Like the DN-2002 this features a driver count of 4 but we have a different configuration here. There is a “High molecular liquid crystal polymeric film” dynamic driver paired with a single BA unit and a twin BA unit. The dynamic driver is 13mm and the armatures are all from Knowles. The dynamic driver does have a small vent but even with this, I found the isolation to be better than expected.
I think the biggest talking points when it comes to sonics would be a bass tainted with some warmth and a very clear upper midrange. Undeniably the lower midrange does lose some ground to the neighbouring frequencies and the treble is certainly positive, it just doesn’t have that hotness like on the DN-2000J.
Low frequencies remind me in a lot of ways of the titanium dynamic in the DN-2000J and the way it portrayed bass, just in this scenario it is a lot more swollen. It still has that immense impact and nice extension down low but we see a rise in quantity, especially in the mid-bass section. Here it lets notes linger just enough to bloom a small air of warmth, one that is noticeable in low notes but doesn’t really have much influence on the rest of the sound. You won’t be listening to these and think about how warm the midrange is at any point. The bass is overall of very high quality. It is still a very neutral voiced response but compared to some previous models that may have ended up polarising due to their smaller bass weights it makes sense that they have made a successful effort at maintaining the technical level while putting just a bit more meat on the bones for you to sink your teeth into. Funnily enough, this is one of the least frequency specific Dunu hybrids.
Comparing to something I have recently reviewed such as Periodic Audio’s Be, this midrange couldn’t be less even. While the lower midranges wouldn’t be near excessively shallow simply on its own, next to an extremely elevated upper midrange, there is some obvious colouration. This all stems from an easily identifiable peak at 2kHz. While this does lead to perhaps not optimal timbre, it does come with its own haul of perks. Clarity is the first one of these which there is an abundance of and another is a superior sense of airiness and space. It does make these a very vocal centric IEM, especially when it comes to female vocals which are always at the forefront, male vocals obviously are stepped back, but end up playing very nice with the complimenting bass line.
When it comes to the treble it seems like they went the opposite direction of the bass when comparing to the DN-2000J. That model was bright and analytical, with harshness all across the treble. Here it goes without any mighty 7kHz peaks and instead has presence but no juts of pain. It is snappy and clear, with a very realistic timbre. I have also found it to extend confidently, bringing exposure beyond 10kHz which further creates an ambience to the sound. I think it shows real expertise in tuning when you can make a sound that packs energy and excitement yet never loses its head. The treble is without doubt north of neutral yet I find it to blend perfectly with the rest of the sound and be angelic on my ears after hours of listening.
I have found that the frequency response of this earphone does a great job of contributing to an expanded sense of space but I find this has a much better illusion of presenting individual components of a record rather than being an overly huge, out of your head experience. To be honest I think the soundstage is big enough to not be claustrophobic but it has never wowed me, not to the degree of the instrument separation.
Because this is an efficient earphone technically, with good details top to bottom and speed that makes this effortless and ever flowing, it shows an obvious prowess even at this much steeper price tag. That being said I think the sound could be a bit artificial at times due to the way the midrange is balanced, to me that is the most unholy part. Myself like many people enjoy a boosted upper midrange but I think there needs to be some texture below it to keep it grounded and I think that is where these miss a trick. Male vocals sound thin and a bit pitchy, even if they are still clearly audible in the mix.
No Longer Unmatchable Value
I don’t doubt that Dunu will always make great sounding earphones in there basic looking but overflowing packaging however I think with this direction that is evident in the DK-3001 they are leaving behind their best trait and that was a value proposition unlike with any other brand. They aren’t doing a 64 and going from an entry level brand straight to a company that only ask for the utmost premium but the DK-3001 is a product that does what you expect at five hundred bones but won’t give you that bit extra. It also won’t be something that I can recommend without thinking, that is simply because the cost is actually quite considerable and is well within custom price ranges, I mean something equally great like Custom Arts FIBAE 1 comes in cheaper and fits your ear like a glove, a lot more than can be said regarding the fit of these. Talking of fit that is the other main thing that will hold these back because it seems that Dunu is struggling to make a universally comfortable earphone, something that has been said across all critics over their last two releases. Underneath my scepticism I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to these earphones, they honestly are delicious on the ears. I will end on that!