Dunu Talos (Planar + 2BA)

New Talos launching pretty soon. I’m very hyped about this one.

Curve looks very interesting. It’s so rare to see a switch actually changing an IEM drastically enough to be worth having. This is almost getting 2 different IEMs.

Here is some information I can find so far about it. Mostly from Hifigo.

" DUNU joins the arsenal of planar driver IEMs with the latest Talos. It’s won’t hurt us to call the Talos a Planar Hybrid IEM as the pair comes equipped with a 14.6mm planar magnetic and dual custom BA drivers arranged together in innovative architecture. We call the Talos innovative as it comes with a switch that allows the users to switch it between Planar or Hybrid Planar operating modes!! DUNU Talos brings an all-new experience with its switchable Hybrid mode, be sure you check it out!!

Hybrid Planar Or Just Planar Or Both?
DUNU has specially designed the audio architecture of the latest Talos. They have equipped the pair with a 14.6mm planar magnetic driver and dual BA drivers. The planar magnetic driver here has been tuned for a full frequency band response while the Dual BA drivers are here for the high and ultra-high frequencies. Talos features a switch that allows the users to easily switch between Planar mode or Hybrid Planar mode. In planar mode, the pair produces a smooth, natural, warm output suitable for long listening sessions and ideal for most genres. In Hybrid mode, the pair gets a transparent and beautiful sound with improved resolution and speed.

Specially Designed 14.6mm Planar Magnetic Driver:-
DUNU Talos comes with a newly-developed 14.6mm ultra-thin diaphragm planar magnetic driver. It uses an ultra-light silver alloy voice coil along with an N55 double-sided magnetic circuit. It is tuned for the full frequency band and responds to it amazingly well. Planar drivers are known for their ultra-low distortion and fast transients, the same can be expected here from the latest Talos.

Dual Customised Balanced Armature Driver units:-
DUNU Talos features two high-performance custom-tuned balanced armature driver units for the high and ultra-high frequency bands. They produce transparent high-frequency responses with excellent resolution and clarity. You are going to love the amazing performance of the BA drivers that brings out the minutest of the details from your music!!

Precisely Crafted Aluminum Alloy Cavities:-
DUNU has got years of experience with them in designing budget and premium HiFi audio IEMs. With that expertise, they have designed the shell of the latest Talos with an ergonomic shape. The shells are carved using a high-precision CNC machining process with Aviation-grade aluminum alloy material. The pair has a gold-plated brass acoustic cavity structure to ensure a natural sound response with the pair!!

Professionally Designed Cavity Structure:-
DUNU Talos has got a professionally designed cavity structure. The shells have multiple air vents present on the front and rear cavities. These vents have been designed after extensive simulation tests. They form a unique multi-vent air flow micro-control system to achieve strong dynamic and low-frequency response and at the same time provide a comfortable wearing experience and good isolation levels.

High-Purity Silver-Plated Single Crystal Cable:-
DUNU Talos comes with a high-purity silver-plated monocrystalline stock cable. This cable ensures high-efficiency signal transmission with low coloration, thanks to its Litz braided structure. Each wire here is covered with an insulating layer to protect the pair from signal loss during transmission. It uses standard 0.78mm 2-pin connectors."

I’ll post my first impressions here as soon as I can get my hands on one. Stay tune!!

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Wow, the “hybrid” treble looks overkill, but the base graph is sensible. Let’s see! (Or “hear”!)

I can imagine adding a dynamic to a planar for impactful bass or timbre/physicality, never would have considered a planar needing BA highs on top of what it can already do.

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Yeah, that’s true. I’m more excited for the default tuning personally. The treble already looks fine on it. But we shall see.

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There are some companys alrady doing this for some time. There is a Brazilian company called “Audio Dream” that they have a whole line up of hybrid Planars IEMs.

What beautiful IEMs!

Whether it’s been done before or not doesn’t change my surprise that it’s a necessary crossover, if you’re going to only be supplementing the planar with 1 driver, I would prioritize differently. TBH I can’t really imagine what the exact difference in vibe ultra highs from a BA or planar would have… EST would bring something a little different to the table though.

Then again the Szalayi is (in parantheses are my assumptions) 10mm DD (bass) 14mm planar (mids) and a BA (highs?) and it’s terrific.

EDIT: Btw just putting it here instead of a separate comment - Dunu consistently has some of the best design IMO. Even designs that share little to nothing in common (EST112, SA6, Talos, Vulkan) look fantastic in my opinion.

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Got my first impressions included in this video. Timestamp in the description to get to it quickly.

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Treble too spicy with the BA’s enabled.

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I agree. The stock tuning is much better.

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I got a chance to try these at CanJam after having held the SA6’s as my personal favorite DUNU IEMs, but man the Talos gave the SA6 a run for their money in my opinion. I simply went phone->xDSD Gryphon-> SA6s or Talos so the chain I tested them with was consistent. With the Talos BA/Planar driver mix, I found it to be fun, yet still balanced in sound signature with my ear preferring neutral FR as a musician. It’s hard to find IEM’s that do both “fun” and “functional” well.

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Squigs for Talos. Unsmoothed.

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Yeah, confirms the thought even further. The Hybrid tuning is too much. Thanks for sharing this man!

they probably should’ve added a stronger high pass filter to the ba. hybrid mode is acceptable on warmly mastered tracks that were originally recorded on tape rather than via digital compressors. not so much for modern music w/high vocal comprssion ratio

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Yeah that, and I wouldn’t mind if they use a BA to fix the 4k - 6k scoop a bit for better vocal extensions as well. Great setup and idea from Dunu, just not the best implementation.

Full review of the Talos

Dunu is a company known for extravagant accessories and market-shaking (and not-so-market-shaking) IEMs. The most notable ones are the Titan S and the SA6, which till today, are highly regarded in the community and amongst popular reviewers. While other models from Dunu eventually get lost to time, this latest release, in this reviewer’s opinion, is here to stay. One can say it’s potentially…“Timeless.” heh heh planar joke.

Accessories

While I don’t typically cover accessories in my reviews as I don’t find most worth mentioning (also, a quick look at the product page will show you everything you’re getting), I’ll make one exception just for today.

The Talos comes with a unique set of eartips that, to my knowledge, will become its own product down the line. The eartips have Azla Xelastec feeling material while not being “sticky.” The shape is more akin to foam tips, being more tube-like than a dome. Now I’m no eartips expert, but whatever they did here gave me the perfect seal every time with every IEM I’ve put them on. Color me impressed! Needless to say, when it comes out as a stand-alone product, I’ll be snagging a bucket for myself.

Another notable accessory would be the cable, though not noteworthy for the same reason as the eartips. The cable is 3.5mm only, with no interchangeable termination system. This is a slight disappointment from Dunu since even the Falcon Pro has interchangeable terminations and tuning nozzles for a similar price tag.

Sound Impression

Before we get into the meat of the analysis, we first need to discuss this gimmick. The Talos has a tuning switch that switches between a Pure Planar Mode utilizing only the planar driver) and Hybrid Mode (using both planar and balanced armatures).

graph below courtesy of Ianfann ( https://www.youtube.com/c/ianfann)

The Planar Mode has a pleasant and neutral tonality, with a laid-back approach to the upper-midrange. The treble doesn’t feel harsh or sibilance-y while delivering enough treble to display a decent level of detail. In many ways, a well-tuned signature with a touch of flavor that sounds great and quite versatile.

On the other hand, the Hybrid Mode is, to put it simply, painful. The balanced armatures boosted the 8K region to an undesirable level, causing peaks, sibilance, unnatural timbre, and fatigue. The single benefit of “better” details does not outweigh the cons in this case. The Planar Mode’s tuning is far superior, so for the rest of this review, we’ll focus on just that.

Bass

The bass is modest, with a smooth glide from sub-bass bottoming out at around 300Hz; this is what we call “well-controlled” bass. The lower midrange is open and devoid of congestion, which allows for the most clarity and resolution in this area. For neutral listeners or those seeking the “High Fidelity” experience, this bass style is superior to the typical “V-shape” bass response. However, for bass-heads/ bass lovers/warm-tuned enthusiasts, the Talos’s bass is not the best fit because it lacks the fullness you may seek from more bassy sets.

Midrange

As stated before, the midrange has a laid-back approach with a sense of openness, thanks to the lower mid and bass separation. Instruments and vocals display fully without hints of mud or congestion. The upper midrange is energetic enough to pop the vocals from the background despite the slight dip after 3KHz. Speaking of the dip, this is where the “laid-back” tone comes in. For context, a significant drop in this range 2k-4k) can spell disaster for vocals, making them sound cut off, unnatural, and dead. Though, in the case of the Talos, the dip is minor, which brings down the vocal energy just a touch to give it that smooth, easy to listen to, and “laid-back” appeal. The vocals are still well extended and natural sounding. Overall, beautifully tuned and will work with nearly every genre.

Treble

I already touched a little on the treble, so I’ll be expounding on my thoughts stated above. The treble as a whole sounds naturally extending with minimal if zero hints of sibilance and harshness. It achieves this while being sufficiently energetic in the lower treble and not sacrificing details. The single issue I have with the treble is in the air region; though I admit this is a nitpick at best, it’s worth noting anyways. The Talos is not a very airy IEM. While it’s not devoid of air, it can benefit from more. For context, more air usually means a broader sense of soundstage. The Talos doesn’t feel closed in, but I’ve always thought it could use just a bit more air to compliment the tuning style.

Technical Performance

Detail performance is generally good, and for $200, I would even call it great. The notes have decently clean definitions, impressive clarity, and a decent overall sense of stage. While it’s not going to best other planar IEMs like the Timeless or S12 for head-stage and note definition, it certainly wins in overall clarity. Now, if the BAs (balanced armatures) were used to boost the air region instead of 8KHz, we’d have a bigger winner. Atlas, we can’t have everything we want in life.

Summary

Do I recommend the Talos? The short and long answer is yes. The tuning is a welcome change to the planar scene that’s plagued by v-shape tuning. Of course, nothing is wrong with V-shape, but variety is good.

The tuning is exceptional, especially for the price, and it competes well in the context of planars and the market as a whole for its price range. For under $200, I can only think of one other non-planar IEM that might give Talos a challenge, and that’s the SeeAudio Yume Midnight. Though, even that is not as detailed as the Talos; tuning-wise, we can swing either way, but that’s another conversation for another time.

Overall, a well-tuned IEM with competitive technical and the signature Dunu built quality and accessories. Nothing screams “don’t buy me,” unless of course…you’re a bass head. If you are, please look at the other planar options.

Dunu Talos Grade: A-

For comparisons with other planar IEMs such as the Timeless, S12, Hook-X, Zetian Wu, and Dioko, please refer to my video review on my youtube channel. (BEST TUNED Planar IEM - Dunu Talos Review - YouTube)

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I’m very interested by the Talos. What bothers me is that I feel I would pay for a ba (or multiple ba?) That I probably won’t use. It gives me a feeling of waste, and I keep wondering “how much would it cost without the ba and the switch?”.

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How is the quality of the bass, definition, decay, etc?

What’s the nozzle size if I may ask? Don’t want to run into B2 problems :slight_smile:

hifigo had some picture on their site with a caliper ruler that showed a value of 5.8mm

It’s not too thick in my ears at least; fit is snug so isolation is better than expected. I like those new Xelastec-style tips.

Edit: Here it is

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Thanks a lot, I think it’s comparable to the S12 then.