Pros: Soundstage, Bass and Treble Performance,
Cons: Quirky Design, Some Build Quality Questions, and Lack of Grain
Quick Link To Review Thread Here.
It has been a little while since my last earphone review, so I am quite excited to be presenting a new review on Dunu's DN-2000 IEM. Before I continue any further, I would like to offer a big thank you to Fred at Dunu for responding to my request and sending me a sample unit to review. Once again, here are the usual disclaimers about this review. I am neither an employee nor an affiliate of Dunu, and all photos are taken and owned by me.
Dunu is a comparatively new player in the audio field, but that hasn’t stopped it from making waves in the audio community. Established in 1994, Dunu originally began as an OEM/ODM supplier, but eventually started creating and marketing its own products. The name Dunu itself is an acronym comprised of the words: Delicate, UNique, and Utmost. “Delicate” represents Dunu’s attention to detail and production quality, while “unique” embodies the singular design aesthetics and sound quality that its earphones supposedly have. “Utmost” is the end result of these efforts, and highlights some of Dunu’s very serious ambitions as a maker of audio products.
Coming in at around 300 USD, the DN-2000 enters a price range where earphones start to sound very good. The DN-2000 has many notable competitors in this price range, including hybrids by Fidue, Sony, and Audiofly. In addition, the DN-2000 also competes with various higher-end dual BA earphones. Without further ado, let’s get started with the review and see how the DN-2000 performs.
TYPE: Hybrid IEM (Dual BA and 10mm Dynamic)
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 10Hz-30, 000 Hz
SENSITIVITY: 102 dB +/- 2 dB
IMPEDANCE: 16 ohms
WEIGHT: 22 grams
PRICE: 300 USD
The DN-2000 comes in a smooth matte black box, with a magnetic flap that opens to reveal the earphones inside a plastic window. Removing the foam cover and plastic window, I was happy to see that the DN-2000 was actually housed inside a velvet-covered foam cut-out, and not a plastic blister pack popular amongst some manufacturers. On the inside of the magnetic flap is a list of the various tips included, and several diagrams on how to properly achieve a seal with the Dunu eartip spacer ring system/ stabilizing wings (more on that later).
With the DN-2000, Dunu spared no expense with the included accessories. The exhaustive list of included items consists of the following: a metal carrying case, airplane jack adaptor, 3.5mm to 6.5mm adaptor, clothing clip, 3 complete sets of ear tips, 1 pair of foam tips, 4 sets of stabilizing fins, detachable ear guides, and various eartip spacer rings.
The metal carrying case is a nice addition, and comes with a small plaque featuring Dunu's logo on it. The build quality of the carrying case is good, and users can be sure that the earphones won’t get damaged while being transported. However, the case relies on a pressure seal to stay closed, which in turn makes it rather difficult to open. Using too much force while removing the lid could cause the contents within the case to come flying out, and I personally would have preferred a Pelican case instead.
The included eartips come in four varieties: silicone 1K bass/liquid (white), silicone 2K delicate/resolution (gray), bi-flange, and foam. The natural question then is whether the tips (specifically the 1K and 2K tips) significantly affect the SQ of the earphones. As promised, the 1Ks do indeed provide a slightly fuller bass, while the 2Ks provide a cleaner sound with better-detailed treble. I personally stuck with the 2K, but this will change accordingly with the individual tastes of a user. The foam works as expected, though many will probably replace these with Comply tips. However, the biflange did not fit at all for me, and I believe that the DN-2000 seal isn’t supposed to be achieved with an extremely deep eartip-insertion.
I didn’t personally use the eartip spacer ring system very much, but those who like adjusting their earphones will be pleased to be able to mix and match the rings in order to achieve their desired eartip insertion depth.
The DN-2000 features a metal housing with two gradations of gold coloring. The main housing is a gold-copper, while the back panel is light gold with a nice chamfered edge. Coming in at 22 grams, there is an undeniable heft to the DN-2000, and it certainly does feel solid. Miniature clips on the housings serve as “hardpoints” for the attachment of the stabilizing fins. While the DN-2000 is heavy, I found that I could achieve a very secure fit with good isolation when I used the large stabilizing fins.
Moving on to the cable, I was surprised to see a lack of better strain relief at the connection point on the housing. For a pair of earphones shipping with a non-detachable cable, more focus should have gone into preventing possible cable failure. Similarly, more strain relief should have been put into the cable split. Now, the biggest concern for me was the fact that the DN-2000 I received had a slightly crooked headphone jack. I’m not too sure if this was a refurbished model or something of the like, but a crooked jack really shouldn’t be present on a 300-dollar pair of earphones.
Overall, the DN-2000 is a well-built pair of IEMs. Design wise, it tries to straddle one too many fronts at the same time time. The stabilizing fins help the user attain a good fit/seal, but they do look odd on the metal housing. In addition the metal clips make wearing the earphones without the fins somewhat uncomfortable. For their next flagship, I would like to see Dunu either return to a purist DN-1000 housing or adopt a more ergonomic universal design.
The overall sound quality on the DN-2000 is excellent. The 10mm dynamic driver allows the DN-2000 to achieve a good quantity of bass that is hard to replicate with a regular pair of dual BA earphones. The quality of the bass is equally impressive, and the DN-2000 is able to articulate low-frequency notes with surprising accuracy. It may not be as precise as the bass from a purely BA-driven pair of earphones, but greatly increased musicality for a little bit of dynamic loss is a compromise that I am more than willing to make. In Billy Idol’s Eyes Without A Face, the bass line played by Sal Cuevas is beautifully rendered, and demonstrates the DN-2000’s ability to produce full-bodied base without creating excessive bloat.
The midrange is good, and is presented in a comfortable manner that is neither overly forward nor laidback. Vocals sound clear and have just the right amount of energy. However the midrange is slightly lush. This very slight hint of coloration became more obvious when I listened to string quartets and solos. The DN-2000 doesn’t quite have enough grain, which weakens its interpretations of small group classical pieces like Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major.
The treble is clear and detailed without sounding overly analytical. It feels natural, and well integrated with the other parts of the frequency spectrum. This, combined with excellent base performance, helps to create a truly outstanding soundstage with strong macrodynamics. Good instrumental separation provides enough microdynamics for fairly detailed renderings without causing the user's ears to become overly tired. Listening to Águas de Março (Waters Of March) by Antonio Carlos Jobim/ Elis Regina, I felt like I was in the middle of the live room in a recording studio. The piano, guitar, and other instruments were well separated, and when combined with the great vocals, created an aural image that was both engaging and extremely impressive.
The DN-2000 is a very good pair of IEMs. The sound quality is top-notch, and holds its own within its price range (and then some). Moving past its quirky design and certain aspects of its build quality, it is obvious that Dunu has produced a winner. If you're looking for a pair of earphones that has good bass and treble performance, slightly sweeter mids, and a grand soundstage, then I'd heartily recommend the DN-2000.
Thanks for reading, and happy listening!
Miscellaneous Thoughts (Click to show)