The Tipsy Dunmer is a Chinese IEM with a dual dynamic driver setup. Tipsy, ridiculous name aside, is a new company that seems to endorse some artists and will be offering IEM's at various price points. The Dunmer is their budget-focused model and has an RRP of around $120. That puts it against some incredibly fierce competition, so we were keen to test them out and see if they were any good. In the end, would we be recommending them to our readers?
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging on the Tipsy Dunmer is undoubtedly nice. Its nothing overly fancy or over the top but it looks cool and has a very clean aesthetic to it. It's a cardboard box with solid branding and a bit of fun with the company's Tipsy tagline. On the inside, the earphones are set in foam with the cables connected. Underneath the top layer as you find on most earphones now is the included accessories.
The accessories are not so nice and for a set of earphones this expensive I feel like I want a lot more. Let's start with the tips of which you get three measly games in small medium and large. The kicker here is that they aren't very good and indeed not good enough if you are offering people just one set.
Next up there is another disappointment in the little pouch they give you to carry the earphones around. Again, at this price, it's not good enough.
The cable, on the other hand, is a saving grace because its a beautifully made and very similar to the one that I praised on the Tin Hifi T3. It's a tight braid pattern, but even so, it moves with silky fluidity and is very tangle resistant. It’s also jet black. I think this looks cool as you don't often see pure black braided cables. Many manufacturers use transparent sheathing that shows off the silver or copper cabling.
The Jack points are excellent as is the cinch and the connectors. There is a running theme of carbon-weave on them. It is done very tastefully — all in its a great cable and one of the highlights of this earphone.
Build Quality and Design
By now you are probably getting a little tired of this section because the number of earphones coming out of China with similar style housings is more than repetitive. No doubt someone is making these shells to custom specs, and I wouldn't at all be surprised if many are coming straight out of the same factory.
That doesn't mean they are wrong in any way though because the Tipsy Dunmer is very well made and they also look very good. It’s an acrylic housing in a shiny black and a sort of dark granite/smoke finished faceplate. The usual caveat applies here. They will be able to take a good amount of punishment in day to day life, but nothing like a metal-bodied earphone will be able to withstand.
The nozzles are protected by a metal mesh, which is something I prefer to the less common paper filters. It will help keep the bores free from wax and other unwanted nasties that might interfere with the sound of the Dunmer earphones.
The connector for the detachable earphones is of the two-pin variety, and honestly, I wish everyone would move over to MMCX. I haven't had any problems over the years with MMCX other than occasionally being a little stiff out the box. Conversely, two pins I find are prone to bending and corrosion. To counteract that Tipsy opted to recess the port into the housing so that should help alleviate the latter of my concerns.
Comfort and isolation
Comfort is very good with the Tipsy Dunmore. The over-ear cable design of these in-ear monitors means that they are more secure than traditional cable down earphones. The housing is also very well contoured and surprisingly small despite the sizeable dynamic driver diaphragm that sits inside. During this review, I had no issues at all with comfort.
Isolation is slightly above average with a medium depth insertion and the stock tips. The Dunmer isolation could improve with the uses of Comply tips but in its stock for it works perfectly well in noisier than usual environments.
Sound quality is where it starts to get a little off the rails in this review. The sound quality is not bad, per se in any way. Barring a little funkiness in the top end, they sound pretty good. However, when we take price as a factor, there too many options on the market right that outshining them. For similar money, you could have the RHA t10i, or for less, you could get the MA750 or the 1More Triple Driver. The outstanding Yamaha EPH-100 cost significantly less as do the Final Audio e3000. You could even grab the Simgot EN700 Pro at this price. I think you get where I'm going with this, but for posterities sake, let's take a more in-depth look at the Tipsy Dunmers sound quality.
The sound is a V-Shape similar to that of the recently reviewed Peacock Audio P1, but it lacks the overall refinement and fun factor that earphone has.
They also lack some clarity and detail compared to most of the competition I listed above. Again its nothing terrible and this review shouldn't be taken as a bashing as much as it may appear like one. However, you cannot look at what else is on the market and consider it competitive.
The high end is crisp with a sparkle that pulls open the soundstage a touch more than you would typically find. Still, its presence is felt out in front of both the bass and midrange making for a slightly off-putting tuning. Usually, in a V-shaped model, I would like the top end to be as prominent or somewhat less prominent than the low end. Here, at times they push it out just a little too much.
The midrange is good and smooth but is lacking in the out and out definition and detail retrieval found on a lot of the earphones that contain multi BA setups in this price range. Vocals and stringed instruments do sound good and tonally correct though, and my only issue stands with that slight lack of micro-detail.
The low end is good and punchy, no real complaints here. It has robust sub-bass response and decent speed with which it attacks. Despite being able to punch hard, it doesn't bleed into the midrange and remains composed with whatever genre I tested them.
The soundstage is average. Nothing out the ordinary was observed here, and the Dunmer display good amounts of width and depth. Imaging, on the other hand, is a little less clear and again that slight lack of detail shows itself when placing instrumentation.
The Tipsy Dunmer is not a bad earphone by any stretch, and if you own one, there's no real reason to go change them out. In fact they a a still a good earphone for the price. However, if I were in the market to buy right now, I would go with any of the other options I listed above. There are too many GREAT earphones at this price. The Dunmer just lags behind both in the package and the sound.
Those earphones offer that little bit extra that the Tipsy can't seem to muster. It's a decent headphone and a solid start for a new company. Given some more refinement, in the future, I think they will start putting out some more competitive gear.
In summary, the Tipsy Dunmer offer decent sound quality in a nice shell with an excellent cable. Accessories are terrible, but the packaging is nice. Given all that and the other options at this price point, I couldn't give it a recommendation.