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Again the sound is very dense. This was nicely presented while playing Toshiaki Matsumoto’s Pianoia I with piano in the lead [Stereo Sound Reference Record. Nobu’s Popular Selection]. The hammer strike was slightly round and thick and the focus on the sustain. That focus we know mostly from tube amplifiers. Something almost tangible materializes in front of us but the presentation isn't pushed towards the listener. One could easily achieve similar tangibility by emphasizing the midrange but that's not how Vitus achieves the effect. Its dense ‘meaningful’ presentation shows proper perspective and balance. Vitus simply makes sure that every key strike has proper weight and deliberation.

I haven't mentioned it yet but it should be obvious that this type of presentation results in a quite huge sound. There’s no doubt that a very powerful amp is active. I'll come back to that later but even when listening to small-scale numbers with just a few instruments it’s very apparent how there’s still big power headroom which should be sufficient for even the most current-hungry loads. This obvious headroom results in a very smooth sound with great black backgrounds. This element I usually notice only after I have thoroughly analyzed the sound to be confident about what contributes to such smoothness.

When I began listening to the Vitus right after the very fast Soulution 710, I thought for a moment that it slowed down the sound significantly. Even though the Vitus is bit slower than the Soulution, it’s not really about speed but a different strategy of presentational interpretation. The Danish amp never seems to hurry things up - not because it is slow but because there’s plenty of time to always manage to deliver in the pocket. It doesn't really matter what kind of music. For me the best indicator was the 1955 opener of Chet Baker's Chet Baker Sings and Plays played by a quartet. With the Vitus the musicians played with ease, very smoothly and I had the impression that they enjoyed themselves. With the Soulution I could hear that the musicians were still young and although already very accomplished, their performance was not that smooth yet to suggest that their best years were still ahead of them.

Which presentation was truer? I have no idea. I wasn't there 55 years ago. I could use my experience with this recording from different listening sessions but that would still only dig around my versions, not any objective truth. I think it's fair to say that Vitus offers well-controlled relaxed sound. It smoothes the sound gently and presents big vocals without moving them closer to the listener. It never rushes things but doesn’t slow them down either though such an impression might occasionally arise. And there’s plenty of power headroom.

Reading this far might have generated the impression that the amplifier designed by Hans-Ole Vitus delivers a warm sound. That’s actually not so. Yes it could be suggested by how this machine presents the lower midrange as very strong, dense and energetic. That in fact reminded me of a Harbeth loudspeaker like the Monitor 30. If you had a chance to listen to a Harbeth you’ll know what I mean. If you listen to a lower pitched voice captured by a very close microphone there will be a lot of energy, even heat. This happened when I listened to Suzanne Vega. The Vitus manages this even with very linear transparent leaner speakers like Avalon’s Transcendent. It doesn't close down or slow down the sound but nonetheless the lower midrange is more energetic than the rest of the range.

There is another reason why the sound is not warm per se. The treble is not rolled-off, truncated or softened. Compared to the Reimyo KAT-777 and Soulution 710 I could tell that there was a bit less treble energy to the Vitus as though the focus was just below the very top end. This is quite a subtle difference but obvious if you listen to these amps long enough. Everything below the very top shows up similarly strong and vibrant. Compared to the Soulution there is a slight emphasis on ‘s’ and ‘f’ sounds but the Reimyo emphasized the upper midrange more which the Vitus doesn't.

This upper midrange/treble quality brings to mind the Accuphase P-7100. No doubt Vitus offers superior resolution and and—yes!—is the more powerful more dynamic amplifier. But that particular section of the audible range is similar and at first might seem slightly soft and perhaps even sweet. But thanks to excellent resolution, all detail is delivered without homogenization but rather some polishing of edges. I now wondered how this amplifier would fare on bass. Its huge size could have suggested Krell-type grip whilst the paper specs’ 50 watts would bow to a Music Hall A15.2’s 75wpc. But there’s 50 watts at 85kg and then there's 75 watts at 8.5kg. In my obviously subjective opinion the Vitus delivers the same bass quality as the Soulution. This is to say, as much as needed and never separated from the rest but always integral to it.

Its character is bit different though. I would say that it is a continuation of the lower midrange’s dense richness. Decays on Laurie Anderson’s Homeland were really beautiful and probably sustained a bit longer than with the Soulution. This created an impression of a bigger event. On the other hand the Swiss amplifier was able to differentiate better and show subtleties more clearly. For me the control of both amplifiers over this part of range was perfect as I couldn't point out any weaknesses. What's more, I never heard any amplifier controlling the bass range better than these two.