A Little Technical Stuff:
· Drivers Dynamic(13mm) *1
Balanced Armature *3
· Frequency range 5 Hz-40 KHz
· Impedance 13Ω
· Sensitivity 110±2dB
· Connections 3.5mm Gold-plated
· Cable 1.2m
· Weight 31g
-MRSP: Universal fit $499, at the time of the review they can be found on Amazon for $470
I want to thank Vivian from DUNU as her quick responses and communication was top notch. She provided me the DK-3001 in exchange for my honest review. I call them like I see them or hear them in this case, be it good, bad, or ugly. Thank you, Vivian, and DUNU.
DUNU = Delicate Sensation
I have had the privilege, over the past five or six years, to own and listen to so much quality portable gear. It has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because it is a fantastic hobby that I enjoy immensely and a curse because it is a black hole for my spare time as well as my spare money. Anyone that has gone down this rabbit hole will concur that their wallet and the contents inside don’t have as much quality time together as they once did. While I have enjoyed writing, and sharing my reviews it is very time consuming. I continue to hone my style and format with each review I pen, hopefully one day it will become second nature. The general style and format of my reviews is “down to earth”. In other words, not as much science and more of what you are going to experience when you have them on or in your ears, what would I want to know if I was trying to decide on a purchase. The overall experience that you can expect when you decide to part with your hard-earned dollars.
I think it is important to realize that there is no “best” gear, no end game. The end game is only when you decide to tap out of this hobby. People rarely agree on the “best” features, “best” accessories, “best” comfort or “best” sound signatures because it is a very subjective hobby. Reviews should aid you in your search and decision to purchase. Many times, it appears that a product checks many of your personal boxes, on paper, but you never really know until you have firsthand experience, but that firsthand experience is not always easy to obtain because there aren’t a lot of high end audio shops in which you can demo these items. Thus, the reviews do help a wide range of people. Don’t focus on the scores or ratings in reviews, focus on the content, the common threads, the patterns within the many different reviews you read before making a decision.
Onward and Upward…
On the rarest of occasions, a piece of gear will come into my possession and I have no pre-conceived notions regarding a specific piece of gear. An item in which you think meh, okay, I will give it a listen but it isn’t really exciting you. I don’t read a lot of reviews prior to receiving a review sample, as I don’t want to jade my thoughts. However, when I am going to make a purchase I always read reviews. When I read reviews, I begin to find the commonality or pattern from review to review, ie. the bass rumbles or it has good transparency or it doesn’t color the music in the case of a DAP. I can then formulate a pretty good idea of what to expect from the sound, the build, the overall experience based on common trends in reviews.
The DUNU DK-3001 is one of those products that was sent to me without having any real expectations of the product, except for a few positive comments about sound and a couple of negative comments about comfort that I had read online. I will concur, the sound is “all that” and the comfort is the DK-3001’s gorilla in the room. To say I was surprised and impressed by the sound of DUNU’s DK-3001 would be an understatement. On first listen I had one of those “Holy F***” moments, but in a good way, as I didn’t see this coming. The sound really caught me off guard, I apologize to DUNU but I just didn’t expect this level of quality sound. I rarely try to use statements referencing price, because what is expensive to one person is not always expensive to another. In this instance, it is very evident that the DK-3001 packs a punch that can compete with other IEM’s at close to twice their price, one example would be the Fidue A91, another hybrid, which I used to own. I had only briefly listened to one other DUNU product and to be honest it was way too bright for me and I sold it the same day I received it, the DN-2000j. I am very sensitive to bright or harsh treble and the DN-200j in my opinion was a great deal too harsh for me. The DK-3001 is just a fantastic offering and the sound quality is so surprisingly good and enjoyable, this IEM is truly plug n play. No worry about burn-in, no sound signature that has to grow on you, no fatigue, just an easy product to listen too. It is not all rainbows and unicorns with the DK-3001 as I have some niggles with isolation, comfort and obtaining a good seal, but the sound is easy like Sunday morning. I will touch on the negatives of this IEM later but I am excited to see what DUNU comes to the table with in the future once the “comfort” issues are addressed.
A Little Marketing Hype:
DK-3001 Premium Hybrid 4way in-ear headphone
The MMCX detachable plug and socket design on the cable offers endless choice of replacement and upgrade.
Premium triple balanced armature drivers produce perfect transient response while retain a nature yet energetic sound, to recreate a impressive life-like experience.
Premium delicate metal craft, high precision engineering designed S316 stainless housing decrease harmonic resonance to ensure the high definition sound and durability.
Dynamic Driver (13mm)
Triple Balanced Armature
316L Stainless Steel
Join us and witness the growth of DUNU ….
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
· DUNU DK-3001
· Protective case
· 1x 3.5mm single-ended cable
· 1x 2.5mm balanced cable
· Wide array of ear tips Spinfit, Comply and stock tips
· 3.5mm Female to 6.5mm Male Adapter
· Aircraft adapter
I have included some photos of the packaging and the box, but I really don’t think there is any reason to talk about a box unless it is something super special.
I used three sources, A&K Kann, Opus #2 and LG G6 when casually and critically listening in preparation for the review. After intensive listening I would say the Opus #2 is my favorite overall pairing. This is becoming redundant in most of my reviews as the Opus #2 is my reference player. Honestly, I haven’t really found a bad pairing with the Opus #2, unless it requires and incredible amount of power to drive it and then I recommend the Kann. The LG G6 drives the DK-3001 quite well and was capable of driving the DUNU to an adequate level. I did not have the opportunity to test any other cable options because I do not have any aftermarket MMCX cables.
Build and Quality:
The DUNU DK-3001 is incredibly well built and finished with a modern, yet plain look, kinda like the girl next door as opposed to the cheerleader type. I like the look, even the acrylic IEM’s I have are plain and understated, I am just not a real flashy dude. The outer shell is made from stainless steel and in DUNU’s camp they feel this provides adequate resonance without creating negative harmonics and excessive resonance. The stainless housing would bode well for owning these well into the future from a durability standpoint. It is an MMCX connector, which I mentioned above, and while I greatly prefer a 2-pin style it appears to be a solid connection in this instance. The right MMCX connector is labeled with a red ring for the right side. The shell is not large, and folks with small ears can rejoice. It has an angled nozzle, albeit a little on the short side and each monitor is labeled (R) and (L), as if the fit wouldn’t be hint enough.
I guess it is as good of time as any to mention my biggest problem with this IEM. There is a “ridge” on the inside of each IEM, the part touching the inside of your ear. I will affectionately from this point forward refer to it as the “ridge”. The “ridge” is most certainly one of those things that was designed to make you scratch your head and ask why. Why would put a “ridge” on a surface that will make contact with human flesh. Maybe they tested these only on Asian ears but I really can’t expect Asian ears to be any different than the non-Asian variety from a fleshy standpoint. I love this IEM, but I don’t love the “ridge”. It certainly creates the largest hurdle when trying to find absolute comfort as it rubs the inside of your ear. This is obviously my opinion and how I am affected so YMMV. I have found that twisting the DK-3001 so that the cable connector is bent towards my head and sliding the Spinfit ear tip close to the sound end of the nozzle it keeps the “ridge” from making solid contact with my inner ear.
I generally prefer JVC Spiral Dots with the wide bore, but I found the JVC tips would stay in my ear when I removed the IEM from my ear so that was obviously not going to work. I honestly hate when companies don’t include a lip that assists in holding the ear tip on the IEM. I wish more companies would include a lip, similar to Dita the Dream as it certainly makes tip rolling easier. That said, the included Spinfit were the best ear tip I found when using the DK-3001, for sound and comfort. Some of the others I tried include the Final Audio, Symbio and stock ear tips.
Hallelujah! With the ear wire/cable connector and Spinfit adjustment, I can now listen for semi-extended listening sessions and have even dozed off with them in my ear(not a good idea), with an almost acceptable amount of comfort, but never bliss.
The cables are rubbery, smooth and supple. At the MMCX connector end they are thicker as to safeguard the stress point. The cables have an integrated cable strap and a right-angled plug that will plug into the source of your choice. One other thing I must mention is the cables have ear guides and boy are they some ear guides, some long as hell ear guides. These are not your conventional, uncomfortable ear guides but they are soft rubber and can be formed easily and without causing duress to your upper ear or behind your ear. I am not a fan of ear guides but if you must use them these are fine and one of the better ear guides I have used, albeit they are excessively long, long for no apparent reason. I think it is pretty awesome that DUNU includes both cables 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm in the package so the consumer can pick their poison.
Let us review the sound, shall we?
Overall, this is one enjoyable, easy to listen too, no fuss, no muss IEM. It does what it should and that is it allows you to enjoy the music, and it is musical as hell. The bass of the DD unfolds and creates the warmth to the overall signature. It is a 4way and all of the drivers work well together to create a pleasant tone and signature. It is an excellent all-arounder that I found to compliment all genres of music. It delivers its presentation quite well in balanced or a SE output, but I found the 2.5mm balanced to yield slightly better results. I used the DUNU mostly as my everyday portable IEM on my morning walks. I found it to pair really well with the 3.5mm headphone jack of my LG G6 and together it made my morning walk incredibly enjoyable. The overall sound has body and is full and richly alive.
Isolation is not a strong suit of the DK-3001. The shallow fit does not allow for a totally isolated environment. I would think the shell size is not the culprit here but the fact that the shorter nozzle impedes the depth of insertion. Although I found the isolation to be adequate on my morning walks as total isolation is not always safe around traffic or any of the other unpredictable hazards my dog stumbles onto during our walk.
The clarity is top notch when listening to all of my recordings, as an example, Dire Straits Sultans of Swing was presented with all parts being delicately and clearly unveiled and I found myself wanting to bump up the volume to baptize myself in the song. The cymbals, and guitar work were exceptionally clear and without a hint of bleed over into the mids from the bass of the dynamic driver. The decay of the cymbal crashes is totally natural and displayed a superior realism.
The soundstage is not the largest I have heard but it does have a nice width, a moderate depth and an above average height. I found its stage to be perfectly aligned with the overall sound signature. You can easily hear the placement of the instruments on the stage in an organized and coherent fashion. With regards to the detail, I will say there are more detailed and analytical TOTL IEM’s in the market. However, the midrange and treble do a great job of supplying enough detail to satisfy the listener and blend the details in with the overall musicality of its presentation. If I didn’t have IEM’s at three and four times the price I would never even question the amount of detail I am hearing and would be perfectly satisfied with the DUNU, I would not consider the overall detail to be lacking. The air around the notes is ever present and better than average as you can clearly hear air between each note. I also am impressed to hear the air around the entire range of bass notes, one has to love a well-tuned dynamic driver. Again, I feel it is important to mention that the DUNU are the least expensive IEM in my possession and they do a fine job with overall presentation when compared to my other IEM’s but I certainly don’t think it is fair to compare them with the Zeus, Dream or the EM10.
In the low-end region, you get a sub-bass that goes deep and rumbles with natural decay. The snappy bass can also hit hard when called upon. I found the speed of the bass to be reasonably fast for a dynamic driver, as I never heard any appreciable lag. The speed is truly impressive considering the fact that the bass is capable of being very articulate and full sounding at the same time. The DK-3001 actually is one of the better bass deliveries I have heard, but the Dita Dream holds the top honor. Still, it is quite impressive that I mention the DUNU and Dita in the same sentence.
A dynamic driver once again delivers the goods in the DUNU as it is refined, clean, articulate and packs one hell of a punch while deliciously serving you a healthy offering of sub bass. Fortunately, with all of its fullness the mid bass stays where it belongs and does not bleed into the midrange causing any muddiness or negative impact on clarity. Impressive bass overall!
The mids are crafted to provide the listener with a detailed and full sound experience. Vocals have a full, rich tone. Listening to vocals is when I detect a slight warmth to the midrange. I would not say the kind of warmth that interferes with the detail or air in the mids, but there is a warm presence. There is great clarity in all areas of the midrange and nothing interferes with any of the nuances in the music you are listening too. I never detected anything in mids that made the sound appear cramped or congested. Sometimes when an IEM has a full sound it can also create some congestion but not the DK-3001. What you need to imagine with the DUNU is a sound that has clarity and detail in its midrange but with enough warmth to fill in the gaps to create an overall fullness in the sound. I hope I articulated this clearly enough to understand.
The highs have sparkle and detail without harshness, sibilance or any sharpness that is undesirable to someone sensitive to harshness in treble. The clarity and extension are ever present and not rolled off. The treble extends with a resolving sheen but unlike the earlier DUNU I tried, it’s highs do not make my back teeth hurt as if I bit into aluminum foil in an amalgam filled tooth. There is not as much air in the high range as there is in the other ranges, but there is a good linear quality and texturing thrown in for good measure. Cymbals have a realistic chhh sound as opposed to an unnatural shhh sound. My fear of DUNU treble has been met head on and conquered with the DK-3001.
I smiled at first listen. The DUNU DK-3001 was one pleasant surprise. The sound is truly a pleasure and effortless. Straight from the box I fell in love with the sound without even trying. I hope DUNU focuses on improving comfort and isolation in future models. In my opinion, once you fiddle with the IEM to find the comfort sweet spot, the DK-3001 will provide you with a real pleasant listening experience, at least in moderate doses. DUNU DK-3001 gives the customer so much for their money, many accessories, two cables, incredible sound that challenges much higher priced competition. In a day when the prices for TOTL IEM’s just keep rising it is really refreshing to know that you can receive TOTL sound quality for less than $500.
Pros – Sound quality
Cons – The “ridge”, isolation, short angled nozzle