As things ease up at work, I guess I am starting to find more time to listen to my gears and even write about them. Thankfully enough, as I really missed doing this; you see, this is some sort of therapy for me. Allowing me to describe how I hear a certain gear kind of allows me to figure out the things I like to hear out of my setups. It does feel like a drop of liquor touching my tongue after a very busy week at work/business.
So, I got around receiving these two earbuds a few months ago called De’mun Red and Blue, and boy this earbud maker can’t be too literal. While the color seems to be a bit too loud to look at, perhaps it will depend on how you see them; either you want to be very conspicuous while wearing them or think that they could have been a bit discreet. As for me, I find them quite interesting to look at, as it not very common to see earbuds of this look. I mean come on, if you want to enjoy great sound, you might as well want to get caught looking good with them on.
Initially, I was talking to good friend Adhi and asked if these two can come in 2.5mm TRRS termination as I would very much like to use them with my Glove A1. To my joy he obliged, considering that he said that mine would probably be the lasts of these two earbuds to be created. Shame, they are quite reputed to sport really great sound and I guess a lot of enthusiasts would definitely regret not having one when I tried. They practically wowed me the first time I tried them on.
So what’s so special with these two babies? Why are they so special? Allow me to take you through my experience with the De’mun buds.
If you look at them together, you would think these would pass as a tag team duo in WWF back in the 80s: practically a dead ringer to each other with the exception of the color. Paint was made to show off gloss from the earpieces to add a bit of flair to the De’mun buds, although I would have preferred it to be painted a little bit better; it could have been painted a bit more even.
What I find fanciful is the way the cable was designed. I find the fabric shielding appealing especially how thick the cable looked like up to the y-split, with the rest of the cables braided which really looks nice to look at. Perhaps this is where the Blue and Red De’muns differed, the Blue has a white and blue braided cable connected to the earpieces while Red has a mono-tone red braided cable on it. Either way, I really liked the way it looked.
Another thing I disliked is the fact that De’mun used a Shure branded 2.5mm TRRS plug instead of using unbranded ones. Kinda took out a bit of glamour off the earbuds, but should be of little consideration if you are not too picky.
To be fair, De’mun used a watertight case as its storage which for me is quite practical. It is not exactly the best looking case there is, but I would personally rather have something more functional than something that looks good but is quite fragile. The case is even insulated in the inside to ensure that the earbuds are secured and should avoid unnecessary movements which may cause scratches.
Overall, the looks ain’t that bad as you wear it; unless you are really picky and is taking a close look should you find the buds a bit disconcerting at worst.
As mentioned earlier, these earbuds wowed me upon trying it the first time, but in an instant I liked the red one better for the reason that it sounded fuller to me compared to the blue one. Not saying that the blue is way too inferior, perhaps the red one just stood out easily and has an edge for casual listening.
Between the two though, the blue one seems to excel more on mid-range compared to the red one, as De’mun Red has a more obvious v-shaped tonality compared to the Blue. However, the Red seems to offer a slightly wider dynamic compared to Blue, which makes it a slightly better choice when it comes to instrumentation. Blue also seems to have a more affront vocals, so between the two, it is just a matter of preference. I however opted to get both as it seems prudent to have both, maybe giving me the choice of switching between these two at whim depending on my mood.
I did a comparison of both Blue and Red with my Edimun V3 (TRRS) and was surprised that the Blue and Red did not pale that much in comparison with the Edimun. Edimun seems to carry a bit more recessed mid-range compared to either Blue or Red, but did put up a good fight when it comes to resolution and imaging. Soundstage wise, De’mun sounded to excel a bit in terms of width. Edimun does carry more on the low ends in terms of quantity, but I liked the quality of bass on both Red and Blue. Treble also seems better with the Edimun, what with its more pronounced yet gentle attack (De’mun Blue and Red seems to border on sibilance depending on who’s using it), so I guess it still stands as my fave.
However, I think both De’mun buds will appeal to a lot who are into mid-range, especially those who are into vocals, as both seems to brag about how natural the voice is executed plus the fact it seems to feel a bit more forward in comparison to Edimun. I know I touted Edimun to be my king of mid-range (at least the single ended version), but De’mun seems to win in this department.
Let me take these babies through some of my choice tracks and see how they fare. I will switch between my Astell & Kern AK100+Glove A1 and Hifiman HM-901S to see which works better with the Blue and Red:
In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel, So)
Blue seems to sound relatively aggressive with this track using the HM-901S, with the upper frequencies standing out. I will have to warn users that the trebles might be coming in a bit strong, albeit not really sharp. For me, it is the sweet spot, but given the diversity of preferences especially for those with low tolerance, this might be a bit of an issue. Low frequencies, particularly with the sub-bass delivered sufficiently, enough to be heard distinctly without throwing you off for being too powerful. Mid-bass feels just right for me, drum rolls felt upbeat and engaging but remains clean enough.
I liked the mid-range a bit more with Red compared to Blue. Bass seems to be a bit tamer too with Red, while sub-bass felt slightly less than Blue. I find Red a bit sparklier too, to the point that the cymbal splashes are amusingly crystalline compared to Blue. Perhaps the right term to use is that Red is livelier compared to Blue, at least with this track.
Between the two, I kind of liked the Red over Blue when paired with HM-901S. Felt like the analog-like sound of the HM-901S was put to better use with the Red compared to the Blue. Don’t get me wrong, Blue sounded great with HM-901S, perhaps the choice was due to the choice of track. Perhaps we can move along to see how both fares with HM-901S using a different genre of tracks.
Nice To Know You (Incubus, Morning View)
AK100+Glove A1 pair makes for a pretty punchy pair, with the bass appearing to be far from tamed, with mid-bass generally being tighter and punchier while the higher frequencies being a bit refined to the point that there are sorts of rolling off with certain IEMs or earbuds. That being said. I would expect a little bit of an adjustment on how I got used to both Red and Blue while using it with the HM-901S.
First off, for both Red and Blue, first thing I noticed was the amazing soundstage I got off when paired with the AK100+Glove A1 pair. I mean, it sounded grand, having an amazing experience of such properly placed instruments in varying but excellent height, width and depth. The track seems to sound complete, with that rolling off sounding as if it doesn’t exist. Thankfully, that was the case with both Red and Blue.
With Red, you can definitely hear the lush mid-bass produced by the toms and the bass guitar leading to such pronounced mids, with Brandon Boyd’s vocals being forward enough without really being bluntly in-your-face. Guitars sounded crisp; I liked how it harmonized well with the rest of the instruments without sounding as if it was a mess of an enchilada. Overall, I felt the Red being passionate; the sound was quite aggressive to really get you in a jam.
Blue seems to have a better width though in terms of soundstage. The fact is nice though, giving you the feel that the decision to get both was just correct; it would have been a bummer to get two earbuds with nothing different but design color, so thankfully the difference was distinct. Sub-bass also seems to be a bit more pronounced with Blue, with mid-bass being ever so slightly tamer compared to Red. Strange though, the vocals sounded a bit slightly more recessed with Blue compared to Red, and one would have thought that the slightly tamer mid-bass would have given way for mid-ranges to shine a bit more. Perhaps it was really the tuning that spelled the difference in this aspect though.
Choosing between Red and Blue using AK100+Glove A1 and the track, it was a hard-pressed choice, but I will still go for Red. I was smitten by Red the first time I tried both on, perhaps that may be the factor, but looking (or hearing) objectively, I just loved how fully aggressive and emotional the Red is compared to Blue, at least a deviation from my usual choice of neutral, analytical preferences.
Never On The Day You Leave (John Mayer, The Search For Everything)
Personally, I think Blue outshines Red in this track while paired with HM-901S. I felt the vocals were smoother and slightly more pronounced with Blue, while Red has a bit of roughness in some lines of the track. I also felt Blue kind of stood out when it comes to the strings department, appearing to be a bit more raw and natural as opposed to Red which felt to be a bit less than that (not that Red sounds unnatural, Blue just seemingly sounds like better in this aspect).
Red seems to excel slightly better on imaging based on what I heard, with the layering being slightly more distinct compared to Blue. However, on a musicality standpoint, Blue edges Red out on this setup and track, so as much as preference goes to Red, Blue wins this one.
Towards the end, I really won’t go for making a choice whether to pick Red or Blue, perhaps if you have the budget to get both anyway, might as well be doing so. However, if I am to make a pick (for rhetorical reasons perhaps), I will still pick Red as it seems to suit me more, plus it was the one who gave me the goosebumps upon trying it on. Sure, it isn’t like more expensive buds I have tried (Blur 300 ohms still is on the top of my list), but given the price range, I think both are a solid choice if you are in the market for earbuds. Unfortunately though, from what I gathered, production of such is already halted, so if you are to find one, I strongly recommend getting them. They are price friendly, seems to be durable enough and sounds quite better compared to other earbuds in the market within the same price range.
That is a bold statement I am willing to make any day.