DUNU VULKAN

hevelaoak

New Head-Fier
A musical-Blessing 2 or a pair of desktop speakers-in ear?
Pros: coherency
musical tuning
good resolution
near-holographic imaging
relatively wide staging
excellent build quality
excellent accessories
Cons: clarity
detail retrieval
mild-BA timbre
lower treble harshness
Vulkan1.jpg



Tonality: 6/9
Technicalities: 6.33/9
Preference: 6/9
Total: 6.1/9

(star rating is for the price to performance)


(total 5 mins read)

Intro
Dunu is one of those matured Chifi companies who have made numerous statements with their releases like Luna & Zen (though I haven’t listened to them) and the ever-popular SA6. I believe they have their own niche in the market and always looking brilliant and metallically-solid with every release even with their entry-level IEM called Titan. I’m not going to pretend that I know Dunu that much, just like most people do, I read.

Vulkan is a new hybrid offering from Dunu for the mid-fi market that competes with the likes of Tanchjim Oxygen, Yanyin Canon, Unique Melody UM 3DT, and Moondrop Blessing 2 just to name a few. It sports an 8mm coaxial dual dynamic driver for the bass, 2 Knowles balanced armatures for the midrange, and 2 Knowles balanced armatures for the high response. The housing is CNC-machined aluminum that feels very solid as usual that comes with a nice Mokume Gane-inspired faceplate. Overall, I’m loving what I’m seeing here. But the question is, how good is Vulkan sonically?


Signature
The sound signature of Vulkan can be described as neutral with a bass boost that skewed towards a darker & warmer tonality that’s pretty balanced in my opinion. Some might call it mild V-shaped or U-shaped depending on one’s sensitiveness towards treble and bass response.

The treble here is done tastefully, which is not the common "in-your-face" kind of treble for perceived detail we mostly find these days. The bass glides smoothly from the lowest octave to the mid-bass before its relatively relaxed midrange. It’s like a colored neutral tuning but in a good way. Overall, I think the tuning is pretty solid and enjoyable if not as refined as other competitors within the same price bracket.


Vulkan vs B2.png

measurement graph courtesy of precog.squig.link


Tonality
Tonally, I find there’s nothing wrong with Vulkan but perhaps lacking in certain areas like the upper midrange and upper treble response for a more "natural" playback other than its marginally dry timbre (more on this later). Although I’d love to have a smoother and airier treble with a more forward upper midrange presentation, I kind of dig what Dunu did here with the Vulkan.

One of the good things is the transition between midrange and treble is fluid and coherent like a full-range dynamic driver. The midrange is not the cleanest but rather dense with a good note-weight and warmth. But there’s something bothering me at times. It could be the peak around the presence area or the lack of upper midrange response that somewhat makes the treble appear “compressed” at a higher loudness listening level or when there’s overlapping of treble information. There’s no detrimental sibilance whatsoever, but there’s lower treble harshness or excessive lower treble energy for sure. The issue varies with different sources which evident that Vulkan has a good range of scalability.

While the bass is not a true "bass-head" level, it’s satisfying enough in terms of amount and quality and perhaps the best trait of Vulkan. Mid-bass is punchy and articulate while the sub-bass digs deep enough with good rumble while not being too forward or overpowering. It has decent texturing with a natural decaying ability that also helps to give a bit of “life” to the overall playback. In my opinion, it’s not the best but also not the worst bass at the same time. Overall, I can say that Vulkan is tonally balanced and musical at most.


Technicalities +
Vulkan boasts good resolution which presents a relatively wide than tall sound stage that I find quite impressive. However, it’s not the most resolving regardless of the big image it reproduces. The transient attack is fast yet the note comes off a little dull in terms of solidity (density). Thus, the imaging is good and unique in a way but sort of hazy or not as crisp or sharp. This is to say that Vulkan has an average clarity in the grand scheme of things which is absolutely not a bad thing, but just middling in hammering out micro details.

In other words, Vulkan has a kind of big “out-of-head" image projection yet it’s not as clean or detailed to be able to see the overall picture. What I like about Vulkan’s presentation is the sounds feel almost tangible. It feels like the imaging is holographic with a good sense of space & separation between instruments.

Regarding the timbre, I honestly think it’s not the worst kind of BA timbre I’ve heard. It appears to me that this timbre is what makes its "big sound". It requires some time to adjust to this kind of big sound especially those coming from a neutral or reference-style tuning. Imagine every note is enlarged, so, the smooth treble you’re accustomed to now appears in a more lifelike manner rather than the typical miniature sound coming out from your typical earphones (it almost feels like listening to a pair of desktop speakers).

Speaking about dynamics, I’m going to say that Vulkan is doing just fine. To be frank, it’s great with the lower part of the frequency spectrum but a little bit compressed around the top. For example, Vulkan shows great slams & impacts on Zu’s “Carbon” from start to finish but comes off as slightly flat or moderate for brass instrument attacks on Sinne Eeg’s “We’ve Just Begun” at around 0:40-1:42 minute mark. Generally, to me, it’s simply adequate and serviceable in terms of dynamics.




Zu - Carbon



Sinne Eeg & The Danish Radio Big Band - We've Just Begun



Vulkan2.jpg



Comparison
I believe Moondrop Blessing 2 is the most compared IEM if not the only true challenger to Vulkan. Both of these IEMs have a similar configuration and are priced within the same realm of competitiveness (Vulkan with dual dynamic driver and an additional $60 premium).

Blessing 2 is by far regarded as the standard or benchmark for IEMs below $500 by many enthusiasts in terms of tuning-wise and resolution-wise. Some might even say it’s the best within the kilo buck range if not the best in value. Coming from Blessing 2 or neutral camp generally, I find myself leaning towards Blessing 2 most of the time. However, after some time, I can vouch for Vulkan to be an equal or a rival to Blessing 2 for different reasons.

While Blessing 2 is a true studio monitor with an analytical or reference-style tuning approach, Vulkan is a more natural and musical set. Other than near-top resolution & a cleaner presentation, Blessing 2 boasts better micro dynamics too. Vulkan on the other hand boasts an atmospheric presentation that is a wide sound stage and a bigger image with explosive impacts. Musical instruments sound more realistic on Vulkan whereas Blessing 2 is more detailed. So, it’s totally depending on what one wants in their music playback fix. I find myself liking both of them for their own strong qualities.


Valuation
As much as I like to listen to my classical music collection with the Blessing 2, I find Vulkan to be slightly more enjoyable, more pleasant, more satisfying, and more delightful overall (you get what I mean). This is not to say that it’s only good for classical but also with most of the music tested (mainly acoustic and live recordings). I can say that I realized a different perspective once I started digesting the tuning, especially the treble (please check out my test track ratings with the Vulkan below).

For those looking for top-level resolution or absolute clarity within the price, Blessing 2 might be the answer. While Vulkan is not perfect, it’s honestly very good for what it is. I think I’ve never heard anything like it since into the hobby (particularly IEM). It’s simply unique and fun. Without talking more nonsense, I’m going to recommend Dunu DX-F6 the “Vulkan” for its "true to musicality" nature while retaining a solid degree of Dunu's own elegance. Good job Dunu.


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*this unit is sent by DUNU for the Malaysia tour in exchange for an honest review. all words are 100% mine and I'm not compensated or influenced by any party.


Purchase Dunu DX-F6 Vulkan here (non-affiliated)



tools:
Tidal / Apple Music via LG G7 / Macbook Pro with/without Ovidius B1 / Hidizs S9 Pro / Dunu DTC 500
Tidal / Foobar2000 (FLAC) via Topping EX5 with/without Aune X7s or Aune S7 Pro

key songs & ratings: (technical & enjoyment)
Será Una Noche – Taquito Militar (Tango) 5/5
Eddie Daniels – Baião Malandro (Jazz Fusion / Classical Crossover) 5/5
Patricia Petibon - Mozart: Der Zauberflöte – Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Classical [Aria]) 5/5

Sinne Eeg – We've Just Begun (Jazz) 4/5
Cécile McLorin Salvant - Ghost Song (Vocal Jazz) 5/5
Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone - A Lovely Night (Jazz Pop / Film Score) 4/5

Muddy Waters – My Home Is in The Delta (Delta Blues) 4/5
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Tin Pan Alley (Blues Rock) 5/5
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand (Alternative Rock / Punk Blues) 4/5

toe - 孤独の発明 (Math Rock) 4/5
Tera Melos - 40 Rods to the Hog's Head (Math Rock / Avant-Prog) 3/5
Don Caballero - Don Caballero 3 (Math Rock) 3/5

Scott Walker – Corps De Blah (Experimental / Post-Industrial) 5/5
Swans – Lunacy (Experimental Rock / Post-Rock) 5/5
Zu - Carbon (Avant-Garde Metal / Avant-Garde Jazz) 5/5

My Disco – A Christ Pendant Comfort Her Neck (Noise Rock / Post-Hardcore) 4/5
Arab On Radar - God is Dad (No Wave / Noise Rock) 5/5
Shellac - Crow (Post-Hardcore / Noise Rock) 4/5

Mastodon – The Wolf Is Loose (Progressive Metal / Sludge Metal) 4/5
Fear Before the March of Flames – High as a Horse (Post-Hardcore / Metalcore) 3/5
Botch - Japam (Matchcore / Post-Hardcore) 4/5

ANOHNI - Drone Bomb Me (Art Pop / Elctropop) 4/5
Slowdive - Star Roving (Shoegaze / Dream Pop) 4/5
The Shins - Simple Song (Indie Pop / Psychedelic Pop) 4/5

Radiohead - Idioteque (Art Rock / Experimental Rock / Electronic) 3/5
TheFatRat - Warbringer feat. Lindsey Stirling (Electropop) 4/5
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy (Trip Hop / UK Hip Hop) 4/5

Justin Bieber - Holy feat. Chance the Rapper (Contemporary R&B / Dance-Pop) 4/5
Lizzo - About Damn Time (Contemporary R&B / Dance-Pop) 5/5
Kylie Minogue - Real Groove (Dance-Pop / Nu-Disco) 4/5
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ywheng89

100+ Head-Fier
Dunu Vulkan's Review
Pros: Big soundstage
Fun and controlled sub bass
Musical and lush sounding
Vocal is prominent but well separated
Cons: Not for purist
A little lacking in terms of detail retrieval (Nit picking)
Slight upper mids emphasis might posed as a problem for someone who's sensitive (Not me)
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Intro
Dunu is no stranger in the audiophile community, especially when it comes to their mid-fi or even high end product offering. I was very lucky to be able to review the budget offering from Dunu which is the Titan S and I am in love with it, it is still my daily driver until today. Today I have with me the Vulkan which is a 2 DD 4 BA config IEM. The driver config is certainly unique even the faceplate itself is exquisite.


Packaging
As with most Dunu products, they do pay attention to the packaging a lot and I have a very good unboxing experience from it. The box consists of Vulkan itself, three types of eartips, two types which are stored in the ear tip case. The cable that came with Vulkan is very soft yet feels durable. You are able to purchase it separately if you wish to. It is a 4 Core, High-Purity, Silver-Plated OCC Copper Type 1 Litz (DUW-02S) with a quick switch modular plug system. The plug switching mechanism seems very durable and it is very easy to switch them out. I alternate between 3.5 and 4.4
Build/Comfort
The shell is by no means small, so those with small ears might want to take note of this.
The shell is made out of aluminium and it features a very beautiful and exquisite faceplate that’s inspired by Mokume Gane (mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns). The iem itself is very solid to hold, in terms of fitting and comfort, you need to spend some time to find the right tip for your ears in order for it to seal properly. I settled with the grey colored one.

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Source
Macbook Air M2 Apple Music/Tidal -> Vulkan (Straight out from MBA’s 3.5mm jack)
Macbook Air M2 Apple Music/Tidal -> Dunu DTC 500 -> Vulkan (4.4)
Macbook Air M2 Apple Music/Tidal -> iFi iDSD Nano Black Label 5.3 Firmware (Without GTO and PCM Filter set at Listening) -> Vulkan (3.5)
Tempotec V6 -> Vulkan (4.4)


Sound
To my ears, the Dunu Vulkan sounds neutral with a slight boost on the sub bass. The timbre sounds natural to my ears and I did not hear any BA timbre from them. Good note weight overall. They are not a detail monster, but they are quite unforgiving when it comes to bad recordings. My listening impression is based on stock cable and stock grey colored L sized eartip

Bass
  • Sub bass extension is good although it doesn’t really rumble hard, but it made its presence when it is called for, i certainly wouldn’t call this a basshead iem, but it provides just enough impact for it to be musical in my opinion
  • Bass texture is good but not excellent, Mid bass is just enough, although i crave for a little more for that extra oomph, but it is good enough with good body and warmth to overall presentation
  • Bass is quite fast and it has no problem keeping up in tracks like Slipknot’s People = crap, decent speed. Doesn’t sound bloated at all.

Mids
  • The mids of Vulkan has very good warmth to it, quite lush sounding, the tuning kinda bring the vocal forward and separately them very well from the instruments, vocal focused to my ears
  • Vocal positioning is not too in your face nor recessed sounding, sounds just right to my ears
  • Male vocal does lack a little texture in my opinion, but other than that, it sounds quite good, when listening to songs of male with low baritone voice, it is slightly lacking in terms of the texture, doesn’t sound as full as it should sound, lacking a little warmth i’d say (Zhao Peng’s The Moon Represents my Heart)
  • Female vocals on the other hand are excellent, very sweet sounding and good texture, listening to Billie Eilish’s TV with the volume cranked up on the iDSD Nano BL, literally gave me goosebumps, for those who are sensitive to the upper mids, this might pose as a con rather than enjoyment because it might be a little un-bearable to them, however, this can be remedied by tip rolling it to Final Type E’s eartip to slightly tame the upper mids if you are sensitive, as for me, i am good with the stock setup
  • While vocal being the prominent one in the mids, the mid range instruments are not lacking as well, it is well separated and they don’t overpower each other

Treble
  • Treble is smooth and non fatiguing at all, not sibilant at all
  • Treble extension is quite good but not excellent
  • Detail retrieval is good but can be better in my opinion, while the detail retrieval is good, the smooth treble response might be perceived as lacking detail but it is actually not

Soundstage/Imaging
  • The soundstage on Vulkan is amazing, it is wide and tall, it is very evident in Toto’s Africa’s Live
  • Imaging is good whereas instruments separation is excellent, it stays well layered even in busy track like People = crap

Driveability
  • While the Vulkan is easy to drive, it can sound reasonably loud even out from Apple Dongle
  • Its true potential is unlocked when it is being fed with better source and also power, i do notice with more power, the bass is a little bit more controlled and the soundstage just opens up a little bit more
  • Tempotec’s V6 DAP is sufficient to drive them properly to my ears, on balanced connection 4.4
  • Not to mention, Vulkan also have very good synergy with Dunu’s DTC500 Dongle

Comparison (Rose Technics QT9 MK2S)
  • Well, i honestly don’t think this is a fair comparison in terms of pricing and config, but this is the closest to what i have in terms of config and pricing (1 DD with 4BA)
  • In terms of tonality, both are quite different, QT9 is more on the neutral and slight bright whereas Vulkan is going for the slightly warmer/colored tonality
  • In terms of timbre, i personally preferred Vulkan’s rendition of timbre instead of QT9, QT9’s timbre sounds a little cool to my ears, just a little, while Vulkan’s has got a bit warmth and good body to it
  • In terms of detail retrieval, QT9 is better at it as it is more revealing compared to Vulkan, at the same time, it is also a little unforgiving when it comes to poorly recorded track whereas Vulkan is kinda “smoother” to listen to, i would put it as QT9 is less musical and slightly analytical whereas Vulkan is colored and musical

Final Thoughts
Well, in my opinion, Vulkan’s aim is not to be the most detailed set nor it claimed to be one, rather it exists to bring something unique to the table, a harman tuning with a sub bass boost and big soundstage.While it may not please the purist or detail head, rather it is aimed at someone who is looking for musicality in their music rather than to hear every nuances of detail and ended up feeling fatigue from it.

I am more than happy to recommend this set to anyone who is in the lookout for an IEM that’s musical, but, if you are looking to analyse every nuance nor if you are expecting it to be very revealing, you might wanna stay away from this set. This is not a con in my opinion but rather a different target group.

*This unit is sent to me from Dunu for MY’s tour in exchange for this review. I received no compensation nor am I in any way influenced to produce this review, all thoughts are of my own.

Dunu Vulkan’s Product Page
Dunu Vulkan’s Official Store Purchase Link - Non affiliated

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Good review and nice photos, as usual!

o0genesis0o

500+ Head-Fier
Dunu Vulkan - Unique and Engaging
Pros: - Unusual tuning that actually works
- Big and physical bass
- Soundstage with good size and depth
Cons: - Vocal is forward / intimate, which can reduce the illusion of soundstage depth
- Hot mid-treble in certain tracks
- Rolled off upper-treble / air
- Resolution is only adequate
IMG_2241.jpeg


Do you feel Chi-Fi IEMs are evolving to be better yet more similar? Just pick any recent hype train. You would likely find forward upper midrange that more or less follows Harman target, relatively flat or suppressed lower midrange, and sub-bass focused shelf. These tuning choices inevitably lead to a forward, wide, relatively flat soundstage.

On the one hand, this trend is good for average consumers because their likelihood of running into a wonky IEM has reduced substantially. On the other hand, such convergence reduces your chance of running into interesting sound signatures that you didn't know you liked.

Within this context, let's discuss Dunu Vulkan, one of the more unusual recent releases in the AUD $550 bracket.



Forewords


- I like highly detailed IEMs that can produce a three-dimensional soundstage illusion and large bass without compromising tonal accuracy too much.
- My music library covers nostalgic pop music, epic orchestral music from Sci-fi shows, classical violin performances, piano, lo-fi beats, and a few rock songs.
- I rate IEMs by A/B tests them against a few benchmark IEMs, regardless of price point. If a $1000 IEM scores the same as a $100 IEM, then either the more expensive one underperforms or the budget one is a gem. See the methodology for more detail.
- I use frequency response measurements to double check my subjective impressions.
- I don't EQ when testing IEMs. However, I highly recommend EQing to fine-tune good IEMs to your ears and taste.
- Rating database and measurement database can be found on my IEM review blog.



Non-sound Aspects


Vulkan possesses an interesting driver architecture: 2 dynamic drivers + 4 Knowles BA drivers. The drivers are enclosed in metal shells and face plates that sport engraved patterns. The shells feel rugged yet not very heavy. The nozzles are short and chubby, so your fit greatly depends on your ear tips.

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In usual Dunu fashion, Vulkan is accompanied by a generous set of accessories. You have
- 6 pairs of silicone ear tips (the same sets that come with Dunu Titan S)
- 1.2m MMCX cable terminated with the interchangeable plug system of Dunu,
- Carrying case (seems similar to the one that comes with Zen Pro and SA6).

The cable is thick, strong, and well-behaved. It terminates with Dunu's famous interchangeable plug system featured in their high-end models, not the lite version that comes with Falcon Pro. Vulkan does not feel like a fancy artsy product like the Meze Advar I reviewed recently. Instead, it feels like a decked-out, technology-centric audio product.

Comfort is alright. With my Whizzer tips, Vulkan does not rest against my concha. Instead, it dangles, held by the ear tips and ear hooks. Such fit might create wind noise when you use Vulkan outside. However, there was no comfort issue during my long critical listening session.



Sound Analysis



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Frequency response of Vulkan compared to Andromeda 2020 and my preference target. Measurements were done with an IEC-711 compliant coupler and might only be compared with other measurements from this same coupler. The resonance peak was aligned at around 8kHz. Such a peak might be larger on the graph than in real life. Measurements above the resonance peak might not be accurate. Visit my graph database for more comparisons.

If I have to describe Vulkan's sound with one word, it would be "large".

The bass tuning of Vulkan is somewhat "old school", eschewing a distinct bass shelf for an elevation across the lower frequencies. It is not done to the degree of Andromeda or some JH Audio IEMs, but the bass shelf is not as distinct as something like Blessing 2 Dusk or Variations. You might think Vulkan's bass tuning is "wrong" because the bass "bleeds" all over instead of making distinct and sharp punches. However, I would say this tuning has merit in terms of impact and realism. Kick drums spread across and rumble the entire soundstage. Cellos, contrabasses, and orchestral drums are audible with a strong rumble, lending a realistic and physical sensation to orchestral music.

Vulkan's upper midrange and lower treble (i.e., the entire ear gain region) are pretty interesting. Vulkan peaks at 3kHz, thus unabashedly pushing the main vocal forward and strictly in-your-head. Therefore, you would think Vulkan is "intimate" if your library is vocal-focused. However, the climb from 1kHz to the peak at 3kHz is much more relaxed. This tuning creates the illusion that some instruments are pushed away from you toward the background. Therefore, Vulkan can have a large soundstage for certain orchestral pieces. Of course, a relaxed upper midrange tuning for enlarging the soundstage is usual. Peaking at 3k to sharpen the vocal as a counterpoint is something I have not heard before. Hats off to Dunu's engineers for such cleverness.

Treble is where Vulkan tumbles, IMHO. The first problem is the mid-treble region around 6kHz and 8kHz, contributing to both "sparkles" and sibilance in music. Vulkan's mid-treble is quite forward, to the point of adding an edgy and metallic tine to the timbre of violins, flutes, and even vocals like Ed Sheeran's. The second problem is the weak upper treble. This region highlights decays, room reverbs, micro-details, and other good bits that create an "audiophile" sound. Lacking upper treble leads to a lack of air and separation between layers of instruments in the soundstage.

Vulkan's resolution is adequate for its asking price. Note attacks are a bit blunted. Micro-details in the tail-end of notes are very subtle. The lack of upper-treble "air" also reduces the separation between layers of instruments in the soundstage. Vulkan is still better than its competitors in the budget range in terms of resolution. However, it is slightly below other heavy hitters like Blessing 2.

Of course, an enjoyable listening experience requires more than resolution. Let's listen to some albums, and I will point out the strengths and weaknesses of Vulkan along the way.

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons by Janine Jansen


vulkan_5.jpeg


- Apple Music
- Spotify

The Four Seasons album was released in 2004 and has been chart-topping ever since. Unlike other recordings of these famous concerti, Janine Jansen plays with a chamber ensemble made up of friends and relatives rather than a big orchestra. The soloist and the ensemble interaction is also a bit different and interesting. For example, there is a back and forth "conversation" between violin and cello at the beginning of the first movement of Autumn.

Vulkan renders the concerti in an interesting way due to its upper midrange tuning. On the one hand, the soundstage is undoubtedly large and decently deep. On the other hand, the soloist is quite in-your-face, more than what I hear from other good soundstage performers like Andromeda. Despite my nitpicking, I find that Vulkan is still successful with these concerti, thanks to its soundstage depth and the rumbly cello that keeps the rhythm.

However, there are two problems. Firstly, I hear a slightly edgy and metallic tone in the violin's timbre. The timbre is not entirely off but not as natural as I expected. Secondly, Vulkan comes off a bit blunted in busy sections of the concerti. The third movement (Presto) was a challenge for Vulkan. It has difficulty keeping the layers of instruments separated while revealing all the natural nuances of the string instruments. However, this track is one of my library's "worst-case scenario" tests. The IEM generally holds it together throughout the concerti.


Shall We Dance by Andre Rieu and Johann Strauss Orchestra


- Spotify

Let's listen to The Second Waltz as an example. This piece sounds similar to some classical CDs back in the 1990s, which place the orchestra in front of rather than around you. Therefore, headphones and IEMs tend to struggle with this piece. For example, my Blessing 2 tends to place the whole orchestra on a flat but wide plane in my head rather than projecting the sound forward.

How does Vulkan sound?

Decently successful. In the first 30 seconds, I can hear the snare near the centre, but a bit further to the background, whilst the cello and bass it near me, just a bit to the right. And then the saxophone comes, located right between the nearer bassline and the snare at the back, slightly to the left of the stage. The woodwind section comes after the saxophone, roughly at the same distance but tilted to the right of the stage. The positioning of instruments from closer to further away is apparent, but the separation between layers is not very strong. When the music swells with the introduction of the string section from 0:45, the stage starts to mesh together. However, the bass is still clear and physical. You can waltz with IEM.

Ed Sheeran Tiny Desk Performance


- YouTube

This performance is excellent for checking the detail retrieval capability of an IEM because you can see the band.

Let's focus on the Visiting Hours (from 14:15). This song has chime sounds at the beginning and lots of backing vocals. Unfortunately, both chimes and backing vocals are slightly hazy. Of course, this slight haze does not ruin the music or the enjoyment. But it shows that Vulkan lacks that last bit of technical performance to reach the top tier.

The tonality is more troublesome, though. To put it bluntly, Vulkan produces sibilance in this song, which is one of the mildest in his album. Given how sharp Vulkan reproduces Visiting Hours, I did not dare to listen to the whole Shivers (the first song).



Comparisons and Rating


Resolution, Detail, Separation: 3.5/5 - Above Average


Resolution, detail retrieval, or "technical performance" denotes how finely and crisp an IEM or headphone can reproduce audio information. Resolution manifests itself in various aspects: (1) how clear and precise the attack of musical notes are, (2) how pinpoint musical notes are in the soundstage, (3) how detailed and nuanced the decay and reverb of musical notes are, (4) how clear can you hear background elements of a mix, (5) how separated similar sounding instruments are, and (6) can you hear the whole band or orchestra.

Vulkan is adequate. You wouldn't mistake it for a budget IEM, but I think the jump from a high-performing budget IEM like Titan S to Vulkan is not that big of a leap. If you index resolution heavily in your IEM purchase, then perhaps this IEM is not for you. I rate Vulkan 3.5/5 for resolution, putting it between Aria (3/5 - Average) and Blessing 2 (4/5 - Good).

Percussion Rendering: 4.5/5 - Very Good


Percussion rendering reflects how well the tuning and technical performance of an IEM work together to recreate realistic sound of a drum set. Good drum hits have clear attacks (controlled by frequencies from 4kHz to 6kHz), full body (midbass frequencies around 200Hz), and physical sensation (sub-bass frequencies around 50Hz). Good technical performance ("fast" driver) ensures that bass notes can be loud yet detailed. IEMs that cannot control bass very well tend to reduce the bass' loudness to prevent muddiness.

Vulkan renders percussion instruments and bass with realism and physical rumble. It's better than the textureless bass of Blessing 2 (3/5 - Average) and the deep-hitting-but-no-body bass of A4000 (4/5 - Good). However, it cannot challenge the thunderous bass of a properly driven E5000 (5/5 - Outstanding) or Zen Pro. Therefore, I rate Vulkan 4.5/5 for percussion rendering.

Stereo Imaging (Soundstage): 4/5 - Good


Stereo imaging or "soundstage" is a psychoacoustic illusion that different recording elements appear at various locations inside and around your head. Your brain creates based on the cues such as the loudness and phase differences between left and right channels. Most IEMs do not differ significantly, nor can they compete with headphones or loudspeakers. However, some IEMs offer a more spacious soundstage than others. Best IEMs can create multiple layers of sound from closer to further away and make some instruments float slightly above your head.

Vulkan's soundstage is difficult to rate. It cannot project the centre image (voice, solo instrument) in front of your like other high performers (Andromeda, U6t, U12t, Trio). It also lacks that airy, floating instrument illusion of IEMs with strong upper treble performance. However, Vulkan does have a large soundstage and produces a better illusion of depth than an average Harman-inspired IEMs like Blessing 2 or Aria (3/5 - Average). Therefore, I rate Vulkan 4/5 for soundstage.

Tonality: 3/5 - Average


The tonality of Vulkan is also tricky to rate. The clever and different tuning of Vulkan works most of the time. In my book, unconventional tuning that works deserves a high rating, perhaps even more so than a target hitter. However, Vulkan's mid-treble peak can be a deal breaker for listeners of harsher genres. Such treble tuning also impacts the timbre of some orchestral instruments negatively. Therefore, I rate Vulkan's tonality 3/5 - average in the grand scheme.


Conclusion


review_vulkan.jpg


If this review appears to be harsh, it is because I have a high expectation for Vulkan, given its long development, unusual driver topology, and pedigree as a Dunu IEM. Against such expectation, perhaps any IEM would come up short. If you are looking for a highly technical IEM with fun tuning, Vulkan might not be the one.

However, suppose you are looking for an epic-sounding IEM that differs from most new releases. Suppose that you are looking for a well-built IEM with great accessories. Suppose that you are looking for an alternative to Blessing 2. In those cases, Vulkan gets a recommendation from this reviewer.
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samandhi
samandhi
You had me at the opening statement (which I totally agree with)... :)

Very nice review! Thanks for taking the time (which looks like it took quite a bit of to do).
o0genesis0o
o0genesis0o
@samandhi thanks for reading. I write so slowly that I start when a hyped IEM first arrives and finish when people have already moved on to the next hype
S
syazwaned
this is a very good reviews

SherryLion

New Head-Fier
Review Of DUNU Vulkan
Pros: Bass is prominent and big in performance.
The vocals are clean and pleasurable to listen to.
The treble is clean and crisp.
The head stage is really big.
The imaging is nice.
The stage is placed very accurately.
Cons: The treble extension is not so great
The vocals have limitations
The soundstage is not that wide.

Review Of The DUNU Vulkan


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Introduction

Well DUNU is a known premium chifi brand with cool and success releases like Zen Pro, Falcon Pro, SA6, EST112, Titan S etc. One of their newly released IEM is DUNU Vulkan and yes these looks so cool and awesome. So today I’ll be reviewing be these IEM. If you want to own one, these are available on this site :-

https://conceptkart.com/products/dunu-vulkan-dk-x6-wired-iem#

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This is my second review on a DUNU audio gear. If you want to check my other review which is on the DUNU Titan S, the link below will take you there.

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/dunu-titan-s.25504/reviews#review-28888

Disclaimer

* This is a review unit, courtesy of Concept Kart. Thank you for providing me with this unit to review. But still each and every thoughts below mentioned are my personal own thoughts and they are not fiddled with any outside influences. Link for the DUNU Vulkan is below :-

https://conceptkart.com/products/dunu-vulkan-dk-x6-wired-iem#

*I will be referring these IEMs to as 'Vulkan' for the rest of the review.
*And at last I will only be reviewing the Vulkan on the basis of their performance, I do not care what these are made of or packaged with when newly purchased unless it affects the sound in any sense what so ever.

Specification


DUNU Vulkan has a hybrid driver configuration. There are two dynamic driver and 4 balance armature drivers. One of the dynamic driver is an 8 mm Structural Foam Cell Dome with Soft Independent Surround dynamic driver and other is an 8 mm Nanocrystalline Titanium-Coated Diaphragm dynamic driver. The balance armatures are from Knowles, where two are Knowles Mid-High Drivers and other two are Knowles Dual Super tweeter. The frequency response is from 5Hz - 40kHz and impedance is 15 ohms at 1kHz. The sensitivity is 109 ± 1 dB at 1 kHz and total harmonic distortion is < 0.3% at 1 kHz

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Sound

The sound the Vulkan is Neutral with Sub bass boost. Although Vulkan feels more fun and engaging sounding while being detailed. The sub bass emphasis literally puts me in a trance and the hits I take are purely raw, godly and yet controlled.

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Treble


The treble in the Vulkan is very much alive and in the mix. Though there is not so good extension in the treble and neither it is very much distinct sounding. The upper treble is very sibilant and hot to my taste. The vocals in the upper frequences limits themselves there and interferes with the mix in that region although in the lower mid range feels very well balanced not so warm and not so metallic. Coming to the instruments the snare hits sounds great but leaves “ss-tt” in the ends and same goes for the cymbal crashes, trumpets sounds very weird tonally. Although the mix still resolves and soon clears the variances made. This doesn’t mean the treble is bad. To be honest it is very revealing and detailed, only too much revealing for me.

Mid Range


Coming to the mid range, they are very much pleasurable to listen to. Just like in the treble not so much warm and not so much metallic in sound. The vocals in the upper as well as lower mid sounds pull backed, trying to be more melodious than upfront sounding. Well they would’ve been lean sounding if not the mid bass haven’t given them that gentle little touch after 300Hz.
Both male vocals and female vocals sounds very much blunt, in the sense that the sound feels drained like out of energy. The guitar in this range sounds very much light and clean but doesn’t sound very much rounded up, to me sounding like it bleeds out in the mix, very loose sounding. Well overall presentation in the mid range is favouring the treble and the bass as it is balancing them both.

Bass

Now the bass where they are the king. Looking at the presentation, there is more sub bass than the mid bass. Still the bass slams while being punchy in nature. For sure, due to the sub bass emphasis, bass rumbles with rich texture and details. And it hits hard yet controlled by not being over powering. The things I missed in my moondrop blessing 2. Well The note weight and density is totally justified, from which I meant is adequate to sound natural. But the bas is not organic or have a sense of loosing ends, rather the bass is fast. At last I would also like to add this that the bass has a clean representation no matter what they perform like.

Technical Performance


The technical performance of Vulkan is okay. Not too bad and not so great. It justifies this IEM, especially with the sound imaging and speed.
Yeah it takes a hit on resolution and soundstage but that is quite up to the preferences.

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Soundstage, Sound Imaging & Separation


Okay so the soundstage is more intimate than far sounding, due to the reason that the most mixes sounds more stereo in response that is mostly left and right and due to the fact that they are more far front and back sounding than left or right. Though still the soundstage is really nice and provide a better placed stage. Coming to the sound imaging, yes the details are quite great but aren’t sharp. The separation is still better due to better stage placed even after the fact that the sound is less far in the left and right responses. Of course it is really easy to pinpoint where each and every sound element placed.

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Speed & Resolution

The resolution is not fair for the price, to be honest the clarity is always there, but the detail retrieval is the very essence of clean and revealing sound. Well this is not the case for the speed as these are very tactile inn every note that hits, that is very fast resolving, the attack and decay of notes are very precisely and timely presented.

Conclusion


To conclude this review of the Vulkan, I’ll be honest, even though I look for more critical listening iems, still this one have my hands tied. The technical performance and tonality is great, And obviously there are more IEMS which may prove to be better in both but the feel of the over all performance and the response I get from these is definitely out of this world. Yes for the price they are being offered justifies. I totally recommend these to try out, especially to bass heads as these are very authoritative and engaging and fun sounding.


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Sources And Tracks Used


Sources


Apple iPhone XS Max
LG G8X
iPad (4th generation)
Apple Dongle Dac
Shanling UA1 Pro
Lotoo PAW S1
Moondrop Dawn
iFi HIPDAC
Venture Electronics Megatron
Apple Lossless
UAPP
Localy stored Flac and Wav Files

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Tracks


Curtis Mayfield - Pusherman
Earth, Wind & Fire - September
Earth, Wind & Fire - Let's Groove
Boston - More Than A Feeling
Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere(Remastered)
Toto - Africa
The Police - Every Breath You Take
George Benson - Affirmation
Daft Punk - Doin' It Right
Daft Punk - Derezzed
Daft Punk - Tron Legacy (End Titles)
GOJIRA - Amazonia
The Mars Volta - Inertiatic ESP
Fergie - Glamorous
50 Cent - In Da Club
Jay Z - Holy Grail
Erbes - Lies
Nitti Gritti - The Loud
Juelz - Inferno
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baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
DUNU Vulkan - Rumbling Volcano
Pros: Light, comfortable yet solid build
Very premium accessories
Cable has a modular swappable concept to give options for balanced and unbalanced sources
Easy to drive but scales with amplification
Excellent sub-bass rumble to please bassheads
Good timbre for a BA containing set
Great imaging and soundstage
Cons: 7 - 8 kHz area can be sibilant and fatiguing
Unique tuning may be too colored for purists
Not the most detailed mid-FI pair of IEMs
DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank DUNU for providing this loaner unit. The Vulkan loaner will be returned after this review.

DUNU Vulkan Cover Photo.jpg



INTRODUCTION

The Vulkan are DUNU’s latest foray into the competitive Mid-FI segment. They sport a unique 4 BA + 2 DD configuration and bring a big sub-bass volcanic rumble to the table!

In many cultures, the term “Vulkan” refers to a volcano. Specifically in Roman mythology, Vulcanus was celebrated as the god of fire, volcanoes, forges and metalworks. The Vulkan IEMs we are unearthing today will rock the house down with a massive sub-bass that will please even the most ardent of bassheads!


SPECIFICATIONS
  • Drivers: coaxial 2x dynamic drivers (8 mm cross-linked polyethylene structural foam cell dome and 8 mm nanocrystalline titanium-coated diaphragm) and 4 x Knowles balanced armature drivers (mid-high driver and dual supertweeter)
  • Impedance (Ohm): 15 Ω
  • Sensitivity (dB): 109 dB
  • Frequency Response (Hz): 5 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Removable Cable: Y
  • Cable: 4 core high-purity silver-plated OCC (ohno continuous cast) copper type 1 Litz (DUNU DUW-02S)
  • Source Plug: Q-Lock PLUS quick-switch modular plug system with plug terminations for 3.5 mm TRS single-ended, 2.5 mm TRRS balanced and 4.4 mm TRRRS balanced
  • Cup/Shell Plug: Patented catch-hold MMCX Connectors

ACCESSORIES
  • DUNU Vulkan IEMs
  • 3 x grey balanced silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 x red core silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 x black wide-bore silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
  • Micro-fiber cleaning cloth
  • Cleaning brush
  • Cable (DUNU DUW-02S)
  • Leatherette carrying case
  • 3.5 mm to 6.5 mm adapter (DUNU DC-16)
  • Airline adapter

DUNU Vulkan Packaging.jpg


DUNU Vulkan Brush.jpg


The accessories are really abundant for a Mid-FI set, there can be no complaints on this front!

Unfortunately no foam tips are included with the packaging, but one is spoilt for choice with three different types of silicone eartips on offer. Do explore tip-rolling to see what suits your preferences, as eartips are as personal as shoes; they can affect comfort, isolation and also the sonic perception of an IEM.

DUNU Vulkan Eartips.jpg


I didn’t really like the wider bore (black) eartips, even though they gave better soundstage and resolution, they made the upper frequencies too hot, and as we will read below, the 7 - 8 kHz area can be overly spicy.

Between the other two pairs of tips, I enjoyed using the grey (balanced) ones, as they gave a good mix of sub-bass extension without overly boosting the upper frequencies.

The Vulkan’s stock cable is a 4 core, 26 AWG, high-purity silver-plated OCC (ohno continuous cast) copper cable. The four cores are hand-braided via a Litz braid and this cable is also sold separately as the DUNU DUW-02S.

DUNU Vulkan Cable.jpg


DUNU Vulkan Connectors.jpg


The selling point of this cable is DUNU’s patented and exclusive Q-Lock PLUS quick-switch modular plug concept. At the distal end, there is a proprietary locking mechanism to allow one to interchange between 2.5 mm, 3.5 mm and 4.4 mm connectors. This concept is really nifty, as it allows users to swap between various balanced and unbalanced sources on the fly, without needing to get other aftermarket cables.

While I’m not really a fan of MMCX connectors (which may potentially fail with repeated cable changes), the modular concept of this cable should negate the need to keep changing cables. The MMCX connectors on the Vulkan and their cable seem pretty robust; these snap on and off easily, and are not too tight nor loose.

Quick switch photo 1.JPG


Quick switch photo 2.JPG


This cable is very well-braided, supple and comes with a chin slider. Microphonics are minimal. There are L and R markings on each end of the cable to identify the sides.

A semi-rigid leatherette case is included, with DUNU’s logo embossed on the front. The case is functional yet elegant. The inner layer is lined with a velvety material with some webbing too.

DUNU Vulkan Case.jpg


The following review was done with the grey balanced ear tips and cable, so as not to add any aftermarket confounders to the sound.

BUILD/COMFORT

The Vulkan shells feature a serpentine igneous rock-like motif; this synchronizes perfectly with their volcanic namesake! In fact, the shells are inspired by mokume gane, which is a type of Japanese metalworking technique that is used in swords, jewelry and craftwork.

DUNU Vulkan Photo 2.jpg


The Damascus steel design also ties in nicely with Vulkanus, the Roman god of steelworks and forges.

The shells are fashioned from CNC (computerized numerical control) machined aluminum shells. DUNU advertises that they use a 3D printed acoustic wave-guide mounting bracket, which theoretically improves coherence of imaging.

The left and right earpieces are marked with a L and R lettering respectively. Despite being vented, isolation is above average and the Vulkan are well-suited for outdoor usage as such.

Weighing in at 17g apiece, the Vulkan shells are very light, yet of solid build due to the aluminum frame. They are very comfortable despite the larger size, ergonomics are top-notch and I did not experience any discomfort.

DUNU Vulkan Photo 1.jpg


DRIVABILITY

Using FLAC and WAV files, I tested the Vulkan with:
- Khadas Tone Board -> Schiit Asgard 3 amp
- Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One Neutral Mod)
- Questyle M15 DAC/AMP dongle
- E1DA 9038D DAC/AMP dongle
- Colorfly CDA M1 DAC/AMP dongle
- Tempotec Sonata HD Pro dongle (BHD firmware)
- Smartphone

The Vulkan are easy to drive, but they do scale with amplification, with a tighter and more extended bass and better dynamics when juiced adequately.


SOUND & TECHNICALITIES

Dunu Vulkan.jpg

Frequency response graph of the Vulkan via IEC711 compliant coupler. The 7/8 kHz area is a coupler artefact peak, but there is also an audible boost at this region on actual listening.

The Vulkan’s sound signature can be described as U-shaped.

In the technicalities department, imaging, instrument separation and layering are very good. Micro-details are decent enough, but not class-leading at the mid-FI bracket. Soundstage is expansive in 3 dimensions (especially in width), with music sounding spacious without much compression.

For timbre-freaks, there’s a very slight BA timbre for acoustic instruments, which is to be expected once BA drivers are used. But by-and-large, the timbre is quite well portrayed and sounds quite natural.

Bass

As per the graphs, the Vulkan are a sub-bass focused set, with a massive rumble and extension to the bowels of the earth. Assuming a good seal is obtained, on sub-bass heavy tracks, there is a visceral jaw-rattling rumble that goes all the way to the chest!

Bassheads will have a field-day with the Vulkan. Despite the copious bass quantity, it surprisingly retains quite high quality, in being very textured, tight and fast, with no mid-bass bleed.

The big bass on tap brings a head-banging and toe-tapping fun to the table, but conversely, the massively accentuated bass may not suit certain music genres such as classical and jazz where a more neutral bassline would be desired by purists.

Midrange

Most basshead sets suffer a cardinal sin of having a too massive mid-bass that encroaches into the midrange frequencies. I’m glad to report that there is none of that here, this region is clear and transparent. The lower midrange is neutral, as there isn’t a big mid-bass to give warmth to this area.

The upper midrange is actually more forward in the pinna gain region than what the graphs would suggest. However, as the pinna gain is not as marked as per conventionally tuned competitors, vocals are just a tinge forward without much shoutiness.

Treble

Treble is somewhat hot at the 7 - 8 kHz regions, those who are treble-sensitive might want to take note. There's quite a lot of clarity and transparency in the upper frequencies but unfortunately this introduces sibilance and cymbals may come across as a bit “splashy”.

The big sub-bass does provide a nice counterpoint for this area and different eartips can also tame the 7 - 8 kHz regions to some extent.

Comparisons

The Vulkan will be compared against some other mid-FI hybrids/tribids. Single DD and pure BA IEMs were left out of the comparison as the different transducer types have their own pros and cons.

DUNU Vulkan Photo 3.jpg


Vs. LZ A7

The LZ A7 are a unique tribrid that are extremely versatile; they can provide 10 different sound signatures on-the-go, due to each housing having both a tuning nozzle and tuning switch. The A7 can thus be tuned to a myriad of chameleonic signatures, from V-shaped to neutral.

Comparisons of tonality between these two mid-FI titans are hence difficult due to the various permutations. Nevertheless, on the various switches/nozzles, the LZ A7 still sounds a bit more natural in timbral accuracy.

In the technicalities department, it is a wash between the two: the LZ A7 have better micro-details and soundstage, but the Vulkan have superior imaging and instrument separation.

Build seems to be better on the Vulkan. The MMCX connectors don’t feel as robust on the LZ A7 during cable swaps and the LZ A7’s aesthetics are underwhelming and bordering on ugly.

LZ A7 Photo.jpg

The weird wording stenciled on the LZ A7's shells does their sound a disservice!

The LZ A7 are definitely more versatile, but I would consider the two to be sidegrades in technicalities. Looks go to the Vulkan anyday!


Vs. Sony XBA-N3

The XBA-N3 are an L-shaped bassy set with a rolled-off treble. They are much more smooth, have a thicker note weight and are more analogue-sounding than the Vulkan.

The XBA-N3’s bass is focused at the mid-bass compared to the sub-bass predominant Vulkan. The XBA-N3’s bass also isn’t as tight and clean, with a copious mid-bass bleed and less texturing.

The XBA-N3 have a more natural timbre, but they are weaker in resolution and clarity. The XBA-N3 shades it a bit in soundstage, but the poorer imaging and separation of instruments may make the soundscape fuzzy.

Build and isolation are not as great on the XBA-N3, but the XBA-N3 can also be used cable down in view of their bullet-shaped design.

These two pairs are bonafide basshead sets, but they present bass in a different flavor: the XBA-N3 gives much more mid-bass slam, whereas the Vulkan are more technical with greater sub-bass rumble and extension, and less mid-bass bleed.


Vs. Rosetechnics QT9 MK2S

The Rostechnics QT9 MKS have less mid-bass and sub-bass quantity than the Vulkan, but have a more boosted pinna gain region. Note weight is thinner on the QT9 MKS2, and they can sound shriller and more fatiguing at the upper mids.

In technicalities, the QT9 MK2S have a less expansive soundstage, but have superior micro-details and imaging.

Isolation is poorer on the QT9 MK2S and their fit is a bit iffy due to their very short nozzles.

The Vulkan are definitely bassier, but the treble peak of the QT9 MK2S lies at the lower treble/upper midrange, whereas the Vulkan have their peak at the 7 - 8 kHz regions. If one is sensitive to upper mids, the Vulkan will be the better option, but those who dislike sibilance may consider the QT9 MK2S instead.

Conclusion

The Vulkan eschew a run-of-the-mill Harman-tuned signature for something very unique and different: a basshead set with big sub-bass, yet preserving a transparent midrange.

Accessories and build are stellar, and the innovative modular cable ensures that the Vulkan can be paired with almost any source.

The Vulkan sound as good as they look; they have superb soundstage and imaging, coupled with a clear midrange. Sub-bass is of course, the star of the show, and these indeed rumble like a volcano, as per their namesake.

DUNU Vulkan Photo 4.jpg


There are some weaknesses in the tuning though: the 7 - 8 kHz region can be overly hot and micro-detailing could be improved. Purists may also find the Vulkan not suitable for genres that require a more neutral and uncolored bass.

However, looking past these nitpicks, the Vulkan will please bassheads and they bring head-banging fun to the table. The Vulkan do not have the typical old-school V-shaped signature with an overly recessed midrange or mid-bass bleed that impinges into the other frequencies

Like a volcano, the Vulkan’s sub-bass truly rumbles and these can definitely stand out in the mid-FI bracket with a very special tuning.
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darmanastartes

500+ Head-Fier
Forgemaster
Pros: engaging yet restrained tuning, natural timbre, large soundstage, excellent bass texture, good upper treble extension, beautiful build, high quality accessories, premium unboxing experience
Cons: detail retrieval is average
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INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:​

The Dunu Vulkan is an in-ear monitor (IEM) which uses a hybrid (2 dynamic drivers + 4 balanced armatures) driver configuration. Dunu sent me the Vulkan in exchange for my evaluation. The Vulkan retails for $379.99.

SOURCES:​

I used the Dunu Vulkan with the following sources:
  • Qudelix 5K
  • Hidizs S9
  • Moondrop Dawn
I tested the Dunu Vulkan with local lossless audio files and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:

XenosBroodLord’s Library | Last.fm

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:​

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_DSC1488-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

_DSC1489-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The Dunu Vulkan comes in a rectangular black box with a black slipcover. A magnet secures the lid of the box. One foam mounting tray holds the IEM and modular MMCX cable, and a second holds the swappable cable terminations and a plastic storage container for two of the three sets of eartips (2S, 2M, 2L in total). The cable uses Dunu’s Q-Lock PLUS swappable termination system. A small box contains the third set of eartips (S, M, L), which are squatter with a wider nozzle than the first two sets. Also inside the box are an airplane adapter, a cleaning brush, a 3.5mm to 1/4" jack adapter, a microfiber cleaning cloth with Dunu branding, and a small booklet featuring instructions for Dunu’s cable system in Chinese.
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The level of attention to detail in the unboxing experience is impressive. Dunu consistently provides packaging that befits the price tag of its products. However, I continue to hope that Dunu will include at least one set of foam eartips in future products rather than the borderline redundant amount of silicone eartips they often include with their IEMs.

BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:​

_DSC1532-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The Dunu Vulkan has black anodized metal housings with metal faceplates. The faceplates have a mixed matte and reflective finish which is reminiscent of Damascus steel knives. There is a thin vertical mesh-covered vent centered along the bottom tip of the faceplate, and a pinprick vent in the center of the inside of the shell housing. On the left earpiece, “DUNU, ESTABLISHED 2003” is etched above the vent, while “VULKAN, DK-X6 HYBRID” is etched on the right earpiece. Each earpiece also has a directional indicator. The nozzles have metal mesh filters and lips to secure eartips.
_DSC1565-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The included MMCX cable uses a quad-braid pattern below the Y-split and a double-helix pattern above the Y-split. The cable uses gunmetal grey There is strain relief above the 3.5mm jack but none at the Y-split. The cable has pre-formed earguides. There is a chin-adjustment choker. The 3.5mm jack and the Y-split use metal hardware. There are raised “L” and “R” markings on each 2-pin connector.

COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:​

_DSC1539-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The Dunu Vulkan should be worn cable-up. I found the Vulkan very comfortable. Secureness of fit is tip-dependent. I had the best luck with the short and wide set of included silicone eartips. I found secureness of fit with large-sized Moondrop Spring tips lacking. Isolation is above average. The Vulkan does not have driver flex.

MEASUREMENTS:​

You can find measurements of the Dunu Vulkan on my expanding squig.link database:

Squiglink — IEM frequency response database by Bedrock Reviews

SOUND:​

_DSC1542-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The Dunu Vulkan is a neutralish sounding headphone with a moderate sub-bass boost and a substantial lower-treble boost.

Sub-bass extension is excellent. There is a fair amount of impact to percussion, but I found myself craving a more intense sub-bass boost than what the Vulkan has out of the box. Bass texture is quite good, as is the speed of bass articulation. Bass resolution is fair. There is enough mid-bass to provide body and warmth, but not so much that the bass overshadows or muddies the midrange.
_DSC1557-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The Vulkan’s midrange favors vocals over instrumentation. Vocal intelligibility is excellent, and the Vulkan renders harsher male vocals with both grit and power. There are moments when both male and female vocals stray into sibilance, though female vocals are more at risk of this. While vocals are most prominent, midrange instrumentation is well-represented as well. Distorted and downtuned electric guitars have a satisfying growl without coming across as underemphasized or overdriven. Organic percussion is crisp-sounding with excellent timbre. The level of presence is appropriate, but as with the bass region, internal resolution and midrange detail retrieval are average.
_DSC1553-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

As mentioned before, there is a pointed elevation in the lower treble region. This did not pose a problem for most of my listening with the exception of certain electronic music tracks. Still, I cannot help but feel the lower treble emphasis is intended to compensate for the middling detail retrieval elsewhere in the Vulkan’s frequency response. Upper treble extension is excellent, and the soundstage is both wide and tall. Instrument separation is very good, while imaging is just good. Treble transient delivery is slightly hazy.

SOURCE PAIRING:​

_DSC1581-ARW_DxO_DeepPRIME-Edit (75).jpg

The Dunu Vulkan is surprisingly easy to drive. I did not notice hiss with any of my sources.

CLOSING WORDS:​

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I have reviewed a significant number of IEMs at the sub-$100 price point, and a fair number of IEMs retailing for $700 and up. The $400 price bracket is new territory for me, so my value judgment of the Dunu Vulkan is at best an educated guess. With that said, if I were making my first jump up from budget territory and had $400 blowing a hole in my pocket, I would be quite happy putting it towards the Dunu Vulkan.
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WilliamBlake
WilliamBlake
Great review, although they have a totally different structure, would you recommend vulkan or advar for metal music
darmanastartes
darmanastartes
@WilliamBlake I would recommend the Vulkan, it has a more versatile tuning and doesn't have the weird diaprhagm issues the Advar has.

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
Dunu Vulkan, Monster Mash
Pros: Unique coaxial dual dynamics + 4BAs in a larger Dunu shell brings a big vibrant sound signature.
Unique smoother tonal character for its presentation.
Solid aluminum alloy build with a stunning dark Damascus steel like pattern plate, stunning looking,
Forgiving of poorly mastered recordings, Exceptional for modern bass genres.
Premium accessories packaging including Dunus DUW-02S modular cable
Widest stage earphones Dunu makes. Big grand stound stage.
Special bass, deep reaching rumbly speaker like bass presentation with power.
Unique combination of warm tonality a broad imaged sound with a sparkly treble.
Powerful sound giving a glimps into much higher end premium hybrid IEM.
Cons: Contrasting timbre and tonal characters for its mids presentation.
BAs for trebles can sound a bit edgy, especially for rock and metal, tip rolling required.
Great DUW-02S cable but not the best matching for the Vulkans tuning
Not the best for micro detail or precision, forgiving of poorly mastered recordings.
Needs some volume/power for full sound.
Might be too colored a presentation for purists
Dunu Vulkan
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Vulkan is a newly released hybrid from Dunu that has caught the collective interest of a lot of enthusiasts. Utilizing a newly designed coaxial dual dynamic with 4 BAs for its makeup. Last time I heard a Dunu IEM with a dual coaxial dynamic was the Dunu DM-480 with some crazy deep hitting bass. I remember when I first heard the DM-480 my thoughts of``what would these things sound like with some BAs attached to them?”.
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Today we have a much higher end earphone in the Vulkan that utilizes an upgraded coaxial dual dynamic with 4 BAs. Its driver combination is quite unique for hybrids as there simply aren’t too many in the industry that use dual dynamics in conjunction with BAs. I would assume using two dynamics would mean some beefy bass for the sonics. This highly specialized coaxial dual dynamic plays a big role in how the Vulkan plays but it is all about how the rest of the drivers mesh to present its grand sound profile.
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Dunu stuffed all these drivers inside one of their largest earphone housings, confirmed it is using the same housing as their EST112. But with a very nice darker damascus steel like pattern finish for the shells. Well officially the design was based on a Japanese Mokume Gane design which is described as a Japanese metal working procedure that creates a mixed metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. So the principle of the plate was based on these designs. Very handsome nonetheless, I notice there are no different pattern markings on the right vs the left shell so probably more laser printed in that same pattern which was probably mass produced to save a bit instead of making each plate a one off. Though this would have been a nice touch, uniqueness for each IEM set is something everyone seems to appreciate. I remember the positive reaction to each SA6 plate being unique. But I get it, a one off plate would have taken much more time and money for Dunu which probably would have added to the cost of the Vulkan.

The CNC machined aluminum alloy shell is a medium side of large in size, meaning I own earphones that are physically larger. Certainly not heavy due to the lighter but strong metal used. In utilizing this housing shell Dunu is making good use of its space to fit a lot of drivers. In our ever pursuit of sound perfection, generally larger housings for IEMs help produce a larger, bigger scope of sound. Be it the Moondrop Blessing 2 or Campfire Audios Solaris. IER-Z1R. UM MEST. To name a few.
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Upon receiving the Vulkan and trying them out for the first time, I was greeted with such a stage. Vulkan officially has a wide spacious large sound stage for IEMs, maybe the widest of any of the Dunu line up, and certainly more than most earphones. This turns out to be a part of the design choice for the tuning angle for the Vulkan. A large spacious stage is exactly what you want for a coaxial dual bass dynamics as a foundation for its bass to be proper.

Out of the box experience.
Most folks that read my reviews clearly know I do a full week's worth of burn in before I do any reviewing. I will put it out there if there are changes to an earphone sound with burn in. I can say without burn in your most definitely not going to hear the Vulkan in a correct manner. They sound disjointed and mids completely flat sounding out of the box. When I say flat I mean you can’t hear any separation from the vocals to the instruments out of the box. A solid week's worth of burn-in is highly recommended for the Vulkan so you can actually hear what the sound engineers at Dunu had in mind.

Tip rolling.
Tips in general will have an effect on how you're hearing your IEMs, some to a greater effect than others. No need to go into fundamentals of why that is but for the Vulkans I have to admit I was very surprised just how much the sound changes with tips. In fact so much so, tip rolling will be a requirement right up there with burning in the Vulkans. They can sound warm, dark and bassy to bright, neutral and energetic depending on what tips you use. It is advisable to tip roll after the drivers have settled down after burn in.
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Disclaimers. I would like to thank the Dunu Top-sound team for the loaner of the Dunu Vulkan. You can find out more about the Vulkan on their official page here. These here are my thoughts about Dunus newest hybrids. Vulkans was burned in for a period of 5 days and nights and are now ready for evaluation using my IBasso DX300Max, IFI Gryphon, IFI DSD Signature, Fiio M15, Shanling M6 pro. M5s, IBasso DX160, Fiio K3 2021.
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What you get.
Dunus packages never disappoints. What is included within the box of the Vulkan or any Dunu IEM are always top tier. A nice DUW-02S silver plated copper modular cable in all popular connections. 3 sets of silicone tips, a nice carry case, cleaning brush, stereo adapter, airplane adapter and the phones themselves.
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The DUW-02S is a refreshed version of their prior DUW-02. Dunus intro level modular cables is a very good one. Based more on copper properties, the silver plating is done to help with clarity, detail and technical aspects of the source earphone. The DUW-02S is described as a 26AWG per core, 4 cored silver plated OCC copper cable in a litz 1 configuration. This cable adds just a hint of warmth and fullness based on their copper cores with a good level of transparency. A good match with the Vulkan. Modular cables if you haven’t experienced them, Dunu arguably makes the best version of the modular cable. Very handy for all sources. Vulkans plays well out of just about anything but I do notice they like a bit of power to really strut its stuff and ends up sounding much more dynamic and more in line with what the tuners are going for, more on this in the rest of the read.
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That beastly/Sound
The tuning on the Vulkan is interesting. Again, another reason why you need to do a full burn in cycle. The reason why they sound so flat out of the box. The dual coaxial dynamics. One dynamic is handling the sub to mid bass, with the other handling upper bass to lower mids. This is the reason why the Vulkan sounds flat on arrival. The dual dynamic needs that run in time to effectively open up, giving note weight and fullness to the mids of the Vulkan. Dual BAs handle the upper mids to lower treble. Another dual BA set is for treble only, lower trebles to upper trebles. There are a lot of crossover points and a lot of drivers here so just know if you get these and they are not how I am describing them…. BURN THEM IN.

Once all these speakers are doing their thing 100%. Now you're cooking with what was intended. The Vulkans sound takes on a big, bold, large and in charge sound profile. Strictly neutral and or harmon tuned folks need not apply. The Vulkans are made for why we look into hybrids in the first place. A powerful deep hitting bass, natural and meaty in its presentation. BAs for their detail and technical abilities married together. In that respect the Vulkan does not disappoint.
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Techno/ Technicals
Dunu earphones would not be a Dunu earphone without some outstanding technicalities. The Vulkan with one of the wider stages for IEMs also shows a unique broader, wider scope of imaging and sound as a result. The use of two completely different types of drivers for its mids yields an interesting mix of pluses and some minuses. If you're a low volume listener, the Vulkan might not be a good phone for you. Reason being the Fletcher Munson Curve highly applies to the Vulkans as well as the dynamic drivers seem to need more volume to wake up. At low listening volumes, Vulkans dynamics are not really apparent, in fact sounds lacking if not a bit flat sounding, not really engaging. You're not going to hear what the Vulkans actually sound like. You might as well listen with airplane buds as there will really not be much difference. It is when you're listening at moderate levels you will get what the Vulkans are all about, it seems to me the dual dynamics here require some volume/power for them to wake up, and wake up they do. I don’t ever advise listening to IEMs at louder volumes but that is easy to do with the Vulkans with its moderate pinna gain showing a warmer, slightly darker tonal character for its mids with a full roomy powerful bass all enhanced with sparkly detailed treble.

Sound separation is good for the given driver tech mix here especially on a horizontal axis of stage on a wider broader scope of sound than most IEMs. Music can sound out of your head at times. However, music requiring a proper sense of vertical imaging and contrast from background instruments, vocals/acoustic music for example is where the Vulkans are not at their best and seems not really suited for vocal music. Vocals sound natural breathy and can sound grand overall but lack intimacy and texture. It seems the Vulkan sound direction was not really made to be a vocal specialist IEM.
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For the most part, its tonal qualities for vocals and instruments sounds mostly natural with a moderate body of sound but you get some contrasting timbres depending on what you're listening to. Since there are two completely different types of drivers for the Vulkan mids. It's got an underlying warmer, slightly darker tonal quality to it but then has the BAs doing some cleaner brighter over cues with its trebles that contrasts that warmth. It actually works to give a unique sound character to how the Vulkan sounds. Vocals and instruments that are more focussed in the lower mids on some tracks come on with a thicker note weight vs its upper mids emphasized instruments like strings and percussion accents for example sounds thinner in contrast, this is what I mean by contrasting timbre. Again unique in these aspects in the grand scheme of the sound but I have heard other Dunu earphones that do these aspects better. It is when you hear the entire presentation is where the Vulkans stand to be one of the most unique if not just outright entertaining sounding IEMs the group has ever made. This one seems to be tuned to enjoy music and is not one for analyzing music.
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The BAs shows faster transients by nature when listening critically but then it seems in the fuller warmer lower mids presentation, its attack and decay of instruments provides more reverb and a greater note weight in general giving a slightly slower transient response in comparison. This contrast in turn seems to not present the best detailed sound presentation. Vulkans presentation is not about picking off minute nuanced detail or being an end game IEM for its precision. To understand the Vulkan, it is all about a big powerful musical sound.

Overall sound presentation takes on a bigger, larger scope of sound vs being the type of IEM that focuses on micro detailing and or anything really chiseled or crystraline for its imaging. Vulkans has a slightly soft diffused timbre quality due to the lower mids playing a big role in how sound is portrayed. That scope of its presentation is where the Vulkans has a plus to its sound however being spread out wide it lacks a touch in a dimensional aspect to its presentation. With the imaging spread wider than taller or deep. Amplification seems to really wake up the Vulkan and it takes on a completely different level of sound immersion using something like my IFI Signature or my IBasso DX300Max both these sources bringing on power and even a grander stage than what the Vulkan can already do.
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Spicy/Trebles
Trebles of the Vulkan are handled by a set of dual Knowles BAs focussed on upper mids and lower treble and another dual BA set handling the lower to upper trebles. Dunu has tuned the trebles to be detailed, sparkly with plenty of emphasis. It has a moderate treble shelf from 7Khz-8Khz which adds a good amount of presence for the trebles. Its detail ability is overall good but treble sounds a touch dry and can sound a bit splashy at times especially for rock and metal music with a lot of high hats and splash cymbals involved. For the most part it is moderate in everything it does but has that treble shelf that some will be sensitive to, and again this is the reason why I mentioned tip rolling. The tips have a huge effect on how much treble emphasis you want from the Vulkan.

Trebles can be moderately present to a point of emphasis all depending on which tip set you choose. The trebles here seem to be tuned more to play a supporting role for the overall presentation but again can sound like it is featured even more so than the bass end to the point where it changes tonal character to be brighter than what the Vulkan actually sound like. With the right tips and the idea there is to find a tip that balances out the sound for you. Tip experimentation I am gonna call it cus you can’t just tip roll. You gotta dig deep into your tip jar and find the one. Included tips are fine and you can get a general sense of how the Vulkan sounds but just know you can find something even better that you probably already have.
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Treble tone has a slight edgy quality to it which is the character of the BAs timbre that are being used for its treble presentation. Transients are fine for the given presentation and are more moderate in quantity and quality for the given driver tech it is using. Trebles much like the bass end has some coloration via treble shelf and utilizing extra BAs for its presentation the treble presentation has a flare to it but nothing egregious or fatiguing. ( On a side note, the Vulkan treble can get fatiguing if you are using the wrong set of tips.) Trebles come with plenty of sizzle and sparkle when called upon but has a moderate extension for how it is tuned. It's not the most balanced trebles but does add to the fun aspect of what the Vulkans are going for. Trebles have a solid footing on the upper note registers which again brings a nice contrast to the overall slightly warmer tuned Vulkan. The presentation has more weight in how it is presented toward the lows and lower mids vs the upper mids and highs but this can flip to the opposite if you're using the wrong set of tips. While the tuning is a moderate U shape tuning, its fullness and sound weight is skewed more to a mild L shaped for its tuning.
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Middling/Mids
The uniqueness in the Vulkan sound. The bulk of the mids are done with the dual coaxial dynamic; it takes on a slightly warmer even a bit darker tonal character in contrast to the slightly brighter cleaner edged treble tonal character. The mids show good balance with a moderate 8dbs of upper mid pinna gain. As previously mentioned, the way the Vulkan mids are presented benefits from the wide broad stage. The mids sound like you're sitting in the center rows of a larger amphitheater in how it presents and not up close toward the front. This aspect will depend on just how much volume you put on the Vulkans but overall it is more of a laid-back approach vs being more intimate. Music as a result can sound a touch distant at times. That lack of vertical contrast and roundness to instruments and vocals are easily made up however with a special bass presentation.
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A proper sense of height and depth of an IEM sound leads to a better sense of layering of your music and ultimately toward greater immersion. I don’t perceive the Vulkan to lack in sound layering per se but its presentation is more broad, spread out and diffused more than rounded or dimensional in how you’re hearing its presentation in approach and certainly not intimate. However, I believe this was what the sound was meant to be. A powerful broad sound signature. I found myself enjoying this presentation for its boldness and grand flare especially with more modern genres. They remind me of much higher end IEMS that does the same type of sound presentations, see comparos on bottom of read. Timbre for the most part sounds natural but can sound a touch soft lacking a bit in a micro detailing.

I can confirm in trying out a much more transparent cable, Dunu Noble cable tested, the Vulkans technical aspects are greatly improved. DUW-02S does just fine and I feel tip rolling is more important than trying out another cable but for folks that like to squeeze just a bit more out of the Vulkans. A more transparent cable takes the Vulkan into a different playing field for its sound signature..
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Optimized Vulkan = M15+ IFI DSD signature+ Dunu Noble in balanced 4.4mm + Azla crystals+ Vulkan

Vulkan the bold/Bass
The bass end of the Vulkan is where the Vulkan takes on a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde aspect to its bass and gives it even a more unique flavoring for its sound. You figure since its largest drivers being the bass dynamics used here would dominate the sound. One aspect I appreciate about Dunu is that they are masters of the dynamic drivers and always seem to get the best out of them with clear control. Music with light bass emphasis sounds proper and you would never assume it is using anything special for bass. However it is when your music calls for some bass authority. That is when DJ Hyde comes out to play. Bass becomes a different beast.
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Utilizing two types of 8mm dynamics, a cross linked polyethylene foam cell dome and a nanocrystalline titanium coated diaphragm was chosen to do bass duties for the Vulkan. Bass emphasis leans more toward sub bass with plenty of solid impact for its mid bass presentation. Sub bass texture and extension is excellent, a deep digging rumbly bass end. Its impact is closer to moderate in quantity but the quality however is in true Dunu fashion, bass end for the Vulkan is not your garden variety hybrid presentation.
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Cayenne, mayo with a touch of dijon/ Special Sauce.
Bass has low end authority and a power to it that is not really like IEM bass. I own way too many hybrids than I would like to admit, and the bass end doesn't sound quite like your traditional bass from a dedicated dynamic. The Vulkan gives a speaker bass vibe to its bass presentation that is hard to reproduce for IEMS. I don’t own too many IEMs that have the bass presentation of the Vulkan. Bass has a bloom and a realistic sustain similar to a well vented woofer. Bass has sheer power and sounds amplified like a well vented woofer. The sub bass frequencies rumbles like a well vented woofer. Yet is clearly behaved when called for. Bass is tight, well defined and has decent speed. It is that bass bloom that I find particularly addictive and rare for IEMs to project.

I suppose you can’t have too much in the way of bass for a mostly neutral IEM presentation. Bass represents well with the Vulkan for actually being bass focused and I feel the advantages of this particular set of drivers shows in the Vulkan. For its given price range, the bass end gives a bit of a party atmosphere and your bass tracks be it EDM, Hip hop and the like comes full on with a room filling 2.1 presentation when called for. It is almost like you're listening to two different IEMS. A mostly laid-back broad presentation for non-bass tracks,well behaved and then full on thumpy soul shaking rumbly bass end for bassy tracks that need it. Vulkan bass is not the last word in texture but is well represented with an authority that can morph into any type of bass note but one with some true power. Dunu bass in my experience has always been clean and well extended and the Vulkan easily represents Dunu bass, yes, the fun type. Once you hear its bass presentation, it is difficult to think comparable priced hybrids do bass justice. Juicy with the right amount of thump, an addictive bloom and proper authority. When Dunu said they tuned these to be crowd pleasing. Who doesn't like an authoritative powerful deep hitting bass for their IEM presentations? Well neutral and treble heads I guess.
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Final thoughts
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The Vulkans is a monster of epic proportions. It is that gal in high school that was not so attractive but had such a great unique fun personality that you can’t help fall in love with. It is that church potluck dinner you would never have expected to have the ingredients for an epic meal. They are the tool you need to recreate a live concert you attended in highschool with your thug friends that drank and smoked too much and ended up vomiting but is etched in your memory as one of the best experiences you have ever had. They are Dunus version of a fun tuning.
It's arguably one of their best looking IEMs with a solid build. Always appreciate the attention to detail Dunu has for their earphone packages.

The Vulkan is all about a big bold musical presentation vs being anything too analytical in approach. They do provide that WOW inducing sound as you will not have heard such a wide stage come from an IEM. A crowd pleasing tuning means it has to have some bass authority and Dunu has achieved that using a unique coaxial dual dynamic. The Vulkans sound is approaching much higher end sounding big boy IEMs but priced for just about anyone to get into. My time with the Vulkan was very interesting as it went through so many ebbs and flows to its sound but overall I enjoyed my time with them. If you're in the market for an IEM that gives a big bold musical sound, with a speaker like bass presentation. Give the Vulkans a go especially if you're into your modern music. Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Bonus extras. Cuz well all like bonuses. Some comparos
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Vulkans vs OG Solaris.
The earphones the Vulkan reminded me of is a classic former flagship by Campfire audio the Solaris. Ok so the price difference would indicate a different level of SQ here but given both of these earphones sound profiles they both shoot for a similar type signature. Big bold musical hybrids with some substantial bass ends. I can imagine if the Vulkan was upgraded with some better drivers how that would sound. I am certain they would sound quite a bit like the Solaris.

A head to head comparison yields what you would expect given their price levels. All the aspects I was critical of the Vulkan are proper on the Solaris but that's when listening to more vocal and instrumental focused music. When it comes to something like EDM and hip hop, bass genres that is when the Vulkans comes closer to the Solaris in performance. In fact track for track the Vulkan keeps up with the big roomy sound of the Solaris presentation with a room filling bass that is very addictive unto its own. Solaris digs a bit lower and has a leg up on its texture but otherwise very similar type bass performance between these two. A cheap man's Solaris? You can say that but to be honest I actually like how the Vulkan looks and fits better than my Solaris. Sound wise an upgraded Vulkan I would imagine coming very close to the Solaris sound.
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Vulkans vs UM MEST.
Another big large sounding IEM that the Vulkans reminded me of. Here was a bit of a surprise to me. The MEST at least for bass genres sound remarkably similar in presentation vs the Vulkans. The Mest mids I would say while showing a higher level of technicalities with a cleaner tonal quality is laid back just a bit more but also is clearly using BAs for its mids. It has a faster, cleaner more resolving and technical sound vs the Vulkans darker, slightly warmer tone. I would say vocals actually sound a bit more natural on the Vulkan than the MEST. Bass ends on both sets have identical impact and extensions. I don’t necessarily perceive the bass of the MEST to be better here, just a bit more in the way of quantity vs the Vulkans bass performance. The quality of the Vulkan bass end is where I find similarities. The Mest is a bit more in the way of a U shaped signature showing a bit more in the sub bass and its upper trebles but otherwise. I would consider the Vulkan a nice alternative to the OG MEST. Very comparable sounding but not quite as detailed and technical but the Vulkan makes up for it with better balancing vs the MEST. It is the Bass genres again that comes strikingly close in performance.
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Last but not least.
Vulkans vs Fiio FH5s pro
Ok so the competition here has some similarities to the Vullkans. The FH5S pro version corrects the 8 khz treble glare of the non pro model. The Fiio FH5S uses two dynamics a 12mm beryllium coated dynamic for bass, a 6mm beryllium coated dynamic for its mids and two BAs for trebles. There are at comparable price levels, comparable type driver make up, comparable packaging as both sets come with modular cables. I would say for the included stuff you get both companies are well represented in what they include with your IEMS.

As per the sound. Vulkans shows a slightly wider stage vs the FH5s and is balanced better. The advantage of the FH5s is that it has 3 tuning switches that enhance bass, mids and treble on the fly and works pretty well. The treble switch is fairly useless however as no one in their right mind is gonna need more treble emphasis from the FH5S. Fiios FH5s was tuned for musical bassy immersion however its treble emphasis has a larger spike at the 8khz region that is a bit much hence the need for a cable revision that helped smooth out the treble end a bit. Vulkans, even though it also has emphasis in the region, is not as forward sounding for its treble presentation, is blended better with the rest of the tuning more so than the FH5s. Vs the Vulkan sound presentation both sets shows that contrasting use of BAs for treble and a warmer mids and bass end. The issue with the FH5s is that its design has BAs in the nozzle that produces that treble glare with an added emphasis which ultimately sound distracting especially for rock and metal music.

The Vulkans are balanced better and its sound gives a grander experience. The only way the FH5S is comparable is when you're using a source that is warm like Fiios own UTW5S. Otherwise while both sets are going for a big bold sound signature. The Vulkans have a leg up in sound performance for a similar type signature. A larger dynamic does not mean bigger bass. Their sub bass performance are comparable but the Vullkans bass bloom and power behind its bass presentation is very addictive for this type of sound it is going for. The FH5s bass end while good in what it does, it is one of them hybrid IEMs that sounds like IEM bass and lacks that power that the Vulkans have. The FH5s while its mids presentation is where it has an advantage for better clarity and better timbre, the Vulcans sound has a bit more energy in the right way and is just as versatile as the FH5S tuning switches just based on what tips you use.

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Dsnuts
Dsnuts
Completely different sound profiles. SA6 is more of a well balanced reference type tuning being all BAs.
Vulkans are more tuned for fun with its speaker like bass presentation but less technical than the SA6. Its presentation is more grand in scale big bold sound signature. I can't say the SA6 is a bold sound signature.
moorashj
moorashj
Dsnuts so would having both be advisable lol?
Dsnuts
Dsnuts
If your wondering if having both be redundant. The answer to that is no, not at all. They are tuned and sound completely different. If your into your bass/ modern genres. Vulkans kick much booty for those genres of music. SA6 sounds great for acoustic orchestal stuff and while it has an excellent bass presentation via Sonion dual acupass BAs. They don't touch the physicality of the Vulkan bass. Different sounding earphones altogether.

Redcarmoose

Headphoneus Supremus
The Paradox
Pros: Strange, in a really good way
Fun, in ways you don’t even know (yet)
Competent yet forgiving
Complete by only using what’s important
One-of-a-kind
Both highly technical and not
Laid-back but combined with energetic big imaging
A silky sexy soundstage experience that never ends………….ever
DUNU build quality and design implementation
Fortified included accessory kit with everything imaginable
A statement product that states DUNU=FUN
Somewhat of a paradox (both detail and the lack-of-it)
Cons: Forgiving almost to a fault
Elements separated in presentation, I mean really separated
What could be interpreted as a loss of definition is the magic
Everything you know and understand about IEM replay is challenged
Somewhat of a paradox (both detail and the lack-of-it)
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DUNU:
DUNU must have a sense of humor. Why else would they let this VULKAN through? They simply are having fun with it all, you know……..owning an IEM building company and promoting product. Just like how the included DUW-02S cable is more easy going than the stiff DUW-03 cable, they’ve lightened up on us and are starting to take risks. DUNU as a company is happier and less worried, thus spreading the love. They tricked us with how the VULKAN looks all serious and stuff. When in reality the VULKAN is playful and friendly!

What the heck am I talking about.........the presentation of course. The sound presentation goes to imaginative lengths to promote a style of flamboyance and creative freedom here. It’s not maybe normal, not exactly correct, but who makes these rules-up anyway? The fortification of the imaging and the projected musical elements which populate the soundstage. It’s something else, something I’ve never heard before, and that’s what makes the VULKAN special and valuable.


It’s all entertaining once you realize the style of ride you’re on. I mean it takes a minute to get your handholds in place. But once you accept this style of alteration, this mutation of previously understood ways........well......it’s a spectacle that’s all. A good spectacle, though it may be a challenge for some? Basically imaging is going out and to places you’ve never heard before. Way, way outside of your head-stage. This leaves room for other items to then follow suit gaining visibility inside the soundstage!

A six driver with strange new architecture..........the DUNU DK-X6 “VULKAN”

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Who is DUNU anyway?
Starting as a consumer and professional IEM OEM supplier in 1994; DUNU became a recognized brand name all its own starting in 2006. Top Sound is the parent company of DUNU and a company incorporated in Taiwan. DUNU is a brand and company in China.

http://www.dunu-topsound.com/about.html

So even though the company has been a well established OEM supplier and known as DUNU in Asia; Head-Fi didn’t really take notice till October of 2013 with this single thread.

Post #1 of 35,472 DUNU has since made quite the name for itself at Head-Fi with IEM cables and Hybrid IEMs. In truth they make a wide assortment of IEMs but have never introduced anything even remotely close to the VULKAN.

Past Products: A decade of Dunu Hybrid Engineering
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There are so many releases to the DUNU name. At this point they are culminating all their wisdom in sound design from all years worth of IEM building experience.

1) Back in December 2019 DUNU introduced the DK3001 Pro. Priced at $469 the new DK3001 Pro came as a sonically improved and better fitting version of the previously introduced non-pro DK3001. Basically a 13mm dual sided beryllium driver combined with 4 Knowles balanced armature drivers.

2) The $899 2018 DUNU DK4001 Flagship Hybrid IEM. A Zirconium shell combined with a 13mm Beryllium dynamic driver and 4 Knowles balanced armature drivers.

3) The $1699 2020 DUNU LUNA single 10mm Dynamic Driver Flagship IEM.

While there are numerous releases I myself have only heard three. The single DD ZEN, the 6 balanced armature SA6 and the VULKAN.


Advanced Six-Driver Hybrid In-Ear Earphone MODEL: DK-X6 (VULKAN)

  • Mokume Gane Inspired Faceplates
  • Cnc Machined Aluminum Shells
  • An All-new Architecture
  • Advanced Six-driver Hybrid Configuration
  • Acis Low Frequency Control
Accessories:
INCLUDED PLUG TERMINATION:
4.4 mm TRRRS Balanced
3.5 mm TRS Single-Ended
2.5 mm TRRS Balanced
Grey Balanced Tips (×3, S/M/L)
Red Core Tips (×3, S/M/L)
Black tips (×3, S/M/L)
Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
Cleaning Brush
DUNU DC-16 3.5-to-6.3 mm Adapter
Airplane Adapter

Carry Case

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The box opening experience:
DUNU is famous for being a provider of amazing accessories. The thing that separates a DUNU box opening experience from all others is quality. They make and design all their own accessories, so the resulting finds a box opening experience like no other. I’m still using the blue wide-bore tips from the DUNU SA6. I somehow use them with almost everything. Such quality is really second to none. Meaning the supplies included will oftentimes be of use with other IEMs in your collection.

Specifications:
MODEL: DK-X6 (VULKAN)
NET WEIGHT: 17 g
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz (HI-RES Certified)
IMPEDANCE: 15 Ω at 1 kHz
SENSITIVITY: 109 ± 1 dB at 1 kHz
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: < 0.3% at 1 kHz
DRIVER UNITS
DYNAMIC DRIVER UNITS [2]:
8 mm Structural Foam Cell Dome with Soft Independent Surround [1]
8 mm Nanocrystalline Titanium-Coated Diaphragm [1]
BALANCED ARMATURE UNITS [4]:
Knowles Mid-High Driver (×2) [2]
Knowles Dual Supertweeter (×1) [2]
CABLE SPECIFICATIONS
WIRE MATERIAL: 4 Core, High-Purity, Silver-Plated OCC Copper Type 1 Litz (DUW-02S)
LENGTH: 1.2 ± 0.1 m
CABLE CONNECTOR: Patented Catch-Hold MMCX Connector
PLUG CONNECTOR: Patented Q-Lock PLUS Quick-Switch Modular Plug System
INCLUDED PLUG TERMINATIONS: 3.5 mm TRS Single-Ended, 2.5 mm TRRS Balanced, 4.4 mm TRRRS Balanced

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The Quick-Switch System:
The Quick-Switch plug system is one of the best in the business. With many plug-systems allowing only placement to hold the plug in place, DUNU has gone all out offering a mechanical lock to secure your plug onto the cable. The DUW-02S cable included is of 4 Core, High-Purity, Silver-Plated OCC Copper Type 1 Litz. Totally noticeable as a lightweight alternative to some of DUNU’s past “big” cable offerings. I truly can’t imagine any cable being more flexible and easygoing as what’s included. The DUW-02s coils in place and lays anyway you choose.

Included is an entire collection of plugs including 4.4mm balanced, 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm un-balanced. There is also the option of getting the 3.5mm balanced plug from DUNU to go with the set.

The patented Catch-Hold MMCX connects are mounted into a flexible plastic housing which is tilted creating the start of the ear-hooks. Such ear-hooks continue to hold the IEMs in place. This one piece almost design goes a long way to add to the ergonomics of placement. The MMCX devices themselves are of first rate composition. While taking off the MMCX cables I used the MMCX tool, and placement back into the MMCX socket was trouble free. After three changes the connection seemed firm and trouble free. The best part is the almost non-moving characteristics of the MMCX join when in place, such a feeling of confidence with the mount.

Normally I don’t include 18 page PDF documents in my reviews, but this is such a novelty in comparison to anything anyone else provides with their IEM, I just included it.

https://www.dunu-topsound.com/_files/ugd/e188bd_391825d134cf4d88a4b48af482002c30.pdf

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So let us focus on the main design profile:

1) DUNU IS CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF CONTINUAL INNOVATION IN PREMIUM AUDIO
2) MOKUME GANE INSPIRED FACEPLATES

3) CNC MACHINED ALUMINUM SHELL
4) AN ALL NEW ARCHITECTURE
5) VULKAN utilizes the latest generation ACIS module and is also found on DK 4001, ZEN, ZEN PRO, and EST 112
6) DUAL 8 MM COAXIAL DRIVERS

7) STRUCTURAL FOAM CELL DRIVER
8) NANOCRYSTALLINE TITANIUM DRIVER
9) 3D PRINTED ACOUSTIC WAVEGUIDE
10) DIGITAL PATHWAY OPTIMIZATION

11) ACIS LOW FREQUENCY CONTROL


The Bass Drivers:
8mm Structural Foam Cell Dome with Soft Independent Surround dynamic driver: Inspiration came from the ECLIPSE binding the 8mm flexible foam structure to the independent surround enabling it to sound like a natural woofer.

8mm Nanocrystalline Titanium-Coated Diaphragm dynamic driver: Sitting directly behind, and acoustically coupled to the foam cell, this non-domed titanium coated produces a beefed-up transient response with greater linearity.

The Joining of the BAs:
The 4 Balanced Armature frequencies and the 2 Bass Drivers frequencies are combined together with a 3D printed acoustic wave guide. This mounting bracket also enhances stability adding imaging coherence. Finally Acoustic Conduits then add Pathway Optimizations. Probably a fancy name for sound tubes? Still something is going on as this imaging and separation is real?

Sound:
I have always wondered why movie theaters didn’t have soundtrack only listening events? You know, so people (quasi-audiophiles) could come and enjoy their favorite OSTs on the Dolby theatre sound system. Entertaining! That’s the single word I have for the VULKAN. With its hodgepodge of internal drivers all contributing to the “sound”. Often the order IEMs come to me for review display a kind of happenstance serendipity, revealing a deeper meaning when held in direct contrast to one-another. Such realities are discovered simply how each sounds in relation to each other. And such the experience here with the VULKAN showing it’s vibrant colors in direct comparison to a new straight-laced IEM sonic provider. Such a new difference becomes obvious with the VULKAN doing its mischief well, and the other IEM for review seemingly more correct on paper, but boring in actual replay.

After approximately 100 hours of burn-in I started the sound tests. After about 50 hours burn-in seemed to help add a style of oneness? Sorry, that’s the only word I have to describe it. Such a Hybrid is a mixture of 6 drivers and with even a dual DD, there is a lot of joining to do sound wise. There may have also been some subtle improvements in other areas, but the togetherness was the main feature that took place.

Bass:

To be truthful there is psychological influence due to what we know beforehand. Meaning if you are told there are two bass drivers you tend to somehow hear them. I mean not actually hear two drivers, but an influential dual bass character. Like one part of the bass is carried by one then another takes over? In so many ways this is the definition of Hybrid sound. But in reality it’s 2X Hybrid. So it’s HybridXHybrid sound. The reason I say this is both the midrange and bass have a spread-outness about them. The way traditional Hybrids offered a separation of elements, now we also have separation of bass elements and midrange elements. Though with the bass it’s more unified and centered, which is probably the result of frequency? It’s the same as a regular Hybrid response but with added extras. Such extras include a style of widespread bass soundstage. Not obviously as far out as the mid imaging but big none the less. After going through and trying the bass heavy Walkman WM1Z, I was more thrilled with the mid-centric Walkman WM1A tonal response. Also I found wide-bore silicones to be the ticket. Such devices made an already relatively fast bass response even faster and well as a big soundstage even bigger. There is talk of getting a sound upgrade by changing cables but I stayed with stock. Probably my favorite part of the bass happens with this woody warm bump that has pace, but really it’s the separation of that bump that’s the biggest spectacle here. The bass is missing some texture as well as definition yet all is forgiven due to the tone and separation at hand. The bass bump is slightly softer as it doesn’t have a clean attack transient edge. Also it’s tight in the fall-off but enjoys this musicality with such smoothness. Such definition would sound wrong on paper, but in reality it’s easy going and fun. It’s just not totally technical bass, but that’s the magic which results from Big! Because you can clearly hear it all the time, it just has an endearing sub-quality if present in the music yet still (Hybrid) separation always. I’ve never heard bass like this? Describing tonality, it’s on deck and tuned, it’s just not cutting................it’s fast, but also rounder.

I’ve just done two reviews with some real bass kickers (read more bass) and this is strong bass........still this is polite but not polished. Here there is an element of airiness to the bass. It’s hard to visualize how Air would be part of a bass response but that is the only way to describe it. It’s the air that also makes the signature so easy to listen to for long periods. Normally there would be a style of laid-back-ness to get to level of listenability though there is too much going on to call these totally laid-back? To much motion in everything (besides the bass) to call these laidback.

If you study drifting automobiles, at first it makes no-sense at all. I mean why would they continue sideways to go forward? Only when they approach a turn they are prepared already to maneuver the event. So somehow it makes sense? But not at first. That’s the way the VULKAN is.

Midrange:

These are warm. And maybe a miracle in pinna gain heat, because there is none. None ever, ever. The VULKAN makes it’s midrange with spacious separation and imaging. So just like the bass was listenable, the midrange is also purely listenable. Upon first listening the learning curve is your mind joining everything. It’s this unification that starts to work it’s magic. What was at first disconnected abilities, becomes totally connected and uniform? How? I don’t know? Still that aspect doesn’t in anyway hinder the incredibly wide soundstage. In-fact that is where your money is going! That’s the first thing maybe someone would comment about after hearing the VULKAN on the street. "What a soundstage!". Normally this takes place.............only now stuff is so far out, it makes room for a kind of focused imaging. A focus where you can fully hear each instrument separated and tonality allocated. All that with the bass going on in it’s own place right underneath!

Again HybridXHybrid. Still there is none of that crisp-to-the-hilt style of transient edge; it’s softer and a more polite presentation. There is still a vibrancy here, though it comes from the imaging and the separation at hand. Off-timbre? Metallic steely timbre? None found? Somehow it doesn’t sound like BAs are used at all? The best part is those organ tones or synth accents which become somehow separated and in their own area full with texture and timbre all the while moving across the soundstage while being panned.

Vocals:
They are not vocal specialist IEMs. With that said I don’t seem to notice any drastic vocal set-back or lack of ability to present male/female vocals? Though the vocals are not forward either, as instrumentation may take a slight preference at times. Basically everything is accounted for, including vocals.

Guitars:
What a blast. Such is the separation and crunchy personality given to guitars 24/7. If you were on the fence and wondering which IEM to get for guitars this year, this may be it? Such 100% effort is enjoyable as guitar sounds not only correct, but in a great separate place in the soundstage. It’s this slight warmness that goes the extra length to highlight guitars and strings in general. Such elements end in the VULKAN as a joy to behold! So even if it’s not a vocal specialist IEM, it is a guitar specialist and not just rhythm but lead guitar too. Crunchy harmonically enriched flourishes of strings.............all the time!

Treble:
Well, first off you could almost guess this treble story from the information already provided. There is a smoothness that goes-off and becomes the best definition of the word s-m-o-o-t-h-n-e-s-s. Such antics provide the paradox of both being totally detailed yet dispersed. The treble is dispersed into this imaging result, which populates the farthest reaches of the soundstage. A beautiful rendition of your favorite instruments takes place, reassuring you that all-is-well. When in-fact subtle itemization/delineation goes to even further thrill with realistic ultra-harmonics. Such stunts go on a sideways course to prove our amount of technical prowess. It’s all here, all of the treble, but spoon-fed to you at a lovely pace, with DUNU love! It’s this playful childlike innocence of doing nothing wrong, yet trying a whole new approach that only a child could figure-out due to naivety. Such additives are always there but sophisticatedly pulled-back as maybe they should be? Such a presentation has you question all you have ever learned of correctness and completeness, as this is both! Though it’s probably the spacial rendition which allows the VULKAN to get away with the subtle treble. Because such imaging out into the treble soundstage in truth leaves such placement particularities to become heard and experienced. Thus what at first comes-off as wrong, fully restores trust in itself (the treble) with this round-about completeness. There could be a steeliness or metallic overtone, but it’s polished down and glossed over, waxed up and presented as fact. There maybe is none, that’s the riddle, and perception being the fickle bride she is, makes it a reality anyway. Such impulsive and unpredictable ideas about timbre are forgiven here, as it’s not what is real, but what is perceived as real that counts in the end.

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Comparisons:
First-off this section comes as an exercise in futility, partly due to there being nothing like the DUNU VULKAN. Upon first getting aquatinted with the sound, two headphones first came to mind. Number one, the Noble Encore Universal 10 BA past co-flagship IEM. Such a comparison was due to two things. The apparent lack of un-evenness in response and the increased soundstage. The VULKAN surprisingly emulates the Encore in showcasing crunchy separately itemized guitar tones. Such attributes can and will almost offer a quality of singular value in ownership. Such special guitar tone is almost at the expense of everything else. Though with the speedy/fast Encore bass, such a finite focus is obtained with the Encore bass response. Where the VULKAN is displaying a softer-focus bass attitude along with way more quantity. The next past (full-size) headphone to remind me of the VULKAN sound was the AKG k701. Again not due to bass presence but the immense and gratuitous head-stage. Such a quality is why I keep not one, but two editions of the k701 around. One an early Austrian made and one later. Reason being is they are in one word “fun”…..isn’t that was this all is about? Contrary to their envisioned debut, the k701 remains like the HD800 a spectacle of transient response and imaging. Still to be honest, the VULKAN is only emulating the k701 in imaging (especially midrange) and still obviously the VULKAN takes a seat back in resolution….making resolution up as it goes with the use of imaging layers, instead of finite detail.

Noble Audio Encore Universal IEM: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/noble-audio-kaiser-encore.22120/reviews#review-22519

AKG k701 full-size headphones: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/akg-k701-studio-headphones.11862/reviews#review-15007

The side-by-sides:

Such tests included identical wide-bore ear-tips and well as the same WM1A player. Also the same music was used so that everything possible was the same. The big question is if the DUW-03 ZEN MMCX or DUW-03 SA6 2pin cable upgrade would make a difference? Such questions are relevant to our discussion, yet will be left unanswered. Even cable rolling effects in this case remain to be discovered. This lack of testing remains as not wanting to do too many (out of paranoia) cable changes to the VULKAN. And while it would be really easy to simply exchange cables with the Zen MMCX, I’m perfectly happy with the VULKAN sound as it is.

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/dunu-studio-sa6.24665/reviews#item-review-24391
The DUNU SA6:
Ahhhhh coming home to the SA6 is a special event. Hearing the SA6 again is finding individual comfort in a old-big-chair...........softer and cushier than remembered……………”I should not have been away so long this time”, you think to yourself. There is one major difference; the VULKAN has better timbral accuracy.

It’s not just the DD X 2 doing better bass, but that of course is a big part of what’s taking place. The VULKAN is simply more natural sounding than the SA6, and less money too! Though in some ways they are opposite of each other. The VULKAN zigs, where the SA6 zags. That zagging the SA6 does is fortified with a more complete and correct FR. Where there is still a soundstage expansion and a beauty, but the complete frequencies display a thinness and ever-so-slight steeliness the VULKAN overcomes. The SA6 has attack notes but the VULKAN does the followthrough of those same notes. The VULKAN’s bass is full and more 3D, like looking down into a deeper pond compared to the SA6. Still I can’t get over the difference in midrange, where the VULKAN has an exact 3K pinna gain boost hump. The SA6 is pinna peaking before 3K as noted in Antroids graph. The SA6 then peaks totally at 4.5K then goes down, where the VULKAN slopes from 3K down to 6K. The effect of the contrast in tuning combined with the physicality of the DD bass the VULKAN has adds to thickness, and probably reduces the steeliness found in SA6 playback? Overall the SA6 is one of my favorite all time IEMs, though now DUNU has added a complementary IEM, with slightly less technicalities but a more natural response. The zig here is real!

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https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/zen-by-dunu.24863/reviews#item-review-25225
The DUNU ZEN:
It’s totally noticeable how the ZEN tuning is brighter due to the relative balance of bass to midrange/upper midrange. Such is noted the pinna hump around 2K on Antroids graph. Personally I can deal with such forwardness, and do so by using narrow bass-tips and reducing replay gain volume. What comes about is more ZEN detail and precision at the sake of the contrasting VULKAN musicality. All and all I simply feel the VULKAN offers a more relaxed and enjoyable listening experience.

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Conclusion:
Distinguishing itself from all others with child like demeanor, the VULKAN (DK-X6) ends up one-of-a-kind. Whether this style of fun is your forte remains to be discovered. I can tell you though…….it is original. And (for me) not different in a bad way, but different in a relaxed energetic way. Such discoveries of whimsicality and artistic endeavor prove to be the opposite of “milquetoast”.

DUNU with their 20 years of innovation, innovated an IEM so far from the norm it is almost unrecognizable in character. Yet the VULKAN has become one of my favorites due to commonly held values in entertainment and listenability. This difference challenges the correctness found in other IEMs.


Get them here! $379.99
https://www.dunu-topsound.com/vulkan


Disclaimer: I would like to thank Sebastien Chiu from DUNU for the opportunity to review this IEM, it does not have to go back unless asked for.


Disclaimer: These thoughts and ideas are of one individual, your results may vary.

Equipment Used:
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm/3.5mm
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm/3.5mm
Sony TA-ZH1ES DAC/AMP Firmware 1.03
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Sony Walkman Cradle BCR-NWH10
AudioQuest Carbon USB
Apple iPad


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Last edited:
Redcarmoose
Redcarmoose
szore
szore
Cost????
Redcarmoose
Redcarmoose
@szore
$379.99

Thank-you, that would be good to add. :)

SenyorC

100+ Head-Fier
The best looking IEMs that have been across my desk!
Pros: Aesthetics, build quality, accessories, cable, tuning, soundstage, did I say aesthetics?
Cons: Treble could be better, not the most detailed of IEMs
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The Dunu Vulkan have been sent to me by Dunu in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not requested anything other than I post my review within 2 weeks of receiving the IEMs, therefore, as always, I will do my best to be as unbiased and honest as possible.

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Intro…

My experience with Dunu IEMs has been rather small, in fact, until now I have only had the chance to try out the Titan S, a budget set of IEMs that I like quite a bit.

The Vulkan is their latest release which comes in at around 350€, meaning that it is by no means a budget set but is still a long way from the price of many of their upper tier models.

Dunu is no stranger in the IEM world, with many models that have received a lot of praise, along with their cables which, in my opinion, have one of the best modular systems in the game. As I just said, I haven’t tried any of their higher priced IEMs but based on my experience with the Titan S, and all that I have read about other models, I came into this with quite high expectations.

I know there are a couple of reviews out there already of the Vulkan, which I have not read or watched as I knew that I would be receiving a set for review, so I have done my usual process of trying to know as little about these IEMs as possible. I have visited their website, just to get a general overview of what these IEMs contain (and the price), but that is the limit of my knowledge.

The Vulkan are hybrid set of IEMs which feature 2x dynamic drivers, one being an 8mm Cross-Linked Polyethylene Structural Foam Cell Dome with soft surround and the other an 8mm Nanocrystalline Titanium-Coated Diaphragm, along with 4x Knowles balanced armature drivers, two for the Mid-Highs and the other a dual supertweeter.

Now, my knowledge of what all that means with regards to sound and performance is not exactly a lot, so I didn’t know what to expect in terms of sound. What I found, well… I’ll get to that shortly.

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Presentation…

The presentation of the Vulkan is nothing short of excellent. Arriving in a box with a flip up lid, inside a cardboard sleeve with brand & model on the front and various specs on the back, the contents are more than one could wish for, even when not talking about a strictly budget set.

Upon opening the box, we find a beautiful set of IEMs with their cable that is just as nice (more on those in build & aesthetics below). Lifting up the top layer we discover the three interchangeable modules for the cable, a plastic tray with 6 sets of tips (two types with an S,M,L of each) and another smaller box containing more accessories.

Inside the accessories box there is a large and good quality carrying/storage case which contains another 3 sets of tips of different sizes, a microfiber cleaning cloth, a small cleaning tool, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm TRS adapter and an airplane adapter.

To be honest, I have no idea why the airplane adapter is included as I am someone who flies quite a lot and it has been decades since I needed one, but it is there in case you do.

The rest of the accessories are of great quality (well, I guess the airplane adapter is also, not that I have any way of testing it) and there is absolutely nothing I can complain about as far as presentation, contents or the quality of what is included.

I don’t appoint scores to things I review (except here on Head-Fi where it is obligatory) but if I did, the presentation and contents would get top score from me.

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Build & Aesthetics…

No matter where I start here, the answer is going to be the same… excellent.

As I need to start somewhere, let's start with the cable. I already said that Dunu have what I feel is the best IEM modular cable system in the game and the included cable just confirms it. Coming with three interchangeable connectors (plus the 3.5 to 6.35 adapter), 2.5mm + 3.5mm + 4.4mm, you are covered for almost any amp or DAP you would like to use. The connectors are of high quality, as is the connection point.

The cable itself matches my personal preferences well, being lightweight and not too thick, while still refraining from tangling and giving the impression of being very well built. As I have mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of MMCX connectors but in this case, I will more than forgive them as the connectors are of good quality, they seem like they will last a long time, and to be honest, I really can’t see me wanting to swap the cable for any reason. If I need to change amps, just change the connector at the other end.

As far as the IEMs, they are beautiful. I can say that these are probably the best looking IEMs I have had in my possession. Apart from the build quality, which seems great, the looks are just as good. With a black metal shell sporting a dark metal grey faceplate with a Damascus steel design, they are fancy enough to look special yet discreet enough to not scream “look at me!”.

For comfort, I did find that I struggled to get the left shell to sit comfortably in my ear at first, but after a lot of tip rolling (there are plenty included and I tried a few more that I have on hand), I finally got a very comfortable fit that also seemed to bring out the best in sound from the IEMs.

Again, if I had to score these in this section, they would score just as highly as in the first section.

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Sound…

(as always, all tracks mentioned in this review are clickable links that allow you to open the track in the streaming service of your choice).


Before moving on, let me say that I have tried these with multiple sources and I have tip rolled quite a bit. However, in order to stay consistent in my reviews, my sound impressions are based on using them with the iFi Gryphon, no EQ enabled, and the stock red core tips (size M).

As usual, I spent about 4 or 5 days using these almost exclusively before doing any detailed listening or comparisons, and although I did take measurements before getting to my final listening tests, I really didn’t take much notice of the measurements until now.

However, as always, here is a graph of the Dunu Vulkan in comparison to my personal preference target:

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(all measurements of the IEMs I review can be found and compared on achoreviews.squig.link)

It is easy to see that the overall frequency response of these IEMs is very close to my preference, a little more elevated in the bass regions that I usually request but the curve is still very similar. As always, preference curves are just an approximation of personal taste, sometimes things that are way off my target are still enjoyable (to me) and sometimes things that are close still don’t seem perfect to me (nothing ever is 😉).

Following my usual review format and starting off with the subbass, there is no roll off to be heard. The extension is good, the presence is good, and I really enjoy this low end. I can’t say that the subbass isn’t great, being very close to my preferences, however, when playing tracks that really make the low end work out, such as the usual “Chameleon”, it does seem that the driver(s) is almost at its limit.

I am not saying that it doesn’t keep, it does a great job of presenting “Chameleon”, which is no easy feat, as it does with other subbass heavy tracks (although not quite to the same level of subbass craziness) like “Bury a Friend" or “Royals”. I didn’t actually come across any well recorded tracks that the Vulkan couldn’t cope with (bad recordings are, well, bad of course).

What I am referring to is that, if you are a certified basshead and need more subbass that the Vulkan offers, I am not sure that adding in more subbass by means of EQ is a good idea. I tried the XBass boost of the Gryphon with the above tracks and, while it was still acceptable, it lost a lot of cleanliness and coherency in the lowest ranges.

Moving into the midbass regions, again we are very close to what I like. In fact, although the actual levels may be slightly above what I would say I like, the curve follows my preferred curve almost exactly, balancing the low end just the way I like it. I much prefer that a set of IEMs increases the presence more as the notes get lower. This just feels much more natural to me, avoiding excessive midbass that can add warmth unnecessarily (even though that warmth does work well with some genres) and instead moving the focus more and more towards the low end as and when it is needed. When a track doesn’t have anything below, let’s say 60Hz, then the additional subbass will not have a negative impact, it will just not play what isn’t there, but when a track with 35Hz presence appears, the IEMs will make it known and not hide it behind a midbass bump.

I find that the Vulkan reproduces bass guitars with authority but without any additional warmth, just the clean tone, as can be heard in the lower notes of the bass guitar in “Elephants On Ice Skates”. Other synthetic bass tracks, such as “Still D.R.E.” or “Get Lucky”, sound just as clean in the midbass section, with good speed and definition, giving a very clean overall presentation in these ranges.

As we move into the mids, the transition is very clean with absolutely no sense of bloat or loss of control in the lower mids. Although I am a fan of the bass frequencies on the Vulkan, I do feel that the mids are the center of attention of this set. Vocals are pushed forwards slightly, although not excessively, just enough to place the light on the vocals a little more.

Some of my most listened acoustic + vocal tracks sound very clean and the voice is certainly the center of attention. As the main peak of the higher mids is at the 3kHz mark (I for one am very happy to not have a peak at 5kHz!), this gives the mids that extra bit of presence but also keeps the harshness in check… mostly.

I say “mostly” because there are many tracks that are recorded with an extra presence in the 3kHz mark already, such as “Crazy”, where this gives Daniela’s voice a little push forwards on most systems, when it coincides with that extra peak of 3kHz on things like the Vulkan, it can come across a little harsh.

When strictly talking male vocals, such as “These Bones”, I find them to be very well balanced and presented, without any unexpected harshness. Adding some female vocals into the acapella mix, such as in the case of “Hallelujah”, I do notice these as a little more “shouty”, with a little more harshness than before..

Moving into the higher ranges, there is a little bit of sibilance happening to those “S” in the “Code Cool” test. They are not the worst, far from it, but they are a little too hot for my taste. These are easily tamed with a very minor EQ tweak (they really aren’t that exaggerated) but, as always, my impressions are based upon not using EQ.

The extension of the upper ranges is not bad and apart from the excessive energy around the 6kHz to 8kHz mark, it is acceptable. I wouldn’t say that the treble is great on the Vulcan, I feel that it could be refined a little more, but it is not terrible and is listenable.

As far as details go, the Vulkan are not a set of IEMs that wow you with tiny details that are found in the background, however, it does do a good job of presenting details in the instruments themselves. As an example, a track that I like to use to evaluate such performance is “All Your Love Turned To Passion”, more specifically the intro of the song. During the intro there is an acoustic guitar that is located in the left channel, with a lot of details happening in the reverb of the room, especially upon striking the body of the guitar. In the case of the Vulkan, then actual playing of the guitar itself is very well presented, with good details in the actual pluck of the strings, however, the reverb and decay in the background is actually quite absent in comparison to other much more detailed sets.

Another thing that I find very impressive on the Vulkan is the sense of openness and space that is created in the sound stage. I am someone who finds 90% of IEMs to be much of a muchness in this regard, with the remaining 10% being divided 80/20 in favour of sets that are pretty bad and very few that are actually good and above average.

The Vulkan is in the group of the very few IEMs that I find above average. There is a nice sense of space, well above average, in which the images are well placed and give me a very enjoyable overall feel. Due to the slight lack in the presence of background details, I can’t say that the imaging has pinpoint precision as there is not enough detail to reach this conclusion, but I must say that the overall imaging is very good.

Binaural recordings, such as “La Luna”, are enjoyable on many sets that are not exactly excellent as far as soundstage and imaging, but with the Vulkan, even recordings that are recorded in a simpler stereo imaging layout are still impressive. “Strange Fruit” has a sense of space between the vocal layers that makes for a very enjoyable experience, as do many other similar songs. Live recordings, such “Hotel California” and many others that I have listened to this week that are not on my usual test list, give a very nice sensation of being spread out, managing to recreate that stage presence that very few IEMs actually do.

DSC_1541.JPG


Compared to the Letshouer S12…

I don’t usually make many comparisons in my reviews, as I always follow the same review layout, using the same test tracks for detailed listening, which allows comparisons of set just by reading (or watching) my impressions of each set individually.

However, as the Vulkan have come in strong, I feel that I should leave at least some brief impressions against a couple of my preferred sets, the first being the S12, which are a set of IEMs that I grab regularly for “easy listening”.

As far as tuning, the S12 have more warmth in the low end due to having more presence in the midbass range. This lends itself well to easy listening, especially when listening to songs that have a focus on acoustic instruments and other non-bass centric tracks.

I find that the Vulkan sounds more neutral in the lower ranges, without that extra warmth that the S12 provides, however, in the upper ranges I find the S12 to be smoother and more relaxed with a lot of my preferred vocal+acoustic music, a style that I listen to a lot.

As far as details, neither set is spectacular in this regard, both lack a certain amount of the smaller details, focusing on the main presentation rather than what is happening in the background.

I am a big fan of the S12 but I feel that the Vulkan, while being a different presentation, also has a lot going for it in this regard. Depending on music choice I would be drawn to one or the other.

DSC_1571.JPG


Compared to the Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk…

The other IEM that I would like to make a brief comparison with is the Dusk. I have had the Dusk for quite some time now and it is still my preferred set when listening to modern pop. By modern pop, I am referring to the usual pop music that has been released in the last 10 years or so, such as “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa or other similarly recorded and mastered tracks.

I feel that the Dusk does very well with this kind of music and I feel that the Vulkan also works well in this regard, until we reach those upper ranges. My main issue with the Dusk is the treble, which is acceptable but not great, something that is also my impression of the Vulkan. The main difference between the two sets is that the Dusk has its upper presence slightly higher than the Vulkan, above the 8kHz mark, and I find that to come across as much smoother in this regard, with less sibilance in the typical “Code Cool” test. It (the Dusk) is still on the “hot” side in this regard but I do find it slightly tamer than the Vulkan.

With regards to detail, I find that the Dusk has the edge here, or at least in the upper ranges. It could be the difference in that upper frequency boost, which gives a false sensation of detail on the Dusk in comparison, but I do feel that I can appreciate details in the background easier on the Dusk than on the Vulkans. However, the details in other ranges, specifically how instruments are played (in the realm of acoustic guitars etc.), the Vulkan possibly edges out the Dusk here, giving a better overall sensation of the instruments.

Where there is no doubt that the Vulkan is superior is in terms of soundstage and imaging. I find there to be much more space and the presentation to be much better in this regard, making a lot of my music far more enjoyable. I would still say the Dusk has the edge for the modern pop side of things but other than that and the 6-8kHz hotness, the Vulkan has so many things going for it that I would rather have it than the Dusk in my collection (having both is even better 😉).

YT%20Community.JPG


Conclusion…

This has turned into quite a long review but when I feel something is doing something different, it deserves attention, especially if that “difference” is being done well. That is the case with the Vulkan.

There can be absolutely no complaints as far as presentation and included goodies, the build and looks are amazing and the whole package is just, well, great.

In the sound department, it is different enough to stand out from the crowd but at the same time, not so different as to be bizarre and polarizing. As with anything, I am sure there will be people who like the Vulkan and those that don’t, there is no escaping that, but I am firmly in the camp of “likes”.

Yes, there are things that could be improved (in my personal opinion of course), such as a little reduction to that hotness in the treble region and maybe a little more detail, but then maybe we would lose part of what makes the Vulkan different from other IEMs, even in the same Dunu line up.

I am very grateful to Dunu for sending this out as it is always refreshing to spend time with a product that brings something a little different to the table. In the case of the Vulkan, that is something that is deserving of far more praise than complaints.

As always, this review can be found in Spanish both on www.achoreviews.com & www.youtube.com/achorevews
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Wasaabi

Previously known as TweedLee
DUNU Vulkan Review - enjoyable hybrid iems
Pros: My favorite switchable plugs;
Good to be be worn
Enjoyable bass for pop music;
Mids are still there;
Resolution in treble is good;
Soundstage surprised me.
Cons: Treble can be smoother(personally).
As a user of many Dunu products, it's really a pleasure to review the Vulkan.
1655449323854.jpg


Configuration:
2* dynamic drivers with diameter of 8mm + 4* mid-high Knowles + 1* dual Supertweeter Knowles.
And my favorite switchable plugs (Dunu's quick-switch plug system is always my favorite).
According to Dunu, the two dynamics are different: One is titanium-coated, and the other is made with a structural foam cell dome suspended on an independent surround.
1655449349684.jpg

1655449353981.jpg

Design:
Its shape is very similar to the EST112(or maybe it's the same as the EST112), even the holes on the panel, which are in the same shape, are in the same position. I currently don't have an EST112 to compare, but I believe they are the same shape. With the proper weight (Vulkan: 17g, EST112 is even lighter) and excellent ergonomics design, they provide a good wearing comfort. As for the engraving design of the panel, I thought that Vulkan used a panel made of damascus steel when I saw some early leaked pictures which are unclear.
1655449357759.jpg

Sound:
Ever since the first time I got my ears on Dunu's headphone product (it's the Titan 1), I've always had trust in Dunu's tuning. As for the Vulkan, it's tuned to U-shaped.
Source: The Vulkan were driven by the 4.4mm balanced ports of the M11PlusESS and ZX505. Through these two machines, we can know the performance of Vulkan under low output power and sufficient power.
1655449345661.jpg

Bass:
The Vulkan's bass isn't as aggressive and lacking in the low-mids as the Variations, but it's full-bodied and has a nice extension, which I feel most obvious when listening to Billie Eilish's album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, I can feel that Vulkan's bass performance is extremely fun and enjoyable for pop music. Its bass is just right for me.
1655449683563.png


Mids:
Vulkan's sound signature is different from what I often listen to. It tends to be U-shaped, and the sound of 1~2khz will be more than V-shaped. I was a little unaccustomed when I first turned to U-shaped from V-shaped sound, but right away I had an interesting experience with the U-shaped sound: it reminded me of midrange details that I hadn't noticed before. The image below is the equalizer settings when I listen to Vulkan.
Vulkan's review.png


Treble:
Maybe Dunu was trying to bring some colors, or a personality to the Vulkan's sound, its treble wasn't as smooth as what I like. There is room for improvement in the treble of Vulkan, such as smoothing the high frequency of 7~8khz. But I still can say that the Vulkan's treble detail is excellent. The 3khz peak also makes it sound just right and proper, all instruments and vocals sound as they should.
1655449331305.jpg


Conclusion:
When driven by the ZX505, in fact, neither the Vulkan's soundstage nor its sound signature was particularly pronounced, but when driven by the M11Plus, the Vulkan performed a very good soundstage, even though it didn't adopt the FH9's semi-open design. For someone like me - pop music lover and is looking for slightly colored iems to decorate music, the Vulkan will be a very attractive product at its price point (380bucks).
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RikudouGoku

Member of the Trade: Earbud Maker
Pros: Bass texture
Stage width
Imaging
Timbre/coherency
Accessories
Build
Jack of all genres
Cons: master of none, doesnt shine with any particular genres (in my library at least)
Treble can be a bit fatiguing (7-8k)
Overall tuning and technicalities are underwhelming
Priced in a weird spot, where I would go for the EST112 instead (and cheaper offerings being more technical/higher-resolution)
IMG_20220517_150610.jpg

Disclaimer: I received this review unit from Dunu. Thank you very much.

Price: 380 usd

Specifications:


FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz

IMPEDANCE: 15ohm at 1 kHz

SENSITIVITY: 109 +-1 dB at 1 kHz

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: < 0.3% at 1 kHz

IMG_20220517_151109.jpg

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)

Red Core Tips (×3, S/M/L)

Black tips (×3, S/M/L)

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Cleaning Brush

DUNU DC-16 3.5-to-6.3 mm Adapter

Airplane Adapter

Carry case

IMG_20220517_151255.jpg

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.

IMG_20220517_151426.jpg

IMG_20220517_151502.jpg

IMG_20220517_151524.jpg

Build: Entirely made out of aluminum including the nozzle and it has a metal mesh, same shell as the EST112 except the color, faceplate design and nozzle are different. 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, despite the size. But I still prefer smaller iems in terms of long-term comfort.

Isolation: Average, nothing special.

Setup: Schiit Asgard 3 (low-gain, volume around 8 o´clock), Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, stock cable 4.4mm

Lows:
Sub-bass focused but not leaning too much away from mid-bass either. Texture, tightness, and decay are quite good. Overall quantity is a bit lacking for me though and it isn’t really that bassy.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), the bass is clean due to the speed and tightness, quantity is a bit low though but has good texture. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is hearable, although not very clean and it is lacking some clarity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), texture, speed, and tightness are very good, but lack some quantity.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Doesn’t have much rumble due to the very fast decay. The extension is below average around this price range. The texture is quite good and it is tight, but lacking some quantity for me.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), Texture is quite good and it is tight as well as fast, lacking some quantity though.

Mids: Female vocals are slightly above neutral, have pretty good tonality, without shoutyness. Male vocals are neutral but can lack some warmth but are otherwise clean.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), vocal tonality could be brighter and with more clarity, there is some BA timbre in it, detail is pretty good though, quantity is slightly above neutral. The instrument tonality is very good but has BA timbre and lacks some clarity.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), vocal and instrument tonality needs more brightness and clarity. BA timbre is slightly present.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), not shouty at all nor peaky.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), not shouty, but the treble (7-8k) is fatiguing.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), vocal and instrument tonality are quite good, timbre is pretty good here.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), vocal and instrument tonality needs more warmth and has some BA timbre, vocal quantity is neutral.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars aren’t sharp and have pretty good tonality. Has some BA timbre though.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), slightly fatiguing treble due to the cymbals, not chaotic due to the excellent imaging though.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality is pretty good and it is clean with pretty good texture, timbre could be better though. Violin tonality is lacking some clarity, treble-extension and timbre could be better as well.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality and timbre are pretty good.

Soundstage: very wide stage, depth is average.

Tonality: Pretty balanced with an overall tilt towards warmth, note weight is very slightly on the thicker side. Is pretty versatile overall, but more of a “jack of all genres, master of none”.

Details:
Macro-details are very good (and without tonality boost), micro-details are below average.

Instrument Separation: Excellent separation and imaging.

Songs that highlight the IEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yqQnJSZRW8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8JN3gFWm3c https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ-QLl5qjLg

Good genres:
Jack of all genres

Bad genres: Master of none

Comparisons:

IEM: Dunu Titan S, stock tips M, stock cable 3.5mm

graph - 2022-06-07T162057.286.png

Bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends lower, rumbles a bit more, more textured, and a bit more quantity on the VULKAN. Similar speed while the VULKAN is a straight-up upgrade here.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more textured and a bit more quantity on the VULKAN and cleaner and more detailed, similar speed though.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), quantity is slightly higher on the VULKAN, more textured and individual hits are more distinct than the Titan S, cleaner and more detailed.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), vocal tonality and timbre are much better on the Titan S, with more clarity, although detail is better on the VULKAN. Instrument tonality is better on the VULKAN (warmer) and more detailed but better timbre on the Titan S.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), much shoutier on the Titan S and more fatiguing overall.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), vocal and instrument tonality and detail are better on the VULKAN but better timbre on the Titan S.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are a bit sharper on the Titan S but have better tonality and timbre on it, more textured and more detailed on the VULKAN.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, texture, and detail are better on the VULKAN, with similar timbre. Violin tonality and timbre are better on the Titan S, but more detailed on the VULKAN.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality is slightly better on the VULKAN but better timbre on the Titan S.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), width is better on the VULKAN, similar depth though. Imaging, separation, and detail are a lot better on the VULKAN, despite the tonality advantage the Titan S has. Timbre is better on the Titan S.

Overall: The VULKAN is clearly more technical, although its tonality is less of a specialist like the Titan S and more versatile. If you want something for vocals/acoustic, I would get the Titan S instead, otherwise the VULKAN is technically better, even though I personally prefer the Titan S overall.

VULKANTitan S
Sub-bass+-
Mid-bass+-
Lower-mids+-
Upper-mids-+
Treble==
Upper-treble==
Soundstage+-
Imaging+-
Separation+-
Macro-detail+-
Micro-detail+-
Timbre-+


IEM: LZ A7 (pop-black, high-density tuning foam), Final Audio Type E tips LL, cable A3 4.4mm

graph - 2022-06-07T162135.640.png

Bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), rumbles a lot more with slower decay and more extension on the A7. Punch quantity is also higher on the A7 but tighter, faster and more textured on the VULKAN. More tonally correct on the A7.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a bit more quantity on the A7, similar tightness but a bit faster on the VULKAN as well as more textured. More tonally correct and better timbre overall on the A7 though, although I prefer the mid-bass on the VULKAN more.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), bass is a bit cleaner on the VULKAN and more textured, similar speed/tightness and quantity though.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), vocal quantity is a tiny bit more forward on the A7, better tonality and timbre on it as well, similar detail. Instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the A7, with similar detail.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a bit shoutier vocals, and sharper treble on the A7.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), vocals and instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the A7, cleaner on it as well but similar detail.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are more tonally correct on the A7 (brighter) but both have some unnatural timbre.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality and timbre are better on the A7, but cleaner and more textured on the VULKAN. Violin tonality is better on the A7, with similar detail, timbre (both unnatural), and treble extension.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), better tonality and timbre on the A7, with similar detail.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), slightly wider on the VULKAN but deeper and more holographic on the A7. Imaging and separation are a bit better on the VULKAN, similar detail though. Timbre and coherency are better on the A7.

Overall: the A7 is tuned a lot better for my library and is pretty similar in technicalities, with better timbre and coherency as well.

VULKANA7 (pop-black high-density tuning foams)
Sub-bass-+
Mid-bass+-
Lower-mids-+
Upper-mids-+
Treble-+
Upper-treble==
Soundstage-+
Imaging+-
Separation+-
Macro-detail==
Micro-detail==
Timbre-+


IEM: Dunu EST112, Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, stock cable 4.4mm

graph - 2022-06-07T162158.918.png

Bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extension is very similar, but rumbles a little bit more on the VULKAN while the punch quantity is also a bit higher on it, while it is a bit tighter/faster on the EST112. Similar texture. Tonality is slightly better on the VULKAN.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a bit higher quantity on the VULKAN, but a bit tighter, faster, and more textured on the EST112. Tonality and timbre are better on the EST112.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot cleaner on the EST112 (due to the treble), similar bass quantity, speed, tightness, and texture though.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), vocal tonality is a lot better on the EST112, as well as timbre, detail, and clarity with more forward vocals. Instrument tonality is slightly better on the VULKAN but better timbre, detail, and clarity on the EST112.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), shoutier and more fatiguing (brighter) on the EST112.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), vocal and instrument tonality are better on the VULKAN, although it is a lot cleaner and has a better timbre and more forward vocals on the EST112.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are more fatiguing on the EST112 due to the brighter tonality, but have better timbre and detail.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality is slightly better on the VULKAN, but cleaner and more detailed on the EST112 with similar texture and timbre. Violin tonality, timbre, texture, detail, clarity, and treble extension are a lot better on the EST112.

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

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), similar width, but deeper and airier stage on the EST112. Imaging, separation, and detail are better on the EST112. Timbre and coherency are better on the EST112.

Overall: The EST112 is pretty much better on all factors. And if you tape the inner vent with micropore tape, it is better in all factors. I would get the EST112 instead of the VULKAN if the price isn’t the deal-breaker.

VULKANEST112
Sub-bass+-
Mid-bass-+
Lower-mids+-
Upper-mids-+
Treble-+
Upper-treble-+
Soundstage-+
Imaging-+
Separation-+
Macro-detail-+
Micro-detail-+
Timbre-+


Conclusion:
The VULKAN is not a bad iem, but IMO it struggles to have an identity and even more so when you factor in its price compared to the competitors. I recommend just going straight for the EST112 if you want to experience a well-tuned and technical iem from Dunu.

Graph:
graph - 2022-06-07T162213.412.png

Cable source:

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

Reference/test songs:

RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@fabio19 I meant that the tonality and the technicalities did not impress me for something at this price.
alexandros a
alexandros a
@RikudouGoku allready own EST112 (which by the way its a bit of a headache in terms of fit to my ears at least ,i am using azla xelastec on EST112 in order for the heavy shells to stay in place there and as far as i have understand the VULKANS use the same shells as well there ), so...........you suggest not to get the VULKANS ? (even if i love bass signatures ?)
also.....do you consider EST112 wider/more competent in terms of stage/sound expansion ?
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@alexandros a if u struggle with the EST112 fit, you should avoid the VULKAN.


Yes, the EST112 has a better stage (as is written in my review).

Scuba Devils

Headphoneus Supremus
DUNU VULKAN
Pros: > Wonderful deep sub bass
> Incredible layering and imaging, and an overall exciting tuning with excellent engagement
> Cohesive presentation across a good size stage
> Clear, lush mids
> Excellent unboxing and accessories - a benchmark at this price?
> Fantastic with electronic music, vocals, chilled jazz, etc
Cons: > Higher register might be a challenge in some music
> Small / wide nozzles can be difficult to secure a good fit (I needed to use larger tips)
> Due to the first point, I wouldn't class these as an all-rounder
DUNU VULKAN - the bar raiser...

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Introduction & Caveats

I had been in contact with Tom from DUNU following the launch of the ZEN PRO - curious to hear how it differed to the OG ZEN, Tom was kind enough to arrange a tour. We stayed in touch, and Tom kept me up to speed on plans for VULKAN, and ultimately asked would I like to participate in evaluating ahead of launch. I am delighted to have been asked, and very much appreciate being included in this pre-launch review. The VULKAN was sent free of charge and as always, my thoughts are my honest evaluation from over the last few weeks of listening.

I must note also being a bit of a self-confessed DUNU fanboy - I love their branding ethos, the attention to detail, the slower release cycles, and how they engage with their customers - they are clearly a customer focused, professional brand which had led to huge respect from many loyal customers, myself now included in the last year or so since I first bought the OG ZEN.

I left VULKAN to run for well over 150 hours so certainly sufficient time on the clock for folks in the burn-in camp.

I am not a professional reviewer, this is my hobby and my passion - combining a life long love for music, electronics and photography. All of which existed in isolation, but COVID sort of joined them together! I do my best to express my impressions in a way that I hope is useful to the reader, but my technical knowledge is somewhat limited so may not be able to delve to the levels that some may seek.

The DUNU VULKAN is available directly from DUNU at $379 - HERE

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Specifications
  • NET WEIGHT: 17 g
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
  • IMPEDANCE: 15  at 1 kHz
  • SENSITIVITY: 109  1 dB at 1 kHz
  • TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: < 0.3% at 1 kHz
  • DRIVER UNITS
  • DYNAMIC DRIVER UNITS [2]:
  • 8 mm Cross-Linked Polyethylene Structural Foam Cell Dome
  • with Soft Independent Surround [1]
  • 8 mm Nanocrystalline Titanium-Coated Diaphragm [1]
  • BALANCED ARMATURE UNITS [4]:
  • Knowles Mid-High Driver (×2) [2]
  • Knowles Dual Supertweeter (×1) [2]
  • CABLE SPECIFICATIONS
  • WIRE MATERIAL: 4 Core, High-Purity, Silver-Plated OCC Copper Type 1 Litz (DUW-02S)
  • LENGTH: 1.2 ± 0.1 m
  • CABLE CONNECTOR: Patented Catch-Hold MMCX Connector
  • PLUG CONNECTOR: Patented Q-Lock PLUS Quick-Switch Modular Plug System
  • INCLUDED PLUG TERMINATIONS:
    • 3.5 mm TRS Single-Ended
    • 2.5 mm TRRS Balanced
    • 4.4 mm TRRRS Balanced
Frequency Response

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DUNU provided details on the dynamic drivers and a graphic visual as per below:

"The shells are aluminum alloy, CNC-milled. There's a 3D-printed structural bracket inside for the drivers. The DDs are coaxial and fit together."

Driver_VULKAN_Assembled_Cutaway.png



Sources

I've used mostly the Shanling M9 and Sony NW-WM1A for my listening over the last few weeks, probably 90% of the time with the M9.

P1020662.jpg


Unboxing & Accessories

DUNU never fail to please when it comes to unboxing and accessories. I've owned the original ZEN, SA6, ZEN PRO and now VULKAN - all of which offer a premium unboxing experience, and include a plethora of accessories to meet every IEM owners need.

The VULKAN arrives in a very similar box/presentation to ZEN and ZEN PRO.

Outer sleeve -

Unbox-1.jpg


Inner box -

P1020684.jpg


I love this touch from DUNU - a transparent paper greets with 'Designed by DUNU' upon opening the lid of the inner box. It really sets the scene for whats to come.

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The upper shelf houses the VULKAN and DUW-02S (this is the same cable as supplied with the EST112)

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Under the top shelf, there is are two sections: to the left the 3 x plug terminations and a case with a selection of tips.

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The cardboard box to the right then contains the faux-leather case along with more tips, flight adaptor, cleaning brush, cloth, and a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter.

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Design & Fit


The faceplates are made from stainless steel and CNC milled, anodized, polished, and then textured with secondary anodic oxidation. The shells are aerospace-grade aluminum, CNC-milled with black anodization.

The cable connector is MMCX and uses the DUNU patented 'catch-hold' system - I'm not quite sure what this entails but I will say it's easier to attach and detach than many other MMCX units I've tried; pops off with a bit of pressure, and closes securely with a small push.

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The nozzle is rather small and wide which led to some initial fit challenges for me. I would usually choose a medium to large tip but most of my go-to choice weren't quite giving me a seal. I eventually tried the largest stock grey tips which have a somewhat bulbous shape, thse fit perfectly and very comfortable.

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They are nice and sturdy and while reasonably heavy, they don't feel it once in my ears. The stainless steel faceplates are somewhat prone to fingerprints but wipe off easily.

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The Cable (DUW-02S)

First of all, you get the excellent 'Q-Lock PLUS quick-switch modular cable platform' - providing flexibility to switch to your termination of choice: 2.5mm balanced, 3.5mm single, and 4.4mm balanced. I love this system and it's great to see similar solutions now available from other brands such as FiiO and qdc to name just two.

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The cable itself is a 1.2m 4 Core, High-Purity, Silver-Plated OCC Copper Type 1 Litz. This is my favourite of any DUNU cables I've tried to date. I found the stock cable with both the OG ZEN and SA6 a little too thick and heavy - the ZEN PRO is an improvement, but a bit too thin and wiry, so completely the opposite. The DUW-02S sits nicely in the middle and is soft, flexible and very little in the way of microphonics. It curls up well and doesn't tangle too easily. There are nice rubber 'socks' at the MMCX termination which provide a good grip with attaching or detaching from VULKAN.

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Listening Impressions

The VULKAN driver configuration is as follows:
  • 1 x DD = lows
  • 1 x DD = mids
  • 2 x BA = upper mids
  • 2 x BA = supertweeters

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The DUNU VULKAN has a deep emphasized low-end with a corresponding raise in the upper registers, coupled with nice weight in the mids, presenting an overall U-shaped tuning. It has relatively strong technicalities, especially in terms of detail retrieval at this price range. Overall I would say it's more a fun listen and not for those seeking a higher-resolution experience, which can be found in DUNU's very own ZEN PRO.

Lows

My IEM journey has recently led me to the conclusion that I love sub bass - I need an IEM to dig deep for a vast amount of my music library, a deep rumble is often key to various electronic music genres, even ambient music frequently drops to the lowest registers that to fully appreciate, require strong performance down low. VULKAN absolutely delivers. If I take the track 'Fold and Arrive' by Bluetech as an example (linked to in my tracks further on)... the deep bass synths are a key component to the track, and VULKAN presents a wonderful rumble with great texture and extension - it is in no way overpowering in terms of other components of the track, but sinks deep to really capture a key element to the track.

From a mid bass perspective, it plays second fiddle to sub bass - there is reasonably good intensity and impact to mid bass, but it certainly feels it steps back where sub bass demands attention, and some might find

Mids

In a similar way to how I've found sub bass is very important, I've also found mids are important in a different way - I don't need them to be forward or dominant in the mix, I actually prefer they take a bit of a step back in a U or V shaped tuning. The nature of the frequencies in the mids I feel are well captured when a step or two back, allowing lows and highs to take a bit of focus. This is a personal preference, but important for me to note.

Male and female vocals sound wonderfully authentic in any of my test tracks. Overall, I would describe mids as lush with good clarity - centre stage for the most part is well managed, even with multiple instruments and vocals combining to a peak in the mix. The notes have nice depth and feeling, and overall I would say drive an emotional connection to the music. Coupled with low and high, there is a cohesive presentation - especially considering the mix of DDs and BAs in this hybrid.

Highs

I find the treble well extended with plenty of air and sparkle. However, it can be a bit challenging for me at times - take a busy rock song for example... screaming guitars, hectic drumming, vocals hitting higher registers all at a climatic point in a track - this can be a problem for VULKAN in my experience, but I do wonder if I have a sensitivity in that region as I experienced it also on the FiiO FH9 in the same use cases. On the flipside, this tuning sheds a light on detail in other genres and really extracts both macro and micro levels. I do know that in order to maximise detail retrieval, you need good energy up top and this seems to be what DUNU were going for - it appears to have that trade-off for some songs, at least in my experience and something people need to be aware of.

Technical

The amount of macro and micro detail on these is quite incredible - hard to believe the price point DUNU have hit considering the level of detail. I wouldn't describe the soundstage as huge, but it has good width and reasonable depth + height with a real sense of music being outside your head in a 3D spatial field. Layering, imaging/positioning is fantastic - there is excellent space for tracks with multiple instruments to all shine with plenty of space and air between them.

Tracks...

I haven't gone through a journey of tracks in a while for a review, but felt it might be useful in this context as VULKAN is completely new to the market. I must note as I always do that my listening preferences on IEMs for the most part lean toward electronic music of some variety; ambient, techno, house, D&B, downtempo, to name a few. I find increasingly that IEMs are more forgiving in general for electronic music, with some notable exceptions such as D&B which can often be a challenging test for the upper mids and highs. I have of course tested vocals, rock etc as part of this review - I listen to these genres, just more so on my home music system or in the car.

Bluetech - Fold and Arrive (Electronic - psychill)



This is a great example of a genre I listen to a lot - psychill, which is characterised by a lot of melodics synths, intricate percussion, deep bass, and playful samples and melodies. VULKAN is made for this type of music - if you are looking for a nicely detailed, melodic IEM with excellent sub bass and fantastic layering for these genres, look no further. While listening, I sit back, close my eyes and get completely lost in the music - a stunning mix of technical performance of vast details and superb musical connection. 5/5

Agnes Obel - Fuel to Fire (Female vocals)



This is a beautiful, authentic, lush presentation - the vocals sit central, but pan out left and right in the same way I hear them on significantly more expensive sets. There is wonderful depth and character to the vocals, and the accompanying piano, bass, and strings take a small step back but sit with plenty of space and layering. It's very easy to pinpoint each individual instrument on the stage, but also sounds wonderfully cohesive. The stage is mostly wide and with a very good sense of 3D rendition for the overall performance. 5/5

Destroyer - Rome (Indie rock)



Opening guitars sound realistic and well positioned. The perscussion sounds good until the snare roll off, which is leaning harsh for my ears. Vocals have good depth, and with a good central position - however, higher registers touch harsh but not quite sibilant. Piano sound life-like, lush and very realistic. 3/5

Keleketla! - International Love Affair (Jazz/World Music)



This is a fantastic example of where the VULKAN driver config and tuning really shine - the bass is wonderfully deep, with lovely airy percussion, vocals sit well in the mix with both male and female harmonies sounding very authentic. The sax and synths have plenty of space to shine, and in spite of being quite a busy track I don't get any sense of congestion or harshness. It really is a great fun listen, as is this entire album and one I'll be loading up again on VUKLAN quite soon. 5/5

London Grammar - Lord It's a Feeling



Let me start by saying I think it's hard to do this song badly - but equally, it needs at least a good performing IEM to do it justice - VULKAN certainly ticks the box, presenting both beautiful and powerful vocals, and the mid bass impact and sub bass depth sound absolutely fantastic - excellent punch to kick drums and great extension into sub bass and rumble, you can really feel it in a visceral sense. The layers of the song all sit nicely on stage, and again it's a fantastic cohesive package. 5/5

Nick Drake - Northern Sky (male vocals/folk)



This is one of my favourite songs of all time. I've even said to my wife, I would love it played at my funeral - assuming of course I go before, which tends to be the case mostly! Anyway, morbidness aside - it sounds wonderful on VULKAN: a smooth, detailed but still intimate presentation that for a song I've heard more times than I can care to try count, sounds wonderfully authentic and allows me enjoy the song in it's entirity or zoom in on the various instruments, such is the nature of the presentation on VULKAN. 5/5

Primal Scream - Come Together (indie electronic)



Yet again, wonderful positioning of instruments - excellent layering in a wide but not especially tall or deep stage. The synths, percussion, bass, guitars, and vocals all have room to shine, and very easy to pinpoint or single out each instrument in isolation. VULKAN does a fantastic job in presenting an overall authentic rendition of this classic 90s track. 5/5

Dominic Eulberg - Braunkehlchen (melodic house/deep techno)



Eulberg tends to lean towards more lush electronic tracks with lots of layering and detail. I love how he allows tracks to evolve, adding various elements as it progresses. This is a great example, a really stunning and epic piece from his latest album. VULKAN does a fantastic job presenting all of the details with lush synths and details - the kick drum hit with great intensity and has really wonderful sub bass extension, leaving the listener with absolutely no illusion as to the depths VULKAN can reach. 5/5

Idles - I'm Scum (punk/rock)



This is a tough track to test an IEM with and unfortunately, VULKAN doesn't manage to pull it off in my experience. It starts well with the drums and bass guitar rolling in with great pace and intensity, and I felt I was being prepared for a potentially sucessfull outcome - there is a clear sense of drama and urgency unfolding, and in a typical punk fashion, it hits a peak that I found VULKAN cannot handle... at around 1min 03sec, the track hits a dramatic climax where the chaotic drumming, guitars, and vocals derail VULKAN to a level of harshness that's too much for my ears. 2/5

Blinkar fran Norr - Metaphors For Things (ambient)




This is a really beautiful and moving piece of ambient music and an album I often reach for to relax after work or before bed. I listen to a lot of ambient music, and how its presented on an IEM is very important as a result. The synths sound absolutely beautiful, with spacious layering and an overall incredibly captivating sound with a large, lush presentation. 5/5

Comparisons


ZEN PRO

Considering DUNU have discontinued LUNA, ZEN PRO now represents the top spot in the DUNU range. An $899 single dynamic driver that many consider one of the best on the market. An IEM I love, and one that is tuned in a way that allows me play absolutely any genre in my library - a true all-rounder, a wonderful IEM.

Right off the bat, the stage jumps up a notch on ZEN PRO and there is an immediate and obvious feeling of a higher resolution presentation versus VULKAN. I don't find the same treble challenges as with VULKAN - on 'I'm Scum' by Idles for example, it feels like as it reaches that climax that I might be in trouble, but doesn't quite nudge me into that harsh territory... only a click or so away, but in a safe zone none the less. The cohesive nature of a single DD versus a technically competent hybrid in the shape of VULKAN means the latter has the edge in terms of absolute pinpoint imaging on the stage, there is more of a sense of specific instrument positioning versus the more complete package with ZEN PRO. ZEN PRO leans more towards mid bass than sub bass, the latter being something I'd probably appreciate a bit more of with ZEN PRO but I guess it may have been a trade off to the overall superb tuning. ZEN PRO I think overall is a more reference tuned IEM that sounds great with any genre - VULKAN again leans more fun.

P1 Max "Giant Panda"

I've been really enjoying the P1 Max recently and it is next up for a review. The presentation here is more organic and effortless, also somewhat dry in comparison - the stage and overall sense of layering and imaging takes a big step back versus VULKAN. The upper frequencies are more tame, and less chance of challenge on some of the tracks or genres I mentioned previously. P1 Max is a 'safer' and more forgiving overall performer, but not at the level of VULKAN in terms of where it excels broadly speaking - VULKAN digs deeper on sub bass, and has a more detailed presentation, and overall much more lively and exciting to listen to.

Conclusion

VULKAN is a fantastic IEM and really raises the bar in terms of the technical performance at this price point. For vocals, acoustic, chilled jazz, instrumentals, and most electronic genres - these are absolutely fantastic and come with a massive recommendation for those seeking an IEM with a good size stage, great cohesion, deep sub bass, crisp treble and an overall great fun in-ear monitor.

I'm very excited to hear feedback from the early adopters of VULKAN, especially those who own hybrids in a similar price range and above, I really think VULKAN will be punching quite a bit above it's price tag.

I would like to thank @DUNU-Topsound again for giving me the opportunity to test VULKAN ahead of launch, it has been quite a privilege.

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Scuba Devils
Scuba Devils
Edit - changed score to 4.5 as the treble issue while only on some music is still evident so I can't score a full 5.
tiagopinto
tiagopinto
Hi, thanks for the nice review. It’s kind of a struggle by not being on the same price range. But how would you compare them to the Meze Rai Solo? (They’re the ones I’m looking to upgrade)
Scuba Devils
Scuba Devils
@tiagopinto - sorry but I haven't heard the Meze Rai Solo unfortunately!
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