After my recent review of Xiaomi Piston headphones, I made a point about being careful where you buy your headphones from, no matter how much they cost (even $25 original headphones have fake versions). Since I was only able to provide a trusted link on Amazon US to purchase Pistons, I received a lot of inquires asking about where to get these outside of US. The store I highly recommended was http://www.penonaudio.com (also, they have eBay store http://stores.ebay.com/bigbargainonline). These guys sell everything legit, they are an authorized distributor for most of the products in their store which also means a valid manufacturer warranty, and overall provide a great support and excellent shipping service with very careful packaging. But what is most important - they offer a lot of rare headphone gems from Asian manufacturers at a very reasonable discounted prices. Instead of doing my own research for the next pair of in-ear headphones to review, I put my trust into their hands and asked Penonaudio to give me their recommendation. Now after I received DM2 - I couldn't be happier because this is one pair of amazing headphones with DIY bonus I haven't seen before. Let's take a closer look.
This time I was a little less surprised with a tin can packaging box DM2 arrived in since I experience similar one from Astrotec I reviewed before. I still think its a great way to present your product and to ensure the packaging box will be used later since you can find a lot of great uses for a tin can. Inside, beside headphones itself, SIDY included a very impressive collection of eartip accessories, interchangeable duct filters, and a pair of soft silicone earhooks for behind-the-ear fitment. It's always great to have a selection of eartips to make sure you find the best fitment to ensure a perfect seal - #1 contributing factor to get the best sound! Here they included 2 pairs of double flange tips, 3 pairs of S/M/L regular wide opening eartips, and 3 pairs of S/M/L original narrow opening Audio-Technica branded eartips. 2 other pairs were used for extra duct filter "packaging". Typically, that's all that you get for tweaking the sound - different sizes for your ear fitment and going between wide and narrow opening to change the sound signature. With SIDY DM2 there is a little surprise which adds DIY capability to change the sound even further. Included are 3 pairs of interchangeable filter ducts, color coded for different sound characteristic. These filter ducts are threaded on one side and securely screw into the shell of earpieces. Red one - designated for a balanced sound, Black one - for enhanced bass sound, and Silver one - for mid-centric sound. I do have to note that Silver duct was included with my pair of DM2, but moving forward I was informed it probably not going to be included with a package due to a sound signature which is not necessary a desirable one (I will not go into too much details, just that it cuts too much of low frequency content).
I will talk about the sound a little bit later, but for now let look more into the design of these headphones. Without a doubt DIY bonus is very unique, but so does the design shape of these earpieces. With a solid metal housing, these have a very interesting shape which obviously contributes to internal acoustics of the sound. At the same time, the tapered down shape can feel a bit slippery between your fingers when you insert these into your ears. Another less favorable comment, I wish they should have a little longer strain relief of the cable at the earpiece. OK, those are probably the ONLY two critical comments I have about these headphones - everything else is done to a perfection! DM2 comes in two variants, one with MIC/phone control and OFC cable and the other one for audio only with Silver wires cable (the one I got). Cable insulation is made with a durable TPE material, where cable is not too thin, a bit springy, tangle free, and with no microphonics. I was a bit surprised there was no chin slider, especially on Silver audio cable version, but I can live without it. 3.5mm plug is gold plated and 270deg angled for convenience. Though I haven't tested MIC version of the cable, I'm sure it has multifunction button for play/pause/call and Android/iOS phone/playback controls.
Now comes the fun part - sound test! I already mentioned about silver duct and will not go into more details since most likely it will not be included in future shipments (no loss here). Black filter duct added substantial amount of sub-bass rumble to satisfy even a basshead demand, but of course you have to pay a price of a little bloated low end and reduction in mids level due to overpowering bass. But once you move to a Red filter duct - you are rewarded with a sound heaven!!! I found the best combination that worked for me was with Audio-Technica largest tips. I didn't even have to do too much of burn-in, 4-5hr of running a pink loop sealed a deal for me! DM2 has a perfectly balanced warm transparent sound I heard in a while! Starting with a low end, even with red duct you get an enhanced bass quantity extended down to sub-bass layer and a fast punchy mid-bass. It's very well controlled, detailed, and separated without spilling or overpowering mids, and actually got a bit tighter even after a short burn-in. Mids are very well detailed and sound natural. I absolutely love the clarity of upper mids and top end which makes vocals sounds very clear, lush, and natural. Not too bright or pushed back, in my opinion these headphones are definitely not v-shaped (despite fun factor of enhanced bass quantity). Treble is very detailed and clear as well, not too bright yet still with a pleasant sparkle, very easy on your ears without fatigue while listening for extended period. Definitely don't have to worry about sibilance, the sound is very smooth. And if that wasn't enough, the soundstage is quite wide with a detailed instrument placement which is surprising for in-ear headphones. Also, it was equally easy to drive it from a dedicated DAP and my Note 2.
Overall, I was VERY impressed with a sound quality of these in-ear headphones. I know some might think I have "new toy syndrome" hyping these up, but honestly I'm comparing it to other dynamic and multi-driver IEMs that cost hundreds more, and with an exception of sound being not as detailed or a bit thinner, at $65 these stand up to other headphones that cost double or triple as much. I know the Asian market has a bad rep for counterfeits and fake headphones, but at the same time it's filled with small lesser known companies that produce simply amazing and unique headphones that I find to be a true sound gems! SIDY and DM2 is definitely one of them which I highly recommend. And of course, Penonaudio is among top trusted places where you can collect these gems at a very reasonable price!
Here are the pictures.