Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK: An Inconvenient Truth

Glad to hear it worked out for ya! I do really like Blessing 2: Dusk’s upper treble and that’s usually the hard part to get right, so it was a pretty easy EQ to do.

Mega5EST rules, but if you’re already happy with EQ its not necessary to upgrade. I did find it more comfy than any of the Blessing lineup (incl. B3 and DUSK) but that’s a very personal thing.

I think we’re on the right path. It’s eminently clear there’s interest in this kind of product, its just the brands haven’t nailed the implementation. Fingers crossed for Qudelix to get into the cable game, as they already have the software chops. Would love a Qudelix 2-pin cable with DAC inside to house the chosen EQ.

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Great review!

It is funny to see the audiophile space catch up to where consumer audio (Apple, Samsung) and pro audio (Kali, Genelec, RME) have been for years now in using DSP to make better-sounding products. This is why I don’t get the “Dusk 2 is using DSP as a crutch!!” line of pushback Dusk 2 has received.

That being said, the software experience becomes just as crucial to the product as comfort, and sound quality when DSP is added. For example, my JDS Labs Element III has 2-band PEQ as effectively a very fancy bass + treble tone control. I never use this feature since it’s a pain to menu dive to adjust the tone controls every time I plug in a different headphone, and it only works with the USB input. The app not being available period on iOS, and the bug you identified are dealbreakers for me with Dusk 2.

My warm take is that less is more when it comes to exposing DSP to end-users. A well-implemented bass and treble tone control would be more useful than parametric EQ (PEQ) for normal people, e.g. what if you liked the default Dusk preset but only wanted more treble to compensate for your hearing loss and didn’t know how to accomplish this with PEQ? It’s a lot easier to screw things up than make things better if you don’t know what you’re doing with EQ.

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Thank you very much for the effort, but i was hoping you (since you have heard both) could give a subjective comparison. I’ve compared them on squig, but i’m not a reviewer who has heard hundreds of IEMs, so all i got from that was “pretty similar”. I’ve got very wrong impressions from graphs in the past, so i’m trying to not pay too much attention to them :sweat_smile: (i’d actually argue that graphs are incredibly misleading for normal people, but that’s a topic for a different thread).

EQ is cool and all, but it’s also very impractical. Putting it in a cable is definitely an improvement, but as far is i know you can’t connect USB-C headphones to a Playstation or Nintendo Switch.

Ah, gotcha. I tend not to give many “subjective” impressions online unless explicitly asked because I think it’s actually more confusing than measurements (and I think most of the subjective stuff is contained in FR anyway)

That being said, in terms of how they subjectively impress upon me (DUSK DSP Default vs Mega5EST) I’d say they’re pretty similar. Mega5EST’s bass was a little more impactful, but also not quite as well-integrated with the mids in a “timbre cohesion” sense, which is kinda visible in the tuning.

I marginally preferred DUSK’s approach to stage as it was a little less close to my face & more natural (perhaps visible in the slight elevation around 3-5kHz on Mega5).

Mega5EST was marginally more “detailed,” but I think that’s just because it had a bit more treble in the 8-12kHz region.

Hope that helps!

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Thanks, that is indeed very helpful! Sounds like they are close enough that i wouldn’t be missing much going with either, so i will probably decide based on connector :upside_down_face:

@listen_r you are making this harder than I thought :sweat_smile:. Based on your glowing Mega5est review i was about to cancel my Dusk 2 order and get the Mega5est instead. i used a Free DSP cable with my B2D and never had a problem so maybe i’d be better off with the Dusk 2 and the extra $200 in my pocket. I figured even with the default DSP the mega5 would be far superior, but sounds like they are about even. Assuming im ok with the Free DSP cable, I’m guessing you’d say go with dusk 2?

Honestly, if you’re happy with the Blessing 2 Dusk + DSP cable, I’d say don’t even bother with any of these and save yourself even more money.

I still prefer an equalized IEM to any of these, and I’m not confident there’d be a benefit to buying DUSK 2 + DSP when you can just equalize the Blessing 2: Dusk to a similar response.

Thanks so much for the response! I was just using it without DSP because i use the mic and usbc on my phone, and already sold the B2D.

I ended up canceling the dusk and getting the MEGA5EST. I’d like to just be able to use them on different devices with a 3.5. also I much prefer the design and what you said about comfort and accessories really factored in too. finally, i like that they went to the effort to get an amazing tuning via analog and your write-ups had a big impact on me. They did it the “right” way and I appreciate that.

anyway thanks again! really appreciate your excellent write ups and response to my question.

out of curiosity if you did tweak and EQ the MEGA5EST, what would you do? I still have the Free DSP cable (and peace on my PC) although I assume MEGA5EST + FREE DSP is your nightmare :slight_smile:

No problem! As far as what I’d address on Mega5EST, not sure the ideal would be using FreeDSP because my ideal preset would include a boost around 425Hz and ~2500Hz.

Otherwise I’d reshape the eargain a bit, and sweep the treble manually and kill any excess energy between 10-15kHz and call it a day.

Something like this:

Thanks again so much! I’ll try this out on peace on my pc and see how it sounds.Again really appreciate the thoughtful articles and responses.

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Great write up! Has anyone been able to compare the new Dusk to the Monarch MK3?

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I compared B2 Dusk to Dusk DSP today with the EQ values you gave above here and for me there’s still something worthwhile between them though not worth a large expense. I’m selling my B2D so that the new Dusk will end up being about $100 more and I feel that’s a worthwhile cost for the difference for me. The bass and treble have some aspects I prefer and believe could ABX.

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Sounds like a plan, man! Hope you enjoy the new one :slight_smile:

Has anyone done a B3 to Dusk default DSP? my buddy just picked up the 3s. Thanks!

Preamp: -1.3 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain 1.3 dB Q 0.600
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 330 Hz Gain -1.0 dB Q 2.000
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 490 Hz Gain 0.6 dB Q 3.000
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2200 Hz Gain 1.0 dB Q 2.800
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 3100 Hz Gain -4.0 dB Q 0.300
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3200 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 4.400
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 5.000
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 14000 Hz Gain -4.0 dB Q 1.300

Didn’t bother with the stuff above 6kHz too much, as that’ll likely change dramatically based on the listener. Hope that works out for yr friend, though!