This Dunu DK-3001 review has been a long time coming. Rumours about this new hybrid earphone from Dunu started circling way back in 2015 and at that time the release seemed to be immenent. Almost to years later and the DK-3001 is now available for purchase. Another favourite of ours at Audiophile on Dunu are one of the reasons for the recent Chi-Fi (Chinese Hi-Fi) boom in recent years. Dunu are one of the first homegrown Chinese brands to put a big emphasis on sound and
What are the Dunu DK-3001
The DK3001 are a set of in-ear hybrid earphones. Hybrid in that they incorporate 2 separate driver technologies into the earphone housing to give users a best of both worlds scenario in order to get the best out their music.
Firstly you have the Balanced armature drivers handling the high and mid frequencies. Balanced armatures are very fast and detailed sounding so work perfectly for these types of sound. Balanced armature driver earphones do traditionally have issues with recreating deep bass tones. This is due to a lack of air volume being moved towards your eardrums to create that "slamming" effect. Thankfully there is a solution.
A dynamic driver uses a large coil driven diaphragm in order to reproduce sound. Traditionally they have been the best for reproduction of deep down lows with solid impact. The usual drawback, of which there are of course exceptions, is that they can struggle to create a balance between the higher frequencies and the bass.
So why not create an earphone that utilizes the best aspects of each? Well that's what many manufacturers are starting to do and what Dunu have done here with the new DK-3001. You get 3 balanced armatures working the mid and top notes and you get that whopping big dynamic driver thrown in to recreate the deep down dirty lows I know your craving.
Accessories - Spinfit & Comply
Just like with other Dunu headphones I have reviewed in the past the DK-3001 does not disappoint when it comes to the extras. You get every accessory you would need and more. They aren't just thrown in as an afterthought either these are high quality and really add to the overall package.
Included in the box are the following items:
- 1x Pair of Dunu DK-3001 hybrid earphones
- 2x Detachable MMCX Cables
- 1x Pelican style waterproof hardcase
- 1x Airline adapter
- 1x Set of Spinfit Tips (Green, Yellow, Red, White, Gray)
- 1x Comply earphone tips (T-500 size Medium)
- 3/4 inch jack adapter
- 1x set of Dunu Silicone Gray eartips (S,M,L)
- 1x Set of Dunu Silicone White eartips (S,M,L)
Which tips are best?
The tips that worked best with the Dunu DK-3001 in my opinion were the gray Spinfit model that come pre-fitted to the 3001. I have pretty average sized ears so for me medium is always the best bet for a good seal. Sound wise I couldn't really detect any changes to the sound when tip rolling the silicone models but using the Comply foam tips did result in an ever so slightly dampened treble.
Build and Design
The DK-3001 is easily the prettiest earphone the company has ever made. The company has plenty of well-built earphones like the DN-2002 and DN-2000 but they have always been a little industrial looking. A product of function over form. The new designs of the DK-3001 are incredibly simplistic but just look so much better. Then you hold them in the hand and can see the level of finish and refinement has really been stepped up.
The DK-3001 are slightly reminiscent of the Sony MD-7550 where the have that large disc shaped housing attached to a detachable earphone cable. The big difference is that the nozzle points inwards as opposed to being off to the side. This makes them sit flush to the head rather than jutting outwards from your canals.
Build is superb. Like truly superb. Dunu always make very robust feeling headphones but they do sometimes feel a little rough around the edges. These feel every bit if not more premium than many of the top name brands like Shure, Audio-Technica & Westone.
The cable is incredible
The included cable isn't braided, it's not flashy at all and yet it just performed brilliantly throughout out review. It even manages to put some of the expensive custom cables I have to the gun.
Starting from the top you get very a nice clicky MMCX adapters which swivel on the earphone housing. They feel robust and well built so no long term worries there. Right after that comes the ear guides they have the memory wire built in behind the
The most comfortable in-ear monitor I have used to date!
Finding a set of comfortable earphones is massively important. Some earphones require you to suffer to get good sound but thankfully not the dk-3001. A lot of factors are contributing to the why I say that they are on of the most comfortable in ear headphones I have ever used. First up is the ergonomics.
The DK-3001 housing feels like it has been custom made for my ears. It sits perfectly flush in my outer ear between the tragus and antitragus and is what surprisingly little weight there is gets supported by the memory wire of the over-ear cables. Insertion depth is shallow and the sit just inside the ear canal as opposed to being deeply embedded.
Needless to say, I was able to wear the DK-3001 for multiple consecutive hours without a hint of discomfort and I would even go as far as saying that they would be quite suitable for sleeping with.
The DK-3001 are decent at isolating but nothing more than that. The housing is certainly wide enough to contribute to a reduction in unwanted external sound but the depth of insertion length being as shallow as it is does limit the effectiveness.
Still, they are perfectly acceptable to use as a commuting earphone and are miles ahead of traditional earbuds, just don't expect Etymotic ER4 or CIEM levels of noise reduction and you should be happy enough.
How does it sound?
I am hard pushed to think of a bad sounding Dunu earphones. In fact, while they have done some quirky things with their physical designs in the past it's the tuning that often lands them a lot of praise. No surprises then that these are an incredibly good sounding earphone, one that really pushes the possibilities of what is possible with some of the best earphones under $500. Not only that but I would go as far as saying that the DK-3001 are contenders far beyond that price point such is the sheer level of performance on show here.
I reviewed the Dunu DK-3001 with a wide range of DAP's such as the Opus #1, Astell & Kern AK120 II, Lotoo Paw 5000 and Shanling M2. I also gave them a thorough running over with the Chord Hugo, Aurender Flow, Bang & Olufsen Hifi Plus (via LG g5) and the Dragonfly Red. I definitely listened to these earphones more in the past month than on any other of my gear. I think that's testament to how much I enjoyed them.
What I found throughout that was that whilst the DK-3001 sounded great out a mobile phone or cheap portable DAP it really shines when paired with a good source capable of fully powering them. This way you get that touch more from the soundstages and transparency that you may miss with some portable devices.
Genre-wise the DK-3001 are consummate all-rounders and sounded excellent with anything I threw at them. The slight hint of warmth that we will discuss later does lend them to rock, acoustic country and EDM style music but I got lots of enjoyment out of my usual Jazz and Classical test tracks as well.
Highs - The highs are crisp and detailed with lots of sparkle to them. Clarity is right up there front and center. You might have thought when I mentioned the overall warm signature that they would have a rounded off top end but the just resolve beautifully giving the top notes a presence whilst still not pushing them into uncomfortable and jarring brightness.
Mids- The midrange has that hint of warmth to it (ever so slight but present nonetheless) which is capable of drawing you in. It makes vocals, male and female sound very intimate and full. They are not at all standoffish and in stark contrast to the new Etymotic earphones that I am also reviewing at this time.
The Dunu DK-3001's mids are also crystal clear, no doubt thanks to theme being handled, in the most part, by the balanced armatures. Instruments and vocals are clearly spaced and abundant with even minor details and nuances.
Lows are fast and articulate with impressive speed for a dynamic driver unit. They managed to keep pace with the fastest of the music I had from Infected Mushroom and Combichrist. They didn't slow down, bleed the mids or become flabby and boy could they hit hard when the time was right. Sub bass was exceptional with impact and after rumble decay.
Soundstage is big but not overly so like on something like the FI-BA-SS from Final Audio. It's more in line with other high-end hybrid earphones I have tested in the past.
Are there any negatives?
Not really no. Especially when you consider the price against similarly priced competition. I just got finished reviewing the Campfire Audio Dorado which are right up there with one of the best in-ear headphones I have tested to date. They are also, just like the DK-3001, a set of hybrid earphones. Are the Dunu on that level? Not quite the Dorado are just that bit more refined as well as the accessories and design being focussed towards the luxury market.
At under $500 though these are quite the bargain. I would quite happily listen to them over many of the earphones I have tested north of that price range.
So no when you consider the build, design, accessories and sound all together there is almost nothing I would change about them. Of course this doesn't mean they are the perfect earphone, nothing will take that crown. Ultimately, though if you are looking to spend around half a grand these are very much worth considering.
Verdict - The DK-3001 Were Definitely Worth the Wait
The Dunu DK-3001 are a prime example of why sometimes it's best to wait. it has taken the best part of 2 years for the 3001 to arrive and in that time Dunu have gone over the design and sound with a fine tooth comb and put together one of the more complete earphones on the market. These are a serious set of earphones and consummate all rounders both in terms of sound and design. $500 is certainly not to be sneezed at, it is a lot of money but at the same time you get a hell of a lot of earphone.