2 years in the making, DITA Audio's upcoming flagship, the Dream XLS, is the spiritual successor to its 2016 cast-titanium cult-hit, the DITA Dream.
With its Summer 2019 just barely in sight, the XLS has been the subject of a fair bit of buzz and more than one accolade.
On top of earning a spot in The 2019 Summer VGP Award, the Dream XLS has also recently net Gold in Fujiya Avic’s Spring 2019 Headphone Festival award’s Grand Prix category.
This is in no small part thanks to the avid support of the Japanese audio enthusiasts and the steadfast efforts of DITA Audio's Japanese distributor S'NEXT.
In this interview. Fujiya Avic sits down with S'NEXT's Mr. Kudou Gaku to talk about DITA Audio’s upcoming product, the DREAM XLS. Mr. Kudou talks about his HpFes experience and the philosophy driving DITA's shiny new dream machine: The Dream XLS.
F: Fujiya Avic
F: Congratulations on Dream XLS winning the Gold Award for HPfes. We’ve been waiting for this since Autumn 2017
S: Thank you! We only started rolling out auditions of the XLS during the second day because we only had 1 sample to work with. There were a near-nonstop stream of customers queuing to listen so we’re sorry that we had to assign a limited listening time to each customer. We’ll be increasing the number of listening samples going forward so that we can collect more feedback.
F: That’s good news! Could you tell us more about the development of the Dream XLS?
S: As far as we know, DITA Audio’s basic approach to sound is to create products that can “Wow in 3 Seconds”. Among these products is the Dream Gen. 1, which garnered plenty of support among Japanese customers. Even though previous iteration of the Dream was a commercial success it wasn’t something the company was completely satisfied with, and so they endeavoured to create a model that could surpass the Dream Gen. 1.
F: The new product looks great to boot! Cable stiffness was an issue with the Dream Gen. 1, but it’s seems to have been resolved nicely in the XLS with the inclusion of the OSLO Cable.
S: The OSLO cable on the Dream XLS is still a prototype. The colour of the OSLO cable on the actual XLS is subject to change, but the pliability will certainly remain. The flexibility of the cable has been improved greatly over the Dream's Gen 1 edition.
F: I see, well then, may I give it a go?
S: Ah, you didn’t get to hear it during Hpfes did you? Please, go right ahead!
F: Ah, once the music started, I immediately thought, “whoa, that’s good sound right there”. It’s a sound that’s palatable, the way the mids and highs are placed is absolutely wonderful.
S: So it did in face grab you in 3 seconds, didn’t it? (Laughing)
F: Yes, in this sense it’s similar to the Gen 1 Dream. It’s quite unbelievable that a single dynamic driver can be responsible for such range and power. DITA has always had this aspect down pat. The bass is appropriate and the balance is good.
S: The dynamic driver fitted in the XLS has been designed and made specifically for the XLS. DITA Audio is really the sort of manufacturer that invests plenty of effort in everything it does even in a single dynamic driver
F: I see, that might just be the reason why the dynamic driver’s sound comes through in a natural, coherent manner. The XLS’ soundstage is also surprisingly wide for a pair of earphones.
S: Despite wanting to gun for a wider soundstage, DITA Audio didn’t want to create artificial divisions between instruments and bands and left the sound of the dynamic driver at its purest. That’s exactly why the XLS sounds so natural. That’s always been one of DITA’s characteristic strengths. The XLS’ soundstage is, indeed, as you say wider than that of the Dream Gen. 1.’s
F: The customer reaction to the Dream XLS during HpFes was overwhelmingly good. That said, were there a lot of audiophiles who knew of the previous Dream?
S: There were a number of customers who came up to us to show us their unit of the Dream Gen. 1, saying, “I’m using these even till today!”. They're mainly trying out the XLS with the intention of comparing the sound of the XLS that of the Gen 1 Dream.
F: So an official release date…
S: Summer 2019, they said, DITA seems to still be in the midst of firming that up!
F: I’ll be looking forward to it! There’s certainly going to be long queues at future product events too. Will the XLS be a limited edition release?
S: No, the XLS will not be limited edition. However, due to how intricately the XLS is designed, mass production is going to be a bit of a challenge. There might even be situations where demand far exceeds the supply! In any case, please wait for the official announcement!
"All We Know": DITA Audio
The culmination of lessons DITA Audio has learnt through its years of experimentation, the Dream XLS is made out of CNC-ed titanium for its lightweight, durable properties and it's knack for reproducing sound in dynamic detail.
Coming: Summer 2019.
Keep an eye on this space, or DITA Audio's social media outlets (Insta, FB) for more news to come.
Source: Fujiya Avic
About the Author
Eddie Hsueh is a hobbyist and reviewer from Taiwan who has been an active, prominent member in some Asian audio circles for over 10 years. In this review, he shares his thoughts on DITA Audio's new OSLO cable, delving into how it stands out from his own cable collection, talking a little bit about the Z1R x OSLO pairing and taking a dip into the nature of the OSLO contact enhancer.
Click here to see the original review (in traditional chinese)
Translated by Asher Yeo Xin-Yi
As earphone manufacturers go, DITA Audio is quite the outlier. In an industry ruled by colourful BA CIEMs with custom faceplates, DITA focuses on a single product type, the dynamic driver. All of DITA’s products are powered by dynamic drivers of different makes and materials, installed in different chassis. This fact is also quite apparent from their creatively built Canjam Singapore booths each year.
OSLO is short for Oil-Soaked Long-Crystal Oxygen-Free. Its conductors are made of oxygen-free copper (OFC) from Japan.
Comparing the sonic properties of OFC to OCC, the listener might notice that OFC sounds less detailed, slightly warmer and more fluid in nature.
Because of the way the copper is formed, OFC tends to have boundaries between its crystals, leading to flaws and impurities mixed in with the material. OCC on the other hand, tends not to have grain boundaries and possesses a higher level of purity.
Despite many Japanese manufacturers seizing on the OCC as the audiophile’s choice and using OCC in many of their products (Wagnus’ Silence Sheep, Brise Audio’s Yatono and Rozenkranz) many hobbyists still love Japan’s OFC for its warmer, gentler nature.
In the OFC vs OCC question, its often not about what’s right or wrong, but merely a question of preference.
Differences Between OCC and OFC
OSLO is made from a Long Crystal OFC known as PC Triple-C, this concept dates back to 1975 when
Hitachi created its own method to reduce grain boundaries.
Extruded copper is heated and cooled, caurisng the grains and crystals within the copper to become larger and longer, reducing impurities trapped between grain boundaries, making it a cut above normal OFC.
Another thing that differentiates OSLO from its competition is that the conductors have been soaked in a squalene oil containing gold and silver nanoparticles that fill in any tears and flaws that may have appeared on the cable on a micro-scale. The effect of this oil can be compared to Furutech’s contact enhancer.
The OSLO cables comes with the Awesome plug outfitted with a 3.5 single-ended connector. Also in the package are 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced connectors with a bottle of DITA Audio’s own contact enhancer. The splitter is a round metal disk with no visible screws, the cable itself is also soft and pliable, formed of 4 copper wires of 30 AWG each.
I have quite a lot of cables myself and so I initially wanted to compare the OSLO cable with cables of other materials. Perhaps the Toxic Medusa 17 and the Crystal Cable Double Duet with their Gold and Silver alloys, the Toxic Gold Widow with its gold-plated alloy and the silver Crystal Cable Double Duet. Or perhaps the mixed Aegis 8 and NUNDU. But these cables are far too different in character from copper cables and so I felt that doing these comparisons wouldn’t be particularly meaningful.
So I’ve decided to use the copper cables in my collection, in the OCC corner we have the PWAudio 1960k and Toxic BW22 V2. In the OFC corner we have AG’s Black Panther.
Player: Lotoo Paw Gold Touch
Cables: DITA OSLO/ Toxic BW22 V2/ Audio Genetic Black Panther/ PWaudio 1960k
The DITA OSLO vs the Toxic BW22 V2
We begin with Toxic’s BW22 V2. This is a type 4 OCC Cryo 7N Copper Litz wire with a 22 circumference. It’s one of the best cables I’ve ever heard when it comes to resolution, detail and the extension of mids.
Listening to Fly Me to the Moon with the BW22 V2, the strumming in the introduction is clean and clear, with a large soundstage. The vocals are appropriately centred, despite being slightly recessed, with beautiful extended highs.
Switching to the OSLO cable, the instrumentals in the introduction become more fluid albeit with a smaller soundstage, Olivia’s vocals are moved forward, becoming gentler and sweeter with a bit of warmth. The resolution of the OSLO cable is on par with that of the BW22 V2. While the extension of the BW22’s highs are more extravagant, the OSLO cable’s highs stop at a point, but prove to be smoother than the BW22’s.
I’m a bit surprised at the OSLO’s performance here, when I pit other OFC cables, like the Wagnus Silence Sheep and Brise Audio’s Yatono against the OCC BW22 V2, I’m left feeling like their resolution is a bit on the low side, glossing over a lot of detail. The aforementioned two do have their own character, but the OSLO succeeds in maintaining its resolution and succeeds in holding its own against the BW22 without sounding weaker while, at the same time enhancing the mids and warming the vocals ever so slightly.
Switching to to Adele to look at the bass performance of the OSLO, it’s more spread out and is neither deep nor shallow. However, when the picks up pace, it seems apparent that the bass is slightly slowed, making Adele’s voice lose a bit of the explosiveness she’s known for. The BW22’s bass, while also spread out, extends down more naturally, and is slightly faster and brighter.
Having listened to this song countless times with different cables, the soundstage that the BW22 presents is also wider.
DITA OSLO vs Audio Genetic Panther Black
AG Panther Black’s character is typical of OFC cables, the vocals are airy but forward, the mids are warm and smooth but the sound is coherent and the extension of the highs is ideal. It’s more mid centric than the Brise Audio Yatono. The Yatono, however, has more character and more coherence.
Switching to OSLO, it becomes apparent that it performs better in terms of resolution while retaining its own unique character, its low-mids sit fat and forward with sweet gentle highs that make for a comfortable listening experience, with its only drawback being its slightly smaller soundstage.
DITA OSLO vs PWaudio 1960k
When pitting the OSLO against PWaudio’s 1960k, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two at first listen. Both cables belong to the more relaxed category, the 1960k loses out in the vocals department with the OSLO’s vocals being sweeter and more prominent. However the 1960k is more relaxed in general with a large soundstage where the OSLO is more focused.
The OSLO’s unique character becomes apparent after a few comparisons. It is a cable with great bass distribution, with sweet, prominent mids and natural highs, all while maintain a great sense of resolution. However it’s soundstage is smaller than the cables we’ve compared the OSLO cable. Perhaps owing to the effect of the OFC and the nanoparticle oil, the OSLO seems to fuse the merits of the BW22V2 and the 8-wireBlack Panther. The OSLO possesses vocals that are sweet, a sound that is easy on the ears and good resolution. However if you’re often listening to tracks with instrumentals with lightning-fast changes, symphonies which require a large soundstage or rock music with noisy instruments you might want to go for a cable made of a gold-silver alloy instead.
The OSLO goes well with high-resolution balanced armature earphones, these can help improve the hights and make the mids feel fuller. The OSLO cable goes well with SONY IER-Z1R: I’m posting the impressions I’ve previously posted on the group here.
The OSLO cable with the SONY IER-Z1R
My first impression of this pairing is that Olivia’s vocals seem sweeter, warmer and more forward. The sound is still characteristic of OFC cables, save for the fact that it seems to be more coherent with a more natural extension of the highs, the soundstage is natural and it maintains most of the details. I think I prefer it to the 3rd Wagnus Sheep cable, it’s no wonder its so popular. However CCDD is faster and Leonidas II is slightly more delicate in way it handles sound, with a bigger soundstage.
In conclusion The OSLO cables helps soften the harshness of the Z1R, warming and enhancing the vocals while keeping resolution intact.
DITA OSLO Contact Enhancer
The words “AG+AU Nanoparticle infused” and “made in Japan” are printed on the label.
Around 10 years ago, I shared my experience with the Furutech contact enhancer on Andaudio, back then we didn’t really have cables to try the enhancer on, everyone was using it on RCA Connectors, HiFi cable connectors as long as it’s a connector, the enhancer can be used.
I’m not quite sure how the DITA contact enhancer is different from the Furutech one, my Furutech contact enhancer is all dried up, perhaps I’ll buy another bottle when I have a chance.
DAP: Lotoo Paw Gold Touch 4.4 Balanced
Earphones: SONY IER-Z1R
Cables: SONY’s stock cable
I tried out the contact enhancer on the 4.4mm balanced connector, it leaves a coffee coloured film when you’re done. There’s no need to apply too much, and a little goes a long way. The contact enhancer doesn’t seem to dry easily,: I found this out when I left the liquid to set for for 5 minutes but it still comes off on my fingers when I touch it.
I couldn’t wait any longer and connected it straight to the LPGT.
The difference is substantial. The same Olivia Ong song on the SONY IER-Z1R now has markedly fuller vocals, the highs sound smoother and there seems to be slightly more detail, other elements remained largely unchanged. Plugging in is a breeze. If I have time in the future, I’d love to try the contact enhancer on other connectors. Other Z1R + OSLO owners can give this a try too!
The contact enhancer proved to be effective even after being dried overnight, this effect however will fade as the cable is connected and disconnected. With approximately 10 rounds of plugging and unplugging, the dried film begins to flake and the effect becomes greatly reduced.
Some hobbyists have suggested applying the contact enhancer on the earphone-end connectors instead, if you’re not into swapping cables regularly, the contact enhancer will stay on for longer. I've also found it quite ideal for home audio products, it can be used on the OPA and female connectors for better effect.
These are just some of my personal thoughts, feel free to take them as you will!
(B)Ready for the best of Japanese industrial design and sound design nestled in your ears as final Audio prepares to bring you another impeccably crafted and meticulously tuned series in the vein of their previous offerings.
The B-Series is a single series with 3 driver combinations:
B1: 1 Balanced Armature Driver + 1 Dynamic Driver
B2: 1 Balanced Armature Driver
B3: 2 Balanced Armature Drivers
Watch this space as we release more news on the B Series: final Audio's deep dive into the realm of ideal sound.
This edition of the PP Weekly is your go-to guide to brands and highlights of the Project Perfection booth at Canjam Singapore 2019.
We are taking a deep dive into the brands we carry, the tantalizing discounts, our big raffle and the mind-boggling variety of audio items we have up for grabs!
For lovers of portable audio, we'll be located at booths D2-D4 at the Pacific Ballroom where we're laying out products old and new from DITA audio, Final Japan and Lotoo.
Fans of tabletop audio might much prefer the spread on the second level at Ocean 8, where we will be showing off audio juggernauts like STAX and Furutech as well as Taiwanese cable newcomer Luminox.
Project Perfection Canjam 2019 Raffle: Win Cool Prizes
Project Perfection will be holding a raffle during Canjam 2019 to thank the people who make our community what it is today:
People like you.
The Project Perfection Canjam Singapore 2019 Raffle will be giving away gifts and prizes that run the gamut from ear-tips and aircraft adaptors all the way to the IEMs worth S$1299
Participation is simple:
Say hi to enter: We'll take it from there.
Be sure to swing by, say hi and win cool prizes while you're at it!
From its origins to the present-age movement, jazz has been inseparable from the concept of community. A precursor of jazz was African-American work songs, where slaves bonded over songs they conceived in the thick of working in chain gangs and plantations. Later, the age of the free man allowed them to bring these tunes to their communities in New Orleans, sparking the beginnings of the jazz movement as we know it today.
As Jazz travelled out of America to the rest of the world, communities drew on bits and pieces of local musical culture, giving rise to many jazz enclaves around the world.
In fact, if you looked closely enough at your own community, you would most certainly be able to find the colourful characters that make up your local jazz diaspora.
One such character is Nori Shiota, a forerunner of the modern indie jazz scene in Japan.
Shiota-san has been active in the Jazz scene for a whopping 27 years since 1992. He is a bassist and a producer, spending his time combing the jazz bars of Japan, performing and honing his craft while producing music.
Shiota-san is also an audiophile for the sake of his trade, constantly seeking out the best gear for his art, in 2016 he produced “DITA Live Session in New York”, mastering the jazz album with a pair of DITA The Answer earphones.
In this interview, PP chats with the Japanese Jazz artist Nori Shiota about his work, his travels, the importance of lifelong learning and his penchant for DITA earphones.
PP: Shiota san, you’ve been to places like New Orleans, New York and many more in the course of your career. Which part of your travels are you most inspired by?
NS: I was the most inspired by the people who I met at those places. All the good and bad experiences made me grow as musician, and I believe those experiences were created by the people I meet there.
PP: Is there one person you met during these experiences that impacted you the most greatly?
NS: Not a person. people, that's the key, I think. Much like music how music is made up of vocals, drums, bass, piano and guitar, people make the experience. Those experiences make me remember what it was and where I was.
PP: For the readers who don't know you well, how would you describe your style of music?
NS: My style of Music? Groove Entertainment.
PP: Sounds like fun. What made you decide to adapt this style of music?
NS: Groove makes people move, it’s a lot of fun on an emotional level. When I see people move or smile or even cry when I perform, I feel like I'm making Music.
PP: I saw on your profile that you be having a full-member performance with your Jazz Band SFKUaNK!! on 24 February 2019 What sort of vibes are SFKUaNK!! Looking to bring to the audience this time?
NS: The people I’m performing with are great musicians, or should I say great people.
PP: There's something I am a little curious about. In 2010, you entered the Berklee College of Music, majoring in Music Production and Engineering. Caused you to make the decision to return to school in 2010?
NS: Well, since I was working with a major label as producer, I was always struggling to get the “sounds” I want. It’s very tough to make recording engineer understand the kind of quality and taste we’re going for.
Also, the advent of digital recording these days changed everything about the production game, so I felt like I should study these recording technologies by myself.
PP: Now that you're doing so much music production, the course seems like it’s been very helpful!
NS: I mean new technology is always helpful if somebody understands exactly how much it can help in reaching the dream.
PP: As people who love earphones, the game seems to be changing at a breakneck speed. Is the music production scene also changing rapidly?
NS: Oh yes, I think so. Internationally we’re turning more towards streaming music and away from CDs, but vinyl records are coming back... there are so many different perspectives for music.
PP: In 2016 you produced DITA Session in New York: What inspired you to work with DITA audio and how did you decide on which pieces to include within the album?
NS: DITA earphones are amazing because they’re honest. Usually earphone or headphone companies do their best make their products sounds good, but they achieve this by "faking it" a little: a fake sounding low end, fake high definition etc.
These are "ok" as consumer product but not for professional audio engineers, we need accurate sound, we want to listen to what we are going to be recording, controlling or balancing as it is.
I’ve tried many different companies’ earphones for mixing and recording but so far DITA earphones are best. That's all I know from my own experience.
For the song selection, I’m always thinking the singers and audience there. So I picked songs where the singer is comfortable and sounds good in.
It's like a good movie. it's like good cooking. We need to know what the best thing is to do with the material, we need good devices, such as the best camera, the best knives... Well DITA earphones are best for music.
Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother is an album that runs forever; The drip-dripping of a kitchen tap at the end of the its last song, Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, is cut into the run-off groove, making the record play indefinitely until the listener chooses removes the stylus from the vinyl, ending the song.
With the vinyl becoming a relic of past times, the run-on groove as we knew it was rendered obsolete and the effect was tragically lost on the CD. The joy of collecting and playing vinyl faded away in a culture that had no time for the kind of active, participatory listening that the record demands.
However, the End-September launch the Fiftysix® collection for Vacheron Constantin gave us the perfect opportunity to rekindle our passion and bring the joy of vinyl to a wonderfully classy location.
Hosted at the NCO's Club, the Fiftysix® collection pays tribute to the 1950’s, a time marked by easy to wear and elegantly designed watches, bringing back the best of the period while embracing the present time and modern expectations.
Few things can beat the warmth and clarity of listening to a record with a pair of headphones. With the resurgence in the popularity of records outstripping the growth of digital music in 2017, it seems as if present-day music lovers are unable to resist the call of the beauty of the physical artifact of music made manifest.
This set up uses
For more information on the turntables used, visit https://musichallaudio.com/
For more information on where how to purchase Final Audio's products, visit: https://www.pp-distribution.com/final.html
DITA Audio Spent the past 3 days in the Munich High End / Canjam Europe 2018, held in the deliciously stylish but functional Kohlebunker. It's really been quite the eye-opener, so we're sharing some of our highlights and favourites from the show!
We would like to thank everyone who turned up at the Hpfes DITA booth to support us last weekend! We're very touched by the responses we garnered from our friends in Japan. Thank you for making this show a beautiful one for us!
Tinkering with Tidal on a Monday afternoon yielded interesting results when we decided to tap on an unfamiliar album entitled "Convergence" by an equally unfamiliar artist named Malia, making for a very interesting afternoon of music in the office.
Malia is a buttery-voiced songstress from Malawi. Equipped with what the internet tells us is her trademark winning smile, each note that emerges from her seems to channel Nina Simone, her vocals are smooth and husky and her music run the gamut from covers of classics, to strange, strong, almost tribal beats laced with addictive bassy undertones.
Kickstarting today's two-track listening session is Celestial Echo, the first track on her album "Convergence". Celestial Echo is a bassy, bluesy and frankly all-round magical track with some pretty, mystery synth chords. It probably helps that Convergence was made in conjunction with Boris Blank, who build and layers his music beautifully.
Carrying the smokey, bassy notes over from the previous track, although perhaps in a lighter dose, the next tune in line is Little Willie John's Fever, which, admittedly, has been covered to death. Malia's version retains a lot of its bounce-in-your-seat charm while still remaining strong and quite mysterious.
As much as these two tracks are lovely in themselves, we strongly recommend checking the out on Tidal, or even better, supporting the artist by buying her albums.
We've also received in-office feedback that this album sound absolutely stunning when paired with the (now discontinued) DITA Dream so we'd recommend the lucky folks who own a pair to pop them in and enjoy yourselves.
For the folks who don't own the Dream but have been keeping a lookout for any new DITA releases. DITA is unveiling it's double release, the DITA Twins, at the Headphone Festival 2018 held in Tokyo at the end of the month. The new DITA Twins: Fealty and Fidelity is built from technology trickled down from the Dream, making it literally the next closest thing to hearing the DITA Dream for yourself
Every single day hundreds around the world sit down at microphones and cameras and whisper to their setups while a million more people tune in. That's a part of the undeniably weird but undeniably addictive phenomena known as ASMR. In which audio and visual stimuli supposedly produce a tingling sensation in the listener. This sensation usually occurs in the spine and/or the scalp. We know it exists, except that, according to science, it doesn't (yet).
There is presently a dearth of scientific evidence behind the ASMR phenomena. It's something we only know exists because multiple people have experienced it independently and reported it in the same way.
Steven Novella, the Director of General Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine and a Very Important Person in the field, posits that it might be a type of pleasure response. Or even a pleasure seizure. Terminology aside, various scientists have realised that, despite the multitude of brain imaging technologies,
Either way, for the folks that do experience it, soothing, relaxing and sleep-inducing have been words used to describe this phenomena. Listeners hook themselves up to their earphones before bed, allowing the crinkling and tapping to lull them to sleep.
While it has always been the preference of some to listen to their favourite tracks before bed, the demand for sleeping earphones have seen an increase after the advent of ASMR.
To some, a dedicated pair of sleeping earphones is an indispensable for a night of comfortable sleep. Petite unobtrusive earbuds ensure that you can toss and turn painlessly, and good sound isolation. Thankfully, a speedy google search for “sleep earphones” turns up myriad results. But an affordable option often turns up in the search results.
The Final E2000 and E3000 seems to be a sleeper favourite (pun entirely intended), often turning up in the honourable mentions of a few of these lists, while never explicitly stated to be a “sleep-only” pair of earphones, these slim all-rounders can be used through the day and taken to bed with their dimunitive size. Perfect for the audiophile who’s unwilling to risk getting some of their more expensive builds entangled in the sheets, or for the beginner who’s looking to explore the magic of ASMR on a wider soundstage.