If you're looking for an IEM with class leading dynamics, spot on accurate timbre, fantastic speed and beautiful textures then look no further, the Luna will take you to the moon and beyond! Dynamics alone sets the Luna apart and it sounds different from anything you've heard. It's in a different league altogether and the reference yet organic tuning translate into a unique listening experience with a fantastic sense of realism.
- Class leading macro and micro dynamics provides a uniquely vivid presentation
- Superb clarity, resolution and ability to retrieve detail
- Reference tuning with smooth and natural delivery
- Class leading timbre accuracy both for instruments and vocals
- Very open and coherent soundstage with pinpoint precise imaging
- Very compact shells, small footpring
- Superb build quality and fantastic “stock” cable
- Isolation is only average
Price : 1699$
Fit, Build & Isolation
The Dunu Luna is clearly a superb piece of engineering, the housings are precision machined entirely from a custom-modified grade 5 titanium alloy. This is a flawless build worthy of a flagship and an even smaller footprint than the curent hybrid lineup.
The small footprint makes for a very comfortable fit, even more so than the hybrid line up that was pretty good to begin with. The footpring is such that even with custom silicon tips the Luna does not protrude much and the lightweight means there is absolutely no strain.
On the flipside this also equates to limited isolation and in noisy environments and for low volume listeners like me you will hear the outside world. Things do improve a lot with custom silicon tips.
Last but not least, Dunu provided a stunning cable with similar braiding and shielding as the Dunu Noble cable that is sold along with the DK-4001 with the same fantastic plug system that is so versatile. The cable is mixed strands of Furukawa OCC copper and DHC silver, with silver plated OCC copper shield surround.
Dunu is now a well established brand in the audiophile world, which started as an OEM for famous brands. Since 2014, Dunu built its own IEM and now has a fairly complete lineup of dynamic and hybrid IEMs (Titan series, DN and the top DK series). I have reviewed the excellent DK-4001 and upcoming are DK-3001 Pro and DK-2001.
Back to the Luna, one might say it’s a big milestone for the company and as usual they didn’t spare any effort to build what is clearly a statement product from the grade 5 titanium housing to the rolled foil beryllium driver (a first ever in an IEM). And, last but not least, one of the best unboxing experience ever designed (I didn’t get the box though for Tour practical reasons given the box size but the video speaks for itself).
Luna’s dynamic driver is at the heart of what makes it unique as we’ll see further in the review. Dunu explain that “Beryllium has an extremely high stiffness-to-mass ratio that allows to provide a very high speed of sound at over 12,000 meters per second, around two and a half times faster than other commonly used cone/diaphragm materials like aluminum”. Dunu clearly tackled a feat of engineering and manufacturing with this driver, and they say it’s 10x longer to build than a regular beryllium coated driver. “The major engineering hurdle DUNU had to overcome during the development of the LUNA was the process of getting the rolled foil beryllium diaphragm to be bonded circumferentially to a very thin polyurethane suspension. Doing so required formulating bespoke glues, lightweight and thin enough so as not to impact the total weight of the acoustic system, and reliable enough to be glued evenly against a very thin lip and still confer enough durability to sustain the immense mechanical energy delivered during driver excursion.”
The uniqueness of the rolled foil driver is its ability to maintain pistonic motion of the driver, even at the edges of a diaphragm. Dunu says it preserves the imaging properties of the music being reproduced. ” The structure of the beryllium metal is retained even at very high frequencies, translating to remarkable treble evenness. All these unique properties of beryllium enable audio designers to gain extra octaves of clean, non-distorting, non-ringing, high-resolution sonic output at both ends of the sonic spectrum.”
How does all this bleeding edge engineering translates in the real world?
Dunu states that “Luna was tuned to a reference sound signature — deep and natural imaging, even and smooth from top to bottom, and maximized for extension at both ends. The result is the most supremely detailed, transparent, sumptuous sounding earpiece ever crafted by Dunu.”
From the very first minutes, it was clearly apparent that Dunu had reached its goal in terms of tuning but it’s not what struck me upon first listen. No, what struck me is how different Luna sounded to anything I had heard before. This is the first time since my first audition of KSE1500. The KSE1500 was a shocker because I had no frame of reference of electrostatic and the blazing fast transients were just different from anything I had heard. This translated into a very different presentation of sound, note that I am not talking about anything related to the frequency range distribution. Those who read my first impression of Luna were a bit puzzled that I wouldn’t mention anything about bass, mids, treble and the overall signature. This is not only because it’s a reference tuning that doesn’t favor any part of the range but because its uniqueness lies elsewhere.
From the get go I was focused on why Luna sounded so different from anything I had heard. All the more puzzling that we’re still in the realm of dynamic driver technology and I have heard and owned my fair share of flagship dynamic. So what’s so different about a rolled beryllium foil dynamic driver? It didn’t take long for me to realize that it’s the off the charts macro (and micro) dynamics. A quick tour of Large ensembles playing pieces like Wagner’s Ride of the Walkyries (act III) or the opening of John Williams Star Wars theme is something to behold from Piano to Forte! The presentation is grandiose and powerful and you can hardly believe this comes out of such tiny earpieces… of particular notice is the ability of the Luna to handle quiet passages just as well and superbly. Wow… Beyond impressed, I was stunned. On top of that remarkable speed, rich textures and exceptional timbre accuracy certainly stood out.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the Luna’s signature, even if its uniqueness doesn’t lie in the frequency range distribution it still does matter!
I always had a thing for dynamic driver bass, the fact that the driver does push air contrary to balanced armatures definitely comes into play with a more physical sense of rumble.
From that standpoint the Luna certainly does not disappoint with superb sub bass extension and control but what stood out was how rich the nuances are conveyed. Ageispolis “Aphex Twin” delivers a physical sub bass with perfect control and the bass is beautifully textured as well. This is not something I would ever say of sub and lower bass, they’re either here or not with good control or not. The Luna provides a sense of micro nuances in intensity that I yet have to hear in any IEM and I was able to pick up on details I had never heard before. Manu Katché “Introducciòn” and the Unstatic album as a whole was a real treat. On the flipside the presentation is not the snappy hard hitting bass that bass head rejoice too, but rather a powerful yet smooth delivery. Attack is progressive and full of nuances in intensity, rather than a fast attack delivering a “sudden punch” like say Campfire Vega.
The mid bass stands out with incredibly rich textures, the Luna gave me the best portrayal of Steve Davis double bass and Elvis Jones drums in John Coltrane’s “Equinox”, with the smallest cues in interpretations conveyed beautifully. I actually played that track several times in a row as I was so mesmerized. So far my all time favorite dynamic for mid bass was JVC FW10000 but Luna takes things a step further with a more nuanced presentation, a more natural tone and richer textures yet. In a different genre, GoGo Penguin “Raven” reveals how fast the Luna’s bass can be and Luna’s dynamic driver is definitely much faster than your regular dynamic, maybe not as fast as a balanced armature but close. Impressive!
The Luna’s midrange is typical of a reference tuning. It’s not a warm and thick midrange but a clear, open and very articulate midrange with plenty of space between instruments and just the right amount of bite to my ears.
Lower mids have good presence and the Luna is full sounding and provides male vocals good power but just the right amount to preserve tonal accuracy. The Luna has body but is not of the warm and thick kind. It’s a balanced midrange, with a lot of clarity and bite, with good measure.
Male vocals are accurate and rich. Eddie Vedder’s “Broken heart” is deeply seated and simply beautifully portrayed and full of emotion conveying a wide array of nuances. This is also true upper in the range and James Blake “Vincent” is truly mesmerizing. Female vocals do shine as well and Diana Krall “Pick yourself up” is simply as good as I have heard it, period. Still upper the register, Etta James at Last gave me shivers with the ability to rise to the edge without ever going to far. The Luna is clearly a fantastic IEM for vocals because of the accuracy and lifelike nature of the tessitura. I honestly haven’t heard any IEM like the Luna before, even among the best dynamic drivers. This gives a sense of intimacy, the singer’s presence is so strong and emotional.
This is also true of instruments, the Luna’s accuracy and rich textures makes everything sound so different from what I am used to. Gerry Mulligan’s “Chelsea Bridge” was quite an experience, a richer one than ever before, and I know it by heart. There is a sense of “being there” with the Luna that derives from its ability to convey such rich nuances and a lifelike presentation as well as its exceptional dynamics. I have mentioned the ability of the Luna to handle large orchestral arrangements, but obviously those qualities stand true whatever you decide to listen to.
The upper mids section is superbly done with – to me – the right amount of bite. Electric guitars on blues were a pure treat, I am thinking John Mayall “The Devil Must be Laughing” but in other genres Nils Lofgren “Keith don’t go’ or the Pixies “Where is my mind” were both stunning examples. I enjoyed Jazz a lot with the Luna as well and the Luna does justice to Miles Davis trumpet and Coltrane’s saxophone in “So What”.
The Luna’s treble reveals a very refined tuning, one that is focused on providing a airy and vivid picture. The lower treble energy is great but characteristic of the presentation of the Luna remains smooth at all times which makes for a very vivid yet non fatiguing presentation (depending on source and personal sensitivity though it might be too much for some still). The upper treble extension and presence participates to superb resolution and a very open soundstage with excellent separation and class leading imaging.
Lower treble is very energetic, which is clearly apparent in tracks such as Miles Davis “Concierto de Aranjeuz (Adagio)”, flugelhorn, trumpet, castanets and percussive shakers are all magnificently portrayed. This is a track with a wide dynamic range between quiet passages and sudden burst of energy. It’s typically very hard to portray this track well and out of the LPGT, the Luna does a magnificent job. It goes to the edge of my own sensitivity but never crosses the threshold which makes up for a thrilling experience. I reckon that despite the Luna smooth delivery its very vivid nature will probably be too much for some. This is a bit hard to describe but treble is never shrill or piercing but it is definitely intense and while its delivery is smooth it doesn’t smoothen out the energy (if that makes sense).
To be honest, even though I am a Jazz fan I always had issues with Miles Davis energetic treble sections and the Luna reconciled me there and I found myself enjoying those sections a lot. In a very different genre but oozing treble energy, the much faster “Bishop school” from Yussef Lateef is a restless jazz-funk track with a mix of tambourine, drumkit percussion, string and brass sections, flute with a rythmic sense of urgency that is hard to convey. The Luna’s speed is clearly revealed here and it’s vividness and smoothness, combined with great separation help the Luna handle this complex track like a breeze.
I must say I had high expectations for the Luna from the first day I heard of the upcoming new Dunu flagship and the R&D aspect were interesting but I never expected the Luna to sound this different to anything I have heard. I expected the Luna to be among the best dynamic like the JVC FW10000 and potentially make history like Sony EX1000 or Sennheiser IE800. I didn’t expect to be met with an experience as fresh and new and different as I had when I auditioned Shure KSE1500, no less.
In a time where everyone is playing with new technology (eStat, magnetostatic) and goes hybrid, Dunu boldly went the other way and set to push single dynamic driver technology to what I think is probably the top of its capability and it shows! The rolled foiled beryllium driver property certainly makes a difference. As I said time and again in this review, macro dynamics in particular are stunning, many full size headphones are not up to par with the Luna and it’s a major accomplishment to be able to do this with that small a driver .
Dynamics alone sets the Luna apart – it’s in a different league altogether – but the reference yet organic tuning translate into a unique listening experience. Contrary to Shure KSE1500 that sounds unique and different but ultimately un-realistic to me (a bit to “ethereal” for lack of a better word) the Luna sound unique but with a fantastic sense of realism. I wrote several times there is a sense of presence, being there with the artist in person (no, I won’t use the “live” word) that draws you into the music. Isn’t that what we all are looking for ultimately?
If you’re looking for an IEM with class leading dynamics, spot on accurate timbre, fantastic speed and beautiful textures then look no further, the Luna will take you to the moon and beyond!
I spent approximately 200 hours with the Luna, listening on Lotoo PAW Gold Touch using the stock cable.
Thanks to Dunu for providing a review unit of the Luna and Thomas for organizing the EU Tour. As usual, this review is my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
- TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: 0.2% at 1 kHz
- NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 16 Ω
- SENSITIVITY: 110 dB at 1 kHz
- DRIVE MODULE: 10 mm Acoustic-Grade Pure Beryllium Rolled Foil with Polyurethane Suspension
- HOUSING MATERIAL: Titanium Alloy, Grade 5 (Ti-6Al-4V, TC4, with modified rare earth metal formulation)
- NET WEIGHT: 10.3 g
- CABLE LENGTH: 1.2 m
- CABLE MATERIAL: Mixed Strands of Furukawa Electric Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) Copper & DHC Silver, with Silver-Plated OCC Copper Shield Surround
- CABLE CONNECTOR: Patented Catch-Hold® MMCX Connector
- PLUG CONNECTOR: Patented DUNU Quick-Switch Modular Plug System