Rank #9: Dita Audio Dream

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The Dream is the result of an ambitious quest for perfection, from dynamic driver experts Dita Audio. Sparing no expense in materials and fabrication, Dita set out to create a new standard for reference sound by means of a single dynamic driver.

Dita Audio Dream
-Driver:                      Single Dynamic Driver
-Impedance:             16 Ohm
-Sensitivity:               102 dB
-Fit:                             Universal (stock narrow bore tips)

-PRICE:                        $1800


Preamble: burn-in and source matching

The Dream is a bit of a unique iem in this lineup, which warrants a few extra words. The first aspect is that the Dream’s signature undergoes a bit of a metamorphosis after an extended period of time. I first heard the Dream at 100 hours, as mine was already pre-burned by Dita. That week, I wrote these brief impressions. However, after many more hours the Dream’s signature changes, primarily as a result of a more controlled bass response. For this review, the Dream was burned between 400-500 hours, partially because I used it to burn the Sony WM1Z.

The second notion is that the Dream requires more power than a regular multi BA iem to be driven properly. A lack of power results in a more laidback midrange, and a brighter tone resulting from a relatively more prominent 5 KHz peak. I’ve stated at the begin of the shootout that the descriptions and scoring is based on the RW AK380cu. However as a compromise, for this occasion I will base my impressions on the WM1Z and Lotoo Paw Gold, besides my standard RW AK380cu. The reasoning is that the Lotoo Paw Gold has sufficient power to drive the Dream, but the pairing isn’t as natural as the WM1Z due to its inherently brighter tone. Therefore, the combined impressions from these three sources balance each other out.

The cable

The Dream comes with the most expensive stock cable in this shootout, the Truth SPC consisting of silver-plated copper wires with patented 3T technology by Dutch cable specialists van den Hul. The Truth SPC has good low-end extension, resulting in a deep bodily feel of the bass. In overall quantity, the bass is neither enhanced nor attenuated. As a result, the Truth SPC has a fairly linear signature in tone, and it isn’t particularly warm. There’s a slight emphasis on the upper midrange between 4-5 KHz, which benefits the overall clarity, although the cable doesn’t sound bright altogether. Rather, it results in a more pronounced articulation of notes. Its vocal presentation is neutral in tone, and could be a bit warmer to sound natural. Importantly, the Truth SPC creates a spacious stage, adding both width and depth in comparison to a stock OFC cable. Its top-end extension can be considered roughly average.

The specific pairing with the Dream has its own advantages and disadvantages. The SPC cable contributes to to a well-defined image based on the clarity of notes, the Dream’s unique bass response, as well as its excellent three-dimensional stage. However, both the SPC and Dream share a similar signature, resulting in its characteristically articulated sound: it provides a precise, detailed, and highly separated presentation, but in doing so, trades a bit of warmth from its timbre, as well as its vocal density – an extra emphasis on the upper mid region is traded for the lower midrange. Nevertheless, it’s a purposeful design decision reflecting Dita’s choice for a reference tuning, which they have more than successfully accomplished.


Sound impressions

Presentation
With the Dream, we embark on the first true reference tuning in the shootout. The term ‘reference’ commonly has the connotation of being dry, and somewhat lacking warmth or emotion perhaps. And admittedly, this is also partially true for the Dream. Its midrange isn’t particularly warm, or forward for that matter. But it would be a mistake to confuse reference for analytical, for there’s an important distinction to be made – it might not be warm, but the Dream isn’t bright. It simply provides a clean and uncolored presentation of the music.

But it would be a far greater mistake to confuse ‘reference’ for dull or lifeless; if anything, the Dream is the opposite – it’s highly stimulating. The Dream relies on three key features to impress and even convince you; power, detail, and stage. For starters, it draws its power from deep down below, an impactful bass that only dynamic drivers can deliver. The excitement results from its articulated sound: the definition of instruments, their positioning within the stage, and the high level of detail that arises accordingly.


The final aspect that instantly impresses upon listening, is the Dream’s excellent stage. It’s roughly average in height, but both its width and depth are larger than average, while shaped in almost even proportions. The result is a beautiful three-dimensional stage. Besides, the Dream makes superb use of its grand dimensions. By placing instruments towards the extremities of the stage it stretches the space, while both its imaging and layering ability is precise. The result is a well-defined holographic image. And after its bass has settled in properly, it’s an airy stage. A vast stage, and precise imaging: it culminates in the Dream’s excellent separation, and overall precise image – one worthy of its ‘reference’ label.

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

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