Hans Ole told me that he decided to push the digital side of the design to the extreme. He favours the Anagram Technologies DSP-based module that achieves a sample rate of 384kHz rather than the more common 192kHz, and the greater the sampling rate, the wider the bandwidth. This can also be programmed as new digital standards become available, making the SCD-025 eminently expandable in the future. The choice of the matching master clock module that fully supports their sample rate conversion modules was easy, but apparently rather expensive. As far as the digital electronics go, the company’s design aim for a lifetime-product seems ambitious but pretty well founded to me.
Before listening, it is important to understand and appreciate the performance curve of the SCD-025 as it runs in from new or musically realigns itself after a cold boot up. This is one of those machines, like Vitus amplifiers, that reveal its musical message in small doses before pulling all the threads together to come into full bloom some time later. Make a hasty decision at your peril and at your cost, because this is a digital player that is designed to do the music thing really well, but it takes its time about it.
Like some other machines that utilise Phillips transports the Vitus does not initially seem to major on sheer etched information retrieval. In fact, for the first few days it sounded very, very pleasant indeed, but I found it to be bordering on the soft, particularly at high frequencies where it seemed rather rolled-off. It was easy to listen to for sure, but I felt that in fronting the combination of the Berning Pre One preamplifier, Berning Quadrature Z power amplifiers and the Quad electrostatics, the system had slipped into comfort mode. The player felt as if it wasn’t really driving the amplifier’s inputs or asking enough questions of the system. It was all very nice though, and up to a point nice is OK. If I had a pipe and slippers, I would have felt right at home.
After about four days I put on my smoking jacket and cravat, sat for a listening session and had a rather exciting surprise. Who really knows what happens inside certain audio components or the human brain when it comes to music, but the whole gain structure of the player changed completely from those early hours and the music felt very different. Now there was drive and it had bought its friend speed to the party. Add about 100% extra note shape and articulation and here I was with a whole new experience. Oh my, how that system had improved and it would go on doing so, at a reduced rate, for about three weeks. Was it the transport, the digital circuitry or was it wholly or partially me? The message should be writ large as with most components. Never make a judgement until several days have passed, especially when you are spending this amount of money.