Headphone Review: Dunu Tai Chi

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Dunu | In-Ear Monitor | $ 127.00

Dunu has become a well respected company by many regards. The Chinese-based company sticks to beautiful, articulate designs and packs a sound that is just as beautiful and articulate as the looks are. Dunu has recently released a new flagship model: the DN-19, or Tai Chi. It’s an IEM that is to stand for everything that Tai Chi stands for. It does a great job at that as well. 

Specifications

  • Driver: 10mm Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 16 Hz – 26 kHz
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB +/- 2 dB

In the Box

  • Dunu Tai Chi IEMs
  • Hard Carrying Case
  • Soft Carrying Pouch
  • Ear Guides (2 pairs)
  • Silicone Tips (Single Flange Grey: S/M/L; Single Flange Hybrid Black: S/2M/L)
  • Dampers
  • Accessories Case (Holds Tips, Dampers, 1 Set of Ear Guides, and Cleaning Cloth)
  • Airplane Adapter
  • ¼” Adapter
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As always, Dunu has packed the box full of accessories.

Design

Dunu has toned down the design of the Tai Chi a bit taking a single step away from the flashy nature of their headphones. A metallic-styled black plastic surrounds the circular, silver centerpiece that looks brushed. From a distance, it looks to have a single, solid color. Up close, a subtle Yin-Yang can be seen at the right angle. It’s a beautiful, yet small addition to the headphones.

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When under the right light, a Yin-Yang is full visible to the eye.

Design: ★★★★★

Audio

The sound of the Tai Chi is tunable with bass boost using the concept of dampers. Using the included plastic dampers, the ports of the Tai Chi can be plugged to offer a more balanced sound. Releasing them, you get more bass presence and body. Tips are also used in conjunction to tune the sound as well (grey tips with dampers, black tips without). The sound signature is very warm and engaging with either set up.

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Dunu offers users dampers to use with the Tai Chi. This with the combination of tips can alter sound greatly.

Bass

Dampers: With the dampers in, the bass is well controlled, but still with a slight focus on the sub-bass. This creates a grand body with beautiful texturing overall that has a good thickness to it. The low-bass provides excellent impact and depth to the bass making it bigger, but also slower. Although the low-bass does make things better, it doesn’t rid of the punch. The bass is enjoyable, fun, slower, but doesn’t do anything technically wrong.
No Dampers: A big bump in the sub-bass can be heard with the dampers gone. This bump also includes a slightly bigger low-bass as well. The resulting sound is a boomier, funner (I know, I know) sound overall. Punch is lost by doing this though. It’s still well controlled and has even better texture than what the grey tip + damper setup offers. Presence is vastly improved as well.

Bass: ★★★★½

Mids

Dampers: The dampers push up the focus on the higher-mids a bit, but the instruments still have a bit of warmth to them. The vocals have a lushness to them with a large touch of sweetness and a natural timbre. There is really amazing clarity and transparency to the mids as a whole. Detailing could use a slightly better improvement in the lower mids though.
No Dampers: Without the dampers, the mids lose a bit of focus from the upper-midrange. Vocals still pop the same amount, but the instruments aren’t as clear. That’s not to say they aren’t clear any longer, they are. Some details are still missing while the upper vocals can use a tad bit more energy.

Mids: ★★★★½

Highs

Dampers: The highs with the dampers in creates a boost to the higher highs. This creates beautiful cymbal splashes that remain softer. Clarity is actually great throughout, some detailing can end up gone as the highs can extend just a little further into the spectrum. The presence is at a minimal, but tolerable, level.
No Dampers: The highs lose presence with this setting. They take a slightly further back seat, but still extend the same amount. With that said, detailing is about the same, but clarity is lost a little as the highs dig a bit deeper into the background. Splashes still come in very well though.

Highs: ★★★★½

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

As always, Dunu seems to have done a great job with their build quality. They offer users multiple cases, a hard case and a soft case in this case. The hardcase is similar to the ones incuded with the UE TF10s and is very strong, but also with a bit of elegance to it. The soft case is the standard leather case that comes with just about every Dunu model.

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Two Cases are included. They are both compact and do their job well.

The housings are enclosed in plastic this time around, rather than the normal metal you’d expect. They have a quality feel to them which comes with the thickness. I don’t see them being easily crushed, instead, I see them being very strong despite not being metal. Each housing has a larger strain relief coming from it.

The cable is actually a coiled cable enclosed in a clear plastic tube. This makes the cable very strong, but also a little stiff. The cable really truly looks beautiful in just about any setting. The silver color contrasts the black very nicely. Having an actual silver coating over the copper also fights corrosion of the actual cable.

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The cable just looks beautiful.

The headphone jack is the newer model of headphone jacks that is angled at 90-degrees. It’s thick, stiff, and strong, how I’d expect a good headphone jack to be. The combination of the above with the gold plating on the actual jack creates a perfectly built headphone jack.

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The headphone jack is built to perfection.

Build: ★★★★★

Comfort

The headphones are made to be worn up. This not only reduces microphonics and bone conduction, but also ensures the IEMs are much more secure. They are very light due to the plastic construction which makes them extremely comfortable. Ear guides are preinstalled on the Tai Chi, but are optional; 2 pairs are included.

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Two pairs of earguides are included.

There are two colors of silicone tips included creating a total of 7 pairs of tips in 3 sizes (2 pairs of black mediums included). As stated before, they are used to tune the sound of the headphones. However, they are also very comfortable and ensure a secure fit.

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The included silicone tips come in grey (standard) and black (Hybrid).

Comfort: ★★★★★

Value

If there is one thing Dunu has shown, it’s that they can make headphones that have value behind them. Even when priced just under 130 dollars, the Tai Chi is no different. They are priced well below what the sound quality offered should go for; in addition to that, the sound is tunable. The design, build, and comfort is exquisite to really seal the entire package.

Value: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

It’s a beautiful thing to look at, but an even better thing to listen to. The tunable sound and overall package provided makes it a steal at 127 dollars. The Dunu Tai Chi (DN-19) was something Dunu was proud to introduce. They have every right to be proud of this accomplishment.

I’d like to thank Rocky for the review sample.

Overall Score

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Dunu DN-19 Tai Chi

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Rocky for the product sample.
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