The DUNU Talos is a planar magnetic in-ear monitor with dual sound modes. With the flick of a switch, you can change the sound signature. The Talos has a 14.6mm planar magnetic driver plus 2 balanced armatures. It’s priced at $199.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Linsoul for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are based on my experience with the product.
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 40 kHz
- Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.3% at 1 kHz
- Nominal Impedance:16 Ωat 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 100dB±1dB at 1kHz
- Net Weight: 14 g
- Planar Magnetic Driver: 14.6mm Dual-Chambered, Dual-Sided Orthodynamic Driver Units
- Balanced Armature Drivers: Custom Dual Supertweeter
- Price: $199
What’s in the Box?
- DUNU Talos IEMs
- Detachable 0.78mm 2-pin cable (3.5mm termination)
- Zipper carrying case
- Cleaning brush
- 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter
- 9x pairs of silicone eartips
Like most DUNU IEMs, the Talos has excellent build quality. The alloy shells have a matte black finish with gold trim and feel robust in the hands. They’re pretty big and have fairly long nozzles too, so finding the right eartips is a must.
Just below the 2-pin sockets is the tuning switch. Thankfully, it’s a toolless switch so you can easily change sound modes on the fly without the need of a special tool.
Comfort will depend somewhat on your ear anatomy. The Talos is a large IEM but it comes with a good variety of silicone eartips. I can comfortably wear these in my ears for hours at a time; my preferred tips are the stock wide-bore tips with the green core.
The cable is standard DUNU: quality wires are braided and wrapped in a supple sheath. The 2-pin housings are plastic but the Y-splitter and plug are metal. The cable handles well but it tends to get tangled fairly easily.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling UA5, TOPPING E30 II + L30 II and xDuoo XD05 Bal.
Planar versus hybrid mode
If you are a true ‘treble-head’, you might appreciate Talos’ hybrid mode. But for most users (including myself), it feels like somewhat of a gimmick to distinguish the Talos from the growing list of alternative planar magnetic IEMs on the market.
In general, Talos’ hybrid mode makes things uncomfortably bright. It certainly increases the (already good) detail retrieval and adds some width and air to the soundstage. But for most listeners, it’s likely to sound too bright for comfort. With that said, the following sound impressions are based on the standard Planar Magnetic (i.e. switch off) mode.
The first thing I noticed about the DUNU Talos was its natural and uncoloured tone. Another thing that stuck out was the level of detail and clarity present. I’d call the overall tonality neutral-bright; the midrange sounds natural and organic while the treble has an accurate timbre but has a forward presentation which is where the brightness comes from.
However, in terms of tonal balance, I find the Talos to fall far short of the ideal. The mid and upper bass is heavily attenuated. While this does aid openness and transparency in the midrange, it lacks engagement and fullness.
The bass is tight and fast. DUNU tuned the bass for maximum openness and resolution and Talos achieves that with aplomb. Listeners who favour detail and transparency will appreciate Talos’ lows. Like the mids and highs, the bass tone is accurate and unblemished.
However, for those who like bass with body and weight, the Talos will disappoint. The bass lacks authority and impact. Upper bass notes are heavily attenuated, pushing instruments like bass guitars and lower cello registers behind everything else. As a result, I feel a lack of engagement and rhythm when listening to music on the Talos. You could say the bass is strong in technical terms but it comes at the cost of fullness, dynamics and immersion.
Talos’ midrange is, in a word, exquisite. It’s near perfect in tone, timbre and note weight. Vocals and instruments sound natural and organic and are delivered within a clean stage with a black background.
If you’re into podcasts, there’s never been a better entry-level IEM for the human voice. However, if you’re looking for overall tonal balance and multiple music genre compatibility, the Talos doesn’t hold up as well. But for the most part, the Talos delivers a delicious, clear and organic midrange.
The treble is relatively forward in terms of the overall tonal balance. Even in standard mode (switch Off), the treble might be too intense for anyone sensitive to high frequencies.
Nevertheless, the treble has an accurate timbre and tone. Even in hybrid mode, the treble maintains a natural timbre, despite being pushed forward. It’s crisp and precise, widening the soundstage and adding exactness to vocal and instrument positioning.
Soundstage and Technicalities
Although it’s not especially wide, the soundstage is organized and spherical in shape. In the absence of abundant crash cymbals and electric guitars, the stage has stable boundaries and a firm centre image. Instrument separation and imaging are good but unremarkable.
The DUNU Talos is an IEM that caters to those who covet details and technicalities over tonal balance and musicality. Its midrange is one of the best you’ll hear in this price range in terms of tone and clarity. Furthermore, DUNU continues to have class-leading build quality.
However, the overall tonal balance is noticeably lacking in bass depth and impact. Whether this is an issue or not will come down to your personal preferences and preferred music genres. For my taste, the Talos is not something I would ever consider as a daily driver. Although I am truly impressed by its midrange, the overall experience feels lacklustre. Your mileage may vary.