Dunu Talos Review
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Dunu Talos is an in-ear monitor (IEM) utilizing a planar-magnetic driver and two optional balanced armatures (BAs) per housing. The BAs can be activated with a toggle switch. The Talos normally retails for $199.99 but is on sale for $179.99 at the time of writing this review. Dunu sent me a unit in exchange for my impressions.
I have used the Dunu Talos with the following sources:
- Qudelix 5K
- Hidizs S9
- E1DA 9038D
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:
XenosBroodLord’s Library | Last.fm
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The Dunu Talos comes in a medium-sized rectangular black box. The Talos is pictured on the front of the box’s slipcover, and technical specifications for the Talos and Dunu’s corporate contact information are provided on the rear of the slipcover. The lid of the box features Dunu’s logo. Inside the box are the included semi-rigid zippered carry case, a small rectangular cardboard box that stores the included 2-pin cable, and a foam mounting sheet that holds the IEMs. Confusingly, the Talos includes an instruction booklet for one of Dunu’s modular cables, but the included 2-pin cable is not modular. This is disappointing considering the Dunu Falcon Pro included a modular cable. The only other piece of included documentation is a quality control pass chit.
The Talos includes nine pairs of silicone eartips in three different styles. The first is a set of light grey conventional eartips (S, M, L), the second is a shorter, squatter set of black wide-bore eartips (S, M, L), and the third is a set of cylindrical tips which resemble a factory version of flip-tips (S, M, L). The Talos also includes a Dunu-branded velcro zip tie, a cleaning brush, and a Dunu-branded 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter.
BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:
The Dunu Talos has water droplet-shaped faceplates. The center of the faceplate features a raised circular plateau marked with a stylized golden “D.” This raised section is surrounded by concentric grooves. The lip of the faceplate is rimmed with gold trim. The toggle switches that activate the BAs are located on the forward-facing side of the IEM. The off position is labeled “1,” and the on position is labeled “ON.” The 2-pin housings are flush with the rest of the shell. There are small “L” and “R” indicators near the base of the 2-pin housings. Each IEM has a pinprick circular vent near the base of the nozzle and three tiny ovular vents along the bottom of the housing. The nozzles are metal with metal mesh covers. The nozzles have substantial lips to secure eartips.
The included 2-pin cable uses a quad-braid below the Y-split and double-helix braids above the Y-split. The cable uses silver-plated wires with transparent rubber sheathing. The 3.5mm jack and Y-split hardware have a reflective, glossy finish. The jack uses a straight form factor. The Y-split is marked with the unit serial number. The cable features pre-formed earguides and a chin-adjustment choker. The cable is moderately microphonic.
COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:
The Dunu Talos is intended to be worn cable-up. The earpieces have a shallow insertion depth with most eartips. Secureness of fit and isolation are poor. I was forced to use the largest size of the included wide-bore eartips to get a reasonably secure fit. There is no driver flex.
My measurements of the Dunu Talos can be found on my expanding squig.link database:
Dunu Talos — Squiglink by Bedrock Reviews
With the BAs off, the Dunu Talos has a neutral tuning with a moderate sub-bass boost.
The Dunu Talos has above-average sub-bass extension. The bass does lack physicality, even on intense electronic dance tracks. However, the speed of bass articulation is excellent, as are bass texture and resolution. There is no mid-bass bleed.
The Talos has a vocal-forward midrange with textbook pinna gain centering at 2.5 kHz. Male vocals have grit and some body, while female vocals are rich and vibrant without being oversaturated. While the Talos has excellent midrange clarity and detail retrieval in most respects, I did feel that male vocals were not rendered with the same resolution as other types of midrange instrumentation. The internal resolution of female vocals is slightly better. There is a hint of planar plasticity to the midrange timbre but it did not impede my listening enjoyment. There is an appropriate level of presence.
What sets the Talos apart from similarly-priced IEMs is its treble response. In its stock configuration, the Talos has a detailed yet even treble response that avoids any harsh peaks. Even with the BAs off, the Talos has exceptional treble extension. There is ample sparkle and air but not too much of either. Overall resolution and detail retrieval are terrific, and the Talos has class-leading instrument separation. Imaging and soundstage width and depth are above average but not amazing.
The optional BAs are a tool best reserved for slower and darker-sounding recordings. For music with a heavy emphasis on top-end percussion, particularly fast-paced analog drums, I found that the lower treble emphasis created by the BAs was too strong. However, for slower ambient tracks, I felt that the BAs offered me greater insight into the soundscapes and textures.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
The Dunu Talos requires at least a modest dedicated source device with power delivery capabilities beyond what the Apple dongle can provide without circumventing the hardware volume limitation on Android. I did not notice hiss with any of my devices.
The Dunu Talos puts many of the IEMs under $300 I have heard to shame in terms of both tuning and technicalities. I do think the optional BAs are limited to niche applications, and I would love to see a streamlined, planar-magnetic-only version of the Talos for a modestly reduced price. Even so, the Talos is easily worth its retail price and is a no-brainer purchase on sale.
The Dunu Talos can be purchased below: