Thanks Rocky for arranging me this review unit of Dunu DN-23 Landmine (84.99USD).
This is not my first time for reviewing Dunu's iems, last time when I reviewed the DN-19 Tai-Chi(Priced at 127USD), I don't really like it in some points. Sound is okay-okay but in terms of wearing and sound tuning, I don't think DN-19 Tai-Chi is what I like, but in some points, it is really good especially in the included accessories, build quality/cable and fun factor in sound. When I knew that there is another DN-23 in the Dunu newer product range, I contacted Rocky instantly to get a review unit of it, after one month suspended in my local customs office, finally I get this Dunu DN-23 on my hand now, after so many obstacles.
I knew that DN-23 is a bass centric iem from some review I have read, lets see what I have felt and think on this iem.
Dunu tends to give you everything if you buy their product, their included accessories are always helfty and extremely luxury, you will get a zip carrying case, a soft pouch (Same as other Dunu, which I personally think is not that good although seems quality, the pulling strap can't really sealed the pouch), and you will get 3 packs of silicone tips (Yes it is 3 pack! Not one pack like other manufacturer did), shirt clip, 6.35mm adapter and a travel adapter, in a big and nice packaging box. I can definitely tell you that as far as I concerned, Dunu is a manufacturer that will not be stingy on the included accessories, they are pretty generous on these.
The build quality, is, well, excellent. The housing itself is constructed by shiny copper, not plastic or anything that is brittle/weak. In fact, I have nothing to complain from head to toe, I have a lot to praise though. If you have read my review for the Dunu DN-19, sure you knew that I like the cable of it very much, the cable from the DN-23 is still excellent, thick and durable/flexible in the same time. Headphone jack is angled and a little bit tiny, but durability wise should not be a problem at all. I can say that and beared all the responsibility, Dunu always has excellent built quality and finishing to their products, I can see that they have put a lot of efforts into their products, this is always a good thing.
Easy to drive
It is no secret that IEM is very easy to drive, DN-23 Landmine is quite easy to drive, it doesn't scaled up nicely with more expensive gear, so a good DAC/Headamp is a good point to start, mobile phone should be okay anyway.
I have tested Dunu DN-23 Landmine with Audinst HUD-MX2, xDuoo TA-01 and Kingrex UD384/UPower.
If you are looking for an audiophile or Hi-fi grade iem for 80USD, you will not going to satisfy with DN-23. Upon trying up the DN-23, it is clearly that DN-23 has mild level of coloration, coloration exists in every headphones, IEMs and speakers, but it is better for me to state that DN-23 is clearly not iem that 'played audio like Audio Engineer/Musicians wanted it to be', however, the coloration is very enjoyable and existed in a very positive way.
DN-23 is not essential for music type like classical and anything that require extreme realism level of presentation, but hey! All of us have to understand that this is a budget/entry level of IEM that just selling for 80UD only, we shouldn't be expecting too much. However, if you have expectation for DN-23 Landmine, you will not be disappointed as well.
First of all, DN-23 Landmine lower region (Bass) has been enhanced without any question. I resisted to use 'bass centric' to describe the overall sound signature, although this is heavily depended on your DAC/amplifier as well, it is true that bass is always stays more forward compared to treble and mids, but this doesn't mean that treble and mid is recessed, bass is forward rather than being flat, to my ears treble and mids is not recessed at all, it is forward as well, just not at the same degree as how forward the bass is. This is why I will not be using the terms 'bass-centric' to describe the DN-23, in my honest opinion. Bass is quite good and presented in an euphonic, warm but clear way. DN-23 is not a bass monster anyway, Hisound Wooduo 2 is, but to be frank, I will ranked DN-23 a class higher than the Wooduo 2. DN-23 is way more transparent and easier to enjoy.
If you are thinking that boominess of bass is what Dunu going to sell you then you will be totally wrong, bass is quite clear and in good quantity. To be honest, I am little bit of reluctant to say DN-23 will be essential for bassheads cowds, the bass is in a good quantity and share healthy quality, but I think that bassheads surely will prefered some kind of slower, fatter and thicker bass with a lot of rumbling, but DN-23 bass is quite fast and tight, controlled but with good impact, rumbling nicely but not particularly took long time to decay. Bass is big and forward to say, but it is more towards audiophile quality instead of basshead's quantity. However, basshead will not say it is bass light at all, no worries here. For me, DN-23 really hit higher than my expectation, which stirs nicely in between of bass quality and quantity as well of characteristic.
DN-23 Landmine is very musical and capable to play music in an euphonic ways, keeps listener toes tapping and enjoyed every bits of music. I have said before DN-23 is not an essential IEM for Classical and Baroque musics, but who says that this is a absolute term and condition to define a good IEM? DN-23 never stopped me from enjoying my musics, from Enrique Iglesias, Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Adele to various pop, Jazz, love songs and fast pace songs, DN-23 keeps the WOW factor pretty well, it is not an IEM that you will be keeping as the only one in your inventory, but I have to admit that sometimes I would like to have some music to accompany me to do my work, typing job and internet surfing etc, and I think in this regards, DN-23 is pretty enough for me.
Soundstage is better than average IEM in terms of both of width and depth, presented in a very spacious way, which is quite impressive regardless of the price. One thing that I can't accepted in headphones and IEM is when the music is playing in a super tight and closed field, yes, I am talking about the Beyerdynamic XP1,2,3, I am happy to report that DN-23 is quite spacious to present the musics, I don't feel closed or 'pressed' with DN-23.
There is some coloration to the sound of DN-23, but nothing in an excessive or bad way, it is nice and smooth to listen to, surprisingly, detail level is not really lacking.
Honestly, I really have no idea what to nitpick for DN-23, from head to toes, Dunu had done a great job, for 80USD, it is really a steal, it will not be making any sense to judge this IEM by 'audiophile's judgement rules', because DN-23 Landmine will live with musics, I have a lot to praise when I mentioned DN-23, Dunu has done a great job here. What can I say when you can get a superb acessories, build quality with a decent sounding IEM, especially when the price is just in the 80USD tagging.
If I really want to compalain, it must be the cheap looking cable slider and the carrying pouch, but for the sound itself, it hits where it want to, which is a decent sounding IEM that is not boring at all, and keep the fun rolling. I highly recommended Dunu DN-23 Landmine for those who appreciated music but not technicality.