Estelon, Crystal Cable, and Vitus Audio Knock our Socks Off

Distributor Aldo Filippeli of the Luxury Audio Group sure knows how to get the press’s attention. Schedule a room in the Convention Center that he can set up beforehand, invite the press to hour-long sessions before the show begins, and ensure that we come away fulfilled. When Alexander Vitus Mogensen, CEO of Vitus Audio, quipped, “This is the best sounding room at the show right now!” he was telling the truth. In all honesty, if it doesn’t turn out to be one of the top five best sounding rooms at AXPONA 2024, if not the very best, I’ll be surprised.

Last year, the total cost of the Estelon / Crystal / Vitus system on display was at least a cool (or hot, as the case may be) million; this year, the price has dropped to a bargain $556,700. That includes the gorgeous Estelon Forza loudspeakers in Violet Night finish ($169,000/pair), Top-line Vitus electronics (breakdown follows), equally handsome Crystal cabling, and ART room treatments. To that you must add a good $50,000 for the NEO Highend Double Quattron rack and Quattron Reference amp stands, all on Ceradisc isolation feet, plus Ekustik Parametric Wall diffuser and Woody Wavy bass traps. So, we’re up to $606,700 plus tax. Don’t forget that tax.

We began with Fink’s aptly titled, “Once You Get a Taste,” the first of many tracks stored on the Innuos Statement NG music server ($21,700) and played with InnuOS. The sound was level-headed, grounded, solid, beautiful, and totally in control. If you need a single word, it was fabulous. Please take those descriptors to heart because they apply to every track we heard. Nothing sounded etched or forced in this superbly clean, controlled, quiet, highly resolving system. Which is not to suggest that there was anything mechanical about it. While some blindfolded listeners might detect a solid state provenance, sighted visitors aware of the thick black draping on the large, partitioned ballroom’s airwalls will understand that draping, which minimizes air, three-dimensionality, and liquidity, is often essential in musically inhospitable environments.

You would not have known it from the sound. The Classical genre was honored by Bernstein’s version of Copland’s Fanfare the Common Man, the bass growing more awesome with each pound. Music by Sarah Bareilles, Marcus Miller, Billie Eilish, Daft Punk, and Christoph also had its opportunity to impress. All did, from the lowest bass to the highest treble the tracks could offer.

One interesting feature of the Vitus Audio SM-103 Mk II mono amplifiers ($75,000/pair) is the ability to switch between “classical” and “rock” modes. No tone controls here; the result is a reconfiguring of the output stage. As much as I find the named distinctions invidious, the difference is notable. “Rock” is livelier and sharper on top with a more forward presentation. It’s a matter of taste, room acoustic, setup acumen … and music genre. Ultimately it’s a case of à chacun son goût.

Also heard: Vitus SL-1203 Mk I stereo preamplifier ($40,000) and SD-025 Mk II DAC ($30,000); Crystal Cable Art Da Vinci series plus the new limited edition Crystal Cable Infinity power cables on the amps, and ART passive 6XS, 22XS, and 9XS electromagnetic treatments. Also felt: Multiple “Isn’t this great?”s.

Check out the video for a system overview and to listen to the demo for a small taste of what the room sounded like. Quality headphones recommended.

 

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