For those ‘keeping the score’ from the original First Contact feature we did in September you will find a degree of overlap on page 1. You guys can click on page 2 for the in-depth sound impressions and comparisons. For everyone else read on.
Just to reiterate, we do not have the original DK-3001 to compare with but we do have plenty of hybrid competitors in and around the same price point that we can compare to the DK-3001 PRO.
The PRO version, as far as I am aware, is a fairly substantial revision on the original DK-3001. It actually has more commonality now with the new DK-4001, at least in terms of form factor and packaging. The tuning is slightly different and some of the design decisions were made with price sensitivity in mind.
From a distance, you might be forgiven in thinking what exactly the difference is since both the DK-4001 and DK-3001 Pro. Both are 5 driver hybrids using Knowles BA and a 13mm dynamic driver with a beryllium coating on both sides of the diaphragm. They also look very similar and both offer that fantastic patented quick-switching jack connector system for the supplied cable.
At $469 you might be thinking, why go higher? Well, the devil seems to be in the detail so some things have been sacrificed to get down to that competing mid-fi price point on the DK-3001 Pro. Gone is the sandblasted matte-black zirconium liquid alloy and in some a more traditional machined stainless steel housing for the DK-3001 Pro. I also believe that the A.C.I.S. hood is not available inside the DK-3001 PRO plating.
Externally the more expensive 4-wire Furukawa sourced OCC Copper and DHC pure silver Noble cable has been changed to a 4-wire secondary fire refined high purity OCC cable of similar length, 1.2m. DUNU call this cable, the LYRE. The LYRE is a little lighter and cheaper than the $389.99 Noble to fit into that $469 price point.
At the time of writing, I know that the original DK3001 Knowles ED-29689 and TWFK-30017 drivers have been changed on the DK-3001 Pro. DUNU has not revealed which new Knowles drivers they are using in the DK-3001 Pro as they are all heavily customized drivers.
However, the headcount is the same. So, that is 2 x dual driver with 2 targeting the mids and highs and the final 2 acting as a super tweeter for the ultra-highs. The 13mm dynamic driver covers everything below so this is a 3-way crossover this time.
The form factor of the DK-3001 PRO is virtually the same quasi-traditional universal monitor form factor as the DK-4001. It is still an elegant 3-part design with an MMCX stem to the rear. However, there have been some minor design changes and some bigger changes in the materials used.
As mentioned, this is now a 316 CNC machined stainless steel body rather than the thinner but stronger liquid zirconium alloy. The stainless steel thus is a little thicker on the inside to achieve the required durability. You can feel the slight weight and size difference between the two monitors with the DK-3001 feeling the heavier of the two.
The outside faceplate is also a little different. Gone is the DK-4001 venting motif and bulge on the side and in comes a more symmetrical rounded faceplate on the DK-3001 Pro. The DUNU branding on the DK-3001 PRO is on a slightly raised front plate rather than etched right into the front.
Cable & Connectors
The DK-3001 PRO uses the same detachable patented catch-hold MMCX connector system as the DK-4001. The shaping of the connector stem is also much the same with an angular guide for the cable to go over and behind your ears quite neatly. I actually find the length and angle of the DK-3001 PRO connector stem to be ideal for easy connect and disconnect. You won’t have to fiddle too much for grip to detach the cable.
The stock Lyra cable is not the same quality as the Noble 1.2m cable from the DK-4001 and logically so given the reduced price point. This is a 1.2m 4-core double refined high purity single crystal OCC copper wire in a translucent braided PET jacket. It is quite a bit lighter than the Noble alternative with a different, albeit looser, braiding but still the same dark copper visual tone.
I must also commend DUNU for this choice of cable based on its physical properties. The lightness combined with absolutely zero microphonics below the splitter makes for a very smooth level of handling. It does not seem to hold a kink or twist either so it seems fairly memory retentive out of the box.
It is also using the same awesome detachable jack system as the Noble and Hulk cables which are worth its weight in gold if you like to go balanced or unbalanced and do not wish to use add-on adapters or change cables.
You get a 2.5mm, 3.5mm TRS, 3.5mm TRRS, and 4.4mm all in the box, no extra charge. Once connected it is quite a long barrel from tip to strain relief but thankfully right-angled so it does not stick out too far from whatever source you are using. If you are happy with its performance it is honestly the only cable you will likely ever need for the DK-3001 PRO.
Comfort & Fitting
In terms of comfort, there are no real issues with the DK-3001 Pro. The fitting feels almost the exact same as the DK-4001. The level of isolation is good but not amazing due to the bass vent port required for that 13mm driver to sound optimal.
The DK-3001 PrRO is quite light and small so you won’t feel any awkward pressure pains on your outer ear ridges and they do sit flush to the ear also. However, the level of isolation and secure fit is a lot more tip dependent and I did get variable results with the supplied tips as I expected.
The full list of tips is very impressive for a mid-range earphone. Perhaps one of the best I have seen to date outside of the Westone’s and FiiO’s latest offerings. Inside, you get the following including spacers:
4 pairs of SpinFit custom tips
3 pairs of Balanced tips (Gray)
3 pairs of Vocal tips (Red)
1 pair of Comply foam tips
6 pairs of Custom SpinFit ear tips spacers
My initial choices out of the box were the SpinFit’s and Comply foams but after 2 months I ended up using the foams for 90% of my listening. Yes, they will tweak the sound signature but in terms of seal and comfort, they rank as the best out of all the tips provided. The foams will seal slightly better as you would expect and do seem to hold the DK-3001 PRO drivers more securely in the ear.
I ended up not using the SpinFits as much because they are tough to get over the lip. The sizing is T-500 for the foams and they are just medium size which is fine for me but the SpinFits feel a shade on the small side and I spend ages getting them over the nozzle.
Accessories & Packaging
The DK-3001 PRO packaging is every bit as impressive as the DK-4001. This time, it comes in a black box with a white-colored vinyl sleeve using DUNU branding to the fore and the name of the product in multiple languages as well as a diagrammatic on the front. It looks pretty professional on the outside with a similar route taken on the very impressive internal layout.
The box comes absolutely loaded with accessories with a top-quality presentation split into two layers so you pretty much see everything you are getting right away.
The top-level of the internal shelf holds the cable, the DK-3001 PRO drivers and the same 4 interconnection plugs that lock onto the cable as you get on the DK-4001. The included terminations are 2.5mm, 3.5mm (balanced and unbalanced) and 4.4mm gold-plated TRS and TRRS jacks.
The second layer of the box contains a darker green leather carry case and the remaining accessories. This includes SpinFit tip again, a cardboard tips box for the rest of the tips lineup, a cleaning brush, quarter jack, and an airline converter. I think that makes about 5 different connections for one cable alone, pretty handy stuff.
The full lineup of accessories is as long as your arm and are as follows:
3.5mm stereo plug
4.4mm balanced plug
3.5Pro balanced plug
Leather storage case
Aviation headset adapter
Earphones cleaning brush
You honestly can’t ask for more than that at this price point. A very comprehensive line-up of tips and an excellent cable connection system.
I do have to pass a little critique on the leather case which operates in much the same manner as the DK-4001 case. I love its looks and I am really glad there is a small elasticated pouch to the rear to hold some accessories which were not in the original DK-4001 case design.
However, it might be a tad small in terms of packing absolutely every accessory and tip that comes with the DK-3001 so you will have to choose wisely on what you put in there before you go out for the day. Personally, I have been throwing in the cleaning brush, adapters and a set of SpinFits and foams for daily use. However, I am careful to put the tips in a small sealed bag as they are prone to falling out if loose.
Click on Page 2 below for Sound Impressions & Comparisons