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REVIEW: Dunu DN-19 Tai Chi Review: A tunable flagship

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Dunu DN-19 Tai Chi Review: A tunable flagship

The Tai Chi is the latest, and probably, the best of Dunu´s line, at least for what their universal dynamic IEMS line goes (until I get a chance to try one of their Customs, that is biggrin.gif). And has a special feature that allows the sound to be tunable by preference, up to a certain limit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, for some change, let´s start directly with the Sound.

As said the sound can be tunned, so this section would take more time than usual.

It comes already in the NO-dampers + Black Hybrid style eartips configuration, so let´s start from that.

 

 

As seen on the graph, this setup provides a more bassy or V-shaped freq. curve. And in fact, that´s pretty accurate. Well, actually a more U-shape.

Here, with the bass ports open AND using the black tips, the bass is very, very present. A warm, powerful and hard hitting low end, which sometimes can be too boomy. Sub bass reaches deep and Mid bass has quite a rumble. It´s truly fun, but might be overwhelming for some. It´s more of quantity than quality, lacking some control and tightness, and can be a bit tiring.

Coming to the mid-range, as expected, there is a bit of bass bleed into the mids, adding more weight. Vocals while full, are definitely not forward, but also not recessed at all, and in fact, a bit veiled. Still, the details are maintained.

Finally, the high end, is very smooth, yet detailed. Luckily no sibilance nor harshness. And maybe lacking a bit of energy, mostly due to the big bass.

 

Now, with the dampers ON, sealing the bass ports.

While it´s suggested by Dunu to use the gray eartips when ports sealed, and so having 2 different sounds, the black tips + dampers already change enough the sound to be called 3 different sounds.

In this configuration, obviously the bass takes a big step back. You get a more controlled, tighter and with no doubt a better quality low end. It´s still very present and the whole sound keeps its warmth, but with a different presentation, becoming a more mid-centered to neutral and airy sound.

Mids are much more forward, not veiled as before, and carry more detail.

Upper mids and lower highs are the most changed here. For example, electric guitars have more energy and cymbals more sparkle (but wait for the last and “official” setup).

 

Finally, the last configuration using the gray eartips and keeping the bass ports closed.

Now, you get more flat FR curve. Bass is much lighter, tight and just punchy, but not to be called ´bass-light´ like some analytical earphones (but it´s what you feel after listening to the previous tunings).

The midrange keeps its forwardness, but less thick. A more airy sound, with better separation. Vocals are colder but more detailed. In fact the whole sound is more detailed.

Highs reach further and roll of later.

Like this it´s more suited to classical music, for example.

 

Soundstage is well-rounded, but depending on the setup, it´s wider, deeper and/or higher.

 

All in all, a great all-arounder sound, to user preference. A very versatile product, which works good with most music genres (even more with the tuning system), and doesn´t excels in something in particular.

 

On a side note, my main listening was via a Sansa Clip+, like other earphones, and it was good enough. But it´s worth mentioning that when plugged to my notebook, and using the black tips + open ports, it sounded much better. Better speed and more quality bass and more clear sound overall. Which is only a plus.

 

Now for the formalities.

 

 

 

 

 

Package & Accessories:

Like with previous Dunu´s products it comes in a black and quite large box (well protected btw), and with a nice accessory set.

You get:

4 pairs of hybrid style black eartips in 3 sizes (1xS, 2xM, 1xL)

3 pairs of gray eartips (S,M,L)

Shirt clip

1 metal hard case

1 carrying bag

Cleaning cloth

Earguides (2 (?) pairs, 1 already on the earpieces, and an extra on the small box)

Airplane adaptor

3.5 to 6.25 plug a adaptor

AND the small bag with lot of small tiny dampers. Really tiny.

 

Very nice, typical of Dunu.

 

 

1000

 

 

 

 

Build & Design:

Again, like their previous models, these are very well built. Not of metal but plastic, but very well made.

The L plug is well relieved.

And the cable of good quality as well, thick and sturdy. BUT, while it has ZERO microphonics, it´s very hard to handle as it´s very springy. The shirt clip feels like a must.

And of course, it has the Dunu cable wrapper attached, which is very useful.

On the earpieces plates there is like a ´tai chi symbol´ design, which looks very classy (can´t get it with camera).

 

 

1000

 

 

 

Fit & Comfort:

For an over-the-ear design the fit is a bit tricky and might take a while to find the best angle. Once the right fit, it is very comfortable. For some, the bass ports can get in the way, but I had no problems. The earpieces are of low profile so they won´t stick out from your ears, and can be used for long period of time.

As made of plastic, and not from metal like previous models, they are very lightweight too.

(I found them most comfortable with the black tips, but not so much with the gray ones, which I had some issues to get a good seal and fit.)

Isolation is pretty decent with the black hybrid tips, but just average (or less) with the gray ones, even being longer.

No driver flex and no microphonics.

 

 

1000

 

 

 

Specs:

Driver:                         10mm Dynamic

Frequency Response: 16 Hz – 26 kHz

Impedance:                16 ohms

Sensitivity:                  100 + 2 dB

Wire Length:               1.3m

Weight:                       18g

Noise attenuation:       26 dB

 

Price: $127 (MSRP)

 

 

1000

 

 

 

To sum up. It´s a very well built, comfortable and fairly tunable product. It won´t be your bang-for-back, at least not for SQ alone (for neither setup), specially in the $100+ cathegory, but taken as a whole package it´s a good buy. Even more if considering making a gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some short comparisions:

 

Round 1 VS FA Eterna V1:

With the black tips and open ports, it reminds me quite a bit of the Eterna. A very fun bass with warm mids.

Being the Eterna more colored on the lower end, and the Tai chi having a bit more forward mids.

 

Round 2 VS HSA Crystal:

(Again with the same configuration)

Both share a slight U-shaped signature.

The Crystal have a much thighter and accurate bass, but also thinner mids,  specially the vocals.

Still, the HSA win when it comes to clarity and micro detail (not a Hifiman RE0, but close).

Highs have more sparkle on the Crystal, while the Dunu´s are smoother.

The Hisound are also need more power to shine.

 

Round 3 VS Dunu DN-17 Crater:

Now, with the black + closed ports.

Like this I find the Tai Chi being a great upgrade from the Crater. While keeping the forward mids and sweet vocal, the Tai Chi are fuller on both ends, and so a much better all-arounders.


Edited by Zelda - 2/11/14 at 6:06am
post #2 of 13

Nice review there Zelda! Dunu could make some money selling accessory kits. Just redesign the cord management band so it could snap on and off the cable and include it with the tips, metal case, ear guides, etc. I wish they would do that with the cord tie thing anyway so you can choose on or off.

 

Seems like they are getting better with the SQ. Interested to see what comes next.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

thanks!

the tai chi indeed has the Dunu House sound, but at its best form.

 

for the moment the next step is the Dunu´s  CIEMs but that´s out of my range.

post #4 of 13

+1, nice review. Personally I didn't like the Taichi back then when I tried a prerelease sample. Bass was too boomy, and they were way too dark for my tastes. I didn't meddle with the dampers too much though.

 

By the way, this seems to be the same review posted on CHW.net, isn't it? (my nickname there is "Feño" tongue_smile.gif).

post #5 of 13
Bass too boomy? Sounds perfect for me. Good mids and highs. In a throw up between these for the x10 deal from amazon. With the port open, is there a lot of sound leakage? Something I can wear during work and coworkers in the office won't be able to hear?
post #6 of 13

Yep. At least the bass was very boomy in the sample I tried (it improved when amped it with an iBasso T5 though). Also the highs didn't shine even applying EQ (probably the darkest in-ear I've ever tried). I'm sort of a treble-head though, so take these comments with a grain of salt :P

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernito View Post

+1, nice review. Personally I didn't like the Taichi back then when I tried a prerelease sample. Bass was too boomy, and they were way too dark for my tastes. I didn't meddle with the dampers too much though.

 

By the way, this seems to be the same review posted on CHW.net, isn't it? (my nickname there is "Feño" tongue_smile.gif).

 

Gracias Amigo! Yes, this is the same review, i´m a spanish speaker so i wrote in both languages

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheExile View Post

Bass too boomy? Sounds perfect for me. Good mids and highs. In a throw up between these for the x10 deal from amazon. With the port open, is there a lot of sound leakage? Something I can wear during work and coworkers in the office won't be able to hear?

 

not a bass monster, but more than enough bass for sure with port open. 

no sound leakage in any configuration. the ports are small.

isolation is good too (at least for me with the hybrid tips)

donno about the X10, but Dunu´s are better build.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernito View Post

Yep. At least the bass was very boomy in the sample I tried (it improved when amped it with an iBasso T5 though). Also the highs didn't shine even applying EQ (probably the darkest in-ear I've ever tried). I'm sort of a treble-head though, so take these comments with a grain of salt :P

well, for treble-head these are not. the R-50 (also reviewed here and at CHW) will be for you. the Tai chi can be a bit brighter with the gray tips , but never touch a TWFK dual BA (well, who really can?)

as i mentioned the whole sound improves with a better source, not only the bass

post #8 of 13
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zelda View Post


well, for treble-head these are not. the R-50 (also reviewed here and at CHW) will be for you. the Tai chi can be a bit brighter with the gray tips , but never touch a TWFK dual BA (well, who really can?)

as i mentioned the whole sound improves with a better source, not only the bass

 

Yep, actually, I own the R-50 (look at my signature tongue_smile.gif)

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

sorry...tongue.gif

oh and those Hifiman tooetysmile.gif

post #10 of 13

thanks fernito and zelda for clearing that up! now the question is.... this... or the gr07 bass edition from lendmeurears.com that is on sale for $135...blink.gif

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheExile View Post

thanks fernito and zelda for clearing that up! now the question is.... this... or the gr07 bass edition from lendmeurears.com that is on sale for $135...blink.gif

 

I haven't tried the GR07 BE, only the GR07 v1. Compared to it, I'd say the GR07 wins hands down. But then again, it depends strongly on your tastes.

post #12 of 13

hrmm.. I primarily listen to EDM, rap, hip hop and mainstream on the radio stuff. But also metal, rock, alternative, classical. I'm a bass head so sub-bass-low/mid bass need to be pretty strong but also clean, not muddy, but also not puny. Treble needs to be bright but not too torturous and not have terrible roll offs. What do you think?

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheExile View Post

hrmm.. I primarily listen to EDM, rap, hip hop and mainstream on the radio stuff. But also metal, rock, alternative, classical. I'm a bass head so sub-bass-low/mid bass need to be pretty strong but also clean, not muddy, but also not puny. Treble needs to be bright but not too torturous and not have terrible roll offs. What do you think?

 

The Tai Chi should fill your bass needs, albeit they don't reach full bass head levels, they do what you want; they are strong, cleaner, and not muddy with a nice body.  Treble roll off is there in the Tai Chi though, so it's a bit of a tradeoff.  

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