DUNU TALOS Planar In-Ear Monitor Review


Brand New Design

DUNU has launched many well known IEMs. But when reviewing all the DUNU products, you will find out that TALOS is their first planar in ear monitor. TALOS is equipped with a 14.6mm planar magnetic driver, dual customized balanced armature driver and also an interesting free switching dual-mode which allows us to change its tuning modes from planar mode to planar+BA hybrid mode. Compared with other IEMs with adjustable tuning, TALOS simply adjusted the structure of the core unit, and the design of this method is indeed novel.

The whole body of TALOS is black, and the surface is frosted. The shape of the panel is like a drop of water, which gathers into a sharp corner at the top of a circle. The center of the circle is the golden DUNU logo, and there are several circles of ripples from the center to the outside. The design of IEMs on the market is relatively bright and beautiful. I personally think that the appearance design of TALOS is relatively "hard-core", relatively low-key, and not that outstanding.

We can see a switcher on the IEM. When it is set to "ON", it is the planar + BA hybrid mode. When it is set to "1", it is the planar mode. The cavity has a certain thickness for holding a 14.6mm planar and 2 BA. Each IEM only weights 7g and friends with small outer ears will not feel uncomfortable when wearing Talos.


Three Sets of Eartips

The accessories of TALOS are similar to the previous TITAN series, including three sets of eartips, cleaning brushes, cable clips, 6.35mm adapters, and carrying case. Among those three types of eartips, the flat-walled straight-type vocal enhancement tips is a new face. Compared with the other two tips, its main function is to deliver a more solid imaging, and a more forward mid.

Detachable OCC Silver-plated Litz Cable

DUNU includes a detachable OCC silver-plated Litz cable with 0.78mm dual pin. It dosen't have swappable termination jacks so if you would like to get a balanced output, you would need to change a cable.

First Impression

Not long after I got TALOS, it showed the most typical side of planar IEM - it needs to be burnt very much. Comparing with the TALOS unboxing, there was a considerable difference between the sound and the full body state, mainly manifested in the tight sound and relatively dry mid-frequency. After nearly 100 hours of burn-in, the TALOS in my hand gradually got rid of the "tense" feeling.

The most attractive thing about TALOS is nothing more than the sound performance of its 14.6mm large-size planar diaphragm, and the difference between the two different tuning modes. In the following, I would use the FiiO M11 Plus LTD as a reference front-end to savor this IEM.

Let's check out the Planar + BA Hybrid mode:

The sound of TALOS tends to be restored. There is no obvious sound coloration or the timbre of vocals and instruments. Its sound stage is relatively broad, but it is not slack or weak. And maintains a certain tension in it, creating a significant sense of activity and even escape.

Under the strengthening effect of two Balanced Armatures, the high-frequency brightness of TALOS can be called dazzling. The amount of music information in this frequency is relatively complete, the sound line is excellent and has good extension. For example, listen to Yani's "Nightingale" with TALOS, the flute is always in the most prominent and loudest position in the whole song, and the details such as the vibrating breath of the flute performance are also perfect.

Relatively speaking, the middle and low frequencies of TALOS are quite satisfactory. The thickness of the mid frequency is moderate, and the position of the vocal is slightly forward; the low frequency has good strength, and the overtone and elasticity are not particularly strong. In general, although TALOS in the mixed mode performs well in the middle and bottom, it is still far less "spotlight" than the high frequency, which is unforgettable to the ear.

In terms of quality, TALOS in hybrid mode not only has the natural large dynamics of the flat diaphragm, but also has the characteristics of excellent resolution of the BA drivers in specific frequency. And the sound stage has no obvious sense of edge, making TALOS performs expressive when listen to instrumental pieces, especially the strings. In addition, the speed of TALOS response is fairly fast, and the degree of separation is sufficient to ensure that the sound elements do not interfere with each other. The quality of the IEMs launched by DUNU in the past two years is above the average level in their price ranges. Although the TALOS is still far behind the IEMs with a price of two to three thousand yuan, but in terms of the standard of a thousand yuan , its performance is quite solid and worthy of recognition.

At the first listen, the sound of TALOS hybrid mode can easily meet our pursuit in certain dimensions, such as the performance of high frequency and freshness. Of course, this kind of sound in a gorgeous coat inevitably sacrifices a certain degree of listening while stimulating sensory pleasure.

Two Modes Two Choices

The sound changes obviously when switching TALOS to the Planar Mode

The timbre still maintains a straightforward expression with no sound coloration. Another notable change is that the tension in the sound space has been reduced a lot, and the sound effect presented is much calmer. The "activity" has largely been replaced by "stability".

It is also due to the overall soothing effect. Compared with the hybrid mode, it has a slightly weaker sense of power in the whole frequency. The performance of mid and low does not seem to be so aggressive. Without the processing of the drivers, the high frequency have also become a little softer. It is more balanced, and the overall coordination is better, and the mid and low will not lose their sense of presence.

In terms of quality, the dynamic and transient performance is basically the same as that in hybrid mode. In terms of resolution, TALOS’s processing of music information is different from that of mixed mode, which slightly darkens some details. The presentation of information is more layered. The changes brought about by switching to planar mode are not all good—the resolution is slightly reduced, and the cohesion of the image is also slightly deviated. In general, the quality and strength of the hybrid mode is slightly stronger, but the difference between the two is not big. The sound is not so ear-catching, but its expressiveness is more comprehensive. When listening to some pop music that is not strong in rhythm and style. It has a completely different effect from traditional dynamic or BA drivers IEMs. It has a special taste when play Zhou Chuanxiong's "Twilight" and Anita Mui's "Song of the Sunset".

When I listen to TALOS myself, I use the hybrid mode first, and then experience the planar mode. During this process, what I felt was the transition from bright and flamboyant to warm and soft. If you listen to the planar mode first and then try the hybrid mode, you may have another feeling.

Starting from its dual configuration mode, I think some interesting gameplay can be derived—— For example, in the choice of ear tips apply to the two modes are different. I recommend not only the "natural" sound brought by the equalizer set, but also the voice enhancement ear tips in planar mode. To shrink the opening of the sound image, so that the energy is more concentrated.

In addition, when choosing a front end to drive TALOS, on the premise of ensuring the driving force, what style should be used to adapt to the two modes respectively? The combination of M11 Plus LTD with a balanced front-end may seem bland. If you want to add some music appeal, I personally recommend trying to drive with a warmer player . For another example, when we have other upgrade cables, we can explore how different the sound of the planar, and we can also see whether the sound will "work miracles". Compared with most thousand-yuan IEMs on the market, the attribute of TALOS "two voices in one IEM" simply gives us double the "tossing" space.

I also feel that TALOS's demand for driving force is a bit harsh. When you use a mobile phone or computer to push directly, or use a DAC to drive TALOS, the sound is relatively flat. If you upgrade to a player with a price of about 2k, the overall sound is relatively clear. But compared with a price of 5k player , and there is obviously a gap in density. Since there is only has single-ended plugs, the problem of driving force is even more obvious.

Fortunately, TALOS has maintained the lower limit of the matching effect in the sound adjustment. Even if I obviously feel "dissatisfied with pushing", I didn't hear the unpleasant sound. Of course, we all know that planar will be more difficult to drive, but TALOS has a certain potential worth exploring. On the other hand, as a thousand-yuan IEM, the high driving threshold may make some people hard to fully feel the strength of TALOS.

Why Talos

TALOS is the first planar IEM launched by DUNU, which is priced at only about 1,000 yuan. DUNU has played a variety of tricks that are rarely seen at a similar price.

This is not the first time that DUNU has practiced its whimsical ideas on thousand-yuan IEMs. The replaceable filter design of FALCON PRO has made us have a lot of fun before. But obviously, TALOS gave us deeper impression on the use of the planar and the way of tuning change.

From the TITAN S to the VULKAN, and now to the TALOS, DUNU has continuously launched several plugs worth listening. For starter, it is undoubtedly worth gratifying to have one more reliable choice at different prices.

So, after having two tuning at the same time, which one would you prefer to choose? As my personal preferences, TALOS in planar mode seems to be more suitable for my taste. But I have to admit that when I listened to the hybrid mode, TALOS suddenly brought my thoughts back to a distant night-I lingered in a variety of sound performances and surprised that these styles met the beauty revealed in the music. In the repeated comparisons, I have a deeper understanding of the sound. Since then, my attitude towards whether I like a sound is not limited to the sensory stimulation of the ear, but also depends on whether I can understand and even recognize the idea behind the sound.

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