- Neutral tuning/balanced
- Does nothing wrong
- Bass will not suit everyone
- Stage depth could be better
- Slighly shouty on some tracks
- Cable termination
- Doesn’t specialize
Disclaimer: This unit is a review unit sent to me by Dunu in exchange for a full review. No incentives were given to me and my words are my own. Thanks again to Dunu for reaching out and being nothing but professional.
Table of Contents
Dunu’s last entry on the 2021 IEM market took some attention ever since its announcement: A cyberpunk themed IEM on the budget range that promised to rival some of the kingpins in it. But does it?
Starting with these, I will say right now they are excellent. Build feels amazing and, while being fully metal, it’s still lightweight. The shell size is on the smaller side, giving it a very good fit. Even though the nozzle is a bit longer than my canal, it’s really a small and personal nitpick, and I got past that by tip rolling. I’ve been using them as my EDC with Qudelix5k for the past weeks and they fulfill the job better than expected – Truly easy to carry around, just grab and go style like every IEM should be, but a lot of others aren’t. It’s easy to drive, so a simple dongle is just fine.
Another thing to note is its full package: Tips for every liking and a nice carrying pouch. Could be smaller, but good to fit Titan S + a BT amp or dongle inside and just throw it in the bag or coat’s pocket. Dunu keeps its track record for package quality, even on lower budgets.
Two small cons I would like to note are the isolation, that is average to below average, and the cable tangliness due to its slim thickness while also only coming with a 3.5mm termination option.
During the time of this review, Titan S was connected to iFi xDSD Gryphon and Topping NX7, using Spinfits CP100 and stock cable.
These are basically a less bassier Harman, with just a touch of bass to give some presence, but not acting as the main course. Pinna gain has slightly more elevation than I would like (they came out as borderline shouty at first), but not so much for me to not enjoy them.
The reason I called this IEM the smooth operator is also related to this. It succeeds at replaying everything yet doesn’t really specialize at anything. This may sound boring but this seems harder to find in the IEM world each day. I would consider it a low profile all-rounder, and the genres I enjoy it most with are mainly instrumental or vocal, like classical, jazz, acoustic, etc.
It’s a mid-bass focused signature over sub-bass. Low elevation or presence, but good texture, extension and control – feels somewhat fast and tight, while still retaining some of that sweet decay. It’s a sleeper and, half of the time, the bass only comes out when called. There’s a slight warmth added just to not feel too thin, but absolutely no bleed. Clean is the right word.
The two cons about lower frequencies will be its sub-bass feeling somewhat light – although it still rumbles (Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious?), – and its mid-bass could have more punch to it (especially kick drums).
Example tracks: Kendrick – Backseat Freestyle/Collard Greens, Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious, Beyoncé – Deja vu (intro), Trentemoller – Chameleon.
Slightly shoutier than my personal preferences, but that might not be a problem for most people or different libraries. Mids have some separation and detail (easy to spot on Hania Rani – Glass), above average for its bracket.
Female vocals have a better replay than the male’s counterpart, that can sometimes lack a hair of some of the bite and whispiness to it, but still present (Agnes Obel – The Curse vs Michael Bublé – Feeling Good).
Even though this is slightly more shouted vocals than I would like, I still think the mids are the strongest link in this IEM’s tuning – I really like them for the asking price!
Example tracks: EWF – September, Hania Rani – Glass, Nils Frahm – All Melody, Pentatonix – Daft Punk, Lorde – Buzzcut Season, Agnes Obel – The Curse, Michael Bublé – Feeling Good, Ursine Vulpine – Wicked Game.
Treble is good. No complaints, really. Cymbals, guitars, and cello sound great. There’s also no metallic treble up there. So, again, a smooth operator. Air is good and I’ve never felt claustrophobic due to its extension.
Larnell Lewis’ cymbal strikes on Change Your Mind just have the right feeling and decay, while Aerodynamic’s guitars are emphasized but without becoming overwhelming to the replay.
Example tracks: Daft Punk – Aerodynamic, Larnell Lewis – Change Your Mind, Yo-Yo Ma – “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, Kid Cudi – Too Bad I have to Destroy you now, Twice – Moonlight.
Very good. Not just good but also consistent, from top to bottom – no upper treble metallic shrillness whatsoever, making it suitsome instrumental music just fine. Again, one of Titan’s strong points which is making instruments sing.
Example song: Max Richter – Four Seasons – Spring 1
This aspect called to my attention the most right away. Lacks some depth, as usual per these budget brackets, but width is good. There seems to be some air on it, as if the vent was giving the unit a semi-open style. Also seems that sometimes you can get something that I would call a semi-holographic and dynamic left to right sound, but not always. It’s surely not your cookie-cutter left/right stage around this price, but it’s also far from stages found in higher-end sets. I found it very good and intriguing.
Example song: Yosi Horikawa – Crossing
Good and above average for this price point.
Example song: O’Flynn – Tyrion
Average to above average details. Nothing will sound lacking or missing, but it won’t be as resolving as other more expensive or resolving IEMs. Treble elevation also helps a lot with the overall clarity, giving it the tuning upperhand.
Example song: Hania Rani – Esja
The gatekeeper is still going strong and performs better than Titan S to my library and preferences on sound quality alone. But if you factor in the fit, no microphonics cable, stage and price (unless you are in the US), Titan S will appeal more to most people. I’d consider Titan a better package with better timbre that can be recommended to fit most people, as I can’t do the same to ER2XR, to my sadness.
Titan S is almost a true upgrade over Heart Mirror since it’s easier to drive, less hot in the upper regions and has more prominent bass. There’s a good chance that if you like stock Heart Mirror, you’ll like Titan S.
GS Audio ST1
Titan S is better in all aspects – and for the same price. ST1 is more laid back but still close, but when it comes down to techs, it’s a bloodbath.
The only reason I’d say ST1 would suit someone is if they really wanna try BA for the first time without breaking the bank.
Tripowin x HBB: Olina
In my opinion, Olina is an upgrade to Titan S in almost every aspect. Titan S would suit better more neutral heads that look for less bass elevation and treble energy and would like to save a couple dollars.
Shuoer (LETSHUOER) S12
The planar king wipes the floor of Titan S regarding resolution. Tuning wise, Titan S turns the tables to meet my preferences better, while also packaging a better stage presentation and imaging, which S12 lacks. While S12 holds the best for the most resolving IEM under 150 usd, Titan S shows that you can pay almost half and still have better tuning. Stage presentation is no challenge to Titan S, as it is one of Shuoer’s IEM weak spots.
Given their timbre, tuning and stage difference, I’d say both sets are more complementary than substitutes, maybe even risky to say that they serve libraries where the other falls short of.
In my opinion, I would describe Dunu’s latest release as a smooth operator: it doesn’t excel on anything specifically but also does nothing wrong. I don’t think that a bad thing, as I’ve heard IEMs that excel at something but then plain murders some other aspect in my library. It’s that kind of IEM you can’t really fault or point a finger at, and, given I spent a lot of time with it daily, it kept growing on me day by day.
It not only gets my recommendation but is now my default for people looking for a more neutral IEM under 80$ (R.I.P. Heart Mirror). I want to remind people that this type of tuning isn’t abundant in this hobby, let alone being on the budget side – which was always a problem for me since I don’t enjoy V-Shaped IEM or ultra-bass boosted stuff. I feel Titan S is a great entry way for newcomers as well.
To summarize, I would like to add that I’ve been reaching for these in the last weeks more than I expected me to, especially at night after a tired day. Grabbing something to drink, Titan S and an amp, going into the balcony and playing some not-so-party music (like Bach or Vivaldi) is giving me joy. Truly making the big boys in my collection jealous. There’s just something easy going in them for me to just turn off the brain and enjoy music on it.
Final Ranking: B. Value ranking : 4.5/5 (due to Olina, else 5/5).
Thanks for reading!
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