The Vitus SCD-025 (or SD-025 without transport) is our biggest seller here as far as digital sources go. Since it was upgraded to MK2 form in 2016 it was very much the equal of the somewhat ‘long in the tooth’ £25,000 Vitus Masterpiece DAC which is now being revised. Ballsy, weighty, organic, deliciously tactile and intimate, very few people can resist an SCD once fully warmed up. True, there are slightly more resolving DAC’s out there like the Vivaldi from DCS, the MSB reference etc. but apart from being some £50,000/£60,000 cheaper, what the SCD loses out in the last few cubic cm of space and final few degrees of microdetail, it will counter with its beautifully natural and fluid presentation. The SCD is simply extremely pleasurable device to listen to and will never once fatigue or tire out the ears. In point of fact, in around 4 years of SCD home demos we only ever had one instance where it lost out to another player and that was an elaborate Audio Note affair that had a price tag in excess of £100,000. Even then the customer said it got remarkably close for such a small fraction of the cost.

But what about alternatives to the Vitus SCD ? If you wish to retain the same sense of enjoyment, the same liquidity and naturalness and at the same time avoid a pricetag north of £50,000 what else is there to choose from ? The Camira “Digital Music Converter” from Tidal Audio replaces the older model Camira and outperforms it significantly at a much lower price. Launched at Munich Highend in 2017 to great effect where it was the source for the flagship £750,000 system assembled for the German show, it has been going great guns here in late 2017/early 2018.

Tidal Camira DMC DAC @ Lotus Hifi

Tidal are naturally a little tight lipped about everything that goes into their electronics but we can certainly highlight the Camira’s unique proprietary technology named “ASRT”. This is their Analogue Signal Remediation technology and with it Tidal are able to construct an analogue signal from any stepped 44.1 Khz signal. To this effect it uses none of the existing technologies like upsampling, oversampling, clocking or re-clocking. Delving into the spec a little more we see precision resistors with 0.01% tolerance, ultra low ESR organic capacitors and an output amplifier which is fully discrete Class A.

After that we have the usual Tidal construction. Power to PCB hollow conductor cables which are pure silver, true balanced output, x20 separate ultra low noise voltage supplies for each component on each channel and a complete absence of connectors, cable bridges and wiring. The Camira sports no less than 5 digital inputs (USB, AES x2, BNC Spdif, RCA Spdif) and one set of fully balanced XLR outputs. Sampling rate is up to 384 Khz / 24bit PCM and DSD256.

Tidal Camira DMC DAC @ Lotus Hifi

What can you expect then from the best Dac currently produced at Tidal Audio and how might it differ from the Vitus SCD ? Let’s bring in four simple words and look at them one by one: calmness, clarity, scale, vitality.

Calmness might be the very first thing you notice. Whatever you play immediately seems very simple, settled, and organised and the DAC seems to be exuding an immense degree of composure and steadyness. Whilst peaceful and more recessive music seems relaxed and at ease, dynamic shifts in more energetic music happen with huge energy and in a very intelligble, organised fashion. The swing from zero to 1 for any given note or instrument is fast, clean, begins from a very dark background and ends with great resolution and transparency. The net result of course is a highly understandable rendition of the music but one with great dynamics and bandwidth.

A lot of the reason for this sense of unflusteredness is of course, down to our second word Clarity. The Camira is resolving a large amount of detail, is highly neutral and even against the likes of the SCD there is a sense that some noise or clutter that you couldn’t actually perceive beforehand with a rival DAC, has now been removed. Clarity means that the Camira has this delicious sense of purity totally devoid of any artefact or residual noise, as if you are able to peer on and on through every strand of the music with not one single extra fibre added in. The edges and beginnings of notes, as well as their decay, have a lucidity and sense of cleanliness which can be quite breathtaking at times.

Whilst you would only ever really describe an SCD as neutral, it’s fair to say that it possesses a smidge of extra warmth over the Camira. The retrieval of textural and timbral information is still of the very highest order with the Camira but you could say that the SCD is a degree more saturated in this respect with the gentlest of bloom to the upper bass/lower mids giving a hugely pleasing fingerprint to the final sound. It’s smoother too vis a vis the Camira’s slightly more precise and articulated personality but both players don’t even hint at ever sounding analytical or detail-centric and as you would expect from Lotus, they both utterly exemplify the very natural, liquid sound which most of us strive for.

Tidal Camira DMC DAC @ Lotus Hifi

Scale is a fairly obvious one. The Camira is a very big enveloping sound of the kind only normally associated with very expensive Record decks playing top quality Vinyl through some sort of exotic phono stage. Whilst the SCD gives you a huge expansive soundstage and bags of space and air between instruments and performers, the Camira is perhaps even more generous in this  respect. Is the SCD actually more holographic than the Camira ? That is a tough one to call but I think perhaps it is, with a slightly more voluminous and pressurised rendition of space more akin to a Tube design.

Not only is the Camira soundstaging extremely wide but it is deep front to back. There is a highly  pleasurable impression that the location of the music is far far bigger than the footprint of the speakers or indeed the extents of the room. This gives a huge sense of performance and “here and now” to  your music. With good electronics and loudspeakers, sounds can sometimes seem to emanate from the next room, sometimes behind you or even from outside the house. The scale of the Camira’s presentation goes a long way in forcing the equipment or the system to dissappear and this trick for me is one of the very ultimate goals of this great hobby of ours.

Tidal Camira DMC DAC @ Lotus Hifi

In a way, Vitality owes much to the effects of the first three properties. Calmness, clarity and scale all create a sound that powerfully suspends disbelief and makes the music feel alive and impromptu, as if it was being played for the very first time ever, right now, in your listening room. A sound that is vital and alive also has superb dynamics and energy swings, nimbleness and speed and a deathly black background against which all this energy can explode forth. The very highest levels of fine detail in instruments and voices bring about a feeling of realism and tangibility that can leave the very best recordings sounding actually quite spooky.

Tidal Camira DMC DAC @ Lotus Hifi

For those that have the means, the Camira is a wonderful device in a elite class that makes it one the very best sources that the world has to offer. If you have a system of commensurate transparency and openess which will do justice to a digital source of this sort of level then it demands very serious investigation. You need an awful lot of turntable and phonostage to match it and as the Munich Show proved, it is quite capable of holding its own in front of £700,000 of amps and speakers.

The last point of this article though perhaps rests with Vitus Audio. The SCD-025 at the time of writing remains some £7500 cheaper than the Camira yet the distance between the two of them is perhaps less than that amount would suggest. Slide a set of Stillpoint Ultra 6 isolation devices underneath the SCD and that sonic gap narrows even further.

Truth be told, they are both incredible digital sources and you will most certainly come away with one or the other. Whilst the Camira may hold the aces when it comes to most of the hifi check boxes (and so it should do at the price), the SCD has a richness and a tonality which means that many would find it equally as compelling.

The Lotus DAC story also does not quite end there because there are rumours of a forthcoming all new 2 box Masterpiece DAC from Denmark which will hopefully appear end of 2018, begining of 2019 so as ever, watch this space.

Tidal Camira DMC DAC @ Lotus Hifi
Further Reading
  • pure discrete designed 24 bit non-oversampling R2R ladder DAC without pre-ringing and post-ringing
  • proprietary USB-to-I²S interface directly into the I²S interface of the ladder DAC without detouring USB-to-SPDIF > SPDIF-to-I²S > I²S-to-DAC
  • proprietary ASRT Analog Signal Remediation Technology: Field Programmable Gate Array for most precise timing informations between the left and right channel incl. timing correction and audio signal remediation processing of 44.1 KHz signals
  • true balanced output concept without any sound-changing inverted signal generation (like with transformer outputs)
  • every function-module has its own voltage supply, separated for each channel, left and right, for e.g. such as for the amplification, the DAC, the PCM-unit and the USB-module and others. All together 20 ultra low noise voltage supplies.
  • the best cables are: no cables at all. Therefore you will not find any connectors, cable bridges or anything like it at the Camira. The only wiring we are using inside is an original TIDAL Reference hollow conductor silver cable from the power input directly soldered onto the PCB board – no compromise.
  • 2 x digital input AES (XLR)
  • 2 x digital SPDIF (coaxial BNC, cinch RCA)
  • 1 x asynchronous USB class 2 input for PCM and DSD/DXD audio formats
  • up to 384 KHz sampling rate
  • 384 KHz/24 bit PCM and up to DSD256
  • no drivers needed for MAC OS and Linux
  • drivers for Windows
  • DSD by DoP and native over ASIO interface for Windows
  • 0,01% tolerance precision resistors
  • femto clock ultra low noise oscillator (-169 dB)
  • fully discrete Class-A output amplifier
  • ultralow-ESR organic capacitors


  • Dimensions: 44cm x 13cm x 39cm / 17.3″ x 5.1″ x 15.3″ (width x height x length)
  • Weight: 24 lbs. / 11 kg