VALUE: Do not apply
THE PLUS: Lush natural sound, effortless macro-resolution, richly layered sound, sumptuous vocal, good transparency, non-fatiguing treble, fast transient response, panoramic soundstage, nuanced timbre, invincible construction, excellent do-it-all cable
THE SO-SO: Lack a bit of air, details and sparkles, the bass does not extend fully, average imaging, little sound benefit return due to very high price
Today I will review the flagship DUNU LUNA.
Beryllium dynamic drivers are often used for earphones, but it’s not always specified for which part of the drivers. It can be coated on a diaphragm of another material, used for the dome or like the Luna or Final Audio A8000, the whole diaphragm can be made of 100% pure beryllium. All this will inflict on the final transient response speed, even the microscopic difference in thickness between Luna and A8000 will inflict on it too.
I have always been a fan of beryllium coated drivers, which tend to improve both speed and clarity, but the real revelation is when I listen to A8000, the transient speed was just from another world and it feels like I was listening to a hybrid IEM with dedicated divers for lows, mids and highs.
When I heard DUNU launch a flagship full-beryllium IEM at half the price of the A8000, I jump in review tour boat with euphoric expectation.
Now let’s see in this review if these 1700$ earphones offer a pristine sound experience that won’t make you regret the consequent investment.
The LUNA sell for 1700$ and I suggest you to buy them directly from the official DUNU STORE for peace of mind about after-sale service.
As there wasn’t a full package included in the review tour, I can’t judge unboxing but the number and quality of accessories are impressive enough. The cable is a flagship one that uses ”Mixed Strands of Furukawa Electric Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) Copper & DHC Silver, with Silver-Plated OCC Copper Shield” as well as a very practical modular jack with 3 types of plugs (2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm balanced, 3.5 single-ended). This cable do show the full potential of LUNA sound and became my go-to cable for a lot of my IEM. Apart from the cable, you have a very generous amount of ear tips (including mostly spin fit ear tips) and a very nice looking leather carrying case that is near as big as a purse, so you can store a lot of things in it.
The construction of LUNA isn’t particularly yealing ‘’I’m a 2K luxury IEM, look at me’’ and it’s a blessing because it attires the attention of anybody, includes suspicious characters. It’s beautifully sober in design, inspired by DK series housing. The material used for whole housing is Titanium Alloy Grade 5, which is extremely durable and solid and not prompt to easy scratching. Back of housing is concave within a circular shape and create a beautiful shadow effect and light reflection. The texture is a little rough, which permits a very good grip and this back housing dip help to push IEM inside your ears with your thumbs and achieve a more easily perfect fit. All this is meticulously machined and inspires a long life span. In terms of comfort, I find them perfect for me and never encounter a long time comfort issue. To note I have rather big ears, as well, those who like deep fit will find LUNA shape and nozzle not long enough. Anyway, they are light, small and very comfy with long ear tips.
ISOLATION is just a little above average and you will hear some outside noise if listening at low volume. This is perhaps due to the venting hole at top of housing, or type of metal used. In terms of noise leakage, it’s minimal and near insignificant apart if you are surrounded by a bunch of people suffering from hyper-hyperacusis.
DRIVEABILITY is both easy and not overly sensible even with high 111db sensitivity due to normal 16ohm impedance (at 8ohm it would be surely prompt to overdriven issue). What the LUNA love is an enough powerful DAP with very clean sound. The best pairing is with my Xduoo X20, which is ultra-clean slightly cold sounding and offers 300mW balanced output with ultra-low THD.
Source used: Ibasso DX90, Xduoo X20 (balanced), Xduoo X3, Audirect BEAM2, X20 and DX90+JDS LABS ATOM
If you were afraid the LUNA sound too technical, bright or clinical, or overly similar in tonality or timbre to the Final A8000, you can be reassured it is a completely different beast and follow a more musicality minded tuning where warmth meets speed. It has a unique meaty sound that kept great transparency through its nuanced timbre density. We are in V leaning to W shape sound territory, which is my favorite sound landscape to climb. All curves, no spike.
SOUNDSTAGE is out of your head and panoramic, it’s wider than deeper and surrounds you in a circular way around you. While it’s not the must airy and vast spatiality, its far from being overly closed up. You’re near the musicians with the LUNA, feeling in the same big room as them.
IMAGING is very good but not particularly sharp or precise, instrument separation is lively but without a lot of space between them, still, due to weighty sound dynamic, you have both front and stereo separation which give sens of space between layers even if not very deep. With the LUNA you don’t really become a ‘’pre-made critical listener’’, the sound goes at you in all its macro-cohesion, it does not feel cut in micro-pieces for you so you have an ultra-highly-resolve definition of every instruments singularity.
TONALITY is a dynamic neutrality, with warm bass, forwards mids, and smooth delicate treble. W shape signature where mids and lower treble is the more fowards and low bass have good weighty slam that can move air, treble is thick and well rounded.
TIMBRE is lush, thick and nuanced in texture. It’s a natural timbre, free of too much grain but near 50% opaque because of it’s rich density.
BASS is greatly influenced by ear tips you use, wide bore ear tips make these more U shape sounding while longer ear tips like KZ Starline (my favorite and cost near nothing) keep the balanced W shape tonality intact. Sub presence region is boosted, not in extension but more in fatness around 100HZ region, so we have a high-end boomy presentation with good round slam that can go quite impactful and have a fast articulation. In other hand, the separation between mid and high bass isn’t very crisp and the kick lack a bit of forward crisp punch impact. While not perfect, I appreciate this bass for it’s a chunky presence that do not veil mid-range while it adds natural fullness to vocal. For acoustic bass, it will have a good dynamic that tends to extract its presence, but the extension will stop to soon. For synth-bass it’s perfect, offering superb articulation with impressive layering that adds physical excitement to rendering. For toms, again, the extension will not feel supernatural but have good (too) rounded slam. Unfortunately, you can’t tweak extension with ear tips, just presence-impact. I feel guilty to appreciate THAT much ‘’imperfect’’ bass, but it’s rendering is so unique, both fast and dense, in fact, it act as if the bass was a little slow but it isn’t at all this is where I’m puzzled, sometimes you feel like if the DUNU was dual DD of 2 different compositions. In a track like ‘’View from a satellite’’ from PORTICO QUARTET, we have an incredibly enjoyable sound experience where the kick bass is the star of the show and fast transient speed flexibility is euphoric, the LUNA love to slam and jam whatever the number of kicks and digital toms it has to deal with, sound layering here is phenomenal with the wide synth pads layers floating with great transparency, the saxophone positioning between low kick, just behind the fast snare hits, and this round juicy thumping beat, super weighty in attack and full in timbre. So delectably sweet bass hit!
MIDS, Oh, the sweet, lush, clear, and lively mids! I really adore them and their transition with treble is so natural that some might not understand how well-tuned they are. For once, we have weighty mids that don’t sound bloated with the bass, for once piano can be played in whole register and sound magnificently full! Yes, the LUNA love pianist and let me tell you that this is my number one instrument to judge any IEM, I could just write review listening to solo piano and this might happen because it’s very rare that earphones can deliver both natural tonality and dynamic technicality of this instrument and if they do, like Final Audio E5000 or A8000, they will lack proper separation or timbre fullness. This is where LUNA shows the unique agility of pure beryllium drivers. Listening to‘’Miles’’ from last JAMILA WOODS album is a real delight where crisp snappy percussion, fast round thumping bass, light background electric bass line sound super lively and dynamic but let the stage clean for Jamila’s voice to fully blossom. Her lush vocal is wide and transparent with a smoothed edge free of sibilance, it’s natural, not very textured with just a little hint of upper mids brightness so the definition do not mix with rest of music due to an overly warm tonality. So, both vocal and piano excel with the LUNA, but instruments like electric guitar will perhaps lack a bit of bite, while an acoustic guitar will lack hint of sparkle, both showed with full-bodied tonality and effortless clarity. With the LUNA we have a full mid-range with a good amount of lower mids, which is something very rare, and the resolution is highly articulate.
TREBLE has more of its energy in the lower region and extra crispness in the upper region, it’s not a flat and neutral approach of the highs and it’s slightly tamed in the region that adds texture to the instrument. Some percussions like snare and hit hat will sound fuller while metallic percussion will sound sharper and more delicate, lacking a bit of density. Cymbals crash have natural long decay and stay in the back, no splashiness neither trebly spike. LUNA has rolled off ultra-highs which stole a little bit of air to the overall presentation. Most sound dynamics come from bass, mids, and lower treble. As said, the extra crispness in high can push forwards metallic percussions, some will find this exciting and others will find it a little distracting for jazz music where suddenly the drummer feels in the front stage. Thigh and fast are the highs, with a very snappy attack but not alot of brilliance or decay, here its fast decay and have more crunch than crisp. The LUNA are more musical than analytical and show you details in a natural way, if you actively search them you will find them, in term of sound layers it’s more evident to discern than micro-detailing because here it’s the cohesion of macro-resolution that excel.
VS DITA FEALTY (1500$)
TONALITY is brighter, more neutral and colder.
SOUNDSTAGE is taller and deeper with about the same wideness, the IMAGING is less holographic and isn’t as much layered but has more precise placement.
BASS is more recessed, doesn’t have any slam but has more texture and more linear extension.
MIDS are less present, leaner in presentation with more upper mids boost. They are thinner in timbre and less dynamic and weighty in attack.
TREBLE is more emphasized and extended, it digs more micro details and adds more texture and sparkle, upper treble is notably more aggressive too.
All in all, the LUNA sound warmer, fuller, more natural and musical with a more bodied and balanced presentation in dynamic, while not as technical and neutral as the FEALTY, it’s more versatile and engaging listen that does favorize bass and mids while FEALTY is the opposite by taking all its energy from treble boost.
VS FINAL AUDIO A8000 (2000$)
So, here we have a real PURE BERYLLIUM battle….but a whole different tuning approach too. The A8000 push transient speed to its limit while the LUNA is more about mids and timbre fullness. One thing to note too: the A8000 are way harder to drive and less versatile in the pairing.
SOUNDSTAGE is notably less deep, but feel taller and wider, IMAGING is less accurate and crisp so you struggle to spot instrument in a higher range.
BASS isn’t as realist sounding as the A8000, due to warmer resolution and slightly more boomy articulation which add more slam instead of natural extension, it sounds a little slower too.
MIDS are fuller, lusher and weightier in attack but less transparent and textured than A8000, the vocal is more forward and piano sound less thin and dry.
TREBLE is more relaxed, thicker, less offensive than more detailed and analytical highs of the A8000.
All in all, here it would be a matter of tonal preference, if you’re more about speed and details, the intensely resolved A8000 will blow your mind, if your more about musicality and vocal, the LUNA is just unbeatable.
Did I love the LUNA earphones? Oh yes, I adore them because they hit the right balance between musicality and technicalities and keep intact the wow effect when it’s due to good mastering-recording of music.
Will I buy them? No, because I can’t afford that amount of money, but if they were selling at 500$ used I would jump on them. And to me, 500$USD is near a month of salary.
To those that can afford the LUNA, I envy you and wish you to be transformed into an audiophile frog, you spoiled prince! No but seriously….congrats! (sigh)
The DUNU LUNA is an audacious IEM that does not try to use pure beryllium driver to show you how fast and detailed it can go, it’s agility behold in its musical fluidity and lush tonal balance. It’s both smooth in timbre and weighty in dynamic, flexible in attack and thigh in decay, warm in details and sharp in macro-resolution, it’s a cocktail with sirup sugar (and no lemon) that taste addictively refreshing.