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This review first appeared in the August 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Vitus. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: €24.500

I can still see Ole Vitus’ smile when he showed me a list of awards for his products during this year’s HighEnd Munich show including Best Product 2011 from us. His list was long and varied and included models from the ‘basic’ Reference series as well as the more expensive Signature line. I did not see any for the currently most expensive Masterpiece series however and an even more refined Design Studio Series has already been announced. "Why?" I asked him. "We are simply cautious sending these products out for review. They are unique, very expensive and need a reviewer with exceptional experience to describe them properly." Hmm. It seems I already had made my name because shortly afterwards, a representative of the Polish distributor for Vitus Audio knocked on my door lugging with him a heavy package.

The MP-D201 is a D/A converter weighing a hefty 26kg. At 130 x 435 x 430mm H x W x D the machine is not particularly big but is quite a lot for a DAC especially on depth. And this is no mostly empty box with a DAC board in one corner and a power supply in the other. This machine is loaded to the brim with voltage regulators and various circuit modules. It is a DAC with a 24/192 USB port and 2 x S/PDIF RCA and 2 x AES/EBU XLR inputs and RCA and XLR outputs. The MP-D201 was designed at the same time as the company’s MP-T201 transport.

Externally it looks like their preamplifiers but is the only standalone DAC in the catalogue. The Vitus Reference and Signature series DACs integrate into their CD players. Overall the MP-D201’s enclosure is a very solid affair with a clean unobtrusive design. All inputs including USB accept signal up to 24 bits and 192kHz. Right after the inputs however the advanced Edel 2 upsampler developed in collaboration with Anagram Technologies from Switzerland and used also by Soulution upsamples to 24bit/384 kHz. That is, Soulution’s version does. Ole Vitus’ DAC sports the latest version which upsamples all incoming signal automatically to 24bit/792kHz.

This converter can be fitted with the analog attenuator system used in Vitus preamplifiers to turn the MP-D201 into a DAC/preamp. This attenuator is based on discrete resistors switched by relays such that the same resistor always couples in series with the circuit (hence the relays are outside the signal path) and the relays actually switch other resistors connected in parallel. The standard DAC comes without that module but in a pinch you could use its digital volume control which is embedded in the upsampler. Soulution uses that facility but I would rather treat it as very fine trim than basic volume control since it introduces changes in the digital realm. Optional also is the RC-010 remote. It’s a beautiful metal unit with display which can control non-Vitus machines if those run Philips RC-5 code.

During my last holiday Andrew from our Krakow Sonic Society upgraded and generally pimped out my HP Pavilion dv7 Entertainment (Core 2 Duo) laptop which is how I type all my reviews and also evaluate USB D/A converters. Taking advantage of the fact that this particular laptop is designed as an entertainment center with two hard-drive bays, we equipped it with an additional 128GB SSD as start-up disk on which we installed Windows 8 RP 64-bit and increased RAM to 8GB. Other programs too were moved to this start-up drive. Apart from obvious benefits like launching the computer under ten seconds, it opened up full use of the 64-bit JPLAY version which has become my main player with foobar2000 as option and as the GUI to upgrade the sparse graphical interface of JPLAY.

Sound. A selection of recordings used during auditions: A Day at Jazz Spot 'Basie'. Selected by Shoji "Swifty" Sugawara, Stereo Sound Reference Record, SSRR6-7, SACD/CD (2011); Now the Green Blade Riseth, The Stockholm Cathedral Choir, Proprius/JVC, XRCD 9093, XRCD2 (1981, 1993/2001); Paganini for two, Gil Shaham, Göran Söllscher, Deutsche Grammophon/JVC, 480 246-5, XRCD24 (1993/2009); Audiofeels, Uncovered, Penguin Records, 5865033, CD (2009); Beck, Sea Change, Geffin Records/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 780, Special Limited Edition No. 01837, gold-CD (2002/2009); Beverly Kenney, ...sings with Jimmy Jones and "The Basie-ites", Roost Records/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-9733, CD (1956/2012); Beverly Kenney, Beverly Kenney sings for Johnny Smith, Roost Records/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-9731, CD (1956/2012); Beverly Kenney, Come Swing With Me, Roost Records/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-9732, CD (1956/2012); Bill Evans Trio, Portrait in Jazz, Riverside/Fantasy, RISA-1162-6, SACD/CD (1959/2003); Bill Evans Trio, Portrait in Jazz, Riverside/Victor Entertainment, VICJ-61322, K2HD CD (1959/2005); Coleman Hawkins, The Hawk Flies High, Riverside/Mobile Fidelity, UDSACD 2030, SACD/CD (1957/2006); Depeche Mode, A broken Frame, Mute Records Limited, DMCD2, Collectors Edition, SACD/CD+DVD (1982/2006); Depeche Mode, Ultra, Mute Records Limited, DMCDX9, CD+DVD (1997/2007)...

...Jean Michel Jarré, Magnetic Fields, Dreyfus Disques/Epic/Sony Music, 488138 2, CD (1981/1997); Jeff Buckley, The Grace+EPs, Sony Music Entertainment [Japan], SICP 2245-7, 3 x CD (2004, 2002/2009); Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach. Toccata and Fugue, Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra, EMI Classic, Best 100 Premium, TOCE-91077, HQCD (1960/2010); Johann Sebastian Bach, Cello Suites, Richard Tunnicliffe, Linn Records, CKD 396, SACD/CD (2012); John Coltrane, One Down, One Up. Live at The Half Note, Impulse!, 9862143, 2 x CD (2005); Johnny Hartman, All of Me - the Debonair Mr. Hartman Bethlehem/Victor Entertainment, VICJ-61460 K2HD CD (1956/2007); Komeda Quintet, Astigmatic, Polish Jazz Vol. 5, Polskie Nagrania Muza/Polskie Nagrania, PNCD 905, CD (1966/2004); Kraftwerk, Minimum-Maximum, Kling-Klang Produkt/EMI, 3349962, 2 x SACD/CD (2005);  Ludwig van Beethoven, Overtures, Sir Colin Davis, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Sony Music Direct (Japan) TDGD-90013, Esoteric 20th Anniversary, SACD/CD (1986/2007); Me Myself And I, Takadum! Met Remixes, Creative Music, 001, 2 x CD (2012); Nat "King" Cole, Love is the Thing, Capitol/Analogue Productions, CAPP 824 SA, SACD/CD (1957/2010); The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pyramid, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25125, Atlantic Records 60th Anniversary, CD (1960/2006).