Dunu Titan-S Impressions Preview

These are my quick impressions of the upcoming Dunu Titan S, which was sent over to me from Dunu's rep Tom. I was told I could print some impressions, measurements and photos as long as I warn everyone that this is a pre-release unit and that packaging, appearances and sound may change prior to production. So, that is my warning, disclaimer, and fine print. Off we go!

The Titan S has a unique design with an industrial look with trapezoidal shape, full of rounded corners, and brushed metal finish, and a large opening vent on the faceplate. This almost looks like a dynamic driver cover for ear buds, but it is actually just a cover for this open-back design. Since it is semi-open, this will not be the best for those who want full isolation. Dunu is supposedly also considering making a closed version in the future as well.

The cable is a nicely wound and braided copper color that is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. I am a big fan of this cable, and it terminates in 3.5mm. Unlike most of the recent Dunu releases, this cable does not come with the detachable plug feature, and is just a traditional 3.5mm cable. Considering that the cost of one of the modular plug cables cost the same price as the Titan S set, that's understandable.

The fit of this set was surprisingly very good for me. Some may look at the sharp and wide shape and worry, but I had no issues getting a good seal, and wearing the Titan S comfortably for many hours. It's also generally lightweight and the corners are rounded and did not poke or cause discomfort to my ears.

Sound Impressions

The Dunu Titan S is well-balanced IEM that is close to my preference target curve with the exception of a slightly more elevated 3KHz upper-midrange gain. This larger gain does make things like strings and higher vocals a little more forward and stand out more with excitement, but I did not find it distracting or harsh. There is a little bit of sibilance in some music that I heard on this set that I do not hear on other stuff I own, but its not overly painful and comes and goes quickly.

The Titan S has an overall good tonal balance with just that slight hint of over-done treble and sibilance, but I do find its technical performance to be just average in the grand scheme of things. Now, take into account that this will be approximately $80 USD, and it's actually pretty good when compared to its competition. 

A couple months ago, I reviewed the Moondrop Aria, and it was easily one of the best IEMs I've heard for under $100. It was basically an improved Kanas Pro or KXXS in every way, but at half the price, which was pretty hard to fathom! This Titan S set can go to battle with the Aria in the under $100 market pretty well.

The two of these are probably my favorite picks under $100 at this point in time, and share a lot of similarities but do have some distinct differences that I think will be trade-offs and subjective taste differences. 

I feel like both have a solid technical performance for this price range. They both have above-average resolution and neither sound bloated and excessively harsh in any way. They have generally natural sounding low end and both have a surprisingly good amount of treble extension and that provides a full sound across the board, which is hard to say for stuff in this price point.

Where these two differ for me is in their tonal balance subtleties. The Moondrop Aria is a little more bass heavy with a smoother treble, while having a slightly leaner mid-range sound due to a more recessed mid-bass area. The Dunu Titan S, instead sounds a tad more smooth and warm in the low end, but a little more sharper in the upper mid-range and a slightly less-even treble area. I do find the Titan S to have a small amount of sibilance, whereas the Aria does not in most cases. 

The Titan S has a more natural sound to me with a slightly more neutral tonality to it, albeit with slightly less dynamics. The Aria has more punch and a slightly more dynamic sound, but at the expense of sounding a little more disjointed across the board due to the reduced mid range.

So, to me, both have their strengths and weaknesses, and at the end of the day, I don't think one could go wrong for a small budget IEM with good sound quality. I like both very much!