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Moondrop Lan: The Better Moondrop Chu

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The Lan, the newest IEM from the renowned company, Moondrop, is here to challenge the budget-fi price bracket. Does it succeed? In this article, we’ll review the Lan and compare…

The Lan, the newest IEM from the renowned company, Moondrop, is here to challenge the budget-fi price bracket. Does it succeed? In this article, we’ll review the Lan and compare it to its single dynamic driver competitors, such as 7Hz Zero, Truthears Hola, Tangzu Wan’er, Moondrop Chu, and Kiwiears Cadenza.

Tuning

The Lan’s tuning will be familiar to most as it’s tuned near identical to the Chu (at least my unit does, more about this later), with the only significant difference in the air region. The Lan has less air than the Chu, which results in the Lan’s more natural timbre and decay. The Chu is known to be harsh or “metallic” to some listeners; the Lan does not have that issue. 

Beyond that, the rest of the signature is essentially the same. Both IEMs focus on upper mids, and lower treble highlights female vocals and bright instruments. The bass is lackluster in quantity and dynamic as it’s tuned quite modestly. For bass lovers, this tuning is not very satisfying. On the other hand, mid-centric listeners might find the Lan much more enjoyable. Vocals are lively, forward, and nuanced, all without being shouty. 

Treble quality is similar to most single dynamic drivers under $100, which is okay at best. The one notable thing is that the balance of the lower and upper treble is quite good, resulting in a more natural timbre and decay, as previously mentioned in the Chu comparison. 

TLDR: The Lan is the Chu but better. If you’re looking for a Chu upgrade in tuning, built quality, and cable detachability, then the Lan is a recommendation. 

Comparisons

7Hz Zero

The Lan’s tonal balanced lean brighter, while the Zero is neutral, so the Zero will sound more bassy even if the graph shows a similar bass level.
Another significant difference is the presence region (4Khz to 6Khz), where Zero is less energetic. This results in Zero’s vocal sounding less lively but natural in decay.

Which one is better? None, I would grade them both as “B-” side grades of each other in both tuning and tech.

Truthears Hola

The Lan’s and Hola’s tonal balances are like seesaws; Lan leans brighter, while Hola leans warmer. The Hola sounds much more relaxed in the upper mids and treble and has better bass dynamics and power. Vocals will not be as forward and clean as the Lan in a trade-off for a more laid-back sound and improved bass satisfaction. 

Which one is better? None, I would grade them both as “B-” side grades of each other in both tuning and tech.

Tangzu Wan’er

The Wan’er has thicker, more forward, and more natural decaying vocals. In addition, it’s also more balanced than the Lan, and the treble is less prominent. While both signatures focus on the midrange, they approach it differently; the Wan’er focuses on sounding more full-bodied, while the Lan is more lively. 

Which one is better? None, I would grade them both as “B-” side grades of each other in both tuning and tech (you might notice a theme here). 

Kiwiears Cadenza

The Cadenza is the biggest departure in tuning compared to the other IEMs we discussed. It’s more v-shaped in tuning, having both more bass and treble. Compared to the Lan, the Cadenza has better bass dynamics and more quantity but less natural-sounding vocals and more aggressive treble. The Lan also sounds cleaner with better clarity, while the Cadenza can sound more congested. 

Which one is better? You get the theme “B-” for both. 

Summary

As you have guessed from the article, the Lan is a good IEM but not an impressive one for the asking price. It competes well with other offerings in the budget bracket but only offers that. The only reason to buy the Lan is if you’re looking for an upgrade to the Chu or a more lively vocal sound signature with less bass. Beyond that, it’s hard to recommend the Lan over the competition. Again, it’s not worse than the competition, but more so, it exists alongside them while costing a bit more for improved built quality. 

For comparisons with Truthears Zero & QKZ x HBB Khan, you can find those in my video review of the Lan: https://youtu.be/UvxKY52bUP4

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