Dunu DK-3001 Pro: Hybrid upgrade
Well, Dunu surprised us with another unexpected product. Previously, their DK-4001 was the long-awaited successor to the DK-3001, but the increased price is no small money and may have possibly left out the original DK-3001 users who couldn’t afford the extra cash – which is why DK-3001 Pro was born. DK-3001 Pro is the replacement (or upgraded) model of the original one, sitting right under DK-4001 in position. Let’s now take a look at the overall spec, sound impressions, and comparisons with Dunu’s other models.
The packaging is overall similar to DK-400, but with a white cover on the outer package. The cover already provides a good insight into the internals of DK-3001 Pro, but let me talk about that just after this.
The provided accessories are absolutely stellar – in fact, even better than DK-4001. Other than the earpiece, it comes with a custom-grade stock cable, 4 sets of different plug connectors, a leather case, 3 pairs of red core silicone tips, 3 pairs of transparent silicone tips, 4 pairs of SpinFit CP360 silicone tips, AV converting jack, airplane jack, a pair of Comply foam tips, and last but not least, 6 pairs of custom SpinFit eartip spacers. And yes, these spacers are the reason why I consider the accessories to be superior to DK-4001. It’s pretty much a silicone ring that could be installed prior to the eartips, providing that extra step which leads to deeper insertion.
First off, let’s talk about the drivers. DK-3001 has a 3BA+1DD hybrid setup, total having 4 drivers per side. The flagship model, DK-4001 has an extra 1BA driver, making the setup to be 4BA+1DD. Interestingly DK-3001 Pro also has a 4BA+1DD setup, technically being closer to DK-4001 rather than DK-3001 – but not identical.
Not only DK-4001 has a thicker beryllium coating but also the A.C.I.S bass port system and the PVD coating procedures gone through on both sides of the diaphragm. Those executions are the reason why the price jumped so high, so it makes sense why they haven’t applied DK-3001 Pro with the same procedures.
The design factors are a lot similar to DK-4001 but a little slimmer and lighter. The fits are a lot more ergonomic than the old DK-3001 and I’m sure most will not have a problem fitting these into their ears. The housings are made of CNC’d stainless steel and give a matt premium feel to the touch. The MMCX connectors are greatly improved in gripping and durability with the patented catch-hold connectors.
The nature of hybrid IEMs
One of the drawbacks that I personally feel from hybrid IEMs are those highly boosted 3D effects on the imaging and especially on the vocals, due to how the drivers are positioned; BAs up-front, DDs all the way back. Dunu was well known for its popular hybrid IEMs but this was sort of a problem they had to solve to advance with their products, so they came up with a solution.
DK-4001 had all four 4BA drivers placed right in front of the dynamic driver and facing sideways to minimize the distance of the drivers. As a result, the sound became well fused with much more coherency. For DK-3001 Pro, Dunu had 2BA drivers placed just as DK-4001 did (placing right in front of the DD) while the rest of the 2BA drivers were placed right in front of the nozzle. So why did Dunu decided to still partially use the classic “right in front of the nozzle” setup for the BAs? Let’s talk that below on the sound impression section.
The included cable is a real nice one too. Having a dedicated name called Lyre, it is made of high purity OCC copper cables embraced with double refining techniques. Lyre also comes along with its popular Quick switching connectors, allowing to swiftly switch around with the included 4 connectors – 3.5mm, 2.5mm, 4.4mm, and 3.5mm Pro. Dunu has announced that both Lyre and Noble (DK-4001 stock cable) will be available to be purchased separately, so make sure to keep your eyes on them if you’re looking for a quality, affordable cable with an awesome switching feature.
Sound impressions: Lows / Staging
DK-3001 Pro has a slightly w-shaped signature, gently elevating lows/mids/highs from flat which keeps the sound very balanced yet musical. The ultra-lows are actually very impressive despite its controlled quantity, keeping the presentation clear and tightly controlled in reverbs. It’s just about the right amount of reverbs to keep the ultra-lows plentiful but keeping the borders clean.
Mid-bass feels deep with nice darkness, dropping hard with a fast and dense thud. The strike and decay are on point, throwing a quick jab with liveliness and weight without falling behind in response speed. The mid-bass has a similar quantity with typical slightly v-shaped IEMs – I’d say the quantity sits in the middle between flat and basshead. It’s just the amount that anybody could enjoy unless you desire flat or hardcore bass-heavy signatures. Overall the bass from DK-3001 Pro creates pleasantly wide and spatial imaging but aims more for an opened-feeling, resulting in a vivacious, chill atmosphere.
Sound impressions: Mids
As already referred on the earpieces section, hybrid IEMs generally have distinctively up-close vocals with the boosted 3D effect – gaining the fun, losing the neutrality. DK-4001 placed all four BA drivers leaned next to the dynamic driver, minimizing the physical distance between the drivers and fusing the sound close to each other as possible.
That would be the most ideal setup in terms of coherency and neutrality, but with some potential drawbacks such as grainier texture, lighter depth, etc. Plus, there are a good amount of people that rather loves the typical 3D-ish sound that comes from many hybrid IEMs in the market, so it’s better not to leave them out. Seems like Dunu aimed to hit the sweet spot that could satisfy both parties by creating a coherent sound with a neat amount of 3D effect applied to it as a garnish.
The results are satisfying. Mids are moist, natural yet entertaining and take a step forward from the lows/highs but not to the point where it’s bulged out. Vocals present a lively yet sweet tone with a neutral brightness, being able to switch back and forth from warmth to chill. There is no noticeable sibilance or spikes and keeps a very steady distance from the ears throughout the mid-frequency. Vocals have a neutral thickness, making it ideal for both male and female vocals.
Sound impressions: Highs / Separation
Highs are crisp, tidy, and vibrant. It takes a slight step back from the mids with lesser quantity, but that doesn’t mean the treble details are compromised. There’s an appropriate amount of spacing between the mids and highs, allowing the treble to be presented with clear separation, texture, and layering. The highs don’t feel to be attached though, as the mild airiness from both the mids and highs serves to gently connect this “free space”, keeping a harmonic sound.
And yes, the highs do have airiness but in a very small portion for maintaining its neat presentation – I’d say it’s the minimum amount just enough to keep the sound organic and naturally flowing. The materialistic hardness on the trebles is solid but not rock hard or metallic. It’s an organic hardness to keep the sound smooth and comfortable while having a vivid crisp on the bites. The overall separation is stellar – not flying all over the place but precisely organized and distributed.
DK-3001 Pro desires an organic, soft, and warm signature compared to DK-4001. Not that I’m saying DK-4001 is off from neutrality, but DK-3001 Pro barely expresses the metallic tone that occasionally appears from DK-4001. The upper frequencies are less aggressive and keep a further distance away from the ears, making a lot more comfortable to listen to. Overall it feels calmer, flatter, and slightly lighter in bass shades. It’s also slightly more laid-back but just enough to make the sound comfortable.
As I compare DK-3001 Pro with the original DK-3001, the differences are day and night. DK-3001 Pro presents a lot more organic, neutral, and comfortable sound with significantly improved harmonics, while DK-3001 has stronger coloration and stiffness. DK-3001 was a successful IEM but many have shown complaints about the sound being a tad bright and harsh.
Dunu jumped back into the audiophile market with a fierce and I’m happy to see that. Continuing the legacy of DK-3001, the new DK-3001 Pro lives up to the expectations very well inside out. Not only the fits, cable, function, and connectors have been improved but also the all-rounder characteristics which more people could really jam into. I’m also impressed with Dunu to be paying much attention to the little things like eartips spacer. It gives me a good insight into their degree of passion they really put on their IEMs.
Looking back and forth on Dunu products, I’m sure enough to say DK-3001 Pro is born upon the demands of asking for a more comfortable sound from its original model, while DK-4001 is the one that took a big step forward and advanced even further with DK-3001’s signature. DK-3001 Pro finally filled up the spot that Dunu has been missing for a while and would be a great choice for those who wanted to enjoy the “Dunu sound” in a more comfortable manner.
Thanks to Dunu for providing DK-3001 Pro for an honest feedback/review.
I am not affiliated with Dunu and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.