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DOUBLE REVIEW!!! DUNU Ares (DN-11) & DUNU Hephaes (DN-16)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

****Note****

As always, these are strictly my opinions.

I try to present these products as honestly as possible and try to describe them as best as possible.

As always, YMMV.

****NOTE****

 

 

 

DUNU ARES & DUNU HEPHAES

11.jpg

 

16.jpg

 

 

 

http://www.dunu-topsound.com/ares.html

 

http://www.dunu-topsound.com/hephaes.html

 

 

DUNU ARES (DN-11) SPEC’S:

·         Driver Unit                    HQ Dynamic 9mm

·         Impedance                   26 Ohm

·         SPL                            105 +/-2db

·         Frequency Response    10Hz – 20kHz

·         Noise Attenuation         26db

·         Weight                         25g

·         Plug size                      3.5mm Gold Plated Stereo

·         Cord Length                 1.2m

 

 

DUNU HEPHAES (DN-16) SPEC’S:

·         Type                            HQ Dynamic 9mm

·         Impedance                   16 Ohm

·         SPL                             105 +/-2db

·         Frequency Response    10Hz~20KHz

·         Noise Attenuation         26db

·         Weight                         22g

·         Plug size                      Gold-plated 3.5mm Stereo

·         Cord Length                  1.2m

 

EQUIPMENT USED ON THIS REVIEW:

  • Please see my profile for a list of most of my equipment. 

 

BACKGROUND & FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Lately I have been getting requests to review all sorts of stuff for various manufacturers. Every once in a while I will get something that surprises me. When I saw the packaging and the presentation of both of these in ear monitors, I was blown away. The attention to detail, the high quality packaging, the build quality and the extras included within are nothing short of impressive.

 

This duo was a definite surprise for me…read on to see why….

 

THE MUSIC:

Between  these two IEM’s, I listened to quite a bit of music…too much to list. However, please see my other reviews to see what my normal demo choices are.

 

THOUGHTS ON SOUND:

The Hephaes (DN-16):

 

The DUNU Hephaes has one major thing going for it…BASS. Make no mistake about it, the Hephaes is made to deliver bass and it does so. As a result, the midrange is contaminated with the over-emphasized flabby bass and to a degree, so are the highs. The overall sound on the Hephaes is a dark, veiled sound that sounds slow and muffled.

 

Playing “Scar Tissue” on the Red Hot Chili Peppers album “Californication”made this extremely evident. The guitar sounded more like a bass guitar. The drums were muddy and a bit slow and the bass was flabby and had little definition. The distortion which is usually supremely evident on most IEM’s was barely there on the Hephaes. Moreover, the cable of the Hephaes is susceptible to microphonics. I was a tad disappointed to say the least.

 

After being disappointed with the Hephaes on nearly every single demo track, I decided to take a break and listen to something else. Later on that night I had a friend come over and we were talking about music. He pulled out his iPod to play something for me. The Hephaes was the nearest IEM I had available at the moment so I used that for a quick listen. For the first time…the FIRST TIME…the Hephaes sounded decent! The bass was low, the midrange sounded a bit better and the highs were present. So what gives!?

A few seconds of listening and looking at the iPod gave me the explanation I was looking for. THE MASTERING & GENRE!!!

 

Apparently the Hephaes doesn’t do well with well mastered recordings but if you throw the majority of modern recordings at it – especially in the electronic, pop and rap/hip-hop genres, the Hephaes sounds a bit better. It’s almost contradictory in nature but the Hephaes actually sounded better with bad recordings than it did with well mastered recordings.  Interesting to say the least. The Hephaes sounds like it is made to play the newest singles from modern pop artists using modern mastering techniques.

 

The Ares (DN-11):

 

The Ares, thankfully for me and others, is the exact opposite of its sibling, the Hephaes. The Ares has a lot less bass, a nice midrange and a nice high end. While it will not handle the deepest bass of a modern hip-hop record, it handles well mastered recordings beautifully when compared to the Hephaes. Voices sound like voices, guitars sound like guitars and so on.

 

The sound of the Ares is smooth. Both extremes of the sound spectrum are rolled off but in a pleasant way. The main feature of the Ares which pops out is the lush mid-range which makes for a nice, pleasant sounding IEM.

 

Listening to various track excerpts from albums by the likes of Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Dire Straits, Chicago and many others, you can’t help but notice that the sound is pleasant and suited for various styles of music. Another nice thing about the Ares is the extras that it comes with. It comes with no less than 3 carrying pouches and 7 pairs of tips! Very nice!!!!

 

THE VERDICT:

The Hephaes and the Ares are two siblings with different personalities. Which one you would want to buy depends totally on what kind of music you have and listen to and what your sound signature preferences are.

 

If you are looking for an affordable, natural sounding IEM between these two then the Ares would be the one to get. If you like your bass heavy and are looking for a very forgiving IEM that will make modern music tolerable, then the Hephaes is for you.

 

While neither of these has amazing, killer sound quality in their respective price ranges they should each find a niche to satisfy. Personally, I think the Ares could do with less packaging and less carrying cases and instead get a price cut. At $75.00 USD, the price is a little steep considering the sound quality. If DUNU could somehow price the Ares at $50.00 - $60.00 USD, I would think they would have a real winner and it would get a higher recommendation.

 

The Hephaes is priced at or slightly over $100.00 USD and while the looks are killer and the packaging and extras are very nice, I cannot see myself recommending this IEM to all but a very small portion of people I know. I know many audiophiles and music lovers and out of all of them I know of only one person who would actually enjoy the sound of the Hephaes. The Hephaes is more for people who enjoy listening to their Monster Beats and their modern music at 128kps in mp3 format. Being that this is Head-fi, I can’t possibly recommend the Hephaes to anyone here and retain a guilt free conscious. This isn’t to say the Hephaes is bad…it’s not bad…it’s just not Hi-Fi.

 

I can say that I will be watching what else DUNU puts out in the future. Their build quality, packaging and attention to detail is nothing short of fantastic. If they manage to refine the sound of their IEM’s, DUNU’s products will be a force to be reckoned with. In the meantime however, I will be patiently keeping on eye on their products as they do show a lot of promise.

 

THE RESULTS IN SUMMARY:

 

Both headphones have awesome build quality that surpasses most efforts put out by other well known companies. The packaging and attention to detail receive extremely high marks as well!!!

 

The Ares: Recommended but shop around for the lowest price.

 

The Hephaes: Dark, muddy, flabby bass. Not Recommened if you want Hi-Fi sound. Perfect for the Beats crowd.

post #2 of 8

Doing my testing of the DUNU range and I agree with your review. The Hephaes have bass that is actually quite impressive, it is deep and textured with only a slight mid-bass hump but yes, it does hide the mids to some extent, although I didn't notice this with the highs, which are quite open and extended after ~50hrs burn-in. These really need burn-in...DUNU recommend 200hrs!

 

The Ares (and Crius) are like "Etymotic er-6i on steroids!". I find them to have such great clarity in the upper end and fantastic, clear midrange along with the added bonus of a better low end, no where near as lean as the er-6i's or even the UM1's and other similar single BA IEM.

post #3 of 8

Just and FYI, the Ares and Crius are both Balanced Armature models if I'm not mistaken. 

 

How long have your Hephaes burned in for?  They need at least a minimum of 175 hours of burn in, 200 recommended.  They bloatedness goes away and the highs come in after that, same with the mids.  They are still bass heavy with a slight V with a greater emphasis on lows.  


Edited by tinyman392 - 8/12/11 at 8:59pm
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

Just and FYI, the Ares and Crius are both Balanced Armature models if I'm not mistaken. 

 

How long have your Hephaes burned in for?  They need at least a minimum of 175 hours of burn in, 200 recommended.  They bloatedness goes away and the highs come in after that, same with the mids.  They are still bass heavy with a slight V with a greater emphasis on lows.  



I was advised about the 200 hour burn in and left them playing a combination of sweep tones, pink noise, white noise and brown noise for 10 days straight. "Bloatedness" was still there. The Hephaes has more than a slight V I'm afraid.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post





I was advised about the 200 hour burn in and left them playing a combination of sweep tones, pink noise, white noise and brown noise for 10 days straight. "Bloatedness" was still there. The Hephaes has more than a slight V I'm afraid.


That's really weird...  I can't really hear this bloatedness you are hearing.  I don't know.  I am listening to exactly the same two tracks you cited in your review that had bloated, flabby bass (Scar Tissue and Californication) and A-Bing with multiple bass-based IEMs (500vi, NE700M, B&W C5) and heard nothing of what you cited.  I thought you might be coming off some different signatures, so I went towards my Apple IEMs, DUNU Ares, and Etymotic HF2s.  I could hear it a little, but nothing enough for me to call flabby.  Yes, at times it would get bloated on a note or two, but not on those two songs.  On those songs, I heard some boomy, but not bloated, drums (I'll agree that it's not accurate; more fun) with some textured, but not flabby, bass guitars in front of the electric higher-frequency guitars.  I will agree that these aren't entirely Hi-Fi in the fact that they aren't accurate at all.  They are more for a boomy, upbeat presentation of the music.  Well, to each their own (opinion that is...).  It's a well written review by the way.

 

I will agree that the headphones are tuned for pop, electric, etc forms of music, actually, DUNU advertises that :p  It works decently for rock, but lacks the mids. 


Edited by tinyman392 - 8/12/11 at 11:01pm
post #6 of 8

Thanks for the review. I was hoping someone would compare these.

post #7 of 8

Well, it seems people are torn as to if the Hephaes actually changes or doesn't!

 

Brilliant review, and a more in-depth one by Mark over here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/566953/dunu-ares-dn-11-review on the Ares.

 

It looks like there are some real positives to be taken from the Ares. But then again, they are all opinions. Cheers for the reviews :)

 

post #8 of 8

I have both of these and I agree with your assessment for the most part. Honestly though, the Hephaes is a guilty pleasure for me. I will be comparing these side by side with the earphones in my collection with the most bass soon but I don't think they will measure up in terms of sheer bass quantity. One night, I was listening to an insanely bassy track and these things literally gave me a headache, the bass was pounding so hard. On the whole, I don't think they're bad though. A bit overpriced, but not bad.

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