General Information

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Driver Module:
- Dynamic Driver(s): 3rd Generation 13.5 mm Driver with Dual-Sided Beryllium Coating (×1)
- Balanced Armature Driver(s): Custom Knowles BA Mid-High Tweeter (×1)
- Electret Electrostatic Driver(s): Sonion Dual EST Supertweeter (×2)

Stock Cable:
- Length: 1.2 ± 0.1 m
- Material: 4-Core, High-Purity Monocrystalline Silver-Plated Cable (DUW-02S)
- Cable Connector: Patented Catch-Hold MMCX Connector
- Plug Connector: Patented DUNU Quick-Switch Modular Plug System
- Included Plug Termination(s): 4.4 mm TRRRS Balanced, 3.5 mm TRS Single-Ended and 2.5 mm TRRS Balanced

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Latest reviews

antdroid

Headphoneus Supremus
Solid new entry from Dunu
Pros: Exceptional value for EST driver product
Great cable and shell design
High quality build
Good resolution and detail retrieval
Generally balanced, easily likable sound signature
Cons: Slightly harsh in the upper mids
A little bit of sibilance and peaky upper-treble
Large shell may not fit everyone


The Sonion-developed electrostatic tweeter driver has been gaining a lot of popularity in the past year or two with many manufacturers jumping on this bandwagon. The EST driver, at least in my opinion, combines some of the characteristics of a standard balanced armature driver and some of the high powered electrostatic driver. But, first, let's not confused Electrostatic Tweeter with a real electrostatic driver, like the one used in the Shure KSE-1200 and KSE-1500 or a typical Stax-brand headphone. Those require a separate energizer unit to power the incredibly insensitive drivers. With that said...

Dunu is the latest headphone brand to announce an EST-featured in-ear monitor to their lineup, and this newest model comes in at just $489 and is packed with a pair of EST drivers, as well as their 13.5 mm dual-sided beryllium-coated dynamic driver, and a single custom Knowles BA driver. This new product is called the "EST 112", and the major selling point is the simpler-driver arrangement, which drives the cost down significantly, making this new product the lowest EST tri-brid offering on the market (to my knowledge), cutting down even the Thieaudio Monarch and Clairvoyance twins.

Before I dive into my review, I would like to thank Tom from Dunu for sending this prototype of the EST 112 to me prior to the launch for a preview of the product. I was told that this final prototype's tuning is the same that will be in the production unit, with some possible cosmetic changes for the packaging.



Unboxing​


The EST 112 comes in a rectangular box that has a exploded CAD-view of the EST 112's parts on the cover, much like was featured on some of the other Dunu packages prior. The EST 112 comes, again, with a series of tips, a case, and a new cable that I have yet to see or use before. This Dunu cable is reminiscent of the original DUW-02 cable that I really enjoy, but with improved braiding that's thicker, but just as pliable and maneuverable as before. It's aptly called, DUW-02s.

The DUW-02s cable is immensely better than the DUW-03 cable that comes with the SA6 and Zen products. Like the other Dunu products, this cable comes with their patented modular cable connectors that pop off and are replaceable with other heads for different amp configurations.

The metal shells are pretty large, and easily the largest of any of the Dunu IEMs I've tried. There is a reason for this, of course, and that's to house the two EST drivers and their own mini energizers, and the larger 13.5mm diameter woofer. Because of the larger shell size, thicker depth, and angle of the nozzle, I did have some trouble getting a good quality fit with my ears. I do want to note that I do have occasional problems with fitment in my right ear on a variety of in-ears, however this one was troubling all around.

I did manage to get a decent fit and good seal using SpinFit 360 tips, which are wide bore, but a little shallow and designed for true-wireless IEMs. These did give me comfort while wearing the EST 112, though may not have provided the deepest insertion depth possible, although, they did go in my ear fairly well and did not stick out.

The design on the faceplate is a mirrored metal look with a circular fan pattern that remind me a little bit of wings. There is also a chrome-mirror appearance on the bezel of the faceplate that give this unit a shiny, but not too showy look. It's a subtle but classy design.

The face plate also features a slit opening that looks like a vent port. There is another pin hole sized vent on the inner-side of the shell.


Sound Impressions​

I was excited to put these on at first because I have grown to really like the Dunu set of gears that they've shared with me over the past 2 years and each one seemed like a step up from the previous release. The latest two units: the SA6 and the Zen are among my favorites in their price class and driver configurations.

When I first put on the EST 112, I did have to play around with several tips to get an adequate level of seal and insertion to give it a fair shake. When I finally landed on the first available tips, I did find the EST 112 to have a little bit of upper mid-range forwardness and a bright shrill sound (shouty?) that wasn't the most enjoyable. I went back to the drawer and pulled out some more tips and finally settled on the Spinfit tips I mentioned previously.

This led me to a much more accurate representation to what I expected from listening to the Dunu EST 112 and more closely aligned with the measurements I took later. The EST 112 presented a fairly neutral tuning, but with a slightly warm lower midrange, and a forward mid-range. This mid-range was still "peaky" at times, but not as bad as when the tips weren't fully seated right. The treble range is fairly smooth, but peaky (confused? more on this later), and does extend a little bit into the upper range, though isn't the most airiest of IEMs I've heard.




The EST 112 has an interesting blend of refinement and rawness to it that is makes me really appreciate it most of the time, but then it'll do something that I feel is slightly lacking. Some of this is due to the tuning, which I do find just a little too sharp in the upper-midrange and it can be a tad fatiguing. When I played through a score of trio-jazz records, the constant cymbals and hi-hats can leave my ears with a little bit of ringing after removing the IEMs.

It is similar to the sensation I mentioned in some of my previous reviews, most notably the written and video review I wrote on the Unique Melody MEST Custom In-Ear. Over time with the MEST, I did get used to this tuning, and my ears adjusted and the sensation subsided. For the most part, this was also the case with the EST 112, but there is still the occasional splashy hit that bothers me.

Despite this kind of uneven upper treble response, the EST drivers do show off their semi-ethereal being on this unit. I think the simplicity of the driver configuration does help drive this point home, and showcases the drivers more so than some of the other offerings I've tried. The treble range has a unique softness that is also well-defined and silky sounding, and it's something I commented on in my Empire Ears Odin and Vision Ears Elysium reviews. It's effortless in its presentation, sans the occasional splashy ringing harmonics.

My little complaints on these little peaks are more than likely due to the inherent frequency response of the EST drivers themselves than anything, as they do have inherent peaks starting at 4 Khz and 13 Khz from memory. That said, for the most part, the EST drivers have a nice sheening effect that does gloss over the peaks a bit where I think a typical BA driver may not be as able to.

The low end of this IEM is powered by the 13.5mm dynamic driver and for the most part it is quick and nimble is less weighty than other tunings I've heard. It's more about precision and speed here, and that's somewhat reminiscent of most beryllium-coated or pure beryllium (Final A8000 or Dunu Luna) in-ears I've heard in the past. This does lend itself to match better with the mid-range BA driver and the EST, however, I do find that there is occasionally a bit of disjointed cohesion between the drivers.

This cohesion isn't a big problem on most tracks I heard, but it was a little bit more noticeable when I listened to Of Monsters and Men's "Hunger." The basslines felt separated from the rest of the track on this one and it didn't feel like one cohesive pack.

That said, though, there is a price and a budget constraint at play here. And most multi-driver-type hybrids and tribrids I've have cohesion issues, and even some multi-BAs in the lower price tiers. There are actually very few IEMs where I feel that the entire frequency spectrum sounds effortless and cohesive as one unit, outside of a single dynamic-driver IEM. Those few cohesive rarities belong in pricier-tiers than this EST 112 at its sub-$500 pricing, which I was as shocked to hear as I've had in while on pricing. Lately, it's the sticker-shock is more on the exorbitant pricing increases and not the opposite.

Comparisons​

As previously mentioned, Dunu has released two stellar IEMs in this price category in the recent past with the multi-BA SA6 and the single dynamic-driver Zen. How do these two compare to this new tri-brid EST 112?



Of the three, I probably would choose the Dunu SA6 as my own personal choice, but they all have their own strengths and weaknesses relative to one another that the prospective buyer will have to compromise with.

The reason I like the SA6 more is because it has the most forgiving tonal balance of the three, has the smallest and most comfortable fit, and my personal favorite in the looks department. Of course, your miles will vastly vary as each SA6 is unique due to its use of real stabilized wood with varying stain colors that is a surprise at unboxing. The SA6 lacks a little bit of low end girth and dynamics compared to the others as well.

The Zen offers the most organic and realistic sound, with a very punchy and warm presentation using its single dynamic driver, and more so than the EST 112. I find the Zen's presentation the most forward and in-your-face of the three, which is a little too intimate for my personal tastes (I like open and wide space for my musical choices), and the occasional shrills of the treble peaks in the 8-9K, which is also apparent in the EST 112.

In actual tonal balance, the EST 112 and Zen have the most in common. They both have a warmer mid-range body, with a bit more upper-midrange energy than the SA6 and a slight peak at 8-10KHz that can cause a little ringing for my ears.

But the EST 112's electrostatic tweets does smooth out this characteristic more so than the SA6 and I find it's treble response the most interesting and smooth of all three.



So the quick comparative version:​


Bass: Zen
Mids: Zen or SA6
Treble: EST 112
Soundstage: SA6 or EST 112
Imaging: SA6
Dynamics: Zen
Transient Speed: EST 112
Resolution: SA6 or EST 112


Fit: SA6
Style: SA6
Cable: EST 112's DUW-02s by a mile



Wrap-Up​

Do I like the EST 112? Yes, it's pretty good. Is it my favorite? Probably not. But it does treble a bit differently than other products in this price range, and that's a unique characteristic it has. Dunu has 3 solid units now in this price class that can compete with others. I do think that this is maybe my least favorite of the three mentioned here, but it can hold its own against others.

It is in tough competition with the Moondrop Blessing 2 and Blessing 2 Dusk, which are priced lower, but this one also brings to the table the latest driver technology and the typical Dunu package of goodies which are a step above most of its competition.
Redcarmoose
Redcarmoose
Nice!

RikudouGoku

Headphoneus Supremus
Ultra Instinct
Pros: Well tuned natural sounding tri-brid
Bass texture, speed and tightness
Well balanced male/female vocals and natural
Airy but non-peaky treble and very good extension
Huge soundstage
Details (macro/micro)
Instrument separation/imaging
Natural timbre from bass to treble
Modular cable
Accessories
Value
Jack of all genres
Cons: Master of none
Slight BA timbre in the mids
Bass extension
Not for bass/treble-heads
Poorly mastered tracks will show it
high cable resistance
Might be too big for people with small ears
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Disclaimer: I received this review unit from Dunu. Thank you very much.

Price: 490 usd

Specifications:


FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz (HI-RES Audio Certified)

IMPEDANCE: 10 Ω at 1 kHz

SENSITIVITY: 110 ± 1 dB at 1 kHz

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: < 0.3% at 1 kHz

LENGTH: 1.2 ± 0.1 m

MATERIAL: 4-Core, High-Purity Monocrystalline Silver-Plated Cable (DUW-02S)

CABLE CONNECTOR: Patented Catch-Hold MMCX Connector

PLUG CONNECTOR: Patented DUNU Quick-Switch Modular Plug System

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Accessories:

INCLUDED PLUG TERMINATION(S):

4.4 mm TRRRS Balanced

3.5 mm TRS Single-Ended

2.5 mm TRRS Balanced

Grey Balanced Tips (×3, S/M/L)

White Core Tips (×3, S/M/L)

SpinFit Tips (×3, S/M/L)

Foam Tips (×1)

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Cleaning Brush

DUNU DC-16 3.5-to-6.3 mm Adapter

Airplane Adapter

Carry Case (Navy)

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Cable: 4 core modular SPC cable that is very lightweight and pretty soft. Metal connectors and dividers except on the mmcx which is plastic. Has a working chin-slider but L/R markings are very hard to spot. Resistance is pretty high at 0.49 ohms (2.5/4.4mm) and at 0.54 ohms with the 3.5mm jack. The aesthetics in my opinion isn’t very good looking either and with the high resistance it makes the cable a bit disappointing IMO.



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Build: Entirely made out of aluminum including the nozzle and it has a metal mesh. The lip on the nozzle allows for 2 ways of placing the tips, one that allows for a deeper fit and the other with a shallower fit. It is vented, size is a bit bigger than average.

Fit: works well for me and shouldn’t be a problem for most people except for the ones with very small ears. Insertion is a bit deeper than average but depending on tip fitment on the nozzle you can get a deeper insertion that’s a bit too deep for me personally.

Comfort: Very good for me.

Isolation: Average, nothing special. It does have a pretty big vent that makes it semi-open like the Dunu Zen, but since it covers my entire ears, the isolation doesn’t really suffer because of the vent.


Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 25), Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, stock cable 4.4mm

Lows:
Very good texture as expected from beryllium DD´s. Tightness and speed are also very good and sounds very clean because of that. Quantity is elevated above neutral but I would have liked to have more quantity, fortunately the texture is good enough to “compensate” for that and sounds very good in the end. Sub-bass is slightly emphasized over mid-bass but both are still fairly even.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), Clean because of the speed and tightness. Texture is good as well. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is clean.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Good texture, speed and tightness but needs a bit more quantity to make it more fun.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), good extension and decent rumble. But needs to rumble more on a track like this. Punch is tight and fast with good texture but also needs more quantity.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), very good texture, speed and tightness along with quantity.

Mids: Forward or recessed vocals when the track calls for it, very good vocal balancing between male/female as well as quality, as both are excellent. Very good details as well without being shouty. The weakness here is that the EST112 is more of a “jack of all genres, master of none” type of iem, so tonality can sometime lack some brightness or warmth depending on the track, but still good enough to sound natural.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Very good tonality for both the vocals (bright) and the instruments (warm) and the timbre is very good so it sounds very natural. Vocals are slightly forward but not too much and is very fatigue free. Both macro and micro details are very good.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), good tonality and timbre, although vocal tonality could be brighter and quantity a bit more forward.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), not peaky at all but still very detailed. That EST driver is doing a great job at putting out detail that isn’t peaky.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), a bit shouty.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), Excellent tonality and timbre, very natural sounding while it is clean and detailed.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), good tonality but could be warmer. Timbre is natural and it is clean and very detailed.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), Excellent electric guitars that are very detailed and natural while it isn’t sharp.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), Poor mastering and shows it in your face, quite peaky treble.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello timbre, details and texture are very good but tonality could be warmer. Violin timbre, details, texture and treble extension are excellent but tonality could be brighter.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), Good tonality, timbre, details and clarity.

Soundstage: Very good soundstage in width and depth so it sounds holographic.

Tonality: Slightly bass boosted neutral, the bass boost is to make it a bit more fun and not sound boring and yet not color the sound beyond that, this iem is a “jack of all genres, master of non” type. It is very versatile and has a very good ability to change its tonality to adapt to the track, whether it is to be brighter or warmer, note weight is also not too thick nor thin so it complements its versatility very well.

This does however limit its ability to play a specific genre to its full potential, because it does tend to either lack some more warmth or brightness to be fully tonally correct (happens mostly with the vocals).

Details: Both macro and micro details are very good.

Instrument Separation: Separation is very good but imaging is a step behind the separation.

Songs that highlight the IEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4wfiUmta0g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5Gg2DfJVIY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvFmOIkuOfg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLUguXpUIb0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dVItTfITb8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8JN3gFWm3c https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVTXPUF4Oz4

Good genres:
OST, orchestral, rock/metal, electronic

Bad genres: A “jack of all genres, master of none” type of iem so there aren’t any genres (in my library at least) that it does particularly bad with. But hip-hop and EDM needs more bass quantity so they are probably the genres it performs the worst with. And badly mastered tracks will be shown in your face just how bad they are…



Comparisons:

IEM: Tanchjim Oxygen, Final Audio Type E tips L, cable A6 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), lower extension on the EST112 as well as more rumble. Punch quantity is also a bit higher as well as tighter, faster and more textured.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more quantity, texture, faster, tighter and more textured on the EST112.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), similar speed and tightness but a bit more quantity and texture on the EST112.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), very similar vocal tonality as well as forwardness. But more detailed and cleaner sounding overall on the EST112. Instrument tonality is also better on the EST112 due to it being too bright on the Oxygen. Timbre is a bit better on the Oxygen though.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), peakier and more fatiguing on the Oxygen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Instrument and vocal tonality are better on the EST112. More detailed on the EST112 as well. Naturality is better on the EST112 due to it having better tonality but otherwise timbre is fairly close.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a bit sharper and more fatiguing on the Oxygen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, texture, detail and timbre are better on the EST112. Violin tonality and timbre are a bit better on the Oxygen but similar details and texture.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), better tonality on the EST112 a bit shouty on the Oxygen in comparison.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider and deeper on the EST112 gives it a more holographic soundstage. Imaging, details and instrument separation are better on the EST112 as well. Timbre is a bit better on the Oxygen, but mostly with the violins as the rest sounds very natural on the EST112.

Overall: The EST112 is better than the Oxygen except for female vocal/acoustic tracks where they are somewhat even but even then, the EST112 is outperforming the Oxygen with the technicalities.


IEM: Fiio FD5, Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, stock cable 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extends lower and rumbles a bit more on the FD5. Punch quantity is similar, but tighter, faster and more textured on the EST112. Sounds a bit bloated on the FD5 in comparison.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tighter, faster and more textured on the EST112 so its cleaner but a bit more quantity on the FD5.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), cleaner on the EST112 due to tighter and faster bass and individual bass strikes are more distinct. FD5 has a bit more quantity while texture is similar.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), a bit better instrument tonality on the FD5 (warmer) but much better vocal tonality, details and more forward on the EST112. Timbre is a bit better on the FD5 though, but naturality is overall better on the EST112 due to the tonality.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a bit peakier on the FD5 and more fatiguing as well.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), more forward vocals on the EST112 but tonality is a bit better on the FD5 due to the warmth. Cleaner and more detailed on the EST112 while timbre is better on the FD5.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper electric guitars on the FD5, more natural on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality is better on the FD5 but more detailed on the EST112 while texture and timbre are similar. Violin tonality, texture, details and treble extension are better on the EST112 while timbre is similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality is better on the EST112, similar airiness but more detailed on the EST112.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Similar soundstage, but better imaging, separation, details on the EST112. Timbre is better on the FD5.

Overall: The EST112 is a better iem from tonality to technicalities. But if you want a bassier iem the FD5 is better as it is more fun, timbre is also better on the FD5 but exceptionally good on the EST112 considering it is a tri-brid. The EST112 is a more versatile iem though, so it will most likely suit more people than the FD5.


IEM: Sony MDR-EX1000 (EQ), Final Audio Type E LL tips, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends lower and rumbles more on the EX1000. Punch quantity is a bit higher on the EX1000 while texture is similar. Tighter and faster on the EST112 though and cleaner.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), similar quantity and texture. But tighter and faster on the EST112 as well as more detailed and cleaner.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very similar bass in quantity and quality. But gets affected by the treble where it sounds grainier on the EX1000 and much cleaner and detailed on the EST112.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), more tonally correct vocals on the EST112 as well as more forward, detailed and cleaner. Instrument tonality however is better on the EX1000 due to the warmth.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and fatigue free on the EX1000.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better tonality on the EX1000 for both vocals and instruments. But is grainier on it and not as detailed and clean as on the EST112.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper on the EX1000 despite being warmer. Treble on the EX1000 is its biggest weakness even with EQ.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality is better on the EX1000 but texture, details and clarity are better on the EST112. Violin tonality, texture, details, clarity, treble extension and even timbre is better on the EST112. The violin timbre on the EX1000 is heavily bottlenecked by its treble so it doesn’t sound very natural despite being a single DD set.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality, details and clarity are better on the EST112. Vocals are also a bit recessed on the EX1000.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), soundstage is a bit wider on the EX1000 but similar depth. Imaging, instrument separation and details are however better on the EST112. Timbre is actually better on the EST112 due to the poor treble tuning bottlenecking the overall timbre and naturality on the EX1000.

Overall: The EST112 is better than the EX1000 even with EQ on it. Bass and the soundstage are the only factors that are better on the EX1000.


IEM: Dunu Zen, Final Audio Type E tips LL, stock cable 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends a lot lower and rumbles more on the Zen. Punch quantity is a bit higher but texture is a lot better and is also a bit tighter and faster on the Zen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), similar quantity but better texture speed and tightness on the Zen.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), cleaner on the EST112 but more textured and a bit higher quantity with the Zen.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality is similar but better vocal tonality with the Zen due to it being brighter and more forward. Details however are better on the EST112 overall due to it having a ton more micro-detail, although macro detail is better with the Zen. Clarity is also better on the EST112 and there is a lot more air to it. Timbre is a bit better on the Zen but overall naturality is better on the EST112 due to it being tuned a lot better with the treble (and no upper-treble roll-off).

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a lot sharper on the Zen and more fatiguing.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), tonality is better on the EST112 due to it being warmer and is also more detailed and cleaner sounding.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper and more fatiguing on the Zen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), cello texture, timbre and tonality are better on the Zen but similar detail. Violin tonality is a bit better on the Zen due to it being brighter, but details, treble extension are better on the EST112 with similar timbre due to it being bottlenecked a lot by the upper-treble roll-off in the Zen.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), better tonality and much more air on the EST112.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), another league with the soundstage on the EST112. Micro details are also a lot better on the EST112 but a bit better macro details on the Zen. Imaging and instrument separation are also better on the EST112. Timbre is similar.

Overall: The EST112 is the better tuned iem that’s also more technical. The only area where the Zen is better is the bass and it’s a big difference there and also the included cable is better with the Zen. Mids are tied while treble is just superior on the EST112. I only recommend the Zen over the EST112 for electronic music, otherwise the EST112 is both a better sounding, versatile and much better value.


IEM: Fiio FH3, Final Audio Type E tips LL, cable A3 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extension is similar but rumbles a lot more on the FH3. Punch quantity is also a lot higher on the FH3 but speed, tightness and texture are better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), quantity is a lot higher on the FH3 but texture, speed and tightness are better on the EST112 and sounds cleaner.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), cleaner due to the faster and tighter bass on the EST112. More quantity on the FH3 though, but more textured on the EST112.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), similar vocal forwardness, but better tonality (both vocal and instruments), timbre, details and cleaner on the EST112. More BA timbre in the FH3, much more natural sounding on the EST112.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a bit more relaxing on the FH3 due to the extra bass quantity giving it more warmth.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), tonality, timbre, details and clarity are all better on the EST112.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a bit more relaxing on the FH3 due to it being warmer.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), cello tonality, timbre and texture are similar but more detailed on the EST112. Violin tonality, timbre, detail, texture and treble-extension are better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a bit better tonality on the EST112 as well as better timbre and details.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider and deeper soundstage on the EST112. Details, instrument separation, imaging and timbre are all better on the EST112.

Overall: The EST112 is superior in all aspects except the bass where the FH3 has a lot more quantity and will be better if you want a bassier iem.


IEM: IKKO OH10, Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, Cable A1 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends and rumbles a lot more on the OH10. Punch quantity is also a lot higher on the OH10 while speed, tightness and texture are a lot better on the EST112. A lot cleaner on the EST112 and is a bit too much bass on the OH10.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a lot more quantity on the OH10 while the EST112 is a lot faster, tighter and more textured. Sounds a bit bloated on the OH10.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot cleaner on the EST112. Too much quantity and sounds somewhat bloated on the OH10.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality and timbre are a bit better on the OH10. But vocals are a lot better on the EST112 with tonality, details, clarity and is more forward as well.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), peakier and more fatiguing on the OH10.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Vocal tonality is better on the OH10 due to the warmth and timbre is better as well. But is recessed and a lot cleaner and more detailed on the EST112.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a bit more fatiguing on the OH10.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre, details, texture and clarity are all better on the EST112. Violin tonality, timbre, details, texture and clarity are all better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality, details and clarity are better on the EST112. Too much bass and recessed vocals on the OH10 but better timbre on it.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), a lot wider, deeper and airier soundstage on the EST112. Details, instrument separation and imaging are also better on the EST112. Timbre and coherency are a bit better on the OH10.

Overall: The OH10 is better if you want a more fun iem (a ton of bass, almost basshead) but otherwise the EST112 is superior from tonality to technicalities.


IEM: Sony XBA-N3, Final Audio Type E tips LL, Cable A6 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends lower and rumbles a lot more on the N3. Punch quantity is a lot higher on the N3. But speed, tightness and texture are a lot better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), muddier bass on the N3 due to it being looser and slower along with a lot more quantity. Texture is also better on the EST112 and sound cleaner but less fun.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot cleaner on the EST112 due to faster and tighter bass along with better texture. A lot more quantity on the N3.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), aside from instrument tonality which is better on the N3, everything else on the EST112 is in another league.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and fatigue free on the N3.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), tonality is a bit better on the N3 but has recessed vocals and the details and the clarity are a lot better on the EST112. Timbre however is better on the N3 and coherency is also better.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and fatigue free on the N3.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), cello tonality is a bit better on the N3 but is a bit too warm but texture, details and clarity are better on the EST112 while timbre is similar. Violin tonality, details, texture and treble extension are better on the EST112 while timbre is similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality and timbre are better on the N3 but cleaner and more detailed on the EST112.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), airier soundstage and wider and deeper on the EST112. Imaging, details and instrument separation are better on the EST112. Coherency and timbre are better on the N3 though.

Overall: Bassheads will like the N3 more than the EST112 and it has better coherency and timbre as well. But otherwise, the EST112 is superior from tonality to technicalities.


IEM: Sony XBA-Z5, Final Audio Type E tips LL, Cable A3 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends lower and rumbles more on the Z5. Punch quantity is also higher on the Z5, but tightness, speed and texture are a lot better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more quantity on the Z5 but tighter, faster and more textured on the EST112. Quite a lot cleaner on it while it is muddy on the Z5 in comparison.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), more quantity and muddy on the Z5, a lot faster, tighter and more textured on the EST112.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality is better on the Z5 due to the warmth but timbre is worse. Vocals are a bit weird on the Z5 and doesn’t sound very natural and the tonality is also a lot better on the EST112. Details and clarity are in another league on the EST112.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and less fatiguing on the Z5.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better tonality and a bit better timbre on the Z5. But cleaner and a lot more detailed on the EST112.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and less fatiguing on the Z5.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), cello tonality is better on the Z5 but details and texture are better on the EST112 while timbre is similar. Violin tonality, timbre, details, texture and treble extension are better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a bit better tonality on the EST112, a lot cleaner and more detailed as well.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider and a bit deeper on the EST112 and a lot airier. Details, imaging, instrument separation are a lot better on the EST112. Timbre is similar.

Overall: The Z5 is the more fun iem but otherwise the EST112 is next league from tonality to technicalities.


IEM: LZ A7 (pop-red), Final Audio Type E tips LL, cable A3 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends and rumbles more on the A7. Punch quantity is also higher but sounds bloated in comparison. Much faster and tighter on the EST112 along with better texture.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more quantity on the A7 but tighter, faster and more textured on the EST112 so it sounds a bit bloated on the A7.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), bloated on the A7 in comparison to the cleaner EST112 due to faster and tighter bass. Texture is also better on the EST112

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Instrument tonality is better on the A7 due to the warmth. But a lot better vocals on the EST112 in tonality, details and clarity as well as more forward. Timbre is similar though.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and fatigue free on the A7. A lot more clarity and cleaner on the EST112 though.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), tonality is better on the A7, but a bit better timbre and a lot cleaner and more detailed on the EST112.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and fatigue free on the A7.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality is better on the A7 with similar timbre but better details, clarity and texture on the EST112. Violin tonality, timbre, details, texture and treble extension are better on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality, details and clarity are better on the EST112.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider and deeper soundstage as well as airier sounding on the EST112. Imaging, instrument separation, details and timbre are all better on the EST112.

Overall: The A7 is a more relaxing and fun set than the EST112 but otherwise the EST112 is next level on pretty much all factors.

Source synergy: Not very picky, the differences between the Ibasso DX160 and the Schiit Asgard 3 were miniscule. With the JDS Atom, the tonality did get a bit brighter as the Atom tend to do. But still a very small change and the EST112 doesn’t need any specific amp to sound good.



20210408_172618.jpg

Conclusion: The EST112 is a very well-tuned iem that is tuned to be very versatile with very good technicalities.

This is for you if:

  • You want a versatile iem that can play anything
  • You want to try a well-tuned and natural tri-brid with Sonion EST´s
  • You want a highly technical iem with good tonality and timbre
  • You want a fun but still “audiophile” tuned iem
This is NOT for you if:

  • You want a specialist that specializes in a single/few particular genres
  • You want to use it for badly mastered tracks (it shows you how bad they are in your face)
  • You want a basshead or treblehead iem
(The title “Ultra Instinct” is a reference to Goku´s strongest form right now, which parallels the EST112 being my current flagship.)

Thanks for reading.


Graph:

EST112.png



EQ:

Sony MDR-EX1000:

Low-shelf: 80hz, Q:0.6, Gain: 4db

Low-shelf: 200hz, Q:0.6, Gain: 2db

Peak: 3300hz, Q:2, Gain: 2db

Peak: 5500hz, Q:2.2, Gain: -6db

High-shelf: 10 000hz, Q:0.7, Gain: 2.5db

Preamp: -6db

Cable source:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...zTm4ei7HEfP8AI1zxswrMw2ho/edit#gid=1801072063

Reference/test songs:
Last edited:
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
CT007
CT007
Naturality ;P I learned a new word!
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@CT007 haha, its just a word I tend to use. Basically if what the results of the (timbre and tonality = naturality (on a specific track)) ends up sounding natural or not. Because you can have iems that have very natural timbre but wrong tonality (or vice-versa) for that specific track, that will result in the naturality sounding wrong.

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Electrifying
Pros: - Very balanced and natural tonality
- Excellent timbre
- Silky smooth highs
- Great bass extension
- Dynamic
- Wide soundstage
- Comfortable
- Nice design
- Build quality
- Modular cable of high quality
- Accessories
Cons: - A little bulky
- Soundstage could do with more depth
The EST 112 was kindly provided free of charge after my own request and is under the ownership of Dunu.
Dunu never asked for a favorable review and as always this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
This is my first Dunu review so I don't have any previous models to compare.

The Dunu EST 122 retails for $489.99 and you can order it directly from Dunu

Introduction

The EST 112 is Dunu's first quad-driver triple-hybrid pair of in-ear monitors.
The number 112 denotes the driver configuration of the pair.
It is equipped with a large 13.5mm dynamic woofer, a high-performance Knowles balanced armature driver, and two Sonion EST drivers.
These four drivers are fitted inside beautiful & lightweight aluminum alloy ear cavities with designer stainless steel face panels.
The pair is tuned to produce a relaxing, gentle sound signature with lively, resolving output.

DUNU_EST112_7.jpg


Technical specifications

The large 13.5mm dynamic woofer has a dual-sided beryllium coating.
Its diaphragm is thicker with a finer & regular grain pattern so it helps bass and lower midrange frequencies maintain their palpable texture and separation with ultra-low distortion ratings.
A revised diaphragm topology allows for a 9% greater effective sound reproduction area.
Combined with refinements to beryllium deposition, diaphragmatic mass is now 13% lighter than that of the previous generation.
The layered beryllium is now even thicker, with a finer, more regular grain pattern than ever before.
Additionally, a revised motor structure carries a 20% improvement in magnetic flux density at the coils. This augmented driver design, married with Dunu’s proprietary Air Control Impedance System (ACIS), allows bass and lower midrange frequencies to maintain their palpable speed, texture, and separation, along with improved distortion characteristics.

IMG_20210409_184213.jpg


A high-performance balanced armature driver from Knowles handles the mid-high frequency response with a transparent and reference response to produce lively and engaging vocals with high-resolution clarity.
Long gone are the days when EST drivers were only being used in high-end headphones.
The technology is advancing at a rapid speed with its implementation in many flagship IEMs.
Dunu has implemented two high-performance EST drivers from Sonion (a highly renowned audio driver manufacturing brand) that present a smooth, elegant, and well-detailed high and ultra-high frequency response.
Development work was largely spent on fine-tuning crossover points to optimize driver corner frequencies, resulting in a cohesive, neutrally voiced sound signature.

Housing build quality and fit

Machined from lightweight aluminum alloy via a 5-axis CNC lathe and finished with a scratch-resistant gunmetal anodize, the durable shells encapsulate doubly reengineered driver circuitry.
Stately, polished stainless steel faceplates cap off the package in a simple, yet timeless design.
The EST 112 is very beautifully designed with a modern twist that we liked a lot.

IMG_20210409_184132.jpg


Build quality is excellent and the mmcx connectors are nicely integrated and feel sturdy.
The shells are lightweight at 7.5gr each and while they are a little bulky the fit is excellent with a custom like feeling.
They fit very easily without extra pressure and sit comfortable inside the ear without causing any kind of discomfort or irritation even after an extended period of use.
After you get them properly fitted then sound isolation is good and well above average.

Cable

The EST 112 is bundled with its premium 1.2m DUW-02S cable.
It is a high-quality mmcx , Litz braided silver-plated copper cable with Dunu’s patented Quick-Switch modular plug system.
Apart from the standard 3.5mm single-ended plug, the package includes 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced termination plugs.
Build quality and handling are excellent and the plug system is very sturdy and easy to interchange.
The mmcx plugs are patented catch - hold and reinforced while the part of the cable that hooks around the ear is stiffened and protected with an extra layer of nylon.

IMG_20210409_183334.jpg


Accessories

The EST 112 comes fully bundled with a lot of accessories.
There are three different kinds of ear tips , one of them being spinfit , with three pairs of sizes for each plus one pair of memory foam tips.
A hard carrying case of good quality is included plus an extra carrying pouch , a cleaning brush , a 3.5mm to 6.35mm and a flight adapter.

IMG_20210409_183126.jpg


IMG_20210409_184002.jpg


Sound impressions

The EST 112 is rated at 10Ω with a sensitivity of 110dB so they are very easy to drive and they don't pose special power requirements but noise floor can become an issue.
Moreover they respond extremely well to upstream gear and while they were readily enjoyable with entry level stuff like the ddHiFi TC44B the experience got seriously uplifted climbing higher the quality ladder to players like the FiiO M11 Pro or even higher to the iBasso DX300.

IMG_20210409_185116.jpg


The EST 112 does require some serious burn in of at least 50 hours because out of the box the dynamic driver is much slower than the EST units and bass feels slow , hollow and distanced.
After that time it settles down and all the drivers sound perfectly integrated and aligned , a proof of the well implemented crossover design.

The EST 112 is one of the best tuned iems we have ever experienced till now with a very natural and balanced sound signature that favors timbre and tonality.
A very mature sound profile that feels successful in the way that it provides a speaker like timbre that concentrates at connecting the listener with the music rather than merely producing sound.

Bass quantity is more than sufficient with all the extension down to the sub area while maintaining an accurate response up to the mids without any extra emphasis following a Fletcher-Munson loudness curve.
There is no mid bass bloat or colouring so the EST 112 is able to portray successfully all the various bass instruments even in very crowded passages without masking.
Take for example Mahler's 6th Symphony first movement where the double bases dominate the passage but we can also clearly distinguish the cello desks and other low pitched instruments like a bassoon solo.
The dynamic driver recovery is very fast and bass feels tight and well controlled with great depth and layering in a very dynamic and impactful result.
This is not the visceral bass that will blow your head away but you can't call it lean either and it strikes a balance between fullness and clarity so purists are going to love it while bass heads may find it a bit lacking.

IMG_20210409_185145.jpg


Mid range is slightly and tastefully elevated in order to be present without lagging behind.
The region is nicely portrayed without glare and is left ample space to shine without becoming dominant.
Voices are full bodied and well articulated while solo woodwind stands out rounded and clear with horns blazing away with excellent brass timbre as for the electric guitar solos they are just electrifying.
Harmonies are blended together in a shivering and very addictive experience that is usually reserved for much more expensive earphones.

Rising to the higher frequencies we meet the real star of the show.
Nicely extended and perfectly balanced without any signs of brightness and hardness they stand out for being lively and luminous but silky smooth and polite.
This is not a boring and lifeless metallic sounding treble , we are talking here a horn loaded experience with full bodied notes , finely articulated with excellent timbre and ultimate quality.
Harpsichord higher registers are one of the most difficult instruments to reproduce, posing great challenges to every headphone but the EST 112 passed the test with flying colors and we were able to tell even the instrument maker , so good was the timbre and the sound palette.
The silky smooth treble performance does not imply that this is a forgiving iem but on the contrary as is always the case with high quality gear it is very transparent and faithful to source.
So it is going to expose everything that is badly recorded but on the other hand it will highlight and breath life to well mastered material.

Another striking aspect that left us impressed was the very natural time decay especially at the complex higher frequencies.
Bells , high huts , cymbals and other high percussion instruments fade away in the most effortless and natural manner adding greatly to the overall sense of reality.

Detail retrieval and clarity throughout the whole band are exemplary and if you think that you are missing something then you should probably check with your dac/amp and not the EST 112.
But don't think it as an analytical self exhibitionist iem because in our case we are only served with the finest extracts and the pure essence infused into the whole picture rather than provoking unnecessary attention.

IMG_20210409_190212.jpg


The soundstage is astonishingly wide but rest assured that it is always fully proportional and naturally expanded without artificial widening.
There is a certain lack of depth layering so we perceive a more two dimensionally expanded plateau rather than a fully holographic and reverberant scene.
Separation is excellent with precise pinpoint positioning and enough space for each instrument to breathe so we never get the congestion feeling even with large symphonic works.

As a whole a very lifelike and musical experience well suited for all kinds of music but especially gratifying with classical and jazz where it reigns supreme and without near competition.

Brief comparison against the FiiO FD5 ($319.99)

The FiiO FD5 (with the standard nozzle) reviewed here is a five star favorite of ours but there are several differences between the EST 112. (level matched by ear)

Bass extension is the same as both iems don't roll off and can easily reach down to the lower notes.
But while bass tuning on the EST 112 can be considered neutral and linear that's not the case with the FD5 where we can hear a significant boost reaching upper bass.
So bass response is accentuated and while it feels more visceral and full it is slower , less detailed and more loose and above all low bass is masking bass and upper bass.
As that is better suited for one note bass heavy electronic music but can't compete with EST 112 reference tuning when the music calls for busy passages full of various low instruments.

From lower mid up to mid range tuning is almost the same and timbre done well with both iems.
FD5 voices , especially woman sound more rounded and full bodied but detail retrieval and clarity are better on the EST 112 which is a better technical performer.

Higher frequencies are tuned more or less the same , very evenly and without any annoying harshness or brightness.
But again quality and clarity are much better for the EST 112 that punches ahead with more smooth and finely articulated sound.
The EST 112 is more detailed without feeling analytical and truth is that clarity is much better for the whole frequency band.

Soundstage on the FD5 might feel a little deeper and while it doesn't lack on wideness the EST 112 is greatly extended with better precision on instrument placing and much airer presentation.

The FD5 is less expensive and a fine one driver performer but the EST 112 perfectly integrated multi driver array gives it a significant edge in all departments and especially in the overall emotional depth.
A reference tuning mostly suited for the snobbish classical music listeners while the FD5 is the perfect EDM and bass head companion.

At the end

The Dunu EST 112 is plain and simple a true high end performer that punches well above its price point and sets new standards at the mid price category.

Perfectly tuned and with an exemplary technical integration is characterized by it's effortless way to present music in a natural and engaging manner able to communicate a great sense of musicality and emotional depth.

The EST 112 is probably the best mid priced iem in the market right now and not only is very highly recommended but we would dare to go as far as to suggest it as a must buy per se.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2021
Last edited:
asifur
asifur
@Ichos You had compared with FD5 default nozzle above... I'm wondering how it would be in comparison to FD5 narrow nozzle as that is the preferred combination of many FD5 users including me. pls share
Ichos
Ichos
@asifur
I will do it in a couple of days.
C
Codename john
Yes for sure. Not at all. Great iem. The highs are superb
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