Empire Ears – Legend X (2DD/5BA; 2,299$)
The Legend X is Empire’s current flagship of their X-series. Just like the Dream XLS it sells for 2,299$ but it uses a very different driver setup. It’s a more traditional hybrid IEM with DD lows and BA’s for mids and treble.
These two IEMs are very different in their sound. The Legend X boasts a lot more bass and features a more L-shaped sound in the other direction. The EE’s bass hits much harder but at the same time is also less controlled than the Dita’s. Legend X reaches deeper with much more rumble. It has nicer texture and layering in the bass-segment as well. The Dita is calmer, more neutral but also lighter and thinner.
Legend X boosts its midrange more with fuller body and higher density. It has more warmth in the mids, which makes them sound more realistic. Although the Legend X has a very forward low-end, it doesn’t push the mids too far away. The Dream XLS has a more nuanced and higher resolved midrange that sports higher levels of transparency and emotions. The Legend X is a purely energetic and exciting monitor compared to the XLS, which misses out on these characteristics.
Treble on the Dream XLS is more forward than the Legend X’s. The Dita brings out higher pitched instruments with a more prominent placement. The XLS does also have a brighter tone overall, it colors notes with a lighter tone than the Legend X. The Legend X can come across as slightly muted in its top-end because of the overthrowing bass.
In terms of technical performance, it’s the Legend X that scales a slightly wider and deeper stage. It also comes out on top when looking purely at imaging. The Dita however does possess slightly better resolution.
Both IEMs will cater to a very different audience. While the Dream XLS will speak to the treble heads, the Legend X will be loved by any bass-head out there.
64 Audio – Tia Trio (1DD/3BA; 2,199$)
The tia Trió is one of the most unique IEMs in my possession. Not because of the driver configuration but how they are implemented. The trio uses sound chambers to let the music flow to your ears. There is not a single tube in this monitor. Only very few IEMs have that.
The Dream XLS has a vastly different signature than the tia Trió to me. The Trió has a more natural and organic sound with more warmth in the lower registers. It has a more prominent bass that focusses on mid and upper bass. The Dream XLS is more bass-shy and places its lows slightly south of neutral. The 64 Audio monitor has more air, resolution and texture in the lows.
Instruments have fuller body and higher weight on the tia Trió, while they appear faster and more energetic on the Dream XLS to me. Mids in general have a higher warmth on the 64 Audio IEM than on the Dita. The Trió has a darker background and gives musicians a clearer spotlight. It images sharper and has better layering. The Dream XLS however has higher resolution and creates a wider stage. The Trió on the other hand does go a notch deeper.
Treble is sharper on the tia Trió while it is more energetic and richer on the Dream XLS. The 64 Audio monitor does have a wider extension to my ears. The Dream XLS brings higher pitched instruments out more obvious than the Tia Trió, which tries to make a more balanced sound. The Trió’s signature is more natural neutral, while the Dream XLS goes for reference neutral to bright.
Dita Audio has worked tirelessly on their Dream XLS. During that process they have learned a lot through the development of their Twin IEMs. They played with coatings and structures and in the end, they used their knowledge for the Dream XLS. Dita has created a driver which they call ultra linear dynamic driver. The Dream XLS has an uncanny sound for a dynamic IEM. Unlike others that have lifted lows and smoothly warm mids, the Dream XLS goes for the other end of the frequency spectrum. It creates an upper-midrange and treble forward sound, that is best for female vocals. Give the Dream XLS a listen, if that sounds like something you might enjoy.
Dita paid extra attention to detail when it came to build quality and packaging. You can really tell, that they wanted to give their customers the absolute experience. And there’s absolutely nothing anyone could say against that, because the build and packaging are almost 100% spot on if it weren’t for that metal wire. Does the design of the XLS speak to me personally? No, but as long as you like the looks of them, that’s good enough.