DITA Perpetua Review – Timeless

Comparisons –

Final Audio A8000 ($2000): The A8000 is one of the finest single-DD IEMs on the market and one of the first to employ a full beryllium dynamic driver. It has a Harman-target tuning that makes it a lot brighter than the Perpetua. This gives it a more revealing and aggressive sound but also makes it more fatiguing. The bass tuning is quite similar on both with just a hair more sub-bass on the A8000. In turn, it slams a little harder at the bottom while the Perpetua sounds a bit fuller and a touch warmer in the deep and mid-bass. The A8000 is a more aggressive performer, having a keener attack and a leaner note. The Perpetua is similarly controlled and decays equally swiftly, boasting superior texture and a more natural timbre. However, it isn’t quite as pacey as the A8000 overall due to its style of presentation. Above, the A8000 has a more prominent midrange. The Perpetua has a similar vocal size and a more balanced positioning with the A8000 being more vocal forward especially regarding female vocals.

The A8000 has a more intense, revealing voicing. It is thinner and more defined but errs on the cool side. The Perpetua is a more relaxed performer, it is far more forgiving whilst being almost as resolving of raw detail, I also find it to layer better. The A8000 has a brighter treble too and its’ emphasis is focused around the lower treble which gives it a sharper articulation and a crisper, more aggressively detailed foreground. Though thinner, it has better definition and fine detail retrieval in turn. The Perpetua lacks this, boasting greater air and sparkle above instead. It also has superior top-end extension to my ears with slightly better background detail retrieval. The A8000 has a wider stage and more holographic imaging while the Perpetua is more stable and evenly proportioned.

Soft Ears RS10 ($2000): The RS10 is a very linear earphone that rides a line between the A8000 and Perpetua. Using an all-BA setup, it has a different note presentation character. This is pertinent in the bass where the Perpetua provides a noticeably deeper reaching and more pressurized sub-bass. The Perpetua has slightly more bass and a slightly bolder character as a result of its sub-bass. It has more impact and slam. The RS10 is leaner and cleaner with better separation and a noticeably quicker decaying mid-bass. This gives it a more defined and responsive sound though also a slightly less authentic one. The midrange is more forward on the RS10 by comparison. Vocals are put more in the spotlight over instruments and they are presented with a squeaky-clean tone. The Perpetua has slightly larger, more filled-in vocals with a more coherent character. It is denser and smoother with a better balance between male and female vocals.

The RS10 has higher definition and is more revealing. Its overall resolution is one step higher but the Perpetua is surprisingly close especially given its much smoother nature; all the small details are present but less evident. Treble is also slightly more present on the RS10 and it has a crisper character stemming from its greater lower treble presence. The RS10 has a sharper, more defined leading edge giving a more aggressive detail presentation and an advantage on fine detail presentation. The Perpetua is smoother and more forgiving, with a bit more body and texture to its notes. It extends almost as well and retrieves similar background detail. The RS10 and Perpetua have similarly sized stages, the RS10 being a bit wider, the Perpetua a bit deeper. The RS10 has sharper positioning but the Perpetua has more defined layering.

MMR Balmung ($2799): The Balmung offers a huge BA count in a beautiful artisan metal shell and a coloured, fun tuning. Overall, it is a noticeably warmer, bassier earphone. The Balmung doesn’t have the same sub-bass slam and pressure but hits a lot harder in the mid-bass. It has a big, thick bass but, with greater mid-bass emphasis, also sounds warmer and rounder. It isn’t overly rounded but definitely has a fatter and fuzzier character than the more bold, defined Perpetua. That said, its BA drivers deliver a very fast decay that aids a highly defined mid-bass. The Perpetua is a more natural performer with a more accurate timbre and better dynamics in addition to being more balanced. The midrange is far more even and natural on the Perpetua. The Balmung isn’t a bad performer, it is simply more coloured. The Balmung is higher contrast, with greater upper-midrange clarity but also greater warmth. This gives it a more voluminous sound and a bit more fuzz.

The Perpetua sounds cleaner and smoother with greater density. Both earphones are a delight to listen to here, especially if you are a lover of coherence. The style of presentation is quite similar, with the Balmung being a bit more forward and warm, the Perpetua a touch more laid-back and tonally cleaner. The Balmung has a more grounded treble with greater initial bite and a bit more note body and texture. The Perpetua sounds more esoteric with less body and an airier nature with greater shimmer. The Balmung has a darker background while the Perpetua offers a bit more sparkle and air. The Balmung offers a larger stage in all axis and its imaging is more multi-dimensional. The Perpetua has a more focused centre image and also slightly better layering. To my ears, its overall separation is slightly better on the Perpetua too with the Balmung being faster but also warmer.

Empire Ears Odin ($3299): For a slight premium you can step up to the substantially more elaborate Odin. Overall, the two have a similar level of bass, the Odin can appear to have a touch less due to its more prominent upper-midrange. The Odin has a more aggressive, harder-hitting sub-bass and more of its emphasis lies in this region. This gives its’ low-end a more dynamic, energetic quality. The Perpetua is bolder and its notes are thicker. They linger a little longer yielding greater mid-bass texture and the sub-bass isn’t as commanding, achieving subjectively greater balance. The Odin flaunts excellent detail retrieval and is a more engaging earphone overall. The midrange is slightly more present on the Odin making for a more W-shaped sound with greater contrast and clarity. It has more upper-midrange bias giving it a higher clarity, albeit thinner sound.

Still, vocal size is good as is the voicing and it has noticeably better separation as a result. The Perpetua is smoother with larger, lusher vocals. It sounds more forgiving and has a more natural timbre. Though less revealing, definition is similar albeit the Odin does have higher resolution with a slightly clearer presentation of fine details, further aided by the tuning. Above, the Odin is also brighter and more aggressive albeit not overly sharp. It has a broader lower and mid-treble emphasis giving it good bite but also a good amount of air and sparkle. Treble is a bit splashier on the Odin but also has greater fine detail retrieval and a more immediate character. The Perpetua is smoother, and it has a more accurate instrument body, however, its foreground isn’t as focused. The Odin also extends better delivering greater headroom, air and micro-detail at the very top.  The Odin has a larger stage and more holographic imaging whilst the Perpetua layers better.

Verdict –

When looking at such a prohibitively priced product, buyers are well within their rights to expect something a little extra. The Perpetua certainly starts off on the right foot with its lavish unboxing and it keeps pace well with its similarly well-formed design and rock-solid build quality. I am a huge fan of the ergonomics on this earphone too, especially considering that most competitors are far more cumbersome or pursue style over substance; where the Perpetua manages both with aplomb. Awesome Plug is another incentive and a very well-realised modular cable system. In listening, this impression remains true as the Perpetua provides a gorgeous smooth and beautifully executed tuning.

The driver showcases excellent quality albeit lacks that last iota of resolving power to match competitors with more elaborate driver setups. This rings especially true with regards to imaging where most other TOTL earphones have the Perpetua bested. In addition, separation and raw clarity are not this earphone’s forte, and this is especially apparent during comparisons where many have chosen to adopt a tunning that enhances these qualities. However, I would argue that this exact logic makes DITA’s offering all the more unique. If you’re looking for a velvety sound with zero fatigue that balances a powerful, textured bass with excellent midrange definition and timbre, the Perpetua is without equal regardless of driver type.

The Perpetua is available from Project Perfection (International) for $4499 SGD at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with Project Perfection or DITA and receive no earnings from purchases made through these links.

Track List – 

Billie Eilish – dont smile at me

Bob Seger – Night Moves

Courtney Barnett – Rae Street

Cream – Wheels of Fire

Dire Straits – Communique

Dirty Loops – Next To You

Eagles – Hotel California

Elton John – Honky Chateau

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

H.E.R – I Used To Know Her

Jasen – BYE

John Mayer – Continuum

Kanye West – Ye

Missy Higgins – The Sound of White

Radiohead – OK Computer

TALA – ain’t leavin` without you

The Beatles – Abbey Road

The weeknd – After Hours

Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Ryan Soo

Ryan Soo

Avid writer, passionate photographer and sleep-deprived medical student, Ryan has an ongoing desire to bring quality products to the regular reader.

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