Jul 18, 2014 at 2:06 PM
- Apr 13, 2010
- Reaction score
These 3 IEMs are some of the best IEMs I've ever heard, regardless of the price. I don't have any particular reason for comparing them, just happen to have them, so i thought to write some reviews and comparison for these 3 wonderful IEMs would be interesting.
Both DUNU DN-1000 and DN-2000 have different sound signature than the JVC HA-FX850, actually quite the opposite, where the DUNUs are more toward natural sound with good clarity and transparency, while the JVC HA-FX850 is more towards warm and organic sound signature with a rather strong bass. They are excellent in their own way. Both the DUNUs are currently my reference IEMs. The JVC HA-FX850 I used in this review belong to my brother, I borrowed them for about 1 month.
This review and comparison is not about which one is the best IEM. There is no such thing as one gear suits all. It's all about mix and match of the recordings we listen and the gears we use, and most important, our sonic preferences. I hope this article might help the readers to get better idea of the sound signatures of the DUNU DN-1000, DN-2000, & JVC HA-FX850.
Before we continue with the review and comparison, I think it is necessary to clarify to the readers, about what is 'balanced sound' in my definition. We all have our own definition of what we perceive as balanced sound. Could be similar, could be varied greatly. Also greatly influenced by recordings we use to listen. What i consider as 'balanced sound' is tonal balance with good balance from bass to treble, that I perceive as realistic and close to life performance. I prefer a more realistic type of tonal balance, rather than the bland tonal balance that often considered as flat tonal balance. I will list a few earphones and headphones that I consider relatively balanced. Readers can gauge from it to compare with their own definition of balanced sound.
Relatively balanced sounding IEM:
Fitear 334 (universal custom demo)
Audio Technica ATH-IM03 with their stock tips.
Audio Technica ATH-IM70 with their stock tips.
DUNU DN-1000 with the JVC EP-FX8 silicone eartips. One of the most balanced sounding IEM I've ever heard. But not DN-1000 with its stock eartips.
Narmoo S1 with their stock eartips also sounds quite balanced to me.
Xiaomi Piston iF Special Edition with Audio Technica IM eartips, slightly V shape, almost balanced.
Relatively balanced sounding Headphones:
Philips Fidelio X1 with Oyaide HPC-35 cable. To me, X1 has better tonal balance than my HD800 and T1. HD800 and T1 excel on other area, but X1 wins on tonal balance.
Shure SRH1540, a bit too much bass for my taste, and lacking slightly of the upper treble extension, otherwise can be considered balanced.
Eartips play a great role on the sound quality, therefore it is important to be specific, which eartips were used during the review. I tried many different eartips for all the 3 IEMs, and then used the type of eartips that I find sound best.
I was a bit disappointed with DN-1000 when I tried it out of the box. The treble was a bit metallic with the stock silicone eartips. The first few weeks with DN-1000, I used foam eartips, Comply T-500, that smoothen the treble, made the DN-1000 sounds very open and airy, but a bit lacking in bass. Until I did some experiments with more eartips, and found the silicone eartips from my JVC HA-FXD80 give the best sound and tonal balance for my DN-1000. Treble from the foam eartips & bass from the silicone eartips. Best of both worlds. It was a very happy moment, and I was not alone. I was with my friend Leo who is a sound engineer, and for hours we listened to DN-1000 with the JVC HA-FXD80 silicone eartips. We have same conclusion, very good tonal balance on the whole spectrum, without any annoying peaks and dips. Simply, we didn't find anything to fault the combination. From that moment, the JVC FXD80 tips stay with my DN-1000. Highly recommended for those with DN-1000. And I found that spare eartips for the JVC FXD series are available on Amazon Japan. Just search the following:
Large Size: JVC EP-FX8L-B (14 mm diameter)
Medium Size: JVC EP-FX8M-B (12 mm diameter)
Small Size: JVC EP-FX8S-B (10 mm diameter)
Please note, that the JVC eartips size is about 1 mm larger than generic eartips size. I use 12-13 mm eartips, so I use the medium size. They are a bit stiff when new, but after some usage will get soften a little bit.
While for DN-2000 and FX850, I found the stock eartips are quite optimum, so I use their stock eartips. Although at the end I found that the DUNU grey silicone eartips (2K Tips) are actually better for FX850. I will explain more at the JVC HA-XF850 review.
Eartips used during review:
DUNU DN-2000: The stock DUNU grey colour silicone eartips (2K Tips), medium + silver ring adjustment.
DUNU DN-1000: JVC EP-FX8M-B, medium.
JVC HA-FX850: The stock JVC Spiral Dot eartips, medium.
For those who don’t have much time to read all the details, here is the simplistic short summary for all the 3 IEMS:
DUNU DN-2000: One of the best sounding IEM from natural sound perspective.
DUNU DN-1000: One of the best sounding IEM from balanced and realistic sound perspective.
JVC HA-FX850: One of the best wooden boutique IEM for warm and organic sound signature.
I would say ‘The Perfectionist’ would be a nice title for DN-2000 to reflect their character, since it is a rather difficult and picky IEM to be paired with. While for DN-1000 I would call it ‘The Fun and Adventurous’ goes well with wide variety of genres and recording, and quite easy on players. FX850 would be ‘The Romantic’, charming its fans with its warm and intimate vocal.
Direct links to:
Review of DUNU DN-2000
Review of DUNU DN-1000
Review of JVC HA-FX850
Comparison of DUNU DN-1000, DN-2000, & JVC HA-FX850
Although I've mentioned before that this review and comparison is not to find which one is the best IEM of the 3, I do have my own personal preferences. I do like all the 3 IEMs, and have used them to listen to various recordings, and tried them with various gears that I have. But if I have to choose those that better suit my preferences, I will choose the DN-2000 and DN-1000. I'm simply captivated by the DN-2000 charming sonic character, and the DN-1000 balanced and fun sound. It would be very hard for me to choose between the DUNUs, as I really like them both almost equally. FX850 has a very nice organic sound character, but a bit too warm and bassy for my taste. FX850 is very good for pop and vocal, but it doesn't shine with classical. I know there are some people that looking exactly for warm and organic sound signature with strong bass like FX850, as they go very well with many modern genres recordings. For some people FX850 might be their first choice. So, it's just simply my personal preferences, not judgment over their sound quality.
With all the players, DACs, and amplifiers I used in this review, their sound signature varied to some extent. My comments and impressions for the 3 IEMs would be mainly from Yulong Sabre DA8, which is the source & amp combo that I found one of the best for the 3 IEMs, as well as from other DACs like DACport, GO 450, and Dragonfly. Somehow those DACs still sound better than Fiio X5 and DX90, without additional amplifier.
Equipment used in this review
Yulong Sabre DA8: DAC + HeadAmp combo. My reference DAC beside my Mytek Stereo 192-DSD. One of the best DAC + HeadAmp combo I've ever heard. Very spacious, detailed, smooth, full bodied, realistic dynamic, and very musical.
Yulong Sabre A28: Desktop balanced headphone amplifier. Natural with slightly dark sound signature. The balance headphone output is the best feature of this headphone amplifier. In this review, Yulong A28 balanced input is connected to Yulong DA8 balanced output.
Fiio E12DIY with AD8599 Op-Amp + LME49600 buffer: Portable headphone amplifier. One of my favorite portable headphone amplifier. Quiet, black background, clean and powerful sounding. AD8599 sounds smooth with good depth and spacious imaging, slightly dark, very smooth treble with very good and powerful bass. AD8599 is one of my favorite Op-Amp.
Centrance DACport: DAC + HeadAmp combo. Very organic and musical sounding. very smooth sounding treble, pretty close to AD8599. Always match very well with bright or analytical sounding earphones & headphones.
Audioquest Dragonfly v1.0c: DAC + HeadAmp combo. Marvelous little DAC. Transparent, airy, and powerful. Slightly lean to analytical sounding.
Light Harmonic Geek Out 450 v10.02: DAC + HeadAmp combo. Newest mini DAC in my arsenal, very powerful and detailed sounding. Sound signature is closer to the Dragonfly than to DACport. Lean a little bit to sterile sounding.
iBasso DX90: Portable player. Natural sounding, not warm and not analytical. Good dynamic, detail and resolution.
Fiio X5: Portable player. Natural warm, very smooth & musical. Sounds a tad warmer than DX90. Good dynamic, detail and resolution.
Some recordings mostly used in this review