Versatile accessory set, Great build quality, Fantastic cable with modular connectors, Natural and inviting sound signature, Effective tuning nozzles, Refined and detailed treble
Bass skews too warm at times, Dynamics could be improved, Heavy housings
The Falcon Pro strikes me as a forgiving and flexible in-ear and a good alternative for those that find the typical Harman IEM fatiguing or intense.
Dunu started life as an OEM/ODM, designing and manufacturing designs for other brands. They formed their own soon after where they quickly made a name for themselves in the audiophile world. Their early hybrid designs were lauded for their aggressive pricing and competitive performance. Lately, the company has reflected recent market trends, focussing on single dynamic driver earphones whose reduced complexity enables further commitment to refinement and reduction in pricing. The Falcon Pro is an evolution of the Falcon-C released almost 3 years ago. It adopts numerous technologies pioneered by the LUNA flagship and high-end ZEN, condensing them down into a far more affordable package. Compared to its predecessor, the Falcon Pro is more modular, more balanced yet no less approachable in terms of pricing.
The Falcon Pro retails for $219 USD, the same as its predecessor. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a unit here on their website here.
I would like to thank Tom from Dunu very much for his quick communication and for reaching out and providing me with the Falcon Pro for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Frequency response: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
- Sensitivity: 112 dB
- Impedance: 26 ohms
Behind the design –
The Falcon Pro comes with 3 tuning nozzles, each with varying impedances to offer a different sound signature. The reference nozzles are fitted out of the box, offering a balanced response whilst those desiring greater clarity or smoothness can use the transparency and atmospheric immersion filters. Finally, Dunu has introduced a new modular cable system dubbed Q-lock LITE, which functions similarly to their former quick-switch system but with a simplified locking mechanism. As before, they feature metal jackets and catch-hold MMCX connectors on the IEMs themselves. They have prongs of sorts that help to increase the service life of the connector.
Bespoke Dynamic Driver Design
ECLIPSƎ is not exactly a driver type per say but rather encompasses Dunu’s construction techniques for their dynamic drivers that were first conceived with their flagship LUNA. To elucidate, though it is currently implemented on the LUNA, Zen Pro and now the Falcon-Pro, all have very different driver compositions. For the Falcon Pro, this involves an ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon) diaphragm coated using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. This means you get a more uniform deposition onto the base diaphragm film and therefore, more uniform mechanical properties. In addition, Dunu are using an independently constructed highly compliant polymer surround giving a deeper and more uniform excursion whilst permitting a larger effective diaphragm surface area for sound reproduction. Finally, a circular 1.6 Tesla magnet system gives the driver heaps of drive and control.
In addition to the driver itself, the surrounding acoustics are vital to achieving a desirable sound in both frequency and time domains. Dunu are well aware of this, allowing them to maximise the potential of their 3rd generation ECLIPSƎ drivers. This was achieved by controlling front and rear pressure via a 5-vent system throughout the housings. Increasing the number of vents gave Dunu engineers greater control over acoustic impedance across different areas of the driver. In addition, the Falcon Pro assumes a dual chamber design with a sealed front and rear chamber on either side of the driver. In so doing, they are able to control the air volume in each and suppress resonances.
The small dimensions of the Falcon Pro’s packaging certainly don’t prepare the buyer for the host of accessories contained within. Sliding off the bright yellow outer sleeve reveals a small hard box. The Falcon Pro comes with a huge range of accessories, all designed to maximise versatility and compatibility. Upon opening the box, the buyer is greeted with a teal canvas zippered case that is reminiscent of the older Campfire Audio ones, not a bad thing at all. It has good dimensions but forgoes the CFA shearling interior in favour of a soft suede and additional internal dimension to accommodate an elastic pocket too. Chrome zippers and Dunu logo provide a classic aesthetic that matches the IEMs themselves. Speaking of which, the IEMs can be found inside alongside the new SPC cable.
Their chrome exterior is protected by plastic, giving a flawless finish out of the box. Below is another box with the remaining accessories. The buyer receives a huge number of Dunu bags containing 3 pairs of stiffer blue core tips, 3 pairs of rounded silicone tips as seen on former Dunu earphones and 3 pairs of whirlwind tips. In addition, the modular cable connectors come separately packaged, 3.5mm and 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced. The tuning nozzles come screwed into a nice metal plate and another bag contains nozzle rings that can be used to subtly alter the sound by adjusting the fit depth. Altogether, a highly comprehensive set of accessories that is almost overwhelming. Users are best to start with the pre-configured setup and adjust one variable at a time starting with ear tips given that seal and comfort are of highest priority here.
I greatly enjoyed the Falcon-C’s liquid metal design but there is no doubt the new Falcon Pro provides a more substantial experience. While not as light, the density of the Pro’s steel housings provides a premium impression of quality. This is reinforced by nigh perfect faceplate matching, not to mention the striking dual-finish faceplate design with sandblasted perimeter laser-etched with Dunu branding. It’s a unique aesthetic that showcases awesome contrast in person and is relatively subtle once the earphones are in the ear. I was impressed by the general fit and finish of these earphones, each edge is rounded and the ports are all chamfered. It’s clear the Falcon Pro’s shells have received more CNC passes than most due to the complex geometry and it does yield a more premium look and feel than many competitors. Though the Falcon-C was smooth and well-formed, the Pro earns its additional moniker being a step above, especially as the nozzle is no longer plastic with metal throughout the entire chassis.
As on its predecessor, the Pro implements the ubiquitous MMCX connector system opening up wide aftermarket options. This hardly feels necessary given that the stock cable showcases great quality – certainly, a huge improvement over the tacky and springy cable included on the Falcon-C. This starts at the catch-hold connectors, which refers to the pronged cutouts on the male end that promote a longer work life than regular MMCX connectors. The cable itself is very reminiscent of the upgrade balanced cable offered with the Falcon-C. It is light, supple and transmits minimal microphonics noise. Moreover, it has Dunu’s new Q-lite 4-pin modular connectors which is similar to that seen before but without the locking mechanism. Dunu reasons this is cheaper and more convenient, and I had no issues with reliability here either. Finally, the pre-moulded ear guides are soft and well-shaped, contributing to a solid all around ergonomics experience.
Fit & Isolation –
The Falcon Pro is similarly proportioned to the original so that should give you a good idea of what to expect ergonomically. This is a medium-sized earphone but with rounded edges and a relatively low-profile design that doesn’t protrude much from the ear. I found them to sit nicely within my outer ear with minimal contact and, therefore, no hotspot formation. However, the dimensions do mean that smaller-eared listeners may want to try them on first before committing to purchase. The transparency tuning nozzles do also offer a shorter length which may be suitable for those with small ear canals struggling to achieve a seal on the stock nozzles. I found the nozzles to be well-angled and offer a good fit and seal.
The plethora of included eartips aids this impression, with my preferred balanced silicone tips installed, I achieved a reliable medium-depth fit every time. Due to the obviously vented nature of the earphones, you don’t get a rock-solid seal as on deeper-fitting, sealed IEMs like the CFA Satsuma. However, there is also less wearing pressure that some may find more comfortable. The downside to this is isolation which is below average even for a vented DD IEM. While I was content using them during my daily commute, they aren’t the ideal choice for those wanting to block out the external world yet alone for use in loud workplaces. Keep this in mind before purchase.