First of all, let me thanks Rocky from Taiwan to make this review possible. He sent me the review sample of Dunu DN-19 (127 USD) all the way from Taiwan.
I have long known Dunu all the way back to their Trident era, to be frank my previous impression towards Dunu company is an IEM manufacturer that mainly focused to make basshead IEM, but upon looking closely to their company profiles and recent release, they are truly one of the passionate IEM manufacturer that make and design IEM innovatively, also I will never doubted their capability as they have been ODM for IEM company that we might know for years before they created their personal products line.
So, what made DN-19 Tai-Chi so unique?
Well, what made DN-19 caught my eyes? There is mainly because of two things, one is the ‘bass port’, which is a simple mechanism that allowed you to tuned the bass to be extremely loud or just normal level, something familiar to Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro that I have reviewed few months ago, but in a manual way. There is a tiny little smallish thing (I named it seed), when you de-attached the seed, the bass will become much more prominent than when you attached the seed at the bass port.
Second thing is I LOVE the cable of Tai-Chi, according to Dunu, they claimed this cable is imported from Japan, it is a silver cable and to be frank, I am sold to the cable. I have quite a number of IEMs in Earmass review lab now but I love the cable of Tai-Chi the most. Upon inspected closely, they are really beautiful and durable, a little bit hard but nothing big deal. I can definitely tell you that the stock cable is tough and Thanks God this is not FLAT CABLE. It is durable and worn over ear, sounded too well to be use when you go to gym or jogging.
Description, Outlook and Ergonomics
Dunu always created creative naming for their products, DN-19 also known as Tai-Chi. Tai-Chi is also currently sitting at top of the line in Dunu product range. With a not so obvious Tai-Chi illustration on the ear shell, from the first I hold Tai-Chi in hand, I already love it, and this is a well-built IEM, solid and refined construction along with smooth finishing. Dunu cleverly choose the material of the ear shell, which is nice to touch and durable, all came in a hefty packaging box and a lot of accessories included.
Tai-Chi is meant to be worn over the ear, I supposed this is not an easy thing for some users, procedure is quite simple, it is just needed sometimes to adapt. Sometimes the ‘bass port’ gets in my way and making me feeling uncomfortable, but after some readjusting the position of Tai-Chi, the problem has gone.
Sound (When the bass port is sealed)
Tai Chi has a rich and warm sound signature, while sound is a little bit ‘offset’ sound signature. What I mean by ‘offset’ sound signature is because Tai-Chi is not fully nuanced as other IEM, and has a focus soundstage. One great thing is Tai-Chi has a reasonably spacious sound in this price range, at least it is more spacious than let say the Perfect Sound S101, both of them more or less share similar type of sound signature, which seems to recess the treble by some degree. Anyway, Tai-Chi has a clear and undisturbed mids. Vocal is fairly keep to the standard of this price range but frankly nothing much to shout about. Bass is prominent even when the bass port is sealed, not really covering up the mid though, but bass is sounding quite obvious. Overall, I will not called Tai Chi as neutral (As it is towards warm sounding) or balanced (Because of the treble response), but nonetheless Tai Chi is one of the most fun sounding and surging sound signature.
Just to be honest, I thought Tai Chi is a balanced or audiophile IEM but after sometimes I can’t denied that I am little bit disappointed on the sound signature, not because it sounded bad, but it is just not my type of sound. However, please don’t stop reading, who said one must buy an IEM/Headphone just to fit the so called ‘audiophile purpose’?
When the bass port is opened Tai Chi is MASTER OF SPORT IEM
Now thing getting really interested and exciting, bass became more prominent but mid still stay clear, although things seemed a little bit focused than when the bass port was sealed, and less spacious, but this is not a bad thing.
I found this kind of sound signature is perfect for sport activities and music like Eminem (Good and enough bass response while maintaining good sense of vocal) and those mainstream music. Just to say thing clear, Tai Chi has become my companion when I carrying out my sport activities such as jogging, boxing and hiking (Indoor), why?
First, I don’t listened to Classical, Jazz or love songs during my workout, instead I preferred music like Eminem, Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, Akon, I can’t name them all, these mainstream music need good and weighty bass response to sound good and enjoyable, I can tell you honestly Tai Chi doing great with these types of music.
No, hefty bass response is not the only one reason that I declared Tai Chi to be master of sport. Tai Chi has good COMFORT LEVEL and FIT once you adapted to it, Tai Chi never fall out from my ears when I am doing extreme sport activities. Also, when you wear it over your ears with supply ‘ear-support’, this can reduce the microphonic issues to excellent level. Not only because of this, but the round silver cable is tough and not causing excessive noise which is really handy for sport use! Tai Chi is also very tough and price tag is friendly, seriously, I can’t find a reason to tell me why Tai Chi is not great for use in sport field when it is also isolates quite well.
I knew this is not Dunu/Topsound’s intention to make Tai Chi as a sport IEM, but to me, the time I enjoyed the most with Tai Chi is when I use it when I carried out sport activities. Seriously, I am sure not every IEM/Headphone/Audio equipment MUST have so called audiophile audio quality, especially when everyone has their personal music taste and preference when come to music, I still think so called ‘audiophile sound quality’ is too narrowed to judge capability of audio equipment (Maybe this is just me), I love Tai Chi the most when I use it during my sport activities, and to date, no one can come close in this regards, not Hisound Wooduo 2 (Because of the cable noise and backward midrange), not the Klipsch X7i (Because of the just enough bass response and cable), not Klipsch S4ii (Bass is not really good enough and weighty for sport use, also the cable regardless rugged version or whatsoever if they shared the same sound), not Hifiman RE400 (Because of the sound signature and bass response), no, not others but only Tai Chi (That I can think will come close is Thinksound TS01 and TS02), that I will truly say good for sport activities, and if one really needed it to be used when not carrying out sport activities, to be frank I do think Tai Chi is not too bad in this regards.