soldering, the RP-101 uses surface mount technology and reliable aerospace snap connectors with wiring harnesses. The advantage is clear: a technician can take a unit apart in minutes simply by unsnapping a few wiring harnesses and removing a few hex head cap screws. Heaven forbid you have a problem, but it is clear that serviceability was a key concern during the design process.

We have been impressed with the build quality of Vitus products. They have led the market with their world-class engineering and design and we were happy to see many of those features make their way to the Reference line.

System Control of The RP-101

Like all Vitus Reference products, the RP-101 is remotely controlled with a standard Apple Remote Control (not included). Some have complained that the use of such an inexpensive remote control for a product of this caliber is wrong. I think those complaining have it backwards, the use of the Apple Remote is quite inventive.  If you have ever lost a remote control (I dare you to tell me you haven’t), you know how expensive they are to replace. Also, some of those controllers are a bit complex. On the RP-101 there are really only two buttons required for operation so use could not be easier. If you lose the remote, it will set you back $19 at the Apple store to replace. Simple and inexpensive. How could anyone argue with that? If you have more than one Apple product and are concerned about the remotes fighting with each other, Vitus includes a very simple pair and un-pair function in the menu quickly make everything play together nicely.

The RP-101 allows the user to quickly switch between the two inputs, MM/MC and cartridge loading. I really liked the ability to tweak load setting from my chair rather than playing with the equipment at the rack. The RP-101 also gives quite a long list of load settings making it much easier to dial in your cartridge. The phono stage uses a ladder style menu system that we found logical and easily navigated. Documentation for set-up and configuration is very well written and I was able to set the system up in minutes without any issues.

The Vitus Sound…

What does the Vitus Audio RP-101 sound like? If I had to choose one word was to describe it, the word would be seductive. The big soundstage and air combined with beautiful timbre makes you forget about stereos and just melt into the chair and enjoy the music. At this moment I am listening to the new Speakers Corner Decca reissue of “The Sleeping Beauty” and I find myself constantly sitting back and listening rather than pounding away at the keyboard. From the gorgeous strings to the brassy horns, the orchestra is presented with a very resolving, yet relaxed manner.  We are excited to get the Signature Phono Stage in-house to see how much further Vitus Audio can take this intoxicating sound. At over twice the price, we trust the Signature is going to deliver miracles.

Vitus RP-101 Summary

The RP-101 is a great phono stage but we did not expect for it to perform this well. The looks, configurability and most of all, the sound make the Vitus RP-101 an absolutely stellar product. Being so involved with vinyl, we have the opportunity to hear a lot of phone stages and  the Vitus RP-101 stands up with the best we have auditioned regardless of price. Remember, the Reference RP-101 is the entry-levelphono stage from Vitus Audio. Hans-Ole Vitus promises that if we like the Reference phono stage, the Signature and Masterpiece will knock our socks off. But for now, we will have to be satisfied with the Reference RP-101 and all of the great music it is delivers. It by no means is a compromised situation to be in. I could be happy for a long time with the Reference RP-101.

........Paul Blizel

Vitus Audio Update – High End Hi-Fi in Auckland
AshK

During a recent chat with Terry Humphries of Audio Reference, it was pointed out that he’s the local agent for Vitus Audio, which was news to me. I’ve always been fascinated by high-end hi-fi equipment, and Vitus has been on my long list of extra-interesting audio gear for a long time, not least of all for the clean design aesthetic that’s seen across the range.

For some reason, I’d completely lost track of its availability of New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to hear this brand because of its towering reputation, but as luck would have it, now that I know where to listen, I’m still based about eight hours flight from Audio Reference’s Auckland showroom. Perhaps one of my Witchdoctor colleagues will be more fortunate…
Who or what is a Vitus? Well, Vitus Audio is based in Denmark, and the company was established in 1995 by Hans Ole Vitus. Today, it’s safe to say that Vitus is considered to be one of the world’s premier amplifier and component makers. They definitely operate at the luxury end of the market but performance seems to be the priority, not bling or bells and whistles, which is an approach I wholeheartedly support. I stole this bit of information about the history of Vitus Audio from the company’s site:

“After just a few years working with his own hi-fi equipment, building his own speakers, burning of his amps and learning as much as possible about hi-fi equipment, Hans Ole began his studies to become an electronic engineer. Hans Ole spent all his spare time and money on building his own hi-fi products and modifying other manufactures equipment during his studies.

After graduation back in 1990 Hans Ole worked for different electronic companies for several years, before joining Texas instruments in 1998 as Area Sales Manager for Denmark and Norway. His responsibility was covering not only technical sales, but just as important giving customers an in-depth technical understanding of the different solutions TI could provide, and on top of this – technical seminars and workshops.

The six years he spent at Texas Instruments gave Hans Ole a priceless deep technical knowledge and experience with making “leading edge technology” and communicating the pros and cons of different solutions. It’s these many years of working professionally with electronics, the lifelong interest in building hi-fi and Hans Ole’s dedication that enables Vitus Audio to make some of the best hi-fi products in the world.

Hans Ole’s passion for hi-fi is fueled by his love for music, as a teenager he played drums in a rock’n roll band and mainly listened to the same type of music, before he turned his attention to karate. He was trained by the internationally acclaimed sensei Raffi Liven, and with his usual determination Hans Ole did well in both local and international tournaments.

But since the establishment of Vitus Audio in 1995 Hans Ole has focussed all his spare time on developing the Brand and the first products. Over the years Hans Ole has mellowed a little, Rock’n roll and Karate has been replaced by any type of music on good quality recordings and perhaps even a glass of red wine on the couch”.

RI-100 Reference Series Integrated Amplifier
Examples of the Reference range (which is the entry point into the Vitus product stable) are the RCD-101 CD player/DAC, the RP-102 phonostage, and the 300w class-AB RI-100 integrated amplifier. All three units are priced at $18,995, and that’s each! So climbing up the ladder from Reference Series (or High-End as per the Vitus site’s description), to Signature Series (Extreme) to Masterpiece Series (Supreme), and then to Design Studio Series (Super-Extreme?) must be steep indeed. But for well-heeled music lovers, this is an option that should at least be listened to.