Summary – DUNU has taken a similar approach to tune both IEMs and you can hear the similarities when you compare them back to back. Even though they have their similarities, they are still different sounding in their own regard and can hold their own ground at their price points without one overshadowing the other. I’m going to break off from my usual format and try something new considering both of these have similar DUNU DNA and are just a single balanced armature driver apart.
Even though they aren’t tuned to Harman Target curve specifically, they sound very Harman-like, something that U12t does too but doesn’t show it in graphs. As a result, what both DUNUs do really well is balance and tonality, and that is what impressed me right off the bat.
DK-3001 Pro is a very balanced, neutral and linear sounding earphone with nice DD bass which is tuned just north of neutral, more accurate than boosted. It has clean linear lower mids, good gain in upper mids for accurate and forward instrument definition and good lower treble tuning for clarity. DK-2001 on the other hand has similar sub-bass quantity but has more mid-bass presence. Lower mids are ever so slightly on the fuller side and upper mids are even further forward sounding with slightly more snap in lower treble. The only thing I can nitpick about these is the overall lack of good upper treble presence and air, but even then the rest of it is so nicely executed that I don’t mind it that much and these stand their ground with pride in an already over-crowded under $500 segment.
Let’s break it down more…
Bass – I was casually expecting big boosted bass knowing both have a massive 13mm Beryllium coated dynamic driver but nope, they are nicely tuned to sound just slightly on the fun side of neutrality with good extension down low. The tonality and snap of the bass is what grabs your attention right away. Both have good details where one doesn’t have to stress too much to focus on the micro-details like the crunch of the distorted bass or bass pick attack when the song has it. They have decently good slam and weight when a songs like Walk the Moon’s ‘One Foot’ and ‘Shut Up and Dance’ demand it. Kick in ‘Shut up and dance’ has good thump and feel. DK-2001’s extra mid-bass presence is nicely felt here and it does provide some extra fatness to kick drums and single bass notes, whereas 3001 Pro does it in a more refined, linear and balanced way. Kicks have good tonality but do not hit you in the face if they are not mixed that way in the track. With Ed Sheeran’s ‘Take Me Back to London,’ the rumble of 808 sub-bass’ is nice and audible but isn’t right up your face upfront. Instead, it meets a very nice balance with the kick drum and the separation between the two is well done, where the kick has its own space and the rumbly bass is well present alongside without overpowering it.
Overall both DUNUs portray bass just slightly north of neutral; DK-3001 Pro in a linear balanced way and DK-2001 with a bit more mid-bass. Bass head levels of bass is not what you should be expecting from them looking at the size of the dynamic driver and people wanting bass that is fun yet neutral and refined without any bleeding or boominess, will be happy with this.
Mids – Lower-midrange in both is very cleanly done, with DK-3001 Pro having a very linear neutral approach and DK-2001 being slightly fuller sounding in comparison. Upper-midrange is where major differences start showing. Both have very good forward upper-midrange tuning which helps strongly with instrument tonality, definition and details but DK-3001 Pro sounds more balanced and refined whereas DK-2001 takes it a notch up and is more forward sounding of the two. DK-3001 Pro has primary upper mids peak at 3kHz whereas DK-2001 has a bigger peak around 2.2kHz and another one around 4.7kHz. This is what makes them different as they focus on slightly different frequency bands and that tilts the tone of the instruments slightly different from each other. Since DK-2001 is more forward sounding, it may come off slightly peaky at times in comparison (very subjective and mostly at louder levels imo) but it works very well with Pop, EDM and John Mayer kind of music. DK-3001Pro sounds more refined and balanced in my opinion and you can pump up the volume levels more easily with it. DK-2001 pushes guitars and vocals slightly more upfront but its fuller lower-midrange tuning supports its more forward upper-midrange character well and as a result, the overall balance is well maintained. This also allows it to sound very good when listening to music at lower levels.
Treble – Both have ballpark peaks in lower treble around the same frequencies but DK-2001 has ever so slightly more lower treble presence to counter the extra mid-bass presence and fuller lower mids. But overall, both have very well done balanced smooth treble tuning without any artificial sheen or sibilance. This maintains good clarity, details and natural overall character without relying on hyper boosting of treble to bring out extra micro-details. Sadly, where both DUNUs fall short is upper treble extension and air as it kind of rolls off past 10kHz. As a result, both sound slightly laid back in upper treble and lack the sufficient air to bring in the openness I personally like. But then, a lot of IEMs in this price segment have the same problem with upper treble extension, so it’s not just them. In fact, to be fair, the rest of it in both these DUNUs is so nicely executed that I don’t mind it as much. But if only had DUNU tuned in more of that, they would’ve hit the ball out of the park. #wishfulthinking
Soundstage, Imaging and Separation.
Both have a very natural soundstage but aren’t the most open sounding because of the the laid back upper treble. Instead, what they do well is a natural stage that is believable and imaginable. Imaging is good because of the forward upper midrange but isn’t the sharpest because of the smoother treble tuning. Detail retrieval is pretty good for the price and for an easy warm and natural signature but could’ve been even better if they had a bit more upper treble presence.
Blessing2 – DK-2001 has slightly more mid-bass quantity, slam and weight than Blessing2, though Blessing2’s bass has better attack, tonality and is more neutral with its bass presentation. DK-2001 has a slightly fuller lower midrange and a slightly more forward upper midrange compared to Blessing2 whereas Blessing2 is more neutrally accurate with its lower-midrange and upper-midrange presentation and sounds slightly more natural in my opinion but both are equally fun to listen too for me personally. DK-2001 lower treble is very well tuned for its signature but Blessing2 is slightly more natural with its tuning and tonality here. Blessing2 has better upper treble extension and as a result sounds more open and airier than DK-2001, whereas DK-2001 kind of rolls off past 10kHz. Both have good soundstages where Blessing2 sounds open and airier and DK-2001 sounds warmer and fuller. Blessing2 has slightly better detail retrieval owing to better extended upper treble. What one would like and prefer more totally depends on preferences and liking as both are very good value for money IMO.
Tansio Mirai TSMR-4 Pro – 4Pro has slightly more mid-bass quantity with quicker transients whereas DK-2001 has more dynamic and warm bass with slightly better tonality. TSMR has slightly fuller lower mids in the 250-600Hz range but then has a deeper dip around 1kHz. Both have similar forward upper midrange presentation which allows for good strong instrument and vocal definition. Both have similar lower treble tuning and aren’t the best at upper treble extension but maybe TSMR does upper treble just a tad better. Both have very good detail retrieval but 4Pro has a slightly taller and narrower soundstage whereas DK-3001Pro has a wider and more linearly expanding soundstage.
Fearless S6Rui – S6Rui has 6 balanced armatures. It has much more sub-bass and mid-bass presence but DK-2001 has better dynamics and precision. S6Rui is fuller sounding than DK-2001 in lower mids. S6Rui has a forward upper midrange presentation too but has its primary peak around 4kHz whereas DK-2001 has it around 2.2kHz and 4.7kHz. DK-2001 has better treble tuning and better clarity and detail. Both aren’t the best at upper treble tuning but I reckon DK-2001 does slight better there. DK-2001’s soundstage is much wider and expands naturally whereas S6Rui has a more intimate presentation.
BGVP DM7 – DM7 has 6 balanced armatures. DK-2001 has a bit more sub-bass, mid-bass and fuller lower mids than DM7 whereas DM7 has a more linear and neutral presentation, similar to DK-3001Pro. DM7 too has a slightly forwards upper midrange presentation but DK-2001 sounds more forward and as a result pushes instruments and vocals more forward. DM7 has slightly more sparkle in lower treble and both are pretty similar with upper treble extension. DM7’s soundstage is slightly airier but DK-2001 has a wider soundstage.
DUNU DK-3001 Pro
Moondrop S8 – To be fair, S8 in substantially more expensive ($230) than DK-3001Pro, so this isn’t a fair comparison at all but since a lot of people have asked me about this in PMs, let’s do it anyway. Right off the bat, let me tell you that both are very good performers at their particular price points, so go for the one you can easily afford.
S8 is tuned to Moondrop’s version of the Harman Target curve. S8 has slightly more sub-bass presence but DK-3001Pro has more mid-bass presence. Lower mids in DK-3001Pro sound slightly fuller owing to a little more quantity in the lower part of its lower mids. Both have a similar upper mids character but S8 has a typical Harman 3kHz peak and is slightly more forward sounding whereas DK-3001Pro upper mids are slightly calmer in comparison. Both have similar lower treble character but S8 has much better upper treble extension whereas DK-3001Pro kind of rolls off past 10kHz. S8 has a slightly more natural character but DK-3001Pro is no slouch and does very well for its price. Detail retrieval is slightly better in S8 owing to 8 BA drivers and better extended treble. Both have very nice soundstages where DK-3001Pro is a hint wider and S8 has better depth and layering.
Fearless S8F – S8F has 8 BA drivers. S8F is more v-shaped in comparison to DK-3001Pro. S8F has more bass presence overall and fuller lower mids. It has a deeper dip in the lower mids in the 800-1.5kHz region. Both have forward upper mids but S8F has them even more forward with peak prominence around 4kHz instead of 3kHz of DK-3001Pro. As a result, instruments and vocals sound a bit more forward in S8F. S8F also has more lower and upper treble presence and its treble character allows for very nice micro-details but at the cost of it coming off as a little bright, especially to the treble sensitive. DK-3001Pro has a slightly wider soundstage but S8F has a more deeper stage. S8F has better detail retrieval owing to its brighter treble response but DK-3001Pro has a more natural character where details are pretty good for warmer style of tuning.
Fiio FH7 – I have the RED (bass) filter on the FH7 for this comparison. Fiio FH7 has a very different presentation compared to DK-3001Pro. Both have similar bass presence in isolation but DK-3001Pro’s bass has slightly better dynamics and details. DK-3001Pro’s lower mids sound slightly more natural and cleaner. FH7 doesn’t have good upper mids presence and instead focuses on its unique treble character for clarity and detail retrieval. Sometimes FH7’s upper mids also feel a bit hollow and this is where DK-3001Pro performs very naturally with a nice and forward upper mids presentation, a bit like how Harman IEMs do but with an easier boost in the range. Lower treble tuning in both allows for good clarity. FH7 has better upper treble extension but at the same time has much more upper treble quantity too which comes off as a little bright at times, even more with the black or green filter. DK-3001Pro has a natural wide soundstage but FH7’s soundstage may seem open, airy and spacious at the cost of it sounding a little unnatural owing to its treble tuning and less presence in upper mids. DK-3001Pro has a more defined and realistic soundstage.
Tansio Mirai TSMR-5 & 6 – Since TSMR-5 & 6 have a similar character in the overall picture, I’m combining their comparison with DK-3001 Pro. DK-3001Pro has slightly more bass presence and punch than the TSMRs but TSMRs have similar if not the same bass quantity in 123 switch combination. TSMRs are slightly more v-shaped in comparison whereas DK-3001Pro comes off a little warmer in this range. TSMRs have more upper mids presence overall whereas DK-3001Pro is slightly calmer in comparison, which makes DK-3001Pro a smoother listen while TSMRs are more energetic and might come off as peaky at times. TSMRs treble is a little more present and extends slightly further, whereas DK-3001Pro has a more natural treble but sadly rolls off past 10kHz. All three have good soundstages but TSMR IEMs have it cleaner owing to less bass presence and more focus on upper register clarity and a slightly more v-shaped quality. Detail retrieval is better in the TSMRs but at the expense of a more forward upper midrange.
Well, having used both DK-3001Pro and DK-2001 these past months, I can see DUNU have used their rich experience spanning decades with the expertise they’ve put in tuning and manufacturing these earphones. They offer an excellent overall package and ownership experience. Both come with DUNU’s patented Quick-Switch modular plug system which is probably the most convenient thing in the world when you want to jump between different outputs of your devices. Both offer multiple ear tips in the package for you to customise the fit according to your preference as well as very attractive cases. DK-2001 already offers a great overall package but DK-3001Pro takes it one step higher. Not only is DK-3001Pro a bit more refined and balanced sounding of the two, it comes with an even better Litz cable (DUNU’s very own Lyre cable), all 4 modular jack terminations and extra branded SpinFit and Comply ear tips in addition to what DK-2001 already offers, for just a little more money. But then for $300, DK-2001 nails the value for money perspective and ‘almost’ parallels DK-3001Pro in the sound department and maybe some might even prefer DK-2001’s more energetic sound signature if it hits their preferences better. The only thing they both fall short in is upper treble air and extension, which could’ve added the extra spark and propelled them to even bigger heights. But well, the value they provide makes them one of the safest purchases you can make and I can happily recommend them at their price points. So, if they seem to be hitting your preferences closely, definitely give them a shot!
Gear used for testing and review.
- DAPs – iBasso DX160 and Hiby R6 Pro
- Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
- Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow album
- Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia album
- Dave Matthews – Shake Me Like a Monkey
- Foo Fighters – The Pretender, Best of you & Everlong
- Coldplay – Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
- Ed Sheeran – Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
- Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
- John Mayer – Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train & Say
- Gavin James – Always & Hearts on fire
- Switchfoot – Meant to live & Dare you to move
- Porcupine Tree – Sound of Muzak, Blackest Eyes & .3
- Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
- Linkin Park – Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
- Maroon 5 – She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
- Lifehouse – All in all & Come back down
- Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
- Karnivool – Simple boy & Goliath
- Dead Letter Circus – Real you
- I Am Giant – Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
- Muse – Panic station
- James Bay – Hold back the river