Headphones, Reviews

DUNU EST112 Review

2,066
Introduction DUNU’s new EST112 IEMs have received mixed reviews as of their release. Some reviewers stated that this IEM “punch above its price,” some disagrees, and some are confused about…

Introduction

DUNU’s new EST112 IEMs have received mixed reviews as of their release. Some reviewers stated that this IEM “punch above its price,” some disagrees, and some are confused about why it exists. The mixed reviews may be partially due to another one of DUNU’s IEM, the DUNU SA6, being very close in price and arguably one of the best IEMs below $550. Having tried and owned the SA6, I can agree, it is a tough IEM to beat. However, the EST112 does have qualities that might be more appealing to some listeners. The big question now is, are those qualities enough to justify NOT saving up $60 more for the SA6? That’s what I’ll be answering today.

Personal Impression

From a straightforward comparison, I can see why some called the DUNU EST112 “living in the shadow” of the SA6. The SA6 is one of the most versatile IEM on the market below $550. It works with many genres of music, delivering well-tuned, neutral, smooth, yet sparkly and fun sound. Technical performance is also excellent, with great details and separation, good imaging, and competent soundstage. Long story short, the SA6 is one of the most enjoyable IEM I’ve ever tried, every song I played on it was fantastic. On the other hand, the EST112 is a hit or miss.

I didn’t get the same level of enjoyment I did from the SA6 with the EST112. The problem is the lack of resolution in the treble compared to the SA6. The occasional treble peaks also made longer listening sessions not viable. I’m pretty sensitive to treble, so this might not be the case for some listeners, but regardless, I’ve always found the treble on this IEM to be the “deal-breaker” in one way or another. A deal-breaker compared to the SA6, not in the market as a whole.

Sound Breakdown

Starting with the bass, the EST112 hits very well. Each note feels impactful and controlled. It’s not a bass-head IEM, but enough to be considered bass-boosted and fun to most listeners. Overall detail is also excellent for the price. The only negative I can give about the bass is, and we’re in nitpicking territory here, the sub-bass extension. It reaches decently far, but it always leaves me wanting more out of it.

Compared to SA6: EST112 hits with more authority and produces slightly better resolution. SA6 with bass-boost hits a touch heavier but still fall half a step short in details. 

Midrange and vocals have an overall warmer tone. It’s slightly forward and relaxing in an almost comforting way. Male vocals feel full and weighty, while females feel nuanced, with both highs and lows nicely represented. Clarity is also exceptional.

Acoustic sounds beautiful, taking full advantage of the extra warmth to give the feeling of smoothness and comfort. 

Compared to SA6: SA6 vocals sound more true to life and a bit recessed, while EST112 leans warmer and more forward. Which is better comes down to preference; both are beautiful in different ways. The SA6 has better clarity, with vocals feeling more well defined. The SA6 also takes a small victory for versatility; the natural signature works well with more genres. 

Treble in the EST112 is bright and forward but blunt in execution and has occasional peaks. That’s the first thing I noticed while listening to these IEMs; the treble resolution came across as a bit sanded off. Percussion hits are not as snappy, top-end electronic notes don’t shine quite as clear, and the overall feeling is, for lack of a better word, a bit blunt. Regardless, it still sounds great. The extra spark makes orchestral tracks come to life, with strings and woodwind instruments benefiting the most. The lack of detail doesn’t make the EST112 unenjoyable in any way, but it will leave some wanting more.

EST112 also has treble peaks that may cause fatigue to some listeners. I cannot listen to these for more than one or two hours without feeling the need to lower the volume or switch IEMs.

Compared to SA6: This is not a fair battle. The SA6 does treble better than any other IEMs I’ve tried. It’s very sparkly and smooth, great details, and no signs of peaking at all. It’s an overall more enjoyable treble experience. The only thing the EST112 has over the SA6 in the treble is that it’s more forward and louder, bringing more life to specific genres than the SA6. Besides that, the SA6 is significantly better.

Technical Performance

The soundstage is decently wide, and nothing feels squeezed. Its width is just about wider than what most would consider an “in your head” experience. For the price, it’s terrific. 

The imaging is good. I’m almost disappointed because it’s just a step away from being impressive. You can pinpoint the vocalist, but the instrument placements are blurry. You can pick out the general direction of each instrument, but not the exact location in relation to the other instruments. Again, nearly impressive! 

Overall detail is competent across the lower to midrange frequencies but lacking in the top-end. Separation is excellent for the price; no complaints here. 

The Good & The Bad

The Good

  • The warm midrange is very enjoyable on acoustic tracks.
  • The boosted treble makes orchestral tracks sound extra lively.
  • Satisfying bass impact and resolution.
  • Imaging and soundstage are overall impressive for the price.
  • Interchangeable plugs allow you to run balanced (2.5mm or 4.4mm) or unbalanced.

The Bad

  • The bass, although satisfying for most, will leave bass-heads wanting more.
  • Treble peaking can cause fatigue on longer listening sessions.
  • Treble resolution needs work.

Alternative

The most direct competition to the DUNU EST112 is its bigger brother, the DUNU SA6. Because of the SA6, it’s difficult to recommend the EST112. The SA6 is simply more well-rounded, with little to no compromises or flaws. EST112 lacking or exhibiting deficiencies in the area that it highlights (treble) is the big downside. If it executed the treble on par with the SA6, it would be a high recommendation. A couple of reasons to get the EST112 over the SA6 would be the extra power and resolution in the bass, or you enjoy a warmer midrange signature. However, you still have to be okay with the trade-off in the overall treble quality.

Summary

DUNU EST112 is a great IEM for the price, with the only misfortune that another IEM from the same company is a legend with a similar price tag. It has a great soundstage, imaging, bass, and midrange, with only flaws in the treble lacking sufficient details and occasionally peaking. If you like warm midrange, these are beautiful and should be in your consideration if under $500 is your budget. If not, the SA6, unfortunately, takes the victory and is worth saving extra to purchase.

Disclaimers

This DUNU EST112 is a personal unit purchased from hifigo.com 

All opinions are my own.

Author:Timmy Vangtan

, ,
Share article
Previous Post
DUNU SA6 Review
Next Post
DUNU EST112 Vs FiiO FD5: Latest Tribrid Vs Single DD Flagship
Menu