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Bodhi

Vitus SIA-025 integrated amp

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I posted this review in Cafad's Addicts Guide to Integrated amps, but thought it deserved its own thread :). Most regular members would be aware of Victor's SIA-025, so i'll constrain my comments to my personal experience. 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 made from one single "buffer" module which is also used in the SL-102.. 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, 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 130hrs 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 realize at the time was how much of a sea change that would prove to be!

 

Cheers,

Bodhi.

 

The Vitus securely packed on its own plastic pallet..

 

IMG_0825_zpsf9eedba7.jpg

 

Initial setup..

 

IMG_0880_zps65ff6ab5.jpg

 

IMG_0893_zps115f343d.jpg

 

On my Taoc rack with Stillpoints Ultra 5's installed..

 

IMG_2217_zps5fa88f4c.jpg

 

IMG_1049_zpsf62fcc07.jpg

 

With both Taoc racks installed..

 

IMG_0913_zps635b094d.jpg

 

So what's under the hood?

 

SIA-025_zps63bc1772.jpg

Edited by Bodhi

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Very nice Bodhi! I am sure it sounds sublime!

 

Please post some more pix.

 

And welcome back to SNA!

 

:)

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Yeah Bodhi, welcome back. :)

 

It's a small amp too.

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Sorry if this is a dumb question but how can a new member be welcomed back?

 

I get the welcome part but not the back part.

 

In any case................Welcome :)

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Yeah Bodhi, welcome back. :)

 

Ditto...good to see you back...may your posts reign long...Rob

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Nice write up Bohdi. I heard the S5's driven by a vitus r-100 with killer results, they were sublime. Quite amazing how a 25watt class A amp can control those 10 inch woofers. Most well known

brands would fall on their backsides, but in fairness the Vitus is a high price to pay.

I often wonder where reputed Class A amps ie : Luxman 509ax and Accuphase E-560 at 1/2 and almost 1/3 of cost would compare simply for a costing exercise.

Anyhow super system Bodhi.

cheers Frank

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Thanks guys for the warm welcome :) Fyi Phantom I was banned from the forum 2 years ago due to biting in a flame thread & have just been allowed to rejoin. You live and learn as they say, and life moves on.

Edited by Bodhi

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David, have you ever listened to a Sugden pure class A?

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Nice write up Bohdi. I heard the S5's driven by a vitus r-100 with killer results, they were sublime. Quite amazing how a 25watt class A amp can control those 10 inch woofers. Most well known

brands would fall on their backsides, but in fairness the Vitus is a high price to pay.

I often wonder where reputed Class A amps ie : Luxman 509ax and Accuphase E-560 at 1/2 and almost 1/3 of cost would compare simply for a costing exercise.

Anyhow super system Bodhi.

cheers Frank

Thanks very much Frank :). Were you referring to the SIA-025? (as the RI-100 is a 300 watt class a/b amp). I've heard the S5's driven by the RI-100 which certainly has lots of power and control & shares Vitus' dna, whilst the SIA-025 still has plenty of power and control, but is the warmer, more fluid and musical sounding amp of the two.

 

I'm not sure how the Luxman and Accuphase class A integrateds would compare as I haven't heard them in the same room, however the SIA-025 in particular pushes the engineering and parts quality far beyond the Lux and Accuphase imho yes.gif.

Edited by Bodhi

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David, have you ever listened to a Sugden pure class A?

Hi Luc, no I haven't had the opportunity. They look pretty funky though yes.gif

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