DUNU is a high end Chinese In-Ear Monitors brand, which specializes in hybrid, multi driver IEMs. They have put out several models in the past, starting from the relatively affordable Titan series (I reviewed the Titan 3 and Titan 5 in the past), and subsequently experimenting with different driver combinations and putting out increasingly interesting high-end models.
Dunu IEM’s are slightly different from IEMs such as Etymotic, Westone and all deep insertion models, and, design wise, are more similar to Hifiman, Sony, Sennheiser, TFZ, making use of a wider diameter nozzle, which doesn’t have too deep insertion. This choice comes from the necessity of housing dynamic drivers (along with armature drivers) inside the earpiece. A consequence is that is only partial, for the sake of road awareness, although in excessively noisy environments it’s necessary to turn the music louder in order to not be bothered by outside noises.
One year and half ago, I reviewed the Dunu DN2002 and found them to be one of the best sounding IEM’s for the price. They were very neutral, rich sounding, both in terms of tonality and detail retrieval.
Their biggest quirk was a large housing for the hybrid driver design, discomfortable to several users, especially in the ability to keep the seal between the eartips and ear canal. The problem could be solved by using foam tips, but they would still feel quite large and heavy. The sound, though, was so heavenly…
After several months, DUNU finally put the DK3001 in production, with a different driver assortment compared to the DN2002: where the DN2002 are composed of two dynamic drivers and two balanced armature drivers for each channel, the DK 3001 use 3 balanced armature drivers and one dynamic driver for each side.
DUNU is not new to experimenting with so many creative solutions in terms of driver combinations, and this sets them apart from most manufacturers.
As a start, the DK3001 is a bit more comfortable than the DN2002, the housing is more balanced, although still quite large.
In terms of sound signature, the DUNU DK3001 are a side step to the DN2002. The DN2002 has slightly rolled off highs, excellent midrange, and very good bass response. The DK3001 has more bite. The DK3001 is a slight U-shaped take over the DN2002 signature. It has, primarly, more aggressive-energic high frequencies, and more powerful bass. They retain the sense of naturalness and warmth of the DN2002, but everything is a bit more tilted, rhytm inducing, toe tapping. The general sense of satisfaction is drawn by both the fullness and the “kick” coming from the bass liveliness and treble richness. The more powerful high frequency output, compared to the DN2002, translates to a crisper feeing during the listening sessions. Still, the higher volume is perceivable without being sibilant: this means there aren’t any spikes in the lower / middle treble, which would have proven unpleasant. The treble response must very extended, rolling off only at very high frequencies, and gently. I guess the three balanced armature drivers taking care of the midrange and treble frequency range, allow for fine tuning and lack of regions that can get out of control.
Usually, I wouldn’t regard a “U” shaped headphone much, because in most cases, this would mean “sucked-out midrange”, and hollow signature. But the DK3001 is so organic, natural sounding and the additional crispness and bass impact over the DN2002 are more akin to adjustments. I would say both are on a similar level, where the DN2002 has a lower profile approach, naturally letting the music flow and almost disappearing, while the DK3001 give it push and could actually be preferable due to the stronger sense of “feeling” the music, the additional sense of speed, transparency, refined treble and slightly more comfortable housing.
There is something that I would see from Dunu, though, and it’s related to the connectors used by the removable cable plug/socket design: MMCX connectors, in the past, gave me some problems, getting loose over time (for example with my TFZ earphones). In my experience, a 2 pin connector would be more reliable in the long run.
This is the only fault I can really find in this product, which is otherwise stellar in its price bracket and can compete, and kill, models costing twice as much.