The time has finally come, the first review of Dita Audio on Ear Fidelity! This is a rather exotic brand for us here in Europe, having its Headquarters in Singapore.
Their products got my attention a while back, and I really like their approach to making products. Instead of going for hybrids and new, flashy specifications, they have a rather minimalistic way of creating IEMs, focusing on the quality of every single aspect.
Today we’re reviewing their new flagship, the Perpetua. This is a single Dynamic Driver IEM priced at $2999, which might attract some eyes of doubtful people. Luckily, after reviewing a lot of different IEMs and being in the audio game for about 10 years now, I know very well that the specification and driver count has nothing to do with value.
Just look at one of the most iconic IEMs of the last 5 years – the Final A8000. It uses a single Dynamic Driver as well, is priced at $1999 and it already is a legendary product that has a lot of users.
There’s also a trend going on lately, where more and more budget IEMs get really impressive technically. However, many IEMs have been lacking one thing in my opinion – the tuning. We’re getting very technical sounding IEMs very regularly lately, and it’s not the only way to do audio. The stereo HiFi market is more diverse when it comes to tuning of products, and it would have been nice if our headphones market implement some diversity as well.
The hero of today’s review might be a great example of this. It’s really hard to produce a $2999 IEM using a single driver that will rival the best tribrids on the market when it comes to technical performance, so you, as a manufacturer, have to focus on different aspects (that are just as important as the technical performance).
Just take a look at Fir Audio, which I’m a huge fan of, especially because of their new lineup. Just look how much tech goes inside these IEMs, such as the Kinetic Bass, Atom Venting, Open Acoustics, etc. Also, their models use multiple drivers per channel, which has proven to improve the sound quality in most scenarios.
So, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, Dita went all-in for a tuning that’s going to set the Perpetua apart from the rest of the offerings on the market. Not everyone is looking for the ultimate performance, a lot of people just want a type of sound signature that will fit their preferences. Dita Audio seems to know it very well, so they focused on the aspect that they felt very confident with.
Having all that in mind, I was very excited to try the new Dita Perpetua. The moment I received them the whole experience started…at it’s quite an experience.
The unboxing experience of the Perpetua is definitely one of the best and most unique I’ve ever seen in this hobby.
First of all, it comes in a protective outer box that you literally have to “rip apart” to get inside. When you get past it, you’re greeted with the proper, gray box. It has a unique way of opening, with two rubber bands that hold the lid. This box is of great quality and it looks beautiful in person, I actually use it to store some things on my desk.
Let’s get inside. The first thing that draws attention is one of two cases that you’re getting. It is a case similar to what you’ll get with a pair of high-end sunglasses. The material is leather which is very smooth to the touch. This is a very high-quality case and it feels luxurious. However, it’s a soft case, so it doesn’t offer too much protection for your new expensive IEMs. Oh, you’re also getting a strap that you can attach to the case and rock the thing attached to your belt. Nice touch.
Inside this case, you’ll find your eartips (looks like Final audio ones), and a set of different jack plugs (since the cable you’re getting has a multi-plug technology) – more on that later.
Next up, is the second case. Have you ever seen an IEM that comes with two cases? Me neither. Well, it’s never too late for experiencing something for the first time, isn’t it. The second case is a hard case that has a very interesting lid design. It has a small handle on top that you can pull to release the air out of the case, which helps with opening it. This case doesn’t have a screw-on lid, so this air pressure system is all you’re getting when it comes to keeping it closed.
While this is very interesting and unique, I don’t think it works well enough. Actually, you’re getting two cases and I won’t trust any of them to just throw in the backpack and be sure that nothing will happen to your new Perpetua. Of course, if you just want to put your IEMs in the pocket of your jacket, you can definitely use the soft case as it is very elegant and doesn’t take too much space. The hard case, however, is more of an “on a desk” type of scenario, a place that you can just put your Perpetua in and keep it within reach.
Another thing you’ll be getting is a set of stickers and a postcard. The thing that just has to be mentioned is the quality and design. These are the best-designed stickers I’ve seen in audio, they look polished and very intriguing. I absolutely love the idea, it surely doesn’t add too much cost for the manufacturer, and you can rock the stickers with pride on your laptop, phone, or basically anywhere. As for the postcard, I don’t think this is actually meant to be sent, but it’s also a very nice and unique accessory that is just fun to experience.
Lastly, you’re getting a very nice-quality cleaning cloth, for keeping the Perpetua clean. Overall, the entire unboxing experience is a blast and something truly unique. Even before listening to the Perpetua, you got a sense of getting something luxurious and special. Dita Audio really cared about the whole experience from the very beginning and I appreciate it a lot. This is what high-end portable audio should always look and feel like.
Design, Build and Comfort
So far, the Perpetua feels like an extremely high-end and luxurious product, let’s see if the trend continues with the build quality and comfort.
The IEMs themselves are actually quite large, but their shape is very organic and comfortable to my ears. After unboxing them I was actually scared if they’ll fit me, as the size of the shells is really huge. They had to put these big, 12mm Dynamic Drivers somewhere, so it’s not really surprising, but keep in mind that if you have very small ears, these might not fit you.
Apart from the size, the shells have some weight as well. They are made of CNC Titanium and they definitely are not the lightest pair of IEMs you’ll ever experience, definitely not. However, the size and design are just well executed and I would never call the Perpetua uncomfortable. Even my girlfriend finds them quite comfortable and is able to use them for a couple of hours without fatigue. This is mainly due to the lack of sharp edges, as the entire IEM is round and smooth to the touch.
As for the design, I really like the look of the Perpetua. They definitely look unique and interesting, you definitely can’t mistake them for anything else on the market, apart from other Dita models. The design is pretty minimal, and they can look a little bit underwhelming at first glance. However, this feels like a classic Japanese design for me – minimalistic and modest, yet refined and organic.
Let’s get to the cable, as this is pretty interesting. First of all, the second generation of the Awesome Plug is just a blast. I do believe that multi-plug systems are game-changers, and I wish that more and more manufacturers are going to use them. This specific plug system works brilliantly, you simply plug it in and screw it on, so it’s just perfectly secure and convenient to use. Of course, you’ve got a 2.5mm, 3,5mm, and 4.4mm option, so you’re pretty much covered with every device you’d like to use the Perpetua with. Brilliant.
The cable itself is a bag of mixed feelings for me. The wire is pretty thin and flexible north of the splitter, and quite thick in the lower area. The cable looks great with transparent isolation, showing off that beautiful wire inside. It’s the splitter and the 2-pin connectors that I have a slight problem with though. First of all, the splitter is unnecessarily bulky, resulting in some problems with the ergonomics. If you’ll rock this cable under your shirt, you’re going to feel the splitter at all times. Something more stealthy and smaller would have been better in my opinion.
The 2-pin connectors however are problematic in two ways. First of all, the Perpetua uses a recessed socket, so it’s problematic to cable roll them. I don’t really like unique connectors, as a lot of audiophiles like to cable roll their high-end IEMs, and using recessed sockets definitely makes it harder and less convenient. Another thing that I don’t really like is the physical aspect of the connectors themselves. The Perpetua is a very well-made and luxurious pair of IEMs, and these connectors just look unappealing. They have a semi-transparent plastic look to them, which ruins the look of the IEMs. Dita should have gone for black connectors made of the same materials as the shells, which would have resulted in a more seamless, polished look. It’s just the aspect of the look of the Perpetua that bothers me a little every time I look at them. No complaints about the quality though, just pure aesthetics.
Lastly, the Awesome Plug is a marvel. The jack connector is pretty large, but it’s extremely well-made and robust, so I definitely don’t worry that it’ll break anytime soon. This thing is built to last and Dita really did make a great job with it.
There’s not a lot to say about the tech of the Perpetua. It uses a single, 12mm PPT-D Dynamic Driver per side. We’ve seen some high-end single DD IEMs in the past (Final A8000 for example), but the Perpetua is probably the most expensive so far. I don’t think it’s a problem whatsoever, as single DD IEMs have proven their worth in the past.
Here are two cents from Dita about the driver:
“The PPT-D sits in an acoustic chamber of titanium specially optimized for its size and function. Maximizing both the 12mm driver’s potential and the metal’s sonic qualities. A continuation of the tuned acoustic concept used in earlier products such as the XLS.”
Another thing worth mentioning is that the internal wiring of the Perpetua is made with a pure silver Kondo Audionote Japan wire. This is a high-end big-boy stereo brand that is legendary for its spectacular sound quality. It’s very nice to see a brand caring about the internal wiring of their high-end IEMs, and I’m glad that Dita is highlighting it in their product’s description.
Let’s get into the sound of the Perpetua. Dita Audio describes them as organic, full-bodied, and lush sounding, and this is actually spot-on. It’s one of these IEMs that you’re listening to for a couple of hours and don’t really know what to think. Not because anything is wrong, but because it just sounds forgiving, easy, and natural.
The bass is full-bodied and it has a great texture. It’s not too extreme sounding, as the entire Perpetua is rather a soft and relaxed sounding IEM, and the bass is no different naturally. It has similar qualities to the bass of the A8000, sounding snappy, detailed, and crispy. I somewhat feel like the bone conduction and especially the Kinetic Bass technology from Fir Audio has changed and will continue to change bass delivery in IEMs, hence the Perpetua cannot really match the bass presentation of the Kr5 or Xe6 from Fir Audio. However, having in mind traditional IEMs, the Perpetua offers a very high-quality bass response that is fun to listen to while staying natural and soft. This is not the most hard-hitting bass responses you’ll hear, but it was never meant to in my opinion. What’s very impressive is the reproduction of the acoustic guitars that gain that rich body of the soundbox. Also, male vocals benefit from that kind of performance as well, giving them a natural thickness that is highly desired. Overall, the bass never sounds too forward, nor does it stay behind, it’s there when it’s needed.
The midrange is the best aspect of the Perpetua. It sounds very smooth and relaxed, further expanding on that soft and musical tone. The entire midrange frequency sounds linear and natural, and thanks to the exceptional texture, it sounds highly involving and delicate. I’m yet to find an instrument or vocalist that sounds unnatural on the Perpetua, and I don’t think I’ll ever do. It has that ability that you don’t really listen to the sound, as it’s so unforced and coherent sounding. I actually gave the Perpetua to two of my audio friends to try and give me their impressions, and they had a hard time describing its sound. They can sound underwhelming at first, but the more you listen to them, the more you understand what’s going on. This is a musical masterclass that makes the IEMs disappear and leaves you with just the music, which is very hard to achieve with IEMs. I’ve had that kind of experience with high-end stereo setups a couple of times, but with IEMs…probably never as much. We really have to appreciate this kind of performance. The high-End IEM market is full of IEMs that sound extreme and very impressive, but there are not a lot IEMs that just try to get out of the way and give you an ultimate chill experience.
The treble is once again, smooth and musical. It never gets harsh, but it doesn’t sound dull or technically underwhelming. Of course, this is NOT an ultimate detail and resolution type of experience, and it’s not the most extended, but when it comes to timbre and smooth texture, this is truly great. The treble continues on the trend that the Perpetua sounds pleasant and very forgiving, not focusing on the ultimate technical superiority. Actually, this reminds me of high-end Japanese stereo devices, that tend to have similar qualities. Take Audio Note, for example, it’s been known for decades for its smooth and highly musical sound, never sounding overly technical or initially spectacular. It’s all about the long-term enjoyment and getting the sound that is just coherent and easy to listen to. If you ever tried BBC speakers, you probably know what I’m talking about. I used to have BBC Spendor speakers a couple of years ago, and I found myself listening to music more, and focusing on the sound less, which was a deliverance for me. I feel that some people really need to hear this kind of sound to enjoy audio more, as we often get tired of all these hyper-technical sounding headphones that keep us on the edge of the seat. The Perpetua is just perfect to just sit in your Herman Miller Eames chair, have a glass of fine whisky, and just enjoy your evening. You’ll focus on the good things, and I promise…you will be relaxed.
The soundstage is very good, but once again, nothing extreme. It’s reasonably sized, reaching quite deep and wide, and the imaging is great. The Perpetua has that ability to make the instruments quite big and forward, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else in the background. It just puts you in the middle of the performance, forget about sitting in the tenth row, you’re taking the stage. This is definitely a type of performance that is suitable with the entire frequency response of the Perpetua, as it helps that smooth and coherent type of sound. This is not an IEM to analyze the material and find the tiniest details in the background. It wants you to focus on the textures of the main event, so if this is your cup of tea, the Perpetua stages excellently.
Overall, the Dita Perpetua is a very specific type of IEM. Even though it’s very expensive, it’s not trying to justify the high price immediately. It just sounds in a way that lets you enjoy it more and more with time. This will definitely not appeal to everyone, as we, headphone enthusiasts tend to crave the best and most extreme sound. But I see the Perpetua being a brilliant choice for everyone who’s been into high-end Japanese audio for years and they got used to that soft, mellow sound that just doesn’t sound like anything. And trust me, there are a lot of them in the world. You can often read a sentence “speaker-like presentation”, and for me, the Perpetua is the perfect example of this statement. In its own way, but it’s just a super tiny, high-end Audio Note / vintage Accuphase / BBC type of stereo setup that you can put in your pocket.
Two single DD IEMs, the already-legendary Final A8000 changed the landscape of the IEM market, marking the moment of a comeback of single-driver high-end IEMs.
Comparing these two is quite easy, as they sound nothing alike. The A8000 is definitely more technical, analytical, and extreme sounding than the Perpetua, which will appeal to some, but definitely not to everyone. The Perpetua sounds more coherent, more natural, and softer, being better for jazz acoustic music. The A8000 will be a better choice if you listen to electronic music or metal and you want that dynamic, ultra-fast sound with a lot of details. Overall, the A8000 is slightly more detailed than the Perpetua, but for the price of being way more shouty and harsh, also lacking the natural body in the lower midrange region.
The A8000 has always been a bit “too much” for me, sounding just too firm and fast subjectively, and the Perpetua is definitely more to my taste. Instead of trying to impress you, it just does its job and lets you decide whether you like it or not.
Another single DD IEM to compare. The Fantasy is a total opposite to the Perpetua, sounding extremely tiring and thin, sharp in comparison. This is a very specific-job type of IEM for those who want that hyper-technical, “take no prisoners” sound.
The Perpetua on the other hand is everything that the Fantasy isn’t. It’s softer, more delicate, more natural, and mature sounding, letting you enjoy the music, instead of analyzing every single aspect of the recording.
You might think to yourself, that it’s not a surprise having in mind the big price difference between the two. Actually, this is where it gets quite interesting. I don’t think that the Perpetua is vastly superior to the Fantasy when it comes to technical performance. It is with tuning where it starts to appear what you’re paying for. Instead of creating a tool to just get as close as possible to the recording, Dita Audio spent all their powers and experience on tuning this little guy to perfection. These are two completely different approaches to manufacturing IEMs, and I’m not in a position to answer you which one is the right one. For me, however, the Perpetua is just hugely more mature, polished, and soulful, and I like it.
It doesn’t come at a cost of detail retrieval and resolution though, as both the Elite and Perpetua are highly capable, but not the best in their price bracket. However, not every headphone/IEM aims at being the most technically impressive.
I do believe that tuning is the most important when it comes to performance. You can have all the details in the world, but if the IEM is tuned badly or just weirdly, you’re not going to enjoy it. The Dita Perpetua is made to deliver a specific type of experience, and it does that brilliantly.
The Dita Perpetua is an excellent choice for a relaxed, smooth-sounding IEM. While it comes at quite a high price, you’re getting a fantastic unboxing experience, great build quality, and a sound that is addictively mellow and easy.
It feels like an IEM forged by Japanese Hifi veterans with its sublime tuning and a very mature, coherent signature. If you’re looking for ultimate performance in this price bracket, you won’t find it here, but the Perpetua is not about it. It’s a marvelous IEM for your everyday carry, providing a type of sound that will work everywhere and with everything.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Fir XE6, Fir KR5, Final A8000, Cayin Fantasy, Meze Elite, Hifiman Susvara, Campfire Audio Solaris 2020, Campfire Audio Supermoon
- Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Hifiman EF400, EarMen Angel, EarMen Tradutto, Yulong Aurora, LittleDot MK III SE, SMSL SH-9, SMSL DO100 + HO100, FiiO M11 Plus ESS, XIAudio Broadway S, Burson Playmate 2
Big thanks to Dita Audio for providing the Perpetua for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion. Dita Audio hasn’t seen this review before publishing it.