Review - Fosi Audio SK02

Review - Dunu Alpha 3

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Dunu Alpha 3

The Dunu Alpha 3 have been sent to me as part of a tour organized by Dunu on HeadFi. Dunu have not requested anything specific and I will do my best to be unbiased in my opinions.

The official page for the Alpha 3 can be found here: https://www.dunu-topsound.com/product-page/alpha-3

As always, this is a non affiliate link.


Intro…

I really haven’t reviewed many buds, or flathead earbuds to be precise, no do I have a very vast experience with them. I do appreciate some of the qualities they bring to the table in comparison to IEMs but I also dislike some of the negatives (to me) that they bring.

There is no doubt that there are some earbuds out there that can provide some excellent sound quality but they usually come at the expense of isolation, lack of bass and discomfort, again, to me personally. This means that, although I am trying to be as unbiased in my evaluation of the Alpha 3 as possible, I do find myself having to make an effort to actually spend time with earbuds. There are many people who are big fans of earbuds and can give much better comparisons than I can, all I can do is give my opinion on what I feel when listening to the Alpha 3.


Presentation…

I recently reviewed the Falcon Ultra, a set of IEMs that were also included in the Dunu tour (great IEMs by the way!), and the packaging of the Alpha 3 is very similar.

A rather simple outer sleeve (although this one does have an image of the buds on it) slides away to reveal a simple black box inside of which we find the same transport/storage case that is included with the Falcon Ultra. As I said in my review of the IEMs, I think this is my favourite Dunu case so far, as it is spacious and rather elegant.

Inside the case we find the buds with their fixed cable ending in a 3.5mm TRS connector, although I understand that there is also a 4.4mm balanced option if you prefer. Personally I would have liked it to have the interchangeable connector like on the Q-Lite cable, with bonus points for detaching from the buds, but the price (around 80€) is obviously lower and I understand them not including it.

Underneath the case we get an accessories box which includes a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter, a bag full of foam pads and another full of donut pads (basically foam pads with the center missing. We get a cleaning brush and the usual documentation.

As I said, very similar to the Falcon Ultra which I praised at over 200€, so no complaints here at 80€, even if we do get less contents.


Build and aesthetics…

I don’t know enough about buds to say if the design of the Alpha 3 is unique or not but it is completely made of metal with a rather modern design to it. There is a small silver filter on the top of the stems, which are completely black.

The cable is also similar to that of the Falcon Ultra (although not interchangeable) and the titanium colour scheme works well with the black buds. The splitter and connector, both metal, are more of a silver colour which looks good but I think black would have matched the buds a little better. You can tell I don’t have much to say when I start talking about the colour of the connectors 😊

I really can’t comment too much on comfort as it has been quite some time since I used buds, so they do feel weird in my ears, but they stay where they are supposed to and they are not as uncomfortable as some other designs I have tried in the past.

In general, I can’t really complain about anything in the build category as they are well built. I can’t really complain about anything in the comfort category as I am not really used to them. And I can’t complain about anything in the aesthetics category because they do look good.


Sound…

I am not going to share a graph of them because the way of measring them is quite different to IEMs (or headphones) and because I don’t have any other sets on hand to compare against and make sure I am measuring correctly, I don’t trust my measurements enough to share them. Therefore, you are going to have to put up with just my subjective opinions.

First the subbass and, as is to be expected, there isn’t a whole lot of it. This isn’t really a fault of the Alpha 3. Subbass is dependent upon either a good seal, which is not something that earbuds offer, or a large displacement of air, which is not possible with such a small driver. Therefore, do not expect these earbuds to rumble your eardrums. I don’t know if there are models of earbuds out there that can manage to do this, if there are, I haven’t heard them. Therefore, the lack of subbass is something I expect and not something I am complaining about.

The midbass is a different story. There is more presence of midbass than there is of subbass, again to be expected, but it is the quality of the midbass that is the positive thing here. Midbass is clean and articulate, while also being very realistic. I found myself preferring the full foam pads rather than the donut style, which do make it a little more rounded in the low end but I found that this worked very well for my enjoyment of these earbuds.

The lower mids are also very clean and articulate, which a good sensation of detail and a very realistic timbre. Instruments such as acoustic guitars sound very life like and there is no additional boomyness to them, staying clean and detailed in their low end. 

As we move higher up in the ranges, the upper mids are where these buds place their focus, although I did find that the full foams took some of that focus away. Vocals are again nicely detailed and realistic, although I found once more that the full foams were preferable to my ears, giving a bit more lushness to some of my favourite female vocals. With the donuts, things were still good but a little more brittle in this area.

The extension into the upper ranges does lack a little, especially with the foams, but not enough to feel like you are missing something. It is more a sensation of things not being quite as airy as they should be, although they do maintain detail well, which stops them from becoming dull.

Soundstage is good due to the natural performance of buds in this regard. 99% of the time you will get better soundstage from a set of earbuds than from a set of IEMs, just due to the way they sit in your ears. This is one of the main things I find with earbuds, you trade some of that low end power in exchange for a more open and spacious sound.


Conclusion…

I am going to repeat the fact that I am not an expert on earbuds in any way, shape or form. Therefore, please take my opinions with and even bigger grain of salt than my usual reviews. Saying that, I feel that the Alpha 3 are a very pleasurable set of earbuds.

I find them to sound natural and realistic with a lot of my preffered music (a lot of female vocals and acoustic instruments) and I find them to give a very good sensation of detail and spaciousness. They are lacking a little in the upper treble and they are obviously not a good choice if you are going to listen to EDM with plenty of subbass content, but for more instrumental things and general pop etc. I think they do a pretty good job.

While I would love to say if I recommend them or not, the only thing I can really recommend is that, if you are interested in a set of buds, check some reviews of the Alpha 3 by people who know what they are talking about. In fact, I think I may just do the same and see how different my opinion is to theirs!



All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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