Dita recently unveiled their new dynamic driver flagship, the Dream. A Q&A with Desmond, one of the two co-founders of Dita Audio, and brief impressions.
Q: Hi Desmond, can you share a bit of how Dita Audio came to life?
Danny and myself have know each other since we were 15 years old in school. After school, I went on to work in my family’s business selling hi-end audio gear and Danny when on to work with Schlumberger and then on to his family’s business in engineering. His love for fine music reproduction of music started during his university days, and has carried on till now. He regularly hung out at my hi-fi store after work to chillout. We would talk hifi and discover new music together.
Dita started out of the blue in 2010 when we were having a discussion about the in-ears that we were using with our mobile phones and how far away they sounded when compared to hi-fi systems. I jokingly said that we could built something better with our know how and Danny took that challenge seriously. Like they say, the rest is history.
Q: What was your main philosophy when you first started out?
When we started out, we took every concept that we knew about hi-fi and tried to put it into our designs. We studied things like using quality Silver Solder, audiophile quality cables, designing our own chassis from milled aluminum and other materials.
We tried our best to replicate as much hi-end manufacturing practicing as we could. Our main gripe about the existing products in those days were the high amount of coloration that was evident in many of the in-ears that we heard. Our goal was to design an in-ear that was as low in coloration as possible. Most products in those days, even the high end ones were often made of plastics, and to us that added a lot of so called “plastic coloration” to the sound.
We were also one of the first few companies to work with a hi-end audio cable company (Van den hul) to design a no compromise cable specifically for our use. The Answer & The Truth was born on those principles after 3 years of intense R&D
Q: Did you have an ultimate goal in mind for the Dream?
The Dream was designed without any cost consideration. We just wanted to build a product to the best of our current ability. The product was designed to be as low in coloration and distortion as possible.
After reviewing much of the available technologies, we still felt that a single ultra high bandwidth driver would offer the best most coherent sound possible. We have the most fun working with new materials and techniques, messing with new driver prototypes and chassis types.
We prefer to use techniques and technologies that actually make the product better instead of stuff that makes for fancy marketing.
Q: Is there a reason that Dita has worked exclusively dynamic drivers only?
The reason we insist on using a dynamic driver is based on our basic principal of choosing everything based on sound. At this current time we feel that a good single dynamic driver comes closest to our desired sound. We believe that BA’s have their place in high end earphones but we just haven’t found any reason for us to use one yet. To be sure, there are many other exciting driver technologies in the works like micro planar drivers that offer incredible speed and resolution and we will continue to research those technologies as well.
Q: Finally, what kind of audience are you targeting with the Dream?
It is possible that The Dream will not suit everyone. What would be the point of this hobby if there was one holy grail for everyone?
We have found that some enthusiasts prefer some level of coloration in their music and that’s fine. The Dream may sound bright or dull depending on the source, in a way it is almost like a chameleon.”
The first thought that comes up after first hearing the Dream, is that this feels like an accurate translation of ‘hi-fi’ sound to an in-ear monitor. The background blackness is impressive, as is the resolution and precision of imaging. As the Dream has a stage that is both wide and deep, it creates a truly holographic experience. Both the vocal and note size is fairly neutral, so the clean space between the instruments results in an excellent level of separation. In fact, the layering before and behind vocals is so effortless, it tends to defy the traditional concept of layers. Instead, there is simply an abundance of 3D space in which tones may present themselves. This isn’t meant as an exaggeration of the actual stage dimensions. It’s more of a testament to the holographic effect created by its stage combined with its precise imaging and resolution. For these same reasons, the Dream is quite upfront in its detail presentation. It creates a high level of detail, without resorting to a bright signature. While its signature isn’t inherently warm, it is smooth – a soft layer resulting from its rich bass presence.
The Dream is tuned with a very neutral signature, being neither warm nor bright. Its warmth will vary between players, sounding significantly warmer on my AK than the Lotoo Paw Gold. It can be categorized as a reference-oriented version of neutral, focusing on linearity within the frequency range – it’s more of an honest and uncolored reproduction of the music. Many people might be looking forward to how the Dream matches up against the other top tier dynamic drivers as the Galaxy and Vega of course. But the truth is that the Dream’s true match is its fellow Singaporean competitor, the Jomo Samba. When it comes to tone and technical presentation, these two share the most similarities.
As it doesn’t have an inherently warm or forward midrange, the vocal presentation is neither forward nor laidback. Accordingly, vocals might not be particularly lush or dense; they are however detailed and well defined, with a centrally located stage positioning. A striking observation is the almost equal relationship between the vocal and instrument size, as a result of the linear relationship between the upper bass, midrange and treble. As such, neither really jumps out in overall stage presence. The Dream isn’t tuned towards a vocal presentation or that of instruments; it’s more of a non-discriminating reflection of the recording.
For the Dream’s bass however, Dita went with a tuning north of neutral. This is a bass that reaches low, with an almost ominous rumble. It has as a solid bit of impact, while remaining controlled. It has all the qualities we all love from a quality dynamic driver, and adds some honest fun to the presentation – this isn’t a bass that shies away. I can safely predict this will be a bass that will appeal to a very wide audience.
Design: Single dynamic driver