We all are aware of DUNU the makers of the legendary DN-2001 and DK-3001. They are making a lot of waves with their latest flagship LUNA, their beryllium driver IEM which is priced at over $1500. What they don’t promote a lot is their array of aftermarket cables. Even before their resurgence last year (with a lot of IEMs) they were selling handful of aftermarket cables. They refreshed their lineup last year and came up with lucrative names for their cables like “Noble” “Hulk” “Chord” and “Lyre”.

Here we will be discussing about the DUW-02 and Chord cables. DUW-02 is priced at $80 and the Chord is priced at $209. What is really interesting is that only the DUW-02 comes with both the MMCX and 2-pin options. The Chord only has MMCX. They do not have any color options, the DUW-02 has grey and Chord has dark brown color options.

In the market where brands are aggressively promoting their cables these DUNU cables have a lot of competition. I don’t have a lot of cables but what I have with me are a few good cables.

Here are few links from where you can get the DUW-02:-

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000561004940.html

https://www.dunu-topsound.com/product-page/duw-02-cable  (here you can choose the 2pin version)

Get the Chord from these places:-

https://www.dunu-topsound.com/product-page/chord

WHAT IS IN THE BOX:-

Some brands like to add fancy things in the box but DUNU doesn’t pack their cables with a lot of stuff. Both the cables ship with exactly same set of accessories and box. In the box the only useful thing is the cable tie. A silica packet, a manual on how to change the quick switch plugs and a small certificate card concludes the list of things in the box.

While buying the Chord, you can choose the plug of your preference without paying extra. You can opt for 3.5mm single ended, 2.5mm balanced and 4.4mm pentaconn.

BUILD QUALITY and DESIGN:-

Both the cables have high purity silver plated OCC copper litz wires. Each wire in the 02 has another interference killing wire to deliver clean and high fidelity sound. The 02 uses Taiwan’s Neotech cables which has high purity single crystal copper with silver plating on it. It improves transmission efficiency and lowers loss.

The Chord has more tech and silver in it. It utilizes a complex multi-strand core design, with high-purity Furukawa Electric OCC copper and DHC pure silver wires interwoven between one another. To minimize interference, it is hand-braided with a round Litz configuration.

Both the cables have high quality material used for the outer layer. They have soft and skin friendly material which helps in reducing microphonics. The 02 is very supple and is very easy to wind. Chord on the other hand is slightly on the stiffer side and is slightly bouncy, mostly because of the hand braiding and better Litz tech. Both the cables have good protective layers.

These cables have catch-hold MMCX connectors. It creates some kind of vacuum which helps in better lock and improved connectivity. The biggest positive of these cables is the Quick Switch modular plugs. It changes the termination of the cable while saving a lot of money as you don’t have to spend on a whole cable. All you have to do is to buy the quick switch plug of your choice for just $20 and swap it with the stock one. The switch plugs options are 2.5mm balanced, 3.5mm balanced and 4.4 pentaconn (the 3.5mm comes as default). Changing the termination is very easy. Refer to this image:-

What DUNU has done here is that they have kept the cables simple. They don’t shine like some fancy cables. They looks more sober and matures.

Chord
DUW02

SOUND QUALITY:-

These cables are crazy good when it comes to Stage expansion. I have encountered more expensive cables but even they are not as good as these cables. The DUW-02 with its copper dominated mix brings out a bit more bass and the Chord with its more silver dominated mix has a bit more extension at both the ends along with better transparency.

P.S. Stock cable means the cable that ships with an earphone.*

DUW02:-

With some presence of silver in its core it doesn’t go all out with the bass , it shows better control and doesn’t let the lower end get wooly or loose. The notes are a bit tighter and more focused. The Sub-bass has very good extension and clarity. It has slightly better details and accuracy compared to the cables that ship with the IEMs and cheap after market copper cable. The mid bass is slightly less voluminous, the notes are tighter and a hair faster, the slam and air is not compromised. The upper bass is untouched. Mid range gains better clarity with slightly more attack and bite. The transparency is much better than even some decent out of the box and after market cables. The vocals are very delicate and accurate, the tonality and texture are a hair better. Small changes in the notes body are more evident and so are micro details. The upper mids are slightly more energetic and can be a bit aggressive in comparison.  The Treble region has a hair better extension and a bit mote sparkle and energy. All the instruments feel more alive and agile.

The biggest change is with the stage size and imaging. The stage feels at least 20-25% bigger than stock cables. I love this expansion and thanks to more accurate and a bit sharper notes there is more air between instruments. The bass is placed inside the head as usual but the instruments have more out of the head presence. The cues are placed further and the sonicality is far more improved.

When paired with the DUW02 earphones gain around 15-20% bigger stage size and better resolution with more clarity. The only down side is that pairing it with an already aggressive sounding earphone can make things a bit more aggressive. Pair it with a bit slow and lush sounding IEM like Aedle ODS-1 and it will gain more transparency and better clarity.

Chord:-

The chord with more silver in its core is like a DUW-02 on steroids. It shows a bit more SPC like characteristics with more control over bass notes and better extension at both ends. The lower end loses a bit more bass body in exchange for faster decay speed and more accuracy. The slam and air is there but now it is faster. Texture and details across the spectrum are better. The mid range is more forward with a bit more energy and attack giving notes better definition and accuracy. Vocals have very good balance of sharpness, accuracy and plenty of texture. The upper mid is a bit more energetic and with an IEM with a peak in this area things can be a bit undesirable. The treble feels even more cleaner with fantastic layering and separation. The energy is maintained even when it goes higher in the spectrum. The energy is even more present with higher frequencies.

The Steroid feels more real when it comes to stage size, it just gets in the line with decent balanced cables. Compared to the Stock* cables the Chord has around 40% bigger stage. It has even better presence out of the head and the cue placement is even more distant. The sonicality improves and turns an average IEM like Whizzer A15 into a more technical and much more mature sounding earphone.

It adds more energy, better accuracy, clarity, transparency and even bigger stage than the DUW02.

Pairing:-

Onkyo E900m x DUW02 (8.5/10):-

The E900m is already an accurate and musical sounding earphone. The paring brings more accuracy and details to the table. The bass is tighter and notes are faster. The mid range is no more deep in the V. It has a bit more forwardness and clarity with a hair more accuracy and sharpness. Vocals have better transparency and doesn’t sound drowned any more. Treble is more even with better energy until the end. Layering and separation is better and takes the E900s to the top of the $500 IEM list. The stage is considerably bigger with very good density and instrumental distribution. On the down side the whole signature is slightly drier.

With Chord (8.8/10):-

The biggest difference is the stage size, it is even bigger delivering a more involving and immersive experience. The bass is a bit more tighter with slightly better sub-bass extension and rumble. The mid range is more leveled with better energy. Vocals are even more precise and accurate with better texture and definition.  The instruments have fantastic attack. Notes have more even body emulating better sense of space. It is exactly same with the treble region, more energy, better extension, more precision and transparency. If the DUW02 missed out on any details the Chord will pick it up without any problem. Don’t pair it with something as dry and lean as the ER-4P and you are good to go.

Aedle ODS-1 x DUW02 (9/10):-

The ODS01 is not a bassy IEM anymore. The whole lower end gains a bit faster decay and notes feel tighter. The slam is there but is a bit less meaty. The mid range feels a bit more defined and the resolving details are a notch better. I love the way it makes the slightly thicker lower mid range notes a bit more sharp. The treble region which has a bit of roll off at higher frequencies gains a bit more energy and is more even now. Layering and separation improves and instruments have better space and air between them. The stage size opens up a bit more with better out of the head presence.

With Chord (9.5/10):-

The ODS-1 in general has very good stage height and the chord takes is to another level. It feels huge and vast, the cue placement is much better with very good density and space between instruments. The layering and separation now takes the ODS-1 in to the league of earphones twice more expensive. The level of details improves drastically. It makes the ODS-1 more mature, resolving even more details. The sub-bass feel more present with better rumble. The bass is more focused with accurate notes thickness and body while maintaining nice musicality. Mid range and treble region gain more energy and notes feel even more alive and agile. Layering and separation are vastly improved with superior instrument positioning.

This cable really opens up the ODS-1 and the paring is one of the best, delivering very good musicality while bringing out the more technical and detailed side of the IEM.

DK-2001 (9.3/10):-

The Chord brings more details, even more sub-bass presence and the stage size is around 15% bigger than the cable out of the box which is the DUW02. The Pairing really opens up the 2001 with better decay speed and a bit more forward mid range. Notes have better accuracy and thanks to the bigger stage layering and separation are better.

Comparison:-

VS ElectroAcousti Copper cable (special order) (2.5mm) ($60):-

The copper cable is one of the most beautiful looking cables in this price range, the aesthetics of it is intriguing. The build quality is equally impressive but the quick switch pins of the DUNU reigns supreme when it comes to functionality.

Sound quality wise it betters the single ended DUW02 by a small margin. It delivers bigger stage, slightly better bass body, better rumble and a bit more details across the spectrum. On the down side it makes the mid range a bit less forward and the treble is not as extended. When the pins are switched from SE to 2.5mm balanced the DUW02 get up to this cable. It has similar stage size but the treble feels more energetic with better extension.

Against the Chord SE on the other hand has equally big stage size with slightly better extension at both ends and more energy at upper treble region. It just doesn’t have anything better than the Chord, let it be details, notes accuracy and even layering and separation the Chord sounds superior and cleaner.

SGaudiohive Allegro (2.5mm) ($88):-

The Pure copper cable doesn’t really bring much more to the table except better balance and notes accuracy. The lower end is more voluminous with a bigger slam and better rumble compared to the DUW02. The mid range is less forward, the notes are slightly on the thicker side. Laying and separation is a hair less accurate. There is no gain in stage size.

It is marginally better than the SE DUW02 but is nowhere close to SE Chord or even Balanced DUW02.

Chord VS DUW02:-

The chord is a better IEM from the word go. It just brings out better details, has more accurate notes, layering and separation is better, micro details have better transparency and the stage size is bigger. The Chord has better technicality and sonicality too.

SUMMARY:-

If you have a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced source just get a pin and you can use the earphone with both the 3.5mm and balanced source without removing the earpieces from the cable. The quick switch technology not only save money but also elongates the life of the socket. 

If you have a good quality earphone or if you have an earphone which suits your taste better than anything else and you are looking to get more out of as you cannot find a satisfying upgrade to it, you should upgrade to the DUW02. If you have the same situation and your IEM is in the range of $300+ you should opt for Chord, it really brings out the best of the earphone. These cables have huge improvements over the IEMs stock cable in every aspect let it be sound, stage or functionality these cables are considerably better.

If you are in the market looking for a good quality cable for your IEM, you just cant wrong with these cables.

The biggest USP of these cables are the quick switch connectors. You can choose from 2.5mm or 4.4mm pins.  The quick switch connector lets the jack to be swapped without buying a whole new cable. It saves a lot of money while providing plenty of flexibility. These are not the cheapest cables in the, in fact these cables are on the expensive side and they are totally worth it.