Yep. I'm a bit of an outcast when it comes to the DBA-02, as well as the RE0. Take my word as one man's opinion. I simply have certain expectations of sound but also understand what a lot of the top tier models offer because I've owned most of them, many at the same time for months on end to where I could directly compare and contrast them in great detail. I've also owned many of them prior to the DBA-02. Many people buying the DBA-02 have not owned better earphones. This becomes their first higher end product, and they are wowed. I understand that. For some folks who have owned high end products, I don't know how many they've owned, if they still own any of them before stepping to the DBA-02, nor do I know their personal preference and how the DBA-02 or any other earphone fit towards that.
Frankly I would have loved to like the DBA-02. I had hope for it. But after looking at it critically, I simply can't say it's actually that great, well at least as great as it's touted. From a broad point of view, it's a very good earphone in the sea of earphones out there. Versus simply top tier stuff, no, it doesn't compete. From a budget point of view, I'd still prefer the RE-ZERO or Custom 3 over it, and both of them can be had at $100.
If you liked how the notes of the RE0 were presented but maybe wish the tonality wasn't dark, the DBA-02 might be for you. If you thought the RE0 sounded small, weak, or lacked dynamic breadth, and offered a poor sense of sound stage placement and location, the DBA-02 will disappoint you in the same ways. There are simply other products that do a lot of things better than the DBA-02. The DBA-02 does certain things great just like the RE0 does certain things great, but neither does everything well. I would simply tell you to go buy the RE-ZERO because it is a product that does a lot of things well. You should enjoy it over a wider range of music than the DBA-02, although I will admit the DBA-02 will sound cooler initially. However, once the wow wears off, what are you left with? The SE530 was a great wow type earphone, very unique in sound, very good in certain ways. I was very impressed by it for the first week, and I had the UM3X, Triple.Fi 10, and IE8 at the time too. By the end of the second week though, the flaws were becoming quite obvious. Out of the bunch it offered unique qualities/capabilities, but it was also the worst holistically. It did too many things wrong despite being quite special in its own way and very impression upon first listen. Once you look at everything it does and everything it offers, it falls short versus other options. The DBA-02 is something like this (vastly different sounding of course). You will go "wow, this is really cool." If you own no other good earphones at the time, that wow will stay because it's all you're hearing. However, if you have a pile of other products sitting there, and you're comparing over and over song after song, things show through. Capabilities, limitations, what it does right, what it does wrong. In the end, in my eyes, the DBA-02 falls short, at least shorter than products around a similar price point like the RE-ZERO or Custom 3. All 3 sound moderately different, so one may still be favored due to personal preference, but from a holistic sound standpoint, I see the RE-ZERO and Custom 3 as better and cheaper.
actually, custom 3's just recently have become rather hard to find. on amazon, where they are most commonly found, they are going for 180 new. i got them back in december for 109.