First of all, I would like to thank Rocky from Dunu for setting up this opportunity to review the DN-17’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, a hard metal case, and a leather pouch. Dunu has included everything you would ever need which is a huge plus at the price point that the DN-17 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-17 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-17s isolate fine for most people and most purposes.
Sound(7/10) – The DN-17s are definitely a vocals-oriented pair of IEMs. The sound is almost airy at times but never really empty feeling.
The lows on the on the DN-17 are plentiful but lack a certain kind of depth found in IEMs with exceptional bass. The sub-bass is a bit lacking and mid-bass has good boom but lacks the substance and full feeling that would otherwise give the bass a very full sound. Personally, I find the bass quantity to strike a good balance with the mids and highs but I think that it could use more depth and detail.
The mids, or more specifically vocals, are where the DN-17 shine. Vocals are forward, have good clarity and sparkle a bit as well. However, I have noticed that vocals can occasionally sound a bit edgy and airy. Interestingly enough, the vocals feel like they were given a little too much precedence when designing the sound signature of the DN-17s, they feel much more forward than the other mids, which have a tendency to lack a little clarity, detail, and presence. Strangely enough, I feel that the vocals sound bright in comparison with its background which feels dark in comparison
The treble is lacking in detail and presence, mostly because it is dominated by the vocal-centric sound signature of the DN-17s. The highs feel neither crisp nor bright and is definitely overwhelmed by the mid-centric sound of the DN-17s.
The soundstage is pretty average, but the IEMs maintain a kind of “in-your-head” kind of sound. While positioning and imaging is a bit vague, the DN-17s don’t sound congested in the way that I found the DN-18s to sound. These headphones are without a doubt vocal-centric, and vocals do sound great. However, listening to genres like dubstep and electronic, where you need good representation in all areas of the sound spectrum, make the DN-17 feel like they lack a bit of detail and clarity.
Value(7.5/10)- I definitely found myself liking the DN-17s more than the DN-18s. However, they fulfill a relatively specific niche. For vocals along with piano, the DN-17s perform very well. However, on songs from artists like Skrillex, the DN-17s lack the energy and clarity to bring those tracks to life.
Thanks again to Dunu to sending these to me!