Priced at £10,800 the RD-101 replaces both the RD-100 and the RCD-101 from the previous range. However, the RD-101 is much more than a conventional DAC, as well as having all of the connections you’d come to expect on a DAC these days (USB B, 2 x AES inputs, 2 x Coaxial Inputs and both XLR and RCA outputs) there is also an Ethernet socket. There is also a socket for a Wi-Fi dongle should you not be in a position to hard wire the RD-101 directly to your router.
Once connected to your network the RD-101 becomes a fully fledged network streamer that can stream Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify and Deezer, it can also play back content stored on a local NAS or a shared folder on a computer all controlled simply by the easy to use MConnect App on your phone or tablet.
The RD-101 can also act as a Roon Endpoint as well, although not yet fully certified by Roon I’m pleased to report it works perfectly.
What is Roon?
Roon is a powerful subscription based piece of software that has to run on a computer on the same network as your Endpoint. It basically looks at your stored music collection (including Tidal/Qobuz if you subscribe) and carefully interrogates it getting photos, artist biographies, review, lyrics and makes very clever connections between artists, composers, performer, conductors.
The gives you essnentially a highly intuitive, searchable magazine all about your music. Even if you have music stored on different devices on your network if you tell the Roon software where the music is, it collates it all into one big library. The interface is truly excellent and the way it gives you new music recommendations is superb, that alone is worth the price of admission for me.
If you have a large collection stored on a NAS drive and/or computer and subscription with Tidal or Qobuz you could use the RD-101 as a one box streaming DAC with brilliant results. Literally all you need is the RD-101, a network connection, a music subscription and a tablet!
The USB input on the RD-101 is likely to be the most commonly used input, alongside Ethernet, simply connect it to a Melco or server/streamer of your choice and away you go. It can also be connected a computer as well.
In performance terms the RD-101 sounds superb, in typical Vitus fashion the presentation is wonderfully refined, engaging and incredibly seductive to listen to. Due to the way Vitus voice their products you could be mistaken for thinking you are listening to an analogue source and very fine one at that!
The RD-101 nevers sound cold or clinical to listen to like so many DAC’s these days which simply want to extract every ounce of information from a recording to sound immediately impressive, but so often leave you not being able to listen to certain recordings or ended up being fatigued after a long session. The RD draws you in with its melodic and mellifluous presentation.
It outperforms the internal DAC board for the RI-100 and RI-101 and is a great upgrade over that, it easily bridges the gap between that DAC and the mighty SD-025 (or the USB input on the SCD-025 CD player) as well.
The USB and Ethernet inputs are likely to be 2 most commonly used input these days and both sound great. Roon sounds fabulous although Melco N1ZH or N1ZS connected via USB does sound better by a fairly substantial margin.
However, with some care and attention on your network and Roon Core you can narrow the gap somewhat! Always happy to advise on that aspect!
Installing some Stillpoints underneath the RD-101 opens it up even further as Stillpoints always do, they give you a sense of more air and space in the recordings and they simply help things disappear. Connecting a spare output to an Entreq ground box is another really effective upgrade, by lowering the noise floor it brings out even more! All great potential upgrades for the future and things people can try in their system.
Anyone who wants to to try the RD-101 in the comfort of their own system please let me know, part exchange is welcome as well.