In this review of the DUNU Hulk cable we take a look at one of the best looking, best feeling and most functional cable I have ever used. This thing is pretty crazy and its hard to think that someone can come along and innovate so dramatically on something as simple as an aftermarket earphone cable. Dunu did it and this things is awesome.
Why buy an aftermarket cable for your IEM’s?
Let’s face it when you are buying a set of earphones that are deserving of spending a $300 dollar cable chances are that they already come with a good sounding cable. I am not at all a believer of sound properties of switching cables as long as both cables are well made and are of similar resistance levels. Why is this? Well firstly because of over 20 years of using custom cables and even spending half a decade making my own custom headphone cables I could never detect any significant difference that I couldn’t put down to placebo. The science backs it up as well but still there are believers in a cable sounding better. The funny thing here is I don’t think I have ever read a case where someone bought a new cable and declared it was worse than the original. Even if it did sound different are you telling me that it is always different in a positive way, that the random cable you bought just happens to sound better than the cable that came with the earphone you bought which was designed to sound a certain way and likely tuned using that very cable?
So why then if I am a self admitted sceptic of this practice in the audio community am I still a huge advocate for aftermarket cables like the DUNU Hulk? Well there are a few reasons.
Firstly, the most important thing to me with an cable is that it performs well. Not sonically but there are a few areas that I get frustrated with on what I consider a bad cable. A good cable should be relatively free flowing almost slink like. This helps it flow and move with your body rather than hold memory and get in the way when you move. A stiff cable can also be prone to tangling and there is nothing worse than trying to untangle your headphones from a mess of wires after they have spent just a few minutes off your head.
The next point comes from microphonic and is less of an issue for me recently as I almost exclusively use earphones with the cable over my ear. However, if you wear the cable down a bad cable will send the noise from your movement right up into your ear canal. Those vibrations get really annoying and can ruin a listening session.
Of course we then have durability. Happily a lot of companies now take take a lot of care in selecting their cables. This is especially true in the recent crop of Chinese HiFi IEM’s that we recently reviewed.
Finally there is the aesthetic. For whatever reason audiophiles drool over a good looking cable and I’m not ashamed to say I do to. They just look cool and can be the icing on the cake to a well rounded audio setup. Its pure vanity and something that my fiancé just doesn’t understand but I just really like the way some cables look.
Back to the DUNU Hulk review!
What makes the Dunu Hulk so Special?
Well there are a number of reasons that the Hulk isn’t like your average IEM cable.
This is an adaptable cable that can be purchased with 2 pin or MMCX connectors that are the standard on high end IEM’s in 2019. Each cable comes with 4 adapters that you can use to switch out the plug depending on your source devices. In this case we have balanced connectors in 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.5mm variants as well as a standard stereo 3.5mm jack.
To switch between these plugs it is very simple. The Hulk have a system where you pull back on the cable side of the jack point and that releases the adapter. Its self locking and spring loaded so it pulls itself securely back into place when you have switched jacks. I found this to be quick and simple to use and it seems like a solid mechanism that has been built to high tolerance.
The cable itself is also quite special with the beautiful braided design its 22awg gauge which is super thick for something like this but if just feels so right when you get down to using them. It’s also incredibly pliable given its thickness and is extremely resistant to tangles.
The material used it Litz Crystal copper which has a lower oxygen content which some claim gives a cleaner sound (in measurement terms conductivity is increased but very minimally).
Dunu are keen to note, and rightfully so, that the Hulk is hand wound. They are set in a 4 strand braid pattern and each strand contains 6 groups and each group contains 28 of those single copper wires. That makes a total of 672 total wires.
The rest of the cable is just pure class from head to toe. You get a carbon fibre barrel at the splitter which is accented with chrome end plugs. The slider is a small chrome bead that slides freely over the cable yet grips in place when the left and right channels are parted.
The top of the connectors are seethed with shrink-wrap ear guides that I found to be very comfortable and they have the added bonus of working as the cables strain relief. (Note: If you are someone who likes to remove the cable guides just be sure to leave a few mm because there is no additional strain relief at the connector side.
The jack points are all right angled which is my personal preference. Some people of course prefer a straight jack so it would be good if Dunu offered this option at a later date. It doesn’t seem to had as it would only require the production of new adapters and no modifications to the cable body would be necessary.
Finally at both ends the connectors are copper plated .
Technical Specifications aside how do I feel about the DUNU Hulk?
As I mentioned earlier I am a sucker for a good cable and this one ticks all the boxes for me. it feels amazing in the hand, is beautifully constructed and has the added functionality of being able to swap out the jack points. For someone like me who has a number of devices some with balanced ports and others standard 3.5mm this is a hand little product.
When you look at them price wise if you are someone who wants to use their earphones with a balanced DAP and you smartphone for example then you can see the benefit of having the Hulk. If you were upgrading your cable then this would save you making 2 purchases. Even considering that it would work out around 150 per cable. The thing is the Hulk competes in the upper echelon of IEM' cables even without its increased functionality. I actually prefer this to my ultra expensive Labkable cables and the $200 Super Litz cable from Campfire Audio and they don’t have all the bells and whistles that the Dunu does.
Anything I didn’t like?
Well there is a couple of situations where the Hulk isn’t quite suitable and given its weight it will be if you are someone who likes to wear the cable down.
Firstly this won’t work unless you remove the earbudes so its pretty much a non starter. But the weight is far higher than a normal cable so it would cause excessive tugging on the earpieces.
When the Hulk is to be worn with the cable over the ear I can’t find a single flaw with it.
The hulk is an innovative and beautifully designed cable that makes for a beautiful finishing touch to any IEM or CIEM setup. They are well built, look incredible and the I have found ability to switch out the adapters has actually been practical and far from a gimmick. By being this cable out the gate you won’t have to mess around with a second cable when switching source devices and the use of high quality materials means that they wound be lacking in sound quality against other high end cables.
You can read more about the DUNU Hulk and other Dunu Products at the official website.