A Forward Move Towards Origins
- Dry, concise, precise bass, fast decay.
- Excellent treble tuning, linear and extended.
- Balanced and well-balanced profile, with a warm tendency and powerful body in its mid-range.
- Versatility of the filters.
- Very high level of construction and design, which gives it a great fit and ergonomics.
- Outstanding accessory set.
- Interchangeable 3-pin system, thanks to Q-Lock LITE technology.
- The price/performance ratio is near the top of the range.
- The Dunu Falcon Pro is a safe and easy bet for any amateur or advanced player.
- Texture and descriptiveness limited in the low end, bass is smooth.
- Sensation of elements in the middle distance.
- Moderate warmth can bring more darkness than desired, especially with the «Atmospheric Immersion» filter.
- It has a limited analytical capability, which prevents micro elements from being revealed.
- The sound that escapes through the multiple holes can be annoying for the people around.
- Although the interchangeable pin system is very useful for everyone, I find that the anchoring is not that rigid, hard or secure. I miss some element that fixes the connection more permanently.
Link to the Store
Who is Dunu? Actually, no need for introductions, because many of you will surely know this brand that has been creating professional and consumer headphone products since 1994. With the idea of being at the forefront of audio, Dunu is always trying to innovate, from its famous hybrids, to its improved dynamic driver manufacturing technologies. This is the case with the new Falcon Pro model, which uses a DD with patented Eclipse technology. The technology is described as «Composite Driver Assembly Techniques» and is certainly more complex than its name. Among other things, the driver and its diaphragm have been designed for complete range, self-contained voicing and a hybrid acoustic configuration. The magnet used has a magnetic flux of 1.6T, a very high value. We all remember when, not so long ago, 1T IEMS appeared and, nowadays, this figure has already been highly surpassed.
It is worth remembering that this new model is the successor to the Falcon-C, an IEMS with a single dynamic driver, which was launched at the end of 2016, with a price tag of $219. Currently, this model is no longer in production, which is why its replacement has appeared, even at the same price.
The Falcon Pro, which is part of the Eclipse technology, shares a line with the Luna and Zen Pro models, and is the most affordable of the range. Adding a bit of history, this model was scheduled to be launched in early 2020, but we all know what happened last year that still continues to plague the world. All this time has not been wasted, and has even served to make this new model more mature, extracting the best of the Eclipse technology, creating a new 10mm dynamic driver, which uses a diamond-like amorphous carbon dome diaphragm, applied by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition atop thermoplastic polymer .
Well, I could go on commenting on all these little details that make these IEMS great, but I’m sure that all those who find these explanations interesting will find much more information on the purchase web page of the official site. On the other hand, as usual, after the classic introduction, I will dedicate myself to comment the excellences of this new Dunu IEM, apart from its sound, of course. Don’t fall asleep, the best is yet to come.
- Driver type: Eclipse drive module. 1 DD with 10 mm diaphragm with amorphous diamond-like carbon dome and fully independent suspension surround. 1.6 T External Ring-Type Neodymium Magnet
- Frequency Response: 5kHz-40kHz.
- Sensitivity: 112dB ± 1dB @ 1kHz.
- Impedance: 26Ω @ 1kHz.
- Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.3% at 1 kHz.
- Cable length 1.2m ± 0.1m
- Cable material: 6N silver-plated OCC copper
- Jack connector: DUNU Quick-Switch Modular Plug System (NEW). Connectors included: 4.4mm TRRRS Balanced, 3.5mm TRS Single-Ended, 2.5mm TRRS Balanced.
- Capsule Connection Type: Patented Catch-Hold® MMCX Connector.
- Net Weight: 19g.
To my surprise, the Dunu Falcon Pro case is very compact. Its dimensions are 134x97x71mm. It has a cardboard sleeve, vertically sliding, whose colour is slightly pale yellow. On it are drawn, as a repetitive pattern, the logo of the brand, the letter D with the word «Dunu» across the left column of that letter and a headphone headset. All in clear grey ink. At the bottom of the front face is the model name, next to the Hi-Res logo, in the lower right corner. On the back are the specifications, in Chinese and English, certification logos and brand information (address, website, etc.). Sliding off the protective cardboard reveals a complete black box with «DUNU» written horizontally, in silver, in the centre of the box. On its vertical base, there is a sticker certifying the originality of the product. After lifting the lid, a large turquoise-green zippered case can be seen. The brand’s logo is engraved in silver, in the centre of the case, in bold letters. A transparent plastic sheet protects the emblem. The case is protected by dense black foam at the top left and bottom right corners. Underneath is a black card with the Q-Lock LITE logo and a black cardboard box with silver branding in the centre. Both inside the case, and inside the box, are the rest of the accessories. In a summary:
- The two Falcon Pro capsules with the «Reference» filter.
- Brown cloth pouch to hold the capsules.
- A zippered case.
- 1 cleaning cloth, in a transparent zip bag.
- 3 pairs of clear grey silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of black silicone tips, with different coloured inner core, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of black translucent silicone tips, with blue inner core, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of grey translucent silicone tips, large inner diameter, with whirlwind type filling, sizes SxMxL.
- 1 OCC copper MMCX cable, silver plated 6N, with Q-Lock LITE connectors.
- 1 2.5mm TRRS Balanced connector.
- 1 4.4mm TRRS Balanced connector.
- 1 3.5mm TRS Single-Ended connector.
- 1 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter.
- 1 cleaning brush.
- 1 steel plate that holds the «Transparency» and «Atmospheric Immersion» filters screwed on.
- 4 blue rubber washers.
- 4 red rubber washers.
- 4 yellow rubber washers.
- 1 Q-Lock LITE card.
- 1 card with instructions on how to assemble the connectors.
- 1 quality certificate card.
The content could not be more complete and compact. All a demonstration that in a relatively small package, many interesting things fit. An example to follow, to avoid disproportionate sizes. Special mention should be made of the zipped case and its cloth bag-like interior, for its size and careful quality, which offers a distinguished presence to the whole. The detail of the pouch to protect the capsules should also be acknowledged. Although, in my opinion, it seems a bit small and the storage task is not very quick. Despite the wide variety of tips, I miss the arsenal of the DN-1000 model, which included bi-flange, tri-flange and foam tips, among many others. But even so, the content is excellent.
Construction and Design
Unlike the Falcon-C model, whose capsule was made from an amorphous zirconium alloy (also known as «liquid metal»), the Pro uses more conventional materials, such as stainless steel and aluminium. This makes the manufacturing process easier. Although the design of the previous capsule is retained, changes have been made to improve ergonomics. The model is only available in one colour and is made of stainless steel. Its interior has an anti-resonant, double-chambered housing design. The outside of the capsule is polished and has a sandblasted/grinded bezel on its edge, which contains the repeating motif on the caseback. The brand name is engraved in the centre of the outer face. The inner face has the same polished and shiny chrome plating. The shape is far from simple: it resembles the classic kidney shape, but with a chubbier belly, with a very rounded shape, resembling a filled but irregular spiral. The outer face bulges at the MMCX connection. The interior is more complex, if possible, than the patterned bevelled outer face. It has two levels. On the lower one is the channel inscription, a letter R or L within a circle, all engraved on the surface. Next to it, moving away from the MMCX connection, are two relatively deep and large holes, at the bottom of which are two perforated grids. The second level is close to the nozzle and at its base there are three more holes. They are not as deep and reveal a white micro-perforated grid, which looks like a textile. If before, the perforation of the grid could reach the head of a pin, this time the holes are not visible, because it is a dense mesh. At the top of the inner side, there is another particular part of this great creation. This is the screw-on nozzle. There are three pairs of mouthpieces, whose mesh density, height and inner diameter, among other characteristics, give these IEMS their particular sound. They are called «Reference», «Transparency» and «Atmospheric Immersion». In the case of the «Transparency» mouthpiece, it has an approximate height of 4mm, the largest diameter is 6.2mm and the smallest is 5.4mm. The «Reference» mouthpiece has a higher height of 5.6mm and the «Atmospheric Immersion» is the highest of them all, with a total of 5.8mm. The base of all of them has a narrow rim, followed by a longer part of smaller diameter. This ends in a rim that starts with a thin step, followed by a bevel, which is flush with the 1mm hole protected by a dense metal grid.
The capsule uses a patented MMCX Catch-Hold® connector. The cable features Q-Lock LITE (DUNU Quick-Switch Modular Plug System) technology, which allows interchanging the three existing angled plugs (3.5mm SE, 4.4mm BAL and 2.5mm BAL). The conductor consists of two coiled strands of OCC copper wire, silver-plated 6N. The splitter piece is an elongated metal cylinder with the marking printed lengthwise. The pin is a small piece of transparent plastic, the inner holes of which are slightly larger in diameter than the wire, allowing easy sliding and a somewhat loose, but subtly effective fit.
Finally, the technology used for the dynamic driver is again worth mentioning: it is an Eclipse drive module, with a 10mm diaphragm and a diamond-shaped amorphous carbon dome, covered by a fully independent suspension. The magnet used is a 1.6 T neodymium outer ring magnet.
There is no doubt that this model, with all the technologies used, the patents and the Eclipse driver, if it had been made by another brand, it might be worth a lot more. But Dunu has left it at the competitive price of $219, a very moderate value for such exquisite build quality. Really, it’s hard to find a rival that can beat it in quality, beauty, size and design. The cable may not be the fattest, or have the most strands in the range, but the interchangeable plugs are beyond their reach. With all this, added to the low weight of the capsules (only 19 grams), it only remains to conclude that the Dunu Falcon Pro, in this section, are outstanding and very difficult to beat, up to 300$.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Dunu itself comments that it has improved the ergonomics of the Falcon Pro, compared to the Falcon-C. It is worth noting that it has been effective in this respect. And it is worth noting that it has been effective in this regard. The shape and design of the IEMS is truly designed to facilitate fit and maximise comfort. Between the low weight, the very rounded shapes, the double-decker inner face, the length of the mouthpieces and the relatively small size of the capsules, they achieve a very high level of ergonomics, an easy fit, with hardly any friction and a shallow insertion, which can tend to be medium, depending on the tips used. In my case, I use the usual foam-filled tips, which allow a fairly good seal, although a shallow insertion. Despite this, the capsules are well integrated into the pinna, without protruding too much, rubbing minimally or not at all in the parts of the ear. Thanks to the shape of the MMCX connector’s housing, the cable is very well routed. It is barely noticeable as it passes over the ears.
All in all, the Falcon Pro is very suitable for long listening without being uncomfortable due to pressure, insertion, weight or friction. In addition, with the right tips, a good level of isolation can be achieved.
Finally, I must comment that because of the 5 holes in each capsule, the sound escapes through them. This does not make them the best companions for the people around them, especially if the room is quiet.
The profile of the Dunu Falcon Pro is subtly V-shaped, where the balance between the low mids and high mids varies slightly, depending on the mouthpiece used. The tone has a warm tendency. The nature of the sound carries a certain warmth, which is also supported by the demonstrated balance, density and body of the upper midrange and the softness of the upper range.
The «Atmospheric Immersion» mouthpiece has a profile more inclined towards the low end, where its high mids and treble are more subdued. The «Reference» mouthpiece is more balanced, while with the «Transparency» mouthpiece, the tendency is slightly brighter. Actually, according to my graphs, the bass curve is very similar, while the changes are visible from 100/200Hz onwards, with the biggest differences between all profiles being between 2kHz and 6kHz. Even so, the distances between valleys and peaks of all the profiles obtained are very smooth, which gives an idea of the balance that Falcon Pro possesses. So much so, that they even verge on neutrality.
Frequency response referenced to 1kHz
Frequency response at equal volume, unreferenced
The low area that this new Dunu model tries to draw in, aims for realism, rather than an emphasis on sub-bass. While LFOs are not easily found in nature, in IEMS this area is usually emphasised with the intention of obtaining a cleaner and less polluted midrange from the bass. It is true that I like that kind of sound and I advocate for a graphic of that style. But, I must also admit what some very wise voices say in this regard: What is real below 40Hz? You can ask yourself that question and then listen to the Dunu Falcon Pro and try to answer it.
Using the «Atmospheric Immersion» filter, perhaps the mouthpiece that allows you to hear the most bass enhancement, does not even convert these balanced IEMS to a bass profile. It is clear that the harmony between all the bands is the treasure to be protected, in addition, of course, to the naturalness. And that is what is observed. The bass is defined with a realistic speed and decay, I don’t think it’s the fastest in the range, nor the fastest to disappear, although the aftertaste it leaves is practically non-existent. It is undeniable the skill of the driver, when executing that bass stroke more focused in its half, describing it agile, clean, penetrating, with excellent definition and resolution. Although it is also true that the roughness is light and that the bass does not scratch. Its surface has a delicate tendency, with a soft, smooth, silky, pleasant texture. Those expecting a little more violence or brutality from the Eclipse driver may be disappointed, because it has a talent for control, capable of keeping even the worst filtered, earth-shattering bass at bay. What for some may be a slight disappointment, for others may be a life insurance, thanks to a precious, careful and, finally, respectful reproduction of our ears and fidelity, which is the most important thing.
In short, the Falcon Pro bass has a Hi-End vocation, which seeks a recreation that seems easy and natural, but hides many skills. Starting from a dominant central base, they manage to define a deep and rounded sub-bass, at the same time soft, light, but perceptible. In the same way, its extension towards the midrange is excellently controlled, managing to focus and locate the low range, in a plot where the limits are invisible, but real. Another ability to perceive, is the dosage of the energy applied to the bass attack. As I said, the naturalness of the zone can give the impression of a more sluggish performance, in terms of speed. But the ability to contain and recover from each bass hit, along with the sonority it produces, is something that gives the Falcon Pro’s low end definition that is distinctive and quite unique, as if each bass drum is a new, fresh and completely enjoyable musical passage; a miniature delight.
In order to enjoy the best mids, I decided to switch to the «Reference» filter. With the «Atmospheric Immersion» filter, the vocals seem more liquid, diluted, thin, ethereal and volatile (the reason for the name of the mouthpiece is clear). The rest of the instrumentation also possesses such qualities and, in general, the sense of a wider, more gaseous scene becomes apparent. The sound is generously airy, but I sense an absence of body. After screwing in the reference mouthpiece, that body appears and the voices take on a natural lift that brings them back to earth, as if by gravity. The previous realism, existing in the lower range, is now transferred to the central range, with the change of mouthpiece.
My impression, when I first tried the Falcon Pro, with this filter as standard, was a sense of innate realism, so natural, that it conveyed almost no surprise. As the hours passed, I realised that this lack of surprise is the true gift of the mid-range. As a reviewer, I have a tendency to want to feel a new sensation with every earphone I try, a distinctive feeling, something that allows me to single out the reviewed model above the rest. But when I tried these Dunu’s with the Reference filter, I didn’t get that feeling. I didn’t find that «wow» effect. However, now, after weeks of listening, I must conclude that everything is articulated as it should be, everything is canonically executed, everything appears and everything is found, easily, realistically, naturally, effortlessly and without anything coming across as artificial. The true skill of the «Reference» filter also lies in its name. It is about purity and neutrality, cleanliness and clarity, about an organic and analogue sound, which takes us back to the origins of balanced and inherent music.
Unsurprisingly, the moderately warm tone feels fully attuned to the Falcon Pro’s apt and timely timbre. To liven it up or tone it down, simply connect it to sources with a different profile. This Dunu will not change its sonority easily, but its details may take on the character of the device. A warm source will give more body, more weight in the first half of the mids, adding a higher density, which will produce a more powerful, but cleaner and more controlled sound. A cooler source will bring more cleanliness, clarity, definition and resolving power. But it will not turn the Falcon Pro into an analytical earphone.
Another aspect of the mid-range is the balance: nothing stands out, in presence, above the rest. Thus, these are not other IEMS with emphasised high mids, pursuing clarity above all else. Rather, they are in that mature trend of controlled, smooth and linear high mids. Although, it is also true that some dB of excitation can be gained, thanks to the filters, but this does not mean a loss of this virtue. In this way, coherence is maintained, as the guiding thread of a balanced mid-range, where nothing stands out completely, so that the whole is what really matters.
Naturally, the purity of the sound allows the details to be of high resolution. The Falcon Pro’s easy expressiveness offers a high level of nuance, as well as very revealing aspects. However, at the micro level, they are not so analytical as to be able to highlight some of the smaller elements. Perhaps this is not in their nature.
To achieve the best high end response, I have mounted the «Transparency» filter on the Falcon Pro. This emphasises the high mids and also the treble, compared to the other filters. Despite this, the sound does not lose its balance, but it does have more sparkle. The highs are quite linear and there are no hollows or clear peaks. Its response is extended, but not predominant. To tell the truth, I had been looking for a high end tuning like the Falcon Pro’s for a long time. And it’s even better, because the response can be controlled or slightly excited, thanks to the filters. So it’s very easy to find the right point to suit your taste, unless you’re a treble-head. By this I mean that control is never lost, and neither is realism. Both timbre and tone remain on the natural side of reproduction, even enhanced by the linearity of the treble response. Thus, the expression of the upper range has sparkle, precision, finesse and delicacy. The high notes are thin and very well defined, very fast and ephemeral. Thus, they do not linger in the environment and the atmosphere is not contaminated by the shimmering aura that is sometimes generated in other models by overlapping trebles. The level of resolution and the speed contribute positively to the recreation of space between these notes and help to create emptiness and darkness between them.
Despite the excitement of the «Transparency» filter, the treble is not explosive and its crackle can be felt, but it is relatively subdued, very well recreated, but with a balanced tendency, which does not predominate over the rest of the range. It could be said that they are secure but extended, with excellent representation and presence, throughout their range, without underestimating the level of air achieved. An example to follow.
The scene can be augmented, making it more ethereal and gaseous, by using the «Atmospheric Immersion» filter. As the name implies, this gives a more three-dimensional and open feel to the scene, gaining separation on all three axes. Going back to the «Reference» filter, the sound becomes more realistic, but less surrounding. Elements are brought nearer, but never too close together. In the Falcon Pro scene, half distances predominate: nothing is too far away, but nothing in the foreground either. Perhaps, with the «Transparency» filter, some elements are brought closer to the listener, but without losing the relative distance between them. Even with this one, height is gained.
No compression is observed with the change of filters and although the scene is modified, it does not undergo very decisive variations in width. The differences are more in height and three-dimensionality. Cleanliness is not altered much either, as there is always clarity, distance, emptiness, darkness and air between notes.
The level of detail is explicit and easily distinguishable. This is not an analytical sound, where the nuances are exposed more than the fundamental parts, but it is true that the Falcon Pro’s have a tendency to make the details visible and palpable. However, micro detail feels less perceptible, sometimes more hidden and obstructed. Perhaps so much information within earshot pushes those smaller details away.
Rose QT9 MK2
For comparison, I used the «Reference» filter on the Dunu Falcon Pro.
The Rose QT9 MK2 are one of my favourite headphones and are similarly priced, although a little higher at $239. It is a 1DD+4BA multidriver. Its dynamic driver is also 10mm and it also has 2 TWF30018 BA + 2 TWF30019 BA. The DD’s diaphragm is made of Goertek tungsten alloy film. Their size is even smaller than the Falcon Pro, but they are made of resin. They are lighter and their nozzles are shorter, so they fit more snugly in the pinna. But it can be more difficult to find suitable tips for their shallow insertion.
The Rose’s tuning is more W-tuned, leaning towards sub-bass, with a smooth, but somewhat uneven high end. In principle they have a more predominant and powerful low end, with a high end that feels brighter. The drawback is in the mid-range, where vocals and other instruments can sound thinner, comparatively speaking, compared to the Dunu. Another clear difference is that the Dunu’s sound darker and warmer than the Rose’s, while the Rose’s sound clearer and cleaner.
The Rose represents a sub-bass accentuated bass, which has a rougher and more descriptive, more exciting texture. Meanwhile, the Dunu’s have a tighter, more compact, restrained, dryer, softer and smoother textured punch. There is more control in the Falcon Pro, but more excitement in the Rose. The Rose’s sub-bass tilt shifts the sense of depth, while the Dunu’s greater presence in the mid-bass widens the low end. The perception of both zones can change quite a bit after a quick switch from one model to the other, depending on the song being played. It is true that the Dunu’s generate a mixed feeling of darkness and warmth, while the Rose’s can be perceived as more hollow in the upper bass, but with more light. The bass tuning in both IEMS is different and instantly noticeable.
In the midrange, the Rose’s sub-bass tuning makes the initial mids more distant, thinner and finer. They can even sound more hollow, comparatively speaking, as the Dunu’s have more body and density in this first zone of the midrange. Conversely, this makes the Rose’s sound cleaner and clearer, in contrast to the Dunu’s greater warmth. The thinness of both male and female voices on the Rose is obvious in relation to the Dunu’s greater corpulence. However, the female voices, despite their thinness, can sound closer and brighter on the Rose. It is true that this area can become very polarising in the perception of musical genres, in favour of one or the other. It is clear that for rock and metal, Dunu’s are more appropriate. But this is not always a guarantee of success, because the upper mids also come into play. In this area, the Rose has an excitement which, together with the larger central valley, provides a higher clarity by contrast than in the Dunu. Whereas the Dunu, being more balanced, feels more discreet and linear, less clear, but also denser. The middle distance presentation of the elements persists in the Dunu, as opposed to a more dynamic alternation in this sense in the Rose, which presents elements closer together. This gives it a more sparkling vivacity, as opposed to the more uniform and slightly more distant drawing of the Dunu.
The treble timbre of the two IEMS is different. While the Rose seems more explosive initially, the Dunu is flatter. There is more sparkle, a more fleeting flash in the Rose. But the Dunu has a more progressive and linear treble, even if it is perceived as softer overall. They also reach the air zone with more energy. On the other hand, in the Rose, after that initial sparkle, they feel slightly cut off in extension, limiting the evolution of their harmonics. Thus, despite the smoothness, the realism in the complete reproduction of the treble falls on the side of the Dunu.
At the stage level, the Dunu’s have to use their «Atmospheric Immersion» filter to compete on equal terms with the Rose. And yet, they are still in trouble. The depth of the Rose is greater and the width almost as much. Where the Dunu wins with this filter is in the three-dimensional recreation. There seems to be more height and a greater spherical separation. The more gaseous and vaporous feeling favours this superior sensation. As a consequence, the distance is presented differently in both IEMS, slightly larger in width and depth in the Rose, larger in height and surround level in the Dunu.
Details are simpler and less forced in the Dunu. The initial sparkle of the Rose draws them sharper, while they feel more natural on the Dunu. Although the final level of resolution, despite the differences in sound and timbre, they are very similar. I find the Rose’s subtly better at rendering the tiniest details.
You have to admit that NiceHCK has been doing some good IEMS lately. He took a stab at beryllium in his Lofty model, albeit with traditional tuning. He immediately polished the curve with his latest Topguy, using a 10mm dynamic driver with a magnesium-titanium alloy diaphragm. And it seems that 10mm is the right size for 1DD. We all know that NiceHCK is an audio shop that has been putting out models of earbuds and IEMS for years. Perhaps, the public does not value them properly, as opposed to other brands with as much tradition as Dunu. It is clear that this is an unequal comparison, because the Topguy is the top of the range of NiceHCK, while Dunu has models that are much higher in price. But, in this case, we are talking about a comparison of the same segment.
Topguy’s have a more traditional shape, although their final workmanship is beautiful and excellently constructed. The Dunu’s are smaller and have other more avant-garde details that are hard to beat, in addition to their interchangeable mouthpieces, they are smaller, achieving a more generalised degree of comfort. In the cable, both use a 6N OCC, the final coating changes (nylon vs. plastic), as do their connectors (interchangeable on the Dunu, with adapters on the NiceHCK). Despite the luxuriousness of the NiceHCK’s accessories, I’ll take the Dunu, for being more innovative, complete and detailed.
To match the curves of both, I used the «Transparency» filter on the Dunu. The result shows similarities in the first half, while there are more differences in the second half.
In the low end, it is true that a very good level of bass reproduction is being reached. Both have a very concise, fast and focused punch, but the Dunu has more sub-bass. This gives a darker, but less coloured, more realistic and natural timbre. The dryness of the punch is higher on the Dunu, so the bass feels tighter and faster, but it also has a smoother, less descriptive surface. Though not by much more, the Topguy’s add texture and an attractive roughness.
In the midrange the similarities continue, but the Topguy’s have a sharper timbre, while the Dunu’s boast a full, dense, warmer and well-balanced body. The NiceHCKs may bring the vocals closer to the listener, while the Falcon Pros continue their tendency to present them midrange, despite all the substrate they possess. Because of the superior upper-mid boost, the NiceHCKs have greater apparent clarity. But the Dunu’s greater treble extension improves intonation, enriches the midrange with better, more realistic harmonics, and lengthens the expansion of the treble notes, as well as the amount of air. Although the NiceHCKs have improved their intonation over the Lofty, they still have potential for improvement. And I think they would do well to follow the lead of the Dunu Falcon Pro, especially on the high end, as an example of extension, control and naturalness, of how the treble should be filled without sounding shrill. Not that the Topguy’s are, but you can hear some of the upper midrange notes, more individually excited. Although there can always be tastes suited to such situations, adept at sparkle or initially crunchier treble.
The scene is not equally recreated in both IEMS, although the size might be similar. The Topguy generates a better representation of the elements in depth, because it has the ability to present elements closer and further away. In that sense, the Falcon Pro’s mid-distance appearance penalises them in this respect. Switching to the «Atmospheric Immersion» filter gives the Dunu more three-dimensionality and vapouriness, but with the «Transparency» filter it would be slightly below the NiceHCK. The higher density of the Dunu also works against the separation and clarity, the NiceHCKs are slightly better in this respect. What happens is that the «Atmospheric Immersion» filter comes to the rescue again, offering a three-dimensional separation that is not as pronounced in the NiceHCKs. At the level of detail recreation, both IEMS have different properties to drive different nuances. It is curious how, after switching from one to the other, these nuances also change. The greater extension of the treble favours the Dunu in specific aspects and the greater excitation of the upper mids, in the Topguy, acts in the same way, but in that specific range. But it is true that there are micro nuances that the Topguy is able to show, perhaps because it has the dynamic ability to play at different depths or because of a higher level of transparency. In many of these aspects there is a technical tie, but the versatility of the filters and better tuning subtly elevates the Dunu over the Topguy in sound. But the NiceHCKs are still a great choice.
If I were writing a light, quick and simple conclusion, resorting to hackneyed clichés, I could say that the Dunu Falcon Pro is destined to be a «must have» for any IEMS enthusiast. A safe and effective bet for all those who ask me for one of my favourite IEMS under $300. But even better, I should say that they are only a little over $200, include one of the best sets of accessories in that price range, and arguably have the most unique and attractive design of any of their direct rivals. But what really matters is the sound, and this justifies all of the above.
In the beginning, it was all about dynamic drivers. When BA drivers could be integrated into IEMS, the trend changed. In the meantime, hybrids also emerged and then more technologies to create different and more complex drivers. But for some time now, dynamic drivers have been making a stronger comeback. New materials, new technologies and more powerful magnets allow dynamic drivers with superior characteristics and a return to the basic principle, to recreate the same music as always, but better. Eclipse is a clear example of this. But what makes it different is the tuning. There are different colours for different tastes and different tunings for different ears. And in this sense, Dunu has been original, it has bucked the trend and opted for a balance based on a classic concept. It’s not about inventing something new, it’s about doing it better, going back to the origins, but improving in all aspects. And that’s the idea that the Dunu Falcon Pro transmits to me, the re-foundation of a classic and natural sound, but improved from its base, so that it sounds like never before. Are you going to miss it?
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate.
- Tempotec Sonata E44.
- Hidizs S9 Pro.
- Earmen Sparrow.
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.
- Tempotec V1-A + Hidizs DH80S
- Zishan Z4.
- ACMEE MF02s.