VITUS Signature SCD-025 MkII CD player w DSD DAC

VS 11 CD SCD025
Price on application
Vitus Audio

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

New

VITUS SIGNATURE SERIES: 
Ready to step up? To raise the bar? If you are a Reference Series enthusiast, you already know our dedication to natural sound reproduction. Evolving to the Signature Series is like a beautiful caterpillar becoming an exquisite butterfly. It's an organic process. Music is art. To capture the real drama of a full-blown classical orchestra you need a system composed of artistic pieces with true high end intentions. The elements of the Vitus Audio Signature Series are able to paint a delicate, vast and colorful musical canvas without compromise. Quality comes not only from within. The way that the Signature Series products are machined is absolutely stunning. The elegant curves are a reminder of the hull of a yacht. The class and luxury is that of spacious, exclusive cabins. Sailing on the vast water gives you a sense of infinity, similar to the endless musical story that starts with the Vitus Audio Signature Series. Our Signature Series offer a true evolution in the world of high end. The range consists of 9 products. Feel free to explore them. Each of the Reference Series products offers integration, balance and incredible performance. Are you ready to begin a sensational journey?

PEDIGREE
The SCD-025 is based on our very successful CD player SCD-010, which was introduced in 2007, and remained unchanged until today. The SCD-010 has been overwhelmingly reviewed 
World Wide, and made quite a buzz on the digital audio scene for it's almost analogue sound. The SCD-010 was our first design in the digital domain - and still managed to raise the bar for what was achievable with digital reproduction in sound. The references used during the development, was very well known top notch digital sources from multiple digital audio manufactures.

The SCD-025 is raising the bar once again:

Initially the main reason for making an upgrade to the SCD-010, what the markets request for USB interface. With the platform of the SCD-010, it was not possible to do a "simple" design upgrade.

Due to this, our team decided to start from scratch, and only reuse the drive, SRC module and DAC's. This basically means, that the power supply, analogue stages and everything else around this, has been completely redesigned.

The Reference:

While the references used for designing the SCD-010 was other digital audio sources - the SCD-025 was purely referenced to our SCD-010 and our primary analogue top notch turntable and using our own Masterpiece Phono stage as preamplifier. The desire was simply to make the SCD-025 a much more musical machine that anything else on the market.

The Design Platform:

As with most of our other products today, the SCD-025 is based on a modular design. This means that future standards in the digital domain, can be easily implemented without having to change the full unit - as it can be done with the simple change of a module and /or software. At the same time, the analogue stages are also based on modules, which ensures easy upgradability as our development moves forward. From the end users point of view - this ensures that the SCD-025 is a lifetime investment.

As with the SCD-010, the SCD-025 is in reality, designed as a DAC with a drive, which gives the user the flexibility of adding other digital sources directly to the SCD-025, taking full advantage of the build in DAC and analogue section.

The technical differences between SCD-010 and SCD-025:

Master clock module is developed in-house, and gives a massive improvement in stability and jitter performance over the previously used.

Receiver and transceiver modules have been heavily updated and improved

Analogue stages are taken from the SL-102 preamplifier which give a performance increase beyond what we expected.

Power suppliers are more powerful and offers a larger level of regulating steps, offering much lower noise floor

USB module added - currently this module does not offer DSD support, but this will be added in 3Q14 - and is drop in compatible with all units shipped to date

Specifications

Reviews

Videos

Specifications

INPUT 
1x USB 
1x SPDIF  
1x RCA  
1x XLR 
Impedance 75 / 110 Ohm 

OUTPUT
XLR Analog RCA Analog Available 1 (L+R) 1 (L+R)
Impedance 75 Ohm 75 Ohm 
Frequency response 0-200KHz 0-200KHz 
Signal to noise ratio >110dB >110dB THD + noise > 0,01% > 0,01% 

DRIVE Philips CDPro2LF (heavily modified by VA) 

Digital Audio Technology 
Master Clock VA Module +/- 5ppm 
Sample r ate Module Engineered Q8 - up to 384 KHz samplerate 
DAC Chip 2x AD1955 DAC - monomode configuration 

Digital Audio Input 
AES/EBU 1x XLR 
SPDIF 1x RCA 
USB Class A/B Supports up to DSD128, 32bit 384KHz PCM 

Digital Audio Output 
Standard (1x RCA / 1x XLR) 
Sample rate 192 KHz Resolution 24 bit 

POWER CONSUMPTION Standby <1W Operation 36W 
DIMENSIONS Hight 130 mm Width 435 mm Depth 430 mm 
Weight 26 Kg

Reviews

VITUS SCD-025 MK2 CD PLAYER / DAC The ultimate digital product with the ultimate analogue sound!

When Vitus released the SCD-025 Mk2 they didn’t just take a mk1 model and perform a few tweaks here and there as is often the case with new versions of pre-existing models. They completely redesigned virtually the whole thing to ensure its performance could compete with and outperform the best of the best.

The remit with Mk2 was simply to make it as musical as possible. I’m pleased to report Vitus has massively delivered on this front, the SCD-025 Mk2 is one of the most musical, intimate and enjoyable source components I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to and after the RI-100 the SCD-025 Mk2 is the most popular product sold in the Audio Therapy range!

With the Mk2 all of the audio boards and power supply were redesigned. The digital audio section has been taken to the extreme. To minimise jitter Vitus decided to use sample rate conversion with a dedicated DSP based module, this module is programmable and upgradeable so as newer standards develop this machine can be easily updated to stay at the forefront of digital technology.

By achieving a sample rate of 384KHz (instead of the more common 192KHz) the amount of bandwidth availabe increases, so a custom masterclock module was developed to fully support the sample rate conversion modules – this was an expensive way to do things, but when you hear it play music you’ll realise instantly why they did it this way!

The analogue output stage uses Vitus’s highly regarded topology taken directly from their amplifiers. It is a discrete coupling, which uses zero feedback with ultra linear transistors and high precession resistors. The resulting open loop bandwidth lies at 2.5MHz and gives a very linear phase response, which is one of the key elements for correct musical harmony

The power supply has been split into 4 different and completely separate supplies. One each for the drive and digital audio part and two for the analogue stage (left and right).Build quality is formidable weighing in at a back breaking 26 kg!

The external digital inputs on offer are 1 x XLR (AES/EBU), 1 x Coaxial and 1 x USB type B, this USB socket supports up to DSD 128 and 32 bit, 384KHz

                                                  The best one box CD player / DAC in the world?

Read any reviews on the SCD-025 (even Mk1) and the above statement is a common theme, I’ve certainly not heard one box sound more musical, engaging and as enjoyable as this to listen to. I’d even prefer it to some 2 and 3 box designs that are out there in the marketplace.


It is endlessly detailed, hugely transparent, but it never sounds strident, aggressive or ‘digital’ in character, it’s tonally smooth and neutral, but don’t confuse the word smooth with being laid back. All of the detail and dynamics are front and centre but they never force themselves upon you. They creep up and once they get under your skin, there really is no going back.

Recordings that you know intimately well will shock you with new levels of detail and expression. The SCD-025 can easily fill your room with music, allowing you to get closer to it than ever before. Remember that pile of CD’s everyone has that they can’t listen to because they don’t sound so good, play them on an SCD and rediscover what they’re really about!

Don’t forget the SCD isn’t just a CD player, there are 3 digital inputs on offer as well. One of the my SCD clients rarely spins a disc if truth be told. His 40th Anniversary Melco Digital Player connected with an Entreq USB cable is his primary source and as my client so often points out, if he wanted just a DAC to perform to this level he’d struggle to find one which is so musical and engaging!

The way that is so naturally brings digital music to life -whether from a CD or another digital source--is profoundly engaging. It is quite simply the best single-box CD player/DAC that I have heard
Chris Thomas

SUMMARY: Note of previous MkI version): The Vitus Audio SCD-025 is endlessly detailed of course and has a speed and delivery of transients that is superb, but it also has a certain lightness of being, supported by a feeling of ever-shifting musical landscapes that moves the whole picture continuously and just pulls you in.  It is multi-tiered in every possible way and has no predetermined view of what the music might ask it to do.  As a music lover I have to applaud what Hans Ole and his team are achieving.  I imagine that he thinks about music in very much the same way as I do.  As a pure piece of audio design the SCD-025 is beautifully put together, but the the way that is so naturally brings digital music to life--whether from a CD or another digital source--is profoundly engaging. It is quite simply the best single-box CD player/DAC that I have heard to date.  Not exactly cheap, but brilliant.

EXTENDED REVIEW: Hans Ole told me that he decided to push the digital side of the design to the extreme. He favours the Anagram Technologies DSP-based module that achieves a sample rate of 384kHz rather than the more common 192kHz, and the greater the sampling rate, the wider the bandwidth. This can also be programmed as new digital standards become available, making the SCD-025 eminently expandable in the future. The choice of the matching master clock module that fully supports their sample rate conversion modules was easy, but apparently rather expensive.  As far as the digital electronics go, the company’s design aim for a lifetime-product seems ambitious but pretty well founded to me.

Before listening, it is important to understand and appreciate the performance curve of the SCD-025 as it runs in from new or musically realigns itself after a cold boot up. This is one of those machines, like Vitus amplifiers, that reveal its musical message in small doses before pulling all the threads together to come into full bloom some time later.  Make a hasty decision at your peril and at your cost, because this is a digital player that is designed to do the music thing really well, but it takes its time about it.

Like some other machines that utilise Phillips transports the Vitus does not initially seem to major on sheer etched information retrieval. In fact, for the first few days it sounded very, very pleasant indeed, but I found it to be bordering on the soft, particularly at high frequencies where it seemed rather rolled-off.   It was easy to listen to for sure, but I felt that in fronting the combination of the Berning Pre One preamplifier, Berning Quadrature Z power amplifiers and the Quad electrostatics, the system had slipped into comfort mode. The player felt as if it wasn’t really driving the amplifier’s inputs or asking enough questions of the system.  It was all very nice though, and up to a point nice is OK.  If I had a pipe and slippers, I would have felt right at home.

After about four days I put on my smoking jacket and cravat, sat for a listening session and had a rather exciting surprise. Who really knows what happens inside certain audio components or the human brain when it comes to music, but the whole gain structure of the player changed completely from those early hours and the music felt very different.  Now there was drive and it had bought its friend speed to the party.  Add about 100% extra note shape and articulation and here I was with a whole new experience. Oh my, how that system had improved and it would go on doing so, at a reduced rate, for about three weeks.  Was it the transport, the digital circuitry or was it wholly or partially me?  The message should be writ large as with most components.  Never make a judgement until several days have passed, especially when you are spending this amount of money.

Whatever had happened, it was delicious and the music and myself were the winners.  Where before I had listened through the prism of the Vitus’ running-in period, now I was getting much more involved as the SCD-025 just opened up with this river, no make that a torrent, of rhythmic movement and dynamics. The softness had gone and been replaced by precision and expression and musicianship.  I had been on a bit of a Melody Gardot kick for a couple of weeks, but in a very personally indulgent way as I was working with a friend on some arrangements for a recording project that she was involved in.  For inspiration I began to explore her music and particularly the production aspect that I found fascinating. 

I had played her album My One And Only Thrill [Verve] a few days earlier, but it had drifted past my consciousness. The on-going interest I had in the beauty of her musical arrangements and how they had been so delicately flavoured and judged just never connected. Using the system as a tool for musical education is something that I know not everybody does or even gets. But, I have always loved this aspect of high-end audio and can become transfixed for days by a string section, a guitar solo or even a four-note phrase.  As the Vitus got into its stride and expanded its possibilities, I began to appreciate just how open and musically free it was becoming.  The sheer levels of communication were wonderful and powerful.  Listening to the same album I found that now there was purpose, intent, and delicacy to everything she was doing. The framing and phrasing of her vocals and her use of vibrato had become just a part of the whole and the supporting cast of musicians joined in and their soundscape extended far, far back and way outside of the confinement of the speaker’s positioning.  The lyrical articulation cut deep now where earlier it was a bit like wallpaper and the various acoustics were marvellously laid out, leaving the relevance of the way the album had been made just so much more complete and understandable.  But what struck me the most was the way the Vitus showed me the emotional power of the woman as her lyrics cut deeper and deeper.  There is an ambiguity about her music, but she holds so much back.  The song and the way she sings it is just what she shows us, above the water.

If I had been enjoying the remarkable Vitus through the Quad electrostats, things took an even more interesting turn when I installed a pair of Avalon Transcendent loudspeakers.  The Quads had been endlessly interesting and very ‘sweet’, but the new additions allowed the SCD-025 the scope to perform on a much higher dynamic musical plane altogether.  When music sounds as interesting and compelling as this I am so much happier than sitting in front of a system played at crashing volume that costs as much as a house, but has no subtlety or intimacy at all.

The Vitus is totally sympathetic to the music and like the delicious dCS Vivaldi system, breathes new life into those old CDs from the 1980’s and 1990’s that have slipped to the bottom of the pile.  I was astonished at what it did for John McLaughlin’s on his Mediterranean Concerto [Sony]. This is a 24-year-old DDD recording of John doing a Rodrigo-type exploration of the Spanish guitar with full orchestra. It’s a difficult perspective to record and I had never really ‘got’ it until it resurfaced during my time with the Vitus.  It had always sounded rather uncomfortable to me.  The Vitus, with its superb tonal balance, simply peeled back the years, banished the rather thin digital sound, and kicked life, energy, weight, and colour into it. What it did for the perspectives and the relationship of the guitar to the orchestra was beguiling.  It has exceptional resolution, tremendous shaping, and is as precise as you would ever want.  But, like every Vitus product I have heard, it never, ever shreds the music or offers you a performance that is lost in the digital glare of high definition, or that sounds even remotely ‘academic’.  Its control of the tempo and the rhythmic elements that ebb and flow within is brimming with movement and life and puts me in mind of that other exceptional single box player/DAC, the Burmester 089.  Those that think that a player that shows you the fourth beat of the bar has good timing will find themselves lost in the sheer audacity with which the Vitus will debunk this crude theory. Just the enjoyment as it reveals musical polyrhythms and their relationships to each other is beautiful and insightful. It has a beauty all of its own whether you are using it as a CD player or employing the DAC section as I did with the Aurender W20 hard disk streamer, which worked wonderfully with it.

The Vitus is a device that stands as an antidote to some of the latest crop of ultra high definition digital.  So much of that stuff just drifts past me, as it’s so often drained of natural colour and with no sense of communication whatsoever.  The Vitus sits squarely on the other side of the fence, offering certainly high – but not hyper– definition. I suspect we are caught up in a numbers’ game here; good audio should be about the quality of the sound, not simply the size of the file, but until someone hears just what good CD is cabable of on a player like the Vitus SCD-025, they may well be set on a mistaken course of thinking ‘higher resolution’ means ‘better sound’. 

The Vitus Audio SCD-025 is endlessly detailed of course and has a speed and delivery of transients that is superb, but it also has a certain lightness of being, supported by a feeling of ever-shifting musical landscapes that moves the whole picture continuously and just pulls you in.  It is multi-tiered in every possible way and has no predetermined view of what the music might ask it to do.  As a music lover I have to applaud what Hans Ole and his team are achieving.  I imagine that he thinks about music in very much the same way as I do.  As a pure piece of audio design the SCD-025 is beautifully put together, but the the way that is so naturally brings digital music to life--whether from a CD or another digital source--is profoundly engaging. It is quite simply the best single-box CD player/DAC that I have heard to date.  Not exactly cheap, but brilliant.

Absolutely Beguiling – Vitus Audio SCD-010 CD Player
Odio Sleuth

SUMMARY - (Note - of previous MkI version): the SCD-010 sounded totally in control all the time even as it tackled complexity, speed and dynamics. It did them pretty well, though in this regard I think some other players could out-slam the SCD-010, especially some high-enders from the US of A. However, I am pretty certain they could not match the Vitus’ beguiling charm.
The Vitus SCD-010 came across as peerless with vocal, acoustic music and small scale ensembles. It has a very natural, very analogue and rich sound, not unlike the kind we attribute to tube gear. With the Vitus SCD-010, you’ll listen more with your heart rather than your head.
This CD player has a musical soul

EXTENDED REVIEW: Absolutely Beguiling – Vitus Audio SCD-010 CD Player

The Vitus Audio SCD-010 CD Player surprised me. If anyone were to tell me that this entirely-solid-state CD player was tube-based, I’d have believed him.

I had listened briefly to Vitus’ amplifiers in showrooms and in hifi shows, they gave me the impression that they embodied the best qualities of solid state gear, their sound being clean, balanced and well controlled. However, they were less likely to be associated with terms like ‘warm’ or ‘honeyed’. So when the local distributor, Swedish Statement, brought the Vitus Audio SCD-010 CD Player over to my place, I had the same expectation too. (At the same time, they also brought a pair of Marten Design Getz loudspeakers, that is a story for another day)

Indeed, during the first couple of hours of listening, the SCD-010 seemed to re-affirm my expectation. The sound was clean and clear, everything was there, but the music seemed a little detached emotionally.

After that, as my normal habit, I put the player on repeat for a few hours then I put it on standby when not playing. The SCC-010 in the standby mode was warm to the touch, and indeed when it sprang to life from standby, it was ready to perform in its top form. After a full warm up, the other side of this player came to show itself, and it was an astonishing transformation...

The SCD-010 is one hunky piece of gear. It weighs a very heavy 26kg. The build has the tank-like quality of the best high end gear; yet undeniably its line also has the clean-cut, minimalist and softer touch of the Scandinavian – Vitus Audio is Danish. I like the look very much. I would complain about its display window though, being too small to read from 5-6 feet away. 

The Vitus SCD-010 is a top loader, the cover manually slides open and close very smoothly. After the disc is placed onto the spindle, you’ll use the magnetic puck to weigh it down. The transport is a Philips CDPro2 LF that Vitus says it has also heavily modified by stripping it ‘down to its basic mechanical and electronic parts and totally rebuilt. This ensures a lower level of errors in reading the digital information on the discs, which leaves the error correction system in the drive with much less work to do’. The SCD-010 is a CD only player.

It has the normal analogue outputs, 1 RCA pair and 1 XLR pair that Vitus builds with its own amplifiers’ topology. It has 2 digital outputs, 1 RCA and the other XLR. It also has a couple of interesting features. Firstly, it has 2 digital inputs (1 RCA, 1XLR), I had no way to verify the resolution that they could accept as I did not have any external high res digital source, however the local distributor told me that they accept up to 24bits/96kHz. Secondly, there is a built-in volume control. Used in conjunction with the digital inputs, it means that you can do without a pre-amp if you are running all digital gear.

Comparing the SCD-010 running straight into my monoblocks to having the signal through my pre-amp, I preferred the straight through method a little more, though it was a close call. Straight through, there were slightly clearer details. With the pre-amp in the path, there was slightly more body to the sound. I ran it with the pre-amp in the chain most of the time as I needed its pass-through feature for my home theatre setup.

After the initial run-in warm-up period, the SCD-010 settled down to a stable sound. Boy, was I in for a treat! This player caressed female vocal like no others. It was the most seductive I have ever heard from Stacey Kent from a compilation of her songs (Stacey Kent - Collection). Her voice was in turn sultry, creamy and yet powerful, her performance was dripping with emotion. There was an inner glow to her voice that just pulled the listener’s attention in. I bet everyone who heard this can’t but fall in love with it immediately.

The SCD-010 also turned piano music from a mere recording into a great performance. My favourite piano reference CD – George Winston’s ‘Autumn’, was transformed. A few things stood out, first was the definition and delineation of the notes, each note was cleanly enunciated, the slight smearing of one note to another in the lower register that I used to hear was gone. Each ping of the piano key was illuminated, like it was surrounded by an aura. Details were excellent, I could hear into the minute changes as each note came into being, progressed and finally dissolved. Reverberation and air in the recording were aplenty, whether it was natural or added as it may be. They all added so much more musical information to the performance itself as to bring the recording up another level.

The SCD-010 sounded totally in control all the time even as it tackled complexity, speed and dynamics. It did them pretty well, though in this regard I think some other players could out-slam the SCD-010, especially some high-enders from the US of A. However, I am pretty certain they could not match the Vitus’ beguiling charm.

The Vitus SCD-010 came across as peerless with vocal, acoustic music and small scale ensembles. It has a very natural, very analogue and rich sound, not unlike the kind we attribute to tube gear. With the Vitus SCD-010, you’ll listen more with your heart rather than your head.

This CD player has a musical soul.

Videos

Vitus SCD-025 + SIA-025 + Magico S5