VITUS Signature SIA-025 MkII Integrated amp 150w (1st 25w class-A switchable)

VS 16 AI SIA 025
Price on application
Vitus Audio

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

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SUMMARY: when I think of this class of gear, I have this picture of the Chairman of Bentley Motors in mind, sitting so calmly and coolly in his $10k suit on an overstuffed leather sofa, sporting a Mona Lisa smile that says “Whatever, dude. You have no idea.”....... Part Time AUdiophile

SUMMARY: The Vitus’ appeal for me has got nothing whatsoever to do with the weight of the bass, its extension or exactly how much of it there is. It also has nothing to do with the usual hi-fi terminology and the vocabulary that most use to differentiate between equipment. The SIA-025 is about showing you the music and bringing you performance insight in a totally accessible way. Get the system right and it will find you sitting in your chair, closing your eyes, letting the music grab you emotionally to take you somewhere else. ….. Chris Thomas - HiFiPlus

SUMMARY: this is a sublimely good integrated amp. I never thought i'd find an integrated which would convince me to dispose of my previous Boulder 1060/1010 combo, but the Vitus achieves that feat and sounds like very good high end separates. That revelation coincided with a wish to reduce my box count and change direction with my system. What I didn't realise at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be…..Bodhi.

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?

The VITUS SIA-025
has been designed to accommodate many of our customers requests, for a real integrated amplifier in our high performance Signature Series.

But as usual, our design team went an extra mile. The result is not only an amplifier with 5 inputs (balanced and unbalanced), a preamplifier output (for bi-amping purposes) and balanced speaker outputs - it raises our technology to a new level of integration of parts. Integration was a major challenge, but necessary to fit all the parts into the fairly small chassis, which the SIA-025 shares with its siblings - the SS-010 and SS-050.

The output stage of the SIA-025, is taken from the SM-010 monaural amplifiers - sized to fit within one chassis with a balanced input buffer. The main task for this buffer, is to separate the new simplified relay based volume control from the selected source. By putting all our efforts into developing this true balanced integrated class A amplifier, we succeeded in making the new higher level of integration perform to the standards that any customer would expect from our Signature Series.

SIA-025 adds more flexibility in terms of more inputs, the possibility of bi-amping should it be needed and lastly a full bypass function for enabling compatibility with external surround processors. Together with our SCD-010, this amplifier will form a simple, cool looking system that delivers an incredible performance.

Specifications

Reviews

Videos

Specifications

Product Type: Balanced Integrated Amplifier
Inputs:
2 x unbalanced (RCA)
3 x balanced (XLR)

Outputs:
1pr speaker out
1x Preout XLR

Output Power:
150wpc class-AB (RMS) with 1st 25wpc pure class-A (RMS) - (switchable Intelligent class-A bias)
Remote Controlled: Yes, RC-010 included
Dimensions: 130H x 435W x 430D mm
Total Weight: 38 Kg

Reviews

the SIA-025 is it sounds like real music. It avoids straying into sterility or sounding analytical by offering up a nice balance of warmth, tonal purity, richness (body) and tube-like liquidity.
Bodhi.- owner
SUMMARY - This is a sublimely good integrated amp. I never thought i'd find an integrated which would convince me to dispose of my previous Boulder 1060/1010 combo, but the Vitus achieves that feat and sounds like very good high end separates. That revelation coincided with a wish to reduce my box count and change direction with my system. What I didn't realise at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be!

Hi folks, having lived with my Vitus SIA-025 for a while, I thought it was time to post a review.

Firstly the Vitus has wonderful Danish industrial design that is timeless. Everything about its design and attention to detail is excellent right down the the shipping materials and remote control (which is the best i've ever seen & is rechargeable).

The SIA-025 is a true balanced, dual mono, 25 Watt class A amp which uses an efficient Vitus-designed UI-core potted "floating" transformer with separate windings for the left & right channels. The preamplifier stage is adapted from the SL-102 and uses the same gain stages and one single "buffer" module.. so .. really good, whilst the output stage is drawn from the SM-010 mono amps. The Vitus in every respect is the best integrated amp i've owned by a fair margin.

This amp is very flexible and has 150 watts of class A/B power @ 8ohms which is perfect for background listening or for movies, but can also be switched over to class A mode for best sound. 

But all that build quality would be useless if it didn't sound good! The easiest way to describe the sound of the SIA-025 is it sounds like real music. It avoids straying into sterility or sounding analytical by offering up a nice balance of warmth, tonal purity, richness (body) and tube-like liquidity.

The Vitus has excellent resolution which reveals subtle, but important information in the music such as a bell chime in the background, or the light brush of a snare drum. It also has fast transients and can be delicate when the music calls for it. The treble is somewhat softened and the lower midrange slightly emphasised, giving the amp a sound resembling good vinyl. And the effect is cumulative as you add more Vitus components. In short, Vitus sounds best with other Vitus components. In saying that however, the SIA-025 is remarkably flexible. Not only because it can be switched between class A/B & class A, but also because this amp has the uncanny ability to sound good paired with a wide range of speakers and setups. It just "does its thing" and always produces great sound. Perhaps its ability to make average recordings sound very good extends to less than perfect speakers?

I also strongly agree with Chris Thomas's comments in his HiFi Plus in which he stated:

"From stand-by, straight into class A I would say that you are looking at a half hour before it really begins to sing and then it just seems to keep getting better. Even after a solid afternoon and evening's listening I would swear that the amplifier was growing more fluid, textural and resolute with better dynamic contrasts, tonal shading and the delicacy of its musical message just seems to become more profound."

As a side note, good isolation is very important to bring out the best sound from this amp. Notwithstanding the potted, floating transformer and anti-resonant chassis, stuffing so much gear into a modest sized chassis does create some resonance. Placing the amp on a solid rack with Stillpoints Ultra 5's and an Ultra LPI on top made a big difference which created a blacker background, improved bass & brought the sound stage into clearer focus. I now consider the Stillpoints mandatory with the Vitus Sig Series such has been the level of improvement.

But has it got balls? That is a question I get quite a bit. With "only" 25 watts class A power, on paper it doesn't look like this amp is capable of driving a full size speaker with a moderately difficult load. Let's look a bit deeper. Most of the amp's real estate (and 42kg weight) is taken up by a huge 1.4kVa Vitus-designed UI-core transformer. Most audiophile-grade toroidal transformers lose up to 25% voltage (both channels driven), however the Vitus loses max 1.5% voltage tested. It is also a very high current amp, meaning that 1.4kVa tranny feels more like a big 2kVA tranny. In practice I have found the SIA-025 drives my Magico S5's without breaking a sweat and at only 140hrs is already delivering deep bass and a nice, coherent sound stage. Of course once my amp and speakers reach 500hrs the bass and sound stage should open up even more & sound more resolving.

SUMMARY - This is a sublimely good integrated amp. I never thought i'd find an integrated which would convince me to dispose of my previous Boulder 1060/1010 combo, but the Vitus achieves that feat and sounds like very good high end separates. That revelation coincided with a wish to reduce my box count and change direction with my system. What I didn't realise at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be!

........Bodhi.

you should get a serious listen to it even if you were thinking of separates. It is that good. The Vitus SIA-025 is really about musical connection and emotional involvement those special experiences really are beyond words
Chris Thomas.

SUMMARY: The Vitus’ appeal for me has got nothing whatsoever to do with the weight of the bass, its extension or exactly how much of it there is. It also has nothing to do with the usual hi-fi terminology and the vocabulary that most use to differentiate between equipment. The SIA-025 is about showing you the music and bringing you performance insight in a totally accessible way. Get the system right and it will find you sitting in your chair, closing your eyes, letting the music grab you emotionally to take you somewhere else. 

If the price looks steep for a 25 watt integrated amplifier I think that you should still get a serious listen to it even if you were thinking of separates. It is that good. The Vitus SIA-025 is really about musical connection and emotional involvement and that is quite a compliment for any piece of equipment because those special experiences really are beyond words.+

EXTENDED REVIEW: Tempus certainly does fugit. I was amazed to discover that it is now over five years since I reviewed the Vitus SS-010. This was a 25 watt Class A power amplifier with a built-in volume control, allowing it to be configured as a rudimentary two-source integrated amplifier, or a stand-alone power amplifier. One of my most abiding memories though is of its incomprehensible weight for such a relatively small unit that required a two-man lift for safety. But that Vitus was a marvellous amplifier; beautifully composed, tonally quite rich, with realistic control and a rhythmic flow that was totally alluring. In Class A mode (it was switchable through A/B to A), it could be extremely sweet and rather beautiful sounding and Hans Ole Vitus’ legendary and almost obsessive devotion to transformer technologies bestowed the amplifier with some stunning musical capabilities.

While resolution was of a high order, it ultimately lacked a sense of super focused and highly detailed articulation. To achieve this and move its performance into the super-amp league you really had to electronically disconnect its pre section to use it as a power amplifier alongside a dedicated high-end preamplifier. Then, of course, system synergy became a more critical issue if you were considering anything outside the Vitus range. But I loved it as an integrated for its simplicity and fantastic musical cohesion although to Vitus himself it was always primarily a power amplifier with a volume control – and let’s face it – he was its designer. 

These days the whole Vitus family of electronics has grown into a more complete proposition with three individual ranges and a custom-built fourth tier on the way. I am very glad to report that, although itself discontinued, the genesis of the SS-010 continues and its spiritual successor is the SIA 025 (stereo integrated amplifier) and if I thought the previous amplifier was good then this continuously proved nothing short of sensational, especially for a single-box component. This is from the Signature range of products and though it may look like the SS-010 at first glance, a quick check of the back panel shows that this is a completely integrated design.

The colossal UI transformers (UI indicates the shape of the unit) that have always constituted a large part of both the weight and the sound of Vitus amplifiers are its beating heart. Hans Ole employs them more like a surgeon’s scalpel than a tree-feller’s axe. The one in the SIA-025 is capable of delivering precise and wonderfully accurate doses of perfectly allotted dynamic power throughout the bandwidth. This gives it great appeal and prevents it straying anywhere near the path of clinically detailed amplification that is trodden by so much high-end audio these days. In a time where the cliché has been somewhat over-used, it truly is an amplifier you can listen to all day, providing the rest of the system is up to the task.

There are now a full five inputs with three of them being balanced XLR and the remaining two are single-ended RCA sockets. The speaker connections are the superb standard Vitus types (perhaps my favourites), allowing for 4mm or spade connections quickly and efficiently, without the need for additional tools. I am happy that Vitus has done away with the old Phillips Pronto unit in favour of a custom made all metal rechargeable design that works from anywhere in the room and doesn’t require line-of-sight. This is probably rarer than you might think and a constant bugbear of mine. The angle of acceptance has been enormously increased making the control of volume, change of input or the class switching operation easy and consistent. When you switch the amplifier on or take it out of standby it automatically defaults to Class A/B so switching is something you will need to do every time. But, I do believe this to be one of, if not the best remote control I have ever used and it needs recharging extremely infrequently. 

The front window display though is not as accessible. As you can’t actually read it very easily, if at all, from across the room and especially if you are way off axis, then its usefulness in these situations is questionable. But you will certainly need it when you are in front of the unit engaged in the initial set up of all the parameters, through the menu system. From here you can access the inputs, turn off those you are not using, name them, select their sensitivity etc, and you can change the brightness of the display and other parameters. 

I have been told that most people, including 12 year-olds can master the menu within a few seconds, but I still don’t like it. I have been caught in sections that I can’t get out of on a few occasions. Now I know that Fraser and Mark at Kog, the UK importers, will be laughing when they read this and Vitus himself will be shaking his head while muttering Danish expletives, so let me apologise to them here and now. I operate many menu systems and like them to be simple and intuitive. No sooner do I think I have it when I push the wrong button and off I go again. I shall move on with my head hung in shame. 

I have lived with the SIA-025 now for several months of listening. I have used three different CD players, a turntable set-up and four sets of stand mount speakers ranging from the truly diminutive Kiso, through the beautifully balanced Lindemann BL-10, a pair of Raidho’s classy Eben C1.1 and Focal’s powerful Diablo Utopias. Cable looms varied too, between Vitus’ own Andromeda and a couple of Nordost set-ups and I even got a couple of weeks with Crystal’s flagship cables, Absolute Dream. One thing that shone out through these changes was the SIA-025’s stunning consistency and ability to do its “thing” regardless – and its “thing” is considerable.

In Class A/B the amplifier can deliver 100 watts of power into each channel but for sheer quality it has to be shifted into Class A mode. It’s the absolute essence of the SIA-025 for me. From stand-by, straight into Class A I would say that you are looking at a half hour before it really begins to sing and then it just seems to keep getting better. Even after a solid afternoon and evening’s listening I would swear that the amplifier was growing more fluid, textural and resolute with better dynamic contrasts, tonal shading and the delicacy of its musical message just seems to become more profound. At this point I feel compelled to add that a set of four Stillpoints Ultra SS resonance control devices sat under this amplifier offer one of the biggest musical bangs for your buck and I see them as a mandatory inclusion

Now, I am more than big on system synergy as a concept for musical contentment. But I must admit that, to some extent, the Vitus tends to buck that trend by being excellent in just about every situation I put it in. Its musical attributes seem unhindered regardless of what speakers it was driving and through which cable loom. It maintains a feeling of total relaxation and ease and perhaps even more surprisingly, it never loses its impeccable tonal balance and this is no small feat. I must say that my listening was done in a smallish room and the speakers were all high quality stand-mount models so I cannot speak for fuller-range systems operating in large rooms, perhaps with inefficient speakers. But. Although that 25-watt Class A figure might be enough to dissuade many from even considering it, I would warn against being too hasty in writing it off as underpowered.

Perhaps I can mention Melody Gardot’s new album The Absence at this point. This new release has a decidedly Latino feel, but it’s the way that Melody uses her voice that gives it a very special flavour. Yes, she has a great way with lyrics and her phrasing is certainly wonderfully relaxed but producer Heitor Peirera has done a fantastic job in giving her a beautiful and totally sympathetic opportunity to express the songs. He has understood what she, as an artist, is capable of and constructed a musical stage for her to open herself and her feelings into the music. Cleverly placing her close to the microphone he uses the sound of her lips shaping the words as a seductive textural palette which makes us lean forward to hear the nuance and the tiny dynamic shadings he incorporates wash the music with subtle colours that fit the mood of each song so wonderfully. It reveals a master-class in production and a lesson as to what a producer brings to a performance and why their true value is so often under-rated. The SIA-025 is absolutely marvellous in communicating this level of expression and performance. It seduces us with its uncanny ability to show each individual element in its full glory, yet maintain such a tremendous sense of cohesion that extends right through its explicit feeling of rhythmic flow and movement, to an alluring confidence in the way it allows the music to breathe. That it can do this without employing the iron-fist grip or dissembled bandwidth that encourages us to think in terms of bass, middle and top is, for me, one of its greatest qualities. It is also one of the things that keep bringing you back for more, as it seems to include you in the story and makes you want to hear more of it.

Listening to the track ‘Night Sweats’ from Larry Carlton’s Sapphire Blue album just reinforces the very special feeling of close confidence that the SIA-025’s way with music brings to a system. If The Absence utilises space and the darkness between for atmosphere, then this is a full-blown production, full of power, scale and presence, tonal contrasts and focus. I love the way the beautifully played bluesy, walking bass is established as a rock solid bedrock for the vamped Hammond organ, with its percussive leading edge to sit back off the beat with the drummer. The way the Vitus deals with the rhythm section and its fake suggestion of looseness is certainly critical. But it’s when the rich pushed horn stabs change the emphasis of the tempo, suggesting a shuffle that you begin to understand where this amplifier can take you musically. It is so magnificently composed and lucid but has such fast, but relaxed control of the leading edge of notes.

The Vitus’ appeal for me has got nothing whatsoever to do with the weight of the bass, its extension or exactly how much of it there is. It also has nothing to do with the usual hi-fi terminology and the vocabulary that most use to differentiate between equipment. The SIA-025 is about showing you the music and bringing you performance insight in a totally accessible way. Get the system right and it will find you sitting in your chair, closing your eyes, letting the music grab you emotionally to take you somewhere else. 

If the price looks steep for a 25 watt class A (150w class AB) integrated amplifier I think that you should still get a serious listen to it even if you were thinking of separates. It is that good. The Vitus SIA-025 is really about musical connection and emotional involvement and that is quite a compliment for any piece of equipment because those special experiences really are beyond words.+

when I think of this class of gear, I have this picture of the Chairman of Bentley Motors in mind, sitting so calmly and coolly in his $10k suit on an overstuffed leather sofa, sporting a Mona Lisa smile that says “Whatever, dude. You have no idea.”

SUMMARY: As far as I’m concerned, this is state of the art and it’s easily the best I’ve been able to spend time with. To really dive deep into these waters will require way more investment than I’ve currently made. May ever make? Who knows. But my goodness that was one fine honey of an amp.

EXTENDED REVIEW: A wise man once said that the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but that is the way to bet. Can I get an "ahem"? Sorry, couldn't help myself. Audio's high-end is simply littered with silly little aphorisms. Like this gem: "you don't need to spend a lot to get a lot."

Now this is true — and obviously so. Unpacking the idea a bit, there are a lot of value plays out there. Products that punch above their weight. They’re great finds, when you stumble on them, and they’re fun to write about, when I stumble upon them. But they’re analogies. Turns of phrase. All of these expressions are attempting to make a reference to a “something else”, a product or service that is simply beyond the ken of the average man, some approximation of which is now, finally, within your feeble reach. We can hem and haw about how much value the less expensive product brings to the table, but value in comparison to what? Something else. Something we wish we could afford.

But when we do, when we finally hit the “high-end”, well, that’s when we stop and turn around. You look back at all that clamoring for attention, all that struggle for meaning, all that value — and then you face forward, to this guy, and you get it.

Value, smell-you, who cares.

There are products in audio’s high-end that make me shake my head in wonder at the wild audacity the manufacturer must have to offer such an absurdity and slap their name on it.

There are also products that make me snap my fingers impatiently and say, to a room empty of anyone able to do anything at all about it, “Anybody seen the Lotto Fairy? Bitch stood me up, again.

Vitus Audio falls into that latter category. And when I think of this class of gear, I have this picture of the Chairman of Bentley Motors in mind, sitting so calmly and coolly in his $10k suit on an overstuffed leather sofa, sporting a Mona Lisa smile that says “Whatever, dude. You have no idea.”

Dude. You have no idea.

The Voice That Is

I met Doug White of The Voice That Is a couple of years back and for whatever reason, we just got along. After years of being gobsmacked by his audio show demos, chatting about the industry, its characters and it’s flaws, I’m proud to think of Doug as a friend. He’s also this site’s first sponsor, and for that, I’ll always owe him a bit of a debt.

If you’ve never met him, or heard about his boutique shop outside of Philadelphia, let me make the intros. Most importantly, I have to tell you that he’s a consultant, and he takes that pretty seriously. That’s factored in to the service he offers, the products he carries, and the prices he charges. To him, it’s all of a piece — and that is worth something. If that sounds a bit old-school in today’s net-forum info feeding frenzy, well, it ought to. I seriously, honestly and abjectly wish there were more like him. Apparently, there used to be, but … well, Doug is certainly the rarity these days.

All that said, hanging out with Doug is a pleasure. The Doug (I think I’m just going to call him that from now on) has access some of the finest audio jewelry being made — I mean, seriously — he has TIDAL Sunrays in his house. Helloooooo. Yeah.

I wanna be The Doug when I grow up.

Vitus Audio

Anyway, one of the few brands The Doug carries — he’s terrifically picky — is Vitus Audio. And for reasons that still are somewhat mysterious to me, he sent me his demo SIA-025 integrated amp for a few weeks around RMAF this year. To say I was a little excited by the offer doesn’t quite cover it.

Like many of the things that come through, this wasn’t to be an extended visit. Just a teaser. A mere taste. Holding things like this longer, I’d be able to do much more of course, but that wasn’t the point. This is a working piece, part of a real demo system that just happened to be down for a few weeks. I got lucky, and you get a mini review.

The Vitus Audio SIA-025 is US$27,000 (excl sales tax). That’s a lot for an integrated. Hell, it’s a lot period. For reference, this is the same as a brand new Toyota FJ Cruiser. That’s something! Now, I only mention this as a point of reference, and not as a comment on the 99% or anything remotely political. It’s just that sometimes, we lose track of what these numbers actually mean. So, yes, $27k is a lot of money. And like I said at the outset, this product is not an attempt to be a value play. There is nothing about this that says to me that the designer attempted to cut costs, “find a cheaper way”, or otherwise make the product affordable, reasonably priced, or put within reach of the Everyman. Vitus Audio has other products that attack that market — this, from their Signature Line of offerings, isn’t one of those. Nah, this one goes after a different market (see Bentley CEO, above). Said another way, this product is what you get when you tell a designer to stop worrying about “common” concerns of price and performance trade offs and just go for it. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it! But it’s interesting, nonetheless, to see what a creative artist like Hans Ole-Vitus can come up with once the gloves are off.

And what a pretty little monster the SIA-025 is. Take the remote. On second thought, don’t touch it. Ever. Yeah, it’s that kind of remote. It has an oddly pleasant weight, a metallic solidity that feels good in the hand. The display is elegant — and no, it’s not some iPod ripoff. There’s nothing so gauche as a touch screen. Who needs color — it’s a remote. When you’re ready, you pick the remote up, and the display turns on magically. It tells you what you need to know, you do your thing, the screen reflects that act, pauses, and then goes to sleep, awaiting your next need. Move your hand again, and the display comes back on. Neat trick. Pushing the firm little buttons yields a mild clicking of the relays in the amp to let you know something is happening. The whole experience is relaxing, sensual, engaging, and will put you at your ease.

The case reeks of elegance and class. The big cooling fins are black and contained. All surfaces are refined, beveled, smooth. Buttons are perfectly leveled to the surface they’re found on and click to a satisfying end when they travel. Connectors are all recessed, with space around them, and finely fitted out. The display is modest, legible, and again, elegant. I actually found myself saying that word, ‘elegant’, like a mantra. The only thing inelegant? The heft — 100lbs is no joke in a package this compact. You won’t believe how dense this thing is by looking at it and it caught me totally by surprise. I managed to heave it atop a Symposium Ultra platform, popped a couple of Skelaxin, and then I just left it there for the duration. Whew.

Okay, so back-busting aside, the spec sheet for the VA SIA-025 claims it puts out something like 25wpc in Class A mode; in Class A/B, this moves to 100wpc. I suspect that what this means is that there’s always 100wpc available before the amp starts the climb up toward distortion/exhaustion, but that only the first 25 are Class A (when that option/mode is selected). This is important only in that there never seemed to be only 25wpc on tap, even when it was cranking away in Class A — I seriously could not get this amp to kerfluffle. I hooked it in to friendly speakers, because that’s all I really have here, but I got no indication that there was a bottom to the well of power the amp was able to draw from. YMMV, but I’m willing to bet that this 25wpc will go a lot farther than you might be expecting it to. Just saying.

My favorite pairing was with a pair of Clearwave 7R loudspeakers. These stand mounts feature a RAAL-ribbon tweeter and an Accuton mid/bass driver. I’ll have a lot more to say about these loudspeakers soon, but let me offer that the cabinets are all bespoke as shit — the pairing here was, actually, quite the (visual and aural) feast and I was so distracted I don’t think I took a single picture that entire week. Sorry. But there is a thing that VA gear seems to have with ceramic loudspeakers that is mesmerizing. Not sure precisely why, or what’s going on, but the two go together like peas and carrots. Err … okay, like caviar and water crackers? Whatever. I found it intoxicating.

Loudspeakers from Fritz Frequencies and Joseph Audio, both falling into that mid-80 dB range that low-power amps ought to be nervous of, and I simply could not get the SIA-025 to even break a sweat much less show her ass. I played shit music — like a CD rip of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” (what a crying shame that CD is). I played my go-to Stockfisch audiophile cuts like Chris Jones and “The Cricket Song” “Roadhouses & Automobiles” and 24bit/176kHz files of La Segunda from MA-Recordings. I played Copland, Cash, Rush and Professor Longhair (and a few hundred others). I had a blast.

The sound, as compared to the other bits in the chain, was a subtle thing to tease out. I ended up scribbling things like “tube amp” to describe the mid range. Through the various transducers, vocals were rich and rounded in a way that reminded me of a certain 300b-based SET from Borer Control. “Articulate” described the mid-bass and on down. “Finessed” captured the treble. But the truth is, none of this approaches what I heard. It was more than “I didn’t have a complaint”. Far more. I was transported.

If I had to file an affidavit, complaining about something, I suppose I’d say that both the monos from Pass Labs and the huge hunk of metal from Plinius had deeper bass. As a card-carrying bass freak, that’s important to me. On stand mount loudspeakers, of course, this isn’t all that much of an issue, but the eFicion F300s do drop cleanly below 30Hz, so I heard it.

I want to say that the amp is warm, and perhaps a bit smooth — some of my 80’s rock didn’t suck nearly as bad as I seemed to remember it sucking. But detail retrieval was excellent, so not sure what’s up with that. More time would have been helpful. Another time, another place, another set of speakers … which reminds me. I have something I’m not going to tell you till after New Years. Heh heh.

Some closing comments:

  • It’s built like a tank. From Bentley Motors. Be nice to it, but if you can’t, it won’t care.
  • This amp falls is the middle of the VA lineup. There’s some less expensive Class A/B gear in the Reference Line and some much more expensive gear in the Master Line. Looking over the amp, my thought about the Master Line is this: you’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me. Bah. I’m going to go be a hermit somewhere. I can’t take this.
  • There’s a computer in there. There’s gotta be. The sheer number of options and tweaks you can do to the way this thing works reminds me of a surround-sound processor. Takes time to learn, but the rewards are worth it.
  • The SIA-025 does come with its own power cord. And it’s fantastic. Yes, I tried others. Why bother.
  • I’m told that the monoblock versions of this amp (the SM-010) have insanely good bass response. Which is … awesome? Hmm. I’m not sure I needed to know anything more about a US$45k pair of amps that I really never, ever, want to see anywhere near my house. I refuse to even talk about the US$75k SM-110 — I just don’t want to know. Go away. I am not doing another re-fi. Sorry. La la la la laaaa! My fingers are in my ears! I can’t hear you!

Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — when the Lotto Fairy does finally show up, I’m calling The Doug. And if she visits you first, you suck. If she visits you first and you don’t call The Doug? You’re an idiot.

As far as I’m concerned, this is state of the art and it’s easily the best I’ve been able to spend time with. To really dive deep into these waters will require way more investment than I’ve currently made. May ever make? Who knows. But my goodness that was one fine honey of an amp.

What I didn't realise at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be!
Bodhi. (forum member)

REVIEW SUMMARY: this is a sublimely good integrated amp. I never thought i'd find an integrated which would convince me to dispose of my previous Boulder 1060/1010 combo, but the Vitus achieves that feat and sounds like very good high end separates. That revelation coincided with a wish to reduce my box count and change direction with my system. What I didn't realize at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be!

Hi folks, having lived with my Vitus SIA-025 for a while, I thought it was time to post a review. Firstly the Vitus has wonderful Danish industrial design that is timeless. Everything about its design and attention to detail is excellent right down the the shipping materials and remote control (which is the best i've ever seen & is rechargeable). The SIA-025 is a true balanced, dual mono, 25 Watt class A amp which uses an efficient Vitus-designed UI-core potted "floating" transformer with separate windings for the left & right channels. The preamplifier stage is adapted from the SL-102 and uses the same gain stages and one single "buffer" module.. so .. really good, whilst the output stage is drawn from the SM-010 mono amps. The Vitus in every respect is the best integrated amp i've owned by a fair margin.

This amp is very flexible and has 100 watts of class a/b power @8ohms which is perfect for background listening or for movies, but can also be switched over to class A mode for best sound. At power up the amp defaults to class a/b operation and a moderate volume level of -46db from memory which I like, though i've heard atleast one other audiophile state he'd prefer the amp default to class A. I personally like the factory settings however.

But all that build quality would be useless if it didn't sound good! The easiest way to describe the sound of the SIA-025 is it sounds like real music. It avoids straying into sterility or sounding analytical by offering up a nice balance of warmth, tonal purity, richness (body) and tube-like liquidity. The Vitus has excellent resolution which reveals subtle, but important information in the music such as a bell chime in the background, or the light brush of a snare drum. It also has fast transients and can be delicate when the music calls for it. The treble is somewhat softened and the lower midrange slightly emphasised, giving the amp a sound resembling good vinyl. And the effect is cumulative as you add more Vitus components. In short, Vitus sounds best with other Vitus components. In saying that however, the SIA-025 is remarkably flexible. Not only because it can be switched from class a/b to class a, but also because this amp has the uncanny ability to sound good paired with a range of speakers and setups. It just "does its thing" and always produces great sound. Perhaps its ability to make average recordings sound very good extends to less than perfect speakers?

I also strongly agree with Chris Thomas's comments in his HiFi Plus review in which he stated:
"From stand-by, straight into class A I would say that you are looking at a half hour before it really begins to sing and then it just seems to keep getting better. Even after a solid afternoon and evening's listening I would swear that the amplifier was growing more fluid, textural and resolute with better dynamic contrasts, tonal shading and the delicacy of its musical message just seems to become more profound."

As a side note, good isolation is very important to bring out the best sound from this amp. Notwithstanding the potted, floating transformer and anti-resonant chassis, stuffing so much gear into a modest sized chassis does create some resonance. Placing the amp on a solid rack with Stillpoints Ultra 5's and an Ultra LPI on top made a big difference which created a blacker background, improved bass & brought the sound stage into clearer focus. I now consider the Stillpoints mandatory with the Vitus Sig Series such has been the level of improvement.

But has it got balls? That is a question I get quite a bit. With "only" 25 watts class A power (Note - its still got the full 150w avaibale its just the 1st 25w are switched to run in class-A), on paper it doesn't look like this amp is capable of driving a full size speaker with a moderately difficult load. Let's look a bit deeper. Most of the amp's real estate (and 42kg weight) is taken up by a huge 1.4kVa Vitus-designed UI-core transformer. Most audiophile-grade toroidal transformers lose up to 25% voltage (both channels driven), however the Vitus loses max 1.5% voltage tested. It is also a very high current amp, meaning that 1.4kVa tranny feels more like a big 2kVA tranny. In practice I have found the SIA-025 drives my Magico S5's without breaking a sweat and at only 140hrs is already delivering deep bass and a nice, coherent sound stage. Of course once my amp and speakers reach 500hrs the bass and sound stage should open up even more & sound more resolving.

In summary, this is a sublimely good integrated amp. I never thought i'd find an integrated which would convince me to dispose of my previous Boulder 1060/1010 combo, but the Vitus achieves that feat and sounds like very good high end separates. That revelation coincided with a wish to reduce my box count and change direction with my system. What I didn't realise at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be!

Cheers,
Bodhi.

The guy is dead! And still his music lives on. What a tribute, thanks to this ‘little’ amplifier.
 Marco Lisi

SUMMARY: Channel Classics is a Dutch label that produces sublime classical recordings. I visited the label about 10 years ago. Jared Sacks really knows his game as he grew up in Boston and later moved to the Netherlands. He was schooled as a professional horn player at the conservatory of Amsterdam. Sacks started recording in 1987. Just like his colleagues from Pentatone, he uses modified tube microphones as a basis for his recording. This results in a more involving sound that can convey more emotion. You feel every mood change in the cello of Pieter Whispelwey. The wooden instrument produces beautiful color and resonates in a soothing way. This is one of the tracks that got me in an emotional state. There’s a real Steinway Model D in my listening room. Lazic lets the notes roll with individuality and togetherness. I feel like if Brahms is taking to me trough his music. The guy is dead! And still his music lives on. What a tribute, thanks to this ‘little’ amplifier.

I tried mixing the system up with a Stello Ai 700 digital integrated amplifier and a pre/power combo with the McIntosh MC452 among other things. It didn’t matter what I fed the Estelon XB’s. Nothing matched the reference class level of musicality of the Vitus Audio SIA-025. Me want. For keeps. For “Reference”. Dare I dream of the Vitus Audio SM-103 mono’s? Hans?

EXTENDED REVIEW: Are you ready to make a journey to Denmark? No, we’re not taking a holiday in the Nordic. Let’s set a musical course to the Danish manufacturer Vitus Audio. The brand owner and designer of all the products is Hans-Ole Vitus. So, there it is. A brand that honors the family name of the man in charge. Nothing exiting, shocking or scientific here! But hey, the Vitus Audio designs will definitely blow your mind. Or should I say ears? I’ve heard a couple of speakers and a few amplifiers as high end aficionado. I’ll cut it short. Vitus is the man. Your search can be over with this guy and his products. Want the longer version? Please read on…

Hans-Ole Vitus

On all the boxes are stickers that say: “Handcrafted in Denmark”. Let’s get to know the man behind some of the industries finest products. I’m confused. Browsing the Vitus website in search for some personal information I bumped into the link “Pedigree”. Here in Belgium Pedigree is a premium dog food brand. I’m still confused. The man has absolutely no resemblance with dogs what-so-ever. He looks more like a karate practicing bear, but let’s not wonder off… Stay focused! Obviously the man is an electronic engineer. What else? A Nespresso? Somebody? And yes, Hans is -as so many manufacturers- on a pursuit of the best possible sound. What else? A rough, drumming rocker? Maybe. In the early days the guy spent all his money on buying hi-fi gear. Not to enjoy himself or learn about music. No. Not at all. He bought the stuff to take it apart and/or try to improve the performance. He worked for 6 years with Texas Instruments. In 1995 he established the Vitus Audio brand name. It took him as little as 8 years to finish his first product. Yeah. Euhm. No comment. Fast-forwarding to 2017 I’m glad I’ve got to know this Danish manufacturer, even more his exquisite products.

Vitus Audio

At this time Vitus Audio offers 3 different “commercial” product lines: Reference, Signature and Masterpiece. There’s also a mention of the “Design Studio” series, but these products are by special order only. So forget that. For the moment. I’m confused again. The Signature Series was the first line-up. Hans once explained to me that he never thought he would be able to produce products beyond the “Signature” level. He fooled himself. Components from the Signature Series can compete with the very best from other manufacturers. Here’s on of the companies early slogans: “Vitus Audio, we start we the others finish”. Enthusiasts in search for a fair introduction into the world of high end can find their way in the Reference Series. Some of the finest products in terms of price versus performance can be found here. Out of this world components for people with unlimited budgets can be found in the Masterpiece Series. Long story short: with the SIA-025 we’re right in the middle of the Signature Series. No rocket science…yet! SIA stands for Signature Integrated Amplifier. The 25 stands for the 1st 25watts in class-A that you can choose to switch in or out. Pure and simple.

Unboxing of the SIA-025

The packaging is of the same quality and vision as the Vitus Audio products. You have to start by unpacking a box in the box. There’s a lot of heavy foam to protect the units for transport. Good thinking! Those looks. Simply jaw-dropping! I know that design is personal and thus subjective. But you got to show some love for the way this beauties are build. And yes, they’re heavier then they look. Mind your back and prepare for impact! Get ready for a showdown with the 38Kg of the SIA-025. You thought the Germans could build tanks? Please take notice of the Danish ones. The form and curves of the front panel. Look at the firmness and thoughtfulness of the back panel. Those cooling fins! Honey, I think I’m in love (again).

Handling and installing the amplifier and is easy. The menu structure and way to operate the device is straight forward, without any bells and whistles. There are only six buttons. Right. Not one more. More of the overall Danish ‘look and feel’. I like it. Even the remote breathes that same Puritan and solid appearance. I find that this approach let’s you focus on what really matters: enjoying music.

The SIA-025 offers an extra treat: 2 amplifiers in one. Hold your horses. Don’t get overexcited. Via the menu you can choose for 2 x 150w with 1st 25Watts in class-A or 2 x 150Watts all in class-AB. Interesting? Once you’re hooked into the Class A mode, it’s like…is there another mode? Really?

What’s under the hood? Remove the top panel and you go like: OMG! This unit is packed. Fully packed. There’s not an inch of space left. Here’s my 2 cents. If you pay 21K for an amplifier that really delivers the goods, I think most of us would like it to be twice as high. I know, it doesn’t make any sense what-so-ever! There’s no technical explanation. I got nothing. Just that with this kind of investment the amplifier should visually show the kind of horsepower its got onboard. Pretty tough with this kind of height. Hans! This kind of height is used for ‘source’ components. His answer (I’m 99% sure): I don’t care. That’s that then.

Listening to the SIA-025

This is it. That part of the review. I’ve listened for hours and hours to this amplifier. Now I offer a mix of tracks in terms of genres and try to describe what I’ve experienced. But first let me confess something. Never in my career as a high end aficionado I got so emotional with every of the first 5 tracks that I’ve listened to. Vitus is the man. Nobody has done that to me. Nobody. Of course I took the first few days to let the unit adjust to its environment. But when I sat down for the first real listen…that happened. For real. For the record: all 5 tracks were classical music.

The XX is a triple indie band that was formed in London in 2005. Angels is a well known track. Coexist was released back in 2012. Baria Qureshi has a fragile and sensitive voice. They did a great job in the studio in capturing the intimacy of her vocals. Her sweet voicing makes your ears melt like ice. She fills the room in a realistic measure, totally separated from Jamie, Romey and Oliver. The musical canvas is pitch black. The silence is breathtaking. Timbres are spot on. You’re drawn into the music in a way that I’ve never experienced before. And yes, this still remains a studio recording!

What a pity that Toots died sometime ago. He was a world class musician, artist and performer. Very worthy of a test drive on the SIA-025. Oh boy, it’s becoming very clear that this is a whole new level of experience. No longer am I listening to a representation or interpretation. I’m connecting to Toots and his harmonica. For the first time it get in touch with the artists intent. That’s something else. It becomes so much easier to understand the music, what the performer means. The level of micro-detail of the harmonica is outstanding. All those little nuances contribute to the expressive ability of the artist. I’m getting sucked in and I love it.

Lisa Ekdahl is a Swedish singer/songwriter that breathes pop and jazz. Maybe you know her track ‘It’s oh so quiet’ from back in 1997. It was used in a commercial for a well known perfume brand. In her album ‘Back to earth’ she performs together with the Nordic Trio. The level rises. Again. Talking about a sublime studio recording! It’s one of the best voice-captures out there. It’s like she’s really standing before you: singing, breathing, making all these little noises. Is she making love with the microphone? The air that surrounds her voices underlines the resolving power of the system. Piano, drums and double bass each have their position within the soundstage. They sound like real instruments. No flavor. No color. How honest can it get?

Moving on to classical music. A classical classic. Fanfare for the Common Man should sound American: big, bold and beautiful. Main actors in this work are big drums and trumpets. This Reference Recording version offers weight, scale and balance. A real stress test for the amp if you want. Even if I crank up the volume beyond ‘live’ levels, the SIA-025 never stops to deliver or looses control. That is not something one would expect with this kind of music, at that kind of levels with ‘only’ 25Watts of horsepower. So much refinement is represented in this big sounding track. Have I ever witnessed such a natural sized stage? Big drums sound like big canons being fired. The sheer weight and impact is overwhelming. Trumpets rise and fade into to dark and silent background.

Save the best for last? Channel Classics is a Dutch label that produces sublime classical recordings. I visited the label about 10 years ago. Jared Sacks really knows his game as he grew up in Boston and later moved to the Netherlands. He was schooled as a professional horn player at the conservatory of Amsterdam. Sacks started recording in 1987. Just like his colleagues from Pentatone, he uses modified tube microphones as a basis for his recording. This results in a more involving sound that can convey more emotion. You feel every mood change in the cello of Pieter Whispelwey. The wooden instrument produces beautiful color and resonates in a soothing way. This is one of the tracks that got me in an emotional state. There’s a real Steinway Model D in my listening room. Lazic lets the notes roll with individuality and togetherness. I feel like if Brahms is taking to me trough his music. The guy is dead! And still his music lives on. What a tribute, thanks to this ‘little’ amplifier.

On the amp side I tried mixing the system up with a Stello Ai 700 digital integrated amplifier and a pre/power combo with the McIntosh MC452 among other things. It didn’t matter what I fed the Estelon XB’s. Nothing matched the reference class level of musicality of the Vitus Audio SIA-025. Me want. For keeps. For “Reference”. Dare I dream of the Vitus Audio SM-103 mono’s? Hans?

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