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Dunu DN-17 Crater Review

 

I would like to thank Rocky at Dunu for selecting me to write this review. I will try and write as honest a review as possible.

 

This is a subjective review, all opinions expressed are my own and others may not agree.

 

These received 50 hours of burn in, and they became less muffled and more refined, so don’t judge these straight out of the box.

 

These are part of the Dunu Silver Impact series, with a silver plated copper cable, weather this helps or not, I don’t know, but it seems to work well and sound good. And looks very nice too.

 

Gear Used:

IPod Classic 7G 160 GB (rockboxed) > Dunu Crater

I also used a Fiio E17 to see if these improved with an amp.

 

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Specs:

Transducer: Dynamic driver (10mm)

F. Response: 16 Hz-22 kHz

Sound pressure level: 100db

Impedance: 16 ohms

Noise attenuation: 26dB

Cord length: 1.2m

Weight: 20g

Price: $80

 

Pros: Build quality, accessories, bass, mids

Cons: Microphonics (fixable), maybe a bit too bassy for some, highs

 

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Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:

Dunu have packaging down to a fine art, so simple but very well done with a premium feel, a sleek black box, with a picture of the Crater on the front, out of this slides another black box, with Dunu written in red on the front. This box has a flap that is held closed by magnets, which reveals the Crater and the metal hardcase in a velvet coated plastic tray.

 

Accessories: Dunu always gives the full package, a metal hard case, a pleather soft pouch, 3 pairs of Sony hybrid style tips, S, M and L (another medium pair is already installed on the Crater), 3 pairs of normal single flange tips, S, M and L, and also a pair of medium bi-flanges (my only gripe, they don’t fit on the nozzle, but Dunu are looking into this problem, and I hope they fix it). Also included is a cable clip, cleaning cloth, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor and a flight adaptor. Built into the cable is Dunu’s patented cable wrap, which I find helps greatly when storing the IEM’s.  A very nice package with everything needed and more.

 

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Build quality is another thing Dunu are one of the best at, starting with the housing, Machined metal feels very strong and of high quality but is a little heavy, the strain relief on the housing is rubber which is sufficiently soft.  The y-split could be better with proper strain relief on the entrance and exit, cable slider works fine, the right angled jack has very good strain relief too, and these should hold up fine over time. The cable is silver plated copper, in a translucent sheath so you can see the silver, a nice touch, but the cables are a little on the thin side.

 

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Fit, Isolation, Driver flex and Microphonics:

I found the M Sony hybrid type tips to seal best, and once inserted they are comfy, I never found the weight of the IEM’s to be a problem and they don’t fall out.

 

Isolation is fairly average, as they are vented and shallow fitting.

 

Driver flex is present but not that bad, there are a lot of IEM’s that have worse driver flex, and it is only when inserting that I noticed it.

 

Microphonics are pretty bad, which is a real shame, I used the supplied cable clip which helped, but the only way to cure this is wearing them with the cable over your ear.

 

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Sound:

 

Lows:

This is the first thing you will notice, these are fairly bass orientated but without really sacrificing the rest of the spectrum. It doesn’t punch particularly hard, but have nice thump, and really good extension all the way down to sub-bass. You can feel the rumble when needed. The great thing I found with these is that the bass is very well separated from the mids, I admit that the bass gives them a warm signature with slightly less detail, but it really doesn’t take anything away from the music.  There is plenty of bass for most people, and these will satisfy bass heads equally. Bass detail is fairly good, and also it is well controlled, rarely sounding boomy, but they are not the fastest in recovery, so metal doesn’t fare as well.

 

Mids:

Slightly behind the bass, but not recessed. The bass does take some detail away from the mids, but not a lot and the space between the bass and mids mean that even the lower mids fare very well without sounding too warm. You can hear singers breathe in and out easily, and no sibilance can be detected in the upper mids. Vocals are however a bit too warm to sound truly realistic, but acoustic guitars do sound very good as they have the right body and notes decay perfectly.

 

Highs:

Presented slightly too far back in my opinion, but the highs that these have are fairly well defined. Not the most amount of sparkle or detail, but they are never bright, which makes them perfect for easy listening. They portray cymbal crashes quite realistically, with great extension but not a lot of shimmer, the decay of the highs is also presented well. I personally think that most people would be happy with the highs on these, but as I am very critical of the highs, I think they could be better, with a bit more presence and detail.

 

Soundstage, Imaging and Instrument separation:

The soundstage of these is really quite impressive in depth, and also width does fairly well, they are as good as the Hisound Crystal and POPO which both have very good soundstage.

 

Imaging is done well, with the instruments very precisely placed.

 

Instrument separation is good, not one of the best as these have a slightly thick sound to them, but you can still easily hear all the different instruments. They only become a bit congested in metal, but even then the wide soundstage helps separate everything.

 

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Conclusion:

I think Dunu have made yet another great IEM, for bass heads or people that want an easy to listen to, yet durable IEM these are great. They are a little too warm for my tastes, but the bass does not overpower anything, making these great for nearly all music. They may not have the most natural sound, but it is far from artificial.

 

There are a few very good BA based IEM’s around the price of these, which also sound great but don’t have the realistic bass of these, and also rival dynamic driver based IEM’s like the Hisound Crystal fail in the overall package, sounding more balanced and detailed than the Dunu but not as easy to enjoy and with hardly any accessories.

 

The thing you have to remember about Dunu, it’s not just the sound that is great, the packaging, the accessories and great customer support all count too, and it’s the whole package that makes these great for the price.

 

Amping:

These are driven fine from a portable source and benefit very little from amping, so it is not worth the extra bulk for only a little gain.

 

I hope you enjoyed this review, any comments are welcome.

Oscar Stewart

 

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Tracks Used:

Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)

Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)

Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)

Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)

Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)

Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)

Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)

The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)

Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)

The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)

A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)

Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)

Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)

Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)

We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)

Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)

Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)

Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)