Rank #9: Dita Audio Dream

5

Comparisons

Campfire Audio Vega
A comparison waiting to happen: another battle of the dynamic drivers. And the two share some similarities where you’d expect them: their bass. Even though Vega’s overall quantity is larger, the two share a full-bodied sub-bass that can deliver a significant punch when required. But Vega’s greater mid- and upper-bass shapes its presentation more significantly. It’s sound is thicker, fuller, and heavier. Where the Dream makes a play for neutral, or reference at least, Vega goes well beyond.

According to its larger bass quantity, Vega’s notes are larger in size. But in addition, its stage isn’t as spacious. It’s a bit taller, but the Dream’s stage is wider and deeper. As the Dream’s stage is also airier due to less upper bass presence, its separation is altogether more effortless, and the Dream more readily conveys a higher level of detail. The Dream’s presentation is cleaner, in line with its reference-tuning. Vega’s presentation however is thicker, and more forward.

As mentioned, the two share some essential dynamic-driven qualities. Excellent low-end extension, and a larger than neutral sub-bass quantity. But nevertheless, there are still some defining differences. Vega’s bass hits are rounder, and more present in the signature. The Dream’s bass is readily felt, but it isn’t as obtrusive in overall quantity. Similarly, the Vega’s mid-bass is larger in size, and its bass-lines are more forward. In addition, Vega has a richer upper bass, contributing to its thicker and weightier notes. The Dream’s upper bass remains closer to neutral, resulting in a airier stage.

But after the bass, the differences grow larger. Both share a slightly laidback vocal positioning, that is neither overly warm nor bright. And even though in both cases the vocals aren’t overly dense, Vega’s have slightly greater size and focus. Vega also creates thicker instruments, and an overall fuller sound. But the Dream parries with a cleaner, more separated image, and an overall higher detail. Both their midrange resolution and transparency is similar.

Both converge again when it comes to treble. In both cases, the overall tone is slightly brighter than neutral. But equally, it’s a well-defined treble that contributes to the overall coherency and detail of the presentation, as different as they are. Similarly, they share a similar extension although I’d give Vega a slight advantage.


EarSonics S-EM9
The Dream versus the S-EM9, a single dynamic driver versus a classic multi-BA setup. At first sight, the two have little in common. For instance, the S-EM9 is tuned with an upper mid dip, exactly where the Dream peaks. The S-EM9 was tuned for fun, where the Dream goes for reference. But they share one similar goal: resolution. Even so, they arrive from different directions. The S-EM9 as a result of its top-end extension, the Dream according to its tuning.

Similarly, both the S-EM9 and Dream excel in their separation, based on their precise imaging and layering ability. But nevertheless, the Dream’s stage is significantly larger, and not a fair match for the S-EM9. As a result of the extra space, the Dream’s stage feels more three-dimensional, while its layering ability and accordingly separation is more effortless.

The S-EM9’s bass diverges from traditional BA bass, by sharing some dynamic qualities. It’s low-end extension is quite good, and it adds a little bit of body in favor of speed. But it’s nevertheless quite different from the Dream’s actual dynamic bass. The Dream’s low-end extension is only slightly better, but its greater sub-bass emphasis provides a lower, more ominous rumble. It’s a more readily felt bass, although both are engaging.

Their midranges in turn are more different. The S-EM9’s midrange is slightly warmer and smoother due to its upper midrange dip, where the Dream places more emphasis on the upper midrange. Accordingly, the Dream’s instruments sound more articulate and brighter in tone. In addition, the Dream’s instruments also have slightly greater body. But in both cases, their vocal presentation is somewhat laidback. However, while the S-EM9’s vocals have slightly greater density, their pronunciation is attenuated – the top-end of the vocal range. The Dream however focuses on pronunciation rather than depth.

Finally, both their treble are around neutral in overall quantity, and their treble notes are well-defined. In both cases, it’s a detailed treble presentation. However, as the Dream’s treble is slightly brighter it is a bit more upfront. The S-EM9’s treble in turn is a bit smoother, while also being quicker. And as mentioned, its top-end extension is greater.


The Verdict

I might have used the term ‘reference’ once or twice during this review. Naturally, a powerful advantage of its tuning lies in its detailed presentation: its separation is outstanding, its resolution is high, and its imaging is precise. Only an average score for its midrange transparency forms a dissonant for an otherwise outstanding technical performance.

Such a signature also has a non-discriminative quality. It’s a tuning that can easily be applied to different genres, as it’s neither warm nor bright. But as always, this comes with its own downsides. Stripping notes from their warmth might result in a purer sound, it’s also a prerequisite for the general naturalness of the presentation; this is where neutral-reference diverges from neutral-natural.

But while the term ‘reference’ might be an important denominator to provide insight on the intention of the tuning, it’s equally as important to step away from labels to appreciate the Dream for what it really is. The Dream’s tone and high level of precision might warrant the label, but it’s not necessarily what makes you reach for the Dream: it’s that deep rumbling low end for starters, fantastic three-dimensional stage, and highly detailed image.

 

Dita Audio Dream
+Detail
+Stage dimensions and separation
-Naturalness
-Vocal density

The scoring can be viewed in the introduction post.

Manufacturer website:
www.ditaaudio.com

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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.

5 Comments

  1. Great review nick. Can you tell your opinion about the comparison between campfire audio vega and inear prophile 8? What will you choose if the dream and prophile 8 in msrp price and vega in $1030?

    • Thanks buddy appreciate that. But unfortunately I’ve yet to hear the PP8. But from what I head, it’s a completely different direction than Vega and Dream. Vega is the powerhouse in terms of bass, with a resultingly thick sound. The Dream has a relatively neutral but articulated sound, accompanied by fantastic dynamic bass that isn’t too overpowering. The PP8 is a more neutral, reference iem that intends to present the sound with minimal coloration. Of course it won’t have the qualities of dyanamic bass, but it might offer a more coherent and neutral sound by comparison so it really comes down to taste.

  2. Hi!

    I currently own The answer “Truth Edition”, and would like to ask to how it compares with the dream?

    I’m fairly interested in direct comparison, as I would describe the truth as fairly similar to your description of the dream, natural sound, with good bass extension and great soundstage.

    How big of an upgrade is the dream coming from the truth? And if you coukd roughly score the truth using the above criteria, at around what place would it be? Thanks a lot!

    Regards,

  3. great in-depth review nick, i am curious as to how much of the dream’s thin(ish) midrange could be mitigated by syngergistic pairing of source(s) and cables?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the Dream’s timbre? i have read that it is one of its weakpoints.

    thanks in advance

    • Thanks buddy. Yes the Dream is quite source dependent, for both power and tone. The answer is pretty easy here, the best source to drive it is the WM1Z. The WM1Z has a warm, natural sound, resulting from signficantly attenuating the whole treble region. So it makes vocals and instruments bigger, while having the specialty of making brighter iems like the Dream and A18 sound relatively accurate in tone.

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