Tipsy is a Chinese manufacturer that specialises in in-ear monitors. They have been around for some time but only recently become widely available on the international scene. In today’s review, I’m checking out the Tipsy Dunmer Pro, a hybrid earphone with 1 dynamic and 2 balanced armature drivers. Is this an upgrade from the original Dunmer? Let’s find out.
The Tipsy Dunmer Pro will initially be released on Drop at an introductory price of $159.and later retail at $189 from Linsoul and other regular outlets.
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.
Tipsy Dunmer Pro Review
- Unique faceplates
- Build quality and comfort
- Detachable cable
- Expansive soundstage
- Detailed and precise treble
- Not for the treble-sensitive
Package and Accessories
The Dunmer Pro arrives in a box similar to the original model but this time, the outer sleeve is a peachy colour. The actual box is black with the Tipsy slogan “Feeling A Bit Tipsy” on the front. Inside is the ever-popular foam insert with the IEMs on display and of course, the rest of the accessories are beneath the foam. Let’s take a look at what’s in the box.
- Tipsy Dunmer Pro earphones
- Detachable single-crystal copper 2-pin cable
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips
- 1 pair of foam eartips
- Cleaning cloth
- Vinyl carrying pouch
Build Quality and Design
Dunmer Pro’s handmade resin shells are similar to the original model (review here) and that is a good thing, in my opinion. They’re small, lightweight and impeccably crafted. There are a variety of colour schemes available – the unit I received is predominantly orange and green with a sort of turtle shell pattern with a reflective Tipsy logo. From what I can tell, it looks as though every single Dunmer Pro iem has a unique faceplate design. No two are the same and that’s really cool.
There are 2 vents on the shells, one on the front and one near the nozzle base. The nozzles flare outwards towards the end. They’re wider in diameter than the original model which grips the eartips much more securely. Overall, the build is really nice and the faceplate designs look fantastic.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
These are exceptionally comfortable, at least for my ears. The shells have a low profile so they don’t protrude out much, making them ideal for lying down. Dunmer Pro’s shells are smooth all over and very lightweight too, so you hardly notice they’re there at all. Noise isolation is good so these are suitable for commuting and normal everyday environments.
The cable has changed from the previous Dunmer model I tested. This time around it has a braided fabric sheath in a dual-strand twist. I used to dislike this kind of cable but recent ones I’ve used (including this one) have actually been really nice. Dunmer Pro’s cable is supple, handles well and has minimal microphonics.
At the top are aluminium connector housings followed by flexible ear guides. There’s an aluminium Y-split with matching cable cinch and the cable terminates in a matching straight aluminium 3.5mm plug.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling M5s and FiiO M5 for portable sources. For desktop use, I used the FiiO K3.
Dunmer Pro has a light V-shaped signature with a touch of warmth for a fairly natural-sounding presentation. The bass is boosted a bit for engagement and body and it’s from here that it gets its warmth. It aims for a natural sound rather than a more neutral or audiophile type tuning but at the same time is not excessively coloured.
A slight upper midrange boost gives it some lift and presence while a nice, even treble rounds things off at the top end. The result is a light, airy tone with a punchy low end, spacious and clean from the core midrange up to the highs.
Dunmer Pro’s bass is north of neutral but doesn’t stray near basshead territory. However, it still delivers plenty of energy and impact when the music calls for it. There is a light sub-bass roll-off but it is still fairly linear with a small mid-bass bump. It’s a fairly fast bass with a natural decay that gives it body and weight without slowing it down.
The 9.2mm graphene driver delivers a bass that is not only technically skilful but is the main driving force in the Dunmer Pro’s musicality. It can deliver in ample quantity but has speed enough to play a part in the spacious and airy stage. It’s a highly engaging bass that manages to maintain a natural weight and tone.
The Dunmer Pro’s midrange is fairly neutral and plays a more sober role than the somewhat jovial bass. It’s not dry or analytical but has leaner notes and it bends a little in that direction which in turn contributes to the large size of the stage.
In Watsky’s “Going Down“, the vocals are positioned further back on the stage but they still have enough fullness and power to stand their ground despite the track’s heavy bass influence. They’re not particularly warm or honey-smooth but rather more gritty and textured.
This type of midrange presentation works particularly well for acoustic and string instruments. Listening to Baden Powell’s “Reza” the pluck and texture of the guitar are visceral and detailed. They’re presented in a particularly wide stage which is again partly a result of the leanness of the midrange instruments as well as treble lift.
More than anything else, the Dunmer Pro’s treble is likely to be the polarizing factor for many listeners. The lower treble boost, particularly the peak around 7kHz adds clarity to the presentation but it also means there is energy accompanied by a touch of sharpness, This can be a sensitive area for some and I will include myself in that designation. Not that the Pro is harsh – far from it, but it does have a liveliness to it which might not be suitable for those who prefer a more laidback presentation.
The upper treble extension is very good and adds a touch of brightness but is moderate enough to preserve a natural timbre. This really comes into play with its micro-detail retrieval which is an area where the Dunmer Pro excels.
Not only is the Dunmer Pro’s stage especially wide but it sports great depth as well. The raised treble not only increases clarity but keeps the stage very clean and organised. Additionally, the neutral nature of the midrange enhances instrument separation and imaging. The end result is a very tidy and holographic stage with above-average dimensions.
Moondrop KXXS ($189)
Moondrop’s KXXS has all-metal shells and a 10mm DLC (Diamond-Like-Carbon), dynamic driver. It has comparable sub-bass quantity but less mid-bass giving it less impact on most tracks but a slightly tighter presentation.
KXXS’s midrange is not as forward or upfront as the Dunmer Pro but it actually has a similar tone. However, the KXXS stage and vocals are pushed further back but at the same time, they have less mid-bass and treble to contend with.
The KXXS has a detailed, crisp treble that is more laidback than the Dunmer Pro. It has less lower treble presence than the Tipsy and more upper treble quantity which makes it smoother up top but very wispy. Consequently, the Moondrop doesn’t have quite as much detail retrieval as the Dunmer Pro but has a slightly more relaxed and non-fatiguing high range.
With its more conservative mid-bass and thinner midrange, the KXXS has a large soundstage just like the Dunmer Pro. However, the Dunmer Pro’s raised treble gives it extra width and spaciousness as well as a more precise stage. Additionally, the Dunmer Pro has a more dynamic and contrasty sound.
Tin HiFi P1 ($169)
The P1 (review here) has a single planar driver per side and is characterized by its excellent instrument separation and natural midrange tone. However, it requires extra amplification to perform at its best so it really needs a DAP or external amplifier.
Let’s begin with the physical differences here. The P1 has metal shells that are smaller, heavier but more robust (obviously). The P1’s noise isolation is below average so they may not be ideal for commuting or noisier environments.
When it comes to bass, the Dunmer Pro has more mid-bass and a lot more sub-bass quantity. P1’s bass is tighter but it doesn’t have the impact of the Tipsy. In the midrange, P1 is more upfront and intimate and puts vocals at the forefront. It has a warmer and richer midrange than the Dunmer Pro but the latter has a more spacious stage. Treble heads will appreciate the extra energy of the Dunmer pro, plus the extra airiness it provides.
The P1 has a smaller, more intimate soundstage. While it is small in dimensions, it is very organized and layered due to the excellent and speedy transients of its planar driver. On the other hand, the Dunmer Pro has an expansive and particularly wide stage, achieved by its neutral midrange and lifted treble.
The Tipsy Dunmer Pro is another compelling release that builds on the strengths of its predecessor. It has an improved bass, clean midrange and expansive, precise soundstage. Certainly, if you like a neutral midrange tuning with an extra helping of bass and a highly-detailed treble, you can’t go wrong with the Dunmer Pro.
- INPUT: 3.5mm gold plated jack
- CABLE: 0.78mm 2-pin
- CABLE LENGTH: 1.2 meters
- DYNAMIC DRIVER: 9.2mm Graphene Driver
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz – 20000Hz
- SENSITIVITY: 105 db @ 1kHz
- IMPEDANCE: 16 Ohm @ 1kHz