ZEN by DUNU: our first model designed around next-generation driver platform ECLIPSƎ
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feverfive

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Thanks for the review, @corgifall . Likewise, I have been all about hybrids for years now (can't go without DD bass, but appreciate the resolution of other driver types as well, for mids + treble), but these new single DD offerings have been making me take notice. I couldn't get on with the Luna's tuning for most of my music, but the Zen, as you noted, sure seems like a solid all-arounder (befitting my tastes in music electronic (ambient/chillout/house/trance), instrumental jazz, progressive rock/metal).
 
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Thanks for the review, @corgifall . Likewise, I have been all about hybrids for years now (can't go without DD bass, but appreciate the resolution of other driver types as well, for mids + treble), but these new single DD offerings have been making me take notice. I couldn't get on with the Luna's tuning for most of my music, but the Zen, as you noted, sure seems like a solid all-arounder (befitting my tastes in music electronic (ambient/chillout/house/trance), instrumental jazz, progressive rock/metal).
That's one of the really key highlights for me so far tonight - I have diverse taste in music, also ranging from ambient through to techno, rock etc... very partial to female vocals too. Absolutely everything I've tried tonight has sounded fantastic. I've not had the disappointment that ultimately arose in my other IEMs where they'd fail with some sort of genre. Still of course very early days but absolutely love at first sight, touch and listen - these will be in my ears at every available opportunity.
 
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The KBEAR Believe was already opened by a famous Youtuber I will not name, and it's confirmed they have a pure Beryllium driver.
KBEAR also sent another free pair to this Youtuber to replace the one he had open for the community.
So, the Believe is actually the cheapest pure Be IEM atm.
Yep, I know he opened the shell to show that it looks metallic or perhaps beryllium, but it's still kind of hard to prove that the driver is "pure" beryllium or not some other metallic material? I don't know how the industry defines "pure" beryllium but I would think one would need a spectrometer or other tools to measure this driver's purity etc? Ie I don't think from the naked eye we can tell these info?
 
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Review is up. What an awesome set of iems! I look forward to seeing everyone else’s review!

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/zen-by-dunu.24863/reviews#item-review-25118
Nice review! I have two DUNU Blanche cables with the same 4.4mm plug and they exhibit that weird behavior when new. There’s channel imbalance and I have to spin it a little to get everything going and there’s static while you spin it. My first Blanche is fine now. The newer one’s getting better. Must be like a coating or something on it that gets worn off. I recall some other folks mentioning the same behavior, but I can’t recall which thread it was.
 
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subguy812

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The nozzle on the Zen is designed differently than Luna. Luna was incredibly tip dependant. The X/Y axis of Luna needs to align correctly to maximize sound quality. Most comments regarding Luna sounding bass light or lacking lower bass were due to tips IMO.

I apologize, I basically had to grab the Zen and hit the road again, no tip rolling(Sedna Earfit Light short). That said, the nozzle and fit of Zen is better to my ear. I am also using a brand new M8 DAP, which is not yet seasoned. All of those factors aside, I am enjoying the tonality and balance of the Zen. I may go out on limb here and say that Zen will appeal to a much broader audience than Luna, without factoring in the price. DUNU is really maturing as a brand.

Edit: As I was writing this Peg by Steely Dan came on and it is incredibly balanced, perfect air creates a wonderful staging and every instrument is distinct, with all instruments, including the cymbal work sounding natural. Really liking it!
 
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Nice review! I have two DUNU Blanche cables with the same 4.4mm plug and they exhibit that weird behavior when new. There’s channel imbalance and I have to spin it a little to get everything going and there’s static while you spin it. My first Blanche is fine now. The newer one’s getting better. Must be like a coating or something on it that gets worn off. I recall some other folks mentioning the same behavior, but I can’t recall which thread it was.
Ahh! Thanks for the info! I actually swapped the plugs with one of my other cables and it seems fine with that iem haha I’ll keep using it. I forgot the Blanche uses the same looking coating on its plugs.
 
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Just clean it with alcohol and if you have any contact enhancer, apply some the internal pin, it should fix it.

I think it is to do with the coating applied in the plugs.
 
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I am really looking forward to @davidmolliere impressions of the zen Vs fiio fd5. Soo far the reviews and impressions he has given are absolutely spot on to what I hear. Before purchasing very expensive iems we want our beloved reviewers here at headfi to be brutally honest showing some sort of integrity. I actually want the zens to sound top tier but I also much rather not be mislead. Just because the zens cost 2x the fiio fd5 does not inherently make them superior. I've heard iems at a much cheaper rate that would kick asss over some of these much more expensive offerings.
 
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I am really looking forward to @davidmolliere impressions of the zen Vs fiio fd5. Soo far the reviews and impressions he has given are absolutely spot on to what I hear. Before purchasing very expensive iems we want our beloved reviewers here at headfi to be brutally honest showing some sort of integrity. I actually want the zens to sound top tier but I also much rather not be mislead. Just because the zens cost 2x the fiio fd5 does not inherently make them superior. I've heard iems at a much cheaper rate that would kick asss over some of these much more expensive offerings.
More reviews will definitely help! I think the ZEN is a good example of making something sound good without making it crazy expensive. I think DUNU could of easily sold these for $1100 and all of us would still probably talk up the sound quality and overall package.
 
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More reviews will definitely help! I think the ZEN is a good example of making something sound good without making it crazy expensive. I think DUNU could of easily sold these for $1100 and all of us would still probably talk up the sound quality and overall package.
Thank you for your review! I will take onboard every single impression of these and then make my move.

I personally feel a bit different about the price point of earphones but everyone has there own take. For me these higher quality earphones are wayy too expensive to begin with and once you here statements and experience iems that cost half the price of another iem then has similar details and technicallities to them I begin to question the value of such earphones. Fiio fd5 costs around £250 whilst the zens cost a bit north of £500 soo they SHOULD have better technicallities and details with no dispute! This makes it even more grand now if one says the value of the zen is amazing and could be sold for much higher. All personal opinion end of the day. Btw the only reason I am saying this is because one reviewer told me the fd5 and the zens are similar in technicalities/details but let's wait for more impressions.
 
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I wish I still had the Hiby R8, I have a feeling that it would have paired remarkably well with R8.
 
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Nice review! I have two DUNU Blanche cables with the same 4.4mm plug and they exhibit that weird behavior when new. There’s channel imbalance and I have to spin it a little to get everything going and there’s static while you spin it. My first Blanche is fine now. The newer one’s getting better. Must be like a coating or something on it that gets worn off. I recall some other folks mentioning the same behavior, but I can’t recall which thread it was.
I had a bit of a related issue with my SA6, where I was picking up massive fuzz and static. In my case, it turned out to be interference from picking up my phone's wi-fi/5G signal. If my phone was within about 6 inches of the cable, it would start with some low level noise, and touching the cable with my phone gave off a sound that was very zappy and crackly. Fortunately, an easy fix for me, but perhaps it becomes an issue if you're using a DAP or phone to stream.
 
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Kinda quick unboxing of the Dunu Zen. I planned to do this with ample daylight but the forecast for Munich is quite dire for the next few days (snowfall, occasional rain, gloomy skies - the whole package).

The Dunu Zen packaging reminds of IER M9 packaging: full of stuff you don't quite expect. Everything is very high quality and you won't have to look for replacements at all (barring those tips, perhaps). Unboxing video:


Now, about the Zen itself. The build quality is TOTL-level. I do wish the finishing was matte because it does show lints and fingerprints. Dunu supplies a microfiber cloth in the package for this reason I guess.

The first things I noticed: it's very, very sensitive to source hiss and leaks sound more than most IEMs. The latter is likely due to the ACIS vent on the back, whereas the former is mysterious to me since SA6 despite having higher sensitivity doesn't exhibit such source pickiness (though SA6 has a very high impedance for IEMs, perhaps that helps in this regard). Nonetheless, Dunu Zen demands a quality source. For me, it was the Cowon Plenue R2. Dead silent from balanced out.

About the overall tonal profile: it's what they call balanced. Nothing is exaggerated, perhaps the slight sub-bass hump is noticeable in some tracks but overall it's a pleasing signature with no abrupt peaks or bumps in the overall FR. The biggest issue most might have initially is the laid-back upper-treble. There isn't a lot of air up top and on some metal tracks I do miss the last bit of extension from cymbal hits. It does help in avoiding listening fatigue though. Nonetheless, I'd prefer a bit more extension there (but then I think the price of the Zen might cross the $1000 mark so...).

Soundstage is wider than average. The Sennheiser IE800 does have a wider stage but that's mostly due to the de-emphasized midrange that pushes vocals in the back and gives a sensation of wide staging. Imaging seems fairly good for a single-driver IEM. Stage depth and instrument separation is also impressive.

To summarize: an overall pleasing, inoffensive tonality with good technicalities in general. However, extensive comparison is needed against some heavy-hitters which I shall get to in the full review.


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