The Reference Series RI-100, on balance, gives away little to its highfalutin’ pure Class A Signature Series siblings. They both present music with astounding presence and energy. Both are fluid and articulate. But the Class A SIA-025 has a riper tonality, and a micro-presence that expresses the smallest dynamic gradients and image clusters (orchestral section layering and choral groups come to mind) in a way the larger amp can’t quite match. By the same token the RI-100 powers through the broader swaths of large-scale symphonies and power rock in a way that makes other amps seem a bit submissive. It’s virtually unrivalled in its breathtakingly tight-fisted low-octave reproduction, but it won’t quite offer up the fullest breath of soundstage dimensionality like the superb Vitus SIA-025.
So which one is for you? The answer depends most heavily on the choice of loudspeaker, the size of the room, and to a lesser extent your own listening bias. For example, if you’re seeking orchestral levels in a large space with only a moderately sensitive loudspeaker, the RI-100 would brilliantly fill the bill. But perhaps your tastes run more to smaller-scale music such as soloists and chamber groups, and you also have a high-sensitivity loudspeaker. In such a case, the SIA-025 could be the better choice.
However, this story isn’t over. The RI-100 will fulfill its destiny—filling those empty red-sealed slots on its back panel— when the optional DAC and phono modules become available. Said to be retrofittable in the field, this will be a first for Vitus Audio, and I intend to report on these developments when they hit the market sometime in 2013. However, even as a “basic” linestage integrated the Vitus Audio RI-100 has carved out a unique segment in the high end—what could be termed “entrylevel elite.” It currently has few challengers, and none that I have yet heard can surpass it. An alpha amp if ever there was one. More to come on this one soon.
SPECS & PRICING
Power output: 300Wpc RMS into 8 ohms
Dimensions: 17.1" x 7.6" x 18.5"
Weight: 88 lbs.
AVA Group A/S
Sandgaardsvej 31, DK-7400
+45 9626 8046
Audio Association, LLC (U.S. Distributor)
3050 Fite Circle
Sacramento, CA 95827