Dita Dream

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. EagleWings
    Demo of Strengths - Review of the Dita Dream
    Written by EagleWings
    Published Feb 14, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Bass Extension, Bass Authority and Control, Separation, Soundstage, Imaging, Speed
    Cons - Dry Mids, Bright, Loose Cable Connector, Poor Cable Ergonomics
    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
    I would once again like to thank @Barra for letting me take part in the Dream tour and, giving me the opportunity to try the IEM.

    INTRODUCTION:
    Dita Audio has always had a fan base for its DD bass and the importance they give to the build, aesthetics and cable. While the company did release a couple of limited edition Truth versions for a higher mark-up, the IEMs that made the primary line-up were still a mid-tier category, at least in terms of the pricing. And from what I have heard, their IEMs punch above their pricepoint and was another one of the reasons for the company's reputation.

    The Dream was a much awaited flagship from Dita. It was not just a flagship, but Dita collaborated with 2 other companies to make the IEM even special. The brand K2 Craft might not ring many bells in the Western Hemisphere. It is a company that makes custom metal faceplates for Custom IEMs. The man behind the K2 Craft is Kazuhiro Oya. I read that the titanium shell of the Dream was designed by Kazuhiro himself. The second collaboration was with Van Den Hul, a Dutch cable manufacturer to create the cable for the IEM. This is also the first time their IEM sports a removable cable.

    HARDWARE, FIT, COMFORT & CABLE:
    Dream sports an uninspiring matte black finish, that actually looks sophisticated when brand new in box. But the moment you lay your hands/fingers on it, it loses its appeal as the shell is a finger print magnet. The oils from your fingers smudge the beauty. The finish is good but nowhere close to Noble Katana, which still holds the title for best shell finish when it comes to hi-fi IEMs in my books. The size of the shell itself is small and doesn't protrude when worn. Although the shell is small in size, the angle of the nozzle might not offer the best fit for some ears.

    While the shell of the IEM didn't impress me much, I was never at a point where I felt like complaining. But once you get to the cable section, starts all the frustration. First, the cable connector on the IEM is loose that the cable kept sliding off. I heard that they fixed this issue to an extent in the more recent batches. My second complaint is with the ergonomics of the cable. It is very springy and not easy to handle and store. It also tangles with the IEM, but it wasn't too bad. But the good thing is, it is not microphonic.

    SOUND:
    The general impression I had on the Dita IEMs was, they had phenomenal bass due to the DD and a sparkly and bright treble to increase its detail retrieval. In essence a slight U shaped signature. And the Dream follows along the same path. But I wouldn't call the Dream as a U shaped IEM as it would throw a wrong idea. But its mid-range is definitely does not sit on the same row as the bass and the treble (upper-mids and lower treble) as they are more prominent in the presentation.

    When Nic published his Dream review as part of the shoot out and saw him comparing Dream's bass to Rhapsodio Galaxy's bass, I messaged him immediately. Because, Galaxy's bass is one of the best bass I have heard in an IEM, due to its sub-bass extension and excellent balance between technicality and authority. He said, Dream is the only DD IEM in the shootout, whose bass came close to Galaxy's bass. And since then, I wanted to try the Dream, if not for anything else, just for the bass. And sure enough, Dream's bass impressed me from day one.

    In terms of quantity, it is a bit north of neutral from the overall tuning giving a solid foundation to the rest of the spectrum. It is able to reach far down in the sub-bass hence the dynamics is excellent. But it is a bass oriented towards sub than the mid-bass, and so, there is a slight darkness that looms in the bass. As a result, this is not a bass that yields a helping hand to the mid-range with warmth and body. Regardless, the bass has very good technicalities with good speed and definition.

    The mid-range of the Dream falls on the dry side of things and is also slightly bright due to the brighter upper-mids. There is decent density, but due to the lack of warmth and body, the mid-range lacks naturalness and emotion. It is a mid-range that is geared towards articulation and clarity. So there is plenty of details and resolution in the mid-range. So you could expect female vocals to sound melodious and the strings to carry the crunch. But for the same reason, it might sound sharp.

    The entire treble is not bright, but the brightness does exist due to the elevated upper-mids and lower-treble. This makes the IEM not so forgiving of poorly recorded material. The treble is nicely detailed and has sufficient air and sparkle. But, Dream is not an IEM that comes to mind when I think of airy and sparkly treble that works for excitement. The treble extension is very good and contributes to resolution, separation and imaging.

    Dream paints a very clean picture of music. As the instrument sizes are not too big, the separation is also nice and does not tend to congestion in most cases. With a spacious stage that has good dimensions on all 3 axes, it can create a holographic feel, especially if the music content have it in them (for example; binalural recordings). The imaging is very fixed and satisfying, except every now and then I desired a slightly larger instrument images to ease the perception and focus.


    SENSITIVITY, POWER REQUIREMENTS & SOURCE PAIRINGS:

    The IEM is not too difficult to drive so it should go to loud volumes even on your smartphone. And I got no hiss out of my LPG. What I keep hearing about certain DD IEMs is that they would lack dynamics and body and would sound bright if not driven by a powerful source. I found that to be true with the Rhapsodio Galaxy. With the Dream though, I didn't have the time to test this. But given that my source was LPG, I was not limited in terms of power. But generally, a powerful source is advised. Also from what I have heard, Sony WM1Z via 4.4 Balanced seems to be a common favorite pairing for the Dream. Or any other powerful source that has a warm/smooth toe should be a good pairing with the Dream.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:

    Dream is not an IEM if you are after a mid-centric signature or something that specializes in vocals. While it does have good vocal articulation, it does not have the weight and authority in the vocals that render a natural sense. Given its unique signature, it is not an IEM that I would recommend based on music genre. But if I were to nit-pick, it works well for classical and orchestra based music. So, what it basically comes down to is, an individual's preference for this kind of signature. I know some head-fiers who enjoy their Dream for all kinds of genre. On the other hand, if this signature is not your cup of tea, there is no point in trying to make it work for any specific genre. It is that black and white. You either like it for what it is, or simply don't. There's no grey area here.

    COMPARISONS:
    Dream vs U18:

    Dream is a single DD IEM, where as, the U18 is an 18 x BA IEM. Both fall on either end of the spectrum when it comes to Driver Configuration. While their sound presentation might not fall on opposite ends, they do carry very different presentations.

    Both construct very large stages that are holographic, with a neutral positioning of instruments in the stage (neither forward nor laidback) with the Dream may be sightly behind that of U18's positioning. While the overall stage sizes are large, U18's stage appears larger due to the phenomenal width and the airiness, thanks to its airy treble. The Dream however, constructs a more 3 dimensional stage with better depth than the U18. Despite having better depth than the U18, the layering capabilities of the Dream is only on par with the U18. Both have dark backgrounds and belong to the top tier, when it comes to imaging and instrument separation.

    U18's bass might possibly be one of the best BA bass as it combines authority and speed. But what it lacks is Dream's natural decay and effortless sub-bass extension. U18 has slightly more bass quantity and better mid-bass warmth resulting in a warmer and fuller bass that continues in the mid-range. While bass as such is better on the Dream, U18's bass works more coherently with the rest of the spectrum.

    U18's mid-range may not be classified as completely natural, but when compared to Dream's mid-range, it has slightly more warmth and body, resulting in a more palpable and enjoyable mid-range. Dream's mid-range is oriented towards upepr mid-range and so prioritizes articulation and clarity. U18 maintains equal articulation and clarity, but it balances it well with some warmth and so it does not err towards dryness. The density is also on the similar level, so the vocals carry good weight.

    In the treble, U18 is brighter throughout the treble band and extends further in terms of high treble extension. But its a controlled form of brightness that doesn't easily lead to sibilance or sharpness. Dream on the other hand is bright due to a pronounced upper-mids and lower-treble. Since this stands above the rest of the neighboring frequency, it tends to sibilance and sharpness more frequently than the U18, despite the U18 being overall brighter in the treble. U18 also possesses a more sparkly and airy treble that adds excitement and the dream lacks this. In terms of resolution and detail retrieval, Dream may be a touch behind the U18.


    CONCLUSION:

    Dream has its strengths and those strengths are easily the selling point of the IEM. But the drawback of the IEM is those strengths stand alone to shine in their own respects, rather than working together with the signature to be a rather versatile monitor. But I do know people who appreciate this kind of tuning. So if you are looking for a single DD based IEM with amazing bass, excellent detail retrieval, good staging and imaging, and prefer your mid-range to be articulated but dry in nature, Dream is an IEM you need to consider.
      flinkenick, Kerouac and Wyville like this.
  2. subguy812
    Dreams Do Come True
    Written by subguy812
    Published Jul 20, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Titanium, Clarity and Details
    Cons - Price, Cable ergonomics
    Dita Audio Dream

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    http://www.ditaaudio.com/index.php/

    http://www.ditaaudio.com/index.php/products/dream.html

    A Little Technical Stuff:

    · DRIVERS: 1 Newly-Developed Ultra-wide Bandwidth 10mm Transducer
    · SENSITIVITY: 102dB
    · IMPEDANCE: 16 Ohm
    · FIT: Universal

    Dita Audio Dream
    -MRSP: Universal fit $1800

    I want to thank Desmond for all of his patience in answering all of my questions. My experience with Dita Audio has been exceptional. They are proud of their product, rightfully so, and quickly respond to your needs. I also want to thank Desmond for allowing me to hear the Truth Copper cable as well. The guy even responded to me when he was on vacation…unnecessary but first class all of the way!

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    I try to open with a brief opening statement about my experience and this review is no different. The Dream is only available in universal which works great for me, I am not the CIEM guy yet. The shells are small, titanium and black. I love the look of the Dream and I love the sound, these are truly TOTL.

    Whether you believe that burn-in has any effect on sound is up to you to decide. I will say that Dita recommends at least 200 hours of burn-in and I know each time I finished listening to them I left them running with pink noise. All told I have between 400-450 hours burn-in presently.

    The price of admission for the Dream is high but let’s get into this thing and take a look at what you receive. Not an unboxing, this segment is more designed to discuss the one major addition to the Dream package and that is the stock SPC cable that you receive. To my knowledge, this is one of the more premium stock cables included with an IEM package. The cable is manufactured by Van den Hul a Dutch company established in 1980. You can learn more about the company below. Also, the second link is about the Dita cable. It is a premium cable that retails for 499.00, great job Dita for providing such an awesome stock cable. The cable is well built and sturdy. The sound it delivers when used with the Dream is airy, detailed, precise and creates an incredible separation and gives you the aura of a 3-D stage. Sounds are precise and almost surgical in delivery. The tones are not sharp but very clear and the SPC cable helps to create the overall signature. Very clean indeed!

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    The Truth Copper seems to smooth things out ever so slightly while still maintaining the positive attributes of the Dream’s signature such as clarity, stage and separation. I really enjoy the Truth Copper cable, especially when paired with the Dream. I have tried it with other TOTL IEM’s and my overall impression is positive. The only negative with the Truth SPC and Truth Copper are the ergonomics. They are stiff and uncooperative at times. Well built, very sturdy, but very stiff.

    http://www.vandenhul.com/

    http://www.ditaaudio.com/index.php/technology/cables.html


    The Dream includes:

    · 3 Pairs Small Bore Tips S/M/L (sweeter highs)

    · 3 Pairs Medium Bore Tips S/M/L (reference tuning)

    · 3 Pairs Large Bore Tips S/M/L (airier highs)

    · 1 Custom Flight Adapter

    · 1 Premium Leather Pouch


    Also included is a card with a serial number and the additional connectors for the cable (2.5mm and 3.5mm). When using the cable, you have the ability to switch connectors from 2.5mm to 3.5mm and 4.4mm (available). It is a cool design allowing you to switch sources without disconnecting the cable from the IEM shell. Only unscrew, snap on the connector you wish to use, and screw it tight again. They coin this design the Awesome Plug. I felt the entire retail package I received was appropriate for the price and first rate.

    http://www.ditaaudio.com/index.php/products/truth-replacement-cable.html

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    A little of the marketing hype from the Dita Audio website:


    “The latest and flagship model, Dream. A new custom dynamic driver powers the Dream with a smoother mid-band and bass that reaches even lower with greater control. Dream is also equipped with the Awesome Plug for a multitude of new features.”

    “Dream, the latest and flagship model of Dita's 3-model lineup.

    The Titanium Black Dream is made in Japan and is equipped with cables sourced from the venerable Dutch cable company, Van Den Hul. A new custom dynamic driver powers the Dream with a smoother mid-band and bass that reaches even lower with greater control. Dream is also equipped with the Awesome Plug for a multitude of new features.”

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    The build quality of the Dream is great. They feel durable as well they should as they are a cast Titanium, unique to say the least. They are lightweight and feel as they will be durable over the long haul which would characterize the properties of Titanium. The overall comfort allows the listener to have long listening sessions without pain or annoyance. The nozzles are angled and a little short which can make for a shallow insertion. The nozzles are notched so the tips stay on the nozzle and not in your ear when you remove them. Due to the shallow insertion, you may want to use one size larger on the tips. I used my favorite JVC Spiral Dot tips and my new favorite narrow bore Final Audio ear tips. It is tossup which I use more, I enjoy the sound of the Dream with both.

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    Let us review the sound, shall we?

    For the review, I paired the Dream with the A&K Kann, Opus #2 and the LG G6(American). The Dream really enjoy some power or they can sound a bit thin and anemic, therefore the Kann would be my DAP of choice for the Dream. I used the stock SPC cable as well as briefly testing the Truth Copper cable.

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    I already highlighted a little of what you could expect from the sound above but let just a take a little deeper dive and discuss the joy my ears have had over the past few weeks of listening. Reference tilted IEM’s without being analytical and stale. I am not sure what that classification conjures up in your mind but the Dream has energy and allows the listener to hear many of the nuances in your music. Classical and Jazz lovers will appreciate this. It is important to remember that these are Dynamic Drivers and have some of the finest bass available. The reason I mention that now is with all of this talk of airy, clear and detailed you may have the impressions these are a bright IEM, they are not bright but clear in delivery. It is important to remember the DD bass really fills in the body. I would characterize the stage as very broad and very deep. As mentioned earlier, it is a 3D holographic stage. The various instruments come at you from the fringes of the soundstage. Notes sound separated by air and instrument placement is very obvious. Overall the stage and separation are excellent, a notch above.

    Bass

    The Dream’s bass is not bloomy or obtrusive it is only a bit right of neutral with ample sub bass. You can feel the low rumble of the bass. It never takes center stage but the bass knows it’s place in the spectrum. The sub rumbles and the mid bass is punchy and has an excellent overall tone providing an excellent bass synergy. To my ears it is the finest bass I have heard. It may not stack up to the speed of say BA bass but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience in the least. As mentioned it is never bloomy and never bleeds into the other ranges. It actually fills in the gaps in the other ranges with the addition of controlled body. Controlled, rich and punchy and deep. Awesome bass!

    The bass likes a little power so a bright, underpowered source might not be the best choice for these. Kann does a wonderful job with driving these through its powerful balanced output. The Opus #2 delivers an exceptional sound experience from the quality perspective and it is a sublime pairing. However, I think the Kann drives them with the authority needed. Lg G6 was okay but it required max volume and they sounded a little thin. For comparison, the Dream certainly doesn’t have the quantity of bass as say a 64 Audio U12 but it has a better quality of bass.

    Mids

    The midrange of the Dream is delivered to you with a high level of detail and clarity. The overall impression of the midrange is revealing and clear. The midrange does not have warmth or any darkness in its tone, it relies on the ample bass quality for that. Again, I feel I am being redundant but the sound is very clean without being bright. The notes are separated by air and there is a certain quality of attack in the midrange. At times, I find the midrange a little forward, not in a negative way but in a way that might be what you might hear from a home stereo system with the speakers facing you. You may actually think the upper mids might touch their toe over the line toward edginess, or harshness but it never happens. This is why these are great for stringed instruments, Classical and Jazz. Reference sound offering nice detail. In keeping with the trend, vocals tend to be clear and forward. Crisp female vocals and smooth male vocals.

    Treble

    The treble description is probably the most difficult to articulate with words for me. The treble is certainly in the mix and is to be saluted for the large part it plays in the detail and clarity. The treble notes aren’t sharp, harsh or sibilant. The treble tones follow suit in the clarity game of the midrange. There is some treble twinkle but it isn’t overly bright, again I would avoid an overly bright source. I think the treble blends in nicely with the rest of the spectrum. There is a fair amount of extension in the treble but the fact that it meshes so nicely with the midrange rounds out this wonderful package.

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    In Closing

    The sexy design, excellent Titanium shell, incredible stock cable and overall fantastic sound. There really aren’t many negatives that pop out at me. I would say the price could cause pause to some and the ergonomics of the cable could be better. It is not the most expensive IEM I own but for a single driver, in this age of more is better, it is expensive. To Classical and Jazz listeners it could be end game which could factor into your decision to purchase. I actually enjoyed these with EDM also, that genre made good use of the DD bass. I think the overall tone of this review, my apologies for the redundancy, is the clarity. These are a fantastic reference IEM with a detailed presentation. The soundstage needs to be heard to be appreciated, it is incredible. The air cradling the notes and width of the stage to go along with the holographic qualities make for a WOW listening experience that appears to mature with burn-in, in my opinion. Achieving a good seal is critical and a using a neutral or mildly warm source would be the best pairing.

    I have posted some of my correspondence from Desmond of Dita:

    "The Dream casing is made from 100% cast Titanium, after that is is machined down and finally finished by hand. It’s a crazy time consuming process that makes it impossible to mass produce, therefore we will only do a very small run of it. Actually we are almost sold out already, we are now just fulfilling back orders to distributors. Hopefully those lucky few that have them will see an appreciation in prices in the future."

    Next sit back, take in the experience and don’t forget to occasionally pinch yourself as this all may be a Dream. With Dita Dream your dream can become a reality.

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      Adventure, ranfan, spw1880 and 5 others like this.