Pros: Build quality, sound overall, bass quality and quantity, included accessories
Cons: Cable seems prone to memory effects, strain reliefs could be a bit longer, heavy- leads to less comfort
First, a big thanks to Rocky (rockywu0204 on Head-Fi) at DUNU for the review sample!
This is the DUNU DN-23 Landmine in-ear headphone. It's an incredible headphone.
Preferred tips - Stock narrow nozzle tips, Shure Orange foam, Monster Supertips Foam
Accessories - Hard case, Soft pouch, 3 sets of single flange tips in 3 sizes (Narrow nozzle, wide nozzle, and hybrid styles), 1 pair of bi-flange tips, 1/4' adapter, airplane adapter, shirt clip.
Packaging - DUNU uses similar packaging for all of its IEMs. If you're familiar with it, then this should be of no surprise.
The outer box is a simple package. The image of the DN-23 is embossed slightly outward. On the back shows some information about the product, along with pictures of it and its accessories.
Upon removal of the outer box reveals...another box! This time, the 'D' and DUNU logo are embossed outwards. Nothing else is on the outside of this box. Inside the box is the headphone itself, the hard case, and the soft pouch. Underneath that is the warranty card.
Build - DUNU has a reputation here for making incredibly well-built headphones. The DN-23 is no exception. The housing is probably the most well-built housing that I've seen yet on an IEM. It's made completely out of metal and has a chrome finish. The backside features a 'D' representing DUNU in a brushed aluminum finish. These two things alone make the DN-23 a regal-looking headphone. Left and right indicators are the blue and red stripes on the headphones. Similar to Monster, I suppose. The Y-split on the cable is made out of solid aluminum. Very, very good. Cable cinch is also made out of aluminum. The cable terminates to a 45 degree 3.5mm jack with good strain relieving.
On the downside, all the metal makes the DN-23 pretty heavy for an IEM. I feel like I have to be extra careful not to drop or let them fall out of my ears, in fear that they might just snap off of the cable. I realize that this is mostly me just being paranoid, but the DN-23 is pretty heavy. Also, strain reliefs are just average. I think they could/should be longer, but I'm just glad that they're there at all. The cable feels a bit plasticky. Cables like this have shown to be prone to memory effects.
An interesting feature of the DN-23 is the patented cable tie-like attachment on the cable. It is made of silicone and can keep the wires tidy when needed.
Stock tips (Click to show)
Comfort - With the completely metal and weighty build of the DN-23, I've felt some strain on my ears just because of the weight. I have noticed this the most with the included hybrid-style tips. I much prefer foam tips over silicone for these in terms of fit, which is rare for me. Foam, especially the Shure Orange Foam tips remove most of that pressure on the ears from the weight. For sound, however, I prefer the stock narrow nozzle tips. Sound comparisons will come later in this review.
Isolation - DUNU advertises a 26db noise reduction with the DN-23. I would definitely say that's accurate. The isolation does, however, vary by tips, as usual. I'm quite impressed overall with the isolation due to the design. Since it is a bit wide in design, isolation would be assumed to be less than that of the DN-23.
Sound - Bass, bass, such incredible bass..
Bass - Wow. Just, wow. The DN-23 has some of the best bass that I've heard in a sub-$100 IEM; the most, too. There is so much bass. But it is tight, controlled, and detailed. I mean, wow. Honestly, every time I put these in, I'm blown away by the bass. There is a lot of sub-bass, which I love. Mid-bass has less presence than the sub-bass, but still is very plentiful. There is a good amount of warmth, but it's not bloated or overpowering whatsoever. EDM has never sounded this good out of an IEM before.
Mids - Mids are recessed. This is to be expected. I don't really have that much to comment on here. Perhaps "Just good" is a good term? They're cleanly presented and fit nicely into the rest of the spectrum.
Treble - *Sparkle Sparkle*. The treble of the DN-23 is exactly how I like it- sparkly, but not to the point of being sibilant. It's detailed and well-presented. I just love it.
Soundstage - The DN-23 has a good amount of space to it. Depth and width are both good. Certain tips can improve or diminish that factor.
Which brings me to the tips..
Stock Narrow Nozzle - My preferred silicone tips. These tips really bring out the best in bass performance.
Stock Wide Nozzle - I don't like these with the DN-23 whatsoever. The stems are a bit short for a good fit on the DN-23. They have a more shallow fit.
Stock Hybrid Style - Practically identical to the Sony hybrid tips. These are the most uncomfortable tips in my opinion. However, Sony hybrids are normally uncomfortable for me anyways. Soundstage seems more congested with these.
Stock Bi-flange - These don't really even fit the DN-23. I don't know why DUNU included them. The stem is too wide.
Shure Orange Foam - These tips give a more balanced sound overall- less bass, less treble, more mids. The change is not really drastic, though. These are the most comfortable tips in my opinion. Soundstage seems to be slightly improved with them as well.
Monster Supertips Foam - The sound seems to be similar to the stock narrow nozzle tips. These, however are more comfortable in my opinion, and increase the amount of space in the presentation somewhat.
Overall - I'm highly impressed with the performance of the DN-23. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to a bass-lover. At the price of $80, I don't know of an IEM that has the quality and quantity of bass that these do. Truly incredible headphones.