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DUNU Falcon Ultra Review : Ruling its Class

Dunu has been making some high quality IEMs for a while. Since the days of DN-1000j they have winner in their hands. They do stay a bit under the radar for a while but when they rise they get up with a bang. It is one of those rare brands that make some of more desirable IEMs in a handful of price ranges. I still get asked about the SA6 and as per my personal opinion, EST112 is still one of the best IEMs under $500. 

Dunu is one the rare brands that maintain a full array of DD IEMs. Their eclipse series of IEMs deliver high quality DD in various prices. Luna was the flagship, Falcon series is the entry model while Zen is the mid ranger. What I have here with me is the latest IEM of this series. Falcon Ultra is a more refined version of the Falcon Pro, Dunu’s lower mid range competitor. Incorporated with the Eclipse technology, this IEM demands attention. Priced at $239 it houses a 10.7mm DD and comes in the new deep blue colour. It goes head on against the Simgot EA1000 and Oriveti OD200. I will put it against the QoA Aviation too.

Get one from here:

https://www.dunu-topsound.com/product-page/falcon-ultra

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:-

We gets a straight forward unboxing experience and is very similar to the SA6 packaging with no obstruction. The earpieces and cable are placed inside their cloth covered carry pouch along with the switch pins and an extra pair of tuning nozzles while the ear tips are placed inside a paper box under the green carry pouch. Falcon Ultra comes with a lot of tips, it has sets of smoked white tips, their own reversed tips, 3 pair of spinfit tips and the blue core tips end the long list of tips. There is a cleaning tool, tips carry pouch and the 6.5mm adapter ends list of usable accessories out of the box.

If you want to, you can watch the unboxing here:

HOW IS THE CABLE:-

Most of the Chinese brands have been shipping their earphones with good cables these days. But now the craze is about the additional terminations out of the box so that the buyer does not need to invest more on another cable with balanced termination. Unlike the more premium IEMs the Falcon Ultra ships with “Q-Lock lite” plugs. It ships with the good looking DUW-02 Pro which is a 4 Core, Silver-Plated Copper cable. This 4 core cable is different from what we used to see on Zen or SA6 but is more supple and softer to the hand reducing bounciness and microphonics compared to the DUW-03. The biggest USP of this cable are the additional quick-switch plugs and both 4.4mm and 3.5mm SE plugs come out of the box adding to its functionality (ready to be used with a variety of sources).

BUILD AND FIT:-

We get the exactly same ergonomics and build quality as the Falcon Pro, but, instead of Chrome plating, we get glossy blue paint on it. It uses stainless steel shells which is light weight. I did not had any problem with the heavier Zen but lighter Falcon Ultra is a lot more comfortable. It is sturdy and strong, it definitely won’t break if dropped but that might dislocate the drivers inside. Glossy blue finish on the earpieces gives it an elegant look. It does not have a semi-custom like ergonomic shell but should fit without much problem. Falcon Ultra has exactly same inner shell design as the Pro but this time around it is not as loaded with vents. It has 3 pressure releasing vents and I wonder what will happen if some of them are closed..

I had no problem with the depth but I did struggle a bit with the stability inside the ear, I can’t blame it on the tip because I did try a lot of tips and most of them had similar feel.

PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-

SPECIFICATIONS:

DRIVE MODULE10.7mm Dynamic Driver
IMPEDANCE16 Ohms @1kHz.
SENSITIVITY108dB±1dB @ 1kHz
THD<0.3% at 1kHz
FREQUENCY RESPONSE5Hz-40kHz.

From the specs one can guess that driving this IEM should not be a huge problem and that’s true, it does not take a much to make this single DD IEM sing. Drive it out of a mobile phone and it sounds good, only thing compromised are separation, stage and note’s weight. Thankfully not much micro details are lost. Use a clean sounding source and Falcon Ultra will be at its best.

When driven out of my daily driver GT10 pro it sounds a bit more restrained with note’s depth and weight and the stage loses some depth while gaining some intimacy. Details at the base of instruments are missing but it’s not bad at all. When driven out of Hdiszs S8 pro the it sings at its fullest potential delivering excellent details and coherency, lower end gains a bit more body and the whole spectrum gains more definition and resolution. The stage too exhibits better height and width.

NOZZLES AND THEIR VARIATIONS:

One of the USP of the Falcon Pro is its tuning nozzles. It has 2 of these. These nozzles do affect the sound signature but it doesn’t restrict effortless delivery irrespective of the nozzle used. No compressions or lack of air to worry about either.

Blue nozzle can sound a bit dry and slightly lifeless. It has slightly less bass weight, sound a bit lean and extra sparkly but has better treble air and bigger stage. Golden Nozzle is the more musical and less fatiguing one with better bass body, more natural tonality and timber. Its treble isn’t lacking energy, sparkle or air between instruments but the stage is slightly less extended in X-axis.

SOUND QUALITY:

It’s much easier to write about an IEM you enjoy and that’s exactly where I am. Falcon Pro was a bit less consistent and slightly wobbly with its presentation but Dunu has taken care of that with the Ultra version. This is a lot more refined and mature. It doesn’t sound stressed in the upper mids with better control over bass.

There is a perception that this is a warm sounding IEM but I don’t feel that much warmth here. I find the Falcon Ultra to be fairly neutral with the blue filter and maybe slightly warm with the golden nozzle yet it’s very much in the neutral side. This isn’t a bassy IEM by a small margin. This is a more complete sounding IEM that is tuned to tackle complex tracks, just like the Simgot EA1000. It too is a slightly V shaped IEM but is more balanced and sonically superior to the EA1000. We get a warmish neutral tonality with a slightly analogue and cohesive timber.

I am using the stock smoke tips and Fiio Q15 along with the DDhifi TC44 PRO E2 for this review.

BASS:

The only driver inside this extremely capable IEMs handles the lower end like a champion. It delivers a wholesome yet well controlled lower end. It’s never boomy and doesn’t feel dry or lifeless unless warranted, exhibiting it’s range and technical abilities. These notes are aptly clean with high quality texture too.

Sub-bass is deeper than expected with very good rumbles. It moves very good amount of air. Lower mid bass is very well defined with plenty of rumble and layers. Mid bass is slightly fuller with very good area of impact and body. Notes are focused very good centre punch but the outer part of the notes aren’t lacking definition either.

It’s has very good dynamics and control, hitting upper bass notes cleanly is not an issue. There are barely any loose notes. It at times can feel a bit heavier and slightly less resolving. Decay is dynamically paced which let’s the notes precipitate, gain weight when needed and delivers dry and faster notes without much problem. 

MID RANGE:

This IEM is simply lovely for the details seekers. It’s definition, resolution and clarity are top notch. Delicious I must say. We get some of best transparency and energy with superb note height across the mid range. Notes aren’t thin but they aren’t warm or full bodied so if you want smooth and soft notes this not it. 

Male vocals are not very throaty while female vocals are superbly accurate. Both have very good texture on the body with very good finishing definition and clarity. This extra bit of energy can feel a bit tiring to some of us. Falcon Ultra’s technical ability is so good that it can put clean air and some of the best layering between back and foreground instruments. The best track is “Black eyed peas – boom boom pow”. While the Shuoer S15 is no slouch, Falcon Ultra is in another level. We get very good attack and transparency in the upper mids which can come off as a bit aggressive to some but this definitely enhances its clarity, giving it a more detailed presentation.

TREBLE:

Falcon Ultra has an excellent treble region especially when we look at the transparency, lively and agile notes, clarity and macro details. I will go on to say that this is one of the most detailed IEM one can buy under $300. This is another region where the Falcon Ultra exhibits its technical abilities.  It has excellent accuracy with body as the notes have well defined base and some of the best finishing definition without any piercing or extra sharpness to worry about. We get some of the best layering and separation enhanced with excellent definition and air between instruments. Unlike the Pro which laced some finer details, Ultra has no issues like that. The biggest positive is the consistency, it doesn’t get hot or cold and has a some of the best uniformity when it comes to emphasis and energy across the spectrum. The balance and level headed feel is simply a lot mature for its price.

I know this is not a thing to worry about for most of us but for those looking for a smooth and calm treble might find this a bit too agile and maybe slightly tiring. It’s not that the notes are not well rounded, it’s the extra bit of height and energy that can cause a little bit of discomfort.

STAGE AND IMAGING:

One thing that sets this Dunu IEM apart from the competition is the stage and imaging. Every improvement we see here is because of this. This stage is much bigger and brings in a lot more air between instruments. We get a well rounded stage with very good height and one of the best X-axis width. It’s kind of hard to believe but we get very good Z-axis presence too. Falcon Ultra places instruments all around the head. Most of the vocals generate inside the head and end out of it. Bass notes hit and move up, giving a top firing kind of experience. Some mid range and treble notes find themselves placed totally out of the head.

Imaging is superb with very good accuracy and precision. We get clean and clear notes with high quality definition. Sonics as I mentioned earlier are superb with excellent reverbs and transient effects. All these, when come together, even with complex tracks, sound excellent and if the track has very good contrast of back and foreground instruments, the whole experience is captivating.

COMPARISONS:

VS Letshuoer S15:

VS Oriveti OD200:

VS Simgot EA1000:

This is an interesting one. EA1000 is high on details too, just like the Falcon Ultra but has a prominent V shaped signature which makes an impact on its overall quality.

Bass is a bit more sub-bass heavy on the EA1000 with a smaller body and area of impact. Falcon ultra is more natural here with better dynamics and layered delivery. Mid range is where the EA1000 doesn’t really compete with the DUNU, it sounds a bit limited and lacks with height and air. Falcon Ultra not only sounds airy or more textured, it has better resolution and clarity. Treble on the other hand is slightly more open and airy on the Simgot. It has better, cleaner presentation. Falcon Ultra is not much behind but it’s a bit more relaxed than the occasionally sharp and thin sounding EA1000. Stage is where the Falcon Ultra is in a different level, it has much bigger expansion is every direction and has a more even density where the EA1000 can feel compressed at times.

If you ask me, Falcon Ultra is clearly the better IEM here.

CONCLUSION:

In my books, Falcon Ultra is an exceptional IEM. Dunu rectified all the issues they had with the Pro version and that in its own makes this the IEM to get. If you want details and definition, this is the one to get. Let it be stage, layering, sonics and positioning, it’s hard to fault this beautiful IEM. We have no issues with build and the set of accessories is high quality too. Yes, this is not a bassy IEM, or a very musical/smooth sounding one but what it brings to the table as a whole is a lot more than what the asking price suggests.

If you want a slightly detail oriented IEM that doesn’t have any issues with sharpness or aggression, this is the one to get under $300.

Thanks for reading folks, Enjoy your music!!

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Suman Sourav Meher

Suman Sourav Meher

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!

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