The IEM of choice for Robert Johnson

The IEM of choice for Robert Johnson
Written by ngoshawk
Published 4 minutes ago

Pros – That bass…
Fit-n-finish of a tank
Sound of which is quite pleasing when taken alone
Titanium shell
That cable!

Cons – That cable!
Not much else when taken alone.
A bit thin of sound overall.

The IEM of choice for Robert Johnson

DITA The Dream w/ Truth cable by Van Den Hul. $1800.

Dita website: http://www.ditaaudio.com/index.php/products/dream.html/

Initiale:

When one signs up for TOTL tours, there is a definite anticipation. There is also trepidation…What if I cannot describe the sound fully? What if I am disappointed by the sound? What if I like the sound TOO much? What if my bank account cannot take it anymore? What if?…what if?…what if?…Thos thoughts did rummage through my old cranial matter whilst waiting for the Dream. But, the trepidation came from the knowing I would have the 64Audio products in house soon after. But for two glorious days I had the Dream to itself (ignoring my UM Maestro V2’s by choice). And oh my, it was a worthy sound of a TOTL from such a respected company. Following the Custom Arts and Lime Ears, I began to fully understand why there was such a fuss from the TOTL Shootout. I was myself “moving up the food chain” so to speak, and all had been simply put fabulous representations of their respective company wares. I was warned to get my listening in early, and I was not disappointed. This was furthered some months later, in a conversation with @Pinkypowers but that will have to wait…To say that the Dream is good, would be an insult and of which, thankfully I have better words…and more of them.

[​IMG]

To say these things are built like a tank begins to understand from which the Dream comes. From the shrink-lined cable to the interchangeable jack to the IEM itself. Just beast. An easy fit of ear, the Dream belies the monster feel and “guardianship” of the Van Den Hul cable (which retails for $499, itself). An expensive cable, to go along with the TOTL from DITA. Understandable that one would want an outstanding cable to go along with their top of the line, but this may be overkill (it isn’t, the sound is superb through The Truth cable). A cornucopia of emotions flow through not only the IEM, but also me, as I’m flooded with questions, sounds and studiousness. I can understand too, why the Dream is sold out (*I checked a couple of days ago, written months ago, but still true…), especially on the heels of @Flickenick’s review. It took me all of one listen on my Shanling M5 with which to understand.

[​IMG]

A rumble so vivid, that I took the IEM off thinking it was either thunder, or another B2 Bomber taking off from the nearby base. We can tell immediately where (OK, approximately) where the B2’s are headed on their bombing runs, by which direction they head out. Kind of reassuring and disconcerting all in the same emotion. Not lost on me either, was that same dichotomy when listening. Not bad mind you, but of good solid foundation-good. Reassuring because these were an outstanding inclusion into the TOTL shootout. Very worthy indeed. But also disconcerting, because none of the others I had heard (including my newly acquired UM Maestro V2’s) from the various tours had that low down grumble of bass. That low down sound, which puts one into the roots of the Mississippi Delta blues level. This is the IEM Robert Johnson would have traded his soul for at the Crossroads. This is an intoxicating bass. One that walks right by an amp with a bass boost switch, brushing aside said “bass boosts” without breaking stride. For a TOTL, this is badass bass. A rumble so deep (but oh my God, so controlled) that one is left digging into the roots of your music. Such an intoxicating start, and that was only on my first day. Oh, and it was the Dream, which I heard rumbling….of course it was…

[​IMG]

This set is destined for down home blues and rock-n-roll. The Dream simply sings when driven with either genre. I cannot understand how something from the top can make one harken for your old rock collections…Details not heard other than with my Maestro’s drives the DITA. An incredible detail with such proportions, that what is sibilant on Lyle Lovett’s Bears, goes just to the edge of sibilance, and then scoffs at it…kicking that sibilance over the edge of the cliff. Turning as the sound fades, then crashes onto the rocks below, the Dream puffs on the cigar, which was lit after throwing sibilance off, walks back to its ’57 Chevy convertible, and throws in more Robert Johnson. This is still mind-altering on the second day. I’m also beginning to further understand why this was only rated 9th out of 15. The standards driven by the ones above must be truly magical to place this down low. I do love my Maestro, but this Dream is damn close, and ticks all of my boxes: excellent bass (oooohh…with that rumble…), outstanding cable (except for the damn fit!!), excellent in-ear fit, non-sibilant treble (with to me a bit of sparkle and excellent clarity), and decent enough midrange to help tie it all together.

[​IMG]

Specs:

  • Driver 1 Newly-Developed Ultra-wide Bandwidth 10mm Transducer
  • FR 10-25000 Hz
  • Impedance 16 ohms
  • Sensitivity 102 db
  • Colour Titanium Black
  • Cable The Truth Custom Made By VDH 1.2M
  • Solder VDH Lead-Free Silver Solder
  • Connector Awesome 2.5mm TRRS / 3.5mm TRS

Accessories

  • 3 Pairs Small Bore Tips S/M/L (sweeter highs)
  • 3 Pairs Medium Bore Tips S/M/L (reference tuning)
  • 3 Pairs Large Bore Tips S/M/L (airier highs)
  • 1 Custom Flight Adapter
  • 1 Premium Leather Pouch

From the 64Audio review:

[​IMG]

THE Day:

Fast forward to the day. I was only able to listen briefly to assure the tour peeps, that all was well and good, and copacetic in 64-land. It was. My first full day is actually today. And I am not disappointed. Driven through my M5, this is Zenith material. I cannot stress this enough. This is not hype. This is Lamborghini Veneno territory of IEM’s. At this point in time, there are only 1-2 competitors with which to compete. Maybe a better comparison of the top three would be the first episode of The Grand Tour, where Clarkson, Hammond & May finally do get the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder together in that epic Hypercar shootout. Throw in the Lamborghini and you have that foursome and you could easily label the four I have as those above. My goodness we could. If one is at a loss, check my 64Audio review, and envision the Dream as the McLaren P1. Enough said.

[​IMG]

A positive from the mini-meet had with Pinky, was a search in earnest by me for a wonderful Opus#2. Hearing that wonderful device made me a believer and gave me the push to dive in and find my own…it is in route as I scribble. The pair will be back together very soon.

*I did listen to the #2 albeit briefly with the Dream, but my goodness, it was a pair…see below*

[​IMG]

Ever since my feeble mind deciphered that I would in fact have an overlap with the 64Audio pair & the DITA Dream, I was hamster-wheel-like ciphering that I could include my Maestro V2 and do a four-way shootout. Well, not really, but more a dedicated listen for an extended period of time, as I was off on Holiday for the day. Halfway through, and I have drawn some stark (to me, but no one else on the planet most likely…) conclusions. So here it goes…

[​IMG]

Added after the 64Audio pair came…

Not much had been said regarding the Dream in that 4-way so far (during this listening session), except for what I wrote above. All focus had been upon the 64 pair thus far, but I will add that the Dream with the Truth cable is well worthy of inclusion into this quartet. A wonderfully Germanic-type build is the stellar star platform on which a very, very good IEM is built. Bass of rumbling quality, and surprising to be honest, the DITA would be that McLaren P1 crashing the above party. Somewhat raw to drive (ask Hammond…), but worth its entry in gold. With a bass note driving very good resolution, separation and imaging, I do liken the Dream to that Panzer tank. Built to withstand the enemy’s ultimate charge, it can be defeated. You simply need find it’s weak point. Not easy to drive, and a bit thin of sound compared to the other three, it is good in its own right. Mid range detail is superb to me, tying together with the exuberant sub bass the Dream can be that expensive pair you throw into the gym bag without worry. It is built that well. And while I appreciate the addition of a $499 cable, designed by Van Den Hul, it is a PITA to coil and keep straight. Unforgiving and constantly coiling that is enough for me to dump it in favor of other special cables.

Held of its own, and after adjusting away from the 64 products, the Dream comes into its own. That polite slightly thinner sound can draw you in because of the details presented. With excellent to me treble sound, hearing that guitar pluck of David Gilmour makes the Dream sing. Faltering a bit on the piano staccato, it is still all well and mostly good. This is the morning coffee pair, as you look over Lake Superior on a summer’s day before the wind has picked up. Enjoying that solitude is most definitely not to be missed.

[​IMG]

That said, I cannot get the cables to stay over-ear…a huge annoyance. And the cable tangles, keeping it’s coiled shape way too much. It is a fantastic cable, though, but as I and others have mentioned, the transgressions against the cable are enough to warrant not only window-shopping for another cable, but a purchase with expedited delivery.

When compared to the Maestro V2 and 64Audio Fourte/Tzar the Dream does fall behind. But held on it’s own, and in it’s own regard, it is quite good. Car Radio out of the Opus#2 is full, detailed, vibrant, and exciting. As one would hope it to be. There is a lack of micro-details compared to the others, but that is masked somewhat by the excellent mids and treble, which is full-er but not hot. With the right amount of attack, the sound comes out well-rounded, but not analytical. There is a hint of over-emphasis on cymbal action and drums. I do not mind, though for it really isn’t intrusive, and would aide one looking for an excellent metal-genre IEM. Here the “thinness” actually benefits so one can hear the mids and trebles just sing.

Think of it this way: before I heard the 64Audio pair, I really did enjoy the Dream, and yes, the cable, which could be used as a tow cable (which is good, but a bit overbuilt to me) providing an excellent balance to that thinner sound. But after the arrival, the Dream was the last kid picked on the playground for that killer game of kickball.

[​IMG]

Fit-N-Finish:

The in-ear fit of the Dream is well…excellent. No problems here at all. Easy ingress/egress aided by the small size of the IEM, and here that cable pays dividends, because it can be used to help with ingress/egress of the IEM. Not often have I found one could pretty much abuse a cable this way and I do believe it is meant for that. The cable is very good sounding, too. Among the best (albeit limited, but up to the Beat Audio Prima Donna 8-wire, $1200, so a good comparison) I have heard. Adding more detail than I expect the Dream would have, the DITA really isn’t that much of a detail slouch. Only when compared to something twice the price, does that come into play. Of all the tour models (yes, before the 64’s came along…) the Dream was my favorite next to my Maestro, and that still holds true. Fun, energetic and with a certain “lilt” of a sound, it does all pretty much well. Bass, which gives that rumble (an unexpected one, at that!!), mids and vocals, which are quite nice and the treble, which conveys that fun energy; the Dream is well worth a look if in the market. Harder to drive than the others, either have a powerful DAP, or a really good quality portable amp, which is what the Dream deserves.

The fit/finish is superb, with a Titanium shell. That is enough for that. Just superb, no mistakes.

Comparison of units used:

Playing through the iBasso PB3/Shanling M5 combo, the Dream shone. Deficiencies mentioned above all but vanished. Adding layers of detail, the PB3 is an excellent companion for a quality system. Adding a touch of neutral, compared to the warmer sound of the M5, the balance provided was just what the Dream needed. A taming of frequencies, if you will. If that were to stay together as a trio, I would most certainly purchase a balanced cable, as not only does the Dream deserve it, the iBasso PB3 sounds markedly better in that mode, to me. I do enjoy the SE with a quality end product such as the Dream, but to do full-on justice, a balanced cable succeeds better here.

Through the Opus#2 (which at the time was fairly new in the house to me…), I am afforded a luxurious sound, which while still short of the Maestro was a sound to behold. Not warm & syrupy, but luscious. Think Campfire Audio Cascade, but a little thinner of note, and you would get the picture. Vocals simply fill your cranial matter with a welcoming sound, without harshness or analytics. To me, this is typical Germanic style; efficient, endlessly fun and exciting in a Teutonic way. Think driving a Mercedes E-class, but not the AMG version and you again get the idea. Add in that surprising bit of rumble of which I spoke earlier, and you have a very capable sports sedan, with the right amount of luxury to boot. Even though I mentioned the Dream would be the P1 in the shootout, the E-Class Mercedes would be more apt when describing against all other comers.

[​IMG]

Finale:

So…to finish…since leaving, I haven’t given the Dream much thought. That is until a review came over the thread, revising my interest, and revisiting my thoughts. That is a shame too, for The Dream by DITA is an excellent unit. One very worthy of talk in that top circle or tier of TOTL’s. It is good. Quite good. The rumbling bass alone drew me in for the first two days. It was enthralling in sound, and as stated a bit disconcerting because I did not know if it was real, or something outside of my listen! With such an extraordinarily wide soundstage, that falsity of real vs. “real” kept me on my toes and listening, expecting that next bass thrust, or solid vocal. To keep one guessing and predicting when we listen is a good thing. We almost edge forward waiting…listening fully for that next new sound, that next rumble so that we can guess again whether what we heard is real or imaginarily fooling us back into the “real world.” I for one am thankful for that trickery, and enjoyed the challenge it presented. A worthy inclusion into that upper crust of IEM’s, indeed. In talking with @Pinkypowers recently we both spoke of the Dream and again marveled at what a wonderful little critter it is. I would be very happy with this combination and with the Dream overall. It is very, very good.

I want to thank @Barra for the time and trouble he has put into these tours. Without his tireless work, I would not have had the pleasure of listening to the gems of which Nik wrote and graded. This was and is a pleasure I will not soon forget. I also want to thank DITA for offering their fine ware to this tour. It is telling that as of today, to purchase the Dream one need contact your “local distributor.” A telling sign that the Dream is either sold out, or on backorder. I would say that would be the highest regard one can show of a flagship such as this. I am again lucky to have heard this wonderful sound, indeed.

[​IMG]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s