First of all, I would like to thank Rocky from Dunu for setting up this opportunity to review the DN-18’s. I have been hearing lots of great things about Dunu around Head-Fi and I was truly excited to be able to review these headphones.
When I received these headphones, I burned them in for 50 hours with pink noise. No significant changes were heard.
Accessories(5/5) – I can’t really complain about this part. The headphones come with 6 sets of tips, shirt clip, hard zipper cases, and a leather pouch. Dunu has included everything you would ever need which is a huge plus at the price point that the DN-18 sells at.
Build Quality(4.5/5)- The housings themselves are made out of real metal and have a good weight to them and feel very well built. The cabling is a bit weird to me. It seems to be a bit sticky/tacky and has a tendency to stick to itself. The actual quality is good, not too stiff but also not too soft, but the material could be better. The jack itself is kind of on the huge side with an interesting L-design. The one other gripe that I had was that it was hard to discern left and right because the letters are very small and hard to find. Thankfully, one earbud has a small raised bump on it to denote that it is the left earbud.
Comfort(4/5)- I like the weight of the housings. It happens to sit comfortably in my ears, but I can see how it might cause a problem for some. The shape of the housing actually allows for relatively deep insertion for me, which leads to the next section.
Isolation(4/5)- With the relatively deep insertion, the DN-18 provides decent isolation. However, I was surprised that it wasn’t quite as good as I thought it would be. I have used these headphones on the go and while commuting. While it does fine for normal uses, the single flange tips that I am using still do not block out all the noise of a NYC subway while some of my other headphones do. Nevertheless, a NYC subway is an extreme and the DN-18s isolate fine for most people and most purposes.
Sound(6/10) – Here is the main section. The very first impression that I got with the DN-18s was that the headphones presented a very congested and “in-your-head” kind of sound. Not to be deterred, I allowed 50 hours of burn-in but I did not detect any changes.
The lows on these headphones have good kick and boominess but it lacks some of the sub-bass that truly gives lows on some headphones those jaw-shaking qualities. Additionally, punches are a little on the slow and sluggish side. However, the lows are definitely the defining point and the strongest point of these headphones.
The mids are lacking in both presence and detail. In an acoustic guitar duo, certain notes and strums sound muffled and recessed. While, the sound signature is somewhat vocal-focused, vocals sound congested and nasally and seem to have an edgy quality. However, vocals do feel relatively warm, which some may enjoy over crisper and more analytical headphones.
The highs are present and occasionally have the ability to pierce through the congested sound but do come off as a bit dull and lifeless. In dubstep, the highs lack the shrillness and screeches and in other genres like classical, instruments like triangle seem to be very distant while trumpet players seem to lose their characteristic piercing sound.
What defines these headphones to me is the congested sound and the narrow “in-your-head” kind of sound. Many frequencies seem muted and/or recessed. Soundstage is very small both in depth and height, although it does have some depth. Overall, the DN-18 lacks detail, life, and clarity. The music feels congested and both centered in your head instead of around you and also slightly distant and recessed.
Value(7/10)- I really wanted to like headphones, especially considering all the great things I’ve read about Dunu (especially the Trident). However, the congested sound really killed it for me. That’s not to say these aren’t good headphones however. Their bass is plentiful and the warm sound may be to the liking of some. However, I won’t let one pair of their headphones define their entire line of headphones, and I still look forward to hearing other Dunu headphones, especially given all the great testimonials around Head-fi.
Pros: Fantastic build quality, great accessories, good bass quality
Cons: "In-your-head" sound, congested, lacks detail, highs, clarity, and texture.
Thanks again to Dunu to sending these to me!
Dunu has noted a recall on their old models of the DN-18 and will be sending reviewers a replacement. I will repost a new review when I receive the new unit and review it :D
Edited by rushofmusic - 6/14/12 at 8:07pm