Published on May 24th, 2015 | by Igor Rebenko0
Review: Dunu TITAN 1 (IEM) — “Unique, refined, balanced and spacious!”
“Dunu TITAN 1 — titanium-coated diaphragm earphones”
Pros: Build, balanced, fun sounding, comfort, price to performance ratio, protective box.
Cons: No mic remote, cable a bit thin, not designed to wear cable up
Disclaimer: I did not purchase the Dunu Titan 1. I’ve had 2 months with them and believe I have had enough time to adequately review the Titans in depth. But of course, these are my personal opinions so please take them with a grain of salt, or two.
I first heard about the Dunu Titan 1 from @H20Fidelity. He told me, and I quote “Dunu Titan is the go.” Hype for the Titans grew really fast! The more I read the reviews and impression the more I needed to get my hands on them, so I contacted Dunu directly to get me a pair. Boy was everyone right! Let’s find out why…
A little about the Dunu Titan 1
More info at the Dunu website: http://www.dunu-topsound.com/TITAN1.html
|20 – 30 000 Hz|
|90 dB (±2)|
|Gold Plated 3.5mm (1/8”) 90° Angled|
|13mm Titanium Dynamic Driver|
Thanks to Mr. Tyll Hertsens for measuring these wonderful headphones!
Packaging & Accesories
The Titans come in a medium sized box; dimensions are 13cm x 17cm x 5cm. It’s very well presented. On the front you are shown exactly what you a purchasing. Everything is well contrasted, bright writing on black background: everything stands out very well. You get all the relevant information in different languages. Very nice.
Under the front flap there is some background information about the Titans, including the frequency response diagram to show you what they’re trying to target and what difference a titanium driver makes compared to a standard driver unit.
They also included a little plug for a Ukrainian band called “Max Barski”. Quite the coincidence since I was born in Ukraine.
Behind the little window you’ll see the beautifully designed housings of the Titans. Open the door and you are presented with 3 pairs of what looks like Sony hybrid silicone ear tips and a wonderful protective box. I must say that this is by far the best protective box I’ve seen to date that comes free with an IEM at this price. It’s made of hard plastic and has a sturdy locking mechanism to keep your already heavy duty looking earphone in tip-top shape so you can chuck them in your bag without any worries what so ever.
Additionally, underneath the plastic holder you get another 6 pairs of ear tips: different colours and styles of more of the Sony hybrid “clone” tips and a set of standard black tips, a shirt clip, and a 3.5mm (1/8”) to 6.3mm (1/4”) gold plated adapter. And of course, you get a warranty card which also has a maintenance log for all your warranty claims.
Design & Comfort
The design of the Titans is very robust, futuristic and industrial. The housing looks to me like it is machined from a single piece of aluminium. It’s quite a funny design because from day one my wife called them the UFO earphones, and that’s what I’ve been calling them because of its strange “flying saucer” shaped design that integrates the design principles of both earbuds and in-ear monitors. Strange it may be, but looks may be deceiving, and that’s exactly the case here; they’re some of the most comfortable cable down earphones that I’ve had the pleasure of putting in my ears. Yes! They are very comfortable, which is surprising for a metal ear piece sitting in your ear. Unfortunately they’re not designed for wearing over the ear, which is a bit of a bummer, but because they’re so comfortable wearing down, and they stay in like glue with the correct tips, that the thought of wearing them over the ear goes away very quickly.
The housing sports 11 port holes on the housing and 7 holes on the nozzle. In my humble opinion this is a double edged sword. On one hand it means that less dirty will make its way inside the housing, but on the other hand it means that if debris does indeed get inside, good luck cleaning it out. But despite all that, I personally think that it makes the unit look a tonne more badass and industrial.
Cable, Jack & Splitter
The cable here is brilliant! I don’t know what they’ve done with it, but it just does not tangle. I can wrap it into a ball, chuck it in my pocket and after going to my destination, pull the clump of wire out, hold one wire and pull on another, and in most cases, the cable will just twist, turn and unravel itself like magic. It maybe the fact that the cable is made from 2 different materials. The cable from the jack to the Y-splitter has a fabric sleeve and the ear piece cable is a supple but dense and smooth rubber. Overall the cable feels very sturdy, though it looks quite thin. I would say that the cable is very much like the Xiaomi Pistons 2.0.
This is where I go on to say, “WHY U NO REMOTE???” I really do think that the Titans would be THAT much better if it had a mic and remote for mobile phones. We live in the 21st century people!!!
The jack is a very nice machined aluminium cylinder which feels amazing in the hand. The strain relief looks very sturdy and overkill, but that’s very welcomed in my books. The jack has a unique serial number on it, which is also a very nice touch.
The Y-splitter is also a cylinder and looks very much like the jack housing that’s a smaller diameter. It sports the Dunu Titan 1 logo. Bottom of the spitter is a smallish strain relief and above is an indent where the neck cinch fits perfectly inside. My only gripe with this is that the neck cinch moves freely up and down. It would’ve been nicer if the connection here was either a slight interference fit or a twist lock of some sort. Of course, nothing is 100% perfect.
There is none! Moving on…
But serious, the Titans are the epitome of open design IEMs. They leak everything out and let all the sound in. So much so that my co-worker can tell me exactly what song I’m listening and which part of the song I’m up to, and he sits about 8-9m (26-27 feet) away from me. This isn’t always a downside because when I use earphones outside I dislike the fact the I cannot hear the traffic or what is going on around me and have to keep my volume down to do so. Not with the Titans, I can ramp the volume up to enjoyable levels and still hear everything from my surroundings. This would be perfect for cyclists and people who love to go for a jog or run.
I can describe the Titans sound signature with many words, some that come from the top of my head are: fun, balanced, engaging, spacious, coherent and full. The tonal balance is very interesting as its balance is not through the whole spectrum but at all the correct areas; having peaks in areas and not many dips that take away from the enjoyment and clarity of the music. For some tracks it sounds warm and on others it sounds cold, and on an occasion it’s a mixture of both. Detail retrieval is also very good and coupled with it’s good staging and layering makes for some great critical listening.
The treble is indeed a little peaky and has track induced sibilance. It’s not a sibilant earphone in itself but can get there with some pieces of music. I think this is inherited from the titanium driver. The Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 with its beryllium coated driver has this characteristic as well. But on the case of the Titan, the peakiness is not located in one area of the mid/lower treble; it extends far and well up without getting too sibilant or metallic. Here be airiness and sparkle, and there is plenty of it. A very enjoyable listen indeed. The only issue I have with this is that it does get a little bit fatiguing after a couple of hours of non-stop listening.
Balance! The Titans do seem to have a little bit of a boost in the mids, and it’s very welcomed. It’s accompanied by both treble and mid/upper bass to give you a very natural vocal and acoustic experience. There is still a vocal track that I need to find that sounds bad with the Titans. Male vocals are full, clear and alive, and female vocals shine and sing.
It is a little elevated in the mid bass region, but not a lot, and it doesn’t leak or overwhelm the mids at all. It’s not linear but is more balanced then most fun sounding IEMs. It extends quite low and stays impactful and coherent with good speed.
Soundstage & Imaging
It’s like listening to a concert in your head. The imaging is very accurate and has lots of layering to boot. Coupled with the above average soundstage width and depth, it evokes some really immersive listening. It’s not as wide or deep as the Havi B3 Pro 1 but that’s actually a good thing; the Havi being a little distant at times makes the listening laid back and in the background, but the Titans make it a “here and now” kind of “party in your head” type of listening. It makes you want to put your hands up, stand up and join the party. Yes, it’s like that.
This is how I’ve scored the Titans:
Value for money – 10/10
Overall sound quality – 8/10
Design – 8/10
Comfort – 9/10
Isolation – 3/10
Average – 7.6/10
For an overall value and enjoyment, I give them 5 stars all day; everyday. These are just too good not to like for any reason.
I don’t know how Dunu come up with such great ideas, but they continue to push the boundaries and with the Titan 1 they’ve hit it straight out of the park. For the price of $115 (current PenonAudio price) this is a complete no-brainer purchase. The Titans are my automatic go to suggestion for people who look for an IEM under $150, and if you’re in the market under this budget, what are you still doing reading this review when you could be out there buying these right now? They are really a remarkable IEM for this low price. Well done Dunu!