Dunu Titan 1 or Fiio Ex1 anyone?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by stratocaster, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. stratocaster

    stratocaster Friend

    Sep 29, 2015
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    Got hold of some black Fiio Ex1, which are successors of the Dunu Titan 1, claiming to improve on those while pertaining the sound that many have reviewed rather positively.

    Stock sound impressions mirrored what others have said about these: good bass, recessed lower mids, elevated highs. The highs are not a problem for me, but they are a little too hot from 3 to 5kHz, especially with that preceding recess in the lower mids.

    Stock measurements with Complies, compensated. Using my DIY measurement rig, so do take those measurements with a grain of salt. But they are good enough for comparisons between stock sound and mods:


    These sounded really good when not cranked up. But the elevated region above 3kHz bothered me when listening at higher volumes. So I tried some mods, the aim being to bring the lower mids up a bit to reach a better balance.

    Mod measurements:

    Red is stock, blue is with bass vent (tiny hole at the back of the shell, directly next to where the cable enters the shell) completely closed and yellow is what I ended up with: partial blocking of the bass vent and closing 11 of the 12 front vents, so all except for one hole! Closing all 12 holes turns these into bass monsters!

    I won't say these sound perfect now, when listening I feel that there is still too much energy from 3 to 5kHz for my tastes, but the lower mids have been brought up and balance has been improved.

    Final version:

    Build quality is excellent,these are made of aluminum and the finish is top notch. I used a colourful tape to show the front vent mod.
  2. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

    Pyrate Contributor
    Feb 25, 2017
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    Pasig, Philippines
    A Friend gifted me these and while I'm still not a massive IEM fan (ergonomics— I'm as picky about IEM comfort as I am immune to most headphone anti-comfort) I'm happy I have something to replace the wireless buds I gave to my sister. Impressions and some squiggles below, last night was relatively quiet aside from a pitbull snoring loudly (easily audible past an adjoining wall) so measurements are probably as good as I'm gonna get. The red trace (Final E-type) is actually surprisingly close to Tyll's measurements on his rig so I'm pretty happy about that.

    While these don't seal all that well and have negligible isolation they feel reassuringly sturdy, as @stratocaster noted above. The shells on the buds and the L-plug both feel significant in-hand, these could maybe pass as a makeshift bola in a pinch. The cable gets on my nerves a bit with how readily it transmits noise but it's very flexible and drapes quite nicely. Of course this pair is only new to me so maybe there's some breaking-in involved.

    The sonic profile is U/V-shaped skewing bright with the metallic timbre prominent when actually listening to music. It comes across like a thin, shiny film over everything and a pervasive "hhhhh" sound besides some notable needle-like sibilance that's mostly audible in the cruddy Japanese pop I listen to; tch, sh, ss, and kh sounds are moderately unpleasant. The first protracted "we" on RHCP's Breaking the Girl was a bit grating but far from painful, strummed guitars sounded more brittle than I'm used to but that's an unfair comparison cuz it's to not-horrible full-sized headphones. Though noticeably elevated with the tips I'm using, the treble is smooth enough that I actually find it less fatiguing than, say, the Klipsch HP-3 at higher volumes.

    The midrange suckout doesn't look too bad relative to bass but the high treble output makes me want to keep these at more polite volumes, so there's a fair chunk of information that gets buried— stuff like room cues and background noise get a bit lost in the shimmery background.

    Macrodynamic slam isn't much evident across the spectrum but the low end has good rumble, decent punch, and fades well into blackground,; it has a better sense of "control" and tautness than InTime Sora from memory though the latter might edge the FIIOs out in texture. Quick bass solos do tend to meld and there's a slight hollow character to the low end that sounds a bit like I'm hearing things through the IEMs. Good decay, doesn't seem to be missing much but shimmer is rather in-your-face, cymbal crashes very prominent as a consequence but not necessarily harsh; Elysian Fields's Sugarplum Arches didn't make me want to yank my ears off like the CA Solaris + Azla Sedna tips did. Despite measurements below I hear these as having better extension and slam than the Galaxy Buds.

    Sonic images have fair distance and don't seem shrunken as on some headphones with a similar voicing. There's a fair bit of air in guitar (likely a function of the treble boost and decay characteristics, which are mildly accented) but actual texture is only about on par with the Galaxy Buds, falling short of stuff like the Ortofon EQ5 (again, from memory).

    Got these with Sony L-size tips, the ones with mint green cores, but I oddly couldn't get a decent seal with those. Settled on Final E-Types since while the Spinfit Twinblades did seem to have a greater headstage they also exacerbated the edge to mildly irksome levels and the one kept getting stuck in my earhole besides. At this point I'm wondering if I should spend money on SpiralDot++es because from trying them out ages back they do go a long ways towards making elevated treble less irksome but they're stupidly pricey, argh.

    Measurements. Shallow insertion depth, RAW comp on MiniDSP EARS. Single channel only because the other ear is still busted.

    RED trace - FIIO EX1 (Final E-type); BLUE trace - Samsung Galaxy Buds (stock tips, no EQ profile)
    Distortion is vanishingly low and the fact that it's got more treble even than stock Galaxy Buds kinda explains why I find them more or less irritating at higher volumes. The ringing at 4.3kHz and 5.8kHz both coincide with irregularities in the FR trace (as does more subtle stuff around 2kHz); this could be contributing to that sense of *shimmer* though it's about -30dB down from the FR trace. The 9~10kHz dip appears to be a measurement null based on CSD.

    EDIT: removed comparative measurements showing effect of sealing vents since measurements looked sketchy. May try again eventually.

    And just for gits and shizzles, measurements with the SpinFit TwinBlades (which was hard to get a decent seal with so take these with a massive grain of salt):


    (This was a lot larger post than intended cuz of all the images even after taking out all the pics I took of the IEMs themselves, whoops).
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020

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