Pros - Excellent clarity & extension. Musical, exciting presentation (U-shaped tuning) with sparkly treble and thundering bass.
Cons - Bass can sound a tad loose if you are used to tighter-sounding headphones.
I've been looking for a good pair of portables to complement my ATH-EM9d (which are nice, but they provide no isolation and they lack bass, which meant they aren't suitable for many genres or movie-watching). Ideally I wanted something I can travel with that would isolate the cabin noise on trains and airplanes. I already own several full-sized cans and have never enjoyed dragging those around when I travel, so I started looking into IEMs.
After reading an extensive number of reviews, I narrowed down my choices to the Xiaomi Piston 3, Yamaha EPH-100, and the Dunu DN-1000 (I know they each belong to very different price tiers, but I wanted to know how big the differences are in sound quality before deciding how much I actually want to spend, heh).
Well, the Xiaomi Piston 3 hasn't arrived yet so I can't offer a comparison, but between the Yamaha EPH-100 and the Dunu DN-1000, the Dunu easily won by a huge margin (sorry Yamaha, looks like I'll be returning you...) Below are my impressions.
Accessories, Craftsmanship, & Comfort
Dunu threw in just about everything except the kitchen sink - frankly given the sound quality at the price I got it at ($160 brand new from Amazon), I would have been happy with half of the included accessories. There are eartips of all shapes and sizes, an accessory pouch, a hard carrying case, and two adapters (one for airline, which is perfect for what I need).
Craftsmanship on the Dunu appears to be excellent - the entire housing is metal and seems to be very solidly constructed. I did wish the cable were user-replaceable mainly because the housing seem difficult to disassemble and if anything goes wrong with the cable, I won't know what to do. But other than that, can't complain.
Comfort-wise, I found the foam tips to provide the best long-term comfort as well as the best seal. The housing is quite large and heavy for an IEM, and I found all the silicone tips to require the use of spacers to provide proper seal and comfort (and even then they don't seal as well, or are as comfortable, as the foam tips). The best silicone tip combination I found was the use of blue or red spacers coupled with the wide-bore single-flange (semi-transparent) black silicone tips.
Just absolutely breathtaking! These are the first BA-based IEM's I have tried, and I was just blown away by the detail and clarity present in the treble and mid-range. I had read some reviews saying that the BA drivers made the treble brittle and unpleasant, but I didn't find this to be the case. At least based on the materials I listen to, I didn't find the treble to be harsh or sibilant. There's just the right amount of sparkle without being offensive.
The bass is thunderous and goes down really deep, which is definitely a trait I like (I love sub-bass over mid-bass, as I am used to the AKG K550/K553). That said, there's just a little bit too much of it sometimes and I feel the bass could be a bit tighter (the K553 is about how I like my bass, and I do feel the bass is tighter on that). The texture of the bass on the DN-1000 is fairly fluid and dynamic, which is in stark contrast to the fast and crystalline texture of its BA-based mids and treble. The effect is most comparable to listening to speakers that have separate tweeter & subwoofer units, that's the best way I can describe it. It takes some getting used to, as I have never heard this quality in a headphone before.
This may be less of an issue when I am traveling, though, since as a general rule bass needs to be enhanced when there's background noise. I have a feeling I'll find the sound signature of the DN-1000 to be just perfect when I am on a train or airplane.
All in all, very happy with my purchase and looking forward to updating my impressions with further listening.
About me: I'm a Musician, Producer and Audiophile stuff lover for over 25 years. I've developed ear training since I was a kid learning piano and later with singing lessons. Producing music is also a good exercise. So yes, I can say I'm a music aficionado and love portable audio. When I hear something special I have a need to share my experience with others, so here I am trying to be as objective and straight to the point as possible. Hope you enjoy my reviews.
As usual, directly into what matters the most: the sound.
Burn-in: 150 hours. No noticeable change in the BA's; dynamic driver (bass) has slightly improved.
Prefered spacer/tips: red ring + stock bi-flange with wide bore
Source: FiiO X3 + iFi iCan Nano
First thing I've noticed when I first listened to DN-1000's was like having a Stereo system in miniature. Few IEMs (if any) at this price point will give you such fidelity, detail and finesse. It's truly impressive, but let's go into more detail.
Bass is so impactful and so tight, it gives me a musical experience I have never had with a IEM. It's like I'm hearing a full size can and it's no cliché. Sound is rich and full, bass has great extension, there's body, there's rumble, there's completely realistic drums and bass guitars with impact and attack. Bass kicks you in the gut when necessary. Sub-bass goes very deep, under 10Hz the dynamic driver still vibrates in my ears. These IEMs deliver serious sub-bass, bassheads could kill for this in an apocaliptic scenario. This is with a stock bi-flange tip with wide bore + red ring. Red spacer ring will give you more treble extension and amplify soundstage depth and this is the best combo I've found for this IEM. Absolutely the best, makes a world of a difference to any other tips/rings. Bass is pretty fast on Hard Rock like Three Days Grace, Daughtry, Shinedown, Nickleback, Seether, etc. Definition is pretty good from low to mid bass and did I mention its tight? With the forementioned tips I consider it's near basshead levels.
Mids are clean, transparent and organic, with minimal bleed from the mid bass. Liquid. Mariza and Mariah Carey voices sound as real and pure as they are live. It's like if they are singing for you, private, you hear every word, every breath, the vibrato, it's breathtaking. You can pick up details you just can't with for example, the Titan 1/FiiO EX1 and those are fantastic with vocals. But DN-1000 mids are more refined and detailed. Titan 1 gives you a good idea (a pretty good one indeed), DN-1000 shows you the full picture. Mids are more forward than the more V shaped Titan 1, DN-1000s are more balanced.
The top end is superbly refined, detailed and extended, bright and crisp, with a realism in cymbals and percussion instruments that I haven't heard since along time ago with IEMs and a very beautiful sparkle. Even Westone W40 and Earsonics SM3 do not compete. Especially because they don't have this transparency and air/brightness. Titan 1 is also not at the same level of refinement, delicacy and finesse. Treble on the DN-1000 is so polite and detailed, I think it touches perfection. True high resolution. Put the wrong tips and you won't hear half of it. So try them all, including 3rd partys.
All of this leads to an unbeatable PRaT (Pace, Rythm and Timing), dynamic expression and pinpoint accuracy for the price. In my opinion dynamics and fun factor are way above Titan 1 and even Westone W40. Instrument separation is a bit better, the sufficient to let you listen to sounds with a precision you can't with the Titans and more so with the W40's. Micro-detail is better perceived too. Soundstage depth is also superior, in fact took me some time to adapt to these levels of depth. Width is excelent for a closed IEM. Very open sounding, especially with the dual flanges with wide bore. Another thing that impressed me compared to the Titans is timbre. It's *almost* as good as the JVC woodies, something Titans are not as good at. DN-1000 gives you a superior degree of fidelity that justifies the price difference.
This is an agressive IEM in a good way. Treble is smooth, not a hint of sibilance (yet north of neutral), but in a whole, sound is very dynamic and energetic. Crunchy guitars with attack, agressiveness and power in the drums with great body and impact, very realistic experience. For vocals and jazz, they're phenomenal, so delicate and gentle with an analytical level of detail retrieval. They are somewhat similar to the Sennheiser IE800 that I have auditioned recently. Would be hard to choose a winner without a direct A/B. DN-1000 makes most of the IEMs I've had lately (with the exception of the H300) sound boring, dull and lifeless..
If you're after something really high fidelity that gives you a true audiophile experience and you love bass, at 199€, there's no competition in my opinion. You're getting a triple driver IEM for half of what you would have paid in the past for an SM3 or UM3X and more recently, W40 (400€). And it's an hybrid with a dynamic driver, that delivers super tight bass, ideal for EDM lovers, without sacrificing any detail. The 3 driver configuration does a great job separating frequencies, DN-1000 never congests, even with the darkest of the Metals. Westone W40, for eg, a 4 driver setup, does congest in the more complex passages, maybe because it's darker and veiled than DN-1000. Instrument separation is top notch, at the same level of the legendary UM3X, but the instruments are cleaner and clearer, you can pinpoint them effortlessly. DN-1000 performs above Westone W40 in my opinion and by quite a significant margin. Just to give you an idea of how well the Dunu competes with the top-tiers. Tips/rings are the key, once again try them all. I found the bi-flanges with wide bore + red rings to be the secret ingredient for the DN-1000s. With these rings, since they're long, the tips can stay inside your ear, but you can fatten the nozzle of the IEM with some medical tape and they will fit firmly. Just a side note.
Listen to a cello with these and you won't forget it... Add the whole orchestra and you'll be delighted with the realism. I just close my eyes and there's an immediate smile in my face.
Rings. What are they for? There are 3 sizes: silver is the smaller one, blue in the middle and red is the bigger one. What they do exactly is to add more treble extension and amplify soundstage depth. With the red ring you can listen to sounds you just can't with the silver or blue rings.For me, this extra treble extension means micro-detail and fidelity, so personally, for my taste, the reds are the way to go. Soundstage depth is also incredible with the red rings, makes my listening experience more engaging and satisfying. Naturally, your mileage may vary, so try them all.
As always DUNU is making the difference, they made it more recently with Titan 1 and the older DN-1000 is no exception. They offer you sound quality of IEMs that cost alot more. Whats interesting here is that you have a basshead (or close to it) IEM with the properties of much more analytical IEMs and at least for me, this is lots of fun and enjoyement that for the price you pay, its something...
Pros - Gorgeous, cohesive, sound. Strong Bass, but not overpowering. Crystal clear highs.
Cons - On the heavy side for an iem.
I stumbled upon these a few weeks ago while searching for a pair of "under $200" iem's that weren't as bass heavy as my Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2's are. My search has ended with the DUNU DN-1000. This is just a fantastic all around iem. Best in price range clarity mixed with deep bass extension that is not over done or bloated. Thank you! Finally an under $200 iem that has a fun/warm, but BALANCED sound. I love "V" shaped iem's and headphones as much as the next guy, but there is a time and place for everything. When the situation calls for a nicely balanced, yet slightly warm sounding iem, that you don't mind taking on the road with you, these fit the bill nicely.
Pros: - Build quality looks solid - Gorgeous, sultry, balanced sound. Super clear highs, forward mid's, and bass is not overpowering. - Hybrid BA & Dynamic drives work very well together. The sound is very cohesive. - Accessories galore!!! Hard case, soft case, over ear guides, airplane adapter, 1/4 adapter, tip guide rings, tips, tips, more tips! - 1 year warranty
Cons: - A little heavy, but once you find a good fit, they are pretty secure. - No domestic support. Must send to Taiwan if anything goes wrong.
*Notes: I used the grey foam tips, and silver 1.2mm spacers.
Conclusion - I'm very happy I took the risk and bought these. I never heard of Dunu before, but they are now on my radar in a big way. The DN-1000 is a fantastic hybrid iem that has crystal clarity, rich mids, and ample bass that is balanced and controlled. This is a "Best in Class" choice for an iem under $200.
Yes the accessories in the box are plenty. But the cloth material used for inner box and metal case is poor. The black dust from the cloth sticks to the tips and i don't expect to clean it religiously everytime i take it out the case. Thank God the for the pouch.
The shell is huge. And heavy. I had a Shure SE215LTD and i sold it off after merely two weeks partly due to the comfort factor. DN-1000 also unfortunately has the same issue. I am currently using blue ring and long form tips to put some distance from my ears and the shell but no, it's not working. I can feel the pain after some time and need to take it out and put back in and adjust accordingly.
I love every bit of it. The isolation might not be the best with my setup but is just enough for me though i would really appreciate a better isolation. The sub-bass is spectacular.
The bass is punchy but a bit loose at times especially in fast-paced tracks. I am no way a basshead. When i use my Hippo VB, i use the 3-dot plate. But the amount DN-1000 delivers can be sufficient for the bassheads out there and just nice for me. It's not overpowering like what i experienced with Shure SE215. Instrument separation is great. I can notice the details at lows, mids and highs even when the bass is thumping.
Soundstage is satisfactory. I've been putting aside my Hippo VB for quite some time and been too used with the soundstage that my open cans deliver. I can probably improve the soundstage by using other tips.
Dunu DN-1000 really does well for a wide range of music. I listen to R&B, indie rock and pop. It never fails to impress me. Throw anything at it, it can handle them very well.
Pros - Great clarity, soundstage, bass presence, build quality and looks. Can be worn cable up or down.
Cons - Cable issues, Non-detachable cables, highs can be a touch sibilant, wide nozzles and heavy cans not for everyone
Update after about 3 months with the DN1K.
Design, build quality and fit:
The housings feel very solidly built, although some ppl have reported the glossy finish peeling off. Cans are a bit heavy but no problem staying in my ears, even without the spacers. Wearing them cable down can become fatiguing on the ear canal after a couple of hours, but cable up with the earguides is a breeze. Unfortunately, they are not great for sleeping with. The nozzles are the widest I've seen on an IEM (the balanced armatures are housed there) so they are definitely not for ppl with small ear canals. Cable is thin and there are a lot of cases of the cables stiffening where they touch your skin (including mine). Among other things this really increases microphonics, even when worn cable up. I had to return my set to Dunu for a replacement. The Y-split is metal and looks high-end but the side that has the serial number has rubbed off just after 2 months of use. One more thing I find annoying is the rubber wrap that I can't hide anywhere so it dangles around when I walk.I know a lot of ppl love it but I just don't find it practical, especially with that sexy storage box you get with them.
The clear single flanges (no spacers) give me the best fit and seal out of the silicone tips, while offering great sound at lower volumes. The reinforced stock silicones get good sound at low volumes but fit isn't as great as the clear ones. But damn they look cool
The foams are way better than the ones I got with my VSonic VS1D - almost as good as Complys. Either stock and Comply foams work wonders with the sound at both high and low volumes. I use the Complys for the ultimate sound, comfort and sound isolation, but obviously this can become expensive.
The stock bi-flanges are decent but same as with the MEElec bi-flanges, I get a midbass bump and harsher highs. Tried my Sennheiser single silicones on but they slide off way too easily from the nozzles. My JVC silicones work well but I get the same sound as the reinforced stocks.
Definitely v-shaped. Impressed by the DN-1000's ability to keep their cool at high volumes with no distortion whatsoever. None of my other IEMs can do that quite as well.
Bass is very abundant and has a nice sub bass rumble. A bit lazier than on my JVC FXT90 but much more in quantity. No noticeable bleed into the mids and quite detailed.
Mids are much more recessed than on the FXT90s, which works well for electronic but might not be perfect for other genres. I think that the Fidue A83 fare better, especially with guitars and vocals.
Highs are bright and on the verge of sibilant. At low to mid volumes it's perfect but in noisy environments where you need high volume, the highs can become fatiguing without EQing them down. Foamies definitely help reduce the sibilance but are not as effective as eq. The detail is great though and you can feel every subtle texture of the hihats and cybal crashes.
Soundstage is decent and the resolution is phenomenal for $200 IEMs.
A note on the spacers:
I seem to be one of the few that doesn't notice any difference in the sound switching between spacers. The only thing I noticed is that if I use foamies with the spacers the highs get attenuated too much.
I was initially very disappointed with the earguides but after I got used to them I don't take them off at all. Nowadays I can't even feel them on my ears. They have a very smart design that doesn't let the cable get out easily (like the VSonic ones do) and they are quite small so not a huge pain to store the Dunus in the relatively small box provided.
So far the Dunu DN1000 is one of my favorite IEMs as far as sound quality and sound signature. They are a real bargain, even for the original MSRP of $210. I wish they had a more ergonomic shape and I really really wish Dunu had put more effort into the cable - braided, detachable or both...
I was a bit disappointed with DN-1000 when I tried it out of the box. The treble was a bit metallic with the stock silicone eartips. The first few weeks with DN-1000, I used foam eartips, Comply T-500, that smoothen the treble, made the DN-1000 sounds very open and airy, but a bit lacking in bass. Until I did some experiments with more eartips, and found the silicone eartips from my JVC HA-FXD80 give the best sound and tonal balance for my DN-1000. Treble from the foam eartips & bass from the silicone eartips. Best of both worlds. It was a very happy moment, and I was not alone. I was with my friend Leo who is a sound engineer, and for hours we listened to DN-1000 with the JVC HA-FXD80 silicone eartips. We have same conclusion, very good tonal balance on the whole spectrum, without any annoying peaks and dips. Simply, we didn't find anything to fault the combination. From that moment, the JVC FXD80 tips stay on my DN-1000.
With the JVC eartips, DN-1000 sounds very balanced, realistic, and most important, very musical and fun sounding. DN-1000 has the realistic type of natural tonal balance, with no emphasize and deemphasize on any region of the frequency, just perfectly smooth and balanced. Good bass, clear mids, smooth and airy high, with good dynamic and lively sounding. Very good detail and transparency without sounding analytical. Truly an excellent all-rounder. With the JVC EP-FX8 eartips, sibilance is very well controlled without sacrificing clarity and transparency. I have no idea how the JVC EP-FX8 eartips do it, maybe there is a little bit of 'smoothening' on the treble, just slightly to remove most sibilance, without sacrificing treble detail. The result is simply amazing. Open, airy, transparent, without sibilance.The JVC EP-FX8 eartips is simply the 'missing secret ingredient' from the DN-1000 package.
Mids to treble transient is fast, and clarity is crystal clear, but i don't consider it sounds analytical. I guess it is due to the matching dynamic driver with the BA drivers, the dynamic driver seamlessly adds body to the midrange, creating clear and smooth midrange that never sounds dry or analytic. While the JVC EP-FX8 eartips smoothen the treble without reducing transparency and airiness. Balanced, smooth, transparent, and very musical, maybe the best way to describe how DN-1000 sounds with JVC EP-FX8 eartips.
Bass level and dynamic is better than DN-2000, better balance with the midrange. Only a few dB better, but since DN-1000 midrange is flatter and more balanced with the rest of the spectrum, not slightly emphasized like DN-2000, bass has better presence and body, and slightly better slam and punch than DN-2000 bass. But bass level is still far from basshead level. FX850 bass level in this case, is closer to basshead level. DN-1000 Bass power and dynamic is good and realistic, and low bass extension is nicely present in realistic level. But overall bass quality is not as good as ATH-CKR9 bass. CKR9 bass has better detail, texture, power and dynamic. I don't mean DN-1000 bass quality is bad, the bass is good. It is just that I ever heard better quality bass from other IEM, which is the ATH-CKR9. So there is still room for improvement for DN-1000 bass, especially on bass tightness and texture.
Imaging is impressively spacious and 3 dimensional, almost comparable to the excellent imaging of DN-2000, and sounds slightly more airy and open sounding than DN-2000, maybe due to higher level of treble in comparison to the mids. Instrument separation and placement is clear and focused, although DN-2000 is slightly clearer and more sharply focused. Imaging of the two is like comparing a very good quality consumer grade lens with a professional grade lens. Both are sharp, but the professional lens is slightly sharper. Listening to Chesky binaural recordings, DN-2000 gives slightly more realistic of the 3D imaging than the DN-1000. But DN-1000 imaging is still better than FX850 for binaural recording 3D imaging.
Beside the JVC EP-FX8 silicone eartips, Comply T-500 foam eartips is also my next favorite eartips for DN-1000, like on DN-2000. Comply T-500 + the silver adjustment ring gives a more airy sound, while retaining good bass. If you cannot get JVC EP-FX8 silicone eartips, try Comply T-500 + the silver adjustment ring. Another awesome combination for DN-1000.
I tried all the ring adjustment, and I prefer no ring for JVC EP-FX8 eartips, and silver ring for Comply T-500.
DN-1000 sounds fun and musical for all the recordings I tried. IMHO, DN-1000 using JVC EP-FX8 eartips has the better 'all-rounder' tonality of the 3. It goes really well with all genres and recordings in my collection, from medieval classical to Baroque, Pop, Jazz, Movie soundtrack, to Dub Colossus, all sounds great and enjoyable! But I didn't try Rock music, because I don't have any. Being the cheapest of the 3, DN-1000 holds it's ground very well to be in the same class with DN-2000 and FX850. But please note, only when using the JVC EP-FX8 eartips.
Tonality: Natural-realistic tonality, good bass, transparent, open sounding, smooth, and very musical. Slightly less refined than DN-2000, especially in level of detail, but can be musically more engaging.
Bass: Natural & realistic, a few dB higher than DN-2000, better bass slam and sounds more realistic. Very good low bass extension. Bass tightness and texture can be improved.
Midrange: Natural, open sounding, and smooth. Not warm and not analytic.
Treble: Clear and transparent, with good treble sparkle and upper treble extension. Might sound a bit metallic with some sibilance when using stock silicone eartips, but not with the JVC EP-FX8 eartips.
Detail: Good level of detail in a natural way, slightly less detailed than DN-2000, but better than FX850.
Imaging: Spacious and 3 dimensional.
Dynamic and Transient: Bass dynamic is good, better than DN-2000, but not as fast as the midrange and treble. Midrange to treble transient is fast and realistic.
Noise isolation: Good.
Comfort: DN-1000 has large diameter nozzle, around 5.8 mm diameter. This large nozzle could be an issue for small ear canals. As for me, DN-1000 is very comfortable.
Build & design: Housing is rather heavy, but very solid. Build quality and design is excellent, looks much better than DN-2000. Smooth bullet shape without any hard edges.
My DN-1000 after 6 months of daily usage, looks better than my 1 month old DN-2000.
I didn’t notice any significant changes before and after 2 days burn-in.
Effect of high output impedance amplifier
Explanation on DN-2000 section.
Similar as DN-2000, on DN-1000, low output impedance will improve clarity and transparency, while high output impedance will reduces the clarity, transparency, and also bass dynamic. Bass is a bit sloppy on high impedance output. Low output impedance of 20 ohms or lower is recommended.
Generally DN-1000 is not very picky on gears, not like DN-2000, maybe due to its balance and fun sound signature. I would say all the gears mentioned here sound great with DN-1000. Fiio X5 headphone output that sounds lacking in transparency on DN-2000, performs much better on DN-1000. Although still not as transparent as the Fiio E12DIY amp, but I don’t feel the treble is lacking.
Some gears that I found sound especially good with DN-1000 would be Yulong DA8, DACport, Dragonfly, and Fiio E12DIY amplifier with AD8599 Op-Amp + LME49600 buffer.
One of the best sounding IEM from the balanced, realistic, and musical sounding perspective, regardless of the price.
Easy to drive, doesn't require high voltage swing. But low output impedance of 20 ohms or lower is recommended.
Comes with various types of eartips and ring adjustment for flexible sound tuning.
Both straight down and over the ears wearing style.
Good build quality with solid metal housing.
Sounds good out of the box requires no or minimum burn-in.
Soft and flexible cable with no coiling memory effect.
Bass tightness and texture can be improved.
Large nozzle limits the choices of third party eartips, and might not fit small ear canal.
Stock eartips found to be less than optimum compared with 3rd party silicone eartips, for DN-1000 to sound at its best.
Driver flex, mostly with stock silicone tips, much less, to no driver flex with JVC EP-FX8 eartips.
Relatively small cable for the relatively heavy housing. I hope the small cable will last.
Suggestion for improvement:
Bass tightness and texture.
To include JVC EP-FX8 kind of eartips and Comply T-500 in the package.
Detachable cable with balanced cable included.
Ring adjustment is too thin and loose. It’s better if the ring is thicker with some grip to the nozzle.
Type : Hybrid 3 ways
Driver Unit : 1x Knowles Twin Balance Armature + 1x 10mm Dynamic driver
Frequency Response : 16 - 22,000 Hz
Impedance : 10 ohms
SPL : 98 +/- 2 dB
Plug : L shape 3.5mm 24 Gold plated stereo Mini plug
Cord Length : 1.2m Y shape OFC cable
Detachable Cable : No
Left & Right marking : Clear. Left dot & L/R print on housing.
Weight : 26g
Accessories : 10 sets of silicone eartips, 4 sets of foam eartips, 1 pair of Earhook, 3.5mm Female to 6.5mm Male Adapter, 3.5mm Female to 2-pin Male Adapter, Aluminum alloy box, 4 pairs of metal adjustment ring.
Pros - Fun V-shaped sound, bass transients/impact, detailed highs, clear midrange, pinpoint details in wide soundstage
Cons - No removable cable, high sensitivity=noise when plugged into laptop, Cable quality, Midrange is thin sounding
Excellent sound quality. I can't find any fault with these except for the fact they have no removable cables. The DN-1000's put to shame any IEM under $300 currently in the market right now. Highly recommended.
Note: If there are really two versions of the Dunu's, I think I got the "China" version of the DN-1000's instead of the international version as the treble is very extended.
Pros - Overall sound quality, Massive selection of accessories
Cons - Upper midrange is a bit recessed, tip rolling limited
First of all, I would like to thank DUNU for choosing me as the winner of a contest to receive a free pair of DN-1000s.
The DUNU DN-1000 is a part of a relatively new and evolving class of IEMs, known as “hybrid” IEMs because they have not only balanced armatures but also dynamic drivers inside. In most cases, the dynamic driver is assigned to the bass, and the balanced armatures to the mids and treble. The DN-1000s are no different. It’s hard enough to make a good sounding IEM using just a dynamic driver or one balanced armature; adding more drivers (especially dynamics and BAs mixed together) has more of a risk of ruining the sound quality, but has bigger rewards such as better high/low frequency extension and better overall sound quality. From what I can hear, the DN-1000s definitely fall in the latter category.
What’s in the box:
The box for the DN-1000s is fairly bland and Engrishey, but the amount of accessories they include in the box is simply staggering. While it does kind of feel like they just threw a bunch of tips in the box without fully testing them to see how they affected the frequency response of the IEM, or if they even fit at all (the foam tips were really tough to get off the IEMs, and I received three medium tips of one type, and only one large tip), you shouldn’t have a problem finding some tips to fit your ears.
The housings on the DN-1000 are some sort of shiny metal. It doesn’t feel like it’s made of any particularly indestructible material, but it also doesn’t feel like wrapped up tin foil either. The housings are relatively large, and do stick out of your ear a bit. I wouldn’t sleep with these in my ears, and I would also advise those with smaller ear canals to try and demo these before purchasing, because the shells can be quite large and obtrusive, especially if the included rings are not used.
There is a complete lack of any sort of rib to help hold the tips on the IEM shells (probably so that the o-ring system could be implemented), which makes the tip rolling for the DN-1000s quite limited. If any other tips are used and you can actually get them on the bore, they will probably fall off. I will also go ahead and say it now, but I think the o-ring system is a good idea in theory, but without them, there is no way these will be comfortable in very many people’s ears. They still aren’t the most comfortable to my ears, but they are tolerable for a few hours.
The cable is the same one I’ve seen on the DUNU DN-23s. It’s not very thick and feels like it may eventually break, but it’s nice and soft and doesn’t retain very much memory. The strain relief on the housings is fairly small, but it looks like it should do its job. The Y-split is nice but has no strain relief on either side. The 3.5mm connector is 45 degrees, and while this isn’t my favorite angle for a headphone connector, it’s implemented fairly well. The strain relief allows the cable to bend a fair bit while also doing its job, so it could theoretically be bent into a 90-degree connector.
The isolation is above average for dynamics; I don’t see any major vents letting in a lot of outside noise, but since tip rolling really isn’t an option with the DN-1000s, I wasn’t able to try out Meelectronics tri-flange tips to really push the isolation to the limit. And honestly, with the bi-flange tips included, I thought the DN-1000s didn’t sound as good, so I never bothered seeing how good the isolation was.
Please note that the following sound quality impressions were taken with the single flange reinforced gray tips and red spacers.
Most IEMs I’ve heard that use balanced armatures don’t quite deliver enough punch for my tastes. The bass on the DUNU DN-1000s, however, is delivered by the dynamic driver. It’s a bit north of neutral and has fairly good punch, but generally stays in the sub-bass in the form of rumble. The real bass emphasis ends at the lowest notes of a bass guitar, so kick drums and deep bass lines on electronic, and the rest of the bass is fairly tame and controlled. I never heard it overpower or bleed into the midrange, probably because that’s where the balanced armatures kick in. This isn’t the most detailed bass, but it’s very fun and good for on-the-go listening.
The midrange is, for the most part, right where it should be. Instruments fairly natural and don’t sound distorted or out of place. Male vocalists sound clean but have the appropriate amount of heft to sound natural. My only complaint would be with the upper midrange and lower treble area, where female vocals are prominent. Like all the other TWFK IEMs I’ve heard, this area sounds a bit soft, and while female vocalists don’t necessarily sound recessed, they are lacking a bit of clarity and texture. This is a very common area to place a dip in the frequency response though. It seems for whatever reason that a lot IEMs put a cut in this area of the frequency response or have a painful spike further up in the treble response. Given the choice, I’d much rather take the dip in this area.
The treble is similar to the other TWFK-based IEMs I’ve heard and owned, such as the Heir 4A, Ultimeate Ears UE900 and Brainwavz B2. The first two are what I would classify as properly dampened TWFKs, with the latter being an example of an improperly dampened TWFK driver. When there isn’t enough dampening on the TWFK driver, there is a sharp spike in the 8-10k area that is quite painful to me and makes sibilance quite bad on most recordings that have any form of it. However, both the UE900 and 4A are dampened enough to dissipate this spike while retaining enough of an emphasis in this area to sound dynamic and exciting. So where does the DN-1000’s TWFK dampening lie in comparison? To my ears, they use almost exactly the same if not the same filter as the UE900s. While the treble isn’t quite as extended as in the UE900, the rest of the treble area sounds quite similar, which is great for the most part. While it does mean that in comparison to the bass and midrange the treble is a bit softer overall and isn’t the most detailed or clear sounding treble, it still retains enough of the 8-10khz elevation to sound “dynamic” and relatively clean and clear. While it doesn’t have the same detail level as some other IEMs that are brighter overall, it doesn’t lack clarity by any means, and those other brighter IEMs are either painful to listen to for long periods of time, or simply don’t have as much bass.
The only disadvantage to this TWFK treble is that sometimes the 8-10khz peak area can make some tracks sound a bit “steely”, or simply a bit artificial when compared to IEMs that do not have as much emphasis in this area.
To me, the DN-1000s have a fairly decent soundstage. It’s nothing that will blow your mind or make you think you’re listening to speakers, but it’s also better than the lower end IEMs I’ve heard at portraying a sense of space. I generally don’t write very much about soundstage though, since most of the music I listen to doesn’t have very much soundstage, and in-ear headphones have always sounded like in-ears to me…
The complimentary forum post can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/700957/dunu-dn-1000-review
~More to be added later, including any comparisons anyone wants me to make to anything I own~
This is the main part of the review, and the most important for every audio gear.
Dunu's house sound usually leans towards to either the warm and smooth, or bassy signatures. Even their single balanced armature based IEMs were more mid-centered with rolled-off highs and lows. Knowing this, I had my worries about the result of the DN-1000 tuning. Why? It's simple. For their first hybrid earphone, Dunu chose one of the best (and of my favorites) Dual BA driver on the market, the TWFK, which is known by its extreme brightness with amazing hyper detail and ultra high speed, but light on the low-end. Add to that a Dunu's dynamic driver, which can be quite bass heavy and slow in speed, and the result could be either a horrible V-shaped sound, too bassy and trebly with recessed mids - if done wrong - , or a beautiful full and well balanced sound, challenging the top-tier products - if done right. Fortunately, I'm glad to say that it's the latter case. The configuration is the same as the older and much pricier AKG K3003 model and the newer Astrotec AX-60, and while I don't know how those two sound, one thing is clear, these new Dunu DN-1000 are a top-tier product, at least among universal IEMs.
The impressions are based on using the clear white stock tips with the blue rings. While the rings mainly help to get a better fit, they also have some effect on the sound, especially in the bass and/or treble positioning. Not a huge difference to dedicate a special section to each ring, but worth mentioning. Personally I opted for the blue ones as they offer a best balanced sound from low to highs.
Bass: The Dynamic driver.
The low end is always full and rich, which is a characteristic strength of Dunu's dynamic drivers. It's a big and surrounding bass that never gets to point of being overwhelming. They compete very well against similar priced (and even pricier) dynamic IEMs in tightness, precision, and overall speed and detail. While they can't match the 'pure' multi-BA drivers in micro detail and ultra speed, they have the more natural feeling and realistic attack and decay that dynamic drivers usually offer. Layering is great and extension is more than enough. Quantity wise, both mid and sub bass are evenly presented, and quality wise they're way far ahead from the previous models, including even the previous flagship, the DN-19 Tai Chi.
My favorite part is that the DN-1000 dynamic driver is not only limited to offer a great and coherent bass response, but also warms up the midrange giving it a fuller and more musical tone.
Mids & Highs: The Balanced Armature Twins, the lovely TWFK.
There's no doubt who is in charge of the midrange and treble here. I've always liked the Knowles TWFK driver’s sound, from the first time I listened to the Brainwavz B2, and later on to the Rock It R-50.
The midrange is very clean and transparent, slightly prominent and perfectly well balanced with the rest of the frequencies. Expectedly, the clarity and detail are at their best. Compared to the cooler mids of the 'pure' TWFK, like the B2, and even the R-50, the DN-1000 mids are slighlty smoother and more liquid. They might sound a tad less aggressive, but have more body with a more silky texture and natural timbre. They sound as effortless and articulated as a TWFK driver can sound, but are much more engaging and realistic.
Vocals are truly impressive with an incredible level of detail that's possible to hear clearly every single word, be it from the main singers or backgrounds. They're fuller and more forward than the R-50 or B2 with a much nicer hint of warmth and sweetness. Even though the detail and air are slighlty ahead of the more vocal focused RE-400, they aren't as beautiful as the Hifiman's silky vocals, and the DN-1000 are also less forgiving and more prone to sibilance because the TWFK brighter nature. At the end of the day it's more a matter of taste as both the DN-1000 and RE-400 are great perfomers when it comes to midrange reproduction.
The treble it's where these dual Knowles BA drivers always shine. Like other TWFK based IEMs they're very bright, crispy and sparkly with plenty of energy and incredible extension. Instrument separation is excellent and they're nicely layered, highly resolving and very airy. As expected, they aren't sibilance free and won't forget to show their more aggressive nature either. Foam tips could help a bit in this regard, though.
Now, changing to the darker and wider bore tips, the sound presentation also changes. Personally, I couldn't get a right fit with the provided stock tips, so I used similar shaped wide bore eartips, like the AudioFly and Auvio tips.
Not surprisingly, the resulting sound is sharper and more lively and energetic, with a very slightly U-shaped response. The bass is deeper and slightly more powerful, but loses some of its warmth. Midrange feels colder and not as thick, being less suited for vocals. Treble is the most affected, being much more similar to the Fischer Audio DBA-02, Brainwavz B2 and Rock-It R-50. It is brighter and more peaky and prone to sibilance. Even so, extension remains the same. It kind of reminds me of the CNT based ATH-CKN70, but fuller and more well-rounded.
Soundstage is very large with excelent sense of space and distance. Not only it has the BA TWFK width and depth, but with the addition of the dynamic driver the sound is much more enveloping and three-dimensional. It's very impressive for a IEM and has that incredible ‘out of the head’ feel on it, not easily found on the in-ear market (especially on the 'sealed' ones).
Cons - Weight, nozzle design (no lip), cable hardens over time
Introducing Dunu's DN1000 Hybrid (dual BA + single dynamic) IEM
I've been lucky enough recently to start reviewing for a few IEM and ear-bud manufacturers. After reading other comments and reviews on Dunu's latest flagship (the DN-1000 triple driver hybrid), and communicating with Rocky from Dunu, I got my chance to listen to this wonderful product recently. They arrived a little over three weeks ago – and in that time I’ve logged a lot of hours with them (in fact they've been my IEM of choice). I’ve listed price at USD $215 (current Amazon price at time of writing) – however this is not what I paid for them (they are a review sample).
Disclaimer I was provided the DN-1000 as a review sample. I am in no way affiliated with Dunu - and this review is my honest opinion of the DN1000. I would like to thank Rocky for making this opportunity available.
Preamble - 'about me'. (This is to give any readers a baseline for interpreting the review). I'm a 46 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile - just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current mid-fi set-up. I vary my listening from portable (HSA Studio V3 and iPhone4) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP). My main headphones at the time of writing are the Senn HD600, Beyer DT880, and Grado RS1. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and up till now it has mainly been the Shure SE535 Ltd Ed. or the HSA BA100 IEMs. I have auditioned quite a few entry and mid-tier cans, but have yet to hear/own any real flagships (at current time of writing this review). A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-fi profile).
I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz to grunge and hard-rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced - with a slight emphasis on the mid-range. I am neither a bass nor treble head (you could argue that I do like clarity though). Current amps = NFB12 and LD MKIV. I also formerly owned several portable amps - the most notable being an Arrow 4G and GoVibe PortaTube.
For the purposes of this review - I used the Dunu DN-1000 straight from the headphone-out socket of both my iPhone 4 and Studio V3. I did not bother with amping them, as IMO they do not require an amp. In the three weeks I've had the DN-1000's I have probably already put around 60 hours listening time. In that time I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (I do not believe in 'night and day' burn-in). I will allow that the more time I've have spent with these IEM's, the better they continue to sound to me. Personally I think this is brain burn in - but I will respect others choice if they interpret this as physical burn-in.
This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
Packaging and Accessories The DN-1000's arrived in a smart (simple but elegant) retail box - consisting of a outer sleeve over a 'book' style inner case. The first thing I noticed (which actually impressed me a lot) was that the box was completely shrink sealed. That shows two things IMO - a high level of care with their product, and complete confidence in their QC (that any pack they do is up to review standard).
Front of the box
Rear of the box
The packaging is ideal for a retail presentation - an easy to display rectangular retail box - with an 'average' footprint. I quite like the style of this box – matches the IEMs really – simple, but a lot of thought gone into the design. The specific sales messages on the box are a general one for the DUNU brand (Delicate, Unique & Utmost), while the specific one for the DN-100 reads simply "Ultimate quality hybrid in-ear earphone". The box also has a list of specifications (multiple languages) on the side, and a list of included accessories on the rear.
On opening the inner box, you're presented with the metal carrying case, and the IEMs. It's not until you explore the rest of the case that you find out how compelte the accessory package is. I was actually 'blown away' that so much is included with the DN-1000.
Outer sleeve and inner box
Book style case showing DN-1000 and carry case
For accessories, included is an excellent rigid metal case (dimensions approx 70x70x30mm). If you own any of the HiSound Audio products - the case is virtually the same size - but rigid rather than soft. It is an ideal size for the IEMs - and has room for spare tips etc. It is large enough to hold the IEMs safely – yet small enough to fit in a front pocket.
Amazing accessories included
Hard case, soft pouch and polishing cloth
It also comes with a well made soft leather pouch (with draw string). I'm not sure of the purpose of this (maybe for carrying all the accessories) - but what I have found is that it's a perfect fit for my Studio V3 DAP - so thank you Dunu (solved a problem with how to carry my DAP without scratching it).
Perfect with my Studio V
In addition there is an airline daptor plug, ear-guides (detachable), a cable clip (if you want to wear them down), a 3.5-6.3mm adaptor plug, a cleaning cloth, and some aluminium spacers for Dunu's nozzle adjustment system (nore on that later). There is also documentation including a warranty card (English) and instructions on how to use the nozzle adjustment system.
Adaptors clip and earguide
Warranty and Frequency Chart
The DN-1000 also comes with a plethora of different sized tips including dual flanges, single flange (reinforced interior), and also some foam tips similar to Complys (not quite as soft). All-in-all, the accessories included are highly impressive, and I have not seen a better set of accessories with any of my own IEMs - except maybe the SE535 which is double the price of the DN-1000.
Range of included tips
Foam tips, silicones and dual flanges
Triple driver hybrid (dual TWFK balanced armature plus a single dynamic driver), Inner Ear Monitor (IEM)
Frequency response :
Noise attenuation :
Jack / cable :
3.5mm angled standard gold-plated jack, 120 cm cable
Build / Fit / Comfort / Isolation The DN-1000 is pretty much built like a tank. I checked with Rocky, and the shell is an aluminium alloy. It's approx 1cm in diameter and 1 cm in length, with a further 0.7cm for the nozzle. The IEMs are relatively heavy (at 26g), but so far I haven't found the weight obtrusive in any way. Each nozzle has an inbuilt filter. On the rear exterior of each shell is Dunu's logo. L&R markings are quite small - and IMO could have been more prominent / easier to identify. I solved this via the use of the differnt coloured comply tips (red and blue) - but it's something I think a lot of manufacturers could improve. You don't see the markings when they're in your ears - so why not make them easier to read?
Extremely solid build
The cable is a very smooth PVC outer, and appears extremely well put together. I can't see this breaking any time soon - and it's pretty much tangle free to boot. There is a short cable relief at the shells, and also at the 3.5mm right angled plug. I checked with Rocky on the cable materials - and he not only confirmed the PVC, but also that they had gone out of their way to use material that is considered 'green', or 'eco-friendly'.
Cable is fantastic with low microphonics
The splitter is quite rigid, and also appears to be made out of an alloy. One of the great things about the splitter is that there is enough weight in it to keep the cable pulling down slightly. The other thing I love about this splitter is that the top half of it detaches to become the chin slider. The design is simple, very elegant, and works incredibly well. The other fantastic (to me anyway) design element in the cable is the inclusion of an 'on-cable' cinch (or rubber cable tidy). This is a really simple mechanism that is unobtrusive - but means that whenever it's time to store the IEMs, the cable is always tidily looped. For me (being slightly OCD), I simply LOVE this inclusion. So simple - yet so practical.
Design winners - Y splitter & slider
And cable cinch (love this)
July 2014 - I've updated this section for a comment on the cable. Mine has noticeably stiffened over time. I don't know if this is due to sweat on the cable, or exposure to sunlight, or another cause. What I do know is that this is concerning for the overall longetivity of the IEM - especially when I'm not the only one who has noticed this (see H20's comments elsewhere on Head-Fi). So far it hasn't detracted from the sound, or even the usability - buut buyers should be aware of a potential issue - especially considering the cable is not replaceable. I have adjusted overall score accordingly.
Before we go into fit, I'll briefly touch on the inclusion of the coloured rings (or spacers). The DN-1000 is designed to allow you to fit one of three different sized spacers (or fourth option - use none at all) - that then allow the tips to be closer or further away from the body of the IEM. Changing this theoretically affects the frequency response, and also the insertion depth.
Nozzle rings / spacers
Different colours, different spacers
I tried different settings and different tips - and whilst I like the idea (it definitely has tweaking options for the enthusiasts here), I do wonder how effective it is. I tried all of the different rings, eventually settling on the reds - but to be honest I found that any change in frequency response (for me) was marginal and I doubt I could tell anything in a proper blind test. It's also likely that the few mm change between rings would be nullified by the actual change in fit each time you use them (ie I guarantee that my insertion depth with the same red rings will be different almost every time I use them).
Instruction card and spacers
Fitting the spacers
Anyway - nice idea - but leads to the one design issue I have with the DN-1000. By allowing for the change of rings, they can't acccomodate a lip on the nozzle. Because of this - anyone trying for a really good seal / deep insertion with some of the tips may very well find themselves removing the DN-1000 from your ears, and finding the tips still in your ears. This doesn't happen for me with the comply foams (they stick on the DN-1000 pretty well), but I found that with the dual flanges, I often had to go fishing (in my ears) for the missing tips. Didn't happen often - but enough to be annoying. If I was to have my choice between tip stability and tweakability with the rings, the rings would be discarded. Others may have different ideas.
Smooth nozzle- no retaining lip
Foam tips actually fit solidly
Anyway - onto fit. I have one canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. However Dunu included a single flange design that I haven't seen before, and I'd pick some people will love this. It has circular reinforcing fins, and keeps the tip shape resonably firm (nice design). The included dual flanges allowed me the best overall fit - but unfortunately I had issues with keeping them intact with the DN-1000 on removal from my ears. The included foam tips are almost a perfect fit, easy to insert, and I never have an issue with them coming loose. The only downside is that they don't completely isolate (seal may not be 100% perfect) - but I find they sound wonderful sonically. I did try some monster gel-tips and also super-tips. The gel-tips were a disaster, but the super-tips actually fit really well - and I may try them for my next long-haul flight. In the meantime the foam tips are very comfortable and my tip of choice.
Reinforced silicone tips
My set-up of choice
Once the DN-1000 are correctly inserted, I find them (despite the weight) to be extremely comfortable, and have no issues with even long listening sessions. They sit flush enough with my ears that I can easily lie down with them still in place - and I think I'd have no issues sleeping with the DN-1000 still intact. They are designed in such a way that they can be worn cable down, or cable over ear. My preference has always been over ear, and it fits snugly without the need for the included guides. I did try the guides, but found them a little unwieldy. they may appeal to some though - and it's nice to have the option. Cable microphonics were very low (pretty much non-existent) with the cable worn over ear. There was some cable noise worn down - included shirt clip may help reduce this. One point to note here - I got very little bone induction noise when walking while wearing these. Not sure if it's the tips I'm using and the slightly less isolation compared to my Shures - but it definitely makes exercise (walking/jogging especially) a lot more enjoyable.
As far as isolation goes - these are 'OK'. They aren't as good as the Shures - but I think this is very much tip dependent, and as stated earlier, it's pretty hard for me to have an extremely isolating tip with the current nozzle design. I have several long-haul flights in Feb next year - so it will be interesting to see how they go. Anyway - isolation is listed by Dunu at 26dB - which should be good at eliminating most ambient noise - or at least mitigating it.
So what do these suckers sound like ……… ?
SOUND QUALITY The following is what I hear from the DN-1000. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline).
Detail For this I’m using both Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” as there is a lot of micro detail in both tracks, and the recording quality for both is excellent.
The Dn-1000 displays good detail with a nice (if polite) crispness, and enough balance so that detail is present without having the treble highlighted. The DN-1000 actually sound pretty natural, and even swuitching to my 535 Ltd Eds, I'm realising that the Dunu's have similar clarity and detail - with the Shures having a more mid-centric presentation, whereas the DN-1000 are a little warmer (and bassier). The one thing I noticed in switching between the 535 and DN-1000 was that the Dunu's may have very slightly more treble roll off in the upper registers. Cymbals are still fully present – but they are more apparent with the Shures. I have no complaints about the DN-1000 though. The overall presentation of detail for this IEM is very enjoyable, and the dual TWFK drivers are really showing what they can do.
Sound-stage & Imaging For this I use a binaural recording – Amber Rubarth “Sessions From The 17th Ward” - “Tundra”. I use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage. I also use some recorded live performances (including tracks from Joe Bonamassa’s “An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House”).
IMO it’s usually difficult to get a reasonable stage size from an inner ear monitor. The stage is usually quite small / close – with an average impression of space. Not so with the DN-1000. These are surprisingly spacious for an IEM with the stage projecting very slightly outside my head. Comparatively, my Shures and the HSA BA100 definitely have a smaller more intimate stage with the track “Tundra”. The DN-1000 shows good separation and the imaging seems pretty accurate and precise. Switching to Bonamassa – and the DN-1000 again really excels with this exceptional live blues album. The acoustics of the Vienna Opera Hall are well represented and there is a real perception of not only space and size - but depth as well. Although I am close to the stage - I'm not 'on it'. What I do like is how engaging the Dunu's are - I can't help tapping my feet and nodding my head - and that's the sort of presentation a live performance should be giving me.
Highs/Mids Rather than referencing tracks – I’m going to give general impressions – as I’ve tried to listen to as many varied genres as I can.
The DN-1000 actually has a very articulate top end with just enough sparkle to make it interesting. There is definitely a crispness to them – but it is not overdone, and with my music, has never bordered on sibilance. I'm finding the top end has excellent clarity - but it's not spot-lit like some IEMs, and it blends nicely with both upper and lower mids. Cymbals are heard – but aren't glaring. If I had to describe it, I’d say the treble is very smooth but very clear at the same time. Treble heads and extreme detail freaks will probably not be completely satisfied, but for those who like a rich organic sound without any lack of clarity – these should definitely be considered. For my personal preference (and I usually prefer a little more clarity and shimmer) – I'm finding these actually close to perfect (must be the overall balance).
The mid-range is how I like it – nicely balanced with the rest of the spectrum – yet relatively full and rich. The mids are not overly forward. Vocals are wonderfully clear – and acoustic guitar has a nice crunch to it. Timbre is rich and very well presented Both male and female vocals are realistic - if maybe a touch on the warm/rich side. The more I use the DN-1000 the more I really like them, even to the point that I rarely use my Shures any more. Seether's acoustic album “One Cold Night” sounded particularly good with the Dunus. The guitar sounds the way it’s supposed to with good bite – without being showy. I'm a mid-range junkie, and normally I'd prefer a slighly forward mid-range - with the vocals being the focus - but I'm surprised with every different album I try how well balanced these are through the mids and highs. I remember (when I owned it) - I had a Brainwavz B2 dual TWFK which had marvelously tuned BA drivers - utterly engaging and captivating. These are similar - but without the upper register glare of the B2 - and I guess that's where we need to talk about one of the strengths of this IEM - the bass from the dynamic driver ......
Bass (specifically) The DN-1000 was again a surprise to me. I was expecting these to have some good bass - but was wondering if it would somehow overshadow the midrange. The bass is definitely there, and oh so much fun - but I'm not experiencing bass bleed. The balance on these is incredible. The bass is very full, hits reasonably hard - but does have a longer decay than my SE535 (which are quite linear - but also really well defined). The bass on the DN-1000 is a bit slower than on the Shures - but there is much more impact, and they seem to extend reasonably low. To my ears, it does seem to have very slightly elevated mid-bass (but so far not loose or flabby). Because the bass is probably slightly elevated over the rest of the spectrum, these do have the tendency to sound a little warm - but they're unlike anything I've heard before, and I find myself struggling to desrcibe what I'm hearing. They're warm but not dark. They're relatively balanced - but at the same time very slightly bassy. They're incredibly well defined, and the mid-range is never recessed - so I wouldn't call them V shaped either. They simply have an earthy, organic, rich grunt to them which really resonates with my audio preferences.
As a final test I tried Lorde’s new release “Royals” (16 yo NZ girl on the rise internationally) – mainly because the bass absolutely reaches low and has quite a bit of power. It handled the bass very well – good quality and quantity - just a slight boominess.
Power Requirements The DN-1000 is easily powered out of my iPhone4, and on most tracks I am around 50% on the volume slider. With the StudioV3 - the volume is around 9 or 10. Comparatively - my Shures need slightly less power. The Studio V3 does have a class A amp - but it's hard to say if my preference for the Studio over the iPhone4 is the extra power at play, or if it is simply that the Studio V3 sounds better. Anyway - I digress. You're not going to need exrternal amplification with the DN-1000 unless you have a very weak source, or if it has a high output impedance.
What About Response To EQ? IMO - the DN-1000 don't need tweaking. But it's always nice to see what they are capable of if you do decide to apply EQ. So I fired up the iPhone with the Equaliser app, and gave them a little tweak in the upper mids and highs and a reduction in bass – and they responded extremely well. I quickly turned the EQ offf though - IMO Dunu has the default tuning pretty well right already.
Quick Comparisons - SE535 LE & BA100 For this I'm going to simply use two of my favourite tracks - "Trains" by Porcupine Tree and also Pearl Jam's "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter" - not because they're reference or anything - but more because I simply love these two tracks. These three IEMs are in very different price brackets - but all have strengths and all are highly rated by me.
My listening trial set-up
HiSound Audio's BA-100 = well balanced, vocals slightly forward, very clear, they almost sound a little tinny/nasally (lacking in body) after using the DN-1000. Very comfortable and lightweight though - and the more you listen to them, the better they sound.
Shure SE535 Ltd Ed = again well balanced, but with much clearer and more upfront vocals. Very full, very clear, sublime really. These do vocals incredibly well. Bass is balanced and textured but sometimes just doesn't have the impact I'd like.
Dunu DN-1000 = very clear, mids not as foward, almost more balanced than the Shures - definitely not as bright, yet still very clear. Vocals are great, almost as good as the Shures, bass is better.
SUMMARY I'd never had the pleasure of hearing a hybrid before so I didn't really know what to expect. it took me a while to get the fit right, but eventually with the complies I've found something that is a good mix of fit and sonics. As far as build and design goes, the DN-1000 would be one of the most well designed total packages I've encountered - with the one exception of the nozzle (see above). Apart from that I can't really fault them.
Sonically these are incredible for their price. Well balanced but with an earthy, catchy and exciting low end that just keeps my toes tapping. The slightly wider sound-stage (than normally expected on an IEM) actually pairs really well with some of my genres, and listening to Von Karajam and the Beliner Philharmonic's 1963 rendition of Beethoven's 9 Symphonies with them (paired with the Studio V3) was a captivating experience. Yet it's rock and indie that really ticked the boxes for me. I'd imagine they might have a little difficulty with really fast paced music - but as I seldom listen to anything too fast paced, it's a non-issue for me.
I would have no hesitation recommending these IEMs to family and friends – and I guess that says a lot for how highly I regard them. These just really tick all my boxes.
They probably won’t dethrone my 535’s – as I think I'll need the 535's greater isolation on my long haul flights - but if my 535's broke tomorrow, and I was left with the DN-1000, I don't think I'd be looking for another IEM. Indeed, over time (if they can isolate "well enough") I'd probably sell the Shures before I sold these - and that should be praise enough. Incredible value at around the USD 200 mark. I wish I'd found something like this years ago.
Congrats Rocky and Dunu / TopSound - these are a winner.
Recommendations to Dunu Here is a very short list of what I’d change if I could. Hopefully this may be helpful to you Rocky.
Fix the nozzle - it needs a lip, even if it means ditching the rings.
Include a larger set of the complies - it was the only tip for me that was missing.
A detachable cable would be nice if you do another version of these - it might encourage more people to try them - especially for a flagship. Personally I find the cable brilliant - but it may attract others, and these need to be tried (over pricier models) - they really are THAT good.
Research into cable sheath material. Needs to be looked at due to hardening issues.
More prominent L/R markings for some of us in the older generation - so I don't have to squint
Once again Rocky – thanks for the opportunity to try these. They are incredibly good - and to my ears, play at the same level as much more expensive models.