Dunu Falcon Pro is a second IEM called like that that I had the pleasure to listen to, as the first one was Noble Falcon Pro. A TWS from an American company. This time, it’s a wired one, and it’s really good.
Our last Dunu IEM review is about the EST112, and you can read it here.
I really like Dunu products and their approach. They invented and mastered many things in the audio world, like the swappable plugs (which are not the best this time, but I’ll tell you more about that a little later). In addition, they’re always sharing backstories with us, which makes us feel more involved in the whole process.
Besides that, there’s, as always, plenty of accessories and fun of trying all of them.
Packaging & Build Quality
At first, I was a little surprised, as the Dunu Falcon Pro are packed in a rather small box. I thought that there won’t be many accessories, eartips and stuff like that. Damn, how wrong I was! Inside of this little, great-looking box, Dunu placed a lot of things, and I’m glad they were able to do it, as this is the setup that can embarrass many flagships. So, what’s inside?
At first, there is a case of the same shape that comes with EST112, yet it’s made from a different material. It isn’t leather like before, and it reminds me more of jeans. Inside, you’ll find the IEMs, which are made of stainless steel, and looks gorgeous. The main part of the shell is polished, and the part around the faceplate is foggy with small Dunu logos. Moving forward, there’s a silver-plated copper cable with MMCX connectors and Q-Lock Lite technology on the second side. Of course, the 4,4mm and 2,5mm jack connectors are inside. Unfortunately, that option is far worse compared to the classic Q-Lock. Sometimes I have problems with balance, as one channel doesn’t work if it’s not pushed deep enough, or when the connector is slightly bent. Also, there’s no security system, so you can pull that out by an accident, even if that’s holding pretty hard at the beginning.
However, IEMs and cable combined together are tolerably heavy but it’s comfortable for me. The next thing you’ll find, are three different nozzles, as they’re replaceable. The one that’s preinstalled is called “Reference”, and the other two are “Transparency” and “Atmospheric immersion”. They are changing a lot in the sound, so you can expect a looong sound description. A similar thing applies to the eartips, as there are four types of them. I think that even Twister would be happy with those possibilities. At the end of the list of accessories is a soft, brown pouch with two pockets. It’s very similar to the ones that come with Campfire Audio IEMs. The last two items are a brush and a 6,35mm adapter.
Besides the Q-Lock LITE mechanism, everything is made perfectly. Eartips are soft and feel great in the ear. Every set is different, so everyone, except the foam tips fans, should feel satisfied.
MMCX connectors are solid, and the IEMs are not spinning on their own, and because of the IEM shape, it’s rather hard to take the cable off. While I’m talking about the cable, it could be a little softer, because the outer PVC coating might be uncomfortable if you’re wearing the cable under the shirt. If not, then everything is fine for me.
Replaceable nozzles are easy to swap but don’t try to tighten them too much. After some time it can lock, but that’s normal with that kind of stuff.
Comfort and isolation
The comfort is decent for me, and Falcon Pro rarely slips off my ears. That happens only when I’m riding on my electric scooter, so in regular use, nothing bad proceeds. The cable is great if I’m not wearing it under the shirt, because it’s pretty hard outside. Sometimes it gets tangled, but it’s easy to untie, so it doesn’t bother me a lot. Another good thing in terms of comfort is the fact, that there’s no problem with a proper fit. With some earphones, you have to find the sweet spot, so they might be problematic to wear. This time, that problem just doesn’t exist. On the other hand, the sound isolation is really poor, as there are five ventilation holes at the inner side of IEM. I can easily hear everything around me, but I don’t get that open-back feeling as with Ikko OH1s Gems, as the external sounds are delicately distorted and muffled.
Well, it gets really interesting, there are so many possibilities. I’ll start with the different nozzles, and then I’ll write the part about the eartips.
Please make sure of proper burning-in of your Dunu Falcon Pro, as it can be really bassy at the beginning. It aims for its final signature after ~50 hours, and it’s fully polished after ~150 hours.
The description below is written using bright grey eartips. For overall changes in the sound using different eartips, please read below the main part of this paragraph.
At first, transparency nozzle.
The bass is powerful. It aims for a warm and rather smooth presentation, except for the subbass which has the proper texture. I’d say that’s a pretty comparable part to Campfire Audio Honeydew, but Falcon Pro sounds sweeter. The midbass is full-bodied and is well-separated from the midrange. It’s not fully smoothed but there’s more smoothness than texture. The highest part of the bass is delicately sloppy, so there’s no fast and clean punch. I’d call that a sleeky one. It makes my head moving but it’s not the type of epilepsy shaking, more like a gentle and smooth move to the beat. I love the bass in “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” by Billie Eilish, as it sweetens that song, and makes it comfier to listen to.
The midrange is lovely with natural or delicately sugared sources. With brighter and more technical sources, it can get a little harsh sometimes. Detailing is decent every time, so you don’t have to be worried if your favorite guitar riff is going to be ruined. In terms of timbre, it’s quite debatable. Vocals are mainly close to the listener, but they’re thick and full, so that matches my taste perfectly. Michael Kiwanuka, Dave Gahan, and similar voices are making that feeling of confidence which puts me deeper in the chair. Higher male voices, like Kendrick Lamar, are delicately pushed back, but the “DNA”, from my favorite album “DAMN.”, is insane overall. I’ve never heard this song in that style, where everything is fulfilled and sounds complete. Female voices are placed mostly in the front, but with the proper mix, they’re flooding me with the sound. For example, Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish sound full, and their voices are stretched in a rounded triangle shape with its tip in front of us, and the other two corners placed just behind the ears of the listener.
The treble is the most accurate using the “Transparency” nozzle, and some can find it a little harsh sometimes, but that’s highly dependent on the sound source. Overall, when Falcon Pro are properly driven (e.g. using xDuuo XD-05 Plus) the treble is delicately sparky, but it has a very natural presentation. It’s also pretty airy but could be a little more extended. If I’m using some weaker, in terms of power, source, it’s really calm, and sometimes gets a little too shady.
In some cases, I’d call that also a light-style presentation, which is not tiring and remains neutral. The treble is decent in terms of details, It’s easy to notice more details if we’d compare Falcon Pro to other 1DD IEMs at this price range, but some hybrids can overtake Dunu at this point.
So, now it’s time for the “Reference” filter. It’s changing the sound noticeably, making it a decent all-rounder.
The bass is more universal now, because it’s more vibrant and is placed a little further in the sound. The subbass is slightly more powerful and shows more texture. It’s imperceptibly elevated compared to the “Transparency” nozzle but it’s still not overwhelming with neutral sources. I like that filter the most with bass-heavy songs, like some rap or pop, as the kickbass is making my head bobble pretty firmly. It’s still not the fastest one, but the timbre is making me forget about that. Anyway, don’t think that it has a similar presentation to Campfire Audio Mammoth, which is rather chilling and complex. Falcon Pro with that filter has a more engaging style, which is imo great for fun and as daily IEM. Unfortunately, the midbass with warm sources can sometimes bleed on lower midrange, especially in bass-heavy songs. This issue isn’t big, and it bothers me only with one, rather poor recorded, track when I’m using XD-05 Plus with bass boost, but I think it’s worth mentioning, as I see many people with that DAC/Amp. I’m not giving you the name of the song, as it’s a Polish underground artist, which is hard to find on streaming services.
The midrange lost its harsh potential, and it’s way more pleasant using all sources described on the bottom of the review. It’s sweeter with all vocals that I’m usually listening to, but some of them are delicately hidden because of the midbass. The problem isn’t big as I mentioned before, but vocal fans should be aware of that. Moving forward, the detailing is slightly better in the higher midrange, as they’re nicely marked, even if they’re rounded.
The “DEUTSCHLAND” by Rammstein sounds much better than I expected it to. Nothing gets lost, and everything is spot-on, even when I’m comparing the Falcon’s Pro to more expensive IEMs, yet its playstyle isn’t for everyone. The main competitor here is Campfire Audio Honeydew, which has a more shallow midrange and is not as exact as Falcon Pro.
I haven’t written anything about female vocals at this point, so that’s time for it. They’re so sweet, damn. That’s also a very universal nozzle, as it doesn’t matter what genre I’m listening to. Old jazz, fresh pop, alternative, or someone like Sinead O’Connor. Everytime I feel fully satisfied.
The treble is pushed back a little, but it has a more pleasant timbre. We lost a little of the air and lightness, but instead, we’re getting rounder shapes, and more natural drum plates or piano, when it’s shown as a part of the song. If you’re a fan of pure piano, then you might be a little disappointed, as sometimes it gets a little boring for me. But that’s just me, I need more sparks and intimacy when it comes to pure piano.
Details are similar if we’d like to count them all, but they’re presented in a different, more rounded, and gentle way, so there’s no way to call it harsh. That’s a good thing for those who are sensitive to sibilances, but it’s also that what we can expect after a single dynamic driver.
And last, but not least, the “Atmospheric immersion” nozzle. I’m not going to write that as before, because it would be too hard, and I guess some of you wouldn’t understand what I mean.
So, what’s so different? Well, everything. It’s absolutely different IEM, as it’s the sweetest and the densest sound that’s possible there. The amount of subbass is similar to the “Reference” filter, but sometimes it makes my back go chills. It’s playing further away and makes absolutely perfect ambient for me. Unfortunately, the midbass and kickbass are arguing with the midrange who should take first place in the show, which ends up with blurry vocals in darker realizations. So, let’s stop listening to the “Happier than Ever” album by Billie Eilish, and let’s move to the song called “Summer” by The Small Town Kids, which’s a Polish band. The bass can get a little boomy here, yet it’s way clearer, and pleasant to listen to. That’s the nozzle that lets me chill and enjoy the music more sensitively. The treble has a similar style to the “Reference” filter. It’s not pushed back more, and it’s delicately rounder. Details in the full range are decent, and they’re better than FiiO FD3 Pro, and the smoothness is comparable, so I think it’s worth paying the extra 50 bucks for the Falcon Pro by Dunu.
The soundstage is very similar with all nozzles, so there’s only one paragraph for them all. At first, it was pretty bad, but that’s the last thing that went way better with the burning-in process. After the full 150 hours, it’s outstanding at this budget. Vocals are placed mainly in front and the drums are playing just behind me. The bass guitar is placed behind the vocalist, and regular guitars are on his sides. That really makes me crazy, in a positive way of course.
Layering is decent, as there’s that fading effect that I’m in love with. That matches perfectly with the extensive size of the soundstage, especially when it comes to the height. What surprised me, is the shape of the soundstage. When the sound source is coming higher, it’s not going directly above me, it stays on the sides or in front of me, which is pretty specific. In terms of width, it looks like a pizza with two pieces already eaten, which were behind me before. But, all of that is about music with male voices. With female vocals, it’s like the triangle that I mentioned before. Of course, it’s not a perfect triangle, it’s more like a Reuleaux triangle. And I enjoy both options, but if you’re crazier about direct and very spacious pin-points, it might not satisfy you.
So, we have four options when it comes to the eartips, and all described below are compared to the stock, grey ones.
Black with colored bores
Those are most V-shaped in terms of signature, the subbass is stronger and treble gets more to say now. The sound in total is a bit dryer, it’s less pleasurable to listen to. The soundstage moved to the front, so there’s less happening behind me, but the style remains similar.
In terms of comfort, these are way softer and more sticky in hand.
Smoky ones with dark navy bores
These are also less smooth than the light gray ones, but they’re the brightest, so in total, the sound feels more neutral. I enjoy them the most with the “Atmospheric immersion” nozzle, as they’re sharpening those little too blurry vocals. The soundstage is more focused on the middle, but it can go further behind me, so that’s a good deal in my opinion. They’re softer than gray ones, but not like the previous ones. They got the hardest bore, which makes them the hardest to put on the IEM.
The smallest ones with a swirl on the outside and the widest bore
Using this set, the sound is focused on the midrange, and the subbass is moving further away. The kickbass gained a little speed, and it’s not fighting with the midrange as hard as before.
The sound is the most direct with those eartips, but the soundstage is smaller compared to all other options, yet it’s still decent.
I’ve seen some comments that Dunu Falcon Pro is easy to drive. Well, yes and no. It won’t please you directly from the phone (Realme 7 Pro in my case), because the subbass is too weak, and the rest of the sound gets too slow. With Earmen Eagle, it’s good. Sometimes the midrange gets a little harsh with the “Transparency” nozzle, but on the other hand, with the nozzle called “Atmospheric immersion”, it’s very pleasing. The true magic starts with the xDuoo XD-05 Plus, if we wouldn’t count that slight hiss in the background. The XD-05 Plus has rather a poor soundstage, but with Dunu Falcon Pro it shines and makes a really great pair. I’m not missing anything, the details are perfect, the soundstage is broad, and the treble is more marked. So, in a few words, Falcon Pro is great with decent sources, but it can get a lot better with some high-end DAPs or DAC/Amps.
Vs. Final Audio A8000
Personally, I don’t really get what I’m doing this comparison, but here we go.
A8000 is way more exact and clear in the whole presentation. The sound signature can be considered similar, but A8000 got way less mid and kickbass and both of them are more disciplined. Dunu Falcon Pro is sweeter, with a thicker midrange, but in terms of details and natural texture, they’re not even close to the Japanese IEMs. The treble is also more natural, and just more visible using the A8000. The soundstage is different, as A8000 is again more exact, and Falcon Pro aims for pleasure at this point. In the end, I have to admit that the cable is very similar in terms of build quality.
Vs. Campfire Audio Honeydew
Similar price range, a single dynamic driver inside, but who did it better?
Both IEMs are not perfect, but they’re good in different places. Honeydew is more subbass-focused, with a little dryer presentation from midbass to the treble. Vocals are placed closer in the Falcon Pro if they’re not hidden behind the bass, of course. The detail reproduction is better with Falcon Pro, but I wouldn’t call that a significant difference. I think I wouldn’t notice that in outdoor use. What’s more meaningful, Falcon Pro provides a more vibrant presentation, so when I’m listening to both of them one by one, the Honeydew even if it’s smooth, it is less pleasant because of the timbre. The part where Falcon Pro wins without a doubt is the soundstage. I’m not saying that Honeydew has poor soundstage, as it doesn’t, it’s just not that good compared to the Falcon Pro, which can go higher, deeper, and more exact. The only thing is the amount of air. There’s a little more of that with the Honeydew.
So, as I said, there’s no winner, but personally, I’d go with Dunu, even if I was using Honeydews a lot lately.
Rich set of accessories, very good build quality, and awesome sound quality that can compete with more expensive IEMs. Of course, there’s no way to resemble the new single DD from Dunu to some earphones, as they’re aiming for totally different things. Some of them are strictly focused on being exact, like the Campfire Audio Holocene, and some have just different sound signatures. Nonetheless, at this price point, Dunu Falcon Pro is a really strong competitor, and it shouldn’t be avoided when you’re looking for new earphones.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Campfire Audio Holocene, Vega 2020, Craft Ears Four, Dunu EST112, Final A8000, Fir Audio VxV, Craft Ears Six, CFA Mammoth, Ikko OH1s, CFA Satsuma, CFA Honeydew
- Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Cayin N6ii R01, xDuoo XD-05 Plus, Earmen TR-Amp, Earmen Eagle, ddHiFi TC44B