Details: Second-generation hybrid earphone from DUNU

MSRP: approx $315 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $259 from amazon.com$295 from ebay.com $315 from CTC Audio (US/Canada)
Specs: Driver: Dual BA + dynamic hybrid | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 102 dB | Freq: 10-30k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Wide-channel single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down (preferred) or over-the-ear

Accessories (5/5) –  Single-flange wide-channel (3 sizes), single-flange narrow-channel (3 sizes), and bi-flange (3 sizes) silicone tips, foam tips, eartip spacer set (6 pairs in 3 sizes), ear fins (2 pairs), ear stabilizers (2 pairs), shirt clip, ¼” adapter, airline adapter, cleaning cloth, pair of cable guides, crush-resistant metal carrying case, and integrated cable wrap
Build Quality (4.5/5) – Like other DUNU earphones, the DN-2000 is very solidly constructed. The gold- and coffee-colored metal housings have a matte finish and the cable us DUNU’s typical TPE – soft, smooth, and tangle-resistant. “Genghis Khan” is printed on the side of the housings in Cyrillic script – not really sure why. The machined aluminum y-split, plug, and cable cinch add to the premium feel. The earfin retention nubs help identify left and right earpieces more quickly
Isolation (3.5/5) – Some of the best among hybrid earphones
Microphonics (4.5/5) – Very good when worn cable-down; nonexistent when worn over-the-ear
Comfort (3.5/5) – The DN-2000 is similar to the older DN-1000 in size and shape. It is moderately large and a bit heavy for a straight-barrel design but can be worn cable-up, which makes it feel lighter in the ear. DUNU provides an extensive fit kit with plenty of eartips, three sets of eartip spacers (same ones included with the DN-1000), and new earfins in two different styles. The eartip spacers change where the eartip sits on the nozzle and can be used to position the housings farther out of the ear. They have an effect on sound similar to what is normally accomplished with tip rolling. However, some of the possible tip/spacer combinations make it easy for the tips to slip off the nozzles and it really does take some experimenting to find the optimal combination.

The earfins are installed using a retention arm on the side of the housing and are meant to keep the earphones in the ear more securely, likely a reaction to those who complained about the weight of the DN-1000 model. On the whole, DUNU has done all they can to make the earphone comfortable, allowing dozens of different combinations for the fit (and sound), but the DN-2000 still would not be my first pick for smaller-sized ears

Sound (9.3/10) – Having tested the hybrid IEM market with the impressive DN-1000, DUNU attempted to improve on the formula of combining robust dynamic-driver bass with clear mids and treble with a second-generation hybrid, the DN-2000.

The DN-2000 is by no means lacking in bass, but its low end is a little less emphasized than that of the DN-1000. There’s not really a mid-bass hump to deliver a conventional bass-heavy sound, but there is still plenty of low end presence on the whole. Bass extension is especially impressive – there is more depth to the low end of the DUNU than that of the pricier AKG K3003, for instance. Indeed, the AKG unit, in its “reference” configuration, delivers less enhanced but also slightly tighter bass than the DN-2000.

Compared to the VSonic VC1000, a high-end reference-flat BA earphone, the DUNU provides a bassier sound with a thicker, more natural note presentation. It comes out ahead of the TWFK-based VSonic set in overall SQ – something the DN-1000 didn’t quite manage.

The sound sig of the DN-2000 is a little v-shaped (or u-shaped, to be more exact) but its midrange is more prominent than that of the DN-1000, resulting in better overall balance as well as even better clarity and intelligibility. Clarity is just a hair behind the AKG K3003, which has slightly tighter bass and a thinner note presentation.

The treble of the DN-2000 is nicely extended and plenty sparkly. In fact, one of the earphone’s greatest strengths is great end-to-end extension, which is only made more apparent by its emphasis on deep bass and treble that carries much of its energy up high, as opposed to the upper-mid/low treble region.

Worth noting is that the DN-2000 is very sensitive to fit when it comes to treble quality. With the right combination of eartips, spacers, and insertion depth it’s quite refined for the quantity present. There’s definitely enough to properly convey the energy of cymbals, and yet compared to the DN-1000 the new model is slightly more tolerant of harshness and sibilance due to smoother lower highs. It’s still far from what I’d call “forgiving” and can be said to teeter just on the correct side of sibilance, but fares better than most earphones of the type.

The presentation of the DN-2000 is wide and airy – typical for a mildly v-shaped earphone with broad end-to-end extension, but more expansive than most. The soundstage is wider and more open compared to the DN-1000 and even the K3003, putting the DN-2000 well above average in that regard, but its low end can get boomier than that of the AKG unit on bass-heavy tracks, which doesn’t do the soundstage any favors. 

Select Comparisons

VSonic GR07 Classic ($99)

Compared to the dynamic-driver VSonic GR07, the DN-2000 has an advantage in bass depth and treble smoothness, the note presentation is a little thicker, and the soundstage is a little more even in depth and width. The GR07 and even GR07 Bass Edition don’t have the sub-bass of the DN-2000 and sound more sibilant and less smooth up top. The DN-2000 has a slightly thicker and more natural note presentation, but bass control and overall clarity are on-par with the VSonics. The soundstage of the DN-2000 is a little more even in terms of width and depth and just better-imaged overall. 

T-Peos Altone200 ($185)

The Altone200 is an impressive earphone, especially considering the much lower price tag, but lacks some refinement compared to the DN-2000. The DUNU is a little warmer and more balanced, with a more full-bodied midrange. However, the bass of the more v-shaped Altone2000 seems more impactful and digs deeper, standing out more next to its thinner, more recessed midrange. Clarity is very impressive with the T-Peos unit, augmented by its brighter treble. The DN-2000 can usually keep up in clarity, but only barely. Up top, the T-Peos is a little hotter through the upper mids and lower treble, with greater tendency towards sibilance, while the DN-2000 is smoother and more refined. 

DUNU DN-1000 ($200)

The DN-2000 is about $100 more expensive than the model it supersedes. I don’t know if it can be called a direct upgrade over the DN-1000, but it does offer a few improvements. The most noticeable is the presentation – the higher-end model is more spacious. It creates a wider, airier, more spaced-out sonic image, making the DN-1000 sound more intimate and a touch congested in comparison. Part of the reason the DN-2000 is able to do this is a slight decrease in bass emphasis. Its sound is more balanced than that of the lower-end model, but it is by no means light on low end presence and maintains impressive bass impact, detail, and extension.

The midrange of the DN-2000 is more prominent and in better balance with the low end, which contributes to better vocal clarity. The treble has plenty of energy but seems to be a touch more refined on the newer model. The DN-2000 is nicely extended and just as sparkly as the DN-1000, but a little more tolerant of sibilance when it comes down to it. All in all, I consistently preferred the DN-2000, but the differences are subtle enough that I wouldn’t advocate DN-1000 owners to throw away their earphones just yet – hip-hop and EDM listeners, for example, may not see much benefit from the new tuning or even find the bassier, slightly more v-shaped DN-1000 preferable. 

Fidue A83 ($280)

The A83 and DN-2000 are both high-end triple-driver hybrid earphones that, to my ears, differ most in presentation, with the A83 having a more out-of-the-head sound but appearing more distant and diffuse, and the DN-2000 sounding more focused and cohesive, but also a bit more closed-in. The Fidue set carries less emphasis in the sub-bass region and more in the mid-bass region, which actually makes its low end sound a little more integrated into the overall sound but takes away from the slam of the bass. The midrange of the DN-2000 is a little more recessed but has better crispness and definition in comparison. The DN-2000 also tends to be smoother up top with the right combination of tips and spacers.

Audiofly AF180 ($550)

Audiofly’s quad-driver AF180 is very good competition for the DN-2000, offering a slightly warmer and smoother sound at the expense of a bit of clarity and spaciousness. The DN-2000 has more bass quantity with deeper sub-bass reach, providing more “slam” on top of greater overall presence. It has a slightly more v-shaped signature, however, and sounds brighter than the AF180. The Audiofly unit boasts more upfront mids and sounds a little warmer and more natural. Clarity is on-par much of the time, but occasionally the brighter DN-2000 pulls ahead, which also affords it better intelligibility. Up top, the DN-2000 is a little bolder and can harsher as a result, whereas the Audiofly is a bit more tame and smooth. The DN-2000 also has a wider presentation while the AF180 sounds a little more intimate – but still plenty spacious and well-imaged for an IEM.

LEAR LUF-4B ($565)

The DN-2000 holds its own very well against the nearly twice as expensive LEAR LUF-4B, the bass-heavy version of LEAR’s universal-fit quad-BA earphone. The LEAR unit is a little warmer than the DN-2000, with slightly more powerful but nonetheless tighter bass. The DN-2000 actually sounds a little boomy next to the LUF-4B, but is brighter and otherwise clearer. The LEAR has more emphasis in the upper midrange and lower treble region, whereas the DN-2000’s brightness comes from emphasis higher up. This leads to the DN-2000 occasionally sounding smoother and more forgiving, but on most tracks the two are pretty even in that respect. The presentation of the LUF-4B is a touch more closed-in whereas the DN-2000 sounds a little more airy and open.

For the sake of fairness, I also pitted the DN-2000 against the less bassy LUF-4F model. The 4F puts up a better fight in ways that matter – while it still carries more emphasis in the upper midrange and lower treble, sounding harsher and less forgiving as a result, it is clearer than the DN-2000 and has a more neutral sound. Bass quality is even better than with the LUF-4F, though quantity is also reduced to below-DN-2000 levels. The bassier DN-2000 is warmer and a touch less balanced and coherent on the whole. 

Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro (approx. $1100)

The Harmony 8 Pro is a high-end custom-fit earphone with a very clear, resolving sound that I thought would make for a good way to gauge how much room for improvement there is left with the DN-2000. The most noticeable difference between the two is in the bass region, where the H8P is rather flat and the DN-2000 isn’t. The bass of the DN-2000 is deeper, with greater sub-bass quantity as well as impact. However, next to the H8P, the low end of the DN-2000 sounds quite overbearing and fairly muddy. In addition to tighter bass, the Custom Art unit sounds more neutral. It also has an advantage in clarity and sounds more laid-back and spacious versus the more intimate DN-2000, with better imaging and detail resolution.

Value (9/10) – DUNU’s latest flagship, the DN-2000, pulls out all the stops in an attempt to improve on the preceding model. The packaging is significantly nicer and the accessory pack is bordering on excessive, adding several new bits and bobs to the DN-1000’s already-extensive kit to help stabilize the earphone in the ear. With all of the various eartips and accessories, it is a tinkerer’s dream, though that also means it requires more time and effort to use effectively.

In terms of sound quality, the DUNU DN-2000 is a successful hybrid design. It manages to leverage the bass of the dynamic driver without having it overwhelm the mids and highs, maintains pretty good coherency, and extracts the expected clarity and detail from the balanced armatures without losing note thickness. In its price range, it is one of the IEMs to beat for sheer performance.

Pros: Great end-to-end extension, deep bass, wide presentation, good clarity; very well-made; extensive fit kit and accessory pack
Cons: Physically large and a bit heavy in the ear