TUNAI Creative Drum Earphone Review – Bang the Drum
Tested at $33
Hi there everyone. Today we’re looking at a single dynamic driver earphone, the TUNAI Creative Drum. The Drum is a Hi-Res certified IEM that has received a lot of praise for its great sound. The TUNAI Creative Drum began as a Kickstarter project and it seems that people were enthusiastic because the project was 100% funded in just 4 days.
TUNAI Creative was formed in 2014 and since then has been accumulating talents from technology leaders in Taiwan and Germany. The company has a range of electronic products including FIREFLY, the world’s tiniest Bluetooth music receiver
Rubbery cable with severe microphonics (cable noise)
Mid-bass might be boomy for some
Driver Unit: 13mm dynamic
Diaphragm: 8um aerospace grade PET
Frequency Response (Hz): 10 – 40,000Hz
Sensitivity (dB/mW): 105 dB/mW
Impedance: 32Ω (1kHz)
Cord material: OFC, Oxygen free copper
Cord length: 110 cm /43 in
Plug: Four-conductor gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini jack
Colour options: Shadow Black, Sterling Silver, Shine Orange, Meadow Green and Turkish Blue
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.
Package and Accessories
The Drum has a unique package that I found interesting and refreshing. Instead of the usual cardboard box, the Drum is delivered in a tin box that not only looks cool but can later be used for storage.
On the front of the tin is an image of the earphone, right next to the Hi-Res audio label (yes, the Drum is Hi-Res certified) plus a few specification details.
Inside the box, you get the Drum earphone plus 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L). I can’t help feeling they missed an opportunity with the box. With the amount of space available, they could have found a much better way to pack the cable in order to avoid having so many kinks.
Build Quality and Design
With DRUM, you get an ultra-thin speaker diaphragm constructed from 8 μm aerospace quality PET, facilitating lightning-fast response times in the speakers and extend frequency range to 40,000Hz. It provides performance exceeding the requirements of digital audio sources.TUNAI Creative Drum - Kickstarter page
The TUNAI Creative Drum is made of plastic and adopts a familiar conical shape with angled nozzles. The wide front end of the earphones provides space for the large 13mm dynamic driver inside.
There’s a pinhole sized vent just near the base of the nozzle, ensuring the large driver has enough air to push inside the housings. A solid ridge is located on the end of the nozzles to hold your eartips securely and there’s also a mesh covering the end of the nozzles to keep out any ear wax.
The Drum has an oxygen-free copper (OFC) cable with a built-in microphone and single button remote. I found the cable to be fairly tangle resistant but it is stiff and rubbery and retains kinks formed from its time in the packaging. There is a significant amount of microphonics (cable noise) which can be mitigated by using a shirt clip.
The Y-split is a hard rubber cylinder that is small and unobtrusive. Finally, the cable terminates with an L-shaped 3.5mm plug. There is good strain relief from top to bottom which should provide good longevity. Overall, the build of the earphone is good but the cable feels awful cheap.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
The TUNAI Creative Drum is an extremely comfortable earphone. In fact, it ranks among the most comfortable IEMs that I have in my collection. Its wide, rounded front-end fills a large part of the outer ear and the angled nozzle forms a natural and stable fit in the ears.
Noise isolation of the Drum is about average. You can still hear what’s going on around you until you start raising the volume. Noise leak is minimal so other people won’t likely hear your music unless you’re very close and blasting it. As such, the Drum is suitable for most environments.
The TUNAI Creative Drum has a bass-oriented, liquid and chocolaty-smooth sound. It has a warm and rather dark tonality yet it has good resolution and surprising soundstage. This isn’t an IEM aimed at audiophiles who are looking for that clichéd “neutrality” or monster detail but rather for people who just want to enjoy the music and have a good time with it.
With a 32Ω impedance and 105 dB/mW the Drum is easy to drive and works find with any source including smartphones. Its warm tonality makes it pair better with a neutral or bright source.
The Drum’s bass is boosted above neutral and is the star of the show. It has a medium-paced attack and slower decay and has a surprisingly good amount of texture. Its punchy and has a strong impact, making the Drum musical and fun oriented.
The sub-bass has a deep, satisfying rumble that will do justice to any bass drop. It feels powerful and resonates viscerally throughout the housings. Thankfully it feels well-controlled and doesn’t drown out everything in its wake.
The midrange is rich and warm. It’s a little recessed because of the large bass but you’ll still want to sing along to your favourite songs. Vocals sound great and are presented very smoothly.
Even with such a warm and liquid midrange, the Drum sounds good across a wide range of music genres from hip-hop to jazz and even classical.
The Drum’s treble is very laid back but has wonderful extension and timbre. It’s one area that really surprised me about the Drum and in my opinion, its the treble more than anything else that makes this earphone sound great.
This would be a good IEM for the treble-sensitive out there because there’s no harshness, sibilance or piercing highs. The treble has clean and clear notes that prevent the earphone’s warmth from making the overall signature too dark.
Considering the Drum has such a warm tonality it’s really surprising that its soundstage is so large and uncongested. This is likely thanks to the large 13mm dynamic driver and spacious housings.
The Drum has very good depth for a budget earphone and especially for a bass-heavy one such as this. Instrument separation is unexpectedly good for something with this type of rich tonality.
Drum vs NY-06 ($46 USD)
Yinyoo’s NY-06 is a triple driver (2DD+1BA) hybrid IEM. The Drum has a larger and more natural sounding bass. It’s more impactful and has more impact. While the NY-06 can reach deep in the sub-bass, it doesn’t have the same authority as the Drum.
The NY-06 has much more clarity in the midrange but lacks the Drums’ soundstage depth. Vocals and mids can sound a little veiled on the Drum due to its inherent warmth while the NY-06 with it’s upper midrange/lower treble emphasis is clear as day but nowhere near as smooth.
Both IEMs have crisp, clear treble. In fact, the treble on both is very similar but the NY-06 puts it more forward in the mix.
I find the Drum to be more comfortable and it has superior noise isolation. When it comes to build quality though, the NY-06 is in a different league with its metal alloy housings and detachable 2-pin cable.
Drum vs DEAT Hifi Small ($29 USD)
The DEAT Hifi Small has a single dynamic driver just like the Drum, however, the Small’s driver is, well, it’s small…It has a 5.8mm micro-driver compared to the Drums’ 13mm one.
The Drum has a punchier and more weighted bass. In the midrange, the Small has more clarity although it also has a warm tonality. Treble is more aggressive on the Small making it more energetic and less laid-back.
While the Small has a larger than average soundstage in its price segment, the Drum handily outdoes it in this regard. The Drum’s natural and open soundstage is a real asset that sets it apart from many other budget earphones.
TUNAI Creative Drum: Conclusion
The TUNAI Creative Drum is a great sounding earphone for something in the budget range. It is sure to please anyone looking for something with some extra bass and a smooth, warm presentation, particularly those who are treble sensitive.