DITA the Dream is a clean, neutral monitor, emphasizing clarity and articulation. There is very little warmth not directly associated with the bass, yet at the same time, the Dream avoids straying into bright territory. As I said, it’s neutral, but neutral with high class. This is not a dry or analytical earphone, per say, though it does have traits of this. Rather, its defining characteristics are dynamic, powerful, and engaging as f**k.
Treble is full, with a hint of brightness… but only a hint. Not enough to skew the whole profile that way, but enough for a sharp, meticulous nature. Its extension is better than decent, though perhaps not the very best I’ve heard. It delivers genuine upper detail without relying on nasty peaks. Indeed it sounds marvelously smooth and linear.
Instruments sparkle a little and you get a sense of air. It’s nicely underplayed. There isn’t much light. In fact, there’s a subtle touch of darkness, aided by the black background, which heightens the cleanliness of the rendering. All of this allows for good crunch and attack, without coming off artificial in aggression.
Vocals are incredibly articulate and textured. They sit center-stage, a step or two away from you, with enough size and weight to demand your attention. But they are not forward, warm, or thick. Nic calls them “uncolored”, and I must agree with that descriptor. Also clean, clear, and intricate. If you require a healthy body to your singers, this may not satisfy. However, they are not thin or hollow, and they definitely don’t sound weak. But they do feel slightly laidback.
Mid-range instruments have great resolution and definition, giving you a precise understanding of their orientation. Possessing moderately quick attack and decay, they keep up well with the music, though speed is not The Dream’s specialty. I particularly love the skill with which DITA ties all the instruments together in profound cohesion, while maintaining beautiful individuality and separation.
In a lot of ways, DITA the Dream’s greatest strength is its bass. It really demands to be admired. Yet it does so without exaggeration or emphasis. This is not a V or U-shaped IEM. As I’ve said a couple of times now, it’s very neutral. But neutral done right. These lows are dynamic and move a lot of air. You feel it as they progress down beyond the threshold of hearing. They are full, but not bloated in any fashion. Likewise, they do not feel lean or lacking.
Sub-bass stands tall, providing power and meat to the signature. Then it gently slopes down through mid-bass, blending flawless into the vocals, leaving them untouched by bleed-over. There is excellent rumble and authority. Yet the presentation is controlled and rather quick for a DD. Smoothness permeates a rich, earthy timbre. Because of this, detail and texture are not especially high. Instead, you’ll have to settle for an abundantly natural, organic tonality. Pity, I know.
Soundstage is goddamn glorious. It’s so wide and deep, creating one of the most three-dimensional presentations I’ve experienced. Height is about average, though. Imaging is spot-on-perfect. Separation is quite good, though I have heard better. The Dream renders at a resolution you just don’t expect from a DD, and rivals many TOTL multi-BA IEMs. Its technical prowess is absolutely laudable.
Making the comparison to my 64Audio tia Fourté ($3,599, Reivew HERE) I find a very similar signature, with many commonalities. The biggest thing which jumped out, upon listening to them back-to-back, shocked the hell out of me. Fourté sounds lush compared to The Dream. WTF? It’s been a full week since last I listened to it, but hearing Fourté now, I perceive rich liquidity. Wet, in fact. Compared to The Dream, which comes off drier and perhaps a little thinner. I guess this oughtn’t to have surprised me, as I always said tia Fourté utterly vomited musicality, just in a different way than we’re used to in this hobby. The Dream sounds more clinical, or reference, in direct comparison.
Treble on the 64Audio extends the farthest I’ve ever heard. That tia High driver unleashes something that knows no boundaries. It does have a small bit of extra brightness, though. So beware, those who are sensitive to that. Still, it’s very smooth up top, in spite of the prominence and unbridled sparkle.
Fourté’s mids have more body and warmth, if warmth is the right word. They sound fuller and more tangible, while still possessing extreme transparency. DITA’s vocals are more laidback, and a little smaller. 64Audio has the more energetic, dynamic presentation. Detail is about the same, though I would give the edge to Fourté, just barely.
Between these two IEMs, it’s hard to say which wins in the bass department. They’re both using dynamic drivers for that frequency range, and the result is remarkably close in tone and quality. More than that, they are shaped alike, with more sub-bass than mid-bass, and no real bleed into the vocals. Fourté, however, has the fuller low-end, owning the weightier presence. The Dream, again, is leaner, exhibiting a drier nature.
Soundstage is damn near a tie. Maybe DITA is a hair wider, while Fourté is just as deep, if not deeper, and CERTAINLY taller. Imaging is equally perfect on both. Separation, however, goes to tia Fourté. This is in part due to its unbeatable resolution. Nothing touches it, not even The Dream. Though to be fair, DITA gives a shockingly good try.
I’m sitting here trying to think of what else I can compare to DITA the Dream, and I’m drawing a blank. Even though Fourté is a 3rd degree hybrid, and The Dream is but a simple DD, they really are so very close in so many ways. The only other IEM I own worth matching against this level of competition is the Noble Audio Kaiser Encore. And since I’ve dubbed Fourté “Encore Ultra”, I don’t see a need to unravel that thread. I suppose I could write about The Dream vs Campfire Audio Dorado, but allow me to save a lot of time: The Dream is better in every conceivable way. The end.