The Dita The Answer & Answer (The Truth) are two high-end single dynamic driver universal IEM’s with very different tunings and price points. They are priced at $649 & $999.
Disclaimer: The Dita The Answer & Answer (The Truth) were sent to us for the purposes of this review as samples and does not have to be returned. Thank you to Dita Audio for giving us this opportunity.
You can read more about IEM products we reviewed on Headfonics by clicking here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
You will probably notice in the last year or so of IEM reviews on Headfonics that I have been constantly comparing to a set of IEM’s called the Answer by Dita. I believe 11 reviews in total over the last 18 months.
I figured it was about time they step out from being the bridesmaid to being the bride itself and get its own review. In fact not just one unit but two units because the Answer also comes in a”Truth” Edition with a reworked exclusive cable from no less than the illustrious cable experts, Van Den Hul.
The regular Answer edition is priced at $649 and The Truth edition is priced at a more eye-watering $999. That is IE800 and Campfire Lyra territory right there and yes both are sporting single dynamic driver designs over multi BA designs much like both aforementioned competing IEM’s. In truth, the major difference between both of them is the cable.
The Truth Edition
The ‘Truth’ in the Truth Edition actually is the name of the cable designed by Van Den Hul. Both driver designs and shells are the same Answer IEM.
In today’s aftermarket cable arena, $350 is not unheard of price for a good quality cable, but for those on the fence about what the difference a cable brings to the table, it could well be more fuel to the fire if you have not heard them side by side.
Even then it’s an entirely subjective stance so you may find the $350 jack up a bit too rich for the wallet.
Packaging & Accessories
Both editions come in virtually the same packaging but this is probably one of the best IEM retail packages I have yet to come across outside of customs.
The packaging is really stylish and not just style over function, it also comes packed with plenty of accessories and one of the finest airline adaptors I have yet to try and use, and I have used it twice already. Dita really though this one out and if you want a marketing nudge to think premium this is how to do it.
Inside you also get a wide range of tips in a small medium and large single bore sizing as well as a single pair of double flange tips which are my usual go-to if available in the stock packaging.
You also get a quarter jack adapter alongside the custom airline adapter and two rather nice carry cases. The first carry case is your typical elongated semi-stiff pill type case for out and about and the second is a more executive type leather carry case which folds rather than zips much like a miniature Aurender Flow case.
The poser in me wants to use the leather folding case at all times regardless. Aside from all that you get a small user manual and all of this is neatly laid out in a custom cut foam layer to maximize the initial wow factor when you open it all up. It’s quite masterful actually and not something I was expecting in an IEM package so well done Dita.
Both the Answer and the Answer Truth Edition have a slightly more old school design than the Westone’s and Shure’s of this world but they are incredibly solid and well made.
These are not run of the mill round type IEM chassis with a 10mm driver stuck in it; you can get that anywhere at a much cheaper price. Both these units are in fact handcrafted in house and designed in house and as such reflect a much higher standard of finish that I actually expected.
Dita has machined these units from solid T6 aluminum blocks with no plastics to minimize unwanted colorations from the materials themselves during playback. Both have very clean lines, a quality raised logo created with a laser and chemical etching process on the front plate that is free of blemishes and with easily distinguishable left and right markings.
Weight & Durability
Both are also heavier than normal shells so these are by no means lithe and discreet products like say, a W60.
The good news is they can take a bit of a beating and still perform 100%. I should know, I have dropped them on more than one occasion and our cat has tried to chew them up with no success. If they can pass the gravity and pet test then they get my vote.
Both Dita’s in-house 10mm dynamic drivers that are designed specifically to be able to cover a very wide range of frequency as well as keep a decent speed by using lightweight rigid or stiffened design. These are also drivers that Dita claim will match with any genre and run out of just about any source.
A hefty claim indeed and once which you can read more about in our sound impressions but suffice to say at 16ohms and 102db it’s not the most sensitive of IEM’s I have tested before but it does pretty well out of a wide range of sources.
This is where both units differ in terms of material and design. First the commonalities. Both the Answer and the Truth edition sport nondetachable cables that are heavy-duty in terms of weight. For those used to the EPIC Westone style cabling, these are much more in your face and you will notice them in daily use.
Both are designed for over-ear use with excellent strain relief and both are terminated with top-notch carbon fiber 3.5mm plugs that would not look out of place on aftermarket cables you would spend a pretty penny on. I would have loved to have seen these come in a detachable format but it seems the intent is to really listen to both sets as intended with the cables supplied and to minimize additional or ‘over’ engineering needed for detachable cables.
As I write though Dita has stated that due to overwhelming demand they have decided to release the Truth as an aftermarket replacement cable. They will be releasing the Truth replacement cables in the last quarter of 2015. It will be available in both 2 pin Westone and MMCX connectors.
Though bigger than your average IEM 3.5mm jack, they are indeed durable looking and lighter than you might initially think. They are straight plugs though so those preferring right angle small profile plugs might have some challenges if stacking with some of the smaller portable amps out there today such as the PHA-1 or Vorzamp Duo.
The ‘Fat’ Cable
These are reasonably pliant cables and easy to hook around your ear and move around in general though my preference is for the Truth edition cable which just feels less “energetic” and easier to tame than the stock cable of the original Answer. I had to laugh when I heard Dita called the stock cable “the fat cable” – never a truer word said, it’s unashamedly fat.
The ‘Truth’ Cable
Of course, the big difference is the Truth edition cable itself. Designed by Van Den Hul, it is beautiful, stylish, and reasonably easy to work with as an IEM cable. It does however feel a bit stiffer than the fat cable but it is indeed very robust, durable, and can take a beating. I rank it up there with the SXC24 or 8 IEM cables in “physical presence”.
It also sports a clever little touch with a cutaway sleeve cover allowing you to see inside the coated sleeve to the actual cable being used in a safe manner. The logo emblazoned splitter is quite large but its chin tightener is actually part of the splitter and breaks away from an almost seamless design which is a nice touch also.
Both are unique and rather cool if you ask me. It’s the difference-maker and the reason why you are paying $350 more than the regular edition. You will not get this cable anywhere else on the market.
Fit & Seal
Being a universal IEM the fit and seal is about 80% of that of one my better fitting customs but on par for a universal. The weight and cable did play a small role in acquiring a sweet spot particularly with the single bore tips which didn’t quite match my ear leaving a lack of depth and a fear they simply wouldn’t stay in.
Of course, your fitting experience may differ to mine but I did find a better level of comfort, depth, and seal with the double flange tips over the single bores.
Note that both Dita’s come with 3 types of bores in small medium and large. The concept here is that the width of the bore opening would determine the emphasis on the frequency range with the smallest for treble performance and the widest or biggest for a greater soundstage or sense of space/air.
Personally I liked the medium bore tips or the reference tip which seemed the most balanced of the three but over the long term, or the last 18 months I have really been stuck on the flange tips.
Dita Sound Impressions
The tonality of each version is markedly different, both at the outset and even after significant burn-in. This is not one unit with two different cables, these are two different tonal signatures and I can tell you now that it’s not a simple case of spending $350 and you expect to enjoy The Truth edition even more with the same setup.
The chances are if you are running both off a generic DAP setup you are actually going to prefer the Answer over the Truth Edition. If you are running it out of something a bit higher-end, perhaps a bit more natural or tonally warmer then the Truth edition should start racing ahead.
Why is that then?
The Answer is simply to put the more forgiving of the two earphones. It is the warmer, smoother but less resolving and less transparent of the two side by side. If you running a midrange DAP or even jacking out of smartphone you are going to gravitate to the Answer but it just sounds that bit more musical.
The Truth, on the other hand, is quite a bit more revealing and transparent in nature and whilst I wouldn’t quite say it’s a neutral earphone it is far more likely to chew up bad recordings and give you a nasty sound right back at you if you do not amp, DAP it or source it correctly.
The Truth in short is the more precise or accurate IEM of the two. If you have highly resolving DAP or even simply a DAP that you just love the sound plus some well-mastered tracks then you are going to hear some glorious realism and some exciting dynamics that you will not achieve with the Answer more instant sound.
The Answer’s own tonality could be best described as a full sounding warm to neutral signature with a slight emphasis on the mid-bass over any deep sub-bass extension which in itself has a very slight roll-off.
Thankfully the bass response does not bleed into what I would describe as a full-bodied but well-separated midrange that provides an excellent vocal presence straddling between clear, clean, and smooth.
That balance is important for me because I hate dulled out vocals with no texture or detail and the Answer provides a very engaging and detailed vocal presence whilst still shying away from any overly sibilant tendencies.
The treble, though not as resolving as the Truth edition, is airy and well extended with just a little energy in the upper treble to keep it sparkling rather than rolled off. It’s not buttery but it’s more than acceptable and built for long listening sessions without too much fatigue. Detail and resolution is excellent but not searingly transparent enough to make it terribly edgy and as mentioned this makes it a rather forgiving earphone with most sources. All of this is wrapped in a soundstage that is quite open with particular emphasis on width over depth.
The Truth is going to sound the more visceral, dynamic and resolving of the two tonally when placed side by side with the Answer. It also slightly leaner and quicker sounding than the fuller Answer especially in the midrange.
This is the one that will suck you right in but equally could turn you right off if ill-equipped or feed it some low end hissy lossy tracks on a Smartphone or lesser DAP.
Instead of a gently rolled off sub-bass extension the Truth has a much superior and stronger sub-bass response that extends very deep indeed, displaying all the prowess of what is traditionally a dynamic driver’s core strength. Drums, guitar, anything that slings low hits with accurate and superbly weighted authority.
It’s also a speedier dynamic driver than I expected, still not top BA fast but you won’t get that extension without some seriously complicated multi-driver designs at a much higher price.
It’s not all wham either. The Truths bass texture and definition are excellent, this is not a one-note wonder and you will not find any bloom. The increased extension and quantity of sub-bass also means the Truth provides soundstage with more depth than the Answer and with equal width and space.
Treble on the Truth will come across as a bit edgier than the Answer depending on what you are listening to, or what you feed it. This is the less forgiving nature at full force with the Truth. Unlike the Answers smoother more musical top end the Truth is a bit more strident and accurate though hardly neutral.
The treble on the Truth doesn’t suffer from any roll-off and whilst I would not say its forward it is definitely the most revealing meaning crappy sources or inherently bright sources are going to make the Truth sound bright, sharp, and possibly too hot for some tastes.
Yes, the articulation and detail is excellent when on song and they sound incredibly clean, clear, and even more airy than the Answers more gentile treble response. This is a treble for detail lovers.
The good news both earphones are relatively easy to drive out of most sources. The bad news is that the type of source you use is much more critical in use with the Truth over the stock Answer.
The rather forgiving nature of the Answer tonality combined with the 16ohm/102db setup means it will give you a solid measure of return from just about any credible source from smartphones right up to the AK380. Whilst the Truth is the more revealing of the two, its setup can actually sound the less appealing of the two the further down the quality scale you go.
Jacked out of an iPod or my Passport which I would rank bottom in the audio food chain for quality audio source and amping the Truth sounded much less engaging, flatter, and also the treble response felt harsher and hotter.
By contrast, the Answer did a decent job out of the iPod Classic. Though not amazing by any stretch of the imagination it still sounded coherent and enjoyable as opposed to detached, flat and disjointed. The Truth only really came alive once we started plugging it into better-matched sources and amps.
Crucially noise did become present with some setups, though not all, with the Truth, in particular, to be very revealing and intolerant even on some excellent budget DAPs. Sources such as the Hidizs AP100 had slight levels of noise with The Truth edition though overall it had a better performance than say the Fidue A83 which has much more present noise feedback.
The main thing I found though with this match up was the response or the tonality of the Truth when matched with the AP100. The Truth actually was one of my least favorite matches with the AP100, outside of the Noble 4 Classic, with a tizzy top end and a far too edgy and metallic flavor from the upper mids onwards.
Using an AK120 and the optical connection with the Sound Blaster E5 I detected very low noise or hiss issues from both the Answer and The Truth edition and even on excellent budget amps such as the FiiO E12a both IEM’s performed very well indeed.
AK & ALO
Moving up the scale the Truth really started coming into its element with the AK range, particularly the AK120 paired with the Glove A1 DAC/AMP and its rather laid back, smooth tones. The Answer edition combined with an AK120 and the ALO Audio RX with a touch of Diana Krall for about an hour or two is also very enjoyable at this price point.
That nice full mid-section of the Answer matches really well with the neutral mids of the RX. The slight top-end sizzle that I found with the ALO Audio RX/Westone W4/Ibasso DX90 pairing was toned down with only a mild elevation in the lower treble, zero sibilance and slightly weightier and more natural bass response from the excellent single dynamic driver of the Ditas.
It was really pleasing actually the RX didn’t mess with the Dita’s more natural-sounding tonality especially with the bass detail, slam, and attack. Instead of coloring it unnecessarily the RX instead added a sense of scale to the presentation. It will never give you intimacy, especially on acoustics. For that, I would go back to something like a BA setup but the Dita/RX pairing is something I think I would use a lot in my daily listening.
It also had much more life in the treble than BA setups such as the Westone W4 sounded more rounded than the IE800 and had a bit more of a cutting edge in female vocals as well as having a wider and deeper soundstage than the Westones.
Desktop amping – The CA-1 from Tisbury Audio
The Truth is also equally adept at desk top amping also and one such fine match was actually the nimble, fast but tonally sweet Challenger One or CA-1 amp from Tisbury Audio. These are simply superb earphones matched with the CA-1. Smooth, full-bodied, and natural-sounding earphones combined with the CA-1 excellent mids and vocals performance is full of win for me.
Driving on low gain the CA-1 pot can go to around 10am on the dial before getting a bit too loud but that is decent control for a desktop amp. The Truth is still not the ‘answer’ to hard rock with the CA-1, (get it? no?.. nevermind will get my coat).
The CA-1 is relatively stubborn in that respect but matched with something like Damian Rice’s “Elephant” it is searing with emotional detail in the vocal staging and possessing a drop-dead super black background with a massive yet accurate sound stage.
The Truth’s slightly elevated bass adds some much needed lower frequency weight when needed but never as domineering as say the UM Merlin’s. It’s also a bit cleaner and more forward in the mids and treble than the Merlin when used with the CA-1.
When I mentioned vocals I do think on this occasion I preferred male vocal reproduction over female vocals which tended to show a tiny bit of harshness now and then depending on the recording.
The Dita’s took me quite by surprise actually as single dynamic driver IEM’s I was expecting something quite different, perhaps two IEM’s more or less the same separated by a bit of an expensive overhaul for the Truth Edition.
What I got instead though was two very different flavors of IEM that will appeal to two different tastes. Those who want a high-quality dynamic driver IEM that can jack out of just about anything and give you a very pleasing and engaging response will take to the Answer edition.
It is priced more competitively, far more versatile but crucially more forgiving for lossy compressed music on the go. Those who want to spend that bit extra and get something far more revealing that scales with the type of gear you throw at it will want to go instead with The Truth edition. It scales and then some. It’s also far more exacting in matching but at the same time far more rewarding once you get the perfect match.
Over the last 18 months, I have increasingly opted for the Truth over the Answer for that higher level of engagement and a more accurate and transparent nature. I am confident enough in my sources and tracks and though it takes time to get to that level (18 months enough for you?) I would highly recommend you stick with it.
If you are not really going beyond a budget DAP then it could well be a bit of a waste of money despite the beautiful Van Den Hul cables. Both are beautiful but both have their target audiences very well defined.