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After returning from Sopot, I enjoyed my virtually brand-new computer - and bickering with people attacking my review of the Acoustic Revive LAN cable. That found its way to the portal (a Polish version of where it got many diggs and piqued some interest only to be bashed by others. To show you the scale of interest, on a single day the traffic to my web page increased by 5.000 visitors.

The bickering eventually turned into trying to get a straight answer to the question "did you actually conduct a test?" as another way of saying, did I really listen to it? Usually in a rather unpleasant way, all my interlocutors pointed out that what I write is rubbish. Theory says that my observations are utterly impossible and thus they are. Moreover it is impossible to measure differences between any digital cables, not to mention a LAN cable.

I respect measurements. I’m in fact technically minded. I respect theory but also have a postgraduate degree to know that any theory may be challenged. Theories can and should be subjected to tria and be tested and checked over and over again. In audio that trial or test is called an audition. Thus far music cannot be measured. Rather it is studied by inspection as the basis of all scientific inquiry. Dogma like zero is always zero has long since been disputed by AES engineers and even simple auditions showed that the bits are bits statement needed to be modified. We must measure something we presently don't. We need improved correlation between measurements and auditions. The basic theory does not work. It does not stand up to a very simple test of simply listening.

If I had any doubts—and like any other reasonable person I do—let’s illustrate what I am saying with the JPlay software player which is a replacement for foobar2000, JRiver, Amarra, iTunes etc. From the point of theory it has no effect on the sound. It is just a code of software instructions, not a real player which in this case is the computer. But anyone who has tried at home more than one of these player programs knows how each of them result in a different sound.

Martin Ostapowicz, one of JPLAY’s two developers (the other being Josef Piri), came to me to install his software. He showed me that the difference in sound might be related to other seemingly negligible things like the choice of program we use as GUI, the length of signal buffering before it leaves the PC and other factors that seem utter trifles yet change the sound. I observed that in situ, listening with Martin to songs from my computer connected via USB cable to the Vitus MP-D201.

This machine turned out to be excellent at differentiating various recordings or simple music signal because with various disc transports—transfer via S/PDIF or AES/EBU—and a variety of JPLAY player settings via USB, the albums were the same but still played back under different conditions.

The sound of the Vitus was deep, saturated and warm. It is a big expansive sound with a huge soundstage that tightly wraps around the listener from all sides if we play that kind of recording. And actually everything coincided here. The Polish Vitus distributor Roger Adamek is an analog man with the sound of the SME 30/12 turntable as his reference. He recently returned to Switzerland a very expensive DAC fbecause it simply presented "the digits" but forgot about the music. The warm Vitus is clearly on the other side of that imaginary scale.

In addition to my Ancient Audio player, I had the EMM Labs XDS1 SE and belt-drive B.M.C. (all of them also worked as transports) to verify that. A direct comparison with Ed Meitner’s player also showed how two devices both rightly labeled as warm can and will still differ. The Vitus had a clearly softened treble which was warm and slightly withdrawn. This is intentional as I hear it in all Ole Vitus creations. It reminds me of a turntable's sound. It is not analog per se and the AVID Diva II-SP turntable sitting next to it proved that some differences remain. But without such a direct vinyl reference, you’d actually swear it’s related to analog rather than digital. Real analog still sounds different and an accurate yet warm turntable like the Viella AMG V12 plays it is still deeper with more freedom. Even if the Vitus is slightly muffled by comparison, the differences are not of the to be or not type. And that cannot be said about the majority of digital sources.

This is a very very addictive sound. Its depth supports large virtual sources with substantial physicality. These are not thin pipsqueaks somewhere in the middle of the soundstage but large fleshy images. This was very audible on mono recordings by John Hartman, Beverly Kenney, Coleman Hawkins and on the bonus tracks from Portrait in Jazz of the  Bill Evans Trio. Let me dwell on the latter as a good example to show the essence of the Vitus sound. I originally bought the album in digital form as soon as Fantasy, the owner of the rights to the Riverside catalogue, made a remaster from the original tapes and released it as a hybrid SACD. The sound was awful – muddled with very little resolution. I simply did not want to listen to it. I put the album away on the shelf and listening to other Evans albums. I somehow avoided that disc until I found its K2HD version with a gold OBI online. And that one totally trashed the Fantasy release.