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DUNU DN-12 Trident

Posted

Pros: rich packaging, build quality, price, design

Cons: lacking bass sometimes, narrow scene

First of all I have to mention overall packaging and design. They're looking extremely rich.

Earphones themselves also looks great and unusual.

As for sound quality - I'd say that it's OK for the money asked for them. Sound is clear, with nice mids and height. Sometimes bass lacked punch, but it depends on recoding mastering.

So money/value - it's a good choice.

Posted

Pros: Great clarity, punchy bass. For the definite basshead, and people new to the audiophile community.

Cons: Bass may be too overpowering.

I'm no pro reviewer, so I'll leave this to the rest.

First Impressions:

Blew my mind. Never knew that something this cheap could sound this good.

Accessories are aplenty. Comes with a leather pouch, alot of eartips. (5 spare sets of different sizes.)

 

However, I feel that this is a great competitor to the CX300II, at a cheaper price too.

Posted

Pros: Build, enveloping sound

Cons: Accuracy

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found my new favorite budget IEM. Most recently, it was the MEElectronics CW31 with its warm woody sound, but it has been dethroned by a new challenger. What’s the catch? It really doesn’t do anything technically perfect. If that’s so, why is it so good in my opinion? Well, honestly, I DUNU, but the DUNU Tridents just…work. Wait! I can explain!

 

But first, the readers always need some appetizers before the main course.

The packaging of the Tridents is quite nice, but it’s way too similar to the Turbine Pro packaging than I’d like, mostly because the DUNU packaging is so much cheaper-feeling than the Monster version. However, one has to keep in mind that the Tridents are 10% of the Copper MSRP. But since the opportunity arises, I’ll scrutinize the packaging and compare it to the Monster packaging. Skip this if you simply do not care, but I find the situation rather funny.

 

I find Monster’s presentation pretty much my favorite IEM packaging of any kind. I find it reasonable that DUNU makes an homage to it, but it really feels underwhelming in comparison. The thickness of the DUNU cardboard is about a third of the thickness of the Monster cardboard. In addition, the Turbine flap folds away from the box quite nicely due to a different method of folding out. There are two different sections. In contrast, the DUNU flap seems to want to take the box with it. It’s really not a big deal, but I wanted to hopefully get DUNU to fix this issue. I doubt a thicker gauge cardboard for their boxes would cost more than a dollar, and would really make the IEM’s package seem more upscale. At this point, it screams “Chinese crap,” which this really isn’t.

 

Where the similarities end, however, is how the IEM’s look. I heartily applaud DUNU for creating an IEM whose housing is completely different from any other IEM I’ve seen. There may be a slight similarity to the Monster Butterfly IEM’s, but it’s a stretch. I have found that many reviews have neglected to mention the finer details of the housing, which I will state, simply because I am awestruck by how nice they look for $40. The housings themselves are made of seamless titanium, as stated on the box flap (more on this in the conclusion; I have a proposition for the guys at DUNU). By seamless, I mean it; the nozzle is made from the same piece of titanium as the rest of the housing. I don’t know of any other IEM made of titanium, and for a $40 product, it’s pretty cool. In addition, the titanium housings have a machined ribbed design—even cooler. The back of the IEM prominently displays a big distinctive D, which many fellow students have asked me about, along with a gold plated outer ring.

 

As far as the build goes, I’m quite sure that they’ll be able to last a lot of abuse. I commend DUNU for basically over-engineering the Tridents. The strains on the housing side are the slightest bit too stiff, but the Y split and nice-looking plug are A-OK. The cable is sufficiently beefy, and hasn’t been too tangle-prone in my experience.

 

So I’ve been gushing about how they look, but that’s really not important since they’re in your ears where they’re impossible to see. The sound portion is next. This test involves a NaNite N2, and, for tehlulz, the Burson HA160D I have on loan to test how much they scale up.

For the lazy, the general sound signature is on the warm side, with occasionally peaky treble and slightly recessed midrange. The bass doesn’t reach impressively low and warms the lower midrange up almost too much. Do read the conclusion though, because that gives a better description of why I like the sound.

 

 

For the rest of you, a more detailed version, straight from the N2 (the Burson will come later):

 

The treble with the Tridents really isn’t all that impressive. Pianos lose their luster on the upper end, and flutes sound flat and dull as well. The treble really doesn’t extend very much, and drops off pretty quickly. At times, they can get shrill, especially with soprano vocals and the highest trumpet notes. Basically, they have lower treble issues.

The midrange is really a mixed bag. Most will find the midrange underwhelming at best because they are rather warmed up on the lower end, and plain funky on the upper end. Heck, they can even be called recessed .The Tridents have some weird coloration on the upper end that’s basically an acquired taste. I remember my old Audio Technica A500’s had a similar colorization. (Actually, they have similar midranges all around. I remember the A500’s had a slightly recessed midrange, even after modding, along with a warmed up lower midrange.) The Tridents’ lower midrange is, as stated, somewhat warm. This gives male vocals and lower instruments a body that is welcoming, but not as full as the MEElectronics CW31.

 

The Tridents seem to really like drums. They have a wonderful sense of portraying drum sets with surprising accuracy, especially bass drums, allowing for excellent space and air around it. It’s quite shocking actually, how nice bass drums sound—tympanis too. Bass (guitar) gets slightly muddled up with faster riffs—the Tridents are a slow IEM sadly. This seems to be a common drawback with cheap dynamics. For electronic, it also slightly suffers due to its slowness, but it’s listenable. I certainly wouldn’t pick it as my first genre for the Tridents though.

 

The soundstage is slightly above average as I never get any true out-of-headness with the Tridents, but positioning is better than most. Detail is rather iffy, as the treble is much too funky to extract any upper end detail, and timbre isn’t really its strong suit due to its strange upper midrange.

 

Now, for the section I’m sure everybody is at least slightly curious about: how do they scale up with an amp that’s 25 times more expensive than the IEM’s? Well, they do improve quite nicely. The bass tightens up to something that’s very manageable, without the muddiness I complained about. The midrange is a bit more forward, but still recessed. Sadly, none of the tonality issues are fixed. They still sound colored. Good think I like the coloration…

 

So where are we now? Well, the Trident is a very strange IEM. It doesn’t really do anything…right in a technical sense, however, as an IEM to just listen to, it is by far my favorite. Why you may ask? The Tridents just portray music in a sense that’s easy to listen to. They’re engaging in a way that makes one just get lost in the music and chill out in the enveloping bass and upper midrange that makes vocals ever-so-slightly more intimate than most would be comfortable with—female voices are, in a way, voluptuous. Let’s be honest. These are $40 IEM’s. Nobody expects the best of anything for $40. They expect an IEM they can just listen to, and the DUNU Tridents are just that.

 

As an addendum for DUNU, the English translations on the Trident box are absolutely horrendous. I’m willing to offer to fix the English translations for you guys for free—well, I may want to test some products for my trouble…I’m sorry, but the poor translation further contributes to the “Chinese crap” stigma ignorant people may give this product. With a good translation, they can learn to shut up.

 

For example, the box says (and I’ll include a better translation after):

 

-Loaded with high grade full frequency unit, it enhances the detailed of bass and presents crisp and crystal in mid and treble. It also provides you the high sound quality and the best recognition. (Full frequency dynamic driver presents detailed bass, crisp midrange, and crystal clear treble for excellent sound quality and enhanced detail)

 

-The earphone is designed with highly covered and sound leaking proof which can block the outer noises and only preserves the sound you desire (The housing is fully sealed to block outside noise, leaving only you and your music (this can be fixed to remove tense shift, but this sounds more presentable))

 

-With DUNU’s patent technology (F.R.E.S), the full frequency enhancing system, it presents you rich dynamic and extraordinary full range music incisively and vividly (F.R.E.S., DUNU’s patented technology, presents rich, dynamic, and extraordinary full-sounding music vividly and accurately)

 

And so on. 

Posted

Pros: Build quality, quality to price ratio, packaging

Cons: Microphonics when worn down

 

 

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I would like to thank Rocky of DUNU for the chance to review the DUNU Trident IEMs.

 

Pros: Build quality, quality to price ratio, packaging

Cons: Microphonics when worn down

 

Packaging

 

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The DUNU Trident came packaged in a familiar looking box, those who have either the Crius, Ares, or Hephaes will notice similarities. A rather large white box presents the users with a picture of a female dancing and the Tridents. On top the DUNU logo appears, on the bottom the model name. There is also some writing in Chinese, though I do not read Chinese so I'm not sure what it says. On one side of the box there's a pictures of highlights of the Trident such as the leather carrying case and the high quality cables. On the other side an enlarged profile picture of the Trident is shown. The back showcases product information and specifications in Chinese and in English.

 

That information is all on a cardboard sleeve that is slid up or down to reveal a black cardboard box that has the DUNU logo and opens like a book held closed by unseen magnets giving it a high quality feel to it that owners of other DUNU products will be familiar with. When opened the user is greeted by the Trident sitting securely in a velour coated plastic casing with the leather carrying pouch sitting below it. The housing is lifted up to reveal the included tips. DUNU decided to include a wealth of tips such as: Single flange wide nozzle (S/M/L), single flange thin nozzle (S/M/L) and a pair of bi-flange tips which are small sized.

 

The Trident come well packaged for the price though as someone who cares about the environment I wish DUNU had made the packaging a bit smaller. Aside from that everything looks fantastic! Elegant, high quality packaging with a good selection of tips and a nice looking carrying pouch. This is definitely above average for the price point.

 

Design and Build Quality

 

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With the Tridents DUNU decided to go with unique cone shaped design that fits well in my ear. The Tridents are definitely well made with a seemingly unibody aluminum housing that has nice weight to it inspiring confidence in the build quality. Each housing is color coded either red (right) or blue (left) on the outside of the housing around the sleek DUNU logo. The housing is two toned, a grey body with a gold outside. This gives the Trident a sleek look to my eyes, good choice!

 

The housing leads to a decent length stress relief that feels solid. The cable is nothing special, but it feels high quality, I have no concerns about the durability of the cable here. The cable comes to a y-split that has DUNU plastic coated, a sleek integrated cable draw looks very nice. The cable terminates into a 45 degree gold plated 3.5mm plug that feels well built.

 

Once in your ears they feel decently comfortable. They're not winning any prizes here, but they feel secure in my ears with a semi-deep insertion. Isolation is decent, slightly better than average with about 60%-70% of noise blocked out with no music playing and all of it blocked out with music playing at a reasonable volume. Microphonics are somewhat apparent with the Trident worn down, but not a problem when worn over ear. For those who have Comply 400 series tips or Sony Hybrids these will fit without a hitch.

 

The Tridents are built to the excellent build quality standards DUNU has set with their IEMs. Everything on the Trident and attached to the Trident feels incredibly solid. The comfort is average here, while the isolation is a small step up from average. The whole package would make me think these are closer to $100, which impresses me that the Trident so well built, while maintaining a good sound.

 

Sound Quality

 

As usual I've allowed 50 hours of burn-in before making judgements.

 

Astonishing balance for the sound price is the first thing that comes to mind with the Trident. I recently reviewed the Brainwavz Beta and praised their sound quality to price ratio and the Trident are very close to being as much as a value. The Trident have a rather balanced sound that leans slightly warm with decent clarity. The lows are borderline great on these. The lows extend well, have some decent mid bass slam and have decent detail in the bass department. Unfortunately the bass is a tad slow and slightly bloated, this causes fast paced electronic music to feel slightly behind, as if the Trident are playing catch up. Despite the slightly bloated bass the mids still have good presence and punch to them. The mids are slightly forward and rather sooth sounding making the Trident more than adequate for alternative rock or other mid-centric music. The highs leave something to be desired here though. The highs aren't bad, but they're laid back and not really the focus. There's no sparkle in the highs unfortunately. The highs are rather clear though when they are by themselves with no sign of sibilance!

 

The soundstage is average here, I really miss the fantastic imaging the Betas gave me when listening to these. Instrument separation is decent though, I never felt congested when listening to anything. Each instrument has room to breath, a small amount, but enough to give them room to pick apart. As good as the Trident sound though for the price they sound somewhat flat to me. They just aren't as musical as the Brainwavz Beta where I feel a part of the music. The Trident's just don't pull me into the music as much as the Betas. With that said the Trident are still a lot of fun to listen to music on.

 

Let's test some tunes!

 

Feed Me - Strange Behaviour

This is a dubstep song so it has a substantial amount of sub-bass with a lot of mid-bass slam. There's also a lot of sound effects and samples in this song. The intro sounds very good, the vocals are smooth, the synth is nice and fuzzy, but the samples sound a bit flat. The intro ends and the sub-bass kicks in. The Tridents extend well, and the mid-bass has nice impact. The sub-bass is heard, but I don't feel it. The balance of the song still sounds good though, while the bass rumbles I can still hear the vocals and other instruments clearly. The Tridents sound decent for bass heavy music to my ears.

 

Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times

A classic song with great energy to it. Again with the Trident I feel they are a bit flat in sound taking away a lot of the energy from this song. The guitars have nice crunch to them and the vocals are smooth and have nice presence. The drums sound clear and on level with the bass, though a bit fuzzy. Everything sounds good, but the song just doesn't come to life.

 

Sigur Ros - Staralfur

I chose this due to the fantastic balance of the various instruments, it's imaging and due to it's classical like similarities. The violin and other string instruments sound nice, going in and out of focus, but the depth isn't enough to give the song the 3d imaging that makes this song immersive. The vocals sound clear and the piano is warm and fuzzy. Every once in a while one of the violins will hit a high note and it gets a bit grainy causing me to slightly wince. Sigur Ros sounds good on these, but it's missing the depth to make me immersed in the song.

 

Kanye West - POWER

This is one of my favorite recent hip-hop songs and despite it's iffy mastering it's something I'm familiar with. The bass is expectantly boomy and the song has good energy to it. the samples during the chorus and the "21st century schizoid man" sample sounds very grainy enough to make me wince. The bass is definitely the star here, but Kanye's vocals sound good through these, though at times I feel as if the vocals are trying to push through the bass. I think hip-hop fans will really enjoy these all things considered though.

 

Animal Collective - My Girls

This is a wonky electronic song with a lot of energy in it. The synths sound wonderful right away and the vocals sound on point. The synths aren't phasing in and out as much as I would like though, there's not enough depth to the soundstage unfortunately. The song maintains a nice balance to it though through the various vocals and the bass coming in. The bass is a bit prominent though pushing the synths a bit back in the mix. The song sounds fun though as it should, yes I said it sounds fun if you listen to Animal Collective you'll understand. 

 

Conclusion

 

The DUNU Trident are a fantastically built budget IEM with good sound to them. The soundstage and imaging aren't it's strong suits and at times it causes the songs to lose energy. The sound though is great for the price, a nice balanced sound that leans a bit to warm side. These IEMs are a great recommendation for all types of music and are definitely a great budget IEM that will withstand some abuse. For the $40 asking price these are very hard to beat as a complete package, DUNU shows again that it's more than capable of making a well priced, built and sounding IEM.

 

Come see more pictures of the Trident here!

Posted

Pros: Tonal Balance,Mids,Laid Back,

Cons: Upper Treble Extension, Detail

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About

I'd first like to say that these headphones are about $30 so I will be writing this review based on the performance in its price range. I'm doing this because it would be unfair to compare these to headphones in a higher price range. I would also again like to thank DUNU for allowing me to test these as part of a giveaway! As always DUNU offers shipping that deserves mention. How they get packages from point a to point b so fast I have no clue its magic.

Appearance and Accessories

The packaging was definitely better then I expected for a pair of in ears in this price range. Shipping as I've mentioned is top notch. The packaging is nearly identical to the DN-16 hephaes, which is indicative of how well they treat their customers regardless of how much the headphones cost. The case slides out of the exterior box. It has magnetic latches that allow you to use this as a decent storage case. When you open it you are presented with a nice layout in the interior which holds the headphones and accessories. The DN-12 Tridents come with the following accessories:

The DN-12 Trident's themselves
A leather pouch
7 pairs of tips

The pouch is quite usable for daily travel with these earphones and the large quantity of tips insures that you will find a perfect fit for your ear canal size and preferences. Overall very pleasing number of accessories for what your paying!

As for the appearance I find it more visually pleasing then the DN-16 Hephaes, but thats more personal preference then anything. These DN-12s like the higher end DN-16s also have the (I believe) patented cord wrapper. Which actually is quite handy when transporting them in the pouch. It serves to keep the cords from getting tangled, which is as I've mentioned quite useful.
Comfort and Isolation

These are neither the most comfortable nor the most uncomfortable in ears I have worn. I would say that they are slightly below average for comfort. The reason being that although the tips themselves are very comfortable the case of the DN-12s with its horn like shape can hit the side of your ears if you have small ears or otherwise. Don't get me wrong though these are not that uncomfortable at all and can easily be worn for extended periods of time.

As for the isolation its depends a lot on the tips you use. With the slightly bigger tips that I am using right now the isolation is much better then the stock tips. Its not amazing isolation but maybe a little better then I would think to be getting in this price range, not bad, not bad at all. Though one thing I would like to point out is that the cable it self does carry quite a bit of noise so if your constantly moving and bumping the cable then it may bother you. Though its not bad at all for something in this price range.
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Sound

Sound Signature: These almost have a Sennheiser type sound in my opinion. The bass is boosted and the treble is cut short. The mids for the most part are retained fine except for some lower midrange bump from the boosted bass. The treble has some trouble but its not bad at all considering the price, I will explain this in the next section in further detail. The sound itself is more laid back and relaxed sounding then most headphones which may or may not be your cup of tea. The attack and dynamics lack a little. These have a very warm sound because of the extended bass and missing upper highs, which works well for a lot of older rock and other music that may have troubling treble.

Soundstage: This is one of its impressive bits. When I think of in ear monitors especially cheap ones the first thing I think of is how limited the soundstage usually is. Well although not particularly well defined wide or deep it is much, much better then could be expected for an IEM in this price range or even double this range. Its very nice and way better then I expected. Its almost at mid field but not quite its feels like it even manages a little depth to the image which is insane for something costing only $30!

Bass: Lots of volume here, a quantity that should satisfy any basshead. Though there is bloom and some bleeding into the lower mids its not too bad. Its pretty much one note bass but I would not go so far as to call it sloppy. Its extension appears good as far as I'm able to discern. Impact is above average for something competing in this range. Overall quite pleasing for the bass lovers out there.

Mids: The mids are very balanced and well defined. Their is however a slightly boosted lower mid range that bleeds over from the boosted bass, it is however minor. The tonal balance is near perfect and very neutral. It is a little laid back sounding but is not in anyway disappointing. Some of the cheaper bass boosted phones will, in my experience anyway destroy the mids by recessing them or ruining the detail. I'm glad to say that these do not sacrifice the mids to achieve the boosted bass. Though they are not of the most detail it is above average for something in this league.

Treble:
The treble is where some trouble creeps in. These in ear headphones as perfect as they are, do suffer from extension problems in the treble. The frequency seems to almost completely cut off at about 16KHz and up. Though this may improve listening for certain music such as classic rock that tends to have too much highs anyway. Other then extension the treble is accurate and more refined then I would expect. It does have an ever so slight sibilance but is not that bad. It seems to be laid back as well and with the lack of extension aids in the warm sound of these headphones.
Specific Songs

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here – Wish You Were Here: The beginning where you can hear a man and a woman talking on a TV or radio comes in clear though not with the most detail. When the guitar comes in it does so with a hypnotic like sound, laid back but somehow involving. The vocals come through with just a tad of missing highs. Detail is average and separation is a little tough. But the overall experience is still very enjoyable!

The National – High Violet – Anyone's Ghost: The guitar is a little drowned out separation is not bad, about average. Very laid back maybe too much so, the vocals come in clear but again maybe missing some top end. Not bad, fun to listen to but not the most engaging.

Pixies – Death To The Pixies – Where Is My Mind: Separation is very good in this track and bass impact is above average. The guitar comes in clear and with more detail then I expected. The vocal track is very engaging and detailed. The tonal balance is also very good. Cymbals come in without much grain and its overall very fun and engaging listen.
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Compared to the DN-16 Hephaes

Detail: What strikes me first when going from the DN-12s to the 16s is that the 16s (Hephaes) have much more detail across the board. This extra detail is welcomed to the somewhat detail lacking laid back sound of the DN-12s of course thats why the Hephaes cost more too haha.

Balance: This is one of the areas I enjoyed more on the cheaper DN-12s. I find the balance on the DN-16s to be a little odd with the recessed upper mids and boosted lower highs. Although both have boosted bass I find that the DN-12 (Trident) has a overall more balanced sound signature to it. The mids are more even sounding and the highs are not as harsh as the Hephaes which can sometimes be too much for me.

Bass: I think that the Tridents have more quantity of bass but it is not as neatly defined or detailed as the Hephaes. The bass on the Hephaes is more defined not as bloated sounding as the DN-12s. Thats not to say the DN-12s are bad, not at all. Again I would like to remind you of the price differences.

Mids: This is sort of hit and miss for me. Although the mids are much clearer and detailed on the Hephaes because of the recessed upper mids I'm left wondering which pair I prefer. Its a tough decision and not one I have a good answer for I guess it depends on which song I'm listening too. Of course it also depends on you, as every person will find whats important to them and what they can live with. To me the mids are very important its just deciding between detail and proper tonal balance can be challenging.

Treble: Both have extension problems, the Tridents seem to cut off around 16KHz where is the Hephaes seem to extend a little beyond that, my guess is somewhere around 18KHz. Where is the Tridents had a laid back sounding treble the Hephaes take a more direct approach. Though much more detail is present in the Hephaes I am again left deciding between tonal balance and detail. The upper mids seem almost boosted on the Hephaes which can cause sibilance and fatigue on some tracks. The Tridents do not suffer from this problem but lack the clarity that the Hephaes has.
Overall:
I find the Tridents to be a very good value and something to seriously consider when buying in ear headphones in this price range, however I don't hold the same opinion with the Hephaes. Although I do believe that I enjoy the Hephaes a tad more overall I can't say that I would pay the price that they are listed at. Although not bad headphones the highs and recessed upper mids do bother me to an extent on the Hepaes if it was not for this problem and the other problems listed I would also be able to recommend the Hepaes. Non the less I am excited for what DUNU has in store for us and I will watch them with interest.
Extra Thoughts
I am very pleased with these headphones and believe they offer a value at their price. Though not perfect they are very good with the only major problems stemming from their lack of upper frequency extension. With their great boosted bass and very clear mids not to mention the fact that they actually have a soundstage makes these a winner in my opinion. Though not at all analytical, these laid back headphones are fun to sit down with and relax to some good music. I can fully recommend these headphones, the only people who may want to look away are those who require loads of detail or those who greatly enjoy their treble. But I say thumbs up to DUNU for this great product!
DUNU DN-12 Trident
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Description:

DUNU DN-12 Trident Model No: Trident. Fi120v (DN-12) Type: HQ Dynamic F. Response 10Hz-20KHz Noise Attenuation: 26dB Weight: 22g Plug Size: 3.5mm Gold-plated Cord Length: 1.2m

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