DUNU Falcon-C review

DUNU Falcon-C review

The DUNU Falcon-C and the new Carbon Nano-Tube Driver

DUNU Falcon-C review

About DUNU:

DUNU was originally an OEM/ODM manufacturer established in 1994 and focuses on development, manufacture and marketing of professional earphone and ear bud products. DUNU’s manufacturing plant is located in Dong Guan City, Guangdong, China.

Official Website of DUNU (click here)

Disclaimer:

First of all, a big thanks to Vivian from DUNU for providing me a free sample of the Falcon-C for this review. I am not affiliated with DUNU beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.

The Price:

The MSRP price for the DUNU Falcon-C can is around 219,00 USD.

Purchase Link

Package and Accessories:

The DUNU Falcon-C comes in a nice packed black paper box with a silver colored protective cover that shows the illustration of the IEM itself. This box contains the IEM itself and the following accessories;

  • DUNU Falcon-C IEM
  • 10 sets of Eartips
  • 3.5mm Female to 6.5mm Male Adapter
  • 3.5mm Female to 2-pin Flight Adapter
  • Carry Box
  • Shirt Clip
  • Warrant Card & Manual

DUNU Falcon-C review
DUNU Falcon-C review

DUNU Falcon-C review

The DUNU branded black carrying box is made of metal (I think aluminum) and has a nice looking elegant design. Inside the box is a velvet coating that is a nice detail, because this coating will avoid any possible scratched to your IEM.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Cable:

The 4 braided and handcrafted stock cable of the DUNU Falcon-C is made of high purity Silver Plated Copper (SPC) and has MMCX connectors. The cable itself is very well made and the plastic coating is avoiding any microphonic effects.

DUNU Falcon-C review

The male and female MMCX connectors of the Falcon-C are the best MMCX connectors I’ve seen so far. It sits perfect like a 2pin connector and is not loose like on other IEM’s I have tested before. The right connector has a red marking while the left connector is completely black.

DUNU Falcon-C review
DUNU Falcon-C review

The cable has a gold plated, right angled 3.5mm TRS headphone plug that looks and feels very resistant. The memory wire is made of a shrink tube coating that is comfy.

DUNU Falcon-C review

There is also a Y-Splitter (made of metal) and Chin Slider (made of plastic), that are both in black color. The Y-splitter has the classic DUNU brand logo printed on them.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Design and Build Quality:

The Falcon-C is relative small and has a very ergonomic design. The housing is according to DUNU made of liquid metal. This liquid metal material and its non-grain boundary would 3 times stronger than stainless steel, which should give an excellent acoustic character that would retrains harmonic resonance to archive a firm and more coherent sound.

Indeed, the Falcon-C looks and feels rock solid and the black colored shell has a nice appearance.

There is a grill at the inner surface that has no effect to the sound and according to my experience it looks like only an aesthetic choice. There is also small bass vent near the nozzle of the monitor.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Fit, Comfort and Isolation:

The DUNU Falcon-C has an ergonomic design and is comfortable to wear. The fit and seal is relative good but not the best when I compare it to IEM’s with a semicustom design language like the HiFi Boy OS V3 or Ibasso IT03. The isolation of the Falcon-C is above average.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Technical Specifications:

Driver Type: 9mm Carbon Nano-tube Driver
Frequency Response: 10 – 40 KHz
Sound Pressure Level: 108+/-3dB
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Connector Type: MMCX Connectors
Cable Material: 6N Silver Plated Cooper Wire
Plug Size: 3.5mm Gold Plated
Chord Length: 1.2m
Weight: 28g

Drivability (Impedance):

The DUNU Falcon-C has an impedance of 16 ohm and is easy to drive. This makes it ideal for all type of portable Digital Audio Players (DAP’s). Even my Samsung Galaxy S8 could push the Falcon-C to very loud volume levels.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Sources:

Albums & tracks used for this review:

Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Tidal Hi-Fi)
Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – Up Close “Album” (DSF) – Binaural Recording
LP (Laura Pergolizzi) – Lost On You (Tidal HiFi)
Emmanuel Pahud (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx (Apple Music)
Melody Gardot – Who Will Comfort Me (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Apple Music)
Bryan Adams – MTV Unplugged Version Album (Tidal Hi-Fi)
Queen – Greatest Hits Vol. II (Apple Music)
GoGo Penguin’s – Muration (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
Lazarus A.D. – The Onslaught (ALAC)
Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
Bro Safari, UFO! – Animal (Tidal Hi-Fi)
Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (DSF)
Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Flac 16bit/44kHz)

In Ear Monitor : DUNU Falcon-C, HiFi BOY OS V3, Whizzer A15
DAP/DAC : Cayin N5II, Aune M2 Pro, Chord Mojo, Zishan Z2, Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

DUNU Falcon-C review  DUNU Falcon-C review

Sound Analysis and Comparisons:

This DUNU Falcon-C review is written by me after an intensive burn-in process of 180 hours. The sound characteristic of the Falcon-C changes drastically with every tips selection that I will mention in this review. I have used the Spinfit silicone tips due this review that is a nice Bonus from DUNU to its consumers.

Sound Signature and Tonality:

DUNU Falcon-C is an IEM with a V-shaped sound signature. The tonality of the Falcon-C is on the warmer side due a slightly bass presence.

DUNU Falcon-C review

The frequencies:

One of the first things I have noticed about the frequency region of the DUNU Falcon-C, was the very well controlled bass that hits quite hard when called upon.

I hate IEM’s with to much boomy bass and a muffled presentation, luckily the Falcon-C is not one of this IEM’s. DUNU did a good job by tuning the lows of the Falcon-C relative balanced and not too dominant.

The sub-bass region around 20-50 kHz goes deep and rumbles with a nice and natural decay. The EDM song “Animal” of the group “Bro Safari, UFO! shows me, how deep the sub bass of an IEM can reach in to my ears and the Falcon-C does this job very well. Maybe bass heads won’t be satisfied with the bass amount, but this is a matter of personal preference.

The bass, especially around 60 – 220 kHz is capable of being very articulate and full sounding at the same time and it has also great texture without overpowering the whole sound spectrum.

The legendary performance of Bryan Adams – MTV Unplugged Album Version is a good reference Album for testing the bass guitar presentation of any IEM. The DUNU Falcon-C excels very well in this area with its overall smooth presentation.

Due the V-shaped sound signature, the Falcon-C has a little bit recessed midrange presentation. Don’t get me wrong, the vocal and instrument presentation of this IEM is quite detailed. Vocals, especially female vocals like Laura Pergolizzi (LP), Melody Gardot, Diana Krall etc. have a nice sense of emotion. I must admit, that the detail retrieval is really good for an IEM with a single dynamic driver.

Laura Pergolizzi’s life performance in the song “Lost On You” is a good example to shows us, that the DUNU Falcon-C performs very well with some Female Vocals and even with a soprano level voice.

Maybe some people will prefer an even more emotional vocal presentation, but this is also a matter of personal preference.

The upper midrange area of the Falcon-C had some sibilance and harshness problems at the very beginning (the first 20-30 hours), which almost completely disappeared after a burn-in period of 100-120 hours.

The Dunu Falcon-C has a relative bright sounding top end with some nice crispy treble and a quite good extension. My ears are quite sensitive to overpowered treble levels. The Falcon-C is bright but has not the sort of upper treble response that could fatigue your ears after some long listening periods.

For example: Emmanuel Pahud’s (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx side flute (transverse flute) performance has some nice sparkle and sounds quite realistic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to say that the Falcon-C has the detail level of a Oriolus Forsteni (that nearly costs twice the price), but it performs very well, even better than some higher priced IEM’s I have listened before.

Regarding to speed, the Falcon-C is not the fastest IEM with its 9mm single dynamic driver, but has enough speed to excel in some complex tracks like GoGo Penguin’s – Muration (an epic contrabass performance) or even Lazarus A.D.’s epic song “The Onslaught”.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Soundstage and Imaging:

The soundstage of the Falcon-C is relative wide and airy and the depth is above average. There is a nice sense of space in some instrument intensive tracks like GoGo Pengin’s – Fanfares or Lazarus A.D’s – The Onslaught that gives you a nice imaging of the performance itself.

Choosing the right tips:

The bass character of the Falcon-C is tips dependent. When I use the transparent gray tips the sub bass, especially the mid bass amount is more noticeable than these of blue tube tips. That means that the gray tip is adding an additional mid-bass hump.

But when I select the Spinfit tips, the bass rumble is strong like on the gray tips, but it adds additional clarity to the midrange that I have lost with the gray tips.

When I chose the blue tube tips, the sub- and mid-bass amount goes down, but the upper midrange and the top end is more present than before.

DUNU Falcon-C review

Some Comparisons:

Vs. Whizzer A15 Pro (125 USD):

As I mentioned in some of my previous reviews, the Whizzer A15 Pro is a fantastic IEM regarding to its price to performance in the categories build quality, accessory package and sound quality.

Design, Fit & Build Quality:
Both IEM’s have a great build quality and share a black metal housing. The main difference is the material they use; the A15 Pro has an aluminum housing while the Falcon-C is made of liquid metal that is according to DUNU 3 times stronger than steel.

The Falcon-C has the upper hand when it comes to fit and ergonomics. The shell of the A15Pro is small but not as comfy as the DUNU, that makes the Falcon-C to the better choice if you listen to music for long hours.

The sound: 
When we compare both for the sound I can say that Falcon-C has a relative warmer tuning compared to the A15 Pro. The DUNU Falcon-C has also the better bass response; speed and decay than the relative neutral or better say, bass-shy A15 Pro.

The A15 Pro sounds more clinical at the midrange but is missing the emotion that the Falcon-C is presenting with male and especially female vocals. The Instrument separation is on par, or even slightly better on the A15 Pro. The Falcon-C and the A15 Pro have bright sounding top end and both are well controlled in this area. The DUNU Falcon-C has more upper treble sparkle.

The detail level of both IEM’s is good, but I like the DUNU’s presentation more because it sounds not as cold as the A15 Pro, that is otherwise a great performer.

The A15 Pro has a wider soundstage while the difference is not too much. But there is no doubt that the DUNU has the better depth and imaging.

Vs. HiFi BOY OS V3 (199 USD) 

HiFi BOY is a relative new company in the Hi-Fi arena that has released its first IEM at the market these days, the OS V3.

Design, Fit & Build Quality:
The HiFi BOY OS V3 and the DUNU Falcon-C sharing different design languages. The OS V3 has a semicustom housing made of medical grade resin, while the Falcon-C has metal shell with a more industrial look.

Both are comfortable to wear but the overall isolation of the OS V3 is a step above of the Falcon-C. Both are well made, but the DUNU Falcon-C look more solid to my eyes due the metal construction. The DUNU has also the upper hand in accessory quality and quantity.

The sound: 
The first noticeable difference about the Falcon-C is that it has more sub-bass quantity and extension than the OS V3. The sub bass goes lower and the bass of the Flacon-C hits harder when it called for. The bass the OS V3 is smoother and more linear than those of the Falcon-C.

The OS V3 and the Falcon-C have a V shaped sound signature, but the OS V3 has more forward vocals than the Falcon-C. The main difference between this two IEM’s is the midrange clarity. The Falcon-C sounds cleaner because of the upper midrange presence. The OS V3 sound a bit grainy, and not as live like as the Falcon-C.

When it comes to vocal presentation, I think that male vocals sounding more realistic with the OS V3, while female vocals soundings delicious with the Falcon-C. The detail level of both IEM’s is nearly identical and above there price league.

The DUNU Falcon-C has more treble presence and upper treble sparkle, which gives as result a brighter sound presentation then those of the OS V3. I think that the HiFi BOY OS V3 sounds more engaging on this frequency range, while the Falcon-C is more energetic and has additional micro detail.

The soundstage of both IEM’s is not monstrous, but they are performing very well for there price category. The HiFi BOY OS V3 has a slightly wider presentation, while the Falcon-C wins in depth and imaging. Both IEM’s have an airy and engaging presentation.

Conclusion:

The DUNU Falcon-C is a well build IEM with lots of accessories, which has a nice sound tuning that is suitable for many genres, from Pop to Jazz or even Metal music. But you should note that the single dynamic (Carbon Nano-Tube) driver needs time to show its true potential, so a burn-in of at least 150 Hours is a must have.

All-in all great job done DUNU!

DUNU Falcon-C review

Pros and Cons:

+ Genre friendly tuning & detailed sound
+ Solid build quality
+ Lot’s of accessories
+ Nice Stock Cable

– Needs lot of burn-in
– The upper midrange needs more presence

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