We now have the brand new Vitus Audio RD-101 Reference Series DAC on permanent demonstration. Priced at £10,800 the RD-101 basically replaces 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 conventional socketry 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.
Connect the RD-101 to your router and it also becomes a fully fledged network streamer that can play Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Deezer, it can also playback content stored on a NAS and is also a Roon Endpoint as well.
Simply controlled by the MConnect App it makes the RD-101 a brilliant one-box source.
One big feature to point out with the RD-101 is that it can act as a Roon Endpoint.
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 (in this case the RD-101). It basically looks at your music collection (including Tidal if you subscribe) and carefully interrogates it getting photos, artist biographies, review, lyrics and makes very clever connections between artists, composers, performer, conductors.
The end result is 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, it collates it all into one big library. The interface is truly excellent.
If you have a large collection stored on a NAS drive and/or computer and maybe a Tidal subscription you could use the RD-101 as a one box streaming DAC with brilliant results. The sound quality is excellent and very engaging. I find connecting a Melco via USB playing the same music outperforms Roon via Ethernet (see below), but if you want something that sounds great and is easy to use with minimal box count, an RD-101 with Roon works effortlessly, you could spend more money on other things and end up with poorer performance!
Vitus don’t often release new product and when they do they always pull out all of the stops to ensure it performs way beyond previous models. Vitus have done a lot of work to the power supplies, output stages and of course the dac board itself to ensure it, as with all Vitus products, performs way past its price point.
Connected to a Melco N1ZH/2 using an Entreq Infinity Apollo USB Cable performance is outstanding. The presentation is typical Vitus through and through, it is endlessly detailed and incredibly engaging, but never forced or aggressive in nature. I hate to use the old hi-fi cliche of hearing things for the first time, but, I just said it! Playing through a selection of tracks I know really well I’m hearing fine layers of detail ands texture I’ve genuinely never heard before in my demo system, the mid-band and top end is almost ethereal in nature.
Switching to the Ethernet input the performance is still superb and in reality probably enough for most users, but the USB definitely has the edge for me.