As mentioned, its bass can be considered neutral – but it’s lighter than average. Most manufacturers choose a slight emphasis on the low end to add a bit of energy and rhythmicity. It’s an unobtrusive bass, performing steadily in the background. It isn’t necessarily the most engaging bass, but it’s relatively fast and airy. In addition, its hits are tight and well controlled – there isn’t much weight to carry around.
Rather, it’s an audiophile tuning of the bass, focusing on tone and quality, rather than sheer impact. Its low-end extension is good, as is its definition. But there are also important advantages resulting from Deca’s attenuated bass: specifically, the airiness of the stage and the midrange transparency.
Deca’s midrange is primarily characterized by an upper midrange peak, providing a clear and open sound. There’s a certain lightness to it as it’s only slightly warm, but natural in tone. The upper bass and lower midrange however are laidback in the presentation, resulting in a leaner structure of midrange notes. Cellos or heavier electric guitars for instance might miss a bit of weight, that extra bit of power to make them sound more impressive.
But what the lower midrange might lack in body, it more than makes up for in the upper midrange’s tone. For this truly is one of the finest upper midranges money can buy. It’s both remarkably clear, as well as accurate in timbre. Aether’s upper midrange is a bit warmer, but Deca’s is simply purer; whether the pluck of an acoustic guitar, or stroke of a violin – they resonate with a magnificent beauty. It’s a very transparent sound, succeeding in its ability to sound clear without sounding bright.
This returns in the vocal presentation. The forwardness of the vocals tends to fluctuate a bit, shifting between neutral to slightly forward depending on the track. But especially deeper male vocals miss a bit of body – it’s not a very dense or powerful vocal presentation. Their tone however is good, with just the right amount of warmth for them to sound realistic. Female vocals on the other hand truly flourish – there’s a certain sweetness to their song, balancing clarity with tone and enough solidity.
Deca’s signature is finished off with an attenuated treble, resulting in an overall natural timbre. This is a very smooth, yet sufficiently clear and detailed treble. In addition, Deca retains a safe margin when it comes to sibilance. It isn’t an overly sparkly monitor – the treble won’t jump out to catch your attention. And as Deca’s resolution is about average and its lower treble is attenuated, it isn’t particularly upfront in its detail retrieval. Especially finer treble details relying on the higher frequencies can be more of a musical side note; but they’re nevertheless part of the flow, just less prominent – there’s sufficient clarity on the stage for all the detail to emerge.
Within its tuning, dipping the lower treble is a necessity for the overall naturalness of the presentation. Accordingly, it gives notes a softer attack, and the general focus shifts away from analytical precision. The downside is that its imaging misses a bit of the pinpoint precision you’ll find with monitors like the EarSonics S-EM9 or NT6pro. Clearly, there’s a tradeoff off of smooth musical flow and naturalness, for that final bit of accuracy. In addition, its treble extension is only around the iem average of 10-11 KHz, as is its speed. However, as both its definition and tone are quite good, it’s overall an enjoyable treble to listen to.