DUNU is that one company where either I can expect gold... or something that is between copper and silver.

Now, this isn't to downplay their competitiveness in the market, after all. While the hi-fi pricing range is a little bit iffy, DUNU has made a lot of solid ground on the mid-fi battlefield.

Yes, every time someone mentions DUNU, I imagine the mid-fi market. Some of their recent works are surprisingly solid and have become one of my go-to recommendations - either as a fallback option or an outright buy depending on one's preference.

The EST 112 is one recently released IEM entering this mid-fi battlefield, being their first IEM to employ a DD-BA-EST set. Considering their track record, I did have some expectations for the EST 112, though it took me this long to finally sit down and write a review.

Let's see how it fairs.

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The EST 112 unit was kindly provided by DUNU in exchange for my honest review.

Build and Accessories:

DUNU EST 112 Packaging
  • DUNU DUW-02 Cable (MMCX Termination)
  • 3 pairs of white ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 pairs of gray ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 1 pair of foam ear tips
  • Spinfit CP100 (S/M/L)
  • Brush
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Airplane Adapter
  • DUNU DC-16 3.5 to 6.3 mm Adapter
  • Carrying case (Yes, it's not on the pic, I ran out of spaces)
Now, this is what I called a solid package.

Anyone that has talked to me personally about DUNU will at least know that I have recently taken a liking to some of their accessories. I mean...come on! An interchangeable cable plug? Hell YES. Even excluding that, I would have to applaud DUNU for supplying one of the best cables I have ever tried, really nice texture with good braiding in addition to resisting the tendency to become a jumbled mess (trust me, I tried).

It's just something that screams quality and, if I am going to actually spend money for a cable, DUNU, keep this up, and you will have my money.

All of the other accessories in the package show care as well. On one hand, the case is really nice to hold. However, it does wear off and is prone to scratching if one isn't careful, so this isn't one of my favorites.

The EST 112 build quality is solid, I mean... it's basically a chunk of metal in a pseudo-custom fit, so aside from my ear being stretched (which I have become used to in general), I have no comfort issues with it. Isolation is a non-issue as I would consider this to be a bit above average compared to other pseudo-custom IEMs I have tried.


First impression post can be seen here.

Standalone analysis:

Basically mainly breaking down the EST 112 with reference here and there

The EST 112 was released in the period where companies began to understand the formula of Tribrids and how to utilize the EST drivers for the IEM. Due to this, I did have some small expectations for DUNU with the EST 112. After all, some of their recently released goods had left a good impression as a really solid option in the market.

Regarding the EST 112, which is their first try with the tribrid model... my overall feeling towards this IEM compared to what I said above is: Sort of...

DUNU EST 112 Frequency response - Can be seen from the Frequency Response Index

If EST 112's goal is trying to appease everyone, while not trying to overwhelmingly impress any parties, then I would say that goal is pretty much accomplished. It's not necessarily something I would strictly consider a jack-of-all-trades, at least not like the DK-3001 Pro anyway. Or to be clear, it's more like the EST 112 does show a clear coloration that distinguishes it from being a "boring" type of IEM, yet it is "almost decent" on all fronts...It simply doesn't impress me in any way whatsoever.

In other words, the EST 112 to me was basically: "Oh... it's a mid-fi quality IEM, decent, but it's only that"

Let's start with how I judge the signature of the EST 112 first: Neutral warm to Mild V-Shaped. Depending on how loud you listen to this set, the impression mildly changes in one way or another.

Maybe it was due to the 112 being a DD-BA-EST set, but the treble range is what I unconsciously looked at first when I listened to this IEM. DUNU surely isn't a slouch when it comes to the technology they have in hand, and while some of their work isn't necessarily impressive, how they implement the drivers often results in an IEM that has a great potential upon further inspection.

Interestingly, the EST 112 treble is the type that I consider as laidback, inoffensive. (Though some people I trust have been complaining otherwise to the point of sibilance.) Hence, I decided to dig further and confirmed this is possible, though for me this was achieved under one strict condition: I have to be severely exhausted physically.

This isn't something you should fret much considering one would not often listen to an IEM after running yourself up and down a hill several times. But, if that is still your concern, then here is a tip if you don't mind EQing: Create a bell filter that reduces the peak around 8kHz down, and potentially 10kHz if EST 112 fit at least that deep (For me, it is at least).

For your potential question about how I test IEMs: Yes, a lot of the time I do demo review unit IEMs under the worst conditions possible, but I tend to deliver the review based on my critical listening notes and commuting notes. This portion is the last thing I would look at after I factor in all of the others.
The case of the EST 112 is one of the few where I am more detailed on this due to the conversation around this region (read my disclaimer if you are going to argue why).

Another area where I would consider the EST 112 needing more refinement is in its timbre: Limpy. Cymbals have a quick but noticeable shimmer, but the hit somehow was done in a half-hearted way that I would not realize it was being hit at all if I don't focus (similar to the AYA Siren), but a fair bit of "brain burn-in" time exposed to this will help for some.

The treble timbre is a common observation I see with IEMs using these EST drivers though, so don't fret about it much if you are already a fan of these types of IEM.

Or in other words, you might get used to it already.

What I would really consider a "good" point of the EST 112 though, is in its bass quality.

Yes, I know I have said the bassline of this earphone is "decent," so this serves as a revision after checking my notes as well as doing A/B comparisons.

It's tight and fast; the sub-bass slam is not bad, and it's still losing to the DUNU DK-3001 Pro in tactility for sure. But Listening to something from DUNU like the ZEN or going with the cheaper option like the Moondrop KXXS series (as the average baseline), then the 112 bass to my ears is better than that.

This is not to mention how the level was done from DUNU, which I considered to be a safe play from them. It's not too overwhelming for people who might like a neutral response, but on the opposite side, the bassline technicality surely will please some bassheads in some aspects.

And since we are at it, the midrange does give the impression of being the "middleman" also.  Again, I would say that the slight coloration does help the EST 112 in terms of enjoyment. Classical guitar is something I would consider to benefit from the midrange of the IEM - quite a nice presentation every time the first lower 3 strings are plucked. Though the unimpressive sensation is born from my usual dissatisfaction with the vocal presentation - something that I have written so often that deja vu might be creeping in too much for my usual reader already.

Through my rough impression of each frequency region, you might catch on a bit on how I see the EST 112 as "slightly incoherent." Due to its timbre characteristic, the rest of the job of this section would be on its staging and Imaging performance, which is average.

It's fairly hard to break down this part every time due to how I simplify this portion, but I will try to be more detailed. The DUNU EST 112 has a "charismatic" soundstage/imaging performance that other recent DUNU products have had; It's notably similar to that of DK-3001 Pro or the DUNU SA6. This leads to a feeling of DUNU offerings as limited in their imaging performance, partly due to their narrow stage. "Partly" as in I wonder if the whole positional cue perception can even improve if the stage is a bit more open.

In other words, I think the EST 112 imaging would benefit more if it is given the chance to be "spread out" rather than the current narrow, compressed positioning.

Detail retrieval wise, the EST 112 does have some means to justify its price tag compared to IEM like Sony IER-M7 and Etymotic ER4XR/SR, most notably that the EST 112 excels better in terms of microdetails, with the instrument giving better texturing in general.

Choice comparisons:

vs Acoustune HS1300SS:

DUNU EST 112 vs Acoustune HS1300SS - Comparison graph was generated from the Graph Comparison Tool

The best way I can summarize the comparison of the 112 vs HS1300SS would be that the Acoustune offering is more energetic. Both have similar levels of warmth and a slight honkiness in the midrange. Though the contrast they provide during the A/B period is more evident to me that both of these IEM should be perceived as equal rather than one being an upgrade over another.

Why? Clearly, the "energetic" term has to be addressed first. The 1300SS is an IEM where the signature now run closer to a V-Shaped presentation at least to being an actual V-Shaped IEM at most (which I went for the latter). Aside from that, the treble range of the 1300SS is livelier, sharper (one can even say it's peakier due to the upper treble perception). The timbre is more "organic," which is painfully obvious as a single DD IEM.

And on the other end of the spectrum, the EST 112 is more detailed with a cleaner bass presentation - both in its gain and transients. The lower treble isn't as sharp though in some non-bassy tracks; I do perceive this IEM as the darker one also. This goes without saying that the 112 loses to the HS1300 in terms of coherency, which is expected.

In any case, I think the EST 112 might be worth the upgrade, that is, under the pretense that you are gearing towards a more balanced response. Generally, if one is looking for a more detailed set, I would not mind showing them the EST 112 also. Though if we are going for that as the only criteria, it's better to look at other candidates.

vs DUNU SA6:

DUNU EST 112 vs DUNU SA6 - Comparison graph was generated from the Graph Comparison Tool

Yes, speaking of which, DUNU does have a candidate after all. The SA6 is one IEM that I will always mention when one asks what mid-fi IEM they should get from DUNU. It has good coherence, nice detail retrieval, which is really inviting for someone shopping for a new set around this range.

And for your information, the DUNU SA6 takes my pick over the EST 112 in this comparison. In my opinion, it's one of the most successful releases from DUNU in recent history after all.

But all of that being said, the EST 112 isn't being left in the dust here. The SA6 did a lot of good (for a BA set that is). The EST 112 on the other hand, is one IEM that I would pick if I am looking for bass performance. Yes, the SA6's BA bass is well done, especially the perks of having the sub-bass switch is alluring for someone who is in the mood. But a meaty and surprisingly fast bassline? No.
It might not scream to you a ton of sub-bass like the SA6. But hey, I am in the chamber of emphasizing the strength and de-emphasizing the flaws. If the SA6 timbre is that quirky to you, EST 112 all the way ツ.

Again, I would still pick the DUNU SA6 over the EST 112 truthfully, but if you are more skeptical with reviews, then at best my statement may be taken as a side dish if the SA6 isn't your troupe.


The EST 112 is one of those IEMs that I consider as an "experiment" from DUNU. It certainly shows some potential, but ultimately loses its charm to the other IEMs around its competitive price - whether those are employing the same tech or not.

Now, saying the 112 is an "all-rounder" type of IEM isn't that far-fetched... And when I mean "all-rounder," I meant those type of IEMs that bring "unimpressiveness" like the SONY IER-M7 or the DUNU DK-3001. The EST 112 certainly holds its own as a mid-fi set, but I for one wished the 112 could be cheaper since both former options (in my opinion) are way better in terms of implementation and sound quality.

Recommendation ratings: Niches

This final recommendation ratings is probably one of the time where I have put a lot of thought into to the point of asking my community to see what they think about the EST 112 also.

Let's also see their opinion on the matter

Yeah... it's that split... guess I am not alone in having trouble judging this