Review: Dunu DN-19 "Tai Chi" 2 birds with one stone

Dunu DN-19 “Tai Chi”

I would like to thank Rocky from Dunu for supplying me with this sample to review, I will try and write as honest a review possible.

These are part of Dunu’s silver impact series, which all include silver plated copper cables.

These received more than 50hrs of burn in, and the sound did tighten, so don’t judge them straight out of the box.

Gear used:
IPod Classic 7G (rockboxed) > Dunu DN-19
(amping didn’t bring a worthwhile improvement)

Driver: Dynamic HQ 10mm
Sensitivity: 100db
Impedance: 16Ω
F. Response: 16 Hz – 26 kHz
Noise attenuation: 26db
Cable length: 1.3m

Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:

As always Dunu offer great packaging, a very nice black box with a picture of the IEM’s on the front and specifications on the back. Out of this box slides another box which flips open (held closed by a magnet) to show the DN-19 in a velvet covered plastic tray. Below is the hard case to store them in, and underneath the tray are the rest of the accessories. Dunu always do a great job with packaging, classy and easy to get to.

Accessories are another strong point of Dunu, they come packed with a soft carry pouch, a hard carry case, 2 sets of ear guides, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, a flight adapter and a little black case, which has a cleaning cloth, the bass port covers, and the tips which are:
Grey (S, M, L)
Black (S, M, L)
A great array of accessories as always and very nicely presented.

Build quality in general is very good, these don’t have the metal housing like a lot of Dunu’s models, but 1. This keeps the weight down, and 2. They are more comfortable.

So the housing is plastic, but very precisely finished, and well put together, strain reliefs are perfect on the housing and the L shaped jack, the y-split is fine and has a chin slider.

The plate on the housing is metal though, which adds a bit of class without standing out.
Now for the cable, these have a different silver plated cable than the other silver impact models, the coating is more rubbery and transparent, and it looks and feels much better quality. Also even without the ear guides, the cable goes over your ear easily and stays in place.

Comfort, Isolation, Driver flex and Microphonics:

Comfort is very good, as the cable goes over your ear and these are shallow insertion they are very comfy for extended listening sessions and the housing is smooth and ergonomic. I myself am a fan of deep insertion, so it’s a bit odd getting used to shallow insertion as I feel like they are almost falling out all the time, when actually they are fine.

Isolation is pretty average as they are shallow insertion, so don’t expect them to block out high levels of noise, but for general use and most public transport they are fine.

Driver flex does affect these, not too badly, but if I try to insert them deeper, it creates suction and doesn’t sound right. Driver flex is only present when inserting/re-adjusting them.

Microphonics are pretty nonexistent as the cable is very well made and goes over your ear which tends to eliminate this problem.

Arranged via tips and bass port adjustments:

Black tips, Bass port open:

With this arrangement the sound is very sub-bass driven, kick drums have real body to their sound, and rumble is just incredible. They don’t have as much mid bass punch with this arrangement, as it increases mainly the sub-bass. Bass lovers these are perfect, I found them to work a treat with EDM and the likes, but the bass like this is not very quick in recovery, so they sound slightly slow.

Well im impressed, with all that bass the mids still fair well, being slightly laid back and recessed, but with enough detail to not make them sound dull and boring. You can still hear vocals clearly, although the lows do warm them up a bit, and guitars still cut through fine. No sibilance can be detected in the upper mids.

Well, the highs are laid back, and not at all bright. They don’t lack extension so much as presence, they sound a bit dull and lifeless. They still have sparkle and shimmer, but they are left behind in the mix a bit. I must say though that the highs are not as bad as I make them sound, as spacial cues in the highs are amazing, and in most EDM the highs sound fine, it’s mainly with cymbal crashes in rock that they lack presence and definition.

A very fun listen, with excellent sub-bass quantity, and mids and highs that fairly very well too. Soundstage is surprisingly big for an IEM which is an added bonus. Like this, they appeal to bass-heads looking for great bass extension without sacrificing the whole of the FR. They don’t have the best instrument separation like this, as they sound overly warm and thick.

Grey tips, Bass port closed:

Much more controlled, more mid bass punch than sub-bass rumble, although they still extend very well. I still think this amount of bass will please most people. The bass doesn’t have as good body but what it has is better clarity and it doesn’t warm up the mids anymore and the bass is quicker in recovery, so they fair quite well with metal.

Now the mids are slightly forward in presentation, with better clarity and no warming up from the lows. The mids are very smooth and well controlled, they sound wonderful on acoustic recordings, as instruments have great timbre. Electric guitars now have the power and crunch they should have. Still no sibilance can be detected.

Here they fair better, and have great presence, as they are no longer competing with the lows. They still don’t have the best detail or definition, and they still sound slightly laid back, but they do sit very nicely in the mix, not overpowering or bright, they just complete the sound. Cymbal taps and crashes now sound more precise.

Well, this setup is much more enjoyable in my opinion, they sound more balanced, but never harsh or bright, they have better detail retrieval, the bass no longer overpowers the sound but is still present and fun. Soundstage is still impressive for an IEM. Like this, these will appeal to most people wanting a fairly balanced sound, but not boring or super detailed. They have good instrument separation like this.

Well done again Dunu, these are super versatile and well worth the price, as you hit 2 birds with one stone, you get the bass you need for EDM and the likes with ports open, and then if you want a more balanced sound for listening to rock or the likes, you can close the ports. They obviously put a lot of thought into the tuning with the port open and closed, and they have done a great job. Build quality is great, sound is great and will suit most tastes, what more can I say?

Tracks Used:
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)
Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)