I've heard the huge mono amps, the small integrated and a prototype SACD player at a show last year, paired with Peak Consult Zoltan speakers, and the latest PAD cables (top of the range throughout). Mostly it was excellent, natural-sounding, airy and relaxed, obviously capable of some beautiful sound. Unfortunately some room issues made it sound a bit strained at times, so it was hard to give a fair judgement. I liked it initially with calm music, but with music with more "action" (rock, large scale stuff) it wasn't nearly as good.
Since they are very expensive indeed, I strongly suggest you listen carefully before going ahead. Most stuff in this price range is good, it's up to you to find what you prefer. :)
I haven't heard Gryphon much, only briefly so I can't really compare those. What I heard sounded nice though, soft and beautiful (they were playing female vocal jazz).
As for Boulder, if you like the sort of presentation they have - I find they bring the music to your room and not you to the event - I think they are impossible to beat. I'm very, very impressed with Boulder. From what I heard at the show, the Vitus gear don't share that philosophy so they aren't really comparable per se. Haven't heard FM, but would like to!
In this price range, don't miss MBL either. In their type of sound (large soundstage, "bringing you to the event") I think there is nothing close.
It all depends on your speakers, sources, tastes, personality, experience, room, goals, etc. Answering this sort of question is all hand waving.
Having said that, I really like Gryphon - beautiful sounding but has lots of authority too. MBL was super nice but you need to hear it with their speakers for the real enchilada. Haven't heard Vitus yet but they are popular in England especially. Hifi+ has reviewed a few of their components.
I find it hard to believe that the better Pass models,like the XA-160's,would not be completely in this league.Unless,of course,one is inclined to have expensive boutique stuff,which has been inflated by the U.S. dollar being weak in Europe.
I just reviewed the Vitus 101 Mono amps for Stereotimes.com Give it a read. Ultraaudio.com Jeff Fritz gave the integrated version a "Worlds best" and it has replaced his Boulder amps.
I owned the Gryphon Encore and while quite good, I think the Vitus has gone much further down the road. As for the earlier post wondering about the power issue, these things are beasts. I have a huge room 33x60x13 and have the Focus Master II and they rock very hard. I have had Krell, I have the Pass 350.5 and the Karan 450. The Pass 350.5 comes closest in the bass but the 100 watts of pure class A of the Vitus is just remarkable. Hope this helps. G
What about SL100 preamp that you mentioned in your review?
What is your impression about it and when can we expect your review of that unit?
I'm not sure that comparing the Gryphon Encore to the $50K Vitus monos. is a fair comparison. The Antilean monos are much more on par with the Vitus in terms of price and performance. Which is best will depend on the listener's preference.
I agree with Osgorth on the Boulder gear. The 2060 was pretty phenomenal with those Rockport Altair speakers at CES '07.
To readers, I humbly suggest another to check out is the upcoming Karan 1500watt monos, which are based on the 450 stereo amp. Gregger thought the 450 was the greatest thing ever for at least a month.
>>I'm not sure that comparing the Gryphon Encore to the $50K Vitus monos. is a fair comparison. <<
While it's true that it's not fair to compare these two specific amps, I think Greg's comments do answer the initial question of whether Vitus is "truely in the league of Gryphon, Boulder, Fm Acoustics, etc". I do agree that it does come down to personal preference, but IMHO they are deserving of being on the same short-list of comparably-priced amps from Boulder, Gryphon, Halcro, etc.
(disclaimer: I'm a Focus Audio dealer (Focus is the NA importer for Vitus), and I'm currently investigating becoming a Vitus dealer)
Thanks guys for the first impressions, the models I'm looking for (and are fair to compare) are the VA SS101 vs Gryphon Antilleon Sign. vs Boulder 1060series. Not the big monoblocks mentioned but their stereo (alas over 85kg) mates.
With Vitus in this category you can even used it as integrated and/or use a tube preamp and make rellevant conclusions or use it for different music genres, even for digital or analog equipment.
The speakers: Amati Anniversario, the room 8x5 sq. meters, Europe.
I'd appreciate if anyone knows the Volt/Amperes capacity for Vitus and Boulder. Gryphon has twin 1500 kva, the others?
I think the right Boulder for the comparison is 2060.
Kops, I suggest you start by auditioning the Boulder 1060 or 2060 in your system. If you like what they do, the search ends there. I strongly doubt there is anything out there that does what they do better.
As many have said this is about sound preferences, and you have to listen to the contenders to know what kind of person you are, e.g. what type of sound you prefer. :)
You're in Europe right? Call the guys at Vitus and ask if you can come visit them. They're very friendly, I don't think that would be a problem. And while in Denmark you could most likely find a Gryphon setup to listen to as well.
Regarding Boulder - there is an audible difference between the 1000 and 2000 series. The 2060 stereo amp is about $40K and worth every penny.
I have also owned and used the Gryphon Antilean - quite different from the Boulder.
Given the SF speakers, you might want to give the new Ayre MX-R monoblocks a listen...Ayre and SF always seem to have a certain synergy...
Good luck !! Get listening...it's the only way!
It is NOT in the league of FM Acoustics. The FMs are more superior. I have a pair of VITUS SS 101 mono and SL Preamp for sale. Please contact me if you are interested. I now own FM Acoustics.
Hi, I have had the opportunity to compare Gryphon Antileon Signature, Boulder 1060, Vitus SS 101, in different and separate sessions.
The Boulder transparence, detail, coerence, silence was over the other contendent.
My peersonal preference :
1 Boulder 1060 ;
2 Vitus ;
3 Gryphon Antileon Signature.