Single dynamic driver, the fundamental of all speakers and earphones. There are many brands that cherish the roots of this sound reproduction and Dita Audio is also one of them. Perhaps simply calling Dita Audio ‘one of those brands’ would be an understatement. Dita Audio has only been crafting single dynamic driver IEMs ever since the old days, and even nowadays when all sorts of different drivers are up to the trend, they were persistent in keeping their style – and managed to beat the tough competition. From the Answer to the Dream, the Dream to the Dream XLS, and now they have come up with their newest flagship – the Perpetua. Of course, the Perpetua also uses a single dynamic driver but with a significant twist in the sound style. Now come – let’s find out what has changed, how it sounds, and how it competes against other IEMs including its predecessor.
The Perpetua comes with unprecedently beautiful packaging. Pulling the paper tie off the white outer packaging reveals the charcoal inner box, which includes all the interesting accessories and the IEMs themselves. Attached to the lid are paper works that introduce the Perpetua, as well as custom paper clips that are shaped like the previous Dita Audio IEMs like Dream XLS and Answer. The Dita stamp stickers and train ticket-style serial slips also bring out a nice retro feeling to the unpacking experience.
The accessories included other than the earpieces are a valve-style metal case, leather carrying pouch, 3 interchangeable connectors, a full set of Final E-type eartips, the paper works, and the mentioned metal clips. The valve style is also one-of-a-kind to see as an IEM accessory. The precision-made lids are closed air-tight until releasing the valve on the case lids. The overall unpacking experience adds a more retro feeling to the Perpetua.
Earpieces – The design upgrade
Let us talk about the design. Until now Dita has been adopting the classic edged chassis like the Answer or the Twins, yet the Perpetua seems to have matured beyond that. Unlike the previous generations, the Perpetua is highlighted with curves and domes, giving a round and smooth look. During the launch of the previous Dream XLS, Dita Audio addressed that their design concept was to give the look and experience of a luxury watch (and was also crafted from an actual luxury watch factory).
As the chassis are made of pure titanium, it was known that machining the housings was one of the largest challenges they had to face. The Perpetua adopted the same base concept but advanced. Now, Dita Audio managed to machine the chassis and faceplates round-shaped, approaching even closer to the looks of a designer watch. The obsidian black body is topped with silver rims around the chassis and the faceplate rims. The glassy faceplate as well as the refraction of the Dita logo makes the earpieces resemble a watch even more.
Earpieces – The PPT-D driver
As the brand identity stands, Perpetua adopted a PPT-D 12mm dynamic driver which is the largest driver used in Dita’s history. Dita Audio notes that in order to achieve a bigger, bolder sound, they re-engineered the drivers by increasing the diameter from 10mm to 12mm. The PPT-D driver itself is also an achievement as it is.
The PPT-D driver adopts an acoustic chamber made with titanium that is specially optimized for its size and function. Small tweaks and adjustments are made to make the most out of the new 12mm driver to utilize the sonic qualities of the titanium chamber. The internal wires are also done with 4N pure silver in collaboration with Kondo Audionote from Japan, aged and annealed prior to the process. Dita Audio highlights this collaboration being done as it is Audionote’s first time offering their products to personal audio.
Moving on, the diameter of the nozzle is around T400 with an average length, making it compatible with most aftermarket eartips. Fitting-wise, Perpetua definitely offers a smoother experience. The previous Dream XLS has a bit shorter nozzle which could be a problem and in some cases, the edges of the chassis could also interfere with the ears. Perpetua has a rounded chassis with the nozzles being slightly longer and narrower, allowing better comfort and usability. The earpieces are detachable via 0.78mm CIEM 2pins which are commonly found.
Cable – The Coil/Over Cable
The Perpetua’s cable is something special. A lot more than just being a stock cable. Dita introduced a newly developed structural design called Coil/Over, which uses Lengthy Specific Geometry – utilizing varying lengths of signal and return paths to reject micro interferences. This is presented by the back main cable with the copper wires “coiled over”, hence the name of this design.
The nonlinear positive/negative signal leads are created with a 6mm pitch, resulting in reduced noise and distortion. Because of the complicated build process required, the Coil/Over cables are challenging to design, let alone to produce. The material of cable is made of PCOCC or high-purity copper with its unique Y-splitter design that very much resembles the earpieces. Dita’s well-known Awesome Plug has been revamped as well. These interchangeable plugs are now more compact with a highly seamless design.
Sound impression – Lows & The general tuning
The first impression I felt with the Perpetua is that it differs quite noticeably from the Dream XLS (we’ll further cover this in the comparisons below). Perpetua’s general vibe and tone remind me of a vacuum tube; warm, comfy, and emotional. The bass oozes density and thickness. If you’ve tried the Dita Project 71, you will get the gist of what such tuning is about. Of course, Perpetua carries a whole lot more details, thus the advancement of such tuning.
Perpetua also has abundant warmness throughout the lows, yet oddly, it never gets overwhelming. Both the clarity and naturality are intact for the precision that is required for the summit-fi level. Quantity-wise, I would say it fits the v-shaped characteristics – that is stronger than slightly v-shaped IEMs but also a bit lesser than basshead IEMs. As for the texture of the bass, it is closer to soft than rigid. However, this is done only within the tightly controlled “boundaries” that the Perpetua has set for its bass, hence the bass remains clean. Perpetua basically knows how to let the low-end flow smoothly like water without getting the sound all muddy.
Sound impression – Mids / Vocals
As I have described the characteristics earlier, the Perpetua melodiously continues the emo-detailed sound to the mids. The creamy and harmonic vocals take a small step forward in presentation, aligning similarly with the other frequencies yet not overpowered. It’s a type of mid-range that desires fullness, richness, and warmth. While this is a type of sound signature that is thoroughly organic, it is also prone to sounding tedious or featureless. Perpetua gave a charming twist to such classic tuning by using its vacuum-like timbre and subtle, seamless airiness that is found throughout the mid-range.
This airiness is quite appreciable because it relieves the possible stuffiness that Perpetua might have shown through the highly dense texture. The thickness is gently thickened from neutral which gives a good body to both male and female vocals. Perpetua has a dim tone for the vocal brightness, yet the mild uplift on the upper mids gives some crispness/agileness to a sound that could’ve been dull. The mild airiness mentioned above also plays a positive role in adding freshness to the upper range. There is a minor tweak on the sibilance area that shifts towards the sibilant site, yet it doesn’t advance any further to altering the timbre.
Speaking of timbre, one thing to note about Perpetua’s mid-range is that it’s rather sensitive to source matching. It matches well with warm-based or fullness-based DAPs and players, hence it is crucial to give Perpetua the right pairing to fully bring out its potential. For example, Perpetua matched beautifully with the Cayin N8 while the full-bodied experience and timbre were watered-down on the A&K SP2000 – which is an analyticity-focused player. Of course, this is still an area that is about personal preference, so do explore different matches before judging the sound of Perpetua.
Sound impression – Highs, etc.
In the case of Perpetua, highs are not the main character but a supplement to the lows and mids. Quantity-wise, highs are slightly lesser than mids – about 20%. Trebles are capable of exposing small bits of details yet the quantity is not amplified to the point of being a key enjoyment of Perpetua. That is, the treble is still pleasing to enjoy through the harmony with the music and other frequency ranges, yet the intensity is definitely not enough for you to focus on treble details as you would do with some treble-head IEMs. Unless you are specifically looking for flashy treble energy, the treble tuning here would simply be pleasing to listen to.
Perpetua delivers solid treble snares and crisps that keep the upper notes in focus at all times. The treble tone is strictly neutral with a slightly drier texture (likely due to highlighting more of the surface grains and details), but not in an unpleasant way. As for the staging and other elements, Perpetua creates a holographic room, having the sound spark from lower-mid and then evenly expand to all directions. It’s a type of sound expansion that feels elegant, like a flower blossom. If this impression does not resonate with you much writing, you’ll soon understand its charms as you listen to them yourself.
Compared to SoftEars Turii Ti (to be reviewed)
Compared to the Turii Ti, Perpetua has a definite difference in tuning by showing an overall warmer and bassier sound signature. Perpetua’s profound, warm low-end, and dense texture expressions are contrary to Turii Ti’s calm, flatter, and airy presentation.
Perpetua holds a higher ground for showing a dignified, stately vibe. Turii Ti, on the other hand, exceeds the Perpetua for the details “pleasantly calm”. Comparing these two IEMs are very interesting as they have soothing emphases on particular ranges – the low-mids for Perpetua and mid-highs for Turii Ti.
Another related difference between these two IEMs is the “center of mass” which is the sound that holds as a starting point. Perpetua centers its mass on the lower bottom whereas Turii Ti creates its sound around the vocals and then expands the sound. In the end, deciding between these two IEMs depends on which sector you would rather choose between vacuum-like low-mids and breathable mid-highs.
This is a comparison that we simply cannot bypass. I was pleasantly surprised when I first plugged the Perpetua into my ears as they sounded a lot different from what I have been expecting.
Both the Dream and Dream XLS were known for their vibrant texture grains and sub-bright sound signature. Though as if breaking away from the Dream series, Perpetua has a nearly opposite style of sound. The timbre is smoother, warmer, and darker than Dream XLS, along with being more bass-centric.
Reverbs are also more generously produced on Perpetua that somewhat sacrificing the agile speed, yet Perpetua creates much higher density in tone and texture making the Dream series sound like they’re watered-down once after listening to Perpetua.
In a similar sense, mids and highs are crispier, clearer, and brighter on Dream XLS. Perpetua compensates for this drawback by achieving mid-range fullness, emotional vocal timbre, and soothing yet profound details.
Technicality-wise, Dream XLS may outdo the Perpetua. But the drawback of XLS’ sound is that they are rather common to find. When it comes to uniqueness, Perpetua is simply matchless – that is, once this style of sound suits you, the Dream series would not even have a chance against Perpetua.
Those that seek the extension of the Dream series may not work well with this significant transition in Dita’s flagship tuning, yet it’s an opportunity for those on another preference to enjoy the Dita sound the way they like.
Verdicts – It is to enjoy the “music”.
In case you’re still struggling to get through with the thought of only having one driver for such a highly-priced IEM, I must tell you that you are yet to experience the inviolable naturality and precision of a zenith-level diaphragm, which are hard to be done with multi-driver IEMs. Although flagship IEMs come in all shapes and forms with an extreme level of performance, naturality is a field in that a single DD still firmly holds the ground.
Perpetua is an earphone that managed to combine the lo-fi mood and emotions with hi-fi performances. While the flagship tuning for Dita has been technicality-centric, Perpetua now suggests another spectrum of tuning – to enjoy the music itself. This IEM sets its focus on the overall vibe and tone of the music, enticing the listener to tune into the emotional aspect of the tracks more than the micro details found in the music source.
Of course, along with that, the vacuum tube atmosphere topped with large imaging is a great example of having high-quality speakers inside the ears. For those who are starting to get tired of digging into the details and started to overlook the purpose of audiophilia – which is to enjoy the “music” – why not give yourself a chance to Perpetua to bring you back to the basics?