DUNU 2.5mm Balanced Upgrade Cable

Impressions - DUNU 2.5mm Balanced Upgrade Cable (SHOCS2401)


Wire: UP-OCC 7N Copper & OCC Silver
Cable: 4-core (24 AWG)
Plug: Japanese Oyaide 2.5mm TRRS - Also available in 3.5mm TRRS and TRS
Length: 1.2m

Price: ~U$D 195


Like any Dunu product, this upgrade cable has an excellent build quality, finish and properly chosen materials. The balanced 2.5mm plug is an original Oyaide plug of tough quality and yet compact and lightweight. It has a strong connection to either the player or adapter in use. The y-split is also metal (apparently aluminum) with the usual ‘Dunu’ writing on it. The cable slider consists of a very simple short rubber tube; nothing premium looking, but works fine. The upper part of the cable has fixed earguides made of long heatshrink tubes tightly attached to the twisted cable. They have a strict fixed over-ear fit, and while there’s no memory wire (unlike the stock cable of the DK-3001), they are soft and easy to fit around the ears. The MMCX plug are metal too, and as the cable is meant for the new DK-3001 in-ear, the connectors feature the same special split that provides a very strong fit and connection to the earpieces regardless the IEM used as long as it has MMCX standard sockets.

As for the main cable part, it consists of four wire cores which are separated in two pairs; each pair tightly twisted, and then twisted again to form the whole cable. The internal wire material is of good quality, mixing two different type of wires OCC copper and silver 26AWG, making it a ‘hybrid’ cable as well.

The outer covering is rather thick and very solid but behaves very well when moving around. However, due the cable material (wire) it may start to show some discoloration effect after a rather short period of regular use. Probably a typical oxidation effect that doesn’t affect the sonic performance or the ergonomics of the cable, but something that should be taking in count for an aftermarket upgrade cable, at least at this price point.
The only thing that’d be lacking is the usual Dunu cable wrap, which was always very useful when storing the earphones.

Sound Impressions

The cable was tested both with 2.5mm balanced output DAPs like the Aune M1s and Lotoo PAW5000, and various other sources with 3.5mm output using the extra adapter for 2.5mm to 3.5mm.
Main impressions are based on the own Dunu’s DK-3001, as this cable is mainly made for this IEM model, and compared to the included stock cables (both 3.5mm and 2.5mm). For further impressions the Dunu upgrade cable was also tried with other IEM sets, and also compared with some aftermarket cables.

Using the both cable wires, Copper and Silver (pure, not silver-plated), the Dunu cable approaches to take advantage of the wires characteristics. From other copper cables, the sound tends to be slightly warmer and fuller on the lower end, with a smoother texture, while the silver brings higher detail and effortlessness to the upper regions. This is not a universal rule as the real results depend on the implementations and quality of the materials, cable impedance, and obviously the source in use.

First of all, paired with the DK-3001 IEM, and on the single mode (with extra adapter), there’re some hearable improvements on the overall sound performance. The included cable on the DK-3001 is already of very good quality, so differences may be less noticed. The signature and capabilities of the DK-3001 are kept the same, though the sound gains better extension and more natural timbre. There is also a little gain in bass presence with a better rounded texture. Midrange is fuller, slightly warmer and richer too. The tonality feels more natural and the sound is more effortless on the whole.

A similar effect was noticed with the Oriveti New Primacy (Triple Hybrid), where the sound was cleaner through the midrange and fuller on the lows. Gain in the treble and overall detail is less obvious as the Primacy has a smoother signature. 

With multi-BA sets, like the popular Westone UM 20 and 30 Pro and, much less known, the 3RM from 1216.ears (detail oriented 3-BA in-ear) they gain a weightier bass and midrange response. Treble is more effortless on both, though the smoother effect is more favorable to the brighter, reference tuned 3RM, whereas the both UM sounded too smooth for their ‘stage’ tuning.

However, as recommended by Dunu, the best performance is obtained on the balanced mode. The Aune M1s balanced output has strong improvements over its single-ended output, and the results with the Dunu DK-3001 are impressive. The stage is much bigger with excellent extension. It already has a wider effect, but the depth and height are even greater. Bass is very resolving, tight, fast and dynamic. Better air and separation through the midrange, with a more natural texture and improved tonality. With the stock cable there is a minor more artificial timbre and less dynamics.

Compared to the recently released MEE Audio cable, also with 2.5mm balanced termination, the presentation of the sound is less colored and smoother and a bit more laid-back overall; similar to other silver-plated copper cables I’ve tried. Expectedly, the differences are easier to notice on the balanced output.  On the MeeAudio cable the bass sounds less free and extended, mids a bit flatter and highs calmer. With the Dunu cable brings a more airy and open sound with large stage; especially with the DK-3001 where its more open design takes the advantage of the balanced output.

Next to the Linum Super BAX G2 cable, with the Dunu cable (single output 3.5mm only) sound is richer and fuller in texture and more energetic. On the other hand, the Linum higher cable gives a much more neutral tonality, where the bass is softer and midrange a tad cooler and leaner.

Lastly, against the more expensive the PlusSound X series, and with also a similar hybrid wire type (copper + silver). The PS I have is 3.5mm single ended and does have the upper hand over the Dunu when used with the adapter. However, on its balanced mode, the Dunu can hold its ground pretty well vs. the twice priced PS hybrid wire. The PS is richer and stronger on the lows, with a more sense of musicality trough the mids. The balanced Dunu has a more open presentation and the greater right-left channel separation gives a more surrounding feel. Again, not a fair comparison as I cannot test the balanced capabilities of the PS option.

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