The DUNU Zen is one of the more intriguing products to come across my review desk in recent weeks, thanks mainly to the promise of the very exciting ECLIPSE driver technology.
What’s in the Box?
When it comes to presentation, DUNU hits out of the park right from the start. The packaging consists of a very nice medium sized box with a sleeve over top of it. When you open it you’ll have a very classy “designed by DUNU” sheet on top, and underneath are your IEMs and the cable. This cut out also lifts up to reveal your accessories, which are packed very neatly in an extremely aesthetically pleasing layout, where everything has an exact place. This bottom compartment contains 3 different attachable connectors for your cable - 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm. There’s also a plastic container with 6 pairs of eartips, as well as a smaller box containing your carrying case and a quarter inch adapter.
Design and Fit
The housings here are a very sleek black aluminum, and their look and feel is an absolute win for me. Along with the smooth aesthetic, they also feel very sturdy and have a good amount of weight to them - they feel very solid and well built, but not heavy or uncomfortable.
The cable is also very stylish here, with a great looking black and silver braiding that complements the housing nicely. As for the actual fit here, I found these to be less than perfect, even with the different ear tips. Some IEMs will just slot into my ear perfectly and create a nice seal, but these were a little finicky for my personal ear shape. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of these, it just became more of a factor than it might be in other units that personally fit me better.
Also, check out our video review below.
The big feature to touch on when it comes to these IEMs is the ECLIPSE driver technology. This particular driver is 13.5mm in size, which is easily one of the largest drivers that you’ll find in any IEM on the market. The system is made up of a combination of very high end materials, including a magnesium alloy dome with a specific W shaped morphology for fully independent suspension surround. This is also treated with a nano DLC carbon coating that gives the diaphragm and extremely high level of durability and strength - all of which ensures a very pure and consistent sound reproduction.
Despite all these bells and whistles, the Zen is still quite a low impedance headphone, with a resistance of just 16 ohms. You can use the whole variety of adapters on pretty much any player and the output will still be very comfortable volume wise with plenty of headroom.
These absolutely shattered my expectations in the soundstage department, especially as an IEM. It’s rare to find an in-ear model that has the width and breadth of stereo field that the Zen does. Panning information is very sensitive and active, and when sounds are mixed at the extremes they really feel as if they are projecting far far out to the periphery.
These also feature an exquisite sense of depth. Layers are extremely well articulated here and separation is clear and precise.The more polyphonic and lush your tracks are, the more the immersive quality comes through, really making this a highlet for this particular model.
The low end frequencies here strike a really great balance between detailed accuracy and impactful punch. Bass is adequately full and provides a great thump and drive to any high energy track of your choice. At the same time, the lowest of frequency bands resonates with a great amount of depth, especially in the great amounts of space offered by this particular soundstage. Most importantly, low end is balanced and retains its big presence without bleeding or becoming overbearing.
Midrange is also excellent here, with the focus being detail and clarity. Lower mids have a fullness and balance that grounds the signature, and high mids provide nuanced textures and a great lift to most tracks. Warmer elements like certain vocals and brass instruments are reproduced exquisitely and have a great crispness and resonance that especially stood out to me here.
The highs here are a bit more of a mixed bag, and this is definitely the area where performance was most track dependent. In orchestral and jazz music, the highs had a pleasant brightness, but some heavier tracks like rock seemed a bit too mellowed out by comparison. There was consistently a good amount of sparkly texture, but these sometimes lacked a sense of airyness that would have put these over the top for me.
Overall, the DUNU Zen is a fantastic looking IEM that comes in a beautiful package and sounds genuinely terrific. There are slight quibbles I had with fit and the minutiae of the sound signature, but the soundstage alone makes this unit worth taking a look at.
You can order a pair at Audio46.