General Information

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Frequency Response Range: 5 Hz - 40 kHz (HI-RES Certified)
THD: < 0.5% at 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 105±2 dB at 1 kHz
Resistance: 20 Ω
Resin shell with 2x 8mm titanium coated dynamics in an isobaric push configuration.
7.8mm 2 pin SPC cable, sourced from Taiwan.

Latest reviews

ActuallySparky

Head-Fier
Pros: A good basshead option for the price, minimal bloom and good subbass
Cons: Some male vocals recessed, thin mids, treble can be a harsh on some tracks
Disclaimer: I purchased the DM-480 with my own money. This review is based on my subjective opinion. I'm no spring chicken so I can't hear much above 17khz, and I like bassy, fun sound. Your milage may vary, as may your tastes.

I fell in love with the Dunu DK-2001 for being one of the best sounding mid-fi IEMs on the market. I ordered the DM-480 curious to explore the Dunu line and see how it would stack up against an offering ~5x it's price.

I'd never heard of an isobaric push configuration before. Both drivers are enclosed in a single unit, and fire together to reduce the air pressure and improve the speed and control of the driver. The 8mm unit pumps out a lot of sound for it's size.

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Build quality and ergonomics
The housing for the DM-480 is pretty small too. It's not quite lozenge of the DK-2001, instead featuring a more traditional 3d-printed shape with a fin to provide a little stability in the ear. They fit comfortably for hours on end.

At $60, it's no surprise that the cable included isn't anything to write home about. It's a little silver-looking thing with a smooth plastic sheathing. On the plus side, it's supple and tangle free without microphonics. On the downside, it's thin enough that it adds a bit of resistance to the IEMs. Normally I'm not one to think of cable affecting sound much, but after @Dsnuts suggested it, I tried rolling to a thicker cable with a lower impedance, and it actually made a small difference in the sound, particularly in the mids. Color me surprised!

Sound
The DM-480 features an unusually linear rise from the lower mids that continues all the way through to the sub-bass. It presents with weight and rumble, but lacking a distinct mid-bass hump, it doesn't bloat as much as most basshead IEMs this cheap. The tuning is bass forward, but not completely dominated by the low end like the Polaris II.

Drums have good amount of impact and slam. It's also worth noting that the bass is well controlled for the price - virtually no distortion at my preferred (low) listening levels. Normally when I listen to bass-heavy tracks on an IEM of this price I encounter some mixture of distortion, weak dynamics, or lack of texture; on the DM-480, all of these fared reasonably well.

The midrange is clear, but slightly distant - particularly with the stock cable. I generally like a bit more presence in the midrange. On a few albums, I felt like the weakest response point in the mids lined up closely with some male vocalists leading to instruments stealing the show from lyrics. Switching from the stock cable to a thicker cable with lower impedance helped give the midrange more presence.

The high end has some energy and sparkle to it. I occasionally found this a little fatiguing or sibilant on some tracks, but for the most part it did a great job of adding energy to pop and EDM. The finer details in the treble don't resolve clearly - cymbals lack the subtlety of a proper shimmer, but no bad for the price.

The DM-480 has fairly narrow staging and with everything presenting relatively close to the listener. They do have decent layering with each instrument rendered with enough space that I can still pick them out in reasonably well-mastered music.

Comparing to...
...the Dunu DK-2001
At roughly 5x the cost, the DM-480's bigger brother the DK-2001 brings a lot of refinement to the table. Every time I switched to the DK-2001 after a while listening to the DM-480 it was an obvious jump up in soundstage, clarity, and detail.

Both of the Dunu offerings being compared have a good low end featuring bass without bloating over the midrange. The DM-480 isn't quite as fast or controlled as the DK-2001 but they both bring a decent weight to music. The DM-480 is less reserved and pushes the low end forward more than the DK-2001.

The mids and treble is where the DK-2001 really outshines the DM-480, bringing resolution and refinement normally associated with much higher end headphones. The DM-480 can't really compete with this kind of detail and speed in the upper end. In particular, the DK-2001 excels at natural sounding vocals while they are occasionally a little distant on the DM-480, depending on the singer and album. This accuracy does come at the cost of richness - if you prefer a thicker, slightly less airy presentation the cheaper sibling is your best bet.

The DK-2001 has a very open design that offers minimal isolation. This open, vented design gives it a lot of transparency and a wider soundstage, but at the cost of requiring a moderately quiet listening environment. The DM-480 on the other hand does a much better job of isolating the listener, although at the expense of a narrower, shallower soundstage.

Obviously, the stock cable on each is no competition whatsoever. The DM-480 ships with a serviceable but not-great cable. The DK-2001 ships with such an ergonomic and generally lovely cable, that I purchased a second one for use with my Polaris II, and am considering getting more of their cables for my other IEMs.

The DM-480 isn't as efficient as its more expensive kin (20Ω for the DM-480 vs 13Ω for the DK-2001). This earphone sounds better with the volume knob a little higher and a little more current driving it. This isn't to say that it's a particularly hard to drive IEM (I was able to power it easily with a bluetooth dongles like the Radsone Earstudio or the Fiio BTR5), but it does scale up a bit when powered by something a little more robust. One advantage to the decreased sensitivity on the DM-480 is a lack of hiss that plagues so many more sensitive IEMs, particularly those with balanced armatures like the DK-2001.

Between the two, I obviously prefer the DK-2001 if I'm in a quiet listening environment although the DM-480 might edge it out when I'm walking outside. In that case I prefer the cheaper carry and the increase in isolation the DM-480 provides. It's not like the nuanced detail of a really nice earphone can pierce through the din of the outside world anyway.

That being said, at 5x the price, I've got to hand it to the DM-480 for being a totally decent budget basshead IEM and a better value. It's a no-brainer between the two for anyone not looking to spend $300 on an earphone. This goes double if you're just going to plug into your phone and not a midrange DAP or some fancy DAC/AMP combo to get the best out of the DK-2001.

...the Fragrant Zither Galaxy T2
One of the few IEMs I have priced roughly the same as the DM-480, the T2 has more treble extension, and generally more detailed upper mids and treble. Where the T2 falls short is in the lower end, with less speed and precision when rendering deep basslines. The DM-480 is warmer than the T2, with a richer timbre in the mids, although perhaps a bit less transparent than the T2. My musical tastes generally lean more to the Dunu than the TFZ offering. Trebleheads on the other hand will prefer the T2s presentation to the DM-480.

...the Blon BL-03
The BL-03 are a great earphone for their ~$30 price. Ergonomics and their unusable cable aside, they have a really pleasant tone and timbre across their range, and can render details competing with IEMs 5-10x their cost.

The DM-480 handles sub-bass better than the BL-03, but the Blon wins when it comes to the detail in the mids and treble. In terms of tonal balance, I suspect it comes down to preference of if the listener wants their bass/lower mids or mids/treble to have more richness and detail.

Although I'm not super impressed with the DM-480 stock cable, it's at least usable. The Blon on the other hand, ships with a cable unusable in the human ear, with a fitted curve that wraps around a good 60-80 degrees further than it should. Cable rolling on the Dunu is nice, but it's flat out necessary on the Blon, which eats into any price advantage the Blon might have had.

Final thoughts
All in all, I'm impressed. Sure, I have 'better' headphones, but the DM-480 is really nice to listen to, and sounds better than many other basshead choices of a similar price. It's certainly going in the rotation of IEMs I use when out and about. If your budget tops out in the $75 range and you like bassy headphones, consider the DM-480 to be a really nice contender in the space. If you don't like bassy headphones, look elsewhere: the DM-480 won't be your cup of tea.

Appendix: Selected listening notes
In addition to my normal headphone tester playlist, I also listened to a few albums with the DM-480.
In The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson - I was actually surprised by the clarity and dynamic range the DM-480 was able to render on this classic album. The recording captures a lot of dynamics for being from 1969, and these IEMs presented them with impact while still sounding good for the quieter passages, flutes, etc.

The New Abnormal by the Strokes - Julian Casablancas' vocals clash with the weakest frequencies on the DM480 and sound slightly distant for my tastes. Re-listening after switching to the thicker cable helped bring the vocals closer. The percussion work shines with the linear bass rendition, and the guitars and high hats have a fun energy. Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus is a good torture test for treble attack/decay - admirable performance for a dynamic driver, but falls behind hybrids with balanced armatures or electrostatic drivers.

The King of Limbs & In Rainbows by Radiohead - this is another case where vocals and the DM-480's midrange intersect to make Thom York sound a little distant. I did a lot of a/b testing against the DK-2001 on these albums, and while DM-480 sounds respectable on its own, compared directly, the vocals are a lot more front and center on the DK-2001 with lots of detail and clarity.

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk - The drums and electronic basslines that interweave through this album had appropriate weight, with a surprisingly textured presentation. The intro to Giorgio by Moroder is one of my standard test tracks for staging; the DM480 faired poorly, presenting Mr. Giorgio and the cafe sounds together, rather than placing him across the table, with the cafe surrounding.

WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish - The DM-480 does really well on this album. Billie's vocals (and the production work by Finneas) avoid the vocals problems a few other albums had. All the electronic basslines have excellent presence and impact, particularly for the price.

B.P. Empire by Infected Mushroom - The DM-480 provided both sparkle and slam for this early-2000's EDM. Getting the right weight for some of the deepest bass (Unbalanced and B.P. Empire) required a slightly higher listening volume than I personally prefer, but nothing dangerous. Dancing with the Kadafi's non-electronic instruments felt very smooth and natural, and had good layering on top of the bassline.

Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore (and others) - I've been watching through the Lord of the Rings movies in the last week while I work. I used the DM-480 for the first one, the DK-2001 for The Two Towers, and swapped out for the Andromeda Gold for Return of the King. The DM-480 makes for a decent choice for multimedia - the rumbly low end made the battle sequences exciting, while still allowing the orchestral soundtrack to shine through. Some of the horns in particular felt wonderfully rich and present. For the most part, dialog was clear. If money is no object, I'd prefer the DK-2001 for general home theater use, over even the Andromeda for being a little too analytical.
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NymPHONOmaniac

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Excellent construction and comfort, nice cable, nice packaging and accessories, great sound isolation
Cons: Messy sound, Poor imaging, Poor resolution, Invasive bass bleed, dry tonality, everything feel shouty yet not edgy nor snappy
DUNU DM480 Review

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SOUND: 6.5/10
CONSTRUCTION&DESIGN: 9/10
PACKAGING&ACCESSORIES: 8.5/10
VALUE: 6.5/10

DUNU
is a well know Chinese audio company that has been around for more than 25 years, they have created incredible earphones in the past and begin a serious come back lately with DK series, which I review the DK-2001, an excellent hybrid earphones with lush laid back sound.

Today I will review their new entry-level earphones, the DM-480.

These budget-minded earphones use ”dual-push isobaric titanium dual 8mm drivers” and promises enhanced responsiveness and dynamic. They work together in tandem to offer a fuller sound with improved bass response. All of this is the theoretical promise, now let’s see in this review if the DM-480 offer good technicality and balanced tonality and worth your attention as a SUB-100$ contender.

Priced at 70$, the DM-480 enter the hardest battleground where benefit return in term of sound value is the highest. This explains why I can look very severe in the following review.

You can buy the DUNU DM-480 directly from their official Ali Express STORE.

SPECS

Model: DM-480 Color: Red & Grey
Driver: 8 mm Titanium diaphragms dynamic driver *2
Impedance: 20Ω T H D:<0.5% at 1kHz
Frequency Respond: 20Hz-40kHz
Sensitivity: 105dB+/-2 at 1kHz
N. Weight: 7.8g
Housing: 3D Printed Shell Structure
Pin Connector: 0.78 2Pin Cable Length: 1.2m
Wire Material: High-Purity Silver-Plated Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC)

PACKAGING&ACCESSORIES

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The product come in a big box, when you open it you see a beautiful carrying case and you’re happy. When you open the carrying case you see a good silver-plated cable, a cable clip, and a generous amount of 6 pairs of silicone ear tips, and again you’re happy. Nice presentation and accessories is always appreciated.

CONSTRUCTION&DESIGN

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The construction is excellent, I’m a big fan of full resin body because of the smoothness and durability of the material and the DM-480 has this type of housing in an even smaller factor. The housing is about 2 times smaller than average universal customs, resin plastic is thick, smooth and super slippy, the 2pin connector is embedded in plastic and promise long durability. The nozzle is made of aluminum and solidly stuck into the housing. Universal custom shape is organically angular without any hard edge.


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These offer supreme COMFORT, and due to small size, the DM-480 will fit any type of ears. They are among the most comfortable IEM I own, and I can even sleep with them without any discomfort. This housing is the exact same one used for the Alpha&Delta KS1 but with different color and backplate.

ISOLATION is excellent, the DM-480 do not have venting hole, so you have total passive noise canceling, if you use foam tips, this will act like earplugs. Sound leakage is mostly nonexistent.


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DRIVEABILITY is rather easy, at 20ohm of impedance and 104db of sensitivity, these will not benefit from a portable amp, still, due to the bassy sound nature of DM-480, I suggest using a very clear audio source, even a cold analytical one like the Xduoo X20 help for sharper sound articulation. A good powerful DAP with clean sound will sound better than a phone and improve rather poor imaging of DM-480.

SOUND

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The overall sound is forward V shape with extra emphasis in lower mid-bass and lower and mid-treble. Tonality is dry and warm until the treble section where it gains brightness. Technicalities are just average, macro-resolution is decent but micro-resolution is diffuse. Timbre is a little grainy and lacks transparency. The attack is energic but lacks a bit of snap.

SOUNDSTAGE has good wideness, but it isn’t tall nor deep. It’s very horizontal and frontal, lacking in holographic spatiality.

IMAGING is under average, more there instruments more it became congested and difficult to spot the instrument. Instrument separation lack space too.

BASS has perhaps too much authority as it’s the more boosted part of the whole sound spectrum. Sub-bass is rather boomy, muffled in extension, making acoustic bass sound shouty and too present or synth-bass sound boxy. Bass isn’t very transparent, rather dry in texture and tonally unbalanced. Midbass impact is not edgy and quite mixed with the sub-bass, it lacks definition, separation, and well define impact. We have way more quantity than quality here and I must admit this kind of sloppy bass is a tuning murderer in its own right. Can’t really find anything positive to say about bass response….sorry not sorry.

MIDS are recessed and lower mids are veiled or crumped by bass bleed, tonality is a strange mix of bass warmth and brightish-dryish tonality. The bass do not really give proper body to instrument and vocal, suggesting a weak transient response between the 2 dynamic drivers. Mids attack is muffled by bass or congestion when there several instruments playing at the same time. It’s a very claustrophobic mid-range where everything sounds crushed together. With Pop or Soul or Rap, this can be bearable with female vocal, as their an upper mids-lower treble push that benefit female voice and make it more forward, but articulation is still lacking in definition and accuracy. The piano sounds hollow, but violin sound realist enough even if thin.

TREBLE has most of its energy in lower and mid highs and drops fastly in upper highs, which make the overall sound quite saturated and dry. This isn’t crisp sparkly highs at all, you do not have decay or natural resonance, neither lot of brilliance. It lacks air on top and the control is just average, cymbals sound dulled and unprecise, violin sound thin and lack bite, percussions can get lost in the mix and instrument like clavichord or harp sound like it was played with a mitten.

COMPARISONS

VS KBEAR DIAMOND (70$)

The DUNU is brighter and more energic sounding than the DIAMOND, but this isn’t good news. SOUNDSTAGE is smaller and lack the airy feel of DIAMOND, making IMAGING too intimate in separation proximity, as well, layering isn’t particularly transparent. BASS is slightly faster and more punchy than DIAMOND but more boomy and grainy too, lacking again in natural extension wich Diamond does better. MIDS is notably more bright and aggressive and sounds more artificial than smoother DIAMOND. TREBLE is again harsher, more shouty and less delicate and airy than DIAMOND. It digs more micro-details but throw it at you in an unrefined way.

All in all, DIAMOND sound from another league here, offering better tonal balance, technicalities and more natural timbre as well as vaster soundstage.

VS KBEAR KB04 (30$)

The DM-480 is a dual dynamic earphone with a small universal custom shell that is way more comfortable than KB04. The cable included is of better quality too, but at 2 times the price of KB04, it is to be expected.

SOUNDSTAGE is again wider and more out of your head with DM-480 but about the same tallness and less deep. IMAGING is less precise with the DM-480, but layering is more transparent. BASS is more boosted with the DM-480, but it has less sub extension and is less thick than KB04 which has more balanced and controlled bass making the DM480 more V shape and boomy. MIDS is more recessed with DM-480 but has a wider presentation and more transparency, making tonality slightly more natural for vocal which is warmer and less clear than KB04. TREBLE is richer, faster, and more detailed with the KB04, it’s crisper and more snappy too, the DM-480 has crunchy highs wich fastly roll off and lack air and minimal sparkle of KB04.

The overall tonality of DM-480 is darker and bassier with a less balanced V shape signature and inferior technicality and tonality, which makes the KB04 sound like a 70$ IEM and the DM-480 a 30$ IEM.

VS ALPHA&DELTA KS1 (40$)

These 2 are both similar in look and in sound and use as well similar dual dynamic drivers. No surprise that the sound is quite similar in timbre and in tonality. SOUNDSTAGE is slightly deeper and clearer with the DM-480, which offers more space for instrument separation. BASS is more sloppy in sub and less controlled with the KS1, both are very boosted in this lower region but the DM-480 is faster and tighter in the attack. MIDS are both recessed, but the DM-480 has more upper mids push and is clearer in definition and faster in the attack, still, both have warm mids, though the DM-480 feel slightly more transparent and less intimate. TREBLE is sharper and digs more micro-details with the DM-480, highs are more snappy and well define which gives a higher sense of clarity than darker KS1.
All in all, the DM-480 feel like an upgraded KS1, especially in term of bass control and imaging sharpness.

CONCLUSION

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I feel cruel writing this review, but when I dislike an earphone I’m just impartially grumpy about it and the DM-480 is a messy sounding earphone. It’s not even basshead quality but overall technicalities are affected by bass as if it was one. If this invasive bass was juicy and well-articulated I would accept the V shape tuning but alas this isn’t the case, the bass is just plain unpleasant and overly affect tonal balance.

While the construction is great, the comfort and isolation excellent, the Dunu DM-480 sound isn’t on par with its price range and Dunu will have to accept the new hard reality of Chi-Fi craze where the price value is more about high sound performance than generous amount of accessories.

(For more honest reviews you can give a read to my Audio BLOG)
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Aibo

Head-Fier
Pros: Details and precision
Spaciousness
Smoothness
Fun and easy listen
Cons: Not the richest vocals out there
Could be airier up top
This is my first contact with the Dunu brand and it started with opening an oversized box. Inside of it, I found a very nice looking carrying case, set of ear tips, detachable cable, and earphones themselves.

BUILD AND FIT

Earphones are made out of plastic, they are light but feel solid. Provided cable is smooth to the touch and doesn’t tangle easily – points for that. Looks is subjective of course but I liked the mix of black and white used here.

I’m not particularly fond of this whole cable around the ear thing. That said I didn’t really have any trouble securing a good fit with DM-480. Their size is average and I don’t think anybody should have a problem with it. Lightweight build definitely helps and once fitted properly they don’t tend to fall out.

Just before proceeding, I’ll say that most of the testing was conducted with Dragonfly Black and great Lusya Fever DAC as a source. But HIDIZS Sonata HD also proved more than capable to drive them properly.

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SOUND QUALITY

DM-480 offers well balanced and smooth sound signature. Starting with the frequency response, it is slightly V-shaped. Lower midrange takes a step back, while bass notes and upper midrange run the show. Luckily, Dunu took a fairly mild approach to such tuning. That means bass notes are not overwhelming. There’s quite a weight and heft to them, but those are married with good control and precision. Going higher, we get a very clean and smooth sounding midrange. Tuning is done with care here so that upper registers don’t overtake the show too obviously. Even though there isn’t much fullness and body to the vocals due to the lower midrange dip, the higher range is not overcooked either. That’s why DM-480 never sounds too bright or edgy. What they do sound like is spacious and smooth.

Talking about the soundstage of an IEM is always tricky. But within the form factor limitations, these do impress with a spacious and uncluttered presentation. Changing from slow Jazz, through upbeat POP and finally some old 70’s Rock tracks… Not once I felt them to sound muddy and cramped. What’s even more interesting, I never felt them to be harsh or edgy neither. This model carefully walks a line between sounding clear but not overly analytical, a line between sounding open but not too bright nor thin.

Few things are holding me from giving absolute recommendation to DM-480. The first one would be a slight lack of body and weight to vocals. The same goes for other instruments that occupy a similar frequency range. The second one would be that some competitors offer even more extension and air up top.

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COMPARISONS
Similarly priced Tin Audio T3 is brighter and more analytical sounding. It offers more airiness and atmosphere but at a cost. The cost is that it sounds thin and overly sharp. Sibilance is commonplace and bass leaves a lot to be desired. DM-480 is simply nicer to my ears and more fun to listen to.

One of those rare models that I could call more accomplished is Moondrop Starfield. It offers fuller vocals and midrange overall, while at the same time revealing more in the highest frequencies, creating more atmosphere and air. The soundstage on DM-480 seems more spacious and less cluttered though. Personally, I prefer Starfield but I wouldn’t blame anyone for choosing differently.

CONCLUSION
I can definitely say that my first contact with Dunu went well. DM-480 provides a detailed yet smooth and fun sound. It’s also easy to drive and comes with a decent cable for a change. A lot to like here and not that much to dislike. If you’re on the market for a decent IEM, you don’t mind slightly V-shaped sound signature but you don’t appreciate edginess and harshness… Dunu DM-480 is definitely worth considering.


Official page – https://www.dunu-topsound.com/dm-480

This and other reviews at - https://iiwireviews.com/

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Comments

jeffhawke

500+ Head-Fier
Not sure about the meaning of “isobaric push”: are the drivers opposed to one another (push/pull) or in series {push/push)?
 

jeffhawke

500+ Head-Fier
Not sure about the meaning of “isobaric push”: are the drivers opposed to one another (push/pull) or in series {push/push)?
Definitely the best configuration for dynamic drivers. I own a full-size headphone that is similarly configured, the Spirit Torino Twin Pulse, and if the DM-480 deliver that kind of performance they are guaranteed to be truly amazing! Can’t wait to try them out.
 
Not sure about the meaning of “isobaric push”: are the drivers opposed to one another (push/pull) or in series {push/push)?
Well, while we like the quality of sound coming from the DM-480, we can't be so presumptuous as to put a $69 product in the same category as a $3000+ pair of full-sized headphones. The DM-480 certainly has a good number of highlights, such as imaging (we think it's a class leader), great treble extension, and depth of bass.
 

jeffhawke

500+ Head-Fier
Not sure about the meaning of “isobaric push”: are the drivers opposed to one another (push/pull) or in series {push/push)?
I had no clue yet as to the price of the DM-480. However, the isobaric technology has significant advantages, which can be exploited in different implementations. A full-size, all machined metal and leather headphone is inherently a substantially more expensive product. Still very curious to try the DM-480 though.
 
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