DUNU SA6 Ultra IEM Review: Redefining A Highly-Celebrated Multi-BA Driver IEM With Z Reviews
DUNU joined hands with Zeos from Z Reviews for a limited edition run of a new version of SA6, they named it the SA6 Ultra. With only 300 units made available, the SA6 Ultra actually went out of stock in just 2-3 days after release. I was not surprised at all. After all the hype that the OG SA6 had, 300 units were nothing for the SA6 Ultra. I managed to get my hands on a unit. The beautiful SA6 Ultra, one of the only 300 units ever made. Honestly, the pair actually sounds quite good. I personally never got any chance to audition for the OG SA6, but this SA6 Ultra impressed me with my very first session with the pair. The day I received the pair, I was kinda busy and thought let’s give the pair a few songs(just out of curiosity). I ended up having a 2-2.5hr session in the very first go. Even then I had to put it down to complete some pending work otherwise it would be a long long time. Well, today I am going to write my impressions down and share them with you guys.
About DUNU SA6 Ultra:-
The newly redesigned version of the SA6 houses the same 6BA per side driver configuration as the OG model. It is said to have got a slight change in tuning with the help of Z Reviews. It now has new shells with colorful wooden face covers and transparent resin cavities. DUNU has also redesigned the stock cable for the SA6 Ultra. It now comes bundled with their new Hulk Pro Mini cable with a patented Q-lock modular plug system. A lot of technical banter has been done, now let’s begin with the package and contents.
A Short Disclaimer:-
I received the SA6 Ultra from HiFiGo for a review tour in my country. Rest assured, all the impressions made in this blog are completely my own based on my own experience with the pair for about 7-8 days. I would like to thank HiFiGo for providing me with the sample, you can check out more information on their product page here. Sadly the pair has been sold out, so you can not buy it anymore unless you can score yourself a deal on the pre-loved market.
Unboxing & Accessories:-
I have been a fan of DUNU’s package design. Previously, I had the DK3001 Pro and the EST112, both came in quite a luxurious packaging. SA6 Ultra on the other hand has got a compact but beautiful-looking package. It has a multicolored outer cover that has Studio SA6 Ultra branding on the front. From what I have seen before, DUNU gave such a compact package to their “SA” lineup. Inside, I have the pair with its stock cable in a blue DUNU-branded zipper pouch. Other accessories(multiple sets of eartips, cleaning tool, cable adapters, etc) are in a box at the bottom. That’s all about the package and contents of the SA6 Ultra, Quite a compact and colorful package.
>SA6 Ultra IEMs
>Hulk Pro mini modular cable.
>Three sets of DUNU S&S tips.
>Three sets of DUNU Blue silicone tips, Three sets of DUNU White silicone tips.
>Certificate and user guide.
Design, Build Quality & Fit:-
SA6 Ultra is pretty compact and beautiful. The shells are made up of resin and have a compact build structure. It was introduced in three different color variants, Red-Blue, Red-Red, and Blue-Blue. I got Red-Blue colored shells for the SA6 Ultra, Red for the right side, and Blue for the left. Face covers have a unique texture on them.
The pair simply looks well-built and beautiful. It takes 2-pin connectors with a recessed connection port. Not to mention the new Hulk Pro Mini cable is super good. I just got to try the Hulk Pro a few days back, it was quite stiff and heavy. But this new Hulk Pro Mini cable is light and not as stiff as the OG Hulk pro. The swappable connectors are easy to replace. All the housings on the cable have a premium brushed finish.
Personally, the SA6 Ultra fits me very well. The pair sits easily into my ears. In fact, this is one of the best-fitting IEMs I have tried so far. The shells cover the entirety of my ear canal mouth creating a good level of isolation from the surrounding noises.
Driving The SA6 Ultra:-
Pretty easily powered, SA6 Ultra doesn’t take a lot of power to shine its best. I personally tried the pair with my Shanling M7 and my HiBy RS2. Here are my findings with both combinations.
HiBy RS2+SA6 Ultra:-
Quite an organic combination over here. RS2 provides the SA6 Ultra with rich vocals with an organic tonality. The bass feels a little loose here, but overall pretty clean presentation. Mids and vocals are slightly forwarded here in this combination. Tonally, RS2+SA6 Ultra is a pleasing set.
Shanling M7+SA6 Ultra:-
M7 presents the SA6 ultra in a more neutral manner. The combination here has a more resolving nature than the RS2 combination. The detail level is also increased a tad bit here. Background sounds cleaner, the bass is tighter, and the overall dynamics take a boost with the M7. Tonally, it’s not as organic, or as rich as the RS2, but it sounds more natural, more detailed, and more neutral.
I have heard a lot of praise for the OG SA6 but never got a chance to audition for them. Personally, I was super excited for the SA6 Ultra, not for the tuning update, but for all the hype of the SA6 that has always been there. Many of my known and trusted persons in the community have praised the SA6 to the moon. So the excitement was obvious. And not to my surprise, the SA6 Ultra delivers a performance that captivates the listeners with just a few minutes on the pair. It sounds crisp, it has a quality resolution, it retrieves an amazing amount of details, and at the same time, it sounds inoffensive & smooth. Tonally the SA6 Ultra sounds mostly neutral and natural with the vocals presented in a little forward manner.
Bass complements the other frequencies with a clean, textured presentation. It holds a decent amount of punch and rumble in the lower end. Midrange feels natural and accurate. Upper Mids are slightly forward and showcase wonderful clarity for vocals. Treble performance is simply amazing on the SA6 Ultra. The pair showcase a smooth, inoffensive treble with an airy and detailed presentation. Soundstage on the SA6 ultra is both wide and captivating. It has good width and depth but creates an immersive presentation with its forwarded vocals. Let’s move ahead and discuss different frequencies individually.
Lower-End, Bass Response:-
If you are someone who likes a lot of bass, a lot of punch, and a lot of slam, you might not find the bass of the SA6 Ultra to your liking. But if your preferences suggest a refined, textured lower-end performance, the SA6 Ultra will surely hit the right spot in your heart. It packs a decent mid-bass and a powerful sub-bass region. Bass heavy tracks such as Bad Guy by Billie Eilish, Limit To Your Love by James Blake, etc showcase a clean presentation with a clean sub-bass rumble. The bass region is very well controlled within its region and showcases a good amount of details.
Midrange, Vocals, Instruments:-
While writing this blog, I am listening to the Hotel California by Eagles for like the 10th time on the SA6 Ultra. It just sounds wonderful. The acoustic intro of this track is presented so beautifully and nicely that it sounds utterly charming and captivating. Both the male and female vocals sound rich and detailed. They have a clean textured presentation. Even at louder volumes, I don’t find the SA6 Ultra to go shouty or lose its temper at any time. Pretty amazing vocals IMO. Instruments sound airy and spacious in the midrange frequencies.
As I mentioned above, the SA6 ultra handles the High-Frequencies amazingly well. It delivers an airy, inoffensive, and detailed presentation. IMO it is one of the most detailed sets in its price point. I have heard the likes of Shanling MG600, Softears RSV, CA Andromeda, Sennheiser IE600, and a few more models that fall right in the same price segment, the SA6 Ultra trumps them with its amazing level of detail. Not saying that all the others that I have mentioned are bad or worse IEMs, it’s just the SA6 Ultra has a better level of detail retrieval than them. I don’t notice the SA6 Ultra going sibilant or piercing at any point.
Soundstage, Imaging, & Other Technical Parameters:-
DUNU SA6 Ultra presents a wide airy soundstage that has a good 3D holographic presentation. Imaging and instrument clarity is pretty good with the set. I find the SA6 Ultra to be quite competitive with other IEMs like Monarch MK2 that are priced above it in terms of technical performance.
All in all, I must say DUNU SA6 Ultra is a pretty impressive set that delivers a pretty amazing sound performance with a neutral tonality. It doesn’t overexaggerate or overpower any given frequency segment. What can be improved with the set? I will say a little more punch to the lower end would make it sound more fun and engaging. But I am honestly just nitpicking over here because the SA6 Ultra sounds wonderful as it is. Now it’s time for some track recommendations and their performance with the SA6 Ultra.
Bad Guy by Billie Eilish:-
One of the test tracks that I use to test for sub-bass. SA6 UItra handles this track well and presents the listeners with a powerful yet clean sub-bass presentation. You will be able to hear the track with utmost clarity and crisp details with the SA6 Ultra.
Janam Janam from the Bollywood Movie Dilwale:-
A regional track, kinda busy track as you can listen to a bunch of instruments and vocals. SA6 Ultra showcases its competence with its ultimate technical performance. The track starts with a beautiful violin followed by other instruments and vocals. This is one of my favorite tracks, it has different ranges of vocals, and the SA6 Ultra presents it well and showcases good details.
Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi:-
Beautiful vocals, SA6 Ultra reproduces excellent details and rich vocals in this track. Not to mention the beautiful piano present throughout this track. One of my absolute favorites, and SA6 Ultra presents it in the best way possible. Pretty captivating I must say.
Lose Yourself to Dance by Daft Punk:-
SA6 Ultra is a good companion for this track. It sounds punchy, crisp, and groovy. Must say, the SA6 Ultra complements different genres with its presentation.
Speak Softly Love by Yao SI Ting:-
For female vocals, this must be one of the best test tracks that I have in my library. SA6 Ultra presents this track with ultimate vocal clarity. They sound emotional and detailed, they have a rich tone to them. Pretty good performance!!
SA6 Ultra with Ambience Mode:-
The ambiance mode enhances the mid-bass punch with the pair. It takes a very little toll on the detail retrieval as well but gives a more punchy mid-bass response. I personally like the SA6 Ultra more on the stock mode.
Now it’s time for some comparisons!!
Softears RSV vs DUNU SA6 Ultra:-
I recently had the pleasure to own the Softears RSV. I absolutely adored the set mainly for its lovely midrange. Here’s my take on these two.
>RSV’s midrange is lusher and richer than the SA6 Ultra.
>SA6 Ultra has a cleaner presentation throughout the frequency band.
>SA6 Ultra gives a refined lower-end while the RSV packs more punch to its lower end.
>Softears RSV lacks in terms of resolution and details compared to the SA6 Ultra.
>Soundstage for the RSV is more immersive, and more intimate, while the SA6 Ultra has a bigger stage presentation.
I personally loved the RSV a lot, especially for its midrange presentation. It still tops my list for rich vocals, SA6 Ultra on the other hand outperforms it in terms of staging, dynamics, and resolution.
Final Words for the DUNU SA6 Ultra:-
Every time I put the SA6 Ultra into my ears, it impresses me in a new way. When I first auditioned the set, I was more into its resolution and detail retrieval, but slowly I began to praise its vocals, and so on. It gave me so much listening pleasure that I actually listened to the SA6 Ultra more nowadays compared to my Thieaudio Monarch MK2. It’s better fitting, it’s close in sound signature with Monarch’s being a tad bit better here and there. From all the hype around the OG SA6, I was expecting the SA6 Ultra to be good, but this level of good is beyond awesome. I spent countless hours enjoying my favorite music with the SA6 Ultra over the past few weeks. SA6 Ultra is the top recommendation in my collection simply because of its outstanding acoustic capabilities!!