DITA FEALTY REVIEW: An High Resolution Musical Passion

DITA TWINS FEALTY REVIEW

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SOUND: 9/10
CONSTRUCTION&DESIGN: 8.5/10
VERSATILITY: 8.5/10
ACCESSORIES CABLE): 9/10
VALUE: Do not Apply at this price range

THE PLUS: Huge soundstage, excellent imaging, clear and balanced  W shape sound, great macro-resolution, timbre, fast transient response, realist tonality
THE SO-SO: Bass lacks a bit of body, timbre is on the thin side, treble can add brightness that affects naturalness, the housing mirror finish is prompt to scratching, kinda pricey

DITA Audio is a well-established earphones (and cables) audio company from Singapore-the Asian state of numerous hardcore audiophiles. As they say themself, they struggle for THEIR own audio perfection (or dream), which is a very demanding one.

As said on their page, DITA create the TWINS earphones to explore the duality between human and relationship as well as between music and listener. To you to interpret what this means.

”Being dissatisfied with what was commercially available, Dita was born to fulfill a dream to produce earphones of unrivaled quality and beauty.
Our philosophy at Dita is simple, we will continually strive for perfection, we will not follow market trends nor use any component or technologies that will compromise the musical truth.
Using decades of experience from being in the Audio and Engineering industry, we used the time and tested methodology of using the very best components in the shortest, simplest signal path possible. After years of exploring and researching with different materials and components, we now believe that we have found the answer. ”

Musicality versus Accuracy, Emotionality versus Rationality, Passion versus Love, Body versus Anatomy.

Fealty is about a musical romance while Fidelity is about perfectionism of lifelike realism.

Still, they certainly aren’t called TWINS just for their difference, but for there similarities they share too, which explains why the sound signature is similar and have nuanced tuning difference that will not jump at you as if one model was super warm and bassy and the other one bright and analytical. This is more refined than that and can be explain by the use of very same diaphragm form but with different amounts of material used for its complex molding that includes PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and PEN (Polyethylene naphthalate). Both of the TWINS share the same Tuning target but with different tonalities.

Having both TWINS earphones, It’s now time to review the FEALTY model.

Priced at 1300$, but quite often on sale too, the DITA FEALTY aren’t for the budget-minded audiophile, its really for those that are wealthy enough to afford any audio luxuries they want. Still, we can find more expensive earphones today that offer less overall value, but personally, I consider earphones selling above 1K as irrational buy for the audiophile that are Obsess about price value. So, for this review I will not talk about value, it just cannot apply to this IEM price range.

Now, let’s see in this review if the FEALTY offer a higher-end sonority that can inject new life and refinement to your music.

SPECS:

System Forma:t Single Dynamic Driver
Driver Type Fealty: Ref/Fe

Drive Unit Complement New design Dual Material Composite driver with:
PET Diaphragm
PEN Dome
Full gold-plated chassis
Frequency Response 18Hz – 25KHz
Sensitivity 95dB +/- 1dB @ 1KHz
Nominal Impedance 16 Ohms
Max. Input Power 10mW
Connection (Plug end) Patented and proprietary Awesome Plug with 3.5mm
TRS and 2.5mm TRRS supplied.
Optional: 4.4mm, 5-pole
Internally wired with Van Den Hul 3T hybrid cable
Soldered with Van Den Hul Silver solder

Connection (Earphone end) 2-pin with “slot-lock”
2 -pin female pins with internal spring lock
Gold plated contacts

Cable DITA Fat Cable 2 with TPE insulating jacket
Chassis Material 6061 T6 aerospace grade aluminium
CNC’d from billet
Simultaneously aged and hard anodized
Chemical etched Stainless Steel 304 damping plate

Splitter Integrated Chin Stop
Colour Fealty: Iridium Silver

CONSTRUCTION&DESIGN

 

CONSTRUCTION is sober, simple, yet elegant and sturdy. The housing is bigger than expected and I was worry about some fit issue, but they are mean to be wear over-ear and the rather long angled nozzle fit perfectly my ears with minimal pressure due to light alloy metal housing. The aerospace aluminum housing has a beautiful mirror finish but is prompt to easy scratching, while the brushed part isn’t.

DURABILITY looks like to be important for DITA, because the 2pin connector are very well built with a 2pin gold plated connection hole, as well, the male 2pin fit tightly and securely with rubber that protects connectors. The cable has an industrial feel to it, its very thick and has a special feature that I ever saw with any other cable and find extremely practical: interchangeable plug system. Yes, you can now have a 2in1 cable that can be used as 3.5mm unbalanced or 2.5mm balanced by changing the screwable plug.

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DESIGN is strictly thought for over-ear wearing, and as the housing is relatively big as well as the 2pin connector, it can create long term discomfort depending of your type of ears. Strangely, this only occurs with my left ears after hours of non-stop use and i think it’s more due to the cable than the iem itself. I think that if you encounter discomfort after long use, the solution would be to use another smoother more flexible cable without a big rubber 2pin connector.

 

CABLE design, as said it’s super thick and sturdy and will most likely have a long lifespan, but it’s not a very flexible cable, which makes it perhaps not the best choice for over-ear design. Cable length is quite long as well, which again it’s a plus or not depending of your type of use. As well, due to the proprietary 2pin fitlock system of DITA TWINS cable connecting, using other 2pin cables will not permit perfectly flush fit, as the 2pin cannot be pushed fully in a female connector that has a blocking system. Anyway, this do not stop you to find the cable that will match, just that connection isn’t as sturdy and protected than with stock cable. As said, it’s an excellent high-end cable, and the changeable plug is a Genius idea! It’s just not the most smooth and flexible cable.

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DRIVEABILITY does benefit enough amping, a good powerful DAP or any portable, desktop amp will do, but very low output audio source will likely affect soundstage and overall dynamic in a negative way. The FEALTY has a low sensitivity of 95db, which is a little similar to Final Audio E5000 in its amping need. I know its well amped when the soundstage is wide and immersive and timbre is full blossom

ISOLATION is quite excellent and offers high passive isolation, wich blocks noise to high DB level, for example, if I knock hard on my table I do not hear nothing other than my music at middle volume. For sound leakage, due to the side venting hole, it will tend to leaks more sound than IEM with front vent or no vent at all.

SOUND

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The overall tonality of the DITA FEALTY is a cohesive W shape sound where low and mids are smooth and full and treble is slightly more energic, adding edge too definition and an abrasive texture to timbre. When you enter the soundstage of this IEM, you feel very small and piteous, as if you enter a cathedral, it’s Hall like, very wide, deep and tall, but without the unstable resonance of such a big space. This permits an airy layering of sound with great transparency, another highlight of the FEALTY, which offers extremely high level of clarity. Wide space between instrument is something you most get used too, it can give an impression of distance surrounding you from every axis even the back. This isn’t like listening to the other end of a tunnel while the musicians are at they other ends, more like being in the middle of a band with a larger than life presentation, as if you listen to giants musician in the middle of their immense castle, yes, you are small within this gigantic music presentation. The DITA FEALTY offer a unique immersive musical experience with precise imaging and finds the right balance between accuracy and naturalness, avoiding overly warm, bright or analytical presentation.

As said, the SOUNDSTAGE is something very special with both the DITA TWINS, the grand spatiality surely come from above-average tallness of soundstage that permits a vertical presentation of the sound, for example, with choral music the voice tends to expend vertically too which is rarely properly rendered with other IEM, this give an extra dimension to overall headroom, which is already very wide and deep. Whole music has extra airiness to its layers as if they have more freedom of movement. Even open-back headphones do not offer this very type of presentation, because of how cleanly the sound flow from every side of your head without outside noise to interfere with background silence.

IMAGING does benefit from this grand holographic spatiality, you have a lot of space to pinpoint every instrument which is presented in a circular axis around you. The mix of great transparency and wide space between instrument permits incredible macro-resolution. As well, how the FEALTy is tuned make instrument placement have a pre-defined presence hierarchy in presentation, the bass being layered in the back with good definition, the mids being very centered and highs moving freely from left to right to front to back, from 4khz to 10khz, separation is more surgical while from 20hz to 4hz it’s more gradient in layerings.

Going back to TONALITY, it’s not a warm, thick or lush one, it’s slightly bright with good edge to the definition, it’s a fuller-sounding version of FIDELITY, less aggressive in upper mids and upper treble, more balanced and natural but still quite vividly detailed in treble region. I use the term realist sounding when the sound has high resolution and slightly dry timbre, but what it’s strange with FEALTY is that it’s airy but without a lot of resonance after the attack.

The BASS has a high resolution, high articulation, and separation, but is more controlled in its density than heavy in its slam. It’s the type of bass that kept its place in the back of a song but keep well define presence under other highly transparent sound layers. The sub-region is flatter than mid-bass, slightly dry with excellent texture to keep great contrast with more weighty mid-bass. Sub and kick never mix together, but it do not make sub-line lack cohesion as if it was a sub-woofer playing somewhere else in the soundstage, no, bassline play clearly just behind the kick, with small separation, not as wide as mids and treble separation. When the bass is asked for in a track like ”Girl” from THE INTERNET, the kick is weighty, thigh and realistic resonance after it’s hit, synth-bass line is perfectly articulate in the back, with good thickness and nuance in timbre while the vocal is ultra-clear and take the front seat. When the drum is well recorded, it will move air, it will be physically felt, adding headbanging energy to whole music. Other instruments like Cello or acoustic bass sound full, very accurate in the attack, but slightly bright and thin in timbre, in this CELLO SUITE from J.S BACH, we hear the bass grunt in cello body as the air move inside it, but we do not feel its extension, this permit to keep the whole tonality extremely balanced and clear, very realist, and the attack fast and precise, a warmer thicker presentation would have stolen nuance in definition, the cello neither sound like a violin or a contrabass, but as a real unplugged cello with a realistic distance from the listener.

The MID RANGE is what I would call neutral, clear and accurate with highly define separation. It’srather smooth and transparent in timbre until upper mids, where you get extra treble energy that helps to extract texture and details nuances of mid-range as well as giving more edge to the definition. Slightly bright but never shouty or harsh, the mids have a high level of presence without interfering with bass or highs, it’s not thick, lush or warm mids as the mid-bass keep it’s placed and do not give extra body to cello, male voice or bassoon, what impresses is how clean and well-articulated is the instruments playing in this range, from acoustic guitar to violin to piano, it offers a realist tonality with an abrasive snappy attack, which permits a refined macro-resolution with a lot of energy in coherent liveliness. For female vocal, like ”Broken Sleep” from goddess AGNES OBEL, the voice is forwards and well centered, with ultra-clear layering with other voices and very airy and out of your head soundstage, it has no notable sibilance but sometimes it sounds a little lipsy. When I listen to this track with other IEM, the vocal tend to sound wider and thicker but more opaque too and instrumental fall in the shadow, to the point of losing the piano line or cello playing, with the FEALTY, every instrument keep its clarity and individuality as well as rich texture and they have lot of space to express themself. The FEALTY have an airy timbre, in the sense, it’s thickened with textured air so it keeps it’s transparency too, in a jazz track like ”Life goes on” from CARLA BLEY, the only instrument that lacks little body is the bass in lower end extension, but the articulation, attack, and texture are excellent, the saxophone show how fully covered is mid-range, it sounds full and nuanced in tonality and timbre, here the saxophonist is in front of other instrument and we can follow it’s playing from right to left in the space while bass stay at the left and piano at the right, the piano notes have a natural extension and snappy attack but lower harmonic isn’t very weighty. I find the mids very addictive for vocal, violin or woodwinds instruments, while it can sound a little thinner for cello or piano.

TREBLE is where the FEALTY gain most of its brightness and edginess, it’s the most energic and forwards frequency range, from upper mids to upper highs it delivers a lot of audio information, which would have lead to over-saturation if it wasn’t for the impressive level of transparency and huge soundstage that permit rich layering and avoid congestion to the sound. In a very rich in texture music like ”Kraag” from GEIR SUNSTOL, the level of details is barely overwhelming as it has a lot of textured sounds in treble region and the mastering is rather intimate, but this is a great example of how talented is the FEALTY treble too, nothing is hidden or muddied here, you have the slide guitar layers floating above the xylophone that keep it’s round polish sound while percussions are extremely resolved in texture and bassline perfectly articulate in the back, you can relisten this tracks multiple time and will always discover little details you haven’t heard. To my ears, highs are more crunchy than sparkly, which make them full and textured in timbre, snappy in the attack, but lacking some natural resonance even if the acoustic guitar does sound marvelous with great crispness and bite, I wish just a hint more air between high treble and ultra-highs would have help. Harp and clavichord isn’t as good sounding as electric guitar, violin or saxophone that benefit from grounded attack. Percussions sound very clear while keeping good tonal balance with rest of spectrum, they aren’t artificially forwarded, but have fast attack and bright presence, no splashy cymbals, which are clear in their textured crash flow with natural inoffensive shrill extension, hit hat is super tight and clear, the snare has great authority and fast edgy hit, conga is tonally realist, only gong or chime can lack extra brilliance and resonance.

COMPARISONS

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VS DITA FIDELITY (1300$)

These two are similar, but far from the point of losing their own specific singularities. FEALTY is a more ‘’romantically’’ tuned FIDELITY, with extra soul, and well, extra bass too! SOUNDSTAGE is near the same, both have enormous out of your head spatiality, but perhaps the FIDELITY has a hint more deepness too it.
IMAGING is slightly sharper with FIDELITY, offering a higher level of instrument separation clarity.
BASS is more lively, weighty and punchy with the FEALTY, even if its not basshead earphones, it gives a more dynamic low-end with better-rounded midbass punch.
MID RANGE is slightly warmer, thicker and lusher with FEALTY, giving to vocal extra body but less transparency than a more analytical mind range of FIDELITY. Here the cello and piano will sound more natural and fuller with FEALTY while it will be violin and guitar for the FIDELITY.
TREBLE is smoother with the FEALTY, giving a more laidback sound without sounding anemic in highs region, here the FIDELITY is more aggressive and snappy.

All in all, the FEALTY is the poet while the FIDELITY is the scientist, both with same family soul.

VS MEZE RAI PENTA (1100$)

SOUNDSTAGE is slightly wider with the PENTA but we have notably more deepness and tallness with the DITA which makes it sound more out of your head and airy.
IMAGING being more spacious with the DITA, instrument separation have more air between them and tend to give clearer and more accurate positioning, as well, DITA has more transparency which benefits layering resolution.
CLARITY is sharper with the DITA, especially in mid-range where it’s clean from any bass warmth. TIMBRE is thicker, juicier and smoother with the PENTA, while the DITA is more bright and transparent. BASS is seriously more beefy, weighty and punchy with the PENTA, its thick and beautifully rounded even if it tends to warm lower mid-range more than the dryer, flatter and more textured bass of DITA. MID RANGE of DITA sound more revealing and fully covered, slightly more forward too, but with upper mids emphasis that while barely even make any micro sibilance, tend to offer a less smoothness than warmer, more opaque mids of PENTA. Here, DITA offers a higher level of definition and clarity, making the PENTA sound less balanced and refined. TREBLE is a little more extended with the DITA, but extra micro-details we find is more due to a higher level of clarity, anyway, highs have more natural sparkle-brilliance-decay to them while PENTA is again softer-dryer on top.

All in all, PENTA is bassier, warmer, more laid back and softer sounding while the DITA has better technicalities, more balanced near neutral sound and slightly brighter timbre that permits a higher level of definition.

VS FINALAUDIO A8000 (2000$)

Now, in terms of construction and comfort, the A8000 is clearly superior. SOUNDSTAGE is quite wider and more holographic and airy with the DITA, this will give more space between instrument but the number of instruments will struggle more for proper IMAGING due to slower transient response. Still, A8000 sound like an on-ear open-back headphone while the DITA is more similar to an open back in headroom size. BASS is where I find the A8000 more realist, it extends better and has more body as well as less dry timbre, the DITA bass is a rather thin and tonal balance between low and mids is less cohesive than A8000, which make instruments like cello lack a bit of body. MIDS are slightly more recessed with the DITA, they are drier, brighter and thinner with smoother definition, while the A8000 is more edgy and natural in tonality. Piano sound fuller with the A8000 and vocal closer and clearer, but more intimate, though mids aren’t the smoothest one with A800, the DITA upper mids are more aggressive and affect the tonal balance of vocal, making them sound wider, but thinner and harsher too. TREBLE is brighter with more emphasis in upper highs with the DITA, which tend to push forwards percussions and affect overall naturalness of tonality and stole some definition to mid treble where the A8000 have plenty of it, so the highs are more bodied and in line with rest of audio spectrum. I feel the highs are crisper and more sparkly with the A8000, which gives a fabulous performance for both acoustic and electric guitar, while the DITA is more on the metallic side.
All in All, these two are fabulous listen, slightly similar in overall bright tonality but with more balanced and natural sound for A8000 and more holographic airy sound for the Fealty.

SOURCE PAIRING

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With XDUOO XD-05Plus with Burson V5i Dual OPamp

Even at low gain the XD-05Plus has plenty of power, but I prefer the rendering at mid-gain which gives a huge soundstage that gains in wideness and tallness but loses a little of its deepness due to not perfectly black background floor of this DAC-AMP. The IMAGING is slightly less sharp but has even more space in separation. BASS gain some sub-bass body and thickness, making the FEALTY suddenly more V shape and slightly warmer in timbre. MID RANGE too is slightly thicker and lusher, and vocal tends to gain in body and presence even more. Treble is slightly less crunchy and more liquid. The overall sound is warmer with this DAC-AMP, which make a good pairing for a more laid back and natural listen.

With IBASSO DX90

This pairing is very delicious, the DX90 is extremely clear and detailed with the black noise floor and while some will expect this source to overly sharpen FEALTY sound it isn’t the case because of great control and sound articulation free of any weak harshness. With the DX90, IMAGING is phenomenal inaccuracy of instrument placement and separation and the SOUNDSTAGE gain in deepness and holographic rendering. BASS is even better-rounded up in mid-range while MIDS became more analytical and transparent, with crystal clear definition and extra bite in attack. TREBLE is even more vivid and lively, extremely snappy and gain even hint of brilliance and sparkle.

With Xduoo X20 DAC+JDS LABS ATOM

Another great pairing that injects extra fluidity to the sound and delivers plenty of power to show the true potential of the FEALTY. SOUNDSTAGE is even more out of your head, taller and deeper. IMAGING is so spacious and transparent, having a perfect mix of Y-axis layering and X-axis space between instruments. BASS is flat and controlled, slightly thicker while MIDS seems wider in presentation, giving vocal extra presence and smoothing the upper mids edge a little. TREBLE sounds chunkier, rich and vibrant, as well as more in balance than sharper IBASSO DX90.

CONCLUSION

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The DITA TWINS FEALTY offers a really Grand sound experience that is hard to forget, the bigger than life soundstage it offers tend to make everything sound more exciting and immersive. No other IEM I try, apart from DITA FIDELITY, deliver that level of imaging spaciousness, that accuracy in instrument placement, that whole macro-resolution injected with liveliness.

Not only the FEALTY avoid sounding too aggressive by delivering a highly revealing sound with sharp clarity and rich treble, but it avoids sounding too serious or cold by keeping an energic musicality within a neutral tuning curve.

If you search for an End game earphones with huge soundstage, flat controlled bass, clear and articulate mid-range, and vivid well-balanced highs, the FEALTY should be on your list. The FEALTY put delicious spice into mature sound tuning.

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