Dita Audio The Answer & Answer (Truth Edition)

Editor’s note (Lieven): This is Nathan’s first review for Headfonia. He has his own style and we want to keep it that way. Enjoy the article and Welcome Nathan!

 

Disclaimer: The Answer (both editions) were sent to me by Dita Audio for review. Dita Audio are not a sponsor of Headfonia.

Update: Clarification about sensitivity and amping was added in The Sound section.

I met the double Ds on a warm day brimming with headphone debauchery and drinking. Yes, it was Fujiya Avic’s Autumn Headphone Festival. And yes, I was boozing.

More interesting to me than the blonde cosplay cuties was what Desmond and Danny (double Ds) brought along with them. The double Ds brought in pair of pre-production 10mm single-dynamic driver earphones, that like the disruptive Sennheiser IE800, were aimed at the luxury end of the market. One D had glasses. The other did not. Even in their pubescent state (the earphones, not the Ds), they gleamed beautifully in the ugly convention hall.

The Answer

I was game. What were they called? While tilting the contrastier, less shiny of the two earphones like a Tiffany’s clerk, one of the Ds, gave me the answer.

“The Answer,” said he.

“Get on with it,” said I.

“No, this is called ‘The Answer’.”

“Hmmm.”

The shinier, (and in my opinion, less sexy-looking) of the two, is called ‘Answer (Truth Edition)’. Hmmm. It’s funny really; both look great, but the one in matte, that goes for 600$ bones, is, in my humble-pie opinion, sexier.

Right. The Ds gave me the run-down. Both phones were made with no compromises; made to look and sound better than anything out there. And pretty they are. Neither looked very unlike something that was bound to cost less than 600$. And neither do. Answer (Truth Edition) sells in Japan for about 900$ (US bones) while The Answer sells for about 600$ (US bones). They are sold at Fujiya Avic and other Asian vendors, in addition to Dita’s online shop (though the latter outlet is less than obvious).

Even at 900$ and $600 respectively, I am told that both models are selling quite well. Part of that could be that early-adopter Japanese mentality- a curse that entices myriad unscrupulous companies to release flawed products to well-healed, silly enthusiasts. Usually those early adopters end up selling their mistakes back to Fujiya.

Not in this case. It’s now more than three months in and I have yet to see any Dita earphones on the used market; and that despite the fact that Fujiya’s buy-back prices remain high. I think it is fair to say that Dita owners love their earphones.

The Question

Both models have a lot to offer if you’re in it for the long run. But neither really grab you from the first listen. They are like a Phillip K. Dick novel: slow going at first, but given time, intractably addictive. Be prepared to invest time, and a little effort. Sit down and relax. Stay awhile. Turn pages. No satori worth its salt ever comes

The Marque

From the airline adapter to the 3,5mm to 6,5mm step-up adapter, and all carrying cases, Dita’s logo is proudly emblazoned in conspicuous and memorable areas. Truth Edition even comes with like fifteen Apple-esque stickers to affix to your furniture. I put mine on my iPod 5G. Both Danny and Desmond’s signatures are printed onto either model’s authenticity cards.

A product photographer appreciates these attentions to detail. She knows where to point the lens, and to which side to apply the wax and light. The Answer is machined to look fine. As I hinted at above, the less expensive The Answer reflects a more expensive sheen than does the glinty Truth Edition, whose reflective kitsch sort of sticks out. This reviewer vastly prefers the cheaper, less pricy matte version

The Cable

But its cable makes up for it. It truly does. The Van Den Hul window commands a nice view of the jack-side carbon-fibre sheath; which, considering that your source is destined to be shoved into a pair of jeans or an audiophile bum bag, is not so nice for Van Den Hul. It looks good though, and in no way weakens the design. Both cables are robust. The cheaper one is more rubbery. It is also fatter. Truth is clad in a stronger, less ductile sheathe. Wear it for a while and it will conform to your ears. Unlike earphones with aggressive memory wire, that sheath is gentle, and easy even for the bespectacled enthusiast. Neither cable is weak. Nor does either betray any audible fault. But it would be remiss of me to not express my Jonesing for a replaceable option. My mother didn’t raise a cable breaker.

But I can’t speak for your mother.

And as well-behaved as I am, I also can’t speak for my trousers, in which the Dita plug gets buried for great lengths of time. And the rather severe  angle at which the cable juts from the earphone’s rubber grommet, puts extra stress on bare rubber. Again, the truth is that I expect The Truth’s cable to weather daily use far better than The Answer’s cable.

Does it sound richer, more Van Den Hul? I can’t really say. By the time I change earphones, re-apply my favorite ortofon tips, and get back to the music, I’m in a different frame of mind. The standard cable is excellent. But Van Den Hul undoubtedly will give peace of mind. That alone may be worth the extra bones.

The Chassis

Both earphones’ housings are well machined, boasting fewer blemishes than is typical for products made by non-Japanese companies headquartered in Asia. It is true that I would prefer both earphones to wear a more robust L-shaped plug, but I can see why Dita outfitted them with a thick, eye-catching carbon fibre plug. Branding is as important as anything in an industry inundated by cheap products that literally anyone can order bespoke. Want to become an earphone manufacturer? There are hundreds, if not thousands of factories waiting for your order. Put your name on a plastic piece of shyte. It will be yours forever. You can put CEO after your name on a business card. Yay.

Dita totally three-ups your best intentions. Their hands-on approach is delightfully well done.

For the most part, the parts Dita use are unique to them. They do the machining. They design the cables. The driver is spec’d to their desires. Rarely do you see the like in the earphone world. Final Audio‘s upper stuff maybe? Ocharaku? The competition is as few as it is sexy.

But sexy is a game Dita play well. At geek fests like Fujiya-Avic’s biannual Headphone Show, I foresee Dita being behind a new slew of headphone-geek innuendo.

“Is that a Dita in your pocket or are just happy to see my freshly-epilated blonde-topped cosplay?”

In reply, I’d wink and silently nudging back into the sweaty, back-pack encumbered crowd. New ditallation would come. (Yes, I just combined the words, Dita, and titillation.)

With very few provisos, I can honestly say that I impressed with what I see and what I feel. Very.

The Sound

The same rings true in what I hear. Both versions of The Answer are excellent. But realizing that may take time. As I said earlier, it is a sound so even-tempered, that at first, it is easy to pass by.

Hitherto reviews mention a slightly elevated bass. That is true. Sound pressure in the low bass band is the muscliest bit. The speed of its response rise and fall is fast. Pressure increases slightly as frequencies rise from there until it hits the roots of the mid-bass, after which it evens out. There is absolutely no tub tub in the bottom rung.

Balance is exquisite throughout the mid range and into the highs. Unlike the indelicately flat sonics of some neutral-sounding earphones, the Dita sound is sedulously open and dynamic. Highs, especially, are spacious and clean. They are maybe too clean for a single large-diameter dynamic driver. They blow through my expectations. I expected to hear a tizz here or there. None. Highs are fast. They keep up with complex and cacophonous live thrash metal percussion as well as with fast bpm trance.

Does that not excite you?

The truth is that it may not. What you hear is so well engineered that it may take a week, or two, to get into your head. There is so much to discover. ‘Getting’ the Dita sound is part of the journey.

Weeks in, you will trash your dressers and moulding chesterfield.

Where did my Dita get off to, you’ll frantically ask.

It’s not that you’d hate to be stuck with with your FitEar Parterre- no. Parterre is a great earphone. But its richer, more milky midrange, is too catchy. It’s love at first site. Sure, the lovey feeling stays, but it isn’t quite as satisfying in the long run. Its highs are closer, its mid-bass more prominent. It’s closer to that sound you grew up thinking you wanted eventually to afford.

Dita’s sound is what you hear from a well-tuned two channel system; something that you won’t realize you totally dig until you can name the birthdays of all the jazz greats from the 1950s. First you have to know what you like in music. Then you have to know the music your like.

That sound is one into which you invest time. And music. No, it isn’t the best match for modern American hip hop. Dita’s earphones lack some of the mid-bass duff necessary to flatten out hip-hop dynamics. The sound is too clean, too fast. The Answer’s low frequencies may also be a touch too resolving. But dear me, after the necessary adjustment period, that sound is addictive. And, when I have to play Classified or MC Solaar, or Macklemore, Dita’s earphones do a damn fine job- just with less weight.

Did I just spend seven hours listening to U2’s Boy until my iBasso DX50‘s batteries died? Yes, I did. Despite boasting only one driver, clarity is a major Dita selling point. I’d call it the first ‘get’ that will hook you. Dynamics are the second. The sporadic chimes in U2’s An Cat Dubh ring very unlike they are being funneled through a maze of electronics and the awkward slip from the post-punk 70s to 2014. They ring with the sweetness which I adored in the Final Audio 1601SS and SC models.

Clear reverberation is all-important in both acoustic and electronic percussion. If you are a Depeche Mode fan, you owe it to yourself to check Dita out. You will not get this sound from a balanced armature, nor from most dynamic earphones out there. I think that Dita’s earphones do the ring thing better than do the Final Audio earphones of any price. They may in fact, do the ring thing better than any earphone out there.

I could go on and on about bass guitar and slide bass. Even electric guitars, which Dita’s reproduction blessedly blesses with enough chaos to truly rock, sound truly part of their element. Yet, they remain aloof from the noise around them. Details never, ever, blur together. But it’s bass guitars, percussion, bells, chimes, and vocals, that, once you’ve given Dita time, really really stand out. At very worst, instrument separation is good; at best, it is great.

There are times when certain male vocals and the upper edge of electric guitar riffs can lose the attacking edge, but they are few. Female vocals, and any sort of acoustic instrument, and of course, percussion, are realistic, and beautiful at all times.

Again, the sense of space is huge. The single driver inside is quite the performer. It is wide and tall, and relatively 3D. Positioning and delineating are excellent, but not quite as pert as some razor-sharp balanced armature drivers out there. Rather, the sound is wider, deeper, and more speaker-like. It is excellent.

But what hooks Nathan is the dichotomy between realistic, gritty detail, and the pleasure of listening. It is real. I’ve enjoyed many earphones and headphones in my life. But rarely have I sought that one earphone over another. Like Captain Kirk, I’m not that picky as long as the earphones are really good. A good earphone is a good earphone, right? Yes, it is. But Dita’s sound is special. The more I listen to it, the more I think that I have found the one. Of course, there are times when I would prefer a more razor edges in the soundstage. But rapidly, those instances are becoming less and less frequent.

Let’s come back to this in a year.

Update: Dita’s single-dynamic driver earphones have another advantage: they are easier to drive than most multiple-driver setups. Their impedance curves are not as whack. In order to hit suitable volume levels, all they really need is stable voltage. They are not current-hungry monsters, though they do stymie personal favourites like the iPod 5G. But by and large, you can get by with lesser sources and amps. The Answer loads headphone outputs much less than many of its competitors. The truth is that really high-end amps are a bit of overkill for use with the Answer. Since The Answer costs a pretty penny, that is great news.

The Fit

But great sound is nothing if fit is poor, right? Right. These earphones are exceptionally comfortable for the music lover with mid to large sized conchas. And they come with enough ear pieces to fit almost any ear.

Yay.

The first problem The Answer has is the angle at which it enters the ear. It is too obtuse. The flat body wants to remain parallel to the skull but certain ear canals sit at a starker angle. No matter how hard I try to jam the phones deeper into my head bone, I can’t get the phones to really seal. The sound tube is too short; no matter the tip, I constantly loose acoustic seal and the earphones wiggle out of my ear canals. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that I adjust fit at least once every five minutes. Also, my sensitive ears have found that the pack-in pads, as decent as they are, are no match for a nice, soft set of ortofon pads.

The second problem is that the earphones themselves are large. My wife could not wear them without discomfort. She lasted about a minute before she handed them back to me. But she has mouse ears.

If The Answer’s insertion angle was better, and the body shape more comfortable for small-concha’d folk, it would be one of the most comfortable earphones on the planet. As it is, it should agree with most ears out there. But tighter, better fit is possible.

The neck cinch does a good job of reducing harmonic noise (which both cables are somewhat prone to exhibit). It grips onto the cable by two very small apertures. I can’t comment on how long those apertures will remain grippy. My guess is that it won’t be forever. A neck cinch best dodges the effects of cable erosion when its body is more form-fitting.

The Conclusion

The Answer is stunning. It is not perfect, but it could be. And that may be its most annoying feature. But as first products go, it is an A in a class of Bs and Cs. And if anyone can figure out the winning formula, it is Danny and Desmond. I’ll drink to that.

Dita Audio The Answer & Answer (Truth Edition)
3.8 (76%) 5 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

46 Comments

  • Reply February 22, 2014

    George Lai

    Welcome back Nathan. Great article. Like your old TMA.com which I miss.

    • Reply February 22, 2014

      ohm image

      I miss it, too, but let’s face it, Headfonia is not only a better place to review earphones, it is a great place to interact with really great readers. Thank you. I hope I can perform up to your standards.

      • Reply February 22, 2014

        George Lai

        When you mentioned the Fitear, I presume this would be the single driver 111? Could you expand a bit more on this, as well as versus other similar price level single driver IEMs? Thanks.

    • Reply February 22, 2014

      ohm image

      So as not to break the tree, I was referring to the Parterre, not the 111. The Parterre is priced similarly to the Truth Edition. Both are excellent but truth be told: I prefer the Dita by a wide margin for sound. That isn’t to say it is better. That is to say that I prefer it. It took me longer to realise that, though, as the Dita isn’t exciting or WOW until you get used to it.

      • Reply February 22, 2014

        George Lai

        Is the Parterre just a re-named F111? What are the main differences?

    • Reply February 22, 2014

      ohm image

      Back to the top: Parterre isn’t a 111. 111 has a single driver. As far as I can tell, Parterre has three. FitEar are really secretive about it, though, so I can’t tell you as I don’t know. But the really bright penlight test shows at least two, and the body of what looks like another driver.

      • Reply February 22, 2014

        George Lai

        Oh I see. Thanks for the clarification. I had read about some conspiracy theory that even for the 111, they finished it in black to disguise the fact it was an ER4S? I guess we have to wait till someone breaks them, deliberately or otherwise.

        • Reply February 28, 2014

          Johanes a.f

          I break mine, I mean 111 :'(

          • Reply February 28, 2014

            George Lai

            So what was inside? ;-(

            • Reply March 3, 2014

              Johanes a.f

              well, only one (single) knowles driver dont remember the series but same as ER4P (I open ER4P driver too) custom female HPSC for the connector, the driver noozle attached to the titanium horn.

    • Reply April 17, 2014

      ohm image

      Just got to say ‘thank you’ again for this comment. It made my day. A new guy, a new place. Having old friends is about all the joy one can hope for. I dig my new digs here at HFN, but I’ve not quite got the hang of things yet. You’re a great big help.

      • Reply April 17, 2014

        George Lai

        Aw shucks.

  • Reply February 22, 2014

    l3A7VA7VA

    I have the DITA-Truth edition and this article mirrors my thoughts about the product accurately.

    • Reply February 22, 2014

      L.

      Thanks man!

      • Reply March 24, 2014

        soundblast

        i got the truth yesterday and am in heaven right now:)
        Mentioning Depeche Mode resembles how i feel exactly, will prb write a short review myself at some point..thanks Nathan,great review!!!

        • Reply March 27, 2014

          ohm image

          So sweet that you joined the club. Mate, are we DM brothers? Isn’t the DM/Truth match the sweetest perfection? I hope you enjoy.

          • Reply March 31, 2014

            soundblast

            They are near perfection to me, i parted with the Fitear 334’s and have customs, but the Truth’s are such pleasure , DM brothers we are for sure,i always go back listening to Depeche..
            Tried many eartips and settled on the Sony ones, best bass, fit and sound for my ear, but the ones Dita supplied are tops too, plenty to choose from.
            Had a message from Danny explaining a few things about burn in time and improvement, they are already getting better after about 20-30 hours or so.
            I have rarely had such pleasure buying audiophile gear, these guys are top!

            • Reply April 1, 2014

              ohm image

              Glad to have you on board. Awesome phones, awesome report.

            • Reply April 24, 2014

              l3A7VA7VA

              I have had my DITA out more often lately. I am using Sony hybrid tips, now i have a good seal i can relax and enjoy the music.

    • Reply February 23, 2014

      ohm image

      Another brother!

  • Reply March 3, 2014

    gagetbOy

    wait I’m confused is there a difference in the SOUND between the two models or is it just in the housing and cable? Overall a very interesting review style welcome Nathan.

    • Reply March 7, 2014

      ohm image

      gagetb0y, I didn’t specifically mention sound differences between the two earphones for a number of reasons. As you may know, cable talk is really really… iffy. There will be talk about the sound differences by other people. Those people are not me. I can say that the Truth edition cable is much stronger, nicer looking, and easier to use in every possible way.

      If you get the chance, listen to and fondle both earphones. To date, both are favourite earphones of mine.

  • Reply May 22, 2014

    dalethorn

    I spent yesterday with the Answer/Truth earphone – stunning detail, delicious bass, but a rather large emphasis between 3 and 6 khz that’s fatiguing. My best fit was the double-flange tips (a perfect fit).

    • Reply June 11, 2014

      ohm image

      Glad you found your fit. I’ve been trawling threads on the net, both at headfi, here, and other places. Generally, these are well received, but fit tends to be an issue for a lot of people.

  • Reply July 22, 2014

    lowbies

    Hai nathan…how dita compared with ocharaku’s especially with kuro?

    • Reply September 4, 2014

      ohm image

      Lowbies, I’m sorry this is so late. The sound is rather different. KURO is more atypical, and sharp in the upper regions and not friendly to walking around town much. That said, it casts such a wide stereo signal. Dita is an awesome, but more typical sounding earphone. Typical in that the good you’ve enjoyed from a bunch of great earphones is the Dita, but in better, wider, dynamic style.

      I don’t have a favourite between the two.

      • Reply September 4, 2014

        L.

        You need a “comment” mailbox, man

        • Reply September 6, 2014

          lowbies

          Thank you Nathan for your answer..and I think i would agree with L..LOL

      • Reply September 7, 2014

        Marc

        Speaking of favourites, Nathan, what is/are your current favourite universal IEM(s) and with what setup do you most enjoy them with?

        • Reply September 10, 2014

          ohm image

          Marc… this is a very hard question to answer. Sound-wise I’m very torn between genres.

          Dita audio The Answer is a GREAT all-rounder but some fit issues preclude it from staying in my ears more often.

          grado GR10 (review coming) is the best single-armature driver I’ve ever heard that fits wonderfully.

          ortofon e-Q8 is an even more refined GR10 … if you have a system up to snuff. I love it.

          Ocharaku KAEDE: if not for fit issues and a sometimes scratchy upper range, it would be THE BOMB.

          Ultrasone IQ: great wide sound and contrasty signature but tendency sometimes to boom. Good fit for medium-sized concha, but too flashy, and very sensitive (you hear hiss a lot).

          Even the old Audio Technica CK10 (strong as a bullet) are great, but hurt my ears.

          I choose first on fit then on sound. Why? Because earphones have to feel good in order for me to want to hear what they say. After that, longevity of build.

          For those reasons, GR10 is probably my favourite but I’d not take it on a run. CK10 does that for me. If just sound… there are so many more options that wow me, but which I’d never spring for.

          • Reply September 10, 2014

            Marc

            Thanks Natnan!!

  • Reply January 26, 2015

    broken lcd screen buyer

    The days of tossing broken or cracked screens in the dumpster are long behind us. LCD screens have value, and we purchase your broken mobile phone LCD screens and smartphones at very competitive prices. If any competitor is ever beating our prices, let us know and we will beat their prices 100% Guaranteed.

  • Reply March 16, 2015

    dog ears

    Trying my luck here. How does it compare to the DBA-02?

    • Reply April 14, 2015

      ohm image

      Very favourably. But the DBA-02 is closer in sound to the Grado GR8e, but the GR8e is better in every single metric.

  • Reply April 13, 2015

    Joe LaMonica

    hey you gotta check out these head phones, they block all noise around you and allow you to actually listen to the music at concerts.
    http://sni.ps/GG0

    • Reply April 13, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      You are now blocked and banned

      • Reply April 13, 2015

        dalethorn

        That was interesting – the guy’s a real pro spammer. Checked his Disqus profile, a grand total of 9 posts, all routing links through his site then out to other sites for all kinds of products. It’s amazing the number of spam techniques in use now – it makes your job harder.

  • Reply April 25, 2015

    Boogie6301

    I’m going to audition this definitely. The sound signature you described is right around my alley. I have a separate post on the new Rx where I reported the low gain using the ipod as a source.

    I want to keep my Rx bur the only iem I have sensitive enough for the Rx and ipod pairing is the 1964 v6 Stage. From the iems I’ve tried so far anthing lower than around 110dB won’t be enough for the ipod Rx combo.

    I hope the Dita will be sensitive enough. If it is and it has more bass than the V6Stage I’d likely change to the Dita.

    I also hope Headfonia can still validate my findings on the ipod Rx combo.

  • Reply May 25, 2015

    Matt MusicJunky

    Alright. nobody’s been able to give me a clear comparison between the Dita’s and the K3003; bass, mids, treble, clarity. Also, I’m considering CIEM for the first time. Am I better off; fit issues aside. I have enough variety of tips that I can get a good seal with just about everything; no worries there. But, would Dita stand a chance against 8+ drivers? I don’t know, I’ve never heard more than 4 @ once, but I do know that just one micro-driver (fx850 & Heaven VIII, anyone?) can do about as good of a job as four. Thoughts, anyone?

    • Reply May 25, 2015

      dalethorn

      I haven’t heard the K3003 (or a hundred others), but I wrote a review of the Dita Truth edition, saying it’s like a Senn IE800 but with more detail – a very lively sound that doesn’t get its superior detail just by jacking up the treble. I don’t think the single-driver IEMs are as “exciting or lively” as the multi-driver IEMs, on average, but those 2 (Dita and IE800) sound more coherent to me, less fatiguing.

      Here’s my take: If you can just sit and listen with zero distractions, the single-drivers I mentioned might be best, but if you’re gaming, watching movies, using outdoors or on public transit, you’ll probably appreciate multi-drivers more.

      • Reply May 25, 2015

        Matt MusicJunky

        Thank you for the response! Can you explain what you mean with “using outdoors or on public transit?”

        • Reply May 26, 2015

          dalethorn

          The really good IEMs present you with low-level detail that the cheaper or worse IEMs tend to smear. In noisy environments, even with good isolation, most of the low-level detail is masked over by the noise. Just try listening to some really good low-level detail in a noisy place, then try it in a quiet place. You’ll appreciate the difference. For commuting, I’d definitely take the multi-driver. But to be honest, I’d suggest having both, and I think you’d appreciate switching between them depending on the type of sound they have, for different circumstances.

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  • Reply April 16, 2018

    Chupa

    Hi All,

    I bought this cable the truth replacement cable for my A18’s. The 2 pin connector did not fit, so the cable was worthless. Sent it back, got lost in the mail and never got my money back. Terrible support and service from Dita. I would strongly recommend everyone that reads this not to do business with Dita Audio.

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