DUNU Topsound is a China-based manufacturer that has created a buzz with its in-ear monitors over the past few years. DUNU – which stands for Delicate, Unique and Utmost – started out as an OEM maker before it started turning out its own headphones in 2004 and the Titan 5 is one of its top products.

The Titan 5, provided for this review by DUNU, came nicely packaged in a black cardboard box with a bunch of accessories – six pairs of silicone ear tips, a shirt clip, a 6.5mm adaptor plug for using the in-ear monitors (IEMs) with an amplifier, a pair of ear stabilisers and a sturdy plastic carrying case.

These are beautifully engineered IEMs, the ear piece housings are made of stainless steel that DUNU says are CNCed (or cut with a computer-controlled machine) and triple-polished. Another nice touch is the detachable cables for the ear pieces, allowing for the use of better aftermarket cables.

The round ear pieces have an angled nozzle that fit rather nicely and offer good isolation once you use the silicone tip that’s the right size for your ears. However, those with small ears might have some difficulty in getting a good fit with the Titan 5’s rather large ear pieces.

The cable is of good quality, with more than adequate strain relief, and terminates in a sturdy, right-angled 3.5mm gold-plated plug.

I initially plugged in the Titan 5 into my Xperia smartphone and was underwhelmed by the sound – there was just a little too much treble for my liking and the bass sounded anaemic. But things changed remarkably when I tried the Titan 5 with the FiiO X7 digital audio player (review coming up soon) and my home rig with the Geek Pulse DAC-cum-headphone amplifier.

Fed with more power, listening to the Titan 5 became a totally different experience. The Titan 5’s box bears the symbol for products that meet “Hi-Res Audio” standards and these IEMs truly shine when fed with high-resolution audio files.

Playing the hi-res version of Santana’s new “Santana IV” album threw up a very wide soundstage with wonderful balance between the highs, mids and lows. Every bit of percussion on the track “Come As You Are” came through clearly, floating over a bed of tasty, punchy bass.

The Titan 5 is also exceptional at handling vocals, whether it jazz tracks by Ella Fitzgerald or the shiny pop of AR Rahman’s “Tere Bina”.

Feed the Titan 5 lossy, compressed audio files and it’s unforgiving – every blemish and wart is exposed. This is clearly a pair of IEMs that loves loads of amplification and hi-res files.