DUNU Talos IEM Review: A New Generation Of Hybrid Planars!!
I have stopped counting the number of planar IEMs coming out this year. Planar Magnetic Driver technology, which was only limited to full-sized headphones or only a few IEMs until last year has got a boom in the IEM industry this year. So many brands including 7Hz, LETSHUOER, KZ, have joined the Planar wars with their own battalions(pairs of IEMs). The latest addition to the Planar world came from DUNU and Moondrop with the release of DUNU Talos and Moondrop Stellaris. DUNU Talos is actually a Planar Hybrid IEM that houses a 14.6mm planar driver and two custom BA drivers. What makes the Talos different from the other Hybrid IEMs in the market is that it features a physical switch that can turn the hybrid crossover off, allowing the users to use it in single planar mode or planar+Dual BA hybrid mode. I have got the Talos right here with me. Personally, I am following the Planar Wars this year where I am trying to listen to all the Planar IEMs being released and share my impressions on them. So far I have auditioned the 7Hz Salnotes Dioko, Timeless, LETSHUOER S12, Z12 Gold Edition, Tin HiFi P1 Plus, P1 Max, RaptGo Hook-X, etc. You can follow my Planar Wars thread on Head-fi over here. Today, I will be sharing my review of DUNU’s latest Planar Hybrid, the DUNU Talos. So before wasting any more time, let’s begin.
A Short Disclaimer:-
I bought DUNU Talos from HiFiGo. They were kind enough to offer me a discount in exchange for my review. Be assured nothing affects my impressions or review of the Talos. I also got a HiFiGo NeckStrap and Leather Buckle in the package(I was among the first 100 orders I guess where they ran this offer). You can check out technical information about the Talos on the HiFIGo store from the link below or by clicking here.
Unboxing the DUNU Talos:-
Let’s get done with the unboxing first. We have the Talos in a beautiful black package. The cover-on has an image of the pair printed on the front with the DUNU branding logo and Hi-Res audio logos. On the back side of this outer cover, we have basic features and the technical specs of the pair printed in different languages. Upon opening up the inner main package, we have the Talos ear shells sitting comfortably in their foam layer on the top side of the package. There’s the traditional Green colored DUNU zipper carry case at the bottom side. The case includes three different packets of silicone ear tips and a 6.35mm adapter. Right underneath the foam layers containing the Talos earpieces, we have a small cardboard box that holds our stock cable.
DUNU Talos comes with a 3.5mm stock cable. I personally kind of expected to get a better modular cable with the Talos as DUNU is known for its premium cables and accessories. Also, Talos benefits from a powerful source, so including a 4.4mm balanced cable could have been a better choice. Coming to the other accessories, we have the new DUNU silicone ear tips in the package. These are super good actually. Straight tube-like form factor with a transparent build and soft silicone in-hand feel. They fit comfortably and have joined hands with SpinFit W1 and Azla SednaEarfit Light in my collection as my favorites.
>DUNU Talos Earphones.
>Stock 3.5mm single-ended cable.
>Nine pairs of silicone ear tips(including 3 new DUNU soft-silicone straight tube tips).
>Zipper carry case.
Design & Build Quality:-
DUNU has beautifully designed the Talos in a water-droplet shape design. The pair has power-coated matte-finished black face covers. They have a 3-dimensional design with the DUNU logo printed in the center. DUNU has treated the pair with a striking Matte-Black finish and Golden complementing lines. According to the brand, the shells are made up of CNC machined aluminum alloy material, but they have a textured matte stone-like in-hand feel. The cavities might look big at a glance, but they are designed in such a manner that they provide comfortable wear. You can glance at them for hours, and you can wear them for hours. The stock soft-silicone tips serve me well for a comfortable fit and provide me with a good level of isolation from the surrounding noises. Heck, I can even use these at the gym where the speaker is shouting at my head.
TBH, DUNU never disappoints me with its design. I have previously had the pleasure to own the DK3001 Pro, EST112, Falcon Pro, etc. Talos brings a new-generation modern design to the DUNU’s lineup with its majestic looks!!
Driving The DUNU Talos:-
Talos loves power, it shines better with the extra power it’s way. It sounds decent with low-power sources too, like with standard smartphone output, but once it gets a decently powerful source like a dedicated digital audio player or a Portable USB DAC/Amp, it shines and delivers better dynamics. I personally paired it with the Questyle M15, HiBy RS2, and Shanling M7. Here are my findings.
Shanling M7+DUNU Talos:-
The power hunger of Talos is being fulfilled here easily, M7 is a mighty powerful device. It drives the Talos amazingly well with brilliant details and crisp high-resolution clarity. Resolution and clarity are top-notch in this combination. M7 powers it easily at around 40/100 volume on medium gain mode.
HiBy RS2+DUNU Talos:-
I actually have to push the volume a little hard on this combination, roughly at around 75/100 on high gain mode. Synergy of Talos and RS2 is amazing, Talos takes the benefit of the organic texture of RS2 and presents an excellent tone for vocals. The Treble is a bit smoothened out here, but still retains a good amount of details. The bass is warm and smooth. Pretty good combo for use on the go.
Out of all the Planar Magnetic Driver IEMs, I have tried/owned/auditioned so far, Talos has the best tuning so far. The pair delivers an outstandingly detailed sound with a smooth, fast lower-end and a lovely midrange presentation. It’s not an IEM that will deliver you with a deep-hitting bass response but fills your heart with many details from your music. It retrieves the minutest of the details from our music and presents it with utmost clarity and precision. Talos sounds so clean, there’s no sign of background noise or hiss, and you are always greeted with a rich, crisp resolution. The vocals capture my attention with their rich tone and texture.
Talos’s sound delivers excellent coherency throughout the frequency band. The transitions from lower-end to midrange and then midrange to the treble region are smooth and effortless. But not all that glitters is gold here, while the Talos delivers you a fast, detailed sound with excellent resolution, it surely has a bright touch to its sound. Which might not be comfortable for treble-sensitive people. It’s not fatiguing for me, but people sensitive to treble might feel the pair to be sharp. On the Planar+BA hybrid mode, the detail retrieval, and the airiness on the stage, both the things show drastic improvements, but it also introduces more brightness to the sound. I personally use it on the standard Planar mode most of the time. Let’s move forward with the frequency-wise sound description.
Talos greets its users with a quick lower-end response. Sub-bass portion reaches deep and presents the listeners with a thunderous rumble. Mid-bass could use some more punch to give a more powerful feel from the lower end. I personally feel Talos has more focus on the sub-bass than the Mid-bass region. Nonetheless, Talos maintains a clean texture throughout the lower end. It doesn’t sound muddy at all.
As soon as we transient smoothly into the Midrange, the charm of Talos starts to unfold itself. Midrange sounds precise, accurate, and very well-detailed. The pair has a rich tone for vocals and instruments in the midrange segment. It doesn’t sound recessed or veiled, but rather has an upfront presentation. I find both male and female vocals to be the star of the show here with their amazing clarity and resolution. If you are into acoustic music or vocal-centric music, I can assure you, you are in for a great time with the Talos.
Treble maintains ultimate resolution and clarity on the Talos. DUNU has tuned the set with a lively treble response. Although the set gets bright, it doesn’t sound fatiguing or harsh to me. I love how effortless the pair sounds, and how smoothly it reproduces detailed in the treble region. If you can listen to a little bright tone to the signature, turning on the Planar+dual BA mode will bring a lot more details and also increases the air on the stage.
Dynamics, Soundstage, Imaging, Instrument Separation:-
Talos impresses me in the dynamics and resolution department. It presents a wide immersive soundstage with good depth. For its price point, I can say the Talos has an impressive soundstage. It feels massive, and with such details, it’s bliss to listen to. Imaging and Instrument Separation with the pair are also top-notch. Even for busy tracks like Billie Jean by MJ or Californication by RHCP, one can recognize and position different instruments on the stage easily.
Well, that’s about the sound part from my end, let’s move ahead and I would like to share my experience with a few of my favorite tracks.
Limit to your love by James Blunt:-
When the bass drops in this track, it leaves its mark with the rumble going deeper and deeper. Talos handles the powerful bass of this track excellently and maintains its clean texture throughout the track.
Band Darwaze by Amrinder Gill:-
This is a regional language track and it delivers an excellent sub-bass response. Although Drum Kicks could use more depths in the mid-bass section. A fairly enjoyable experience.
Gravity by Haywyre:-
What an excellent piano this track has. Talos reproduces amazing details from this track, simply loved it on the Talos. Throughout the track, you will notice an amazing piano which the Talos renders beautifully.
Shameless by Camila Cabello:-
This is a fast track and the Talos keeps up with its pace. Talos never lacks anywhere and produces this track with all its glory. Even during the busy segments on the track, Talos maintains its clarity and speed. Excellent presentation!!
My Humps by Black Eyed Peas:-
Again a fast track with a punchy lower end. Talos shows good resolution, and retrieves good details, although not as punchy as it sounds on the Z12. Nonetheless impressive experience with the Talos.
Glimpses of Us by Joji:-
One of my all-time favorite tracks and Talos does justice to it with its excellent details and rich vocals. Right from the beginning, the track will hold on to you with its excellent rendition of Piano and Vocals. An amazing experience on the Talos.
Munidya from Coke Studio:-
This is one of my favorite tracks from Coke Studio. It came out in Season 12, it has excellent vocals, lyrics, and music. Talos presents this track with all its glory. This track has slowly found a place in my regular tracks, I find Talos to reproduce amazing details from it. Not to mention QB’s and Ali Sethi’s vocals are worth listening!!
DUNU Talos vs LETSHUOER Z12 Gold Edition:-
Let’s put the latest Talos against the Z12 Gold Edition. Here are my findings.
>Talos has better resolution and sounds crispier.
>Z12 Gold Edition shows excellent bass, I can groove to the set all day long.
>Talos’s vocals sound rich and show better texture.
>Z12 Gold Edition sounds more punchy.
>Talos sounds wider and has a massive stage.
>I find Talos to be faster and more precise.
Personally, I love both the Z12 Gold and Talos. Both serve us with different presentations. On the one hand, Z12 Gold sounds fun and engaging, on the other the Talos sounds more detailed and crisp. For me, it’s hard choosing between them hehe.
DUNU Talos Vs Rapt Go Hook-X:-
Let’s put the Talos against another one of my favorite planar hybrid IEMs, the Hook-X.
>Hook-X sounds more spacious, while the width and depth are identical on both.
>Talos again wins here in terms of resolution and details.
>Hook-X is the smoother of the two.
>Vocals sound richer on the Talos.
>Fit-wise, Talos is better. It also has better isolation with its closed-back design.
Again, both here serve a different taste. Hook-X for a smooth listening experience, and Talos for more details and a slightly richer tone.
DUNU Talos is a brilliantly tuned IEM that delivers impressive performance. It creates a new benchmark for me in terms of planar IEMs. I love it for its exceptional clarity, resolution, and detail. Not to mention the impressive soundstage is a bonus here. Though it isn’t ’free from flaws but what it delivers, it excels at it. IMO DUNU has done a great job with the Talos and with this, my confusion about choosing the best IEM around 200$ has increased lol. There are so many options, so many good options in fact, but the DUNU Talos manages to create a charm of its own and it surely gets my recommendation if you are in the market and want a good Planar IEM or just a good sounding IEM 🙂