DUNU-TOPSOUND DK-3001 (Hybrid Earphone for High Resource Sound Generator)

Average User Rating:
4.11111/5,
  1. Zelda
    4.5/5,
    "Dunu DK-3001 – Masters of hybrids?!"
    REVIEW: Dunu DK-3001

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    Dunu Top-Sound strike again with another Hi-Res In-ear product! It’s been more than 2 years since the new hybrids models were announced, the DN-2002, DK-3001 and DK-4001. Last year we presented the release of the first 4 driver, the DN-2002, which set a different drivers’ setup having two large dynamic drivers combined with the minuscule Knowles dual BA already adopted on the first triple hybrid earphone from the company, the DN-1000. Dunu surely take their time; it is around another year later that the first of the DK series finally appears to the worldwide market. The company certainly doesn’t like to rush things, and that’s a good thing, because the DK-3001 certainly delivers.



    Dunu TopSound Website

    DK-3001 page




    Specifications

    • Drivers: Single Dynamic (13mm) + Triple Balanced Armature
    • Shell material: 316L Stainless Steel
    • Frequency range: 5Hz ~ 40KHz
    • Impedance: 13Ω
    • Sensitivity: 110±2dB
    • Cable: 1.2m; 3.5mm Gold-plated
    • Weight: 31g



    Price (MSRP): U$D 499


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    Accessories

    • 3 pairs of single white silicone eartips (S/M/L)
    • 3 pairs of single grey silicone eartips (S/M/L)
    • 1 pack of SpinFit CP100 eartips in the 4 sizes (XS/S/M/L)
    • 1 pair of Comply Foam T-500 (Medium size)
    • Case
    • Clip
    • Airplane and 6.35mm adapters



    Like with any of the previous models, the Dunu package does not skimp on anything. From the box itself the DK-3001 already inspires premium quality. The unboxing is hassle free and everything arrives very well packed and nicely arranged.
    As usual, the accessory array is not lacking at all. However, the replaceable earguides are not included anymore, and instead of that, the DK-3001 arrives with 2 detachable cables with fixed memory wire on them, one of standard 3.5mm termination which is already attached to the earpieces and an extra 2.5mm balanced plug, and both included the very useful Dunu patented cable wrap from the very early budget models.


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    Design

    With the DK-3001 we’re finally seeing a whole new design from the previous Dunu’s hybrids models which all had a straight and quite large design. While the DN-2002 with its extra added dynamic driver already took a slightly different form factor it still had that larger design. Personally, I found the DN-2002 a step over the DN-1000 and 2000, especially with the unique detachable cable design and slightly smoother finish. However, this DK-3001 has a much more compact design with a strict over-ear fit that may or may not be welcome by many users. While the DN-2002 was the first from Dunu to have a 4 driver hybrid setup, it was done by adding the extra driver to the 1DD+2BA configuration. The previous hybrids were based on the Knowles BA small twin TWFK drivers adding the Dunu’s own dynamic part. The DK-3001, goes back on having just one dynamic unit and then adding another balanced armature, which is apparently an extra Knowles ED single unit. I don’t know the actual setup among these BA drivers, which one was used for mids and which for highs, but it has been very well tuned regardless. The large 13 speaker is obviously placed on the rear part of the shell and the 3-BA pack were apparently put towards the front angled nozzle part, something not easy to achieve considering the much compact design.

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    As for build quality, needless to say that being a Dunu product it should be the best possible, simply flawless. Since the beginning of the company Dunu has impressed with the tough well assembled quality and has already became a reference to what really good quality should be. The DK-3001 follows the toughest material used on the DN-2002, a whole Stainless Steel (316L grade) shell design, as described on the product specifications. Truth or not, these are one of the best built earphones around the market. There a couple of vents that can be easily spotted on the earpieces, one towards the outside part and the other at the inner side.

    Unlike the DN models that could be worn on both up and down cable setup, the DK-3001 has a fixed over-ear design. With the flatter shape the earpiece just don’t stick out of the ears anymore. At first, getting a right fit with the new DK was not very easy, the nozzle is not as long as should have been for an over-ear design and the shells are not entirely smooth. While I usually preferred the single gray or white eartips from Dunu pack, the Spinfit gave the best results with the 3001. After some days the fit is very intuitive and surprisingly much more comfortable than even the DN-2002 which I already found better than the DN-1000 and DN-2000 (never tried the 2000J, unfortunately). The Spinfit also help to relieve the tighter contact between the metal earpieces and the outer ear. Maybe an extra pair of rubber/silicone rings could be useful (like those included on the 2000J). The DK-3001 is not as sealed as the DN-1000 or 2000, and thus the noise isolation level drops a bit in comparison, and even the 2002 is better in that regard. The 3001 is still a bit above average, good enough to daily commute, but not very recommended for very noisy environments.

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    Lastly, the cable is also special. The DK-3001 is the first of Dunu’s IEMs to finally use the more standard MMCX connection, without the ‘lock’ feature that was on the 2002 or the proprietary type of the Titan 3/5. However, being the Dunu flagship the cable connection is extremely tough and the reason of that is the split regular MMCX plug, which makes a much stronger attachment to the earpiece socket. Indeed, it is really difficult to detach the cable without using extra strength. There are fixed long memory-wired guides, reminiscent of the Sony EX and upper XBA options. The whole cable is of very good quality, thick yet pliable and without a hint of microphonics effect. Like with the DN-2002, the upper half of the cable tends to stiffen after some short time. The plug is terminated in L-shape and also made of strong metal material.

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    Sound

    Main sources: Xduoo X3, Aune M1s (Single & Balanced 2.5), Lotoo PAW5000 and PAW Pico; Topping NX5, Headamp Pico Slim.
    Also briefly listened with Fiio X1-ii, X5-ii, X7, Cowon M2, Plenue D.


    The production of a good earphone is never an easy task, even more when getting into the higher hybrid types. Just a few years ago there weren’t so many companies that dare to take a gamble and release a more affordable hybrid to the masses. Today the market is simply saturated by way so many companies and random brands that just keep releasing a new hybrid IEM every now and then, and not limiting themselves to the basic 1DD+1BA equation but any kind of combination. It is never the type or amount of drivers that really matters in this game, but the actual tuning, crossover, impedance matching and coherence between the two drivers tech. The Dunu company is not a novice anymore; just a few years ago with the release of their first hybrid model, the DN-1000 that retailed around the lower U$200 tag, they managed to show their true capabilities. The DN-1000 was a very strong contender, though not 100% perfect with its very low impedance and noticeable drivers (in)-coherence; a typical ‘flaw’ for hybrid IEMs. Things got even better with the DN-2000 and later on with the 2000J version which adopted the special ‘titanium coated’ dynamic driver (similar to the one applied on the Titan 1). The last year DN-2002, while added the extra dynamic driver it still kept the Knowles dual TWFK formula. With this DK-3001 we can finally see something new in the Balanced Armature section but also go back to the single dynamic counterpart.

    Personally, I find the results to be very impressive. The ED+TWFK combination brings a new flavor to the Dunu family and the single large 13mm dynamic brings back the strength of the DN-2000 which reminds of the older single dynamic IEMs from the company. The DK-3001 has slightly improved in terms of drivability and source matching with a bit of higher impedance, and practically zero incoherence issues with most of the sources it was played with.

    While the tips selection is nice and usually gives some place to tweak the sound a bit, for the DK-3001 the different results were less noticed while the source selection played a much important role. Had to settle down with the Spinfit option as those give the best comfort fit result that despite the arguable design improvements, the DK’s shells are still not the most ergonomic thing among universal IEMs out there. The strict over-ear design is also more open and well vented and definitely has its effects on the sound presentation being more open and airy. The tuning is typical of Dunu with a lively sound, slightly warm, highly detailed with a large stage presentation. It does give the sense of a very wide U-shape frequency response but the separation is well achieved letting the midrange play an important role.

    First things first, we got a Dunu single driver, and 13mm is a large diameter for an in-ear, which sits completely outside the earcanal but so close to the BA units. The bass is big and powerful, and can be aggressive enough if needed. However it shouldn’t be mistaken as a massive overdone bass, because the DK-3001 still has a long way to classify as heavy-bass, dark or too warm. On the contrary, while it has the sheer power it is not missing the excellent control, accuracy and most importantly, the speed to keep up with the BA part. Extension is great and the sub-bass reach is very effortless. It won’t have the ultra-high speed of a multi-BA setup at this price could offer, but on the other hand, it has that more natural texture, instruments weight and greater dynamics that the more hi-fi dynamic drivers are always praised for.

    The DK-3001 has a strong sense of transparency, easily noticed when paired with different sources; not something really source dependent nor picky, but able to point out the source sonic characteristics. This is more perceived at mid frequencies. Overall, the midrange on the DK-3001 has excellent musicality and realism, natural timbre and great separation. Like many hybrids it brings the extra warmness from the dynamic driver, which Dunu IEMs always have, and then mixes it with the balanced armatures speed and resolution. It has a well put weight for instruments and clarity and sweetness for vocals; full texture for male vocals, and extra brightness at the upper mids for female. It reminds more of the DN-2000 being rich and full but also shows the better definition and forwardness of the 2002, yet sounds much more airy.

    The highs come forth in a better form compared to the previous hybrids from Dunu. No idea which of the BA drivers is in charge of this region as both ED and TWFK take part as treble drivers on so many IEM and CIEM products. Whichever the case, the treble on the DK-3001 is better extended with a more natural and realistic texture all the way. Transition from upper mid to low treble is smooth, though there is a lot of energy and sparkle with its lively signature. The sound is very open and better layered than the DN-2002 and better controlled too. The DN-1000 was much sharper and unforgiving, whereas the DK-3001 is much more refined.

    Stage, imaging and resolution are among the strongest points here. Finally, the DK-3001 model is closer to resemble a larger headphone set with the more open and well vented design and much bigger stage dimensions. The right and left separation is great, even without going to the 2.5mm option. Straight from the standard 3.5mm output the overall speed on the 3001 is still not best, however the use of extra amplification or balanced cable option can help to rise this 4 driver hybrid to a higher level. From both the Aune M1s and Pico Slim amp the bass and overall speed is much higher. The midrange takes a more forward yet not thicker position and the highs gain a greater timbre. While I liked how the DN-2002 performed with extra amplification being more neutral, the DK-3001 sounds more engaging with the livelier signature.


    In a closer comparison next to its predecessors, the DN-2000 and 2002 (triple and quad hybrids), the DK-3001 shares the Dunu house typical sound, being full and very engaging. The low end impact and amount is similar to the 2000 which is powerful and rumbly, but the 3001 brings a deeper and cleaner response which is even above the 2002’s quality. The 2000 is also more colored and the 2002 a bit more mid-forward, whereas the 3001 is more open, balanced and clearer. I didn’t have any serious issue with the treble on the other two (unlike the DN-1000), and yet find the treble on DK-3001 more comfortable and natural. Stage is a win for the 3001 hands down and so is the imaging and 3D surrounding effect.

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    Value


    At the retail price of $500, the DK-3001 is surely not a very affordable audio piece, and the price keeps going higher with the release of every new model. The last year DN-2002 model released at the $380 price tag already impressed with its best build quality, and which I personally found a strong improvement over the previous DN models in terms of fit, comfort and even overall sound quality. Is the DK-3001 worth the extra money? It depends. This last item from Dunu has the highest build quality possible for a portable earphone, and finally brings a brand new design and internal driver’s configuration. With its strict over-ear fit, it is definitely more compact, but still not for everyone; a hit or miss for sure, worthless if you don’t get the good fit but (almost) perfect if you do. Luck or whatever you may call it, I find the DK-3001 to be much more comfortable than expected, with a more shallow fit that gives up on some isolation, but pays back with greater sonic capabilities. The sound performance is excellent, more open, airy, natural and with a much wider soundstage and spacious presentation. It has a better synergy too, and one of the best hybrids out there. Well done Dunu, and looking forward to the DK-4001!
  2. Hifihedgehog
    5.0/5,
    "The DUNU Legacy Continues"
    Pros - Tight, deep bass; confident, organic midrange; smooth AND detailed treble; generous assortment of accessories; comfortable in all ear sizes
    Cons - Very, very slight shelving in the very high treble
    The DK-3001 is DUNU’s newest flagship earphone, representing the culmination of over two years of development and their latest crowning achievement in the premium earphone market. More than two decades ago, DUNU had its humble beginnings as an OEM/ODM manufacturer dating back to 1994. Over the years, DUNU have demonstrated the rare combination of high fidelity, robust construction, and incredible value in IEM (in-ear monitor) design for the price points they have targeted. As a result, DUNU’s product portfolio has caught the ears and attention of headphone enthusiasts and value seekers across the world. Notably, their TITAN series of earphones in particular has set the price-performance standard for $50-$150 price range, trading blows with earphones costing triple or more.


    In this regard, the DK-3001’s demonstration of performance and value today is no exception and consistently true to its roots. Fit and finish that is tasteful, professional, comfortable and ergonomic thanks to the carefully polished and positioned components and the wide selection of provided tips for large, medium, small, and very small ear types. Accessories and box presentation is elegant and generous especially with the fold out packaging, balanced silver cable, and hard carrying case with padded interior and water resistant seal. This lavish level of premium treatment is what would normally be expected from earphones costing $1000 or more (such as the AKG K3001i).


    Here is just one practical example of the test tracks that I normally queue up during evaluation sessions that revels in the DK-3001’s exceptional performance. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’s cinematic introduction is convincing, anchored and riveting. There is just the right amount of definition, presence, smoothness, and substance in Lady Galadriel’s voice to make for a crystalline allure that is fitting for the preface. The subsequent Battle of Dagorlad is rife with clanking, whooshing, growls and yells that are realistically sharp and bold, never straying towards either brashness or muffling. The sheer impact of the earthshattering shockwave that follows the iconic fall of the dark lord Sauron takes one’s breath away. Throughout the remainder of the film, DK-3001’s holds this command of dynamics and detail, rendering the jangling of metal and echo of environments, aloof and effortless in the heat of the battle and in the stillness of the epic journey.


    In short, sound reproduction is dynamic, neutral, and detailed, making the DK-3001 the best universal in-ear monitor I have heard to date. Granted, there is a very slight upper treble shelving that is vaguely apparent which leads some to characterize them as warm or undetailed. For an individual like myself who generally gravitates towards bright, detailed headphones, I must disagree. I find this one minor deviation in the frequency response easily dismissible since the display of detail and clarity is simply breathtaking throughout.


    Putting this into perspective, the Sennheiser HD 600 and Denon AH-D5000 are warmer and tubbier and the AKG K 701 has a far sharper cut off in the ultra-high frequencies (greater than 12 KHz). Hypothetically, if I were presented the choice of selecting either this or the Sennheiser HD 800 (which I had on extended loan just prior to my obtaining this review sample), I would pick the DK-3001 without question. Indeed, the DK-3001’s bass goes deeper and is more fleshed out, its midrange is more neutral and well-defined, and its treble transitions far more smoothly. Given its astounding value, I recommend the DUNU DK-3001 without reservation to any experienced audiophile looking for a competent and compelling earphone at its comparatively low price of $499.

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  3. subguy812
    4.0/5,
    "DUNU DK-3001 a Tale of Pleasure and Pain"
    Pros - Sound quality
    Cons - The "ridge", isolation, short angled nozzle
    DUNU DK-3001

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

    http://www.dunu-topsound.com/DK-3001.html

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    A Little Technical Stuff:

    · Drivers Dynamic(13mm) *1

    Balanced Armature *3

    · Frequency range 5 Hz-40 KHz

    · Impedance 13Ω

    · Sensitivity 110±2dB

    · Connections 3.5mm Gold-plated

    · Cable 1.2m

    · Weight 31g


    DUNU DK-3001
    -MRSP: Universal fit $499, at the time of the review they can be found on Amazon for $470

    I want to thank Vivian from DUNU as her quick responses and communication was top notch. She provided me the DK-3001 in exchange for my honest review. I call them like I see them or hear them in this case, be it good, bad, or ugly. Thank you, Vivian, and DUNU.


    DUNU = Delicate Sensation
    Unique Design
    &
    Utmost Quality



    I have had the privilege, over the past five or six years, to own and listen to so much quality portable gear. It has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because it is a fantastic hobby that I enjoy immensely and a curse because it is a black hole for my spare time as well as my spare money. Anyone that has gone down this rabbit hole will concur that their wallet and the contents inside don’t have as much quality time together as they once did. While I have enjoyed writing, and sharing my reviews it is very time consuming. I continue to hone my style and format with each review I pen, hopefully one day it will become second nature. The general style and format of my reviews is “down to earth”. In other words, not as much science and more of what you are going to experience when you have them on or in your ears, what would I want to know if I was trying to decide on a purchase. The overall experience that you can expect when you decide to part with your hard-earned dollars.


    I think it is important to realize that there is no “best” gear, no end game. The end game is only when you decide to tap out of this hobby. People rarely agree on the “best” features, “best” accessories, “best” comfort or “best” sound signatures because it is a very subjective hobby. Reviews should aid you in your search and decision to purchase. Many times, it appears that a product checks many of your personal boxes, on paper, but you never really know until you have firsthand experience, but that firsthand experience is not always easy to obtain because there aren’t a lot of high end audio shops in which you can demo these items. Thus, the reviews do help a wide range of people. Don’t focus on the scores or ratings in reviews, focus on the content, the common threads, the patterns within the many different reviews you read before making a decision.


    Onward and Upward…

    On the rarest of occasions, a piece of gear will come into my possession and I have no pre-conceived notions regarding a specific piece of gear. An item in which you think meh, okay, I will give it a listen but it isn’t really exciting you. I don’t read a lot of reviews prior to receiving a review sample, as I don’t want to jade my thoughts. However, when I am going to make a purchase I always read reviews. When I read reviews, I begin to find the commonality or pattern from review to review, ie. the bass rumbles or it has good transparency or it doesn’t color the music in the case of a DAP. I can then formulate a pretty good idea of what to expect from the sound, the build, the overall experience based on common trends in reviews.

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    The DUNU DK-3001 is one of those products that was sent to me without having any real expectations of the product, except for a few positive comments about sound and a couple of negative comments about comfort that I had read online. I will concur, the sound is “all that” and the comfort is the DK-3001’s gorilla in the room. To say I was surprised and impressed by the sound of DUNU’s DK-3001 would be an understatement. On first listen I had one of those “Holy F***” moments, but in a good way, as I didn’t see this coming. The sound really caught me off guard, I apologize to DUNU but I just didn’t expect this level of quality sound. I rarely try to use statements referencing price, because what is expensive to one person is not always expensive to another. In this instance, it is very evident that the DK-3001 packs a punch that can compete with other IEM’s at close to twice their price, one example would be the Fidue A91, another hybrid, which I used to own. I had only briefly listened to one other DUNU product and to be honest it was way too bright for me and I sold it the same day I received it, the DN-2000j. I am very sensitive to bright or harsh treble and the DN-200j in my opinion was a great deal too harsh for me. The DK-3001 is just a fantastic offering and the sound quality is so surprisingly good and enjoyable, this IEM is truly plug n play. No worry about burn-in, no sound signature that has to grow on you, no fatigue, just an easy product to listen too. It is not all rainbows and unicorns with the DK-3001 as I have some niggles with isolation, comfort and obtaining a good seal, but the sound is easy like Sunday morning. I will touch on the negatives of this IEM later but I am excited to see what DUNU comes to the table with in the future once the “comfort” issues are addressed.


    A Little Marketing Hype:

    DK-3001 Premium Hybrid 4way in-ear headphone

    The MMCX detachable plug and socket design on the cable offers endless choice of replacement and upgrade.

    Premium triple balanced armature drivers produce perfect transient response while retain a nature yet energetic sound, to recreate a impressive life-like experience.

    Premium delicate metal craft, high precision engineering designed S316 stainless housing decrease harmonic resonance to ensure the high definition sound and durability.

    Features:

    Dynamic Driver (13mm)

    Triple Balanced Armature

    316L Stainless Steel

    Hi-Res AUDIO

    Join us and witness the growth of DUNU ….


    WHAT’S IN THE BOX:


    · DUNU DK-3001

    · Protective case

    · 1x 3.5mm single-ended cable

    · 1x 2.5mm balanced cable

    · Wide array of ear tips Spinfit, Comply and stock tips

    · 3.5mm Female to 6.5mm Male Adapter

    · Aircraft adapter

    · Shirt-clip

    I have included some photos of the packaging and the box, but I really don’t think there is any reason to talk about a box unless it is something super special.

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    I used three sources, A&K Kann, Opus #2 and LG G6 when casually and critically listening in preparation for the review. After intensive listening I would say the Opus #2 is my favorite overall pairing. This is becoming redundant in most of my reviews as the Opus #2 is my reference player. Honestly, I haven’t really found a bad pairing with the Opus #2, unless it requires and incredible amount of power to drive it and then I recommend the Kann. The LG G6 drives the DK-3001 quite well and was capable of driving the DUNU to an adequate level. I did not have the opportunity to test any other cable options because I do not have any aftermarket MMCX cables.

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    Build and Quality:

    The DUNU DK-3001 is incredibly well built and finished with a modern, yet plain look, kinda like the girl next door as opposed to the cheerleader type. I like the look, even the acrylic IEM’s I have are plain and understated, I am just not a real flashy dude. The outer shell is made from stainless steel and in DUNU’s camp they feel this provides adequate resonance without creating negative harmonics and excessive resonance. The stainless housing would bode well for owning these well into the future from a durability standpoint. It is an MMCX connector, which I mentioned above, and while I greatly prefer a 2-pin style it appears to be a solid connection in this instance. The right MMCX connector is labeled with a red ring for the right side. The shell is not large, and folks with small ears can rejoice. It has an angled nozzle, albeit a little on the short side and each monitor is labeled (R) and (L), as if the fit wouldn’t be hint enough.

    I guess it is as good of time as any to mention my biggest problem with this IEM. There is a “ridge” on the inside of each IEM, the part touching the inside of your ear. I will affectionately from this point forward refer to it as the “ridge”. The “ridge” is most certainly one of those things that was designed to make you scratch your head and ask why. Why would put a “ridge” on a surface that will make contact with human flesh. Maybe they tested these only on Asian ears but I really can’t expect Asian ears to be any different than the non-Asian variety from a fleshy standpoint. I love this IEM, but I don’t love the “ridge”. It certainly creates the largest hurdle when trying to find absolute comfort as it rubs the inside of your ear. This is obviously my opinion and how I am affected so YMMV. I have found that twisting the DK-3001 so that the cable connector is bent towards my head and sliding the Spinfit ear tip close to the sound end of the nozzle it keeps the “ridge” from making solid contact with my inner ear.

    I generally prefer JVC Spiral Dots with the wide bore, but I found the JVC tips would stay in my ear when I removed the IEM from my ear so that was obviously not going to work. I honestly hate when companies don’t include a lip that assists in holding the ear tip on the IEM. I wish more companies would include a lip, similar to Dita the Dream as it certainly makes tip rolling easier. That said, the included Spinfit were the best ear tip I found when using the DK-3001, for sound and comfort. Some of the others I tried include the Final Audio, Symbio and stock ear tips.


    Hallelujah! With the ear wire/cable connector and Spinfit adjustment, I can now listen for semi-extended listening sessions and have even dozed off with them in my ear(not a good idea), with an almost acceptable amount of comfort, but never bliss.

    The cables are rubbery, smooth and supple. At the MMCX connector end they are thicker as to safeguard the stress point. The cables have an integrated cable strap and a right-angled plug that will plug into the source of your choice. One other thing I must mention is the cables have ear guides and boy are they some ear guides, some long as hell ear guides. These are not your conventional, uncomfortable ear guides but they are soft rubber and can be formed easily and without causing duress to your upper ear or behind your ear. I am not a fan of ear guides but if you must use them these are fine and one of the better ear guides I have used, albeit they are excessively long, long for no apparent reason. I think it is pretty awesome that DUNU includes both cables 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm in the package so the consumer can pick their poison.

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    Let us review the sound, shall we?


    Presentation:

    Overall, this is one enjoyable, easy to listen too, no fuss, no muss IEM. It does what it should and that is it allows you to enjoy the music, and it is musical as hell. The bass of the DD unfolds and creates the warmth to the overall signature. It is a 4way and all of the drivers work well together to create a pleasant tone and signature. It is an excellent all-arounder that I found to compliment all genres of music. It delivers its presentation quite well in balanced or a SE output, but I found the 2.5mm balanced to yield slightly better results. I used the DUNU mostly as my everyday portable IEM on my morning walks. I found it to pair really well with the 3.5mm headphone jack of my LG G6 and together it made my morning walk incredibly enjoyable. The overall sound has body and is full and richly alive.

    Isolation is not a strong suit of the DK-3001. The shallow fit does not allow for a totally isolated environment. I would think the shell size is not the culprit here but the fact that the shorter nozzle impedes the depth of insertion. Although I found the isolation to be adequate on my morning walks as total isolation is not always safe around traffic or any of the other unpredictable hazards my dog stumbles onto during our walk.

    The clarity is top notch when listening to all of my recordings, as an example, Dire Straits Sultans of Swing was presented with all parts being delicately and clearly unveiled and I found myself wanting to bump up the volume to baptize myself in the song. The cymbals, and guitar work were exceptionally clear and without a hint of bleed over into the mids from the bass of the dynamic driver. The decay of the cymbal crashes is totally natural and displayed a superior realism.

    The soundstage is not the largest I have heard but it does have a nice width, a moderate depth and an above average height. I found its stage to be perfectly aligned with the overall sound signature. You can easily hear the placement of the instruments on the stage in an organized and coherent fashion. With regards to the detail, I will say there are more detailed and analytical TOTL IEM’s in the market. However, the midrange and treble do a great job of supplying enough detail to satisfy the listener and blend the details in with the overall musicality of its presentation. If I didn’t have IEM’s at three and four times the price I would never even question the amount of detail I am hearing and would be perfectly satisfied with the DUNU, I would not consider the overall detail to be lacking. The air around the notes is ever present and better than average as you can clearly hear air between each note. I also am impressed to hear the air around the entire range of bass notes, one has to love a well-tuned dynamic driver. Again, I feel it is important to mention that the DUNU are the least expensive IEM in my possession and they do a fine job with overall presentation when compared to my other IEM’s but I certainly don’t think it is fair to compare them with the Zeus, Dream or the EM10.

    Bass

    In the low-end region, you get a sub-bass that goes deep and rumbles with natural decay. The snappy bass can also hit hard when called upon. I found the speed of the bass to be reasonably fast for a dynamic driver, as I never heard any appreciable lag. The speed is truly impressive considering the fact that the bass is capable of being very articulate and full sounding at the same time. The DK-3001 actually is one of the better bass deliveries I have heard, but the Dita Dream holds the top honor. Still, it is quite impressive that I mention the DUNU and Dita in the same sentence.

    A dynamic driver once again delivers the goods in the DUNU as it is refined, clean, articulate and packs one hell of a punch while deliciously serving you a healthy offering of sub bass. Fortunately, with all of its fullness the mid bass stays where it belongs and does not bleed into the midrange causing any muddiness or negative impact on clarity. Impressive bass overall!

    Mids

    The mids are crafted to provide the listener with a detailed and full sound experience. Vocals have a full, rich tone. Listening to vocals is when I detect a slight warmth to the midrange. I would not say the kind of warmth that interferes with the detail or air in the mids, but there is a warm presence. There is great clarity in all areas of the midrange and nothing interferes with any of the nuances in the music you are listening too. I never detected anything in mids that made the sound appear cramped or congested. Sometimes when an IEM has a full sound it can also create some congestion but not the DK-3001. What you need to imagine with the DUNU is a sound that has clarity and detail in its midrange but with enough warmth to fill in the gaps to create an overall fullness in the sound. I hope I articulated this clearly enough to understand.

    Treble

    The highs have sparkle and detail without harshness, sibilance or any sharpness that is undesirable to someone sensitive to harshness in treble. The clarity and extension are ever present and not rolled off. The treble extends with a resolving sheen but unlike the earlier DUNU I tried, it’s highs do not make my back teeth hurt as if I bit into aluminum foil in an amalgam filled tooth. There is not as much air in the high range as there is in the other ranges, but there is a good linear quality and texturing thrown in for good measure. Cymbals have a realistic chhh sound as opposed to an unnatural shhh sound. My fear of DUNU treble has been met head on and conquered with the DK-3001.

    In Closing

    I smiled at first listen. The DUNU DK-3001 was one pleasant surprise. The sound is truly a pleasure and effortless. Straight from the box I fell in love with the sound without even trying. I hope DUNU focuses on improving comfort and isolation in future models. In my opinion, once you fiddle with the IEM to find the comfort sweet spot, the DK-3001 will provide you with a real pleasant listening experience, at least in moderate doses. DUNU DK-3001 gives the customer so much for their money, many accessories, two cables, incredible sound that challenges much higher priced competition. In a day when the prices for TOTL IEM’s just keep rising it is really refreshing to know that you can receive TOTL sound quality for less than $500.

    images

    1. 20170711_174027.jpg
  4. PinkyPowers
    3.0/5,
    "The Angry Teeth of Love – A Review of the DUNU DK3"
    Pros - Outstanding warmth, bass, and tonality. Exceedingly smooth
    Cons - Uncomfortable. Even painful, if seating less than perfect. Lacks resolution and detail.
    DUNU 02.jpg

    ~::I originally published this review on The Headphone List. Now I share it with my Head-Fi fellows.::~

    ::Disclaimer::
    DUNU provided the DK3001 free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

    The DK3001 sells for $469.98 MSRP
    DUNU-TopSound.com
    DK3001 on Amazon

    _______________________________________________________________

    I could not avoid the DK3001, whether I wanted to or not. The goddamn thing came at me from all angles, like a swarm of Kamikaze fighter planes. I had to tell Nic I could not review it for him, since I’m already reviewing it for Joker. The tears he wept betrayed the reassuring utterances that he understood and would not hate me for long.

    Oh, the pressures of being Pinky… how they weigh on a soul.

    I consider the DK3001 a tremendous achievement. Seldom do I stumble upon a piece of gear I can love and loathe in more or less equal measure. These IEMs sound so good to my ears, all while actively trying to destroy them with razor-sharp edges. Finding a comfortable fit is like trying to seat a Shuriken in your ears; an agreeable orientation is one elusive bitch.

    Without any of my usual hyperbole, understand that I’ve experienced pain. Real pain. That hardly ever happens. With all the IEMs I’ve tried, a little discomfort is usually the worst that might befall me, while fiddling with fit. But DUNU has made a nasty tool for torment here.

    The number one rule of IEM design, as established by the Pinky Doctrine of 1766, states, “There must exist in the structural form of the monitor no sharp edges.”

    DUNU broke the golden rule. The faceplate of the DK3001 is raised in relief by a steep slope, ending in a razor cut-off. Now, I know they imagined that was a safe place to put such a thing. It’s the faceplate, after all. Why would that touch any part of a person’s flesh?

    Well, in Asia, I bet they never see this problem. But for larger Western ears, the IEM can fit deep enough into the canal the faceplate can rest at an angle DUNU did not foresee, and come in contact with a part of your ear. After about forty minutes, I’m in so much pain I can’t have ANYTHING in my ear for quite a while.

    In-Ear 01.jpg In-Ear 02.jpg

    It took me a lot of trial and error, but I have found a trick that seems to work fairly well for me. First, I knew some satisfaction by using the biggest SpinFits included with the DK3001. But I also needed to add spacers, so the tips sat high on the nozzle of the IEM. While this did keep the shell far enough out of my ear to avoid touching that ridge, the sound was too hollow for my tastes. Clearly the seal was not the best, and there was leakage. But none of my other tips came close to giving me a painless experience, so I grudgingly accepted it.

    However, weeks later, after ****ing around with them more, I gleaned some new insight. I had shaped the memory wire wrong. I know how to shape memory wire to make all IEMs fit their best. All, it seems, except the DK3001.

    You see, most shells need to go in at a slight angle, because your ear canal is at an angle, and it fits in naturally that way. So I shape the memory wire at that angle in relation to the shell. That is wrong for the DK3001. You want this shell to go in PERFECTLY straight. The nozzle is at a strong enough angle to throw the sound down your ear in the right direction. But you want to keep that sharp ridge centered, and away from the edges of your ear.

    I reshaped the memory wire to be flat with the shell, so the shell would go in flat with my ear. And vualá! I can even use my Large JVC Spiral Dots now, with no spacers!

    This does not mean perfect comfort, though. There are enough problems with this design that true comfort is never going to be possible.

    Another thing that’s crappy is the cable. But it’s not really crappy. Just a bit. That memory wire I talked an awful lot about is the longest you’ll ever find. It’s absurdly overdone. A good-size memory wire only needs to be half that, at the very most. The rubber sheath is heavy, and springy, and there is this foolish rubber cable-wrap permanently attached to the plug. For all that, still, it’s a decently comfortable cable, with little-to-no microphonics, that somehow avoids interfering with whatever clothes I decide to wear. Indeed I’d call this cable quite serviceable. Oh! And there’s a balanced version included! That’s a nice treat.

    DUNU 03.jpg

    The DUNU DK3001 is a 4-way hybrid IEM, utilizing three Balanced Armatures for mids and treble, and a bad-ass 13mm Dynamic Driver for bass. It’s warm and smooth, with absolutely stellar air. I don’t mind telling you, I was nervous to test a DUNU, as I’d always read now bright their treble is. But the DK3001 is utterly natural, without a fatiguing note to its name.

    That treble is masterfully peaked and raised over the other frequencies. Not to accentuate detail, and thus sharpness, but for air and light. The tuning is such that all this extra treble is smooth and natural, simply countering all that warmth from the lower frequencies. It’s needed to accomplish the remarkable balanced the DK3001 showcases.

    Vocals possess a rich, warm fullness. But also more transparency than I expected, mingling with that treble air for a very open, clean presentation. DK3001 is not about high resolution, or aggressive details. I’m sure people will feel they lack in these areas. But sweet lord it makes up for it with the degree of naturalness… the rightness, of tone. Within the first hour of listening, straight out of the box, I was teary-eyed. I didn’t know what has happening… what part of the signature I was reacting to. I just knew I loved what I heard. Desperately loved it.

    DUNU 04.jpg

    Much of that love is earned by the low-end. If you want to impress Pinky, there’s no quicker way than with killer bass. It might not be enough to sustain my enthusiasm—I do require more than that—but it’s an EXCELLENTplace to start. DUNU’s bass is breathtaking. It extends so bloody far, with monstrous impact and rumble. And yet it’s really not overshadowing anything. Nor does it seep much into the mids. That airiness is here also, giving the lows such breath and spaciousness. DK3001’s bass has a depth and maturity that sounds more like full-size open-back headphones. It’s so realistic, with a very organic decay.

    Soundstage is better than average. I won’t say it’s enormous, but you certainly feel a great since of space, like listening in a large, acoustically warm hall. Height is good, but depth is difficult to determine. The reason for this is the layering and separation isn’t great. Nor is resolution very high. so instruments are a little hazy and undefined. Imaging is decent, but again, the sharpness of the elements could be better.

    Comparing DUNU to the Campfire Audio Dorado ($999), and I hear much less air. The treble might sparkle more with Dorado, but there’s much less of it, making the whole presentation warmer. Light is also less, as is clarity. Dorado’s highs have a thick, sweet character I’ve come to associate with their TAEC design. It’s fun, and has its own beauty, but the DK3001 sounds airier, and more natural.

    Dorado’s mids are its weakest asset. They are seriously warm, and lack clarity. A real sense of veil covers them. DK3001 is just as rich and full, but has more air and transparency. And certainly more clarity. On both IEMs the vocals come through strong, but DUNU simply gives you a cleaner render.

    DUNU 01.jpg

    Bass is Dorado’s forte. It’s titanic. Until I got my hands on the DK3001, this was the best bass I’d heard. But now, I can hear how it lacks some of that air and realism that DUNU offers. Dorado’s bass is larger, and perhaps that’s its only fault here. It’s too big. DUNU holds it back just enough as to let it shine all the more. It balances everything so well that the whole signature sounds its best. Dorado doesn’t quite have that balance.

    The DK3001 and Dorado share a lot in common. Soundstage width is about the same. DUNU owning greater height, and maybe a touch more depth. Imaging is more or less the same. Resolution isn’t great on either. Separation is good, but again, that resolution makes the elements a little hazy.

    The greatest difference between these two, apart from the price, is ergonomics. Dorado is the most comfortable IEM I’ve ever tried, and DK3001 is the least.

    Taking this over to the Noble Audio Sage ($599), and I immediately miss the dynamic driver bass of DUNU and Dorado… even though Sage has nearly the same quantity as DK3001. Now, Sage does some interesting **** with its low-frequency Balanced Armature. It has one of the most natural-sounding bass I’ve heard from a Balanced Armature, being full and deep, with slightly slower decay. But still, it’s no dynamic.

    Sage’s treble is decent, but I feel it’s rolled off too early. DK3001 gives you better extension, greater air and light. Yet they share a lot in high-end tonality. Both IEMs have very clean, natural-sounding treble. Sage is not without air. In fact, it does quite well in that department. Better than Dorado. But DK3001 does beat them, handily.

    Sage has very warm, smooth vocals, like DUNU. But they fall more on the side of Dorado, with a veiled, low-detail quality. DK3001 is clearer, possessing more air and transparency. They are both rich and weighty, producing lifelike timbre.

    Soundstage is very much alike on all axes. As is imaging, separation and layering. These three IEMs are mediocre in resolution, and I couldn’t name a winner or loser. They’re each “meh” in this category.

    Again, Sage is quite comfortable, especially with a good cable. Whereas DUNU is anything but.

    Recently I came into possession of an in-ear monitor that shares DK3001’s driver configuration. Just like DUNU, it’s a 4-way, with three BA’s for the mids and highs, and a single dynamic for the lows. This earphone accomplishes all those things I love about DK3001, but also gives you world-class resolution and transparency, along with industry-leading soundstage, on all axes. And that would be the 64Audio tia Fourté. At over seven times the price, I don’t feel right about doing an in-depth comparison with DUNU. Suffice to say, it’s better at everything. That’s not a cop-out. It’s genuinely better at everything. With the exception of bass. I actually prefer the quantity of bass, particularly mid-bass, DUNU offers. Gives the music a warmer tone, which I love. Still, I thought it was interesting to see two IEMs share so much in common, and yet sit so vastly far apart in price and performance. How do they do it?!

    I don’t imagine you’ll find a source that ***** with the DK3001 too much. Well-balanced tuning usually makes a monitor highly compatible with a wide variety of devices. Still, with all that treble, however smooth it may be, you could see some trouble if the source has too much upper-range energy. So be aware of that.

    DUNU & Opus2 01.jpg

    theBit’s Opus#2 is ever so slightly warm, with god-tier resolving power, and superb dynamics. Highs and lows are meaty and attack strong. Mids are the most natural and realistic I’ve ever heard. The DK3001 finds its soulmate here, in a DAP which exemplifies its own best virtues, and pushes it as far as it can go in those areas it struggles with, like detail-retrieval.

    The Opus#1 is my favorite mid-tier DAP. It’s not as warm as #2, nor as full, but there’s more energy. Like a younger brother. Its treble, especially, owns some extra bite. But it’s not enough to turn the DK3001 from its awesomesauce ways. In fact, the Opus’ dynamic-neutral presentation gives DUNU a favorable tilt towards resolution.

    DUNU & Opus1 01.jpg

    DUNU & i5 01.jpg

    Cayin i5 is not as solid a pairing for DK3001. Because this DAP renders very warm and smooth, it does nothing to aid in this IEM’s struggle with details and resolution. What Cayin does best is brute-force musicality, with super power in the bass department. The DK3001 really comes alive. It’s not the clearest or most accurate sound, but it’s a lot of fun.

    If you’re on some dastardly-low budget and still want an i5-like powerhouse sound, Shanling’s M2s will gladly fulfill your needs. You lose a little refinement. A little depth. But tuning is spot on. The M2s is a tiny little player which excels at big and warm.

    DUNU & M2s 01.jpg

    Well there it is. The DUNU DK3001. My ears may hate having them in, but they love what is heard when they are. Is this the masochist’s IEM? Or maybe a devious stratagem to train the populous to become masochists? But to what end? Is there a new wave of Punishment Porn on the horizon? How will this impact the economy?

    I’ll need to ponder this further, and reexamine my own private appetites… see if I can’t stretch my personal boundaries.

    Peace out.

    -~::Pinky_Powers::~-

    DUNU & Opus2 02.jpg
  5. crabdog
    4.0/5,
    "4 times the pleasure"
    Pros - Fantastic build quality. Bundled accessories and great cables (2 included). Balanced, detailed and smooth sound.
    Cons - Some minor comfort issues
    DSC_0025.jpg

    Introduction

    With their headquarters in Taiwan and manufacturing plant in Dong Guan City, Guangdong, China DUNU is quickly becoming one of the big players in portable audio. Established in 1994 the company began as an OEM/ODM manufacturer. Fast forward ten years and the DUNU brand was officially launched in 2004 and started creating earphones under the same name. Since then they've had a string of successful product launches including the very popular DN range and have become one one of the major respected names in the business. They've invested heavily to the best equipment for their manufactures including "the most advanced professional Anechoic Room among Asia earphone manufacturers".

    Today the company continues to innovate and has recently released their current flagship model the DK-3001, a 4 driver hybrid earphone consisting of a 13mm dynamic driver and triple balanced armature drivers which we'll be checking out today.

    Disclaimer

    This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product. The DUNU DK-3001 currently retails for around $470 and can be purchased from Amazon and other trusted audio stores. You can check out the company's full lineup on their product page here.

    Like most people on this type of site I'm a lover of music. In my younger days I spent several years as a hip-hop DJ (using real vinyl and turntables) as well as producing a variety of music on computer using a combination of MIDI and live instruments. I did a Home Studio Sound Certificate at the Milton School of Audio Engineering in Brisbane, Queensland which covered the setup of audio for playback and recording in a studio environment along with other basic engineering principles. Nowadays I prefer to simply listen to and enjoy music.

    My taste in music has changed a great deal over the years. For a long time my only interest was in rap and hip-hop music. Now though I listen to all kinds of music including jazz, classical, rock, psytrance, folk and ambient. I listen to music everyday using portable gear consisting of a DAP and mostly IEMs or simple desktop setup consisting of a laptop and DAC at work and my desktop setup at home which is based around my PC or Shinrico D3S with a DAC, often but not always including a tube amp and full-sized headphones or speakers.

    My preferred sound signature is fairly balanced with slightly elevated mid-bass and deep well-extended sub-bass, clear and resolving midrange with a touch of warmth and clean, airy treble. I'm not offended by brighter sounding gear but dislike any sibilance. The majority of my music is 16/44.1 flac files as I stopped using physical media (CD/vinyl) many years ago and prefer the convenience of digital formats.

    I often list a number of tracks or albums that I have used for testing a specific product in my reviews and they usually relate to things I've been listening to at the time of the review but note that during all my testing there are a number of ADDITIONAL standard tracks that I use for testing various aspects but do not list these in my reviews.

    DK-3001 Specifications

    Drivers Dynamic(13mm)*1
    Balanced Armature*3
    Frequency range 5 Hz-40 KHz
    Impedance 13Ω
    Sensitivity 110±2dB
    Connections 3.5mm Gold-plated
    Cable 1.2m
    Weight 31g

    Packaging and accessories

    The DK-3001 box is wrapped in a white sleeve of high quality cardboard with a large image of the earphone on the front. On the back are some features along with details on the included accessories.

    Removing the sleeve reveals the textured, black box underneath which is simply adorned with the DUNU brand name in silver print. Opening the magnetically sealed box you're presented with the earphones, secured in a felt covered black foam inlay and a Pelican style, protective plastic case.

    The earphones come installed with a pair of medium size, white silicone tips. The other included accessories are:
    • Warranty card
    • Shirt clip
    • 6.35 mm adapter
    • Airline adapter
    • 3 pairs of gray silicone tips
    • 3 pairs of white silicone tips
    • 4 pairs of Spinfit tips
    • 1 pair of Comply foam tips
    • 1 3.5 mm single-ended MMCX cable
    • 1 2.5 mm balanced MMCX cable
    • 1 protective plastic case
    That's a pretty satisfying collection of accessories (which you should expect for something in this price range) that covers everything you need. It's nice to see a wide variety of ear-tips included and surprisingly even the stock Large silicone tips are big enough for my over-sized ear canals - thank you DUNU!

    20170711_205010.jpg 20170711_205024.jpg 20170711_205152.jpg 20170711_205222.jpg 20170711_205310.jpg DSC_0168.jpg

    The carry case is actually really nice too. On the bottom of the inside is a thin layer of rubber with DUNU embossed into it and under the lid is a layer of black foam. There's just enough room inside for one of my budget DAPs (Benjie X1/T6, Ruizu A50) and the earphones so it's quite handy.

    DSC_0160.jpg

    I loved the cable on the DN-2000 so was very pleased to see that the DK-3001 comes with one in a similar style, albeit this time with memory wire. The PVC sheathed cable is smooth and supple so it doesn't have or form any annoying kinks and is also very tangle resistant. Due to the high quality of the cable and being worn over-ear there are virtually no microphonics present.

    The angled MMCX connectors have good strain relief and the right one also has a red indicator ring that makes it very easy to determine which side is which. This is something I really like to see on IEMs and a lot of other manufacturers neglect the smaller details like this.

    Moving down the cable we come to the metal Y-split which is adorned with the DUNU logo and strain relief. There's a metal cable cinch here as well that joins seamlessly with the split when not in use making it more attractive and unobtrusive. This kind of attention to detail really adds to the overall experience.

    DUNU's excellent rubber cable tie is present here too, and it's probably the best solution I've seen to date for securing and storing cables. Finally, the cable terminates in a right angled, gold-plated metal plug which again has very good strain relief.

    Quite simply DUNU produces some fantastic, high quality cables that are some of the best I've ever used.

    20170711_205524.jpg DSC_0157.jpg

    Build, comfort and isolation

    Crafted from stainless steel the DK-3001 shells are exceptionally well built. The main body is a circular disk shape with a protruding, angled nozzle. On the top is a horizontal female MMCX connector. The two sides of the disk are immaculately joined with the seams being barely visible even on close inspection.

    On the outer sides of the shells is a raised circular area with DUNU printed in white and surrounded by a silver circle.

    Overall the quality of the shells and the finish is superb and in line with what you'd expect for something that costs a substantial amount of money.

    In terms of comfort I find the DK-3001 to be pretty good but for one small grievance. The nozzle length and overall shape are good but the raised ridge on the outer sides (where DUNU is printed) specifically the aforementioned silver ring has quite a sharp edge and I find that during long sessions it causes an uncomfortable hot spot in my outer ear. It's not a major problem (and in fact might not be a problem for others at all, depending on ear shape) but I feel it could have been easily avoided by simply rounding or smoothing those ridges a little.

    For isolation I would say these are about average for a hybrid IEM. The most significant determining factor will be how good a seal you get with your selected ear-tips. They do a fairly good job of blocking outside noise but can't compare with something that fully fills the conch of your ear. Having said that though, these are definitely suitable for most normal situations and environments.

    DSC_0155.jpg DSC_0148.jpg DSC_0143.jpg DSC_0153.jpg DSC_0164.jpg

    Sound

    Sources used for testing
    • Benjie T6
    • Acoustic Research AR-M20
    • ATC HDA-DP20
    The DK-3001 is an interesting and complex beast when it comes to sound. Cohesiveness is excellent with the 4 drivers in each side working together to form a perfectly blended and unified sound. The general sound signature is fairly balanced with some emphasis on the bass with fairly forward mids and a neutral treble. The sound is organic and natural, coming across as deceptively smooth and non-fatiguing, very musical and engaging.

    Bass has a fullness with loads of impact even at low volume pumping it out effortlessly. Edges are a little soft and decay falls off naturally but it's not slouch. It manages a full-bodied punch without any signs of sluggishness or being overbearing. It's one of the best implementations of bass I've heard in an IEM and the way DUNU has maintained such impact with an agility and balance goes to show they really know about tuning. Sub-bass has a little less emphasis but is just as impressive and is far reaching in its extension. The rumble can be felt as much as it is heard and the stainless steel of the shells keeps a tight reign on things and stifles any distortion or loss of control.

    Midrange carries over the same smoothness as the other frequencies yet is really packed with exquisite detail. Instrument separation is stellar with plenty of space between different elements. Male and in particular female vocals are both rich with innate tonality and realism bringing lyrics to life. Lovers of classical will also be pleased with the magical resonance that the DK-3001 brings to string instruments and piano notes in tracks like "Andare" from Ludovico Einaudi's Islands Essential Einaudi. Guitars sound great too, like in Distant Dreams' "Sleeping Waves" there's texture in abundance to be heard.

    Not content with a partial mastery of the spectrum the DK-3001 also owns the treble regions. There's great extension here and natural timbre abounds but perhaps best of all is it achieves this while never becoming strident or losing detail but finds that sweet spot in between. This is one of those IEMs that you can turn up loud on brighter tracks without feeling the icy needles of pain and instead just get purely immersed in the music. It does all this without 'darkening' the sound and cymbals still ring and shimmer the way they're supposed to.

    Soundstage is another strength of the DK-3001. It's not the widest in terms of space but depth is very good. The percussion instruments at the beginning of Mathias Eick's "Hem" are outside of the head-space and the separation of the trumpet and violin is very clear and you can really sense the positioning of both in the track. You'll never feel boxed-in listening to this IEM.

    DSC_0026.jpg

    Comparisons

    Custom Art FIBAE 2 - demo unit ($550 USD):

    I only spent a short time with the FIBAE 2 and took some notes. I did have the DUNU with me at the time so was able to do some A/B testing but keep in mind the time was short so take this comparison with a grain of salt.

    I found both of these to have a similar sound signature, with slightly elevated bass and forward midrange. The FB2 has a little more treble emphasis but is still polite and does not have any sibilance. Both are very detailed while maintaining musicality and non-fatiguing sound. I found the FB2 to be far more comfortable and it also had much better noise isolation.

    TFZ Balance 2M ($199 USD):

    The TFZ has more mid and sub-bass. Vocals are a little more forward while treble is a little more recessed. Noise isolation of the 2M is superior as is comfort. Soundstage similar on both but separation and imaging goes to the DUNU. The cable on the DK-3001 is far superior as the 2M cable is very prone to tangles. Build and materials are good on both. The DK-3001 is the superior IEM as far as sound is concerned but it is more than double the price. The TFZ Balance 2M is still a very good alternative for the money, especially if you like some extra bass.

    LZ A4 ($195 USD):

    The LZ A4 has been well received by many enthusiasts and with good reason. It's a very competent and engaging IEM that comes with loads of options for customization. After switching through various setups I settled with the black rear filter and gray front or what I call "The Batman". The A4 can go toe to toe with the DK-3001 in terms of detail but doesn't have the same level of cohesion that DUNU's offering achieves. The DUNU's bass to my ears falls somewhere between the Black and Red rear filters of the A4. With my setup the A4 carries a little less weight in the mid-bass but keeps pace just as deftly. The higher frequencies are a little more pronounced on the A4 giving it more of a V-shaped signature. The A4 has the eager energy of a promising youth while the DK-3001 comes across as a seasoned veteran, its moves are second nature and effortless compared to the more aggressive, showboating style of the A4.

    For build quality the DUNU comes out ahead due to its more premium materials but the A4 is still really well put together for something less than half the cost. Both IEMs could be improved on ergonomically but I have a hard time trying to think of how the DK-3001's sound could be any better than it already is.

    Conclusion

    Despite the increased price tag of the DUNU DK-3001 I wasn't sure what to expect with this IEM. From my previous experience with the DN-2000 I knew the build quality would be very good and the audio quality would likely be pretty good as well. Well before the first song had finished playing I knew that DUNU had achieved something special with this release. As time went on my respect for this flagship model only grew and I am still in awe of the level of sound that this thing can produce. How the company managed to bring such detail, separation and engagement together with a full-bodied, smooth and non-fatiguing signature is beyond my comprehension.

    There is however still some room for improvement in regards to comfort and ergonomics. There's no doubt about the quality of materials and build - this is an exceptionally well manufactured earphone with a well-rounded bundle of accessories in addition to one of the best cables out there but the comfort level leaves something to be desired. I do hope (and believe) that this will improve with future releases.

    Considering the price point of just shy of $500 I would definitely rate the audio quality of the DK-3001 as near perfect but taking into account the slight comfort issues this one gets 4.5/5 total. If you're exploring IEMs in this price range you really ought to put this one on your (very) short list.
    B9Scrambler likes this.
  6. Dobrescu George
    4.0/5,
    "Dunu DK-3001 - The Surprise: Relaxed and Romantic"
    Pros - Relaxed Signature, Smooth Sound, Strong Bass, Large Soundstage, Good Instrument Separation, Good Comfort, Large Number of Accessories Included, Useful Carrying Case, Great Value, Musical, Romantic, Natural
    Cons - A tad too polite for metal music, The sound Might be too relaxed for some.
    Dunu DK-3001 – The surprise: Relaxed and Romantic IEM

    Dunu took on the challenge to create a multi-driver IEM at a very friendly price and they brought an awesome product to their fans! Their DK-3001 is the top-of-the-line IEM we see from them this year, and it

    [​IMG]


    Introduction

    Dunu DK-3001 is the top-of-the-line IEM produced by the Chinese producer DUNU-Topsound.

    Dunu is a large Chinese company that grew dear to audiophiles all around the world through their excellent communication with their fans, friendly support department and through high quality and well-priced products. Many audiophiles quote Dunu as the company who produces the

    While Dunu are not as implied in organizing tours for their products, they have provided excellent service to their customers and are known to have an approach similar to FiiO, where they solve most of the problems that might appear quickly and with solutions that always advantage the customers.

    Dunu doesn't make many claims about the sonic abilities of their products, but they instead present the quality of the components used in their IEMs.


    I have absolutely no affiliation with DUNU at this moment, I am not receiving any kind of incentive to sweeten things out or change my opinions about the product. My review will be as objective as it is humanly possible and it is a description of my general experience with DK-3001, every opinion expressed here is mine and I stand by it.



    About me

    My name is George Dobrescu and I am the Director of the Seventh Heart Studios game studio. I work as one of the main programmers for the company, and I am the writer for Quantum Magica and Falsetto Memories projects. I spend eight – twelve hours a day working on a computer, writing and sometimes drawing. I also take care of administrative work which means that I require a portable setup so I'll be testing the portability of iDSD as well.

    Music is present all around me for a big part of that time as working with music is always more fun. With all the devices I own, I need great sound, comfort and ease of usage, not to mention that my listening volume ranges from "please stop that, it's far too loud" to "I can't even tell that you're listening to music".

    My collection includes everything from Classical to Metal, from Rap to Pop, from Punk to Cabaret and absolutely everything in between. There are great artists from every type of music, and I'm one to collect their albums, and keep a tidy order for my files.

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    At Seventh Heart Studios, we all love music and this has had an impact on our games as we hold the music close to our hearts and we are committed to only use ogg -q10 as the encoding format for our music since it offers the best disk space to sound quality ratio, OGG -q10 being closest to audibly transparent when compared to FLAC encoding.

    You can check out more about our games on our pages https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/ and https://twitter.com/7heartstudios .

    Personal philosophy: Music is more than a hobby or sound. Music is inspiration. Music is life. Music has meaning by itself, being the one thing that can define one's life while shaping one's imagination and creativity. Music can open doors to new plains and music can change one's mood. Music can rest the mind better than days of sleep or can give one energy better than a thousand cups of coffee. Music can be anything we want it to be and the music we experience using professional audition tools is more but at the same time it is nothing more than our way of enhancing the emotion we get from music. Love is a concept too shallow, unable to encompass what music really means to a music lover.



    First Impression

    I have actually never owned a Dunu IEM before DK-3001, and I have never owned a Multi Driver or a BA IEM before it. All previous reviews cherished DK-3001 as one of the best IEMs out there and it has been said to perform considerably above its price point, all of those things sparkling my interest in DK-3001. There is no DUNU official seller in Romania and I actually contacted Dunu directly, where I spoke with their lovely PR, Vivian, who has been extremely helpful answering even complex quandaries about multi BA-items and build-related questions. Dunu left a very good impression when it comes to their customer support and their passion for their job set light to the sparkle of my interest in hearing their TOTL IEM, DK-3001.

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    DK-3001 has been sent through DHL and it made me spend hours starring at the screen, waiting for another update about the package tracking. The packaged reached Romania fairly fast, under a few days, and the package arrived without any scratch.

    It was a lonely day of Friday when the package arrived and I contacted and arranged to meet with the delivery driver somewhere outside the place where I live since it was simpler for us to do things that way. The sun was slowly fading under the clouds as a huge storm was getting close, but I was fairly optimistic that I'll get DK-3001 before the rain starts to pour. I waited around ten minutes listening to a few beautiful musical compositions on iDSD BL + Meze 99 Classics, trying to keep my excitement contained. The delivery driver was very nice and handled me the package with care, but before I managed to get back and start writing about DK-3001, a curious bystander to know more about the audiophile hobby asked me a few questions about headphones, DACs and portable AMPs.


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    I managed to quickly get back in my room and started unpacking DK-3001, excited like a little kid who sees something for the first time. We got to admit, Dunu did an amazing job with the package, everything leaves a feeling of high quality and luxury, there are a ton of very useful extras in the package, along with a beautiful carry case.

    Of course, with an item like DK-3001, the most important aspect of it was not the package, but the sound, so I carefully plugged them in iDSD BL and pressed play.

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    I decided to listen to DK-3001 while taking a walk outside since this helps me focus better on the music that is playing. The main choice I made was taking a lonely evening walk through the Politehnics park to admire the sunset while wearing an interesting IEM and experimenting their sound. Before leaving my home, I played a bit with the tips and found that Spinfits offer incredible comfort and isolation with DK-3001, so I put on one of the included pair of Spinfits and started walking.

    The first song choice is an energetic and complex song as I want to see how the well-renowned BA drivers within DK-3001 will handle an overly complex song like Dance Gavin Dance – The Robot with Human Hair Part 4. I’m mesmerized with all the details they are able to show, but at the same time romanced by the polite and friendly presentation they have.



    Packaging:

    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    It looks like Dunu cares about offering a top experience to their customers, so they offer a rather impressive package with their DK-3001, the package including some rather useful extras. There is a wide selection of tips, two cables one of which is balanced, a glossy black carrying case, a shirt clip, an airplane adapter, and an adapter for 6.3mm outputs.


    The first sight Dunu surprises their buyers with is a white rectangular box which sports an image of their DK-3001 IEMs, the information that DK-3001 is a 3BA + 1 Dynamic IEM, and, of course, the Hi-Res Audio sticker. There is not much information on the top and sides of the box, but there is an interesting headline on the bottom of the box. “Dunu – Delicate, Unique & Utmost”. To some degree, all three adjectives can be used to describe DK-3001 and their sound, and I actually like the slogan and want to put to test how much each of those attributes represent Dunu and DK-3001’s sound in general.

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    The back of the box includes quite a bit of information in both English and Chinese. The first interesting bit of information is that DK-3001 features an MMCX detachable cable and that it will be compatible with aftermarket upgrade cables. It is good to keep in mind that this allows the replacement of broken cables as well. The dynamic driver is made out of a “High molecular liquid crystal polymeric film”. All three BA drivers are made by Knowles and they promise to bring in an energetic sound along with a life-like experience. The housings of DK-3001 are made out of S316 stainless steel. For cable lovers, it seems that the included cables are 5N OCC cables with gold plated plugs.

    It is interesting to have all this information nicely presented on the box, along with other useful information. The box is slightly similar to Apple packaging, but in Dunu’s case it includes a bit more information. The typical warranty for DK-3001 is one year, but you shouldn’t expect them to be breaking in many years of usage, especially considering the solid build quality, and the detachable cables.

    After you remove the white cover, you will find a black cardboard box with a magnetic lock mechanism, with “Dunu” written on it.

    Inside you can find DK-3001 seated in a foam cutout, along with the carrying box and all the accessories included with DK-3001.

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    This is what you’ll find within the box when purchasing DK-3001:


    - Dunu DK-3001 IEMs

    - A Single Ended Cable featuring a memory wire ear hook that goes around the ear and that helps fixing DK-3001 for better comfort.

    - A Balanced Cable featuring the same design as the single ended one

    - Dunu Branded Carrying Case. It is a glossy carrying case that looks similar to the ones made by Pelican and similar to the ones included by FiiO with their F5 IEMs.

    - Comply Foam tips that fit DK-3001

    - Spinfit Tips. Those proved to be much more useful than I imagined they’d be before trying them on.

    - White and Gray tips for DK-3001, each with their own sonic signature, coming in three sizes.

    - An airplane adapter

    - A shirt clip

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    I like to see a large number of extras included with a IEM and DK-3001 is excellent in this aspect, including more accessories even than some high end IEMs. While some of them will serve very specific purposes, like the airplane adapter, some of the other accessories will be helpful for many users. The inclusion of a dedicated carrying box is also greatly appreciated and there is enough space within to include DK-3001 with a cable attached, spare tips and a little bag of silica dehumidifier. All in all, DK-3001 provides a fun unboxing experience along with a great package.



    What you should look for when considering a IEM (In-Ear Monitor)

    When purchasing an IEM, there are a few factors you should take into account to ensure that you’ll have the experience you wish for. Sooner or later, all those factors will come into play one way or another:

    - Sound quality. This is, by far, the most important aspect of every purchase when you invest in high end audio products, and the sonic abilities along with the frequency response / sonic signature widely differs from IEM to IEM.


    - Comfort / ergonomics. The fit and comfort are quite important, especially if you plan on using the same IEM for hours in a row, or in a live performance.

    - Isolation. Every IEM will offer some degree of isolation, but there are both models that focus on ultra-isolation from the outside noise, while other models have other central focus points. DK-3001 isolates noise pretty well, especially if it is used with larger tips.

    - Good Value.

    - Interesting/Intriguing design. Every user will have a personal preference and taste for what an “interesting design” is, but it is generally recommended to pick a IEM which you consider to be aesthetically pleasing, or in simpler words, good looking.

    - Drive-Factor: How easy it is to drive and how prone to hissing it is, since certain IEMs and headphones will require special sources to offer the best performance.

    - Accessories included. It is better to have a large selection of tips and accessories included with a IEM.

    - Build Quality and Warranty. While it is good to have a solid warranty included with Every IEM, having a solid build quality is better.



    Technical Specifications

    Impedance - 13 Ohm

    Connector - 3.5 mm SE + 2.5 mm BAL

    Frequency Response - 5 Hz – 40 kHz

    Rated Power - 110dB / mW

    Weight - ~31g

    Cable length - 1.2m

    Driver number - 4 (1DD+ 3BA)

    Driver Type - Hybrid, Dynamic + BA, Vented

    Coupling type - In-Ear

    Includes Balanced cable - Yes

    IEM body connector type - MMCX

    BA Drivers Type - Knowles



    Build Quality/Aesthetics

    Dunu DK-3001 is built fairly well, the body of the IEMs being made out of a stainless metallic alloy, the cables being fairly sturdy but not too thick and the whole design coming pretty well together.


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    The tips are not that hard to remove, especially since there is no lip on the bore, but in all fairness, they don’t fall with typical usage.


    The MMCX connectors are extremely secure and feel rather solid, the cables being quite hard to remove. Both the single ended and the balanced cable seem to have a similar build quality, feeling both sturdy and flexible. It would be good to practice extra care when removing the cable since by design MMCX connectors can be pretty sensitive and the ones in DK-3001 are very tight.


    There are very little chances of debris being caught in DK-3001, Dunu having installed two metallic meshes on the bores, to protect the intimate parts of their IEMs.

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    Aesthetically speaking DK-3001 looks futuristic yet simple, with a touch of playfulness. The rings on the cables bring a futuristic accent to DK-3001’s body and while there are traces of industrial notions in their design, one can wear DK-3001 to a business meeting without having any reason to feel concerned with their looks.


    The ear hooks on the cables will give off the feeling that DK-3001 is made to be worn over-the-ear before even touching them, but that is a good thing considering the improvement in fit they provide.



    Testing

    I have tested DK-3001 together with FiiO X5ii, Hidizs AP200, Opus #3, iFi iDSD BL, HiFiMAN Megamini, with a wide selection of music.

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    Fit / Comfort / Isolation

    DK-3001 has a round shape, with the words DUNU and a line etched in the metallic side that comes in contact with the ear. A vent hole is positioned on the same side of the IEM, but given the thick line etched in their body, the vent hole is generally left open and will enable proper venting with DK-3001.

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    The fit is over the ear and has proven to be quite subjective. For me, DK-3001 has been very comfortable while using the large (White) or medium (Red) Spinfit tips, but I’d like to mention that users with larger ears / larger ear canals will have a slightly better general comfort with DK-3001. The angle at which the bore is placed seems fairly good, but everyone has a unique ear shape and it is impossible to guarantee that it will work for every single user out there.

    The ear hooks support most of DK-3001’s weight while the tips support the rest of the remaining weight, most of times DK-3001’s bodies barely touching the ears.


    The isolation is fairly good, with proper fit DK-3001 providing enough isolation from the outside noise to make listening at low volumes a real pleasure, even in a busy room or in the busy streets of Bucharest. Traffic noise and general conversation doesn’t really get through when using larger tips, and although DK-3001 is vented by design, they are not open. I’ve listened to DK-3001 at low volumes for more than a few times, and experienced no problems with isolation.



    Sound Quallity

    Dunu DK-3001 has an intriguing signature, relaxed, clear and natural. The sound is fairly transparent throughout the scope, although the top end is smooth and polite rather than neutral. The dynamics are natural and the general sound is fairly vivid. The treble is smooth and less present than the midrange, the signature being natural with a soft type of treble giving it a friendly approach that will hide mistakes in many songs. The bass is fairly present and has a liquid character to it, but it’s speed is pretty good, being a natural type of bass with a natural decay.

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    DK-3001 makes a great IEM for playing a wide array of music, starting with Electronic, Jazz, Classical, Orchestral, Rock and Pop.


    Like with any High-End IEM, it is possible to hear a lot of details and micro-details, small changes in nuance and cymbal hits, but those are presented softly, DK-3001 having a romantic character, presenting music with love and passion rather than technicality and utmost precision. In this aspect, DK-3001 has some characteristics also present in FiiO F5.



    Little disclaimer:


    I have tested DK-3001 with a wide array of sources like FiiO X5ii, iDSD Black Label, Opus #3, HiFiMAN Megamini, Xiaomi Mi Max, Hidizs AP200, and a few others. Every source holds a signature of its own, providing changes to the signature of DK-3001, this should be kept in mind when reading sonic impressions.

    DK-3001 has also been extensively tested against other IEMs and headphones, both from a similar price range but from other price brackets.



    Channel balance

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    I detected no Channel Imbalance with DK-3001, although no IEM I tested so far presented any channel imbalance.



    Hiss

    DK-3001 is slightly sensitive to hiss. A hiss-free source is necessary for those who are bothered by hiss, but it shouldn’t be audible or too distracting while music is playing.



    Bass

    DK-3001 entices the listener with a full and clean bass, seasoned with a natural decay and a great impact. The bass can be felt when the song asks for it, but the amount of sub-bass is slightly less than the amount of bass and mid bass, leading to a “full” and slightly warm sound for DK-3001.

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    A basshead might lust for another touch of sub-bass, but this can easily be adjusted with a bit of EQ. Most people will be satisfied with the amount and the naturalness of DK-3001’s bass.

    The textures in the bass are all well-rendered and its character please one’s ears, especially with songs that rely on either huge bass notes, like electronic music, or music that relies on an acoustic clean and strong bass representation where the bass guitar is played vividly in its own space.

    Maretu – White Happy – The beginning of the song is strong and bears good impact on the listener. Female vocals are presented on a soft and warm tone while the synths play in multiple layers around the listener. There is a clear sense of detail and many effects can be heard while the guitars have a playful and fun tone to them. The transient response is very good throughout the whole spectrum, the synth notes being fast enough to play with the listener’s ears, the bass having a slightly longer decay, making the song sound full and funky, with the treble being presented on a calm and relaxing tone, giving the female vocals an even friendlier tone than they usually have. The tragedy presented in the song is slightly amplified by the happy tone it is played in, making the listening experience quite interesting.

    Bitter Ruin – Trust – The song starts with a playful combination of acoustic guitars presented on a friendly and relaxed tone. The rather soft and smooth top end will take some bite away from the guitars, making the strings sound more like non-metallic strings. This will be a nice addition for people who’d like to avoid harsh signatures. Fine nuances in tonality, especially details in voices can be perceived quite well. Female voices sound clear and come with good strength, sounding happy and enthused rather than shouting, although they should be a bit more abrasive in this song. The male vocals are clear and crispy, the vocal tone is spot-on and the whole presentation feels realistic. Bass notes are rendered with excellent texture and tactile feeling to them. The whole song tells its story well, although a tad polite and friendly.

    Fever the Ghost – The Source – The song starts with a streak of funky bass notes played in symphony with a few synth notes. The texture of the bass is liquid and dynamic while the mids feel warm and friendly, the whole song being playful and relaxing. The voices are rendered with a strong sense of space and air to them, again on a fairly joyful tone. The vocals of this song can easily come off as shouty some setups, thing which was partially intended in the mastering process, but DK-3001 presents them in one of the most romantic ways I ever heard them. There is a good sense of width to the whole song and certain special effects can feel as if they travel through the listener’s head, or rather, like an entire sonic experience is taking place around the listener. DK-3001 provides good detail retrieval abilities, but those are slightly romanced by the soft presentation of the top end, everything being presented in an organic matter rather than within an analytic approach.


    Midrange

    We proceed to the midrange of DK-3001, only to be surprised by the excellent tonality and signature. The voices, both male and female, sound natural and they are usually slightly enhanced with a slightly romantic tonality to them. Pianos and guitars bear vivid and clear textures to them, being possible to hear fine nuances that are given by different materials used in the guitar strings. There is a sense of smoothness and relaxation in the sound that will increase the emotional impact and attachment certain songs have. This will also enhance certain undertones and fine textures present in slow songs like Ballads and Cabaret.

    Screamed or generally shouty vocals can sound smoothed out a bit and will sound friendlier and easier to listen to than they are in general, this effect taking away some harshness from violent metal music.


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    Ballads sound especially sweet and bear great emotional impact with DK-3001, while metal music can sound a tad too relaxed and friendly. Pop, Opera, Electronic Music, Classical and Jazz work extremely well with DK-3001.

    Dope – Sing – The song starts slowly with a groovy bass tone played along a cool guitar notes combination, with the drums being played somewhere in the background, keeping the rhythm of the song through the intro. The ballad from dope has a great emotional impact, the sweet voices along with the warm and slightly thick guitar tones providing a romantic environment. The message that music should surpass everything and exist within everything is delivered clearly to the listener and the whole song has a great spatial presentation, each instrument having a spot of its own. All in all, I had to listen to this song a few times before I could continue writing, sometimes feeling bits of tears in my eyes as the singer went forward with his parts.

    Maximum The Hormone – Zetsubou Billy – The start of the song is pretty quick and has a good clarity to it. The intro voices are clear and there is a good sense of warmth in the vocal tone. The screamed voices sound crispy, although the slightly relaxed tone of DK-3001 makes the song feel like a romantic version of its own, a fun experience rather than a typical song sang by Maximum the Hormone. The bass notes are always strong and bear a good impact, although the voices and the guitar notes are the central elements of the song.

    Cold War Kids – Passing the Hat – The song starts with an excellent combination of thick bass notes and drum hits. The voices start with good emotional emphasis, while a lonely cymbal can be heard somewhere in the background. Pianos are crisp and bear a good tonality, while the guitars feel airy and natural. The bass is almost always a forward element of this song, while the voices keep bearing a great emotional impact. The story of the song is delivered well and it is possible to hear the singer’s emotional struggle.



    Treble

    With a soft and polite character, DK-3001’s treble tilts the whole signature towards a romantic character, making even poorly recorded albums more fun to listen to, gently hiding all mistakes, like problems with harshness and sibilance.

    The treble holds a good detail level, usually revealing fine cymbal crashes, but DK-3001 is not an analytical IEM by its nature, so details are presented in an enthusiastic and romantic way, rather than being exposed and enhanced like they usually are with BA setups. The smooth character of DK-3001’s treble will surely please “relaxed” signature lovers, being a reminder of HD650’s signature.

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    Protest The Hero – I Am Dimitri Karamazov And The World Is My Father – The sibilance and harshness usually present in this song are clearly alleviated by the smooth and relaxed signature of DK-3001, the IEMs instead revealing a beautiful guitar layer that has a musical and melodic feeling to it. The voices still bear good impact and they deliver the tragedy of the story pretty well, the song being about a protagonist who is sent to army and whose aspirations are slowly killed by his family’s aspirations. The entire song sounds like a romantic-sad song rather than a shouty and bright composition. While I’d have liked a bit more energy and sparkle in the treble, I am in love with the romantic presentation of the guitars and how every guitar note has a melodic and lovely touch to it. The experience is something one surely has to listen, to fully understand.

    IOSYS – Professional Breeders – The start of the song is vivid and quick, all synth and elements are presented fast and with good precision. The bass notes bear amazing impact and depth, while the synth notes have a great texture to them. Female voices are especially sweet and enthusiastic with this song, the whole combination making one move his body while listening to this song. The chorus parts are playful and dynamic, there are many layers skillfully separated and presented with enthusiasm to the listener, while the smoothness in the top end makes the song an even more fun experience for the listener. DK-3001 is clearly a very good IEM for EDM and Electronic music in general. For the record, I couldn’t stop myself from listening to this song until I reached the end, and I kept moving my body while listening to it.

    Kishida Cult – Highschool Of The Dead – The song starts with its typical snazzy and speedy intro while multiple guitars can be heard playing simultaneously. The direct change to romantic and sweet female vocals is sudden, but welcome. The whole song sounds sweet and there are many guitar layers in the background. I love the way the fuzzy guitars are woven with the drum patterns and the melodic voices, hearing it all in an airy soundstage being quite an impressive experience. For the record, I listened to this song multiple times before proceeding with writing other parts of this review. I just had to.



    Soundstage


    DK-3001’s soundstage is an interesting surprise, leaving a most positive impression. It is large and quite coherent, instrument layering being fairly good as well. There is a clear distinction between different instruments and there is a good sense with the spatial positioning of instruments.

    Like with most IEMs, the soundstage grows larger when using larger tips. There is a good sense of width and depth to the scene. The whole presentation is airy and large, especially large for an IEM and there is no space to complain, at times DK-3001 having a larger soundstage than ie800, but with a similar depth.

    There are moments when guitar tones travel all the way through the sonic landscape, surprising the listener by coming from very specific directions or areas. Listening to songs that rely heavily on soundstage to sound their best is a real pleasure and I think that DK-3001 is an exemplary performer in the soundstage size department.




    ADSR/PRaT

    DK-3001 provides natural sounding ADSR (Attack Decay Sustain Release) characteristics. The transient response is fairly quick, but it doesn’t go faster than a natural type of response, voices and bass having fairly good response times. The ADSR character for treble and midrange is slightly faster than it is for the bass, but this doesn’t seem to affect the general coherency of DK-3001 in any way. Since the dynamic driver is probably centered on the bass and the BA drivers are probably taking care of mids and treble, some users might feel the difference in decay length between bass and the mids/treble, but the midrange and top end decays are still leaning towards a natural length rather than a short decay.

    The dynamic range is reproduced faithfully and there are no signs of unnatural dynamic compression or such, the sound being quite vivid in general. Instrument separation is amazing with some songs, especially with electronic music, DK-3001 having quite an impressive performance for its price.



    Drive factor / Source Synergy

    DK-3001 is very easy to drive, having an impedance of just 13 OHMs. In exchange, this makes DK-3001 slightly prone to hissing, but they should be okay with most sources out there.



    Portable Usage


    Given their over-the-ear design and their good isolation along with their easy-to-drive character, DK-3001 is quite suited for portable usage. The carry case included in the package also hints to a portable usage scenario intended for DK-3001.

    Besides a little sensitivity to hiss, DK-3001 can be safely driven from most sources, although it scales fairly well with better sources, Opus #3 and iDSD BL providing considerably more details, a better defined soundstage, and tighter transients than Xiaomi Mi Max or less precise sources. DK-3001 can also be enjoyed out of a mini-DAP like HiFiMAN Megamini, the combo being fairly nice sounding, although there are some very slight amounts of hiss present. Less sensitive users might not even notice that hiss is present.



    EMI

    I couldn’t detect any EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference) with DK-3001 during prolonged tests. I even walked under high tension power lines and listened to DK-3001 right next to the WiFi router, but wasn’t able to detect any EMI.

    IEMs are not very prone to EMI in general, but it is this test should still be done with all equipment.



    Comparisons

    I spent a good amount of time with DK-3001 and went between DK-3001 and other IEMs and headphones, both from a similar price bracket and from other price brackets to get a few comparisons.

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    DK-3001 vs Etymotic ER4-XR – The first difference that comes in foresight is the difference in fit, DK-3001 being a shallow-insertion type IEM whilst ER4-XR is a deep-insertion type IEM. Due to their design, ER4-XR also provides more isolation from the outside noise, but DK-3001 provides a good amount of isolation as well. The sound has a fuller tonality on DK-3001, the bass has a considerably longer decay and the mids and treble also have a slightly longer decay(s). The top end is similarly smooth on both although by direct comparison, DK-3001 feels more energetic. If we consider ER4-XR to be mid-centric, then DK-3001 would be a naturally toned IEM with a very slight V-shape to their frequency response.

    DK-3001 vs FiiO F5 – There are many differences between DK-3001 and F5, including the price brackets they are a part of, but there are some similarities as well. Judging from FiiO’s past partnerships with Dunu, like the one for creating EX-1 and other IEMs, it might almost feel like judging two IEMs from the same company. FiiO F5 has with more presence in the low end with a larger amount of bass, where DK-3001’s low end is less enhanced and leans towards the natural side of things. They both have a natural to longer decay to their sound. Surprisingly, F5 has a similar width to their soundstage. The top end is smooth on both F5 and DK-3001, but DK-3001 has more energy up top where F5 is tuned to sweeten the sound and be a smooth performer.

    DK-3001 vs EN700 BASS – The fit and comfort could be seen as similar when comparing DK-3001 and EN700 BASS directly, but EN700 BASS has a slightly thinner bore which might work better with some users. The bass is similar on both models, but the mids tend to have more depth to them on DK-3001. EN700 BASS has a very good soundstage already, but DK-3001 has even more width and depth to the soundstage. The top end is on the smoother side of things with both DK-3001 and EN700BASS, although by direct comparison, DK-3001 once again has more energy.

    DK-3001 vs Sennheiser M2 IEBT – M2 IEBT is a Bluetooth IEM by design, but comparing a DK-3001 powered by a high quality source with a high quality Bluetooth setup holds very interesting results. The bass is quicker on DK-3001, but the quantity is larger on M2 IEBT. The mids might come off as recessed on M2 IEBT when compared to how the mids are presented with DK-3001, and the top end is sparkier, featuring more presence and energy with M2 IEBT, DK-3001 being quite polite and smooth in direct comparison. The difference is most noticeable in the lower highs and in the upper mids, where DK-3001 tends to be linear / smooth while M2 IEBT has an energetic / enthusiastic approach. The decay lengths are generally shorter on DK-3001, but we have to keep in mind that the price brackets are also quite different, M2 IEBT costing less than half of DK-3001’s price.

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    DK-3001 Vs Sennheiser ie800 – Sennheiser ie800 has been my benchmark IEM, and even a benchmark for headphones for quite a while so far, and I still hold it close to my heart. DK-3001 starts off by having a longer decay in the bass department, ie800 coming off as quicker, also having more quantity in the sub-bass department. In the midrange, DK-3001 and ie800 are comparable in technical ability, detail retrieval and instrument texture, although ie800 holds the edge for the technical part of the sound, while DK-3001 has a slightly more natural sound since ie800 has a slightly recessed midrange. The top end is very different between the two, ie800 having a very energetic, realistic and lively approach, while DK-3001 has a polite, friendly and relaxing approach to the top end.

    DK-3001 vs HiFiMAN RE-800 – HiFiMAN RE-800’s price tag is closer to ie800 than DK-3001, but the comparison could still be considered fair since music lovers interested in DK-3001 might also consider purchasing a pair of RE-800. HiFiMAN RE-800 has a considerably shorter decay to its bass, having a quicker bass, where DK-3001 could be considered to have a slightly larger amount of bass. The midrange is slightly more forward on DK-3001, RE-800 being more better in its instrument separation. The top end has more energy on RE-800, DK-3001 being considerably more relaxed by direct comparison. RE-800 has a bit of a peak at 6-7kHz that will enhance its technical abilities, where DK-3001 is fairly more even across that same area. The instruments are precisely separated on RE-800, while DK-3001 will play them together.

    [​IMG]

    DK-3001 vs HiFiMAN RE-2000 –
    This comparison might be slightly unfair, considering the difference in price, RE-2000 costing almost 4 times the price of DK-3001. There are differences in the technical performance, RE-2000 managing to be as much of a detailed and analytical performer as it is a natural and musical performer, while DK-3001 is leaning towards a musical performance more than it is an analytical performer. The bass is tighter and has bigger size with RE-2000, while it has a longer decay on DK-3001. The midrange is presented in similar fashion, but the top end has a realistic presentation with RE-2000, having more sparkle and energy, and bringing forward more details.

    DK-3001 vs Oriveti New Primacy – This is a very interesting comparison actually, as I just received New Primacy recently, but I already listened it quite a bit. New Primacy has a tighter low end with less amount of sub bass and bass, and considerably shorter decay on the low end. In the mids, New Primacy and DK-3001 have similar presentations, both having pretty spot-on tonality, with New Primacy having a slightly forward midrange presentation in comparison with DK-3001. There is a good sense of stage width and depth with both, but DK-3001 presents music with more space, while New Primacy can feel slightly more intimate. Where DK-3001 tends to be relaxed and smooth in the top end, New Primacy tends to have slightly more sparkle and present music with slightly more energy, although they don’t have any harshness or sibilance either. Even so, the upper midrange tends to be more forward on New Primacy, with DK-3001 being the relaxed and polite performer. On a technical level, both New Primacy and DK-3001 have a very good technical performance, each for their own price.




    Value

    Dunu DK-3001 is priced at a very friendly price point of 500$, being one of the least expensive TOTL IEMs out there.

    Considering all the cool extras Dunu included with their DK-3001 IEMs, along with the excellent sonic performance, especially for their price point, DK-3001 represents a very good value. With a price tag of 500$, DK-3001 barely enters the realm of TOTL IEMs prices, but they manage to be a HD650 in a IEM while still offering a good amount of isolation and portability. DK-3001 includes a set of Spinfit tips and even a cool-looking carry case in its package, being a whole-package IEM.


    The very good default cables, along with the balanced cables will also add to the total value DK-3001 represents. All in all, DK-3001 can be recommended to both performance lovers and to budget-conscious music lovers.



    Conclusion

    Dunu DK-3001 is surely one of the best IEMs one can recommend at their price point, their performance is withstanding and the number of included accessories is surely a great addition to their value.


    [​IMG]

    Being the current Top-of-The-Line offering from a budget oriented company like Dunu, DK-3001 proves itself as one of the most interesting IEMs I tested to date and there’s little to complain about although if I really had to find a downside to them, that would probably be the maybe too friendly top end, which might not satisfy a purely neutral treble lover.

    DK-3001’s signature will please most music lovers out there, featuring a similar signature to the well-known HD650. With a strong and deep bass featuring a natural-to-long decay, a sweet and detailed midrange and a polite top end, DK-3001 is compatible with almost any music you can throw at it and will be a IEM that will bring you pleasure for many hours in a row.

    The build quality is also excellent and besides the cable connectors being quite stiff, DK-3001 looking like they could take a beating before showing any sings of wear.

    Whether the 500$ price tag is good enough for you, is something only you can device, but I can almost surely say that you won’t be disappointed by the package or the sound of DK-3001. It is a great choice and if you have precisely 500$ to purchase a IEM, and you want it to bear the signature of HD650, DK-3001 is clearly worth checking out.




    Thank you for reading! I hope that this review is of help to you! Stay safe, and please remember to have fun while listening to music!




    Link to the review on Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/2017/08/dunu-dk-3001-surprise-relaxed-and.html

    Link to the official Thread on Head-Fi:
    https://head-fi.org/threads/dunu-dk-3001-iem-4-driver-1dynamic-3ba.852732/

    Link to the official product store on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DUNU-DK-3001-Hybrid-earphone-3BA-1Dynamic-driver-1-year-limited-warranty-NIB-/182678369021?

    Link to the writer’s Head-Fi page: https://head-fi.org/members/dobrescu-george.170938/

    Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/

    Audiophile Heaven on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AudiophileHeaven/
    Moonstar, Sp12er3, ValSilva and 5 others like this.
  7. Brooko
    4.5/5,
    "DUNU DK-3001 Genuinely ^Top Sound^"
    Pros - Sound quality, frequency extension, frequency balance, product build, accessories, inclusion of balanced cable
    Cons - Overall comfort improved over previous models - but still not ergonomically comfortable, lipless nozzle
    [​IMG]
    Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click to view larger images.

    INTRODUCTION

    Having listened to most of DUNU Topsound's hybrid earphones (DN1000, 2000, 2000J and 2002), and also their Titan series (1, 3 and 5), I've been privileged to experience the evolution of a company's engineers as they search for their own “holy grail” of sonic performance. When they first released the DN-series hybrids, many (myself included) marvelled at the overall package DUNU was able to deliver – in terms of sonics, build quality, and innovation – and especially at the price point they had been targeting. When Vivian approached me to review their new statements series (2002, 3001 and 4001) I was naturally intrigued. I reviewed the 2002 here, and sonically it was brilliant – but unfortunately for me personally the comfort was not all it could be. Now I have the chance to put the higher prices DK-3001 through its paces. Read on to find my thoughts.

    ABOUT DUNU-TOPSOUND

    I’ve used this before in my other reviews – and I think it serves as a good reminder of who DUNU is, and where they come from.

    DUNU Topsound was established in 1994 originally as an OEM supplier to other companies. Since then they have developed their own branded line of high quality earphones, and gone from strength to strength (IMO) with each release. They currently have their manufacturing plant in China and head office in Taiwan. They now have more than 100 employees, and market their product range all over the world.

    The name DUNU is simply an acronym of the principle design points that the company strives to implement in their product range:
    Delicate
    UNique
    Utmost​
    Here is a quote from their website, which really does give an insight into what drives the company:

    With advanced technology and hi-end equipments, DUNU desires to be able to provide Delicate, Unique & Utmost products for Hi-Fi embracers. Delicate means extremely quality demanding on product process, from every little component to product manufacturing. DUNU has complete production line and equipments, including precise equipments, B&K frequency machine, IMD sputter, CNC machine, anechoic room, etc. Concerning design of product, DUNU also devotes to create unique outer appearance and balance in all sound frequency.

    Utmost is not only the expectation on products, but also the pursuit of an Earphone Manufacturer. The founder of DUNU, himself, has years of experience in OEM/ODM earphone products in which many worldwide famous earphone Brands are included. However, in order to create the most enjoyable earphone on his own, DUNU’s president establishes the brand “DUNU” and implants many hi-end equipments and hires talented employees. From then on, DUNU takes the lead in developing the first Chinese made metal earphone, developing 5.8mm Driver unit and produce the very first Chinese Balance Armature Earphone, in 2014 DUNU release China first triple driver Dynamic and Balance Armature Hybrid earphone, All these preparations are to step on the world stage and to challenge renowned earphone brands. The ultimate goal of DUNU is to provide worldwide HI-FI embracers our Delicate, Unique & Utmost earphone products.”

    DUNU’s full product catalogue can be found here - and their products are supplied through their own store front (globally) on Amazon.


    DISCLAIMER

    The DK-3001 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me gratis as a review sample. I have made it clear to DUNU that I still regard any product they send me as their sole property and available for return any time at their request. But I thank them for the ability to continue use of the DK-3001 for follow up comparisons. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also DUNU themselves.

    I have now had the DUNU DK-3001 since late Feb. The retail price at time of review is USD 470.00, and can be purchased via Amazon.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6 (although I am spending more and more time with a pair of FiiL Diva lately). A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the DUNU DK-3001 straight from the headphone-out socket of most of my portables. I did not generally further amp them (I did test them with my E17K, E11K, IMS HVA and iDSD), as IMO they do not benefit greatly from additional amplification (YMMV and it may depend on your source). In the time I have spent with the DK-3001, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in). Time spent now with the DK-3001 would be easily 100+ hours.

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Front of the retail box Rear of the retail box Inner boxThe DK-3001

    The DUNU DK-3001 arrived in an approximately 142mm x 177mm x 56mm retail box. The retail packaging consists of a printed sleeve over a book style reinforced board box. The sleeve carries virtually all exterior print, is printed, with a clean white background, with black and red text. On the front is the DUNU logo, the “Hi-Res” certified logo, a high res picture of the DK3001, and a little information on the earphones (which I won't repeat now as we'll go into more detail below). The rear of the sleeve has accessory and specification information.

    The inner box has a coarse textured black outer surface, and simply the word “DUNU” on the top cover. Opening this reveals the DK-3001 nestled safely in a foam holder, and a black pelican style case.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    All accessoriesWarranty, clip and adaptorsCarry / storage case

    The carry case is the same as the one used with the DN-2002, but different from the original 2 piece aluminium one from the 2000 and 2000J. The outer dimensions are almost the same, and come to just under 120 x 85 x 40mm externally (including lip, clasp and hinges, but inside gives up a little space, and is actually smaller than the original 2000 series aluminium case. This one is a hard gloss plastic outer, but with good interior protection from a rigid rubber base and foam in the lid. It has more than enough room for the 3001 with some space for accessories and is pretty well built for protection. Because of the size of the carry case, it isn’t really pocket-able (trousers or jeans), but it would be ideal for a bag or casual jacket pocket. I might be a bit strange – but I'm actually liking this case better (hinged lid, less likely to show scratches)
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Tips includedBalanced and SE cablesDK-3001 in case

    The actual range of accessories is well thought out and includes:

    • 3 pairs of grey silicone tips (S/M/L)
    • 4 pairs of white silicone tips (S/M/L + 1 M pair installed)
    • 4 pairs of Spin-fit silicone tips
    • 1 pair of medium T500 genuine Comply tips
    • 3.5mm Female to 6.5mm Male Adapter
    • Airline adaptor
    • Pelican type carry case
    • 1 Shirt Clip
    • Maintenance and warranty card.
    • 1 x 3.5 mm to MMCX earphone cable
    • 1 x 2.5 mm balanced to MMCX earphone cable
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    (From DUNU’s packaging / website)

    Because people may want to compare – I've also included the specifications from DUNU's DN-2002 earphones.

    ModelDN-2002DK-3001
    Approx price$340 USD (Amazon)$470 USD (Amazon)
    TypeQuad driver hybrid IEMQuad driver hybrid IEM
    Driver - Dynamic2 x 10mm titanium DD1 x 13mm titanium DD
    Driver - BA1 x Knowles dual BA (2 BA)3 x Knowles BA
    Freq Range10Hz – 40 kHz5Hz – 40 kHz
    Impedance10Ω13Ω
    Sensitivity106 ±2dB110 ±2dB
    Cable1.2m, replaceable (MMCX)1.2m, replaceable (MMCX) x 2 (1 is balanced 2.5mm)
    Jack3.5mm gold plated, 90 deg3.5mm gold plated, 90 deg (SE)
    2.5mm gold plated, 90 deg (Bal)
    Weight24g31g
    Casing material316L Stainless Steel316L Stainless Steel


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

    The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference. Although I do not have an Andromeda to compare directly, I did measure one when I had the tour model for review. I've also included this below as the two have some similarities.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    DK-3001 frequency and channel matchingDK-3001 vs CA Andromeda

    My sonic impressions of the DK-3001 – written well before I measured:

    • Has good balance and extension at both ends of the spectrum
    • Bass performs well (sub and mid-bass), reaches low but is not over-emphasised
    • Mid-range is not overly recessed, more of a very mild V – well matched to bass amplitude
    • Upper mid-range is emphasised, and I guess you would say that this is a colouration, but one I like very much. Female vocals have a wonderful sense of euphony
    • Lower treble extension is excellent – great clarity without any hint of etching os sibilance
    • Overall an extremely well balanced earphone with an upper mid-emphasis
    • Channel matching is excellent
    The first time I heard the DK-3001, the first earphone I thought of was the Andromeda – albeit the Andro is cleaner and a little more balanced. The extension on both and balance through lower treble is where they are similar

    BUILD

    The DUNU DK-3001, like the entire range of DUNU products I’ve reviewed previously, is incredibly well built and finished. The outer shell is black and utilises 316 stainless steel which DUNU says reduces harmonic resonances. This time the body is more akin to their Titan series shaping, and consists of a circular main shell, with angled nozzle, and horizontal cable exit tube.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    External faceFront view (side)Internal face

    The main body is round, has a diameter of approx. 15mm, and is approx 11mm in depth at its widest point. There is a slight ridge on the internal side, and this has L or R printed on each ear piece. Above this is the bass port or vent for the dynamic driver. On the external side, there is a gradual narrowing of the outer body which culminates in a smaller 10mm diameter circle which simply shows the DUNU logo. There is also a small port adjacent to the logo.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Internal face (from rear)Nozzle angle(side)MMCX connector

    The nozzle extends forward at an angle of about 45 deg, has a diameter of just over 5mm, and is mesh covered. It does not have a lip, but there is good length from the body (around 7mm at its shortest point).

    The cable is connected to the main housing by a horizontally mounted short metal tube. The connector is MMCX and even after a few months of use, the fit is very good, and still going strong.

    The cable has a very satiny smooth PVC outer sheath which exhibits very low micro-phonics (none when worn cable over-ear), and which just doesn’t seem to tangle. The right side cable has a red ring at the base of the male connector, so you always know which side is which (nice!). The top of the cable is a formable ear guide (around 10cm) which is very malleable, and easy to bend to your preferred shape. This is then connected to a softer rubber strain relief.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Connector and mem wireY-split and cinchJacks (SE and bal)

    The Y split is rigid, metal, sturdy and very practical. Dunu’s design choice with the Y split is one I’ve always liked. There is enough weight in it to keep the cable pulling down slightly, but yet it’s not overly heavy or bulky. The top section of it also detaches to become the chin slider. The design is simple, elegant, and works incredibly well. There is ample strain relief at the southern end of the Y split, and the 1.2m cable terminates at a right angled, very well built jack – gold plated, and with excellent strain relief. There are two cables included and both are virtually the same quality – with one being terminated for 2.5mm balanced use.

    The usual 'on-cable' cinch (or rubber cable tidy) is still included – the same as used on most of their releases now. This is a really simple mechanism that is unobtrusive - but means that whenever it's time to store the IEMs, the cable is always tidily looped. This remains one of the most simple, yet practical, methods of cable ties I have ever seen.

    I can’t really fault the overall build quality. Once again top notch use of materials by DUNU – but there is a questionable choice of design for the shell – which we'll cover further in the fit/comfort section

    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

    I'll start with the easy one (isolation), and we can then look at fit and comfort. Isolation is dependent on tip selection, and if you get a good seal, it is actually pretty good (about average for a vented hybrid IMO), but will not ultimately reach the high isolation of sealed BA IEMs. It would still be reasonably good for a busy street, or some forms of public transport though – although wouldn't be my personal choice for long haul flights.

    Now we get to fit and comfort – and these thoughts are more subjective. As I said above, the DK-3001 has a circular body, with a very good length of angled nozzle, and for me personally they are extremely easy to fit – but the nozzle is relatively shallow in-ear. They are designed for over-ear use. Anyone used to ergonomic BA designs should have no issues. They are also quite comfortable for everyday use …… to a point. The issue for me is the internal ridge. For listening sessions of a couple of hours, I have no real problems. If it is longer, the ridge slowly starts to become noticeable. Now this may just be me – but my point is that the ridge doesn't need to be there. If you look at the best ergonomic designs, they are smooth, rounded, and have no edges. DUNU are so close to getting this right, and indeed the comfort on the DK-3001 is far better than any of the their previous DN range. But its the small things which can make the difference between very good and great. This is one of those “small things”.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Spinfit and Sony Isolation tipsOstry tuning and Crystal foam tipsShure Olives (my pref)Fit - shallow but seal well

    Another little gripe and this isn't a huge one because ultimately large Comply, stretched Shure Olives, and the included Spin-Fit tips all seem to stay put quite well, but the lack of lip on the nozzle means that some tips I like to have options with simply can't be used (e.g. spiral dots). The smooth nozzle means that some tip bores won't hold and this limits my options. In this case, there are no tuning filters – so I really can't see why this is missing. Anyway – it's slightly annoying – but alleviated by the fact that there are fortunately a number of tips that do work. I tried and can get successful seals with Ostry tuning tips (although they sometimes slipped off the nozzle), the included Spinfits and also the Comply tips. Ultimately I ended up going with my pair of “stretched bore” Shure Olives – which always give me best fit, comfort and seal for shallower fitting earphones.

    The DK-3001 sit nicely flush with my outer ear, and are comfortable to lie down with. I've slept with them often, and the only issue has been some slight discomfort on waking (that internal ridge).

    So where the build is brilliant, unfortunately for me the design is close, but still not 100% right yet. It is a vast improvement over the DN series, and kudos to DUNU for taking a large step in the right direction. This is one issue their engineers should definitely continue to look at in the future.


    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the DUNU DK-3001. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X5iii and also the X3ii + E17K combo, no EQ, and Shure Olive foam tips. I used the FiiO devices simply because paired they give me a very transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power. With both, their was no DSP engaged.

    For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the E17K (paired with X3ii) was around 15/60 (on low gain) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. On the X5iii (again low gain), this equated to 27/120 for the same volume. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.


    Relativities

    • Sub-bass – has very good extension and even at my low listening levels is clearly audible, but there is no boosted emphasis and it sits extremely well within the overall frequency mix. There is enough rumble to give presence without overshadowing vocals, and I'm detecting no bleed into lower mid-range.
    • Mid-bass – slightly elevated compared to lower mid-range and sounds extremely natural. This reminds me very much of HD600 type mid-bass – enough to sound tonally natural and give great overall timbre – but stops short of sounding loose an uncontrolled.
    • Lower mid-range – very slight recession compared to bass (about 8 dB) and quite a bit lower than the upper mid-range peak between 2-3 kHz (about 12-13 dB). Vocals don't appear overly distant though, and this is fantastic – especially when you consider the overall cohesion between lower and upper mid-range for vocals. Male vocal in particular have a reasonable amount of body.
    • Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a rise from 1 kHz to the main peak at between 2-3 kHz. The result is a clean and clear vocal range, with extremely good overall cohesion and some real euphony for female vocals to sound sweet and elevated. This is probably the most coloured part of the entire frequency range – but especially for female vocal lovers, it is a colouration I personally adore.
    • Lower treble has a minor peaks and troughs from 5-10 kHz but no real peakiness. What is there instead is simply excellent extension providing fantastic detail and clarity – but without the etchiness which some other IEMs overdo by trying to hard.
    • Upper treble – some extension though to about 12-13khz, then rolls off – but does not affect/detract from the overall signature.
    Resolution / Detail / Clarity
    • Fantastic overall clarity, and this was especially so on some recordings (Floyd's Money) where some of the detail can be lost when lower treble does not extend well, or bass bleed over shadows. The DK-3001 simply soars – but without being spot-lit or having one or two parts of the frequency emphasised. This reminded me a lot of the Andromeda.
    • Cymbal hits have wonderful presence, and they also display excellent decay – the kind that you can hear fade out. The realism is brilliant.
    • Overall I feel as though I'm hearing everything in the recording – and this is even a lower listening levels.
    Sound-stage, Imaging
    • Directional queues are very good, and presentation of stage is just beyond the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks – so an good sense of width and depth.
    • Spherically presented sound-stage – no issues with L/R dominance
    • Magical sense of immersion with the applause section of “Dante's Prayer”. I'm there in the audience, and you an't get much ebtter than that. Not as immersive perhaps as the U6 – but its up there. “Let it Rain” was next up and it was brilliant (very 3D like experience - the way the track was miked). There was a hint of sibilance with Amanda's vocal – but again, its the way it is recorded – so not unexpected. What was great is that the sibilance was actually quite subdued, but the detail still shone through clearly.
    Strengths
    • Extension at both ends while still retaining overall balance
    • Detailed but still smooth - a trait that few manufacturers get right
    • Still detailed at low listening levels
    Weaknesses
    • If you're overly sensitive to peaks in the 2-3 kHz area, you may find it a bit too coloured – but to be honest I regard it more as a strength than a weakness.
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The DK-3001 doesn’t need amplification for overall volume – but because of its relatively low impedance, if you have a source with an output impedance of anything over 1 ohm, you may want to consider an amp to correct the output impedance mismatch (and possible hiss usual with a highly sensitive IEM). All of my sources are pretty low OI and I had no issues with tonality changes. I don't tend to notice hiss (older ears) – so no real issues for me with the DK-3001.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    A variety of amps but no real gainsSounded great with the X5iii or an iPhone!

    With my iPhone 5S around 20-25% volume is more than enough with most tracks, and the FiiOs are generally at around 25-30/120. As I said, I have tried the DK-3001 with the E17K, but also with my A5, E11K, and IMS Hybrid Valve but none of them seemed to be adding anything to my listening set-up other than some extra bulk.


    RESPONSE TO EQ?

    While the DK-3001 responds well to EQ (I simply tried raising and lowering both bass and treble with the E17K), I can't honestly see why anyone would want to EQ these. They are as close to perfect for my tastes as I have heard.

    BALANCED VS SINGLE ENDED

    Having the balanced cable option is nice, but I noticed no real change with the likes of the X7 + AM3 module once I had properly volume matched (using the Fidue A91 cable adaptor for fast switching). Personally I wouldn't be able to tell the two apart in a blind test. For those with DAPs where the balanced sounds better (different circuitry), its nice to have the option though.

    COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

    These comparisons were all done with the X5iii, (no EQ or DSP) – and volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. It was a hard one to decide as I don't have access to a lot of IEMs around the $500 mark. So I ended up comparing with my own personal favourite (Alclair Curve $250), DUNU's own DN-2000J and 2002 (both hybrids), and my 64Audio U6 with Adel B1 module. Hopefully this gives enough insight to anyone interested in this IEM. Here are my very subjective personal thoughts:

    DK-3001 (USD 470) vs Alclair Curve (USD 250)
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    DK-3001 and Alclair CurveFrequency comparisons

    Starting as usual with build quality – it's very good on both earphones, but the DK-3001 goes ahead on materials used, and edges further ahead with the accessory package, extra cable and tips selection. For comfort – the Curve hits back. Its easily one of the most comfortable and ergonomic earphones I own – and I'd put it up any day against any IEM for overall comfort. Curve is also better with isolation.

    Overall sound quality is pretty close. The bass and lower mid-range is similar on both, with the DK-3001 sounding a little slower but also a little deeper and has more impact. The Curve has a little better overall balance, and still remains one of the closest I've heard to the Andromeda on a budget. But the DK-3001 actually sounds a little more natural to me for male vocals (especially Pearl Jam). In contrast you do notice the colouration with female vocals – although this isn't a bad thing. Treble extension is fantastic on both, and I'd be hard put to list a preference. Overall this comparison is a tough one – because the Curve at $250 is still one of the best bargains on the market today (IMHO). The DK-3001 is simply slightly tonally different – but still with excellent SQ. What clinches it for me though is the price and comfort of the Curve.

    DK-3001 (USD 470) vs DN-2000J (USD 305)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    DK-3001 and DN-2000JFrequency comparisons

    The 2000J has similar overall build quality and accessories – but the clincher is the option to go balanced and the fact that the DK-3001 has removable cables. For comfort – they are similar to me – and I wouldn't say one is a clear winner over the other. Both are relatively comfortable for short to medium term listening, and for me personally, become slightly irritating for longer sessions (oh for an ergonomic shape ……).


    Sonically there are a lot of similarities. The DK-3001 is slightly warmer, with a little more sub-bass extension, and the DN-2000J has a slightly less forward upper mid-range, but more lower treble emphasis (brighter and leaner). Both are extremely good with female vocals. The DK-3001 is the more natural sounding of the two earphones. As much as I love the 2000J's brighter tonality – in this case despite the price difference the DK-3001 is clearly the superior sounding earphone, and I'd be willing to outlay the higher price for the difference in SQ.

    DK-3001 (USD 470) vs DN-2002 (USD 340)
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    DK-3001 and DN-2002Frequency comparisons

    Build quality overall is again of a similar standard, but the difference with the DK-3001 is with the slightly more ergonomic form factor and better rounding of edges. With the 2002, I always know I'm wearing it. Accessories are similarly good with both. Both have removable cables, but the 3001 comes with the balanced option and also fits other standard cables.

    Sonically there are a little more differences this time, with the 2002 being a little flatter overall, and losing out just a bit on sub-bass extension. The DK-3001's more forward vocals are the first thing you notice in comparison, and this is then accompanied by the excellent lower treble extension. Tonally I've always thought the 2002 was a pretty natural sounding IEM – but I much prefer the DK-3001's overall presentation. Like the DN-2000J presentation, the DK-3001 simply offers better overall signature for my tastes, and combined with the comfort factor, for me represents the better overall value (despite the higher price).

    DK-3001 (USD 470) vs 64Audio U6 + ADEL B1/G1 (USD 600 – KS price)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    DK-3001 and 64Audio U6Frequency comparisons

    People may be rolling their eyes with this one, as really they are quite different in driver configuration, price point (U6 is normally $900), and overall technology. But to me the comparison is apt – as the KS price I paid puts the two in similar brackets.

    Build quality (materials) is firmly in the DK-3001's favour. Its going to last for quite some time, and DUNU has a reliable reputation for overall build longevity. Accessories remain with the DK-3001 – but I would still rather have the U6's ADEL modules and ability to tune. Fit is firmly in favour of the U6 – the ergonomic build is simply miles ahead on overall comfort.

    Both have similar overall bass quantity and quality, and even lower mid-range. The difference is of course in the upper mid-range, where the DK-3001 is more mid-forward (more coloured), and the U6 with B1 is more balanced overall. Both have fantastic treble extension. The U6 is definitely the more open sounding of the two, and also has superior overall isolation.

    But the funny thing is that comparing the DK-3001 to the U6 with B1, and I actually prefer the tonality of the DUNU overall. If I swap out the G1 module (with accompanying bump in lower mids) then the playing field is much closer. But it is still the DK-3001 with the better tonality overall for my preferences. If I could keep the DUNU's sound, add an ADEL module, and put it in an ergonomic shell – I'd be in seventh heaven. The DK-3001 can definitely compare with higher tier IEMs IMO.


    DUNU DK-3001 – SUMMARY

    So here we are at the summary, and before I get to where the rubber meets the road, I'd like to take the opportunity once again to thank Vivian and here team for the chance to put the DK-3001 through its paces.

    I'll put it simply – in my experience this is the best IEM DUNU has released to date (obviously I have not heard the 4001 yet). In terms of build quality and accessories you get what we have have come to expect from DUNU – excellent materials, very good innovation, and generosity in terms of overall accessories.


    The 3001 is also ergonomically superior to previous offerings, and I find it particularly pleasing they are starting to focus on this area. They aren't quite “there” with this yet – but they are on the right track. A little less “angles”, a little more internal smoothness, and they really will have a winner in terms of fit.

    But the amazing thing with the DK-3001 is their achievements sonically. The DK-3001 isn't just good – its the sort of earphone you start comparing to all time greats like the Andromeda. Probably the greatest complement I could give it is that it sounds almost like an HD600 – it just has that sort of tonality. The mid-range peaks a little earlier, and this definitely means it is more mid-forward, but it has the naturalness of tone and timbre that simply ticks all of my boxes.

    The RRP looks to be around the USD 470-500 mark and at this price the DK-3001 is not a cheap IEM. Despite the price point, I would still recommend them wholeheartedly – they just sound too good not to. For my part, I'd still love to see them get the ergonomics 100% right – but they are already an improvement over DUNU's other models, and for this I thank them. Fix this and they are easily (for me anyway) a 5/5 proposition. So for me a 4.5/5 or 90% review ranking.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    beowulf, Klonatans, earfonia and 6 others like this.
  8. ryanjsoo
    4.0/5,
    "Dunu DK-3001 Review – Remarkably Refined"
    Pros - Incredibly detailed, Treble extension, Smooth, supple cable, Extremely solid build, Great accessories
    Cons - Missing some bass details, Lower mids can get a bit stuffy, Some comfort issues
    Introduction –

    Once as obscure as any other small Chinese OEM, Dunu have since made quite the name for themselves. Their company story is one of innovation, firsts and aspiration and most importantly, this philosophy is embodied by their products. They achieved mass praise with their widely reviewed and recommended DN line of triple driver hybrid earphones and this popularity was then compounded upon with their exemplary Titan 1 semi in-ear which provided sensational value at a much lower price point. And though their many other models may not be so renowned, a strong ethos underpins all of Dunu’s products.

    So with such a reputation, Dunu have reached into the premium space with their new DK earphone line-up complimenting the continuation of the cheaper Titan earphones. Their new DK-3001 assumes the same hybrid driver format with which Dunu is so familiar with while adding an extra BA driver on top. To provide some grounding to this review, let me stress that I am well familiar with premium earphones around this price in addition to having extensive experience with gear costing many times more so I’ll try not to gush about the DK-3001. That said, with a $500 USD asking price backed by 4 generations of experience, can the DK-3001 provide enough refinement to separate itself from other exemplary value and premium earphones alike? Let’s find out.



    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Vivian from Dunu very much for her quick communication and for providing me with the DK-3001 for review. There is no monetary incentive for a positive review and despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible.



    Accessories –

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    The DK-3001’s produce a great first impression through their extensive yet tasteful unboxing. They don’t come within the largest, most lavish looking box, but one that is solid and practical.

    [​IMG]

    The box magnetically latches open to reveal the earphones within foam and a pelican style case containing the accessories below. Removing the earphones reveals an additional cable with 2.5mm balanced connector underneath. It is otherwise identical to that installed on the earphone from factory which, as I will divulge in the design section, is a very good thing.

    [​IMG]

    As with many Dunu earphones, the DK-3001 is well outfit with accessories. Notable additions include an array of authentic Spinfits and a pair of Comply foam tips, both great inclusions to have from factory. Dunu also provide buyers with 3 pairs of soft silicone tips and 3 pairs of firmer silicone tips in addition to those already installed on the earphones (medium, soft).

    [​IMG]

    The included case is very large and looks to be incredibly protective with rubber seals protecting from water ingress and a cushioned interior protecting from drops. Despite this, the case is pretty impractical, there’s no chance the case will fit in a pocket and it will take up a good amount of space within a backpack. In daily use, I was much more content with my KZ audio case which is similarly very solid and protective but considerably more compact with a pouch for additional accessories.



    Design –

    The DK-3001’s carry the same premium build that we have come to expect from Dunu. From the S316 stainless steel housings, the same used in premium watches, to the extraordinarily supple cables, the DK-3001 oozes a quality of exclusivity. But the DK-3001 departs from the vast majority of Dunu’s earphones by assuming an over-ear form factor, a well-considered choice given the weight of the earphones. While I do think Dunu are on the right path to assuming such a design with a removable cable, their limited experiences with this form factor do manifest by way of some comfort and fit issues.

    [​IMG]

    From a design standpoint, the earphones earn their high asking price with that stainless steel construction feeling appreciably more solid than plastic or even aluminium competitors. The DK-3001’s look super sleek with an incredibly refined matte finish; each facet is perfectly milled and the two halves of the housings meet with great precision. While they’re still less perfect than models from 1More, for instance, one MMCX connection is flush while the other was slightly protruding, the earphones are easily among the most well-constructed and aesthetically striking I’ve come across. They do have quite an unorthodox design for an over-ear, those rounded housings departing from the pod style earphones popularized by manufacturers like Westone and Shure, but I admire how compact the Dunu’s are considering the driver array inside. For comparison, they are appreciably smaller than the 1More Quad Driver, Westone UM 50 Pro and BA Campfire Audio earphones.

    [​IMG]

    The DK-3001’s have a low-profile fit that barely protrudes from the ear, making them perfectly feasible to sleep with. Their outer faces have concave divots to aid insertion and I didn’t find them to exacerbate wind noise when out and about. Dunu’s meticulous design extends to the inner surface of the earphones, which is very flush save for the ridge for the BA drivers. This is topped off with well-angled nozzles of pleasing length, resulting in a reliable fit. That being said, due to the design of the nozzles, the tips sit quite low on the nozzle, resulting in a shallower fit than one would expect; I would classify them as medium depth earphones. In culmination with the two small vents on the outer and inner faces of the earphones, the DK-3001’s provided above average isolation but still nowhere near the amount offered by fully sealed earphones. They still provided more than enough isolation for public transport and with foam tips, they would likely be adequate for a short plane trip, but if you’re a frequent traveler, a fully sealed earphone will likely suit you better.

    [​IMG]

    But despite their weight and shallower fit, the DK-3001’s maintain fit stability comparable to stronger sealing earphones. Taking them for my usual 6km run and the earphone stay put without requiring adjustment. Isolation was sufficient even along the highway and wind noise and microphonics were negligible. That being said, during longer stationary usage, the comfort niggles of those unconventional housings did irk. My main issue is with those top mounted MMCX connectors that form a hotspot at the back of my ears after less than an hour of listening. The connectors look to be purely aesthetic and a more integrated connector would be both less prone to damage and endlessly more comfortable long-term; I would very much like to see this in future iterations of Dunu’s over-ear earphones. As they are, the DK-3001’s aren’t unwearable and this issue can be alleviated by slightly rotating the earphones forward, but they don’t disappear isn the ear like the Oriveti New Primacy and even the larger Campfire Audio earphones.

    [​IMG]

    But moving onto the more positive aspects of the earphone, I’m delighted to report that the new cable equipped on Dunu’s DK series earphones are of excellent quality. The 5N OCC unit is incredibly supple and smoothly textured with exemplary strain-relied on all terminations; the cables remind me of those included with the Audio Technica CK10 and CK100, some of the best I’ve felt on any iem to date. They’re also of great thickness all the way through, terminating in a super beefy case friendly right angle plug.

    [​IMG]

    The cables have integrated cable straps which are of a grippier rubber than those included with the Titan earphones, I didn’t find them to slide around as easily making them less obtrusive during daily use. As aforementioned, the DK-3001’s are pretty stable in the ear. This is due to the ridiculously long memory wire segment, likely implemented to support the weight of housings and prevent the cable from flicking over ear since the connectors are elbowed. I don’t mind a well-implemented memory wire, but I’m not sure why Dunu made the memory wire so long as it makes the earphones difficult to coil for storage. They were perfectly comfortable during use but still a little excessive.

    [​IMG]

    Of note, neither cables have a remote though the adoption of a standard MMCX connector does make replacements simple, just be aware that the stock cables have elbowed connectors due to the orientation of the earphones housings. Cables with straight connectors do feel a bit awkward, but certain third party cables, such as the UE900 cable, also include angled connectors that feel much more ergonomic. The MMCX connectors were very tight and reliable during my month of testing and I experienced no intermittency.



    Sound –

    The DK-3001 is a quad driver hybrid featuring a 13mm titanium dynamic woofer mated to 3 Knowles balanced armatures; the same company that produced the brilliant TWFK dual driver setup found on audiophile classics like the Audio-Technica CK10. Despite featuring so many drivers, the earphones sound very integrated and coherent, much like the Oriveti New Primacy. Though they are hardly missing excitement, they are on the more natural side of things, sounding less artificially dynamic than early hybrid models. They are relatively tip sensitive, Spinfits provide a more v-shaped response, especially bringing out treble, the stock tips are more balanced and natural and the firmer, darker silicone tips have a slightly brighter high-end which I preferred in subjective listening. I will be using the darker tips during my sound analysis.

    In terms of burn-in, I actually found the DK-3001 to be very pleasing out of the box though I put them through 150-200 hours of pink noise while getting through some other reviews before final evaluation. Subjectively, I do feel that the high-end has become slightly clearer, I initially preferred the sound with Spinfits though I settled on the regular silicone tips after burn-in. So while the earphones sounded pleasing from initial impressions, I have come to appreciate the DK-3001 more and more the longer I listen, the hallmark of a great earphone. The earphones also do spectacularly well with movies and TV shows on account of this larger soundstage and full, well-extended sound. Booting up the trailer for Kingsman 2 and the earphones provided a lavish rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” while providing convincing rumble with explosions and great layering to effects and vocals. When watching Get Out and Season 1 of Luke Cage, the earphones did a fine job reproducing the shows sudden atmospheric effects and lo-fi soundtrack with fantastic dynamics, detail and separation. I feel that a truly great earphone should remain impressive under multiple usage scenarios and the DK-3001’s thoroughly impressed with their versatility.



    Tonality –

    Dunu doesn’t really have a house sound, but a modestly v/u-shaped tuning with a clarity orientated midrange is pretty universal among their more premium offerings. The DK-3001 follows suite with a very balanced u-shaped tonality with a hint of extra deep/mid bass and lower/middle treble emphasis. Bass has slightly greater emphasis than treble and while the earphone is balanced, I doubt any would complain of a lack of bass. I would consider them to be more on the laid-back than aggressive side though they are incredibly detailed with fantastic end to end extension. They clearly aren’t neutral but all frequency ranges are well integrated and well-placed within the mix. By contrast, the Sennheiser ie800’s have greater sub-bass emphasis and a brighter tonal balance while the Campfire Audio NOVA's are more neutral with greater midrange presence and a more even bass response.



    Drivability –

    The DK-3001’s are very easy to drive with a meagre 13ohm impedance and a 110dB sensitivity rating. They will reach deafening volumes from essentially any portable source, I was quite content with 1-3 of 16 volume notches on my iPod Touch and 1-2 notches on my HTC 10. As a result, the earphones also pick up quite a lot of noise, they had an ever-present hiss from my Hidizs AP60, even when music was playing. My Oppo HA-2 told a similar story to a lesser degree with hiss being barely apparent during music playback. The DK-3001 is slightly less sensitive than the Campfire Audio earphones and high-end Shures which makes them a little less source dependent. Despite being low-impedance multi-drivers, the earphones sounded relatively even from all of my sources. From my HTC 10, they had a little less air than my Oppo HA-2 despite having a lower noise floor, but I didn’t notice any sub-bass roll off or notable compression. One thing that did noticeably change was the separation between the bass and midrange. From my HTC 10 and Laptop, the DK-3001’s had a slightly muffled lower midrange, notable when listening to songs like David Bowie’s “No Plan”, but the earphones sounded appreciably clearer from my HA-2. As such, a clean low impedance source with a low noise floor is preferable over higher driving power.



    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

    The DK-3001 doesn’t sound quite as holographic or separated as the Sony XBA-40 or 1More Quad Driver, but the earphones are easily one of the more separated and spacious sets I’ve heard in a while. Immediately, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” had great width in the intro, just reaching that out of the head sensation. Depth and height were both similarly impressive when listening to the chorus of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, each guitar strum given plenty of space and atmospheric effects radiating out with plenty of projection. Overall, they are well-rounded, perhaps slightly ovular with a little extra width over depth. The Sennheiser ie800’s have quite an outstanding soundstage among earphones at any price and the DK-3001's almost matched them while providing a more stable fit and considerably more passive noise isolation. During the aforementioned tracks, the Sennheiser’s immediately portrayed increased depth and height, producing a more rounded presentation and sharper imaging. The DK-3001’s also image very well, not quite as razor sharp as the ie800, but clearly better than lower-end models from Dunu and even a few armature sets such as midrange Westones. Instruments and vocals were also more accurately placed than on the New Primacy, 1More Quad Driver and even the very accurate RE-600 due to the DK-3001’s more rounded, more spacious soundstage. The DK-3001’s do occasionally sound slightly diffuse with a hazier centre image than the ie800, Hifiman RE-600 and the Westone UM 50 Pro but, in return, they deliver outstanding instrument separation. Despite having such a balanced sound signature, the Dunu’s excel with layering, air and space. They handle complex passages very well and though the more V-shaped ie800’s do have the inherent advantage, the difference isn’t what one would expect given the price difference.



    Bass –

    Bass is well done from that 13mm titanium dynamic driver, low notes sound appropriately large without sounding particularly big since I wouldn’t actually consider the DK-3001 to be bass heavy per say. Tuning is very well considered, they have a modest boost all the way through with gradually increasing emphasis in the lower and sub-bass regions adding some extra depth and weight to bass notes. While deep bass has the most emphasis, mid-bass is also slightly elevated, making bass notes sound full but slightly bloated, though bass is clear and clean for the most part. And despite the amount of bass slam on offer, the dynamic driver is actually on the faster side with great detail retrieval on double bass drum tracks and a tighter sub-bass presentation. Listening to The XX’s “Islands” also revealed fantastic extension with well-defined rumble and slam matched only by a few earphones I’ve heard, some well beyond this price point. When listening to songs with rapid varied drum beats, the DK-3001’s almost matched the more expensive ie800’s for sub-bass presence but lead into that sub-bass with a more linear lower and mid-bass response. As a result, the DK-3001’s low-end sounds more even and integrated whereas the ie800 has plenty of thump and slam but is missing out on some bass body, especially evident on instruments such as snare drums.

    Quality is also fabulous with nice bass texture, especially to the very lowest notes. They do lose out some mid-bass detail and definition compared to the more agile ie800 and even the leaner New Primacy and CA NOVA, but their even, extended tuning produces greater deep bass definition than any of these models. When compared to any other earphone, even pure armature sets like the very impressive UM 50 Pro, the DK-3001 retains very competitive bass resolution with notable mention going to their exemplary deep and sub-bass responses. As an added note, though the size and type of dynamic driver might sound reminiscent of those utilized in the Titan line-up, bass is perceptibly tighter and more linear with considerably increased resolution and texture across the board; as one would expect given the price difference.


    Mids –

    In a nutshell, mids are very detailed, full and transparent, thriving off well-mastered songs and sounding impressive but less immaculate with other tracks. The midrange isn't as clear as the Titan earphones or the almost clarity driven ie800’s, but they do sound immediately clearer than more neutral sets like the RE-600 and NOVA. The earphones portray impressive balance, neither coming off as particularly forward nor recessed with a pleasing, slightly bright tonal balance that grants both male and female vocals with well-judged presence. Mids are full-bodied, particularly lower-mids, yet higher vocals have nice clarity and the earphones sound surprisingly clear when called for. The earphones still aren’t perfect in their tuning and it’s within the lowest registers of their midrange that they falter. On bassy or especially poorly mastered tracks, the earphones do have a little bass spill which warms lower mids, making them sound less concise than I would like. This was prevalent when listening to The Beatle’s “Hey Jude” where vocals sounded slightly muffled, missing some detail and resolution which is strange given the earphones stellar performance with jazz and male vocals during films and video. By comparison, the ie800, though more recessed, have considerably reduced upper-bass presence and their lower mids are more transparent as a result. As stated in the drivability section, this did somewhat alleviate when running from a nice low-impedance source such as my Oppo HA-2, but I've still heard cleaner, clearer lower mids from similarly priced earphones like the Campfire NOVA.

    But focussing more on the actual quality of the midrange over its tonality and, once again, the DK-3001 doesn't fail to impressive. When fed with well-mastered albums, vocals sound smooth and sweet with great resolution. The earphone’s slightly fuller presentation and resolution especially flatter acoustic and piano tracks. While they are hardly the most aggressive sounding earphone, details retrieval is among the best I've heard around this price. Listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid” and The Pixie’s “Where is My Mind?” and the DK-3001 produced an incredibly nuanced and discerning listen. Guitar strums sounded raw and exceptionally detailed without sounding artificially boosted and great midrange resolution easily revealed defects within the recording. The ie800's do have more resolution and clarity throughout their midrange, translating to clearer background effects and layering, though they miss the body and balance of the DK-3001. Ultimately, the ie800’s still retains an appreciable gap in outright quality though I find the tonality on the DK-3001 to be more engaging and even refined.



    Treble –

    The high-frequency performance on the DK-3001’s is my favourite aspect of the earphones, they sound extraordinarily good, even considering that $500 asking price. Off the bat, tuning is mostly very linear and extension is sublime with retained texture and body with even the highest instruments and details. With a slight emphasis only to lower and middle treble, they are immediately more even throughout their high-end than the ie800 but actually resolve slightly more raw detail. They also sound considerably more natural than the ie800 due to their more bodied treble response which prevents things from sounding splashy or tizzy.

    Listening to my usual treble test song, Elton John’s “Rocket man”, and the DK-3001’s provided one of the best renditions I’ve heard. High-hats, in particular, were incredibly resolved with absolutely none of the roll-off seen on a lot of other earphones. Other treble notes had perfect body and especially realistic timbre, notes never came across as raspy or thin. Listening to Nirvana’s “Lithium” and the clashing cymbals weren’t splashy nor strident at all while remaining extended and airy. Detail retrieval was once again fantastic as was resolution with intricacies being easily audible if not quite as forward as the more aggressive ie800. Perhaps most impressively, despite all this detail, treble remains impressively smooth with strings and trumpets sounding very sweet yet dynamic. They don’t bring details and intricacies to the fore like the ie800 but sound endlessly more natural and a little less crunchy on songs with already brighter mastering. Overall, I’m very content with the DK-3001’s treble response in both tuning and quality, they punch above their weight at this price point. Of course, they still aren’t quite as resolving as something like the $1100 Campfire Jupiter and other exemplary earphones around the Dunu’s price such as the Campfire Nova offer similar resolution for lovers of a slightly more neutral sound. Ultimately, I would still argue that the DK-3001 remains impressively refined and unfatiguing given then amount of detail on offer, they are a leading example of a laid-back, natural tone done right.


    Comparisons –

    IT03 ($260) –

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    While this is not a fair comparison in the slightest, I know a lot of users are curious how the DK-3001 performs relative to the more affordable hybrids on the market. Immediately, I do prefer the fit of the vastly smaller Dunu’s even with those awkward MMCX connectors, and the cable is far better than the springy unit on the IT03. Sonically, the DK-3001 is more balanced, the midrange is more detailed and coherent while the IT03 sounds a little wider and more v-shaped. The IT03 has greater bass slam while the DK-3001 has more texture and sounds considerably cleaner overall. The IT03 has a thinner midrange that sounds less integrated with the bass response though they also don’t suffer from the lower midrange issues that the DK-3001 occasionally does. The Dunu’s generally sound cleaner and more realistic than the IT03’s and though the IT03 has more clarity they do sound somewhat unnatural. Treble is more uneven on the IT03, as a result, some details are lost. Again, the Dunu's manage very impressive detail retrieval and treble is considerably more even. Finally, the Dunu’s soundstage better, with notably increased depth and more holographic imaging. Their midrange has greater layering and separation though the IT03’s are very good when considering their asking price.



    Campfire Audio NOVA ($500) –

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    The NOVA provides more even comparison, representing a great benchmark around the same $500 USD price range occupied by the DK-3001. Despite being almost twice the size of the Dunu’s, I preferred the fit and comfort of the NOVA’s due to their more streamlined features. Isolation was also markedly better on the Campfire’s and the cables were comparable in quality with the NOVA’s having a bit more visual flare. The NOVA’s sounded more neutral than the DK-3001 throughout. Bass was tighter and more defined on the NOVA though they did lack the deep bass presence and body of the DK-3001. The more linear mid and lower bass responses on the NOVA also enabled a little more sub-bass definition. Mids were similarly well-bodied, the NOVA’s had slightly less clarity and a little more presence than the DK-3001’s. Treble is terrifically done on both, the NOVA’s were clear, linear and very detailed, just as resolving as the DK-3001 but slightly less aggressive and slightly smoother in their presentation. The Dunu’s returned slightly better extension, the NOVA’s didn’t handle top-end details like the DK-3001’s with slightly truncated high-hats though cymbals sounded similarly well done. The Dunu’s also had the more spacious soundstage though both dealt well with imaging, separation and complex passages. Both models are fine choices at this price, the Dunu offering a slightly more engaging signature and the NOVA providing more balance and low-end definition.



    Verdict –

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    So despite Dunu’s past successes, I set out with refinement and attention to detail in mind for these are especially pertinent when moving up in price class. Dunu have some tough competition and it’s only getting fiercer with newcomers Flare, Plussound and Campfire (among others) threatening traditional manufacturers with their innovative design and extensive expertise with speakers, cables and OEM development. But Dunu are never one to rest on their laurels and the DK-3001 is well equipped to take on these competitors head on. Just a glance at Dunu’s custom fabricated housings provides a glimpse into the amount of time and work that went into these earphones; they could have adopted a generic housing or recycled one from a lower model. And on a surface level, Dunu’s efforts have returned splendid profits with a great look and fit augmented by a fabulous cable that’s just as impressive as any braided SPC model out there perhaps save for Ken’s brilliant Litz cable. But it’s what’s inside that matter most and once again Dunu delivers with a sound that is not only improved over previous Dunu earphones but also offers a great tonality with quality easily competitive with similarly priced models. Buyers will have to consider comfort, those with larger ears may experience none of the issues I did, and some small issues with the lower midrange, but when fed with a proper source, the DK-3001's thoroughly impress.

    Overall – 9/10, Great accessory collection and quality enable a pleasing fit. Build quality is fantastic though comfort is compromised by the top mounted MMCX connectors. Balanced but detailed sound is enhanced by great separation and extension. The DK-3001’s match refinement of build and sound with the charm of a natural tonality.

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please have a look at my website for more just like it:
    https://everydaylisteningblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/dunu-dk-3001-review-remarkably-refined/
  9. EZE99
    4.0/5,
    "A Worthy Flagship"
    Pros - Clean sound, great bass, great instrumental separation
    Cons - Comfort.
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    My preferred sound signature: A bit bass heavy, forward mids, and neutral treble. Love high detailed and clear sound.


    A quick side note: I have long been a fan of Dunu. The 2000Js are one of my favorite IEMs for their price. I am incredibly excited to be able to share my opinion on the new Dunu DK-3001s.

    The DK-3001 are quad-driver hybrid IEMs: 1 13 mm dynamic driver that handles bass, and 3 balanced armature drivers that handle the rest. On their website, Dunu lists the frequency range at 5 Hz-40 KHz. The IEMs are with “high precision engineering designed S316 stainless housing decrease harmonic resonance to ensure the high definition sound and durability” (from Dunu’s website, which does not have the best translation).

    Manufacturer Website: Dunu-Topsound

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    ACCESSORIES AND PACKAGING
    For the release of the DK-3001, Dunu revamped their packaging with an all new look. The box now looks cleaner, better, and more professional. It’s a fresh and welcomed change. On the accessories front: “Wow!”. Dunu does not skimp out on spending their money getting the best accessories to include with the 3001. 1 set of medium Comply Memory Foam Isolation tips, a multi-pack of 4 SpinFit tips of various sizes, and 7 more sets of various generic silicon tips as well. Airline adapter and shirt clip are included. The 3001s come with a small portable Pelican carrying case, which is very sturdy and airtight, meaning the 3001s will be well protected. They also come with an extra balanced cable, which is super convenient.

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    SOUND
    The DK-3001 has the classic Dunu sound with a more balanced signature, and better sound quality and detail than the previous Dunu headphones.

    Bass: You can immediately tell that these IEMs have a huge bass presence when needed. It is not an overwhelming bass boom, but it sure is present, and can sometimes overpower the mids and treble. The bass is pounded out by a 13 mm Dynamic Driver. There are some ups and downs to this: the bass is thumping and really present, but it is not as clear and concise as it would be if it were emitted by a Balance Armature. That being said, the bass is far from muddy. The bass on the 3001 is clean and detailed, just not as clean and detailed as a Balanced Armature would emit. If you like bass presence, and a good thumping lower end to your music when it is needed, the 3001s sure deliver.

    Mids: The first thing I notice about the mids is that the lower mids are way too laid back, so I am missing out on some detail there (such as some harmonies in background vocals). Upper mids have a forward presentation, which makes them great for male and female vocals. Upper mids are so sweet and musical. The mids have their opportunity to shine on songs that are not super bass heavy. Overall, the mids have a clear and accurate sound, could just use a more forward presentation of the lower mids.

    Treble: Treble is sweet and present. Upper treble is a bit more laid back in the signature, but perfectly to my liking and does not really need any artificial adjusting. I would like to see more detail on the treble though, as some of the high hats and cymbal clashes roll off too quickly. Much like in the lower mids, some intricate detail is lost in the treble range as the treble is sometimes overpowered by the mids and bass. I also feel as though the treble lacks some airiness. Even though treble is laid back in the signature of the 3001s, I would love to see more detail and airiness in the treble.

    DETAIL
    Overall, the 3001s have great background detail. Because of the laid back lower mid, some detail is lost there (as previously stated). Some of the intricate details in the treble range are lost as well. It is really easy to pick out different instruments and parts while listening to the 3001s (good instrumental separation), which makes the detail even better. Each instrument is given their chance to shine, no matter if it is the bass guitar riff or the soaring violin line.

    SOUNDSTAGE
    The soundstage is not horrible, but what you would expect on an IEM. It is nothing special, just about average. It is narrower than most other IEMs, about average length, and is slightly above average height.

    ISOLATION AND FIT
    Finding the right fit for isolation is a bit difficult on these, and until you do find the right fit, you will not be able to experience the true capabilities of the 3001. However, because of all the ear-tips Dunu includes with the 3001 (see "ACCESSORIES AND PACKAGING" section), it should not be too difficult to find the right tip for you. Fit is very dependent on the angle at which you wear the IEM (which can vary in a vary small range of numbers), and also on the ear-tips themselves. I ended up buying large Comply™ Memory Foam tips, and inserted them at an angle that provided me with full isolation. Once the correct tip and wearing angle is found, isolation is pretty good, and you can truly experience the 3001s.

    COMFORT
    My problem with Dunu IEMs has always been comfort. I'm incredibly sad to say that this has not changed in the 3001s. The rough edges of the 3001s can rub/push against the inner folds of the ear, causing discomfort for longer listening sessions when worn a certain way. There is a protruding square rounded edge that comes out of the IEMs on the side opposite the nozzle, which is supposed to help hold the IEM in place, but what it truly does is make the IEM uncomfortable to wear as that protruding section is pushed against your ear. Also, the protruding square sometimes fails to keep the IEM tightly held against the ear, as after a decently long while, the back end of the IEM will slip out of the ear (not the nozzle itself, isolation is maintained when the back end slips out). This protruding square failure could be solely based on the shape of my ear, but this is something I have experienced. You get used to the slight agitation/pain after a little while wearing them, but when you adjust them, you notice the pain all over again. If you can get past the slight hurdle of slight discomfort, there is no doubt you will enjoy the sound of the 3001s.

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    COMPARISONS
    Vs Dunu DN-2000J
    For those of you who had the opportunity to try the 2000Js, I would describe the 3001s as the older, more mature, brother of the 2000Js. The 3001 is more neutral. The 2000J has harshness in the high-hats and highs in general (which turned a lot of audiophiles off from the 2000J), which is not present in the 3001s. Swapping between the two, the 2000J has less detail overall, and worse sound quality. The mids are more laid back on the 2000J than on the 3001. The bass on the 3001 beats the bass on the 2000J; The bass on the 3001 is clearer, cleaner, and more present. I would say the 3001 has more bass than the 2000J. Overall, the 3001 is smoother, more neutral, more detailed, and has better sound quality than the 2000J.

    Vs Noble Audio Dulce Bass
    While the Dulce Bass beats the 3001s in detail and clarity in the bass range, the 3001 has a much warmer presentation of the mids and highs. The Dulce Bass has a much larger sound stage than the 3001 in every aspect (length, width, and height). If you end up buying a 3001 over a Dulce Bass, you will be sacrificing soundstage size and a bit of detail for a more “neutral” sound with better clarity with more present mids and highs.

    SUMMARY
    I can not voice how impressed I am with these IEMs. I let an audiophile friend take a quick listen to the 3001s, and they named them "the best IEM I have ever heard". Dunu has created another worthy flagship product. While compared to some of the other upper end stuff the 3001 lacks a bit of detail and clarity, but overall, the neutral sound with great instrumental and frequency separation competes with other TOTLs out there. I would love to see Dunu make a 6-9 driver model, with more detail and better sound quality than their previous IEMs, but regardless, I can’t wait to see what Dunu has for us next.