Dunu Luna – the mystical search for the best Beryllium IEM
Pros: Ultra clarity/ Linear Bass/ Comfort Fit/ Needs no amping/ MMCX/ Modular connectors
Cons: Too revealing on harsh sounding recordings/ Looks are unexciting/ Carry bag is impractical/ Tips didn’t suit me
The Dunu Luna has been made available to myself and others who applied in the headfi loaner tour. It is, in the next few days at least, on it’s way to the next person on the Tour, the great @dill3000 and then onto my equally qualified friend @Ithilstone.
I thank Dunu for choosing me. I know there are a great many other reviews out there of the Luna already, many of which, I am sure, I shall look forward to reading in the days and weeks to come.
I haven’t read any reviews of the Duna so far. Why not? Because I like my work and my opinion, to be my own. With the best intentions on the World, were I to read something from one of the giants of our profession (@Currawong immediately springs to mind) inevitably I would be already being led down a path that has already been walked. In other words, my impressions would be developed before I even opened the box. Thus, I steer clear of reviews before I get to try out the items myself. May my name live or die on the basis that this is all me, like it or not
When you read my reviews; they’re all me. The only thing I will say is that I have to look at the official website of the manufacturer for the technical information that I need and you all crave. Yes, there is much marketing talk in such sites. Yes, some are more persuasive than others. But all are designed to sell the product they portray and in that way they are less of an influence than a more objective (or should I say Subjective) opinion.
The Duna Luma retails at £1399 in the UK. IT can be found here
How much? Well, see here, it’s all about this beryllium. It’s certainly not based on numbers of drivers squashed into the shells. There’s only 1. It’s not about tons of different flavour cables. There’s only 1. It’s a universal. 1 size fits all. Simply, the material that this is made from is where the money is going. The metal (you’ll see beryllium mentioned a few times in here) that is used for the driver diaphragm costs lots and lots of money. It is incredibly dangerous to make. So it needs a super duper mega tech lab with people in NASA suits and massive lenses and scopes doing intricate things that cannot be seen except on an atomic level. As you can see, my imagination has somewhat kicked in on this. Whatever the reality may be, this manufacturing plant in the USA is probably charging Dunu a packet for this material. It is incredibly strong. Like kryptonite. But it would smash kryptonite into pieces if they ever met up. That means you can stretch it into really thin peices. The thinner you can get something, the more responsive it is going to be when you push a force at it. This is why companies have been interested in beryllium. Focal’s Grande Utopia uses beryllium for it’s tweeters. So what? You say. I answer, well, they cost £129 000….
The Luna is all about keeping things as minimal as possible to keep distortion as low as possible. A single driver needs no crossover. Crossovers cause distortion. The less strong the material, the less true it is capable of reproduction. There are other beryllium IEMs out there, but the PURE berylliums…I’m afraid they cost quite a bit more than the models that have flakes of the metal sprayed onto the driver diaphragm. Dunu state their cheaper models are semi beryllium and give you a flavour. The real thing is sat beside me…
I have had experience with another Pure Beryllium Single Driver Universal, having been part of the loaner tour for a certain Final A8000. Details of that can be found here
The tour model comes in a box, without the packaging that would be supplied with the retail product so we can skip that part of the discussion. What we can chat about, is the content found therein. First off, a great big black leather bag.
He’s nice isn’t he? 3 compartments. 1 for the tips, one for the connectors, 1 for the IEMs. Clearly, once stowed away, the Luna’s are bullet proof. Putting the Luna into the bag is rather like dropping a pebble into the black hole of Calcutta… It is rather a large Bilbo Baggins whereas the Dunu Luma is rather small.
Within said bag is a series of other bags. I will virtually scatter the contents of the boutique bag and you can have a ganders. Here goes….
The tips consist of several different styles and strengths of silicone and the complys. I wasn’t enthralled by any other than the ones I settled on. I was quite surpised as to how much difference I got from using each of the different types, and not for the better, may I say. I dare say, if you can get your favourite tips to slip onto these nozzles, you may be in for a treat.
These are the connector jacks. They snap on to the end of the cable. What a clever idea! All bits and bobs catered for here; both balanced or unbalanced, you’re sorted, without lots of extra metal diminishing the cosmetic appeal of your treasures.
A glimpse of the twisted braid silver cable. It does a good job and provides a decent fit around the ear. Let me show you more
Although my video will give you a proper view of the fit, the end connectors have been subtly angled to aid the fit around the ear still more. You can also see a chin strap in clear plastic. It’s all in the details; the chin strap is hardly obtrusive but it feels right.
The velcro strap is the standard affair. I put it on to the tour unit because I find it so much easier to transport around like that.
There it is, all coiled up, in what is essentially a very small pocket’s worth of earphoniage. Unless you are going to want to use that bag.
Fit, build, looks
The shells of the Luna are perfectly smooth, sphericly round, thin and tiny. They fit into the ear without an issue. The tips are the only sticking point. The tips, for me, were a compromise. They produced the best tonal range but certainly not the best isolation. They were somewhat loose in the ear canal. Adjustments were frequent and added a touch of inconvenience to the proceedings. The feeling of never quite being in the sweet spot is a plague of many an IEM.
The build, otherwise, is great. Everything feels rock solid, satisfying clicks are evidenced sporadically all through my video. Attention to detail is important when you are spending this sort of money. Bear in mind that this product is on a Tour; there is not a mark on anything. If you are sensible enough to wish to own this as an heirloom and want to use it for the rest of your life each and every day etc. I can say with confidence; you should be fine.
I was impressed by the Dunu Website’s look at the Luna. Although it has been written rather more seriously than this here ditty, it is well worth a read.
I thought the pictures that they had of the Luna were amazing. I definetely have the Luna’s; but when I look at them, they don’t seem the same ones. When you take the moon out of the equation and it starts raining outside…. Oh dear, the lustre seems to fade. I hate to mention this; I find the cosmetic appeal of these to be lacking. The shells, with their almost invisible connection to the stalk, yep, cool with that. Otherwise, I find them a bit boring to look at. Is this because Dunu wanted to avoid alienating any potential buyers with a design that made a statement? At least I am not saying the Luna’s look ugly. Says me, in my cargo trousers and t shirt…. Look, I’m not a designer! I just sit in an air conditioned office for a living, imagining I am famous for all sorts of reasons I just know what I like when it comes to stuff, and maybe as a reviewer of all these top products one can become desensitised to looks. I hope you all think it looks sumptuous.
These are the specifications for the Luna.
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
To comment with any proficiency on this mind boggling statistic, only bats and instruments need apply. I am out.
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: 0.2% at 1 kHz
This is an interesting one. The IE800 has a THD of 0.06%. It is also a single driver IEM. The Luna’s sound much more accurate to me…..
NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 16 Ω
Combined with the 110 dB as shown below, the Luna can be played through a smartphone. There are some of you out there with those precious few audio smartphones. As for me….sacrilege! I used my Fiio M11 and the HiFiMan R2R2000 and HM1000 to squeeze whatever extras I could glean from the Luna. The HM1000 has super low, low and high gain settings. Dunu needed no more than super low.
SENSITIVITY: 110 dB at 1 kHz
Bass was thinner than I expected from the Luna. The expectation of a supreme bass master came from my memory of the Final A8000. They were incredible in the bottom end. The bottom line is important. It didn’t strike me instantaneously as a resonating roar, and of course, then comes the creeping disappointment that objectivity tries desperately to avoid. Heck, I’m a (semi) professional! I gritted my teeth, and girdled my loins, and stuck with it, and waited for the real Luna to emerge. And, sure enough, the bass is there. Lurking, almost sullenly. It has been held back. The bass is accurate and has no bloat. It would seem that there might be something else which the Dunu Luna wishes to draw our attention to.
Mids,highs and sound stage
This is where the magic happens. The Luna’s are ultra clear. The precision of the mix and the way in which music is portrayed…. Deep feelings of bliss over many many tracks! Wow! This is not an easy thing, showing up these subtleties, hidden fruit waiting to be plucked by the inner ear, that takes some expertise. Whatever they have done, Dunu has achieved something with these IEMs. Feel proud of yourselves, Dunu! Well done!
The Sennheiser IE800 sounds muddy in comparison to the Luna. I need to get rid of these Luna’s, real quick, so as I can forget how they sound. I can then get back to enjoying my other stuff. Go on, Dunu! Be off with you! Before I set the dogs on you!
When you are gazing into the bottom of a pool with a set of eyes stolen from the Six Million Dollar Man, you can see everything. You can see all the mud and the Coke cans, and the crisp wrappers….The Luna has the cystal clear vision. But not all of my beloved music collection was ready for this forensic examination. When you are dealing with this much clarity, there may come a point when, like me, it becomes too much. This is the big league, and not every track is ready to be reexamined wit an HM1000 and the Dunu Luma’s. It wouldn’t be fair to say that the earphones were fatiguing, but some of the music certainly was.
The sound stage of the Luna was big, not quite as big as the IE800, but appreciably larger than the single driver RE2000 Silver’s from HiFiMan. In fact, I concluded that the stage was just right for my tastes, and the IE800, famous for it’s crazily big stage, was artificially huge.
I have had a fairly long time with these IEMs. It was more than I had expected and I feel privileged to have been allowed to do so. I have, once again, not been able to give maximum marks to my review. There has yet to be a perfect IEM, even amongst the ones I have bought myself. I suppose deep down, there must always be room for improvement, and year after year, manufacturers achieve something new.
The Luna might be one of the most revealing IEMs out there. It shows it’s strengths in abundance, and they are linked with the holy grail of all audio; clarity. You have to accept less bass and let more music into your life if you want to fall in love with Luna. Push her too hard and she will bite youCompare her to your existing equipment at your peril.. I suspect many people would get an instant wow factor with these. I really enjoyed them, but perhaps the RE2000 is more to my liking, if I had to make that agonising choice between the 2. The RE’s had a less precise sound but perhaps because of that, they were more forgiving, especially over longer listening sessions.
It almost feels like a betrayal of what we hold dear to state the above, but there, I’ve said it now. Whatever way you enjoy your music, I shan’t take that away from you. I hope you’ve had fun reading this. Until the next instalment, I remain vigilent in my search for the ultimate IEM.