VITUS AUDIO SM-103 monos


Power amplifiers

Vitus Audio SM-103 mono power amplifiers belong to a ´final solution´ product category, provided there is something like a final solution in audio. The owner will need a strong back, ample room, and correspondingly mature speakers. In case this is your matching profile then you are up to one of the best amplifiers available.

Function and form

Ease of use

Six years have passed since Audiodrom reviewed the Vitus Audio´s SS-102 power amplifier. Since then there have been changes in the company´s line-up: the SS-102 has been replaced by a new SS-103 that featured modified regulators in its powers supply and that received ´voicing´ equalizers on board to adjust the sound to the listener’s preferences. Some things have not changed at all, like that Vitus Audio does not share any details about their amplifiers’ internal topology. The sound of Vitus Audio amps was always a bit on the warm and thick side of neutrality – I have not auditioned the SS-103 personally but I was told that it was a more open sounding amplifier, and the SM-103 monoblocks are said to improve on it even more.

The SS-103 stereo power amplifier was strictly symmetric dual-mono design, two mono amps in one chassis in fact. The SM-103 separates these two into two chassis system. Vitus Audio claims that the SM-103 monos use selected and paired components (like transistors and resistors) which qualifies them to sit at the top of the company’s Signature range. Although the SM-103’s are already expensive, you should know that there is the Masterpiece range in Vitus Audio’s catalogue that features MP-M201 mono amplifiers – these is a four-piece set of oversized boxes that weighs 300kg. The SM-103’s weigh 75kg and deliver 100 W (Class A) and 150 W (Class AB) into 8 ohms each. These are rather conservative figures as watts are cheap today, but during my auditioning I never felt that the power would be missing.

Bass management


The strong grip over speakers was apparent right from the moment I pushed the PLAY button. Naturally, bass was one of the areas that benefited from it the most and I could hear it on both Alison Krauss’ Jacob´s Dream and selected tracks from Sheffield Lab’s test disc. None of the music pieces that I used would be your go-to tracks for testing the bass quality, but I liked the sparse instrumentation – like the plucked strings of the double-bass – that showed what the Vitus amps were capable of. And they were competent indeed and found the right balance between the brute force weight of the bass and its inner quality, its bloom and its decay. Now I am coming back to (just) 100 watts of power – the SM-103 monoblocks were as authoritative as any good amplifier that I heard and the control over the drivers was absolute. Still, the Vitus Audio provides the option of on-the-fly switching between the Class A and Class AB modes.

Clarity & delicacy


Depending on how playful you are the switching option may be a source of unrest for you, especially if you like listening to more than one genre of music. The difference between both modes did not deliver two radically different sounds, yet there were enough nuances to set them audibly apart, and I ended up preferring one or another based on my music selection. I used Away Down The River from the very same Alison Krauss’ A Hundred Miles or More album to pick the difference:

The baritone ukulele had vivid colors in the Class A mode. Although the ukulele is a transient and a rather dry instrument, the SM-103s made its strings sing and fully develop. There was solid three-dimensionality to the sound, and it was not difficult to visualize the instrument in front of me. Alison’s vocal was not less palpable, and I loved how the SM-103s managed to control sibilants and still deliver very detailed sound. In the Class A the Vitus Audio monoblocks were fluid, vinyl-like comfortable and vinyl-unlike dynamic.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

Switching the SM-103s into the Class AB mode did not improve nor degraded the sound, the priorities within it are reshuffled a bit, however. The smooth fluidity that I loved before made a step back, yet it remained present in the secondary plane. It was density of information that changed the most remarkably. The sound got as if cleaner and more transparent, yet after while I started to miss the intricate details in the background that made the music busy before. In the Class AB the sound was a bit more hi-fi and a bit less organic, yet it made up for the loss by improved bass control and punch. Honestly, I could not decide which mode I preferred – that is why I mentioned that the mode switching option might cause some unrest. On top of this the Vitus Audio SM-103s offer another thing: equalizing the sound with ‘Classic’ and ‘Rock’ presets. I was not exploring those two, but these degrees of freedom of how to adjust the sound to your preferences (or cables) is a kind of unique among power amplifiers.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

The Vitus Audio SM-103 mono amplifiers could convincingly portray three-dimensional soundstage which had even better plasticity in the Class A. The sound had scale and my favorite track Dock of The Bay (Lincoln Mayorga) from Sheffield Lab CD, which travels with me to shows and listening rooms, sounded superb through the SM-103s.

The SM-103s were also quite discriminating amplifiers – although great recordings sounded great through them, most did not. The material like Lunatic Soul and their Through Shaded Woods was flat and colorless through the Vitus Audio, despite it can really rock on other systems. May that be that the Vitus Audio discerned more truthfully that the links between instruments were broken due to post-production in the studio?  

At 60k€ the Vitus Audio SM-103 mono amplifiers are not cheap, and I can hardly imagine that someone would buy them without auditioning them. I would not definitely advise so. But if you have the money and are looking for a ‘final’ amplifier, give them a listen.

Price as reviewed:1 489 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Amarock Studio s.r.o., Kopřivnice, tel. +420 777 601 851

Associated components

  • Sources: CD/SACD Transport Métronome t/AQWO + Elektra, DAC Métronome c/AQWO + Elektra
  • Amplifiers: Vitus Audio SL-103 preamplifier
  • Loudspeakers: Rockport Technologies Avior II
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost Valhalla V2
  • Power conditioning: Accuphase PS-530, Nordost: Odin V2, Qb8 MkII, QSource, QPoint, Qk1, Qv2, Qx2, Qx4



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