I would like to thank DUNU for furnishing this unit.
- Driver configuration: diamond-like carbon (DLC) diaphragm dual-cavity dynamic driver
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Frequency response: 5 Hz - 40 kHz
- Sensitivity: 108 dB
- Cable: 0.78 mm, 2-pin, 3.5 mm termination. 4-strand single crystal copper silver-plated cable
- Tested at $109.99 USD
Other than the IEM, these are included:
- 3 pairs of "vocal" black silicone ear tips
- 3 pairs of Candy silicone ear tips
- 3 pairs of S&S (Stage and Studio) silicone ear tips
- cleaning cloth
- 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm adapter
- cleaning brush
What a superb spread of accessories! The packaging here surely beats most competitors at the $100 mark.
While there are no foam tips provided, 3 variants of silicone eartips are found here:
- The Candy eartips come in a colorful motif, and they give the deepest bass of the provided tips. Isolation is also the best of the 3, though soundstage is compressed when these are installed. These tips may be a good pairing for the bass inclined.
- The S&S (Stage and Studio) are cylindrical long tips that have a gel like material. They are very grippy and firm. To my ears they seem to be mid-centric focused, and boost vocals, with some decrease in bass.
- Lastly, the black tips - christened "vocal" - tips are the least isolating, but provide the largest soundstage and the best technicalities.
Do tip-roll to see what suits your preference in terms of fit, isolation and sonics.
The stock cable is a 4-strand single crystal copper silver-plated Litz braided cable. It is well-braided, but is a bit tangly, with microphonics. There's a chin cinch for added grip. It is non-modular, and only has a 3.5 mm termination, but no biggie sourcing for aftermarket cables should you wish to.
We have some other functional goodies, such as a 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm jack, a cleaning brush and a cleaning cloth. Last but not least, there's a practical orange semi-rigid zipper carrying case - it is quite huge, with inner webbing, and this can carry the Kima Classic with space to spare!
The rest of this review was done with the stock cable and stock "vocal" black tips. No aftermarket accessories were used, so as not to add any confounders to the sound.
The shells feature a grey-matte hue, and are fashioned from high-density metal alloy. During manufacturing, the chassis is melted and casted via molds, and finally, sandblasted to give an extremely smooth finish. The faceplates have a very distinctive angular motif, to breathe some air of distinction amongst the run-of-the-mill black and silver IEMs.
The earpieces are quite solid and should survive a drop!
Weighing in at 15 g apiece, the shells are very light and comfortable. There are no weird protrusions on the inner aspects to poke the ears, and I faced no discomfort despite using the Kima Classic for hour long sessions.
2-pin housings like in the Kima Classic are always welcome in my book, as I encountered a lot of MMCX failures with budget IEMs, especially with frequent cable swapping.
With two vents on each earpiece, isolation is still surprisingly decent, I would grade it just above average in this department, and the Kima Classic should be usable outdoors. I did not find any driver flex on my pair.
This IEM houses a dual-cavity DLC DD, with an internal N52 magnet. These are placed inside a specially designed resonance chamber with a unique internal airflow architecture. Indeed, the absence of driver flex does allude to the success of this design!
I tested the DUNU Kima Classic with the following sources:
- Apple dongle
- Cayin RU7
- Colorfly CDA M1 DAC/AMP dongle
- Creative Sound Blaster X5
- E1DA DAC/AMP dongle
- Hiby R3 Pro Saber 2022 DAP
- Khadas Tone Board -> Schiit Asgard 3 amp
- Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp
- Questyle M15 DAC/AMP dongle
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One Neutral Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW WM1A DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
This IEM is very easy to drive, amplification is not 100% required.
SOUND & TECHNICALITIES
Graph of the DUNU Kima Classic via IEC711 coupler. 8 kHz is a coupler artefact peak.
Tonally, the Kima Classic is V-shaped. This adds some "fun" to the soundscape and is pretty consumer friendly.
As per its single DD roots, timbre is very natural for vocals and acoustic instruments. No complaints on this front.
In technical chops, when compared against other single DD rivals at the $100 price point, the Kima Classic holds its own. Although soundstage is average in all 3 dimensions, it does have decent imaging and instrument separation. Micro-detailing is probably above average but not class-leading.
The Kima Classic is a sub-bass focused IEM, with bass just north of neutral. There's a slight rumble when the music calls for it, though this set is not a bona fide basshead IEM. The Kima Classic has excellent bass quality - with a rapid bass that is textured, with minimal mid-bass bleed.
As per the V-shaped profile, the lower mids are recessed. Mid-lovers might find this area a bit thin, though this region can probably be beefed up with a warmer source or perhaps with eartip-rolling. However, as a result of the lack of mid-bass impingement, the midrange is quite clear and transparent. With a 10 dB ear gain, the upper mids are at the edge, pushing vocals forwards in the mix. At low to moderate volumes, this region is quite contained, but at louder volumes (Fletcher Munson curve), there are slight instances of shoutiness.
Continuing on from the boosted upper midrange, the lower treble has a peak around the 5 - 6 kHz region, and it rolls off thereafter. This adds resolution and clarity, without much sibilance or fatigue. The upper treble is hence relatively smooth, with not much splashiness in cymbals and high-hats, but as a result, the Kima Classic isn't the most airy set.
Comparisons were made with other single DDs around the $100 USD mark. Planars, hybrids and pure BA types were left out of the equation as the different transducers have their pros and cons.
DUNU KIMA (original)
Graph of the DUNU Kima Classic versus original Kima via IEC711 coupler. 8 kHz is a coupler artefact peak.
We start off with an A/B comparison against the older brother: the original Kima. These two siblings have a similar shell shell and ergonomics, just that the OG Kima comes in a lighter grey.
Tonally, the OG Kima is less V-shaped, with weaker extension at both ends (ie OG Kima has less sub-bass and upper treble). Indeed, the OG Kima was slated for being too safe, and the Kima Classic now brings a deeper sub-bass rumble and a more pronounced treble to the table.
In technicalities, the older OG Kima is a tinge weaker, with a smaller soundstage and less defined imaging and micro-details. Instrument separation is similar. The OG Kima also sounds more boring, with less dynamics heard.
Tripowin Olina SE
The OIina SE is a more neutral than the V-shaped Kima Classic.
The Olina SE is slightly better in soundstage, micro-detailing and instrument separation, though it is less bassy and "fun" sounding.
Some consumers experienced a mesh moisture build up issue with the Olina SE, which may cause an intermittent sound cut-out, so caveat emptor.
Moondrop Aria 2021
The Aria 2021 is less V-shaped than the Dunu Kima, with the former sporting less bass and treble.
The Aria 2021 sounds a bit more metallic in timbre, and also has weaker technicalities - notably, imaging, micro-details, soundstage and instrument separation are a league behind the Kima Classic's.
The Aria 2021 also is infamous for paint peeling off the shell, and the build and accessories pale in contrast to the Kima Classic.
The Kima Classic builds upon feedback garnered from the original Kima, improving on dynamics and extension at both ends, in addition to providing better technicalities. This younger Kima sibling is extremely well accessorized, with solid build and comfort, as well as being easy to drive. The Kima Classic can also boast of an organic timbre, with quality bass and an all-rounder V-shaped tuning, to add some "fun" to the equation.
There are some small shortfalls, such as an average soundstage, and midlovers might find the V-shaped profile to be a bit too thin in the lower midrange.
Nevertheless, at the cut-throat $100 mark, despite the tough competition, this IEM does most areas well and is a solid choice for single DD lovers who want something more dynamic than the usual Harman suspects.