Dawnwood ST08 Review
Stylish and Affordable
Dawnwood is a Chinese brand of the Dongguan Chenmu Acoustics Co., Ltd. that is located in Dongguan City with 30 years of experience in the manufacturing of earphones.
The Dawnwood ST08 that I will review for you belongs to the entry level “silver triangle” series of the Dawnwood product line which shares a stylish design signature.
Dawnwood Offical Website: http://dawnwoodaudio.com/
I would like to thank Dawnwood for providing me this sample via Penon Audio for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Dawnwood and Penon Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
The Dawnwood ST08 is available on Penon Audio for 65,00 USD under the link below:
Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/dawnwood-st08.html
Package and Accessories:
The Dawnwood ST08 comes in a very stylish and pretty big sized cardboard box that shows a retro design language, which shares motives that look like from the middle age.
This box stylish box is including the following contents/accessories;
1 pair x Dawnwood ST08 In-Ear Monitor
- 1 pcs x Detachable Cable with 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin connectors
- 1 pair x Foam Ear Tips
- 1 pcs x Velcro cable strap
- 6 pairs x Silicone Ear Tips
- 1 pcs x Leather Carry Case
… and various print materials (user manual, stickers, etc.)
Design, Fit and Build Quality:
The monitor of the Dawnwood ST08 has a stylish look that reminds me to the Ironman costume that share similar shapes and colors. The monitor housing of the ST08 is made of a plastic and is consisting of main part, those are the rear and the front part.
The front part is made of two layers the so called wings that are in red color and the shield where you can find the brand logo.
On the back part of the housing are the Left (L) and fight (R) indicators and the sound nozzle which has an approx 45 degree angle part. On the near of this nozzle is also a small vent.
On the top of the nozzle is a small mesh to prevent the insertion of dust and ear-wax
On the top of the monitor housing is the 0.78mm 2-pin female connection.
The Dawnwood ST08 comes with a detachable cable which has 0.78mm standard 2-pin connectors. The connector has a plastic housing that has the same shape with the connection of the monitor housing.
The cable is made of 5N purity oxygen-free copper wire, which is coated with a grey TPU material that has an acceptable level of microphonic effect.
The cable sports shrink tube plastic ear guides, which is pretty elastic and comfortable to wear over my ear.
There is a y splitter that is made of plastic and follows the same design language such like the rest of the product.
The cable has a straight profiled plug with Dawnwood brand logo that is made of the same plastic material of the y splitter. The headphone jack is gold plated and has a 3 pole unbalanced jack.
The Dawnwood ST08 is very lightweight and comfortable to wear without to hurt even after longer listening periods. The isolation of the ST08 is o on an average level, but enough to wear it in noise environments like bus metro, train, etc.
The Dawnwood ST08 has a relative low impedance of 18 ohms, but this doesn’t mean that this IEM’s are easy to driver. Yes, you can drive both IEM’s via Smartphone’s, tablets, etc. but you can feel that this IEM’s need some extra power. I would advice to use at least a Digital Audio Player or a small portable amplifier.
The Dawnwood ST08 offers a metal-plastic rear cavity design. The front and rear damping balance system helps to reduce distortion, and produce a smooth diaphragm movement.
- Drivers Type : Dynamic Driver
- Drive Unit : 10mm Polymer composite titanium plated diaphragm with double cavity design
- Impedance : 18Ω
- Frequency Response : 15-40 kHz
- Sensitivity : 108dB/mw@1khz
- Distortion : ﹤0.8%
- Max Power : 100mw
- Cable Connector : 0.78 two-pin
- Wire Material : 1.2m 5N oxygen-free copper wire, detachable
- Plug : 3.5mm TRS (unbalanced)
- Cable Length : 1.2m
Equipment’s used for this review:
IEM’s : Dawnwood ST08, Shozy Hibiky MK1
DAP&DAC’s : QLS QA361, Cayin N5II, Fiio M9, FiiO M6
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Spotify)
- London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Minor Empire – BulbulumAltinKafeste (Spotify)
- Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Spotify)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – Up Close “Album” (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
The Dawnwood ST08 is a slightly bright and neutral sounding IEM with a quite balanced sound characteristic. The detail level of the midrange and treble is quite high, while the bass is fast with moderate quantity and depth.
Please note that Dawnwood ST08 is an In-Ear Monitor that wants to be driven with a powerful source. If you give it the right amount of power the sound comes to the ideal balance. In short a phone is not the ideal source if you want to hear the true potential of this IEM.
The Dawnwood ST08 has a good subbass depth and extension with a soft and slightly warm tonality. It is not very dominant and shows an average amount and emphasis. The subbass character will maybe not satisfy those who like a very deep Subbass presentation, but should be enough for most users.
The Dawnwood ST08 has a strong midrange and intensity with a nice slam level.
The midbass crowd is at a moderate level and shows good control and speed, with no negative conditions like a midbass hump.
Instruments like cross-drums, trumpets to bass guitar are fast and detailed, and there are no negative situations like muddiness or mixings. Everything sounds pretty clear and transparent.
The midrange of the Dawnwood ST08 is close to neutral, slightly bright, transparent and fairly detailed. The midrange is not too laid back or to upfront and is showing a pretty natural balanced presentation.
The Dawnwood ST08 is an IEM that is successful with both male and female vocals.
The lower midrange of the ST08 shows good depth. The male vocals have an average thickness and depth with a fairly detailed, clear presentation, without any annoying mixings and muddiness.
Some of my favorite male vocals, just like B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Buckley or Mikael Akerfeldt are very enjoyable and detailed with the Dawnwood ST08.
The Dawnwood ST08 has a strong upper midrange emphasis that gives female vocals a pretty transparent and detailed presentation. The female vocals have also a slightly warm tonality, without a piercing harshness and are also slightly more in upfront than male voices, which make those sound more detailed.
The general presentation of female vocals is quite spacious and airy.
Vocals like Aretha Franklin to Diana Krall, from Björk to Lady Gaga all are sounding very enjoyable, musical and sweet.
The Dawnwood St08 is an In-Ear Monitor that gives a good sense of feeling and good intensity to soprano vocals and I am in the opinion that the ST08 performs in this area ways above its price.
The instrument tonality of the Dawnwood ST08 is close to neutral, slightly bright and shows a hint of warmness. The general presentation is fairly spacious, clear and transparent that makes the separation of the instruments pretty easy, while the positioning is quite good for this price range.
The instruments do not play very tightly; you can hear enough space for a spacious and airy presentation.
Guitars are slightly warm, a bit shiny and are showing a sweet tonality. The pianos are not harsh, have a slight shiny and strong extension and emphasis. Instruments such like the contrabass are slightly thick in tonality.
Upper Midrange and Treble:
The Dawnwood ST08 has a good upper midrange emphasis, which has a close to natural tonality. The upper midrange is quite transparent and spacious, with fairly controlled transitions. There is also no unnecessary harshness or sharp spikes.
The upper midrange is detailed and has a good extension. The extension and emphasis shows a good performance from female vocals to the instruments. The violins are lightly shiny; the bow traction is fast and has is showing a good extension
The Dawnwood ST08 has prominent, airy and well extending treble presentation. The treble is not too harsh to come to much forward, which is a big plus of the ST08. The quantity, intensity and sharpness of the treble range is pretty well tuned and are showing controlled and fast structure.
For example; the cymbals in trash metal are fast and obvious. Instruments such like Hi-hats are little bit laid back in presentation but are clearly to hear, while crash cymbals sounding controlled and are showing a tight and well extending presentation.
The Dawnwood ST08 has a good treble brightness and airiness, which is a factor that increases the detail. The treble presentation is quite pleasant with a wide variety of genres.
The Dawnwood ST08 has a pretty suitable soundstage for a fairly precise separation of the instruments. The stage is quite spacious and airy, while the stage is showing more wideness than its depth which is average in performance.
Dawnwood ST08 versus Shozy Hibiki MK1
The Shozy Hibiki MK1 has a sharp V-shaped sound signature with a between neutral and bright tonality, while the Dawnwood ST08 has a flatter frequency sequence and a neutral to lightly bright tonality.
The subbass of the Dawnwood ST08 has more subbass depth and quantity than those of the Shozy Hibiki MK1, which makes the ST08 superior to the Hibiki MK1 in the subbass area.
When it comes to the midbass, the Hibiki MK1 is an IEM with powerful presentation, which is superior to the ST08 in terms of midbass intensity and quantity, while the Dawnwood ST08 has the upper hand in terms of bass speed.
The midrange of the Shozy Hibiki MK1 sounds more dry and neutral compared than those of the Dawnwood ST08, which has a warmer and fuller (full bodied) midrange presentation. The ST08 is more successful with female vocals compared to the Hibiki MK1 due to the more pronounced upper midrange. When it comes to the male vocal performance, the Shozy Hibiki MK1 sound a bit too thin and dry compared to the Dawnwood ST08 which is showing a fuller and more emotional presentation.
The upper midrange of the Shozy Hibiki MK1 is brighter and sharper than those of the Dawnwood ST08, which is slightly more controlled and detailed in this area and has also the better upper midrange extension.
Both of those In-Ear Monitors are pretty successful in the treble range. The treble character of the Shozy Hibiki MK1 is sharper than those of the Dawnwood ST08 that has a more controlled and resolving treble character. The Hibiki MK1 has more treble quantity, while the ST08 shows noticeable better extension and control I this area.
Both of those In-Ear Monitors have a fairly respective soundstage performance for this price range. The Shozy Hibiki MK1 has a deeper soundstage than those of the Dawnwood ST08, while the ST08 is superior to the Hibiki MK1 in terms of soundstage wideness.
The Dawnwood ST08 is a nice sounding entry level IEM with a fairly balanced sound signature, a pretty good fit and solid build quality, which comes in a wonderful packaging.
Pros and Cons:
- + Balanced Sound Character
- + Tonality
- + Nice packaging and high quality case
- + Fit and Comfort
- + Price to performance ratio
- – Soundstage could have slightly better depth