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What's New From DUNU?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

 

Dunu is a Chinese earphone brand. They have had some notoriety even outside of China with their Itube armature earphones. Starsonic is the OEM for Dunu. I previously bought the Starsonic HDDS earphones to try out. I was recently contacted by Starsonic to try out and evaluate some of their latest products since they agreed with my feelings/criticisms on the HDDS phones. They sent me the Dunu Ares(DN-11) and Crius(DN-13). Thanks to Vivian of Starsonic for sending them out to me.

 

A Look At Them(Maybe not the best pics; battling the wind and increasing clouds)

P1010021.JPG

Packaging consists of an outer sleeve housing a black cardboard box with a magnetic latch on the side flap. Inside is a felt covered plastic tray displaying the earphones.

P1010023.JPG

The Crius comes with a semi-hard zip case and brown drawstring pouch. The Ares adds a third thick felt pouch with a magnetic snap closure. 

P1010027.JPG

 

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Tips include standard bi-flanges, 3 pair firmer/longer tips(smaller opening), and 3 pair softer/shorter tips(larger opening).

 

P1010024.JPG

High quality angled plug, machined aluminum Y/slider, and built-in cable wrap.

 

P1010029.JPG

As it looks in this pic, the Crius tube end is 1mm wider than the Ares(6.5mm vs. 5.5mm). Red and blue rings for the L/R indicators.

P1010031.JPG

Attention to detail. You can see Crius laser etched into the rim of the housing.

P1010033.JPG

 

I didn't ask what Vivian would be sending me so I did not know what to expect. I was quite impressed upon opening the Ares and Crius.

 

Quality build, solid feel, and attention to the little things. A quality cable(similar to TD100 style but slightly softer) with very nice Y joint, cable slider, and plug. A neat movable cable wrap on the cord which I find unobtrusive and comes in handy. Solid and hefty metal housings with good reliefs and nice fabric mesh screens that have survived plenty of tips changes without incident. They are a sealed design capable of above average isolation(YMMV, of course). There are no readily apparent vent holes. Fairly weighty overall but just a nice solid feel to them. The smallish housings have some heft but stay fine in my ears.

 

The Specs:

 

Both are equipped with armature drivers

10Hz - 20KHz Frequency Response

1.2m cables

20 grams weight(Crius), 25 grams(Ares)

26dB is the claimed isolation 

Sensitivity is not given on the box but the Starsonic spec says 95dB

1 year warranty

 

The Sound:

 

Both phones are well extended, balanced, clear and detailed. They seem to extend fairly equally on both ends and both drop off quickly at the ends. The highs and lows don't fade on either end more than just kind of stop. This is good as the treble stays apparent and crisp while the bass doesn't fade or weaken but stays pretty full and competent as low as it will go. The balance on both is fairly even between bass, mids, and treble.

 

If you have read Joker's description of the Pioneer CLX60 it is a good reference. The sound of these earphones is extremely close. I own the Pioneer, so I have A/B'd the three phones. The Crius is slightly more clear and clean while the Ares is slightly more full, rich sounding. The CLX 60 is ever so slightly mid-forward of the two. They are eerily similar and at one point of my burn in, I could not tell the Ares and Pioneer apart. So, both phones are closer to neutral sounding family with the Ares being more full sounding of the two. RE0 and RE-ZERO would be the same type of relationship for the Crius and Ares.

 

Their sound is a rather unique presentation that is fun and also analytical; Ares slightly more to the former and the Crius slightly to the latter. The soundstage size the phones have is slightly above average height and depth and good positioning within the image. Crius a slight bit better at pinpoint imaging and separation due to being a bit cleaner/tighter. The stage width and height can be better depending on tip used. The longer smaller opening tips give better depth while, you guessed it, the wider opening tips give more top to bottom height.

 

Two things I find worthy to note. I like my treble and the Ares and Crius have enough treble and sparkle for me to enjoy without any EQ. The other thing is that they do take EQ quite well and they sound extremely nice when tweaked to my liking.

 

The Critique:

 

I was sent the phones to evaluate and suggest improvements. I have to say, the well thought out and well finished products they sent me made it harder than I thought it was going to be. I only have a few things to note that are all minor and not deal breakers.

 

1) The earphones are more shallow insertion phones. I can use two or three of the included tips well, the large softer flange and the medium/large longer flange. I take medium tips on a majority of phones so larger ear canals may have concern. Not a deal breaker since both phones do well over the ear where deeper insertion works well and the problem no longer really applies. The previously mentioned Pioneer phones add larger size tips for the Western markets and Starsonic could do the same as Vivian mentioned that they want to try other markets themselves. I suggested maybe a second larger bi-flange and possibly the shiny style foam tips to make a very complete fit kit.

 

2) In the picture above you can see the Ares package has Bass Hyper Sound on it. They just don't have the amount of bass that the package might suggest. Good quality bass similar level to the CLX60, more than the RE0/RE-ZERO, just not matching the definition of the word hyper.

 

3) The cable has a bit above average microphonics. A bit of nit-picking. it is a good cable. The cord slider reduces it while wearing them down and over the ear wearing eliminates most of it.

 

  That's It. No real deal breakers at all. I thought I would get some early prototypes of some kind but I actually got a finished product that is hard to complain about. The Ares/Crius are budget priced but perform solidly on the mid-level. The domestic price is ~$75 for Ares and ~60 for the Crius. The price for other markets such as the US or Europe, while yet to be determined, should be in that vicinity making them a nice deal. Again, I was told they plan to try the US/Europe markets.

 

I posted to let others check them out and comment on them. Starsonic seems to want the feedback as well. Like with the HDDS earphones, they are slightly harder to get outside of China ATM, but they can be had as well. Certainly worth having, IMHO.

 

 

 

  

 


Edited by jant71 - 5/19/11 at 2:54pm
post #2 of 27

I've never heard of either DUNU or Starsonic..or if I have then I don't remember it. It seems like both models sound pretty similar to each other and that it may just be up my alley on what kind of iem I would want. The earlier pics do remind me of the Monster earphones with the color of the iem and the plastic insert thing where the iem's are held in place.

 

Of course I'm not spending any more money for a while shelling out close to a grand this month already but they could be useful as a backup or something. Any idea where they would be selling once the iem's are available for sale assuming they are not ready now?


Edited by rawrster - 3/11/11 at 10:54pm
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

A grand. Nice round number there! I'll see what I can find out about where they are available.

 

Certainly have the Monster look. Another model like the DN-16, not so much...DN-16-B.jpg

 

Wouldn't mind trying them out as well. Certainly eye catching.


Edited by jant71 - 3/11/11 at 11:29pm
post #4 of 27

Do want. Monster influence is pretty obvious but the packaging, accessories, and build quality look stellar for a mid-level product.

post #5 of 27

Dunu went quiet a few years back but recently they begin to be more active as they pick up a new distributor / partner. From the look of the new IEM models, they are still doing fairly well.

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

^Yes indeed. So, with the turnover of members on Head-fi, few will have heard of Dunu except some veterans. Back then there just weren't as many armature based phones so mention of the Itube would pop up on the web from time to time. I think Gyratech still lists a couple models on their site.

post #7 of 27

those ares are lukin pretty good

post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post

^Yes indeed. So, with the turnover of members on Head-fi, few will have heard of Dunu except some veterans. Back then there just weren't as many armature based phones so mention of the Itube would pop up on the web from time to time. I think Gyratech still lists a couple models on their site.


It will be quite some time until I become a head-fi veteran then :P

post #9 of 27

nice to see dunu back in the game, i had some dunu canalphones before, they were cloned sony exq1 from the qualia line. Its been a long time, but i remember they were very detailed, big soundstage, and plenty of highs, very little bass for me tho. 

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post




It will be quite some time until I become a head-fi veteran then :P


LOL, you are a veteran no doubt! Your join date might put you a bit after that time though.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by gduck View Post

nice to see dunu back in the game, i had some dunu canalphones before, they were cloned sony exq1 from the qualia line. Its been a long time, but i remember they were very detailed, big soundstage, and plenty of highs, very little bass for me tho. 


Funny you should mention that. They use that housing for a new armature based model that I would like to hear...

ITUDE-09C--B.jpg

 

I happen to have the Xcape V1 on loan from Joker so I'll be listening to the three phones. Special attention to the Crius and Xcape which should have closer signatures.

P1010022.JPG

The Crius is a bit smaller while the Ares is a bit larger.


Edited by jant71 - 3/16/11 at 1:04pm
post #11 of 27

Those Qualia housings, I thought, were built like a tank. Heavy buggers but absolutely indestructible. Hard to tell from the render but hopefully it's the same rubber-on-machined-aluminum construction.

post #12 of 27

wow, thats nice, they also managed to shorten the length of the stems, which i thought needed to be shorter anyway. as tank-like the build was with the ones i had, i felt they were too heavy, almost too much metal, that ended up pulling itself down sometimes, hopefully those armature ones are lighter, plus the shorter stems make it more possible to wear over the ears. Any news to if they are single/double armature or hybrid ones ala ortofon eq7 ?

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 

Probably single Siren style drivers in them. http://www.starsonic.com/images/p2/p2-4b/Specification.jpg


Edited by jant71 - 3/14/11 at 5:13pm
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

Well, I completed my listening sessions with the three phones. 4 devices unamped, no EQ. I used the stock tips on the Xcape and did try the Mee bi-flange(Sennheiser style ones) and HD big bi-flange later on to add more warmth to them. Both Dunu were equipped with the stock longer thicker tips. These tip are thick, fit tighter around the tube, and fit better in my ears. I do think they work well to reduce unwanted vibration/resonance of the housing. Softer tips seem to lose a bit of clarity.

 

The short of it. I like both Dunu better. I'll add that after my testing, I understand why there is an Xcape version 2.

 

   Clean and clear the Xcape is a bit too clean and bit lacking in body unamped. Both Dunu add body, weight and roundness of note while keeping most of the extension and detail. The soundstage is slightly larger, top to bottom, for the Dunu but the Crius is more intimate keeping you a few rows closer, esp. the vocals. The Ares adds even more weight and impact/substance but, as to their uniqueness, they have don't have any more bass amount. The weight of the bass and vocals makes the Dunu more fun. The Ares is further back like the Xcape except for the vocals, which are slightly more close. Just a bit less close than the Crius. The Dunu are more organic sounding/filled in while the Xcape is thinner and a sterile. The Xcape is more treble emphasized and more refined up top. The tone between the Crius and Xcape are more similar up top. The Ares makes the the Xcape treble sound artificial when listened to first. Either way I always seem to think the Ares fills in something missing from the Xcape.

 

I did like the Xcape best with the Head-Direct big bi-flange. Adds some fullness and more enjoyment. Still my least favorite of the three. Technically the best for their high end performance and a good phone that will score a bit higher for overall SQ. A bit easier to fit and the cable is less microphonic than the Dunu one.

 

The Dunu have nicer Y joint and plug, nicer mesh screen material, and a better look(IMO). If not fit well enough they just aren't as clear or impactful, making the stock tip choice down to only one for me; the largest of the higher quality longer single flange. The Dunu are a bit heavier, a bit harder to fit/seal and fall slightly short on the clarity/apparent detail. A similar analogy applies as the RE0/RE-ZERO one before. If you want something like the Xcape V1, the Crius is the choice with a more similar treble and the Ares would be more the choice for something more like the V2.

 

Gotta say the Dunu are the overall better package. The Xcape V1 have the egde in overall SQ/refinement but the law of diminishing returns is in full effect.(apologies, reading that back sounds familiar. Joker, or someone, had to have used the "in full effect" before somewhere biggrin.gif)

 

These are now off to Rawrster and then on to Joker for more impressions than just mine.

 

 


Edited by jant71 - 3/16/11 at 2:14pm
post #15 of 27

are they available internationally?

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