DUNU LUNA

General Information

Luna was tuned to a reference sound signature — deep and natural imaging, even and smooth from top to bottom, and maximized for extension at both ends. The result is the most supremely detailed, transparent, sumptuous sounding earpiece ever crafted by Dunu.

Specifications
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
  • TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: 0.2% at 1 kHz
  • NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 16 Ω
  • SENSITIVITY: 110 dB at 1 kHz
  • DRIVE MODULE: 10 mm Acoustic-Grade Pure Beryllium Rolled Foil with Polyurethane Suspension
  • HOUSING MATERIAL: Titanium Alloy, Grade 5 (Ti-6Al-4V, TC4, with modified rare earth metal formulation)
  • NET WEIGHT: 10.3 g
  • CABLE LENGTH: 1.2 m
  • CABLE MATERIAL: Mixed Strands of Furukawa Electric Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) Copper & DHC Silver, with Silver-Plated OCC Copper Shield Surround
  • CABLE CONNECTOR: Patented Catch-Hold® MMCX Connector
  • PLUG CONNECTOR: Patented DUNU Quick-Switch Modular Plug System
https://www.dunu-topsound.com/luna

Latest reviews

Pros: Build and accessory pack
- Awesome stock cable
- Bass texture and speed
- Delightful lower-midrange
- Resolving treble: sparkly yet not harsh
- Headphone-like imaging and soundstage depth
- Fantastic instrument separation
Cons: Slightly shallow nozzle
- Lack of sub-bass rumble at the extreme end
- Upper-midrange glare
- Needs above-average volume to sound best
- Soundstage width is not class-leading
- Price
Dunu Luna Review
New Frontiers

dunu luna cover.jpg

How good is good enough?

That is the one question I keep asking myself as I encounter yet another top-of-the-line (TOTL) gear. At this price, diminishing returns start creeping in, you begin splitting hairs, focusing on not only the whole picture but also the abstract representation of it all.

Dunu has been in the IEM game a long time. They were also one of the first IEM brands that got the hybrid setup right. Beyond the hybrid stuff, their single dynamic models have also been quite memorable. I myself bought the Dunu Titan 1 (reviewed here) and it has a solid place in my collection due to its airy soundstage and impeccable imaging.

The Dunu Luna is a single dynamic driver flagship. That’s not been too common lately as most have focused on multi-BA/hybrid setups with their top-end offerings (Audeze, Final, Hifiman a few exceptions). I’m quite glad though that Dunu went the other way — less is more, et cetera. This price bracket is rather uncharted territory for Dunu since they’ve never really competed at this level before. So there would be a lot of scrutiny involved along with the typical shade-throwing as to how only brands with a history of high-end offerings should dabble in this range.

Lots of ground to cover. Let’s get right into it.

If you prefer to watch the full video review rather than, well, read through a wall of text, click below:

Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Dunu was kind enough to send me the Luna as part of the Review Tour (thanks Tom!) Disclaimer

Sources used: Yulong Canary, Questyle QP1R, Cayin N6 II, LG G7, E1DA PowerDAC V2
Price, while reviewed: $1700. Can be bought from Dunu’s Official Website.
IMG_7257.JPG
1591162134497.png


Build: The Luna has an understated yet striking design. There are no sharp angles, everything is rounded and smoothed out. Such lack of angles often leads to blandness but the Luna exudes character. The grade-5 Titanium alloy shells are practically perfect with subtle grooves around the nozzle and the stem that shimmer as light scatters across them.

The concave face-plates have raised ridges that snugly caresses your thumbs. The metal nozzle is angled to help with ergonomics, and it has a raised lip to keep the eartips in place without them sliding out.

There are two visible vents: one atop the mmcx stem, and another on the inner-side just above nozzle. The text DUNU Beryllium is etched onto the outer circumference of the IEM and is mostly out of sight. Meanwhile, the mmcx connector is further reinforced using a catch-hold mechanism. Basically, there is a substantial amount of friction between the mmcx port and jack once the cable is plugged in, so the IEMs don’t spin around like most mmcx ones.

Picture perfect.
5/5

IMG_7273.JPG

Accessories: At first, a disclaimer: Dunu sent a reduced package for the Luna Review Tour, and all of us on the EU tour basically got the big purse/bag chock-full of eartips, the earphones and swappable plugs of various terminations. Frankly, it’s a good decision to ease up logistics given the current COVID-19 situation (the full package weighs over 2.5kg).
The retail package is one of the most luxurious unboxing experiences you will likely have, and goes toe-to-toe with the awesome IER-Z1R unboxing experience. Heck, Dunu even throws in extras like a type-C DAC dongle along with a USB-A to USB-C adapter and another smaller carrying case just to round the whole thing up. You get loads of Spinfit tips (13 pairs to be exact) and they are of rather high quality.
A special mention goes to their custom cable. It’s an OCC Copper/DHC Silver mixed strand cable and has great ergonomics. No kinks or loose braids, very pliable and the memory hook is rather supple. It does have some heft but I reckon that the quick-switch termination system is responsible for the weight.

IMG_7068.JPG


Speaking of the quick-switch system, it’s very convenient. You just pull at the plug-end and it snaps out. The internals of the quick-switch mechanism seems akin to a miniaturized 4-pin XLR connection. The connection was solid throughout despite routine plugging/unplugging operation and I think this will last a while. My only gripe: this whole mechanism adds a lot of weight at the jack-end of the cable and extends the length of the L-shaped plug which can be a bit of a bother in the following manner:

1591162240663.png


Yeah, I nitpick.
5/5

Comfort: The lightweight shells and the angled nozzle coupled with the smoothed out inner shell should make this a very comfortable wear, but there’s a catch — the nozzle length. While it’s not that short a nozzle (Sennheiser IE800 still takes that crown) it’s not long enough for a deep-fit, which is essential to get the best out of Luna. As a result, using tips with a longer stem (e.g. Azla tips, or the Spinfit/Final ones) is necessary for most. I myself went with the Spinfit CP-100 and got good results but your mileage may vary. Do note that isolation is only average at best, so this is not an IEM I’d recommend for commuting. Then again, I’m not too inclined towards yanking out a nearly 2 grand IEM in the middle of the metro while precariously balancing myself between two grab-bars.
4.5/5

IMG_7139.JPG


Now, onto the sound. The big selling point of the Luna is its 10mm single-dynamic driver. More accurately: the material of the driver-diaphragm. It is one of the world’s two “first” pure Beryllium driver-diaphragm earphones (other Beryllium touting IEMs use a vapor deposited Beryllium coating). In fact, apart from Focal Utopia, I can’t think of another headphone that had a pure Beryllium driver-diaphragm. The reason behind choosing Beryllium is it’s exceptional stiffness (287 GPa), which combined with the relatively low density (1.85 g/cubic cm) results in extremely fast sound conduction speed (12.9 km/s). The material being very brittle in room temperatures is also challenging to work with. The whole driver manufacturing process is extremely time consuming in fact and also needed fair amount of R&D. It’s best to point toward’s Dunu’s promotional video regarding the drivers since it’s visualized a lot better there:

The tech is impressive, no doubt, but the proof is in the pudding, or sound in this case.

The sound impressions below were mostly formed with the CP-100 tips and Yulong Canary desktop DAC/Amp as the source.

IMG_7286.JPG


Lows: Perhaps the most contentious part of Luna’s signature would be the lows. Bassheads will find it lacking in sheer volume and grunt, whereas those who prefer a more neutral response would feel right at home. I myself am veering towards “a bit more rumble would be perfect”, so there you go.

The bass response is mostly flat, and if not for the gradual roll-off post 28Hz — I’d be ecstatic. As it stands, the bass response is fine for most genres, and even some bass-line heavy tracks (e.g. Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name) sound fantastic. The issue arises with tracks that have deep sub-bass rumble, case in point: John Mayer’s Your Body Is a Wonderland. The section from 2:50–3:14 mark feels tad undercooked.

Ironically, another John Mayer track, Clarity, shows off the biggest strengths of the Dunu Luna’s bass response: speed, texture, and impact. There’s no bass-bleed while bass resolution is excellent with different instruments displaying their subtly different textures. Double-bass pedals exhibit a distinctly different thump from the downstroke thock of grand pianos. Meanwhile, the speed displayed in fast-paced tracks have a planar-like feel to them, albeit with more body and slightly slower decay. The impact, meanwhile, is instantaneous and can feel a bit jarring at first if you’re coming from an all-BA/regular dynamic driver earphone. Rest assured, you get used to it quickly and then there’s no going back (until your bass-head heart yearns for sub-bass extravaganza).

In short: almost perfect bass response. Almost.
4.5/5

Mids:
Dunu Luna’s midrange is quite… peculiar. The lower-mids have a slight sense of warmth to it, but due to the boosted upper-mids (it looks especially scary on graph) there’s an uncanny clarity to the whole midrange.

Fortunately enough, the 4KHz boost that grabs your attention instantly on the graphs doesn’t quite have the same effect in reality. Yes, the tonality is shifted towards the upper-mids rather than absolute neutrality but it’s not shouty. On certain tracks (Gin Blossom’s Jealousy) it can creep ever so closer to shoutiness despite never really crossing the line. This is mostly displayed on tracks with compressed dynamic-range (and tracks with a lot of processed sound, e.g. Electronica) while well-mastered tracks have been absolutely fine.

Speaking about tonality, the lower-mids are mostly spot-on. My reference headphone for midrange tonality is the HD650, and these sound eerily similar to them in the lower mids. Baritone vocals are portrayed realistically (check the usual Colin Hay track) with ample amount of heft, but not so much that it ends up sounding boxy. It’s the upper-mids that has slight coloration due to that boost. Thus, female vocals can often become a bit tiring to listen to, as is the case with Frou Frou’s sole studio album: Details, or Wolfclub’s Tears (a rather extreme example). This dichotomy is the sole reason why I can’t quite declare Luna’s midrange as perfection.

On a similar note, no thanks to that 4KHz boost string instruments get a bit of extra bite, which is welcome in many tracks. Damien Rice’s Cannonball is one such example as Rice’s entire vocal range (including the breathing) is rendered naturally, whereas the two acoustic guitars are placed further forward. Another one of Luna’s strengths lies in live performance/concert rendition, just listen to Blue October’s The Worry List (Live at Texas).

Micro-detail retrieval along with instrument separation is top-notch and technically I can’t quite fault it.

To summarize: Coloration in the upper-mids is counterbalanced by a warm lower-midrange. Overall excellent detail-retrieval and instrument separation. Male vocals are mostly superb, female vocals can be a bit spotty depending on track/mastering. Timbre in general is realistic, with the aforementioned caveat of upper-registers.
4.5/5

Treble:
Perhaps the one thing that best showcases the true prowess of this Beryllium diaphragm is the treble response. It’s immaculate, for my tastes at least. I listen to quite a few heavy metal/metal/hard rock genre and sub-genres and hi-hats or cymbal hits are things I’m always particular about. Often the treble is sizzly, resulting in a wince rather than an ensuing head-bang *side-eyes to Noble Khan*.

Luna walks the fine line between excess treble energy and proper treble sparkle. The treble extension is excellent with ample amounts of air beyond 10KHz. Transient response is exceptional, with instantaneous attack and a natural decay (unlike the ultra-fast unnatural blips of typical BA drivers). In terms of tracks that showcase this, take Slipknot’s Liberate for example. It’s a rather heavy track with blistering fast drum work by the one and only Joey Jordison. Man, earlier Slipknot was ruthless until they slightly mellowed up for that one weepy album and that nearly emo song *cough* Snuff *cough*. Glad that they’re past that with We Are Not Your Kind, but I digress. Luna keeps up as well as anything out there in this price bracket. Same applies to Porcupine’s Trees The Sound of Muzak where every cymbal strike is accurately defined. No smearing whatsoever, and the attack-decay pattern is realistic.

To bring up a slightly lighter track, take Dave Matthews Band’s Crash into Me into account. This particular rendition has a rather elaborate arrangement with jingles, triangles and tambourines chiming in. Luna perfectly portrays the airy shimmer of the triangles along with the subtle taps of the cymbals.

Another unusual characteristic of the Luna is its ability to deal with compressed dynamic-range tracks. Silversun Pickup’s Future Foe Scenarios can turn into an incoherent mess in lesser earphones, not so much here. The heavily distorted guitar riffs neither overshadow the cymbals nor the vocals. Thus, if you listen to a lot o indie tracks the Luna can be a good option.

TL;DR: Excellent treble that will serve nearly every genre/musical taste well, with perhaps the exception of those looking for even more pronounced treble, or those who are rather treble-averse.
5/5

IMG_7127.JPG


Note: the following two sections may have varying perceptions for each individual due to a number of factors e.g. pyschoacoustics, insertion depth, ambient noise etc.

Soundstage: Stage width is not class-leading, but both stage height and depth are excellent. Instrument placement is determined by the mastering of the track itself, with certain tracks having very up-front instrumentation (Third Eye Blind’s Exiles) and some having sparser presentation (Third Eye Blind, again, but this time The Background).
4.5/5

Imaging:
Now, this is more like it. When I first listened to the Luna, for the first hour or so I couldn’t quite pin down why songs sound slightly different on them versus most other IEMs. After a while, I realized that it’s their headphone-like instrument placement. Swapping between these and the Final Sonorous III (a headphone with excellent imaging and even wider stage than the Luna) often resulted in an eerily similar imaging, which is odd as headphones have pinna interaction (thus helping in localization) whereas IEMs don’t have that luxury (most of them, that is, Audeze iSines apart).

Cardinal imaging is spot on, and the only weak point I can mention is the imaging of events happening at the very back of your head, which even many headphones struggle to realistically portray. For an IEM and considering all the limitations, this is excellent performance.
5/5

IMG_7119.JPG

IMG_7145.JPG


Source and Amping: Luna can easily get loud out of most dongles and phones. However, they can exhibit hiss with higher noise-floor sources, so keep that in mind. I personally found it to perform the best out of Yulong Canary with its slight warm tonality complimenting the Luna well. Questyle QP1R was also great though I had to use low gain since higher gain levels showed slight amp hiss.

On the plus side, Dunu Luna is source output-impedance agnostic. So even if you have something with a rather high output impedance you will likely be safe from Frequency Response anomalies.

Select Comparisons

Unfortunately, I couldn’t audition the IEMs I planned to compare with the LUna at the stores I usually visit, nor could I contact other local enthusiasts due to the COVID-19 lockdown situation. I had plans to compare these against Sony IER-Z1R and Campfire Solaris among others, but alas.

The ones I could compare to mostly fell short. Among the classic single-driver IEMs, the Sennheiser IE800S and Beyerdynamic Xelento both have inferior build quality, accessory package and most importantly: sound quality.

Sennheiser IE800S sounds bland and lacks the midrange prowess of the Luna. Detail retrieval is a downgrade whereas the treble response is far more peaky with that dreaded 5KHz spike. Soundstage is a tad wider, but imaging is hazy in comparison to the Luna. Sub-bass is more boosted on the Sennheiser but then falls flat in terms of dynamics, overall bass texture and speed.

The Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote, meanwhile, struggles to keep up with the Luna in terms of nearly every technical parameter: bass speed/texture, micro-detail retrieval, dynamics, treble extension, imaging/soundstage. It’s a wash. Only on certain tracks can the Xelento’s overall warmth be more inviting than the less forgiving Luna. That’s about it.

Let’s talk about the de facto standard of kilobuck IEMs: Campfire Andromeda (2019). I myself have never quite found the Andromeda appealing due to the lackluster BA bass, but I do admit that on the technical side these had its own set of strengths. Build quality and comfort I’d give to the Luna, as despite the dense shell of the Andros I’ve seen a number of them color-chipped ones. The Luna cable is also markedly better, on an entirely different plane in fact. The Andros have more boosted bass (depending on your source’s output impedance, mine was 0.6ohms), but bass texture and dynamics go to the Luna. I really like the lower mids presentation of both of these IEMs, but the Andros had a more cluttered midrange due to slightly more emphasized lower mids, while the Luna managed to pull off clarity without sounding thin. Upper-mids are more restrained on the Andros, thus more enjoyable with female vocals for longer listening sessions. Overall detail retrieval goes to the Luna by a margin in my book. Luna just sounded more effortless and even in busier tracks instruments never smeared into one another. The treble continues that trend, so does imaging and instrument separation. The Andromeda did have a wider soundstage, but that’s about it.I’d likely update this section once/when the lockdown is finally lifted and I/we can roam about freely.

IMG_7069.JPG
IMG_7104.JPG
IMG_7350.JPG


Conclusion


When I first listened to the Luna, I didn’t quite find it jaw-dropping enough. It quickly grew on me, however, and now is one of my most favorite IEMs out there.

The build is exemplary and the accessories are plentiful which is taken a step further by the extravagant packaging. The bass is mostly excellent. The midrange has remarkable technicalities and portrayal of male vocals, while female vocals might have some added glare depending on track/mastering. The treble, meanwhile, is perfect for my taste and suits a varying range of genres. Soundstage, imaging and instrument separation is akin to certain full-sized headphones and should satisfy most buyers.

The big elephant in the room is, sadly, the price tag. At $1700 the Luna has to battle established flagships like the Sony IER-Z1R, Campfire Solaris, and the 64Audio U12t (to name a few). Furthermore, DUNU also has to consistently showcase top-tier customer support and reliability/quality assurance to appeal to the higher end buyers. In the former case, it’s often up to the listener since personal preferences swing the tides by a large degree at the upper-echelons. The latter is being addressed via Luna by prominent presence in audio forums and quick, transparent communication. They’ve been very up front about the technical details and tuning decisions of the Luna, which is definitely a refreshing approach. To take things a step further, Dunu is also offering a Private Client Program so that you can listen to them at home before deciding to purchase. They’ve left no stones unturned — I’d hand them that. Time will prove the rest.

At the end of it all, is the Luna good enough?

It’s more than good enough.

#HighlyRecommended

Test tracks (as Tidal playlist):
https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/04350ebe-1582-4785-9984-ff050d80d2b7
Pros: Excellent Build Quality
Beautiful and Elegant Design
Small and Compact footprint
Genius Cable System
Fast, Accurate, and Punchy Mid-bass
Sensational Female Vocal Representation (Best I've heard)
Spacious Soundstage & High Precision Imaging
Cons: "Lightweight" Sub-bass
Treble section could be overbearing depending on tips used
Some might have trouble with having a secure fit and seal
DUNU LUNA Review



Introduction

DUNU established itself as its own brand in 2006. They may sound like a fairly young company, but the people behind the brand have been in the development and manufacturing of pro and consumer goods since 1994.
With their amount of experience, impressive staff, their own high end testing equipment, production facilities, and in-house driver development, it’s no wonder they’re making quite a buzz in the audiophile world.
“To innovate for music lovers” is DUNU’s mission. They highly cater to the taste of audiophiles around the globe, and their most recent flagship is a testament to that mission.

So here I introduce the LUNA.

IMG_6845.jpg

The LUNA is DUNU’s latest flagship, and it’s their first set to cost $1,699US.
DUNU’s claim to fame is their development and use of the “World’s First” Pure Beryllium Dynamic Driver inside the heart of the LUNA.
So why is it such a big deal? Well, Beryllium is well known to be the ideal material used in high-end speakers and a few full sized headphones, such as Focal’s well regarded co-flagships, the Utopia and the Stellia; which costs $3,990US & $2,999US respectively.
I will expand on Beryllium later.

First, let’s talk about the build and design of the IEM’s.

For the build, they’ve used a custom-modified grade 5 titanium alloy that is an aerospace grade material. This makes the LUNA one of the toughest IEMs out there. But using such a material is known to produce ringing. Therefore, DUNU’s engineers reformulated the alloy with the use of other rare earth metals to minimize it. In turn, this allows the unrivalled driver inside the LUNA to show off its unique sound.

Next, let’s talk about the design.

IMG_6859.jpg

If it isn’t obvious already, DUNU’s concept for the LUNA is its relation to the moon.
Having been 50 years since humankind’s first journey to the moon, they wanted to reflect the spirit of the landing and wanted to elevate the manner in which IEMs are perceived.
The main body of the LUNA serves as the representation of the ever changing phases of the moon. This is shown whenever light hits the circular concave faceplate at different angles.
While the main body represents the moon, the cable connector interface symbolizes the Apollo spaceship. I do think their approach was done quite brilliantly, and I am a fan of the design.
As for the fit, they’re actually compact in size at almost the same volume as the Shure SE846, which itself fits in almost every ear. The LUNA fit nicely in my ear, but I had to do some tip rolling to find the best seal. In the second section, I’ll talk more about how tip rolling could help LUNA’s quirks.

While the star of the show are the earphones themselves, I also have to mention the cable that comes with the LUNA.
The cable is made out of combined strands of OCC Copper and DHC Silver, with a Silver-Plated OCC Copper Shield Surround.
While the materials are impressive, it’s the cable system that I’m completely sold on!
It features their patented Quick-Switch Modular Plug system, which comes with all the needed terminations a person would use.
This terminates (see what I did there? *wink*) the need to completely switch the cable or the need to use an additional conversion dongle when switching between your DAP to other DAC/AMP systems you might have.
This on its own is pretty genius!

Now comes the most important part.

How do they sound?
Well...the short answer is, they sound AMAZING.
But you’re not here for that right?
So here I’ll go into detail on how the LUNA handles each frequency range.

I chose to use my Onkyo DP-X1 to do this review. While it might be showing age already, it’s still a very capable DAP. (but then again if I had more money, I’d love to have an upgrade either from Sony’s, A&K’s, or FiiO’s flagship offerings. Someone, sponsor me please…*laughs*)

First, let’s have a go at the BASS section.

To me, the LUNA’s bass sounds more neutral with a bit of fun and warmth on the mid-bass side of things. To many, the sub-bass region might sound a bit lightweight. In comparison to my other IEMs I have with me, I do have to agree. Testing out the sub-bass, my go to track is LA PARISIENNE by BFRND. The Intro just hits you with a full course of BASS, and sadly, the LUNA just doesn’t give much rumble down low to bring tears to my eyes. But do try it with your IEMs. It's a fun track to test out sub-bass rumble. Now onto that fun and warm mid-bass. The LUNA is amazingly detailed here, it gives so much body to bass instruments. For example, the fretless bass on the track, Pictures, by Kozo Suganuma, just sounds as lifelike as it gets. The LUNA also gives a nice rendering to kick drums and toms.Bring me the Horizon’s song, Run, is a good track to showcase this. On the 2nd verse, it’s filled with drum fills (*wink-wink*), which sounded really enjoyable and didn’t sound muted on the LUNA.


Let’s move on to the Midrange.

Okay, GUITARS, VIOLINS, and pretty much any string instrument sounds full and engaging on the LUNA. On the guitar side of things, listen to the track, Say Yes, by TWICE. The acoustic guitar throughout the song just sounded so lively and pleasant to my ears. Another great track for strings is the track, Ink to Paper, from the Violet Evergarden OST. The LUNA made me get lost in the beauty of the strings.

While still part of the midrange, I wanna talk about Vocals on the High Mids of things as I listen primarily to a lot of female vocal centred tracks.This is a frequency where female vocals on the LUNA truly shine for me. But I also want to say that male vocals are still just as impressive. For example, on the track, Daijoubu by Radwimps, the vocalist’s voice sounds well modulated and lush and never thin sounding while being on the higher register.

Now onto the High Mids.

Personally, the high mids on the LUNA is the special sauce. The elevation from 1kHz to the peak at around 4kHz gives female vocals such an airy and encapsulating sound.
Breathier vocals such as the ones in the track, Leyre, by Akiko Shikata. Her vocals just sound so ethereal and intimate on the LUNA. It’s here where I think they might have outshone the FitEar TG334/MH334 as the best IEM for female vocals. (Now, this is just based on memory, but the excellent performance of the beryllium driver and the way it has been tuned by DUNU has given me a sensation with female vocals that no other IEMs have ever given me. Though, there is one other IEM I wanted to have more ideal listening time with. The Empire Ears Wraith had ear catching female vocals as well, but I haven’t had a chance to formally take them home to have an extended listen to judge it. So for now, I have to say the LUNA’s are by far the best IEM for female vocals I have heard thus far.)
While the high mids are great for female vocals, the elevation and peak at 4kHz does have its drawbacks, but this is where the tip rolling I mentioned earlier might help you out as well.
I’ve started out using both the JVC Spiral Dot tips and Final E tips and having favoured the former for giving the most “Air”. But due to that, some instruments, especially the “bagpipe” (not too sure what the instrument is) in the track Hiraite Sanze, by Akiko Shikata, got quite a bit overbearing to my ears. So here came the Sony Triple Comfort tips from the IER-Z1R. People have said this helped them tame the energetic highs of the Z1R’s, but since I didn’t have that problem with the Z1R’s, I had them just sitting in the box. So low and behold, I used them on the LUNA and IT WORKED!
The tips have calmed down the shoutiness of the bagpipe and any other instrument that got overbearing in that section.

IMG_6931.jpg


The Highs.

I actually like the highs on the LUNA. To me, it just sounds neutral-bright without sounding scrawny. Woodwind, percussion, and especially music box instruments take the front stage here. The overtones they generate get very well highlighted on the LUNA. For example, on the instrumental version of the track, Kasuka na Kaori, by Perfume. The intro’s music box section and other instruments at the higher frequency used throughout the song sounded dense while still being delicate. The highs never got too energetic to the point of sibilance. It has stayed well controlled and has more than enough attack to be engaging and detailed.


Okay moving on to imaging and soundstage.

While the LUNA does have an impressive soundstage, its mid-forward tonality gives it a more intimate rendering, especially on the vocals. However, it still gives more than enough width and height to the stage. On the track Wherever You Are, Wherever You May Be, from the Violet Evergarden OST, the LUNA gave it quite a spacious yet intimate staging. This is more than enough room for even bigger recordings.

Now, for imaging and instrument separation, let’s use the track I just mentioned. All the instruments are rendered with high precision. I’m very impressed by what the engineers at DUNU have done to achieve this with a single driver.
It has turned me into a believer in the “less is more” approach. This is also what I’d like to say about the Sony IER-Z1R, which consists of only 3 drivers. I strongly believe that the Z1R is one of the best, if not, the best IEM for the incredible staging and highly detailed imaging it produces. I’ll talk more about it in the comparisons.

Now, we’re finally moving on the final part of the review!

I’m surprised you’re still here lol
Well, thank you for keeping up with my ramblings.
You deserve a cookie!

(For the comparison, I used the same tracks I’ve mentioned in the review.)

IMG_6883.jpg

Sony IER-Z1R (-2DD,1BA- $1,999US)

These two can’t be any more different from each other.
The Z1R has a slight V-Shape tuning, while the LUNA’s are somewhat “warm-neutral” with a high-mid elevation.
You’ll be able to hear this clearly as the Z1R are more about fun and energy, while the LUNA’s are “lacking” the Z1R are overflowing with.
In the sub-bass section, the Z1R hits deeper and with higher authority.
Here’s where it gets tricky. To me, the LUNA’s mid-bass sounds just as organic as the Z1R. But it does punch a bit more than the more controlled mid-bass of the Z1R. While the Z1R wins in the more organic sub-bass rumble, the LUNA wins it by a hair in the punchier mid-bass presentation. Moving to the mids, there’s no contest here. Guitars and other String instruments just sound more rounded and leaner on the LUNA. While the Z1R is still impressive on its own, it’s just a little more hollow sounding in comparison. As a result, male vocals take a hit on the Z1R. It just sounds anemic compared to the LUNA's meatier male vocal presentation.
Now, here is where both are equally impressive with just a difference in presentation. Female vocals on the Z1R are just as full bodied and airy as the LUNA, but are presented farther away from you. The LUNA’s more intimate presentation allows the listener to almost feel the vocalist’s breathing in their ears. The effect is absolutely ethereal. So I must give the LUNA the edge in the female vocal presentation.
In the highs, the Z1R has the edge overall. The highs on the Z1R just sounds more extended and presents more flare. While it may be energetic, it never gets sibilant. The LUNA’s highs sound calmer and smoother in comparison. Both are very well detailed up top, but the Z1R just gives it more shimmer.
In the soundstage department, the Z1R never ceases to amaze me every time I compare them with other IEMs in the market. With that being said, I do have to say that the more intimate nature of the LUNA does have its own charms. Although the LUNA is not on par with the Z1R’s 3 dimensional staging, it still presents a wide soundstage. But then again, I still haven’t heard another IEM that beats the Z1R in staging.
However, when it comes to imaging, I didn’t really hear much difference between the two. Both are great in that regard, but I just have to give the edge to the Z1R because of how it handles space the imaging just goes along with it.

JH Audio Layla (-12BA- $2750US)

For the Layla, I always have the bass dial set at 2 O’Clock. This gives the neutral low-end a bit more excitement. Let’s talk about that low-end, the Layla’s sub-bass has more rumble than the LUNA. But while the Layla may have deeper rumble and sub-bass quantity, the LUNA has better mid-bass presentation. The mid-bass of the LUNA is really where it’s at, it just sounds organic and very reminiscent of the Z1R’s but with more punch. With this, bass instruments just have more weight to them compared to the Layla’s “neutral” mid-bass response. Moving to the mids, it’s pretty much the same deal here. The LUNA gives more life to instruments that fall into this range. String Instruments especially just sound more natural on the LUNA. The Layla unfortunately also suffer in the higher mids, as vocals, especially female vocals, just sound flat and hollowed out compared to the LUNA’s airy and dense vocal voicing. Next, we arrive at the Layla's biggest weakness; the highs. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the Layla’s highs when I got it; it was smooth and detailed. But when comparing it to newer flagships, it falls flat and almost dark. The LUNA’s highs could get a little sharp but it never fatigues my ears. In comparison to the Layla, the LUNA is more detailed and gives you more excitement in the higher regions. It really comes down to your preference here. A lot of people, myself included, still like the Layla’s sound signature, as it's a very easy to listen to IEM. It’s also one of the reasons why I liked the Empire Ears Wraith. A lot of people think it sounds dark, but to me, it’s one of the most analytical and relaxing IEM to listen to. In my opinion, it’s pretty much an evolved Layla.
The only area the Layla does have an advantage over the LUNA is the slightly deeper soundstage. The Layla does go a touch deeper with similar width and height as the LUNA. In Imaging though, I have to say the LUNA is cleaner and a touch more accurate with better placement and separation.

FitEar Monet17 (-4BA- Roughly about $1560US converted from Japanese Yen)

These two are quite similar in some aspects but very different in the others.
Sub-bass response is one of the differences. The LUNA’s sub-bass is truly its “weakness” It just doesn’t give excitement. While the Monet17 isn’t as impressive as the IER-Z1R, it comes fairly close to how organic the rumble is presented. I gotta say it’s one of my favorite sub-bass presentations from a Quad BA Driver IEM. Both IEMs have similar mid-bass warmth and punch. But I do have to say, the LUNA gives a bit more air and space in this area while the Monet17 gives more heft.
In the midrange, they’re also somewhat similar, both are full bodied, and offer rich male vocal presentation. When it comes to string instruments, especially on guitars, it becomes a bit interesting. The LUNA is better at rendering clean guitars while the Monet17 crushes it with distorted guitars. The “Tuned especially for Anime Music” becomes clearly apparent here with the Monet17. When you pair it with exactly that genre, they become quite unbeatable. It’s also quite apparent on the high-mids. Monet17’s high-mids are smoother with just enough air and sparkle to make it easier to listen to the usual higher pitched female vocals on Anime songs. Moving to the highs is where it differs again, the Monet17 produces a bit more energy and sparkle while the LUNA gives it a bit more clarity and extension. I gotta say while comparing these two, I’ve come to love the Monet17 quite a bit more now. I’m impressed with the tuning. Being able to keep up with how unique sounding the LUNA is, is quite something. Especially having been 5 years its senior.

Shure SE846 (-4BA- $999US)

Boy oh boy, the good old SE846s. I’ve had it pretty much since it got launched. It still holds a special place in my ears. But unfortunately, like the Layla, while they’re still quite impressive on their own, comparing them to newer IEMs is hard to take in. Either way, we still have to compare the two as it was requested by a user on Head-Fi. So let’s begin.
The deep reaching bass response in the SE846s is still honestly quite impressive for a full BA specced IEM of its age. But unfortunately that’s just about it now. In all other aspects of the spectrum, it’s rather boring and lifeless in comparison to the much livelier and unique sound being produced by LUNA. The LUNA’s mid-bass extending to the midrange just sounded fuller with so much warmth to spare; high-mids have more edge, and have better detail and extension in the highs. It’s sad to say but the SE846 have been completely outclassed by the LUNA.

Conclusion

IMG_6922.jpg

Here we are guys, we’re finally at the end. It’s quite the journey for me writing this review.
I still have so much to learn about writing, I’m not even sure if what I wrote made sense to you, but thank you so much for giving me your precious time to read my ramblings. I will do even better the next time I write a review.
So after doing an extensive listening with the LUNA, I really have to applaud the whole DUNU team for creating such a unique sounding IEM. I’ve stated this in my first impression post, and I still stand by it. The uniqueness of the LUNA is what makes it a hard IEM to ignore, especially if you’re like me who enjoys a lot of female vocal centric music.

A HUGE shoutout to the DUNU team for the opportunity to be a part of the US/Canada Tour!

I’ll have darker days from now on, as I’ll be saying goodbye to the LUNA. She will now move on to the next lucky person along the tour. I’ll definitely miss listening with them.

I’m excited to hear what their skilled engineers bring to the table next.

Hope you all find my review helpful enough for you to decide if the LUNAs are the right IEMs for you.

Until next time!

Cheers,

Matz
subguy812
subguy812
Nice Review sir!
riverground
riverground
Thank you very much everyone!

I'll work even harder on the next review!
DUNU-Topsound
DUNU-Topsound
Everyone agrees --- it's an incredible first review effort! Truly a great read!
Pros: Over the top accessories package consisting of 2 pouches, 1 USB dac, Large variety of spin fit and standard silicones, $400 Dunu Noble cable with 4 different quick change connectors, high quality titanium shell. Smaller extremely durable housing meaning it will be very comfortable to use. Clean transparent balanced tuning with great detail and dynamism. Not a hissing magnet like a lot of other flagship earphones.
Cons: Average in isolation. Slight sub bass roll off. Will let you understand what your missing from your other in ears. Very transparent of the source your using.
DUNU LUNA
DSC07141.JPG
DUNU LUNA has been a revelation to me. I had no idea just how good a single dynamic can really get till I heard the LUNA. After getting the right tips and plugging the LUNA into my Fiio M15. I knew it was a match that I had to continue to explore. The LUNA touts some interesting materials and tech behind the sonics and for what it is worth. DUNU team came out the gate with a bold name to a new flagship that really caught my attention.
DSC07151.JPG
This earphone is proof positive that more drivers don’t get you more sonics. Using a single 10mm pure Beryllium dynamic with a polyurethane suspension. Housed in a grade 5 titanium alloy housing. The build is impeccable and is what you would expect from a flagship model.
DSC07162.JPG
Opening the Luna is a treat to behold. A big box is what you get and inside that box unfolds layers and layers of goodness in the way of accessories, a USB C dac which was a surprise, 2 pouches, the cables the phones a whole lotta tips and the phones. It is a substantial amount of goodness you get in this packaging. Another surprise to me on opening the box was just how small the earpieces were. Marketing material on their web page would have you believe it is as grand as the moon as the name would indicate. But in reality, in sound only.
DSC07139.JPG
DSC07140.JPGDSC07142.JPGDSC07143.JPGDSC07144.JPG
The earphones themselves are actually about the size of your garden variety earbud without the foam covering. Very ergonomic with no awkward angles, a brawny size or edges to deal with. The Luna is actually one of the smallest earphones I own. I am very certain the Luna will fit 99% of people that try them and with great comfort. The housing is about as solid as it will get for any earphone. I wouldn’t want to test a 10ft drop but I have little doubts these will take a fall like that with no issue.
DSC07146.JPG
The modular clear version of their reference Noble cable ( RP $399.99) is included in the packaging. When asked about the cable.
DSC07147.JPG
“The cable with the Luna is the NOBLE cable in clear. We had to silver-plate the surrounding shielding so that the copper shielding doesn't oxidize all green and look ugly. Otherwise, the setup is the same. The conductors are alternating strands of Furukawa OCC copper and DHC silver. The shielding (non-conducting) is coiled OCC copper (or in the case of the LUNA, silver-plated copper).”

DSC07148.JPG
If you can’t tell by now Dunu took the time to really think over “the package.” I am here to tell you. You get a top of the line package with the best of the best of what they have in the box. I can honestly say not all companies will do this. So this to me is refreshing and is something that should be a standard for a flagship model. I applaud Dunu for not cutting corners on the whole package of what you get. It is always a good sign that the packaged accessories and unboxing experience is of a flagship caliber.
DSC07136.JPG
DSC07152.JPG
Noble cable I feel matches extremely well with the Luna, sonically and aesthetically.The modular quick switch system should be the standard for all cables. With so many sources we all use now a days. All with some type of balanced out. This quick change system is so much better than actually changing cables from single ended to a balanced one. It comes with all the popular and the most usable connectors in the box. 3.5mm single, 3.5mm balanced, 2.5mm balanced,4.4mm balanced. Easily switched on the fly. With the cable already matched perfectly for the Luna. Now onto the other aspect of sound optimization.
DSC07145.JPG
Tips. As discussed on the impression thread for the Luna. Since each one of us has a unique inner and outer ear. It is imperative that you find the right tips to use for the Luna. Dunu was gracious in providing a good variety of tips including some spin fit premium silicones to try out and you are bound to find a few sets that will match up well for you.

You can’t have enough tips in the earphone game and I can tell you Dunu went above and beyond what most manufacturers throw in for tips. In the end I chose an aftermarket Azla Sendafit tip with a wide opening that fit me well and gives me the best sound sonically. My thoughts about the Luna are all based on the stock cable, Azla tips and the Luna using my sources. Fiio M15, Shanling M6 pro, M5s, M3s, IBasso DX160 and my IFI Black label.
DSC07166.JPG
I have been listening to my Luna for the entirety of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic in my State and so I have a good understanding of their sonics. They got well over 300 plus hours of burn in and use during this time. Truth about my splurge on the Luna. I was actually saving a bit to get a set of the IER Z1R but decided to go all in on Dunus new flagship. Why so? Sometimes you get that gut feeling. Looking at this design and all that went into it. There is no way these are gonna be a mediocre sounding earphone. So I went for them. Why not. Worse case scenario I can sell 'em off and buy whatever else I would like to try..
DSC07150.JPG
Well that didn’t happen. I am happy to report that as impressive as the big box of accessories are, the sound is even better. First time I put on the cable and threw them in my ears. I knew I was dealing with something serious. These are reference IEMs for a reason, and have a high level of detail represented in all regions of the sonics. I have to admit I was a bit worried about 2 aspects of the Luna. One being its small size, I was worried the sound stage would suffer and the other concern was for bass.
DSC07161.JPG
As a very important note. If you're curious about the Luna, I encourage you to try and demo the Luna for yourself and not base your perception of them off of graphs. What you might think these sound like based on a graph and how they truly sound are 2 different things. If I was just to strictly base the Luna on graphs it will tell you sub bass is rolled off and has a lot of energy toward the treble region. While there is a bit of a roll off but that don’t mean these don’t rumble in the lowest of notes. In fact this might surprise you but these sound fantastic for bass genres. EDM and even hip hop. As an avid bass fan. While these are not a bass first sounding IEM. They represent in the region splendidly well. Will get to that a bit more later.
DSC07149.JPG
Luna to my ears was a treat from the start. Charles Mingus’s, Boogie stop shuffle sounded spectacular with the Luna. Couldn't get them out of my ears. Horns, strings percussion sounded so right so involving, so spacious, a quick listen ended up being a 3 hour session of all my favorite tracks. One after another. The Luna and my Fiio M15 I gotta say has a synergy that is hard to duplicate with anything else I have heard or owned. I am all too happy to report as small as these shells are. The sound is everything but. It has a fairly large scope of sound for in ears and how it projects sound is magical. You're not dealing with a 2D plain of sound here. Slight nuanced detail from your tracks will come at you from all directions. Well recorded acoustical tracks especially sound superb.

DSC07159.JPG
Dunu Luna has a finely tuned balanced sound signature for the base of the sound with a lean toward the upper frequencies for exacting clarity and precision. That treble emphasis will have the Luna having a slightly cooler yet accurate tonality, adding a reference level of detail and transients. Shows a slight warmth in the bass to the mids. Ample fullness for lower octave instruments which ends up sounding very natural and true to the recordings. Where it excels is its ability to portray vocal nuance and instrument positioning, layerings in recordings.
DSC07137.JPGPenon Leo Plus cable pictured with Luna.

Showing how transparent the sonics are on the Luna, your sources also matter here. If you own a bright neutral source. You're gonna hear a bright neutral source. Have a full bodied extremely well layered sonically superior dap like the M15 and now you're dealing with end game type earphone and DAP synergy on the go. Some friendly advice: play the Luna on a great sounding dac amp or player and then you will see what Luna can really do. That saying good things in better things out applies here. The Luna will let you hear the sonic ability of each player used with the Luna. Hence the Luna has become my defacto earphone tester for sources.
DSC07160.JPG
Sonically the resolving qualities of the pure Beryllium is in full force here and it clearly shows an ability to show you exactly what is in your quality tracks. It has a clear, clean extended transparent treble response. Treble has emphasis over the mids and bass which adds shimmer, clarity and air to the overall tone. The bass end has an equal amount of ability which again the graphs don’t necessarily show you. These are not a bass first IEM so you can’t go into a Luna purchase thinking they will have big bass. They don’t but on the opposite end they don’t sound lacking either. Being a middle porridge of the bass spectrum and emphasis with excellent punch, quickness and that low end textured rumble. These are tuned to be accurate more so than enhancing any area for the low notes. There is slightly more mid bass emphasis than sub bass but again with the right tips the sub bass is plenty good on the Luna and reaches deep.
DSC07155.JPG
The mid treble does have some extra emphasis but was deliberately done to bring out the best qualities of the Beryllium dynamic being used in the Luna. I can say without reservation there is no aspect of the Luna that sounds lacking or overly cooked. Some might prefer a more relaxed treble end but I believe the Luna has a great balance of one part dimensional dynamics and another part transparency that makes you take note of their precise presentation. Vocals do not sound shouty and bass is accurate. While tonality leans a bit on the cool side of neutral there is nothing the Luna won't reveal to you. And that is to be expected. You get sound ques from every angle when listening to them. They almost sound binaural due to the extremely well layered sound of the Luna.
DSC07138.JPG
A spacious sound with a well rounded stage that surrounds your hearing. While the Luna does not have the widest of IEM sound stages it is so well imaged with a perfectly proportioned depth to height ratio of sound it portrays in ear sonics with absolute type realism that is hard to replicate for other in ears. It is the mid range that I find very special on the Luna. Again the graphs don’t show you just how good vocals and instruments sound on the Luna. Be it male or female. It projects sound exactly how recordings portray it. Breathy and rangy be it Adele’s vocals to Sam Cooke's more analogue larger roomier studio recordings. Each tune has a tone, a uniqueness of the track sounding meticulous using the Luna, and that is something I can’t say with a lot of my other earphones. Shows a true resolving character that you have to hear to truly understand.
DSC07154.JPG
Stringed instruments be it Eric Clapton fingers sliding on his guitars to Yo-Yo Ma’s Cello suites low reverb penetrates and represents with a very realistic and accurate defined renditions. The Luna demands attention and leaves you with the emotion of the recording and ultimately this is what listening to music should be about.

Bass is quick agile with an excellent ranginess and attack. Textured sub bass is addictive with a good rumble on the Luna. I would sum it up as more accurate in the bass department than emphasized. Just like the rest of the sonic representation, transparency is shown in the low notes. Bass of the Luna is not highlighted like a lot of earphones but is dependent on how much bass is in the recording. This is the reason why the Luna does not fail for something like RnB or hip hop. Bass was the one area that actually surprised me. The tonality in the bass department is absolute in how it is portrayed and has the ability to morph into any type of low note that is required. Sound separations related to layering of the tracks, each individual instrument has its own space and when taken as a whole the Luna leaves a lasting impression.

The Luna sounds absolutely superb for music which is what it was intended for and in that regard it is a big win for enthusiasts that are looking for exacting qualities in an earphone sound. Sonic details in all parts of the sound when mixed with an airiness and spacious sonic goodness you get something that is special that takes musical enjoyment to a different level.
DSC07153.JPG
For my own personal taste. I would like to have just a bit more in the sub bass region, but what makes the Luna shine is a more complete approach in a carefully designed flagship. The tuning is meticulous and balances a fine line between energetic detail mixed with a full on dynamic flare. Ultimately I have nothing that sounds quite like the Luna in my collection and this is from hearing and owning 100s of earphones. They let you know exactly how good your sources and quality tracks are. The Luna will speak to the very reason why you listen to your music in the first place and for that very reason, I feel they succeed. You can find more information about the Luna here. As always stay safe so you can enjoy your music. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on the Dunu Luna.
Last edited:

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top