Dunu KIMA - Official Discussion Thread

This thread is to discuss the Dunu Kima, a set of IEMs featuring a 10 mm Dual-Chambered Dynamic Driver with Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) Diaphragm.

The official page can be found here: https://www.dunu-topsound.com/kima


*image from the official Dunu website

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The Dunu Kima have been sent to me by Dunu for me to test and to share my thoughts and opinions in this review. As always, I have no affiliation with Dunu (or any other brand) and they have not requested anything specific, but the fact that it has not cost me anything to try these IEMs is something that you should keep in mind.

The official page of the Dunu Kima can be found here: https://www.dunu-topsound.com/kima

The above is a non-affiliate link, as are all links that I publish.


Intro…

The Dunu Kima is a new release from the company, using a single dynamic driver and coming in at under 100€ at the time of creating this review.

I have tried a few Dunu models, the Talos being the latest (that I reviewed recently), and I am always pleasantly impressed one way or another with their IEMs. The Kima is another set that I have enjoyed a lot during the time I have been using it and I have found myself reaching for it again and again.

I will go through my usual steps in the review (I like to stay consistent :wink: ) but I can already say that as a daily driver in the 100€ bracket, I find them to be a very good option.


Presentation…

Dunu always does a good job with their presentations and although I am not a fan of the anime theme on the box itself, once the box is open, this is another decent presentation from the brand.

In the top half of the box, sitting in foam cutouts, we find the IEMs. The bottom half of the box holds the transport/storage case which is the usual offering from Dunu and is nice to find that they still include this nice case with what is one of their more budget offerings.

Inside the case we have the rest of the accessories that are included, except for the cable that resides in its own box located under the IEMs. The included accessories are 18 sets of silicone tips (in three types, including the new style that we also found included with the Talos), a cleaning brush, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter and a microfiber cloth.

As usual, I have no complaints with the contents or presentation, I feel that they include everything that is needed with a few extra goodies thrown in.


Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs use a completely metal shell, in a matte silver colour, with some simple but elegant shapes on the front plate. As far as aesthetics go, they are simple enough to not be boring. I can’t say that the IEMs are beautiful but Dunu have already set the bar pretty high for themselves with the Vulkan and Talos, however, I do not have any complaints. They don’t scream “look at me, I’m expensive” (which they aren’t anyway) but the also don’t look cheap or boring.

I find them very comfortable and the build quality seems to be good, which is also something I have come to expect from the brand. I obviously can’t say how they are going to stand up to the passing of time but I don’t think that they should have any issues.

The cable is a simple unbalanced 3.5mm version but it is of a good thickness (for my tastes) and uses metal hardware except for the 2 pin connectors which are a transparent hardened silicone (or a semi-soft plastic). No complaints with the cable and bonus points for the 2 pin connectors :blush:


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

When I went to try the Kima, I was expecting a similar sound to that of the Titan S that I reviewed (and liked) some time ago, maybe with some small tweaks. Yet, what I have found is that, while there are a few similarities, the changes are pretty obvious and I find them to be all in the right direction.

Here is the usual look at the Kima vs my personal preference target, along with the Titan S also shown for reference:


Starting off, as always, with the subbass and my usual run of “Chameleon” as a test track, here the subbass is very noticeably improved over the Titan S. There is more quantity but the quality is also very good. The rumble in the track is plenty for my tastes yet it is neither overpowering nor “loose”. Each note is clean and detailed, while at the same time the rumble is enough to appreciate what this track really offers. This is not a set that I would class as “apt” for those lovers of excessive bass, it is just well balanced and well presented.

The midbass is the same story. It is a little more present than I would usually ask for on paper, yet the detail and cleanliness of the bass makes them a very pleasurable listen. At no point did I find that they caused me fatigue over longer sessions. The bass in Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” is very clean and I find it to be at just the right balance for it to be easily appreciated without it becoming the center of attention. The same can be said for the bass of “Whole Lotta Love” which I find to be a very nice presentation, with just enough warmth added to work well with this genre of classic rock, something I find benefits quite a bit from a little extra in the midbass over my preferences.

The guitar in “Crazy” has enough warmth but without it affecting the low end negatively and becoming “boomy”. The same can be said for “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman, filling the low end but staying clean while doing so. Another very pleasurable track is “Back It Up”, which may not be the best recording but does sound very good on the Kima.

There is a slight dip in the center of the midrange but it is not enough to have a negative effect on female vocals that may have their root notes residing in this zone. Maybe Sara Bareilles in her version of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” could have a little more warmth in the voice but it is still a very pleasurable listen.

Moving towards the higher parts of the midrange, there is a climb that gives the most of the presence around 2.5kHz, with a small dip down that keeps the 5kHz in check before ramping down. This works very well and is very close to my preferred tuning in these ranges. Vocals that are harsh and overly present in this range are not tamed down any but they are not exaggerated either, making even Beth in “Don’t You Worry Child” quite listenable (although she is still a little harsh, due to the nature of her voice and the recording).

In the higher ranges, I find the extension to be good and to have a nice sensation of extension and air. It is not the most extended of treble ranges but the Kima certainly don’t suffer from extreme roll off in those upper ranges, something that many single driver options do.

The usual “Code Cool” test of sibilance returns Patricia Barber slightly tamed in this regard. If we use the -12 to +12 scale of sibilance that I mentioned in a previous review (where 0 would be with Patricia Barber just being on the verge of sibilance), then I would say that the Kima are somewhere around a -2.

Details are good also, with those smaller details located in the background of music, such as room reverbs etc., being quite noticeable. They are not so detailed that they will wow in this factor (depending on what sets you have heard previously) but they never left me with the sensation of being overly dull or blunted in this regard.

Soundstage is on the higher side of average. They are still IEMs but there is nice separation of instruments, creating a very pleasurable sense of space due to the good placement of images inside this soundstage. “All Your Love (Turned To Passion)” works well to showcase both the detail and the space that these IEMs manage to create between the instruments themselves.


While the Kima are not going to do a great job of isolating those low end rumbles of jet engines and the likes, they are quite a bit above average in the mid range, this means that in places like noisy offices, they are going to work well without the need of increasing the volume levels too much.


Conclusion…

The Dunu Kima are another set of IEMs from the brand that I really enjoy. I have found them a joy to listen to and I really struggle to think of anything that I would recommend over these as an all rounder in the sub 100€ bracket.

Yes, there are other IEMs in this price range (or even lower) that will be better in certain aspects but, again, as an all rounder, I think that the Kima are an excellent set of IEMs that will take quite a bit of beating. If I had to think of something to compare them to, I would say that they are an improved Moondrop Aria, with the tweaks in all the right places (for me personally).


As with all of my reviews, this is also available in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (www.youtube.com/achoreviews)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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Thanks for making a thread and posting your review! I appreciate it as always!

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Dunu Kima Review​

INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMERS:​

The Dunu Kima is an in-ear monitor (IEM) that uses one 10mm dynamic driver per housing. The Kima retails for $109.99 directly from Dunu. Dunu sent me a unit in exchange for my impressions.

SOURCES:​

I have used the Dunu Kima with the following sources:

  • Qudelix 5K
  • Hidizs S9
  • Truthear Shio

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:​

The Dunu Kima comes in a rectangular black box with a light grey slipcover. The Kima’s slipcover features an anime waifu wearing a maid outfit. Technical specifications for the Kima are provided on the back of the slipcover in Chinese, English, and Japanese. The Kima includes a zippered semi-rigid carry case and nine pairs of eartips in three different varieties. There are three pairs of Dunu Stage & Studio (S&S) eartips (S, M, L), three pairs of Dunu Candy eartips (S, M, L), and three pairs of generic silicone eartips (S, M, L). The Kima, like the Dunu Talos, includes an instruction manual for Dunu’s modular cable termination system even though the included 2-pin cable does not use this system. Finally, the Kima includes a cleaning brush, a microfiber cloth, and a 3.5mm to 1/4" jack adapter.

BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:​

The Dunu Kima has zinc alloy housings with a non-reflective, nearly matte finish. The faceplates have four sub-faces. On the left earpiece, the bottom edge of the sub-face closest to the 2-pin connectors is printed with the text “CRIZ FACTION.” “Kima” is printed in this same spot on the right earpiece. There is a circular vent with a paper blocker offset from the 2-pin connector on the inner face of the housing body. “L” and “R” indicators are printed in dark grey on the opposite side of this vent from the 2-pin connector. There is a second, smaller circular vent at the base of the nozzle. “DUNU 10 mm DLC DYNAMIC” is printed in a radial pattern around this vent on both earpieces. The nozzles are brass with metal mesh covers. The nozzles have substantial lips with which to secure eartips. The 2-pin connectors are flush with the housings. The 2-pin connectors are very snug, perhaps too much so.

The hefty monocrystalline silver-plated copper cable uses a quad-braid pattern below the Y-split and double-helix patterns above it. The cable hardware is mostly polished alloy. The Y-split hardware is branded with the Dunu logo. The 3.5mm jack hardware has a straight form factor. My biggest issue with the cable is the red rubber accent at the base of the 3.5mm jack, which detracts from the otherwise elegant aesthetic. There is substantial strain relief above the jack but none at the Y-split. There is a metal chin adjustment choker. The cable uses pre-formed earguides, and the 2-pin connectors are embossed with “L” and “R” indicators. The cable is quite microphonic even with the use of the chin adjustment choker.

COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:​

The Dunu Kima is intended to be worn cable-up. The earpieces have a shallow insertion depth. The Kima is very comfortable, but isolation and secureness of fit are below average. The earpieces require frequent readjustment to maintain a good seal. I recommend either using the included Dunu S&S tips or the largest possible size of your preferred third-party eartip with the Kima. I did experience some driver flex with a medium-size Dunu S&S eartip on the right side. For reference, my right ear canal is smaller than my left.

MEASUREMENTS:​

My measurements of the Dunu Kima can be found on my expanding squig.link database:
Dunu Kima — Squiglink by Bedrock Reviews

SOUND:​

The Dunu Kima has a Harman-ish tuning. The Kima has a more pronounced sub-bass emphasis and a more distinct pinna gain peak than many of its peers that opt for more relaxed transitions in these frequency ranges.
The Kima has good sub-bass extension. There is a 7.5 dB bass boost relative to the lower midrange. This imparts enough impact and slam to percussion hits to satisfyingly render energetic electronic music. Bass articulation is good, but bass resolution leaves a little to be desired. Bass texture is average, while bass dynamics are better than average. I do not hear mid-bass bleed.
The Kima has a distinct pinna gain region centered at around 2.5 kHz. There is not as much vertical separation between male vocals and dense instrumentation as I would like. With that said, the Kima does a good job of balancing between the two and not burying distorted electric guitar riffs beneath harsh male vocals. Analog percussion fares less well in terms of overall emphasis but avoids timbral compression, which is a win for the Kima. There is a tinge of boominess to male vocals which impairs male vocal intelligibility, even if only slightly. Female vocals sound deeper and more subdued than I am used to. While this avoids any potential sibilance, I felt myself wishing for a bit more energy and zing to female vocals.
The Kima attempts to placate the treble-sensitive without compromising detail retrieval. This effort bears mixed results. The Kima has a smooth, relaxed lower treble response. The Kima tries to offset this with a heavy dose of upper treble. The Kima’s upper treble extension is excellent for a single dynamic driver design at this price point. However, the uneven application of treble creates a discongruity between the leading edge of notes, which are not emphasized enough, and the trailing edge of notes, which are too emphasized. In the end, detail retrieval is merely average, as are instrument separation and soundstage.

AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:​

Reaching my typical listening volume with the Apple dongle required the system volume on my Android device to be maxed out. Note that I use Spotify Volume Normalization on the “Normal” setting. Even then, it was clear to my ears that the Apple dongle could not drive the Dunu Kima competently. The Kima’s bass performance in particular took a noticeable step back. I strongly recommend using a source other than the Apple dongle with the Kima. I did not notice hiss with any of my devices.

CLOSING WORDS:​

The Dunu Kima is fun to listen to but does not stand out compared to its similarly-priced competitors in terms of technical proficiency. I would pass on this one.
The Dunu Kima is available for purchase below:
KIMA | DUNU (dunu-topsound.com)

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Thanks for posting your review @darmanastartes!

Did someone say they wanted us to do a KIMA giveaway?

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