Priced at £11,000 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.
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 sits just on the warmer side neutral, it never sounds 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 sizeable upgrade over them both as you would expect! It instantly sounds bigger, bolder with a much grander presentation, switching between the internal DAC and the RD-101 the differences are not subtle. Stepping up to the Signature DAC the SD-025 (or the SCD-025 with its USB input) is another big step, but moving up the Signature the sound does change somewhat. It is still unmistakenly Vitus, but is more seductive and alluring.
On the RD the USB and Ethernet inputs are likely to be 2 most commonly used input these days and both sound great. Streaming Tidal or Qobuz sounds fabulous although a Melco N1ZH or N1ZS connected via USB does sound better by a fairly substantial margin.
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.
In terms of analogue cables both Entreq and Tellurium Q offer some great options, they are quite different but they both have their place.
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.