This is my first contact with the Dunu brand and it started with opening an oversized box of DM-480. Inside of it, I found a very nice looking carrying case, set of ear tips, detachable cable, and earphones themselves.
BUILD AND FIT
Earphones are made out of plastic, they are light but feel solid. Provided cable is smooth to the touch and doesn’t tangle easily – points for that. Looks is subjective of course but I liked the mix of black and white used here.
I’m not particularly fond of this whole cable around the ear thing. That said I didn’t really have any trouble securing a good fit with DM-480. Their size is average and I don’t think anybody should have a problem with it. Lightweight build definitely helps and once fitted properly they don’t tend to fall out.
Just before proceeding, I’ll say that most of the testing was conducted with Dragonfly Black and great Lusya Fever DAC as a source. But HIDIZS Sonata HD also proved more than capable to drive them properly.
DM-480 offers well balanced and smooth sound signature. Starting with the frequency response, it is slightly V-shaped. Lower midrange takes a step back, while bass notes and upper midrange run the show. Luckily, Dunu took a fairly mild approach to such tuning. That means bass notes are not overwhelming. There’s quite a weight and heft to them, but those are married with good control and precision. Going higher, we get a very clean and smooth sounding midrange. Tuning is done with care here so that upper registers don’t overtake the show too obviously. Even though there isn’t much fullness and body to the vocals due to the lower midrange dip, the higher range is not overcooked either. That’s why DM-480 never sounds too bright or edgy. What they do sound like is spacious and smooth.
Talking about the soundstage of an IEM is always tricky. But within the form factor limitations, these do impress with a spacious and uncluttered presentation. Changing from slow Jazz, through upbeat POP and finally some old 70’s Rock tracks… Not once I felt them to sound muddy and cramped. What’s even more interesting, I never felt them to be harsh or edgy neither. This model carefully walks a line between sounding clear but not overly analytical, a line between sounding open but not too bright nor thin.
Few things are holding me from giving absolute recommendation to DM-480. The first one would be a slight lack of body and weight to vocals. The same goes for other instruments that occupy a similar frequency range. The second one would be that some competitors offer even more extension and air up top.
Similarly priced Tin Audio T3 is brighter and more analytical sounding. It offers more airiness and atmosphere but at a cost. The cost is that it sounds thin and overly sharp. Sibilance is commonplace and bass leaves a lot to be desired. DM-480 is simply nicer to my ears and more fun to listen to.
One of those rare models that I could call more accomplished is Moondrop Starfield. It offers fuller vocals and midrange overall, while at the same time revealing more in the highest frequencies, creating more atmosphere and air. The soundstage on DM-480 seems more spacious and less cluttered though. Personally, I prefer Starfield but I wouldn’t blame anyone for choosing differently.
I can definitely say that my first contact with Dunu went well. DM-480 provides a detailed yet smooth and fun sound. It’s also easy to drive and comes with a decent cable for a change. A lot to like here and not that much to dislike. If you’re on the market for a decent IEM, you don’t mind slightly V-shaped sound signature but you don’t appreciate edginess and harshness… Dunu DM-480 is definitely worth considering.
|DUNU DM-480 – CHARACTERISTICS|
Driver: 8 mm, titanium-coated, isobaric dual-dynamic