Bluetooth, Earbuds, Headphones

Moondrop

Moondrop IEMs

Moondrop

The company MoonDrop Technology was established in 2015 and has become an audiophile powerhouse.  They are a Chinese IEM manufacturer that has garnered a lot of attention of late for their remarkable price to quality ratio and rapidly growing legion of audio enthusiasts.

The product headliners for Moondrop thus far have been the MoonDrop Blessing, Kato, Kanas and Starfield.  All have exceptional reviews and a value proposition that is hard to ignore.  The MoonDrop IEMs have been engineered to be tuned using the Harman Curve resulting in premium sound quality in small, elegant packages.  We tackle the suite of products offered my MoonDrop and high-volume FAQ topics to help get you started on your journey.

MoonDrop Chu

MoonDrop Chu High Performance Dynamic Earphones Specs

  • Material: Zinc alloy
  • Driver: 10mm dynamic driver
  • Diaphragm: Nano crystal coating with titanium-coating
  • Sound coil: Ultra fine 0.035mm CCAW
  • Magnetic circuit: N52 neodymium magnetic
  • Acoustic filter: Patented anti-blocking, anti-imbalanced acoustic
  • Sensitivity: 120dB/Vrms
  • Impedance: 28 Ω 土15%
  • THD: THD@1KHz≤1%
  • Frequency range: 10Hz-35kHz

Contents of the MoonDrop Chu order:

  • Earphones (pair)
  • Eartips (8)
  • Earbag (1)

Chu Design

The Moondrop Chu offers a build quality that is exceptional for the price.  It’s solid aluminum build gives it heft without being heavy. In addition, we noticed Moondrop included rubber ear hooks to help with alignment problems that may occur given the unique placement of the connection points. Like many earphones in the Moondrop lineup, the Chu is light and small.

We found the fit and overall comfort appealing given the ability to use the right eartips.  The spring eartips grip nicely and help dissipate the bass while increasing midrange and treble regions along with a surprisingly robust soundstage.

Chu Sound Analysis

As we dove into the Moondrop Chu, we used an IEC-711 coupler with a resonance peak of 8kHz to perform a technical analysis.  What we found was a couple valuable take-aways from the Chu.  First, we noticed there is an overt emphasis on bright notes (cymbals and hi-hats) across several different song types.

While the bass is boosted it may be underwhelming to some listeners as air is not being pushed on bass drops as experienced with other headphones.  Next technical factor is the thin notes with wobbly treble.

The frequency response range for the Moondrop Chu is balanced and slightly lean.  You will notice the focus on upper-mid, bass, and treble without being too harsh.  All in all, the Chu is an excellent value for the price.

Moondrop Aria

The Aria has been retired from the Moondrop suite of products, but you can still find new and used models online. We will keep the review short and to the point as a result of the manufacturing shift from Moondrop.

  • Wireless: No
  • Type: In-ear
  • Noise Cancelling: No
  • Mic: No
  • Enclosure: Closed-Back
  • Transducer: Dynamic

Aria Design

Aria is an early IEM model from Moondrop that was an affordable, audiophile-centric design with a dynamic transducer keenly aligned to the Harman curve.  The nylon-wrapped metal chassis has a detachable cord with a 10mm double cavity magnet liquid crystal diaphragm.  The headphone socket is 0.78 pin with 122db/Vrms of sensitivity, and a 5 Hz – 36,000 Hz frequency response range.  Overall, the Aria is an comfortable, elegant IEM that is rich in texture that comes with a nylon braided audio cable.

Aria Sound Analysis

To begin, we noticed the Aria Moondrop had a pleasing neutral sound profile with a pleasing balance of warmth and punch.  Aria’s mids and low were clear with a lighter bass impact.

The Moondrop Aria has excellent imaging with transparent highs and tight bass notes.  Stereo imaging is enhanced with properly matched amplitude, phase, and frequency response.  Additionally, the Aria IEM’s offer top-class peak and dip performance.  Peak bass notes can add pleasing depth while mid dips send vocals back and volume peaks in mid-bass.

That being said, the Aria has a sub-standard soundstage and noise isolation which is quite common for closed-back IEMs.  It came as no surprise our team found the weighted harmonic distortion top-notch across similar IEMs on the market today.

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is excellent. The overall frequency response rest lands in a pleasing range that leads to a clear, pure audio experience. Overall we were pleased with the Moondrop Aria from performance to design.

Moondrop Kato

The Moondrop Kato is an in-ear, closed-back IEM with a dynamic transducer.  The Kato replaces the KXXS Advanced Technology Optimized IEM.  Kato offers a super-linear dynamic driver to reduce distortion with a neutral sound profile.

  • Driver: 10mm-ULT dynamic driver
  • Diaphragm: DLC composite diaphragm
  • Socket: 0.78-2Pin sunken design
  • Cable Plug: 3.5mm stereo single-ended plug
  • Frequency: response range 10Hz-45kHz(IEC61094, Free Field)
  • Impedance: 32Ω ±15%(@1KHz)
  • Sensitivity: 123dB/Nrms (@1KHz)
  • Distortion: < 0.15% (@1khz, AES17 20khz, A-weight)

Kato Design

Moondrop Kato IEM offers a smooth, clean stainless steel shell that is cast via a MIM powder metallurgy process.  The fine irregular surface effectively suppresses soundwaves to enhance the listening experience.

Kato comes with foam and silicone-like spring eartips along with brass and steel nozzles which can be fully closed or partially closed, as needed.  Each eartip can be swapped out to allow for customized sound transmission and superior fit of your earphones.

The small, lightweight IEMs are stunning and come with a carrying pouch and braided cable.  We found them extremely portable and comfortable through long listening sessions.

Kato Sound Analysis

The Moondrop Kato offers a pleasing neutral sound profile that reproduce instruments and vocals clearly.  Engineers at Moondrop created a balanced treble range providing depth without being punch or overly bright.  Finding the right nozzle and eartip combination can result in an immersive soundstage effect with surprising depth.

We found the mid-range well balanced which allow a range of instruments and vocals to be clearly heard.  Kato earphones have exceptional bass accuracy but do not have a punchy low-bass.  High bass of the Kato keeps your tracks warm but are missing rumble or thump of an EDM mix is a result of the neutral profile.

In addition to bass accuracy, the Moondrop Kato has a top-tier treble and mid-accuracy.  The flat range may sound slightly thin but instruments can be clearly heard. The flat treble response translates to a veiled vocal range while sibilants come across as dull.

Imaging with the Moondrop Kato is amazing.  The tight bass and transparent treble are a direct result of the weighted group delay response below the audibility threshold. Kato’s drivers are exquisitely aligned with respect to phase response, frequency, and amplitude. Leakage performance was great with the bulk of the audio concentrated in the upper range.

We found the Kato earphones to have subpar soundstage and noise isolation.  Both the noise isolation issue and soundstage concerns were a result of the in-ear headphones not necessarily an engineering flaw.

Moondrop Starfield

The Moondrop Starfield is a perfect name for this leading IEM.  Specially fabricated paint shimmers which provides a deep, luminous impression of the sky at night.  In addition to being a visually stunning IEM, the high performing earphones are top rated for quality and reliability.  The Moon drop Starfield specs include:

  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-36000Hz
  • Range: 20Hz-20000Hz
  • Socket: 0.78mm 2 pin
  • Sensitivity: 122dB/Vrms
  • Driver: Dual chamber 10mm CNT dynamic driver
  • Cable: 24AWG Litz 4N OFC
  • Impedance: 32Ω±15%

Starfield IEMs are single-driver IEMs. Moondrop has moved away from the once-popular diamond-like coating (DLC) in favor or a 10mm carbon nanotube (CNT) diaphragm after years of testing in their labs.

Upon purchasing a set of Moon drop Starfield IEMs, you will receive a box that includes the following:

  • Quick Start Guide + User Manual
  • MoonDrop Starfield IEMs
  • Six various sized mesh filter grills
  • Tweezers
  • Six pairs of silicone eartips in varying sizes
  • Handy storage bag with zipper

Starfield Design

At the expense of being redundant, we need to repeat how gorgeous the Starfields are right out of the box.  The zinc-aluminum alloy shell is deftly coated in a sparkling, starry night sky that emits gradient colors depending on the light source is nothing short of stunning.

Starfields come in at 9 grams excluding the weight of the eartips and cable giving it a high-quality look and feel.  The downside of the extra weight is users can experience discomfort or fatigue over long listening sessions.  That being said, we liked the shape and feel immensely and did not experience any such fatigue.

MoonDrop is proud of their included cable and have added pearlescent powder to match the look and feel of the IEMs. You can readily find marketing material that refers to the cable as “a 24AWG Litz structure 4N purity OFC audio cable that provides rich sound details and full dynamics”. Upon inspection, we found the cable provided fragile which can readily be replaced if needed via Moondrop or third-party providers.

Starfield Sound Analysis

MoonDrop claims the new Starfield diaphragm design offers excellent bandwidth and ultra-low frequency distortion. We believe it sounds balanced (much like the KXXS) but warmer.  The delicate, wide sound is both smooth and stretched resulting in an overall enjoyable sound quality.

Engineers at MoonDrop crafted the inner cavity of the transducer from gold-plated brass and includes 5 pressure relief vents.  Internal magnets are fabricated from neodymium, while the transducer is made with copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) coils.  The net result is what they dub an “excellent transient response, dynamic range, and improving both the high resolution, and dynamic sound”.

Diving into the diaphragm, we learn each is composed of carbon nanotube and polymer film clocking in at 6 microns thick. We can confirm with confidence the nanotubes helped to provide clear, detailed, and smooth treble across various music tracks.

With a balanced sound signature, the Starfield is smooth and enjoyable.  They also have quality midrange and low end with excellent highs that results in an accessible easy entry into the Moondrop suite of products.

In short, the Starfield IEMs are smooth and balanced without being formulaic or  grainy.  We found the high end balanced without causing sibilance or harsh sounds with nice texture and note detail.  The light, delicate sounds generated from the Starfield’s make these a strong buy much like the Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk.

Moondrop Variations vs Thieaudio Monarch MKii

These two are highly recommended IEMs if you have never enjoyed using them before. There are many Moondrop varieties from the Moondrop Kato and Moon Drop Blessing to the Moon drop Aria and Moondrop Sparks earphones. Moondrop IEMs come in a variety of textures, engineering features, prices and build quality.

Moondrop is the only brand that builds shells with aesthetic silhouettes for its drivers which is a huge plus instead of paying for the upgrade as a stand-alone purchase.  This simple, but beautiful vibe will convince you the Moondrop is a must-have purchase.

ThieAudioMonarch MKII

ThieAudio Monarch II comes with its massive resin body. The Moondrop brand has one major difference with this seamless metal nozzle headphone. A metal nozzle can make headphones far more durable than poorly-built IEMs. You won’t find any compromises in the metal here, other than resin or acrylic chips.

ThieAudio also offers a flush-mounted option. This system will not be protected by any clunky QDC cables.  While ThieAudio mandates a higher price range, the body finish is worth it to many users.  In fact, we found the beauty enhanced by the presence of canyons and crevices. The reflection, which catches the light, is nothing short of soothing.

Sound Quality

Moondrop Variations

The Moondrop variations are characterized by a generative sense and a large presentation. You will also notice its crisp treble display.

A sub-bass reproduction that is efficient is also a must. Its across-the-board response to bass is even more impressive.

ThieAudioMonarch MKII

A jaw-dropping sound quality that makes everyone hear more nuances in music helps summarize the ThieAudio Monarch.  It is a great combination of mid-bass translucence and sub-bass thunder. Its well-balanced open middle-range will outperform by a smoother, more treble.  It offers a natural tone, but it is not muddled like other headphones.

FAQ: Moondrop

Is Moondrop Aria good for phone calls?

The Moondrop Aria does not come equipped with a microphone for phone calls.  However, you can buy a separate cable with an inline microphone if making calls on your headphones is a must.

Can Moondrop Kato be used wirelessly?

The Moondrop Kato headphones are designed with a wired and not equipped with Bluetooth.  As a result, they cannot be used wirelessly which helps to preserve their overall sound signature and quality.

Are Moondrop Kato earphones a good buy?

Moondrop Kato is definitely a great choice. You do not need to pay more for quality than necessary.  Yes It is possible to have different designs that can be used together. It contains a separate braided silicone cord. You can also switch between brass and metal nozzles.

Why do singers wear IEMs?

Singers wear IEMs (In-ear monitors) to better block out outside noises. Singers can use in-ear monitors to get the sound they desire with minimal distraction.  The downside with IEMs is that it can be quite different to produce sound in the ear when you are practicing in an empty room.

Is Moondrop Blessing 2 worth Buying?

Yes. Moondrop Blessing 2 can be a great buy. This brand is exceptional for its ability to deliver a higher frequency response and greater tonality. The dynamic driver is capable of handling lower frequencies. This high-end multi-BA IEM is well worth your attention.

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