What’s crackin’ audio fans? In this review, I’m testing the DUNU DK-3001 Pro, a 5-driver (1DD+4BA) hybrid in-ear monitor. The DK-3001 Pro is a revised edition of the original DK-3001 and brings improved ergonomics along with some design elements borrowed from the higher-priced DK-4001 model.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
DUNU DK-3001 Pro Review
- Durable stainless steel shells
- Modular cable system
- Balanced and resolving sound
- Included accessories
- Bass extension
- Moderate noise isolation
Package and Accessories
The outer sleeve of the box is white and has a diagram on the front showing the internals of the DK-3001 Pro. On the back is an exploded diagram showing the individual components of the IEM and a list of specifications. Inside the sleeve is a textured black box with the DUNU logo embossed into the top.
- DUNU DK-3001 Pro earphones
- Detachable MMXC high-purity OCC cable
- 3.5mm stereo plug
- 2.5mm balanced plug
- 3.5mm Pro balanced plug
- 4.4mm balanced plug
- Leather carry case
- 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter
- Airline headset adapter
- Cleaning brush
- 4 pairs of SpinFit custom tips
- 3 pairs of Balanced tips(Gray)
- 3 pairs of Vocal tips(Red)
- 1 pair of Comply foam tips
- 6 pairs of Custom SpinFit eartips spacer
That is a great and comprehensive bundle for sure. The provided cable terminations are a delight for me personally, as it means I can use the DK-3001 with any of my sources without changing the cable. Of course, it’s always a bonus to get a proper carry case too and the one you get here is very nice indeed.
Build Quality and Design
Internally, the DK-3001 Pro has a large 13mm beryllium dynamic driver for the bass, 2 custom Knowles mid-high balanced armature drivers and a dual custom Knowles ultra-high frequency balanced armature driver. Blending these in harmony is done via a 3-way crossover.
Just like the DK-2001, the DK-3001 Pro sports CNC crafted 316 stainless steel shells: yes, they feel rugged and built like a tank but are still lightweight at just 16g. In fact, these shells are lighter and lanker than the original DK-3001.
The shells maintain the general shape of the DK series with a horizontal stem on the top that holds the patented Catch-Hold MMCX Connector. These are designed to minimize connection instability and pin breakages and thus increase the longevity of the connectors. Overall, the build quality is exceptional, as we’ve come to expect from DUNU.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
DUNU claims to have improved the ergonomics compared to the original DK-3001 and they’ve done just that, at least according to my ears. With the right eartips in place, the DK-3001 Pro is very comfortable and I can wear them for hours at a time without any issues.
Noise isolation is average or slightly above average if you have the right eartips. Some external noise still comes through but with music playing even quietly, I hardly hear anything outside of the music.
Included with the DUNU DK-3001 is DUNU’s own excellent Lyre cable. The Lyre is an extremely high-purity OCC copper cable that has had a secondary fire refinement process. Furthermore, the Lyre has the patented Quick-Switch connectors that allow you to easily interchange terminations to work with all of your different sources and interfaces.
This is a very nice cable and is even better than the fantastic DUW-02 cable that comes with the DK-2001. The Lyre handles beautifully with its hand-braided Litz braid and is very flexible and lightweight.
Sources used for testing include the Sony NW-ZX300, Soundaware M2Pro and Shanling M5s as portable solutions. On the desktop, I plugged the DK-3001 Pro into the new Earstudio HUD100 USB DAC.
The DK-3001 Pro has a balanced and linear sound signature. It delivers an almost even spread of bass, midrange and treble with a bit of extra emphasis on the bass. Remember, linear should not be confused with neutral, as the DK-3001 Pro is not in the least bit flat or clinically dry.
This is an IEM that constantly makes me stop and take notice of what I’m listening to, even during casual listening. The reason? It makes me appreciate music in a new way, even music that I’m intimately familiar with. I find the tonal balance, resolution and the natural timbre intoxicating and captivating.
To put it simply, this is what I would call bass done right. It has all the hallmarks of a great dynamic bass without the common drawbacks. The weight and impact are there. It feels plentiful and authoritative but at the same time, it’s nimble and quick.
In addition, the bass is textured and has delightfully palpable layering. The transition from well-extended sub-bass to mid-bass is linear, as is the shift from the bass to the lower mids. DK-3001 Pro is a master of cohesion.
Listening to Airbag’s “Homesick“, you can feel the weight behind the kick drum and bass guitar but there’s no sign of smearing or congestion in the mids. It’s full-bodied but succinct, powerful but non-intrusive and masterfully delivered.
Mids are a subtle mix of neutrality and naturalness. The overall timbre is accurate plus vocal and instrument notes are just right in size and density. There’s a touch of softness to take off any harsh edges. The midrange has just enough warmth to sound organic but remains clean thanks to the superb instrument separation and airiness.
This works well for both vocals and instruments. Electric guitars crunch but are still mellow enough to enjoy at a louder volume. Likewise, the tuning works great for pianos which are bright thanks to an upper midrange bump but never strident, making the DK-3001 Pro the perfect IEM for albums like iamthemorning’s “From The House Of Arts“.
Treble is light and airy, opening up the soundstage and adding clarity to the presentation. DK-3001 Pro produces lightly softened or rounded notes but maintains good solidity and definition.
It’s not an ultra-precise or sharply etched treble but rather one that aims for smoothness and a natural timbre. It adds clarity to the mix and at the same time, leaves the midrange free to come more forward without being shouty.
The treble is evenly spread, doesn’t have any noticeable peaks and it’s free of sibilance too. The extension is excellent and treble notes have a sweet, natural decay.
The soundstage of the DK-3001 Pro is moderately sized but very organized and tidy. Even though it has a satisfying bass presence, the tight control and fast decay keep the sound light and open. A fairly neutral midrange and the shimmering treble add to the airy sensation, although the stage dimensions are quite modest.
It’s a well-proportioned stage that feels evenly spread between width and depth. Vocals occupy a neutral stage position, leaving some room in front and behind. Instrument separation is very good thanks to the clean midrange that aids in imaging and accuracy.
FiiO FH7 ($449)
The FiiO FH7 (review here) is a Penta-driver IEM with a single large 13.6mm dynamic and 4 Knowles balanced armature drivers. As you can see from the graph, both of these IEMs have similar levels of bass. They’re remarkably close in terms of bass quantity, however, the FH7 is just a little softer and less textured.
FH7’s midrange is more elevated which brings vocals to the forefront. Additionally, the mids have a bit more clarity as well. In contrast, the DK-3001 Pro’s mids are a touch warmer with a more natural timbre.
The other major difference in these IEMs is, of course, in the treble. FH7 has more lift from 8-10kHz making it brighter and more detailed but at the same time more energetic, which can cause some listener fatigue.
DUNU DK-2001 ($299)
The DUNU DK-2001 (review here) is a quad-driver earphone with 1 dynamic and 3 balanced armature drivers. It doesn’t stray too far from its bigger sibling when it comes to sound signature. In fact, it comes close to the same level of performance in many ways (which is why I think it’s such good value).
DK-2001 has more mid-bass and a bit more fullness in the core midrange. Moreover, it has an extra bump around 2-3kHz, making guitars and female vocals more upfront. As such, the tonality is more V-shaped than the DK-3001.
Both IEMs have a similar treble tuning with the same slightly diffuse and airy presentation: It’s the extra mid-bass and upper midrange bump that colour the DK-2001’s sound differently. The DK-2001 sound is more contrasted and lively but it doesn’t have quite the same level of resolution and refinement as the DK-3001 Pro. Furthermore, I find the midrange timbre of the DK-3001 to be a bit more accurate as well.
Fearless S8F ($489)
The Fearless S8F (review here) is multi-BA IEM with 8 Knowles balanced armature drivers. Although it is a different driver configuration, it’s priced about the same and was one of the most popular earphones in this range in 2019. S8F has greater noise isolation and I find it more comfortable for extra-long listening sessions.
Right off the bat, S8F is more upfront and brighter in its presentation. While the graph above would suggest it has more bass than the DUNU, that is not the case. It just looks that way because of its more recessed core midrange which makes it more V-shaped.
S8F’s bass simply cannot match the authority of the DK-3001 Pro’s 13mm dynamic driver. The DUNU moves more air which is not only heard but also felt. The S8F has great bass for an all-BA IEM with faster transients and a faster decay but it lacks the natural timbre and body of the DUNU’s dynamic driver.
S8F’s mids have a leaner note size and more clarity. The DUNU’s midrange is a bit warmer and sounds more natural but can’t match the extreme detail retrieval of the Fearless IEM. With its lifted 2-4kHz plateau, vocals and guitars really pop on the S8F but the DUNU’s timbre is more natural albeit it not as clean.
S8F’s treble is slightly more forward and a bit edgier. It adds extra detail and precision compared to the DUNU but will also accentuate poorly recorded or mastered tracks more. To my ears, the upper midrange lift causes more fatigue than the S8F treble although my ears adjust to it fairly quickly.
There’s no doubt about it, the DUNU DK-3001 Pro offers outstanding performance and build quality. In my opinion, it is one of the best universal IEMs available at this price point is every aspect. The modular cable system is a great addition and the Lyre cable itself is fantastic. If you’re looking for a sound signature that’s well balanced, dynamic and resolving, I highly recommend this one.
- Dynamic driver: 13mm beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver
- Balanced armature driver: Knowles Customized Medium and High-Frequency Independent Balanced Armature*2
- Knowles custom ultra-high frequency dual balanced armature*1
- Cable: double refined high purity OCC cable
- Connector: catch-hold MMCX standard connector
- Impedance: 20Ω
- DB value: 112±2dB at 1kHz
- Frequency response: 5Hz-40kHz
- THD: <0.5% at 1kHz
- Cable length: 1.2m
- Net weight: 16g