DUNU EST112 Vs FiiO FD5: Latest Tribrid Vs Single DD Flagship
Last month DUNU released its highly-anticipated tribrid set of in-ear monitor, the EST112. The pair brought together the benefits of a DD unit paired with a BA and two EST driver units inside CNC machined metallic cavities and all these at a very competitive price of just 489$ creating a new benchmark for tribrid EST IEMs. Previously tribrid EST setups were only limited in the high-tier segment with products as such Kinera Nanna, TRI Starlight, and more. Obviously, with such driver configuration and reputation of DUNU, the EST112 went out of stock within hours of its release. I managed to grab a unit of EST112 for myself from HiFiGo during the initial launch, Today I am going to share my comparison of EST112 with FiiO’s latest single DD Flagship, the FD5.
On one hand, we have the benefit of quad-driver tribrid setup while on the other we have a powerful single dd delivering outstanding performance making the FD5 one of the best buys around the 300$ price range. Will the single DD FD5 trump over the quad-driver EST112? We will be finding out shortly. Technical Specifications and features can be checked on DUNU’s website for EST112 here, and FiiO’s website for FD5 here. Also, interested people can watch the DUNU EST112 video review by my co-blogger on our YouTube channel from the link below.
Packaging & Accessories:-
Both the brands DUNU and FiiO have bundled the IEMs with everything one might imagine in the package. They both include a high-quality carry case, premium-quality cable with replaceable termination plugs, multiple sets of ear tips, and more. FiiO has also included a pair of tuning nozzles and an MMCX clip while DUNU included high-quality SpinFit ear tips along with regular ones. Both the packages feel complete with a lot of accessories.
Design, Build Quality, & Fit:-
Both the IEMs have a different design, though both feature similarly heavy metallic ear shells. FD5 has a bullet shape design for the earpieces with crown style semi-open back face panel grill, EST112 looks more refined with high-precision CNC machined shells. While the FD5 earpieces have a smaller form factor, they are slightly heavier when compared to the EST112’s. FD5 earpieces have a shiny lustrous finish while the EST112 have a matte look to them. In terms of design and build quality, I find both pairs equally good.
The cable with both the IEMs is of very good quality though the replaceable termination plug system is simpler in DUNU EST112. It’s just pulling out the previous one and pushing in the new one. In FD5, we have to unscrew the termination plug shell and then pull out the current plug, match the pin arrangement for the next one before pushing it in.
DUNU EST112 has a more ergonomic shape and fits better with better noise isolation compared to the bullet-shaped FD5.
Both the IEMs are easy to power. They can be driven off smartphones at adequate levels with decent technical performance without trouble. Though when powered with good sources such as Portable USB DAC/AMP’s or Hi-Res players both the IEMs show improved performance. I always recommend using hi-res players to better decode the audio signal and provide cleaner power for our IEMs. For this comparison, critical listening is done using Cayin N3 Pro with both sets at similar volume levels.
In my opinion, both the IEMs perform exceptionally well for their price segments. I am yet to hear such powerful bass extensions like that with the FD5 around 300$, and I am yet to hear such refined performance throughout the frequency range like that with the EST112 around the 500$. With the EST112 every instrument note is so well-detailed, so well-presented that it’s just an instant favorite for me.
FiiO has tuned the FD5 to present a fun, engaging sound signature. The 12mm Beryllium coated Dynamic Driver presents a tight, punchy lower-end response with impactful slams hitting with every bass drop. Vocals carry a slightly warmer touch that adds a musical, smooth touch to them. Instrument separation is pretty decent with a wide soundstage presentation.
With the EST112, DUNU has brought us a highly refined sound signature. Everything starting from the lower end to the high-frequencies are highly detailed and show good texture. The lower end shows its impact with deep punchy slams and powerful sub-bass rumble. Mid-frequencies have a warm touch but they are comparatively colder with the EST112, but the airiness of mid and high-frequencies is just excellent. Though slightly bright but the treble portion of EST112 creates a benchmark of detailing for me in the 500$ price segment.
Here are some key differences between the two:-
>Overall resolution and clarity of EST112 are better than FD5.
>EST112 has an overall brighter signature of the two.
>FD5 bass has better depth, slams though EST112 bass quality is richer and well-defined.
>I personally prefer warm musical vocals that are present with the FD5. EST112 in comparison has a colder presentation.
>Treble energy, Treble clarity, Tonal weight, and Instrument separation with EST112 are excellent and better than FD5. Though some people might find this energy fatiguing.
>Layering, Imaging, Instrument Placement on the stage is better with EST112.
>Soundstage has a similar width in both the sets but I find depth to be slightly better with FD5.
Some Final Words:-
FiiO FD5 is a brilliant fun-sounding pair, an engaging signature, powerful low end, warm vocals, decent enough treble. But what DUNU has done with the EST112 deserves another level of appreciation. I have previously owned the DK-3001 Pro personally and the EST112 brings excellent refined sound signature complementing different genres well. It brings excellent instrument detailing and improved clarity, better resolution over the FD5 makes it the better one among the two. I loved how easily EST112 handles complex tracks such as Hate Me by Blue October, or Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. In my opinion, while both the sets are amazing if your budget allows for the EST112, go for it you won’t be disappointed. Though FD5 offers excellent value at its 300$ price tag too.