DUNU, a brand all of us are aware of. They have been making some of the best IEMs in their respective price brackets for long. Black in 2012-13 they introduced DN-2000J which took the whole IEM by storm. That hybrid was the IEM to get. There on DUNU has been making some of the best hybrid earphones. Then they struck gold with their Studio line up. Studio SA6 has been loved by both consumers and reviewers. It is one of the best IEM for under $700 if not the Best. In the same year DUNU came up with their Eclipse series which comprises of single dynamic driver IEMs, led by the flagship Luna.
But here I have their Zen. Launched late last year, Zen is the 2nd IEM in the Eclipse series. Zen does have a fancy story behind it but drops the flagship beryllium driver in favor of a Magnesium-Aluminum alloy dome with nano-porous amorphous carbon coated driver with a fully independent suspension system. It comes in only one color scheme, black, and is priced at $700.
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It faces fierce competition from other single Dynamic driver IEMs like Shozy Blackhole, Moondrop Illumination and Cayin Fantasy, all I have is Blackhole and will pit Zen against the IMR Mia and Fibae 4 too.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:-
DUNU has upped the packaging and unboxing game. SA6 gave a straight forward unboxing experience, Zen has a more elegant more expressive package. To match the Color of the IEM the whole packaging is Black with golden letters. This time around the earpieces are stuffed in foam and the cable is placed just aside it. The switch pins (all 3, none is pre-attached to the cable) and 6 pair of tips can be found under them. Of these 6 pairs 3 are of smoked black tips and the other 3 pairs are Sony tips. A set of smoked white tips, cable clip, cleaning tool, tips carry pouch and an airline adapter can be found in the carry case placed inside a paper box aside the tips set.
If you want to, you can watch my unboxing video here:
HOW IS THE CABLE:-
Most of the Chinese brands have been shipping their earphones with good cables these days, both aesthetically and functionally. DUNU Zen borrows the SA6’s DUW-03 cable. It is one of the best stock cable with IEMs under $1000. This is a classy looking 8 Core, High-Purity, Monocrystalline, Silver-Plated Copper cable with patented dunu quick-switch modular plug system. The 8 core cable looks strong and can withstand some abuse. It has a skin friendly layer of TPU on each core which is fairly supple but is bouncy and a bit on the stiffer side, it does not generate a lot of microphonics but is slightly on the higher side compared to other cables. The biggest USP of this cable are the additional quick-switch plugs and unlike the cheaper models. Both 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced plugs come out of the box. It is a very functional and good quality stock cable which is ready to be used with a variety of sources.
BUILD AND FIT:-
On DUNU Zen’s official page, one can find a handful of slides exhibiting the design concept but if you pay a bit more attention the design language is much more similar to the past models from DK line up and Luna. Yes, it has changes but the off-body MMCX connector and the dome type shell have enough resemblance. There are changes, which is mostly at the back plate design. According to DUNU the inner body had wavelet design but it’s the Back plate which gives it distinction. That conical plate with pressure relieving vent gives Zen its unique identity. It does not have a semi custom type design but the small form factor gives it a secure and comfortable feel. Aptly long nozzle and plays a role too. The nozzle is very wide and can accommodate T400 size tips with ease.
Built with 316 Stainless Steel, Zen is heavy, considering its size it is really heavy at 21g. It is an IEM built like a tank and can take a lot of abuse.