AudioSolutions Virtuoso M speakers, Vitus Audio SIA-030 and SCD-025MK II, United Home Audio Ultima4 OPS-DC, Ansuz Acoustics cabling

High End by Oz and United Home Audio joined together to present the US premiere of Vitus Audio’s SIA-030 30W class-A/200W class-AB integrated amplifier ($40,000) and AudioSolutions Virtuoso M loudspeakers ($32,000/pair). The speakers, which weigh 165lb each, claim a sensitivity of 92dB, 4 ohms nominal impedance, and an in-room frequency response of 25Hz–30kHz. Together with Vitus Audio’s SCD-025 MKII CD player/DAC ($25,200), United Home Audio’s Ultima 4 OPS-DC tape deck ($30,000), and Ansuz Acoustics cabling, this system was playing an interesting and unusual selection of music, including the Vivace from Britten’s Violin Concerto, performed by Linus Roth. Bass was excellent. I made a mental note to hear these components again in a more conducive setting.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

There is a video posted on-line with music, AudioSolutions Virtuoso M loudspeakers :-) .......

supamark's picture

They're charging $30k for an upgraded Tascam 1/4" deck. I can go on Reverb right now (cuz I just looked) and buy an Ampex ATR-102 for under $10k and spend a few grand on refurb and it will eat this thing's lunch without breaking a sweat (that's for 1/4", 1/2" will crush and mock it). Same with a high quality Studer.

If you can get a Tim de Paravicini mod'd Ampex/Studer the quality gap grows to canyon size. In most knowledgeable people's opinion, the Ampex ATR-102 is the finest open reel 2 track ever made (the only other models that come up are other Ampex or Studer decks). Everything else (Otari, Tascam, Fostex, MCI/Sony, etc) are not even in the conversation.

Oh, and pre-recorded 1/4" tapes are a joke. What you get is always generations removed (and if it was high speed dup'd you're really getting a glorified cassette) or from a digital master which kinda defeats the purpose. Will it have proper test tones to set things like EQ and azimuth (and will the user know how/bother)? Every deck is different, and you have to adjust yours to properly play tapes made on other machines (and know how to keep your own properly set up - very regular maintainence with an expensive test tape). even more to set up if it's to be used to make recordings (and the test tape costs a LOT more).

JRT's picture

RME ADI-2 Pro FS is advertised at a little under $2k, and will provide performance that easily eclipses that of the archaic reel to reel mag tape recorder. It includes a good headphone amplifier, and very low noise high precision volume control. And you can utilize it to measure performance of other audio gear.

Third party review:

In the user manual (link below), see section 34.20 Digital Volume Control on pages 89-90 :

Pro-Audio-Tech's picture

Ha just HA!
Low information poster, the problem with the internet......

Do you people really have no idea of the new Master Tape movement in audiophile circles?

Like new master tape copies from The Tape Project, Acoustic Sounds, Opus3, Yarlung???

This is Stereophile, it's a magazine for audiophiles, not studio blather that has about as much to do with high end audio as a Crown amp vs a D'Agistino M400.

JRT's picture

Some recording engineers continue to use mag tape for processing effects, to provide a desired sound effect in dynamic range compression utilizing magnetic saturation in the medium.

The processing power of the GPU can be utilized for nonlinear convolution, Volterra/Weiner math using CUDA or OpenCL, eg Acoustica Acqua Engine DAW plugins.

The other and most obvious use would be in capturing old recordings existing on tape to digital for remastering. With some old tapes that might be a one shot deal after baking the old tape in an oven to enable it to with stand one pass through the tape deck. A second pass might not sound nearly as good as the first.

I see little use for tape in a consumer's modern playback setup unless they fall into a collection of worthwhile recordings on mag tapes that they want to convert to a digital format.

Ortofan's picture

... still have paper cones. Remarkable.

To which profile was the speaker's crossover set - "Balanced", "Moderate" or "Enhanced"?

For about half the price I'd choose the Accuphase E-650 integrated amp - with the DAC and phono preamp plug-in boards.

$25K for the tape deck makes a used Pioneer RT-2022 at one-tenth that price seem like a bargain.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The Wilson $330,000 XVX uses paper cones :-) ...........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The Sony SS-AR1 $27,000 (Stereophile Class-A) uses paper cones :-) .........

JRT's picture

Some drivers exhibiting excellent performance utilize "paper" cones.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Those 'balanced', 'moderate' and 'enhanced' adjustments can be made depending upon the listeners' political beliefs, time of the day, mood of the day, type of the beverage being consumed, type of the music being played, domestic tranquillity, whether analog or digital is being played, whether tubes, transistors or hybrids are being used in the associated equipment, which brand of cables are being used, which brand of power conditioners and/or re-gererators are being used etc. etc :-) ........

RoryB's picture

Okay, I can't let this superficial and uninformed comment stand. Paper has a strength to weight ratio that eclipses all "modern" composite materials (excluding aerogels and some ceramic foams not applied in loudspeakers), including Rohacell sandwiches with woven or non-woven skins, ceramics, and any thickness of any metal you choose (including Beryllium). It has the additional benefit of dissipating energy in random directions through the randomly-oriented fibers, and it permits the widest range of modifications through adding other natural and synthetic fibers, heat pressing, coatings, resin impregnation, graphite powder impregnation, and so forth, all of which imparting desirable characteristics to the cone. A couple of manufacturers of foam-sandwich cones using Rohacell cores also use paper as the skins of the cone, because of its high ratio of tensile strength to mass density. It is also highly bondable using any type of adhesive commonly used in speaker manufacturing, from water-based glue to chloroprene rubber cements, cyanoacrylates, and epoxies, and resin impregnation of the cone apex enhances the strength of the neck bond.

Yes, paper is a material that has been around for a long time, and yes it is made from natural materials that are not uncommon. But it is the ideal material for cone loudspeakers, enabling efficient energy conversion and low sonic coloration. There are other materials that offer higher absolute strength for a given section thickness, but at the penalty of increased mass (reducing conversion efficiency of the input signal to sound) and suffering from harsh-sounding breakup modes due to lower internal damping/"loss". The only other material that is useful in cones is aluminum, and only in low frequency cones where both the fundamental pitch and the overtones are low enough in frequency not to excite the breakup modes of the cone, and where the aluminum enables pistonic motion with low loss, and light weight while remaining cost-effective. Other materials exist in speaker manufacturing, but only to deal with adverse environmental conditions or confuse the public with claims of "space-age", "aerospace" or "bulletproof" characteristics that don't address the shortcomings of those materials when used for speaker cones, or to try to justify a higher price tag through uncommon and needlessly difficult materials to use.

For tweeter domes and diaphragms, the size of the diaphragm is small enough that some metals provide an advantage in strength without a meaningful sacrifice in efficiency. For cone loudspeakers, the loss in efficiency becomes significant.

Do some research before you spout off about what you don't know.

Ortofan's picture

... material research project conducted at Harbeth, which concluded that the particular formulation of plastic they now use exhibits the ideal properties for a speaker cone.

For another take on the performance of various speaker cone materials see this:

There's more, if the above proves insufficient to make you more informed - and less insulting.

Psychedelicious's picture

Well JVS, I must say you have impressed with your stamina. Complete coverage of the show all on your own is quite the feat.