Moondrop’s Best Headphones: Venus
When we think of the best planar headphones, some brands, like Hifiman and Audeze, come to mind, but what about Moondrop? Yes, Moondrop now has exceptional planar headphones in the new Moondrop Venus. In today’s article, let’s explore all the nuances of this juggernaut of a headphone.
Build & Comfort
Now I don’t usually cover this topic in my IEM articles, but for headphones, it’s more important to do so. For build quality, you have nothing to concern about with Venus. The build is that of a tank; it’s solid metal, rather heavy, and will probably survive a small explosion (maybe).
The plush pads and the self-adjusting headband make the Venus very comfortable. The spacious cups allow my entire pinna not to touch the edges of the earpads. It’s incredibly comfy for something so clunky looking, and though I would’ve given it full marks for comfort, after a while of wearing them, I noticed one small neck aching issue……
These are heavy, and I couldn’t wear them for more than 2 hours on the first day of use. After which, I thought to myself, “This is it; Venus is not for me,” but as I started using them daily to prepare for this article, I got used to them. My neck became a “giga-chad” neck because of Moondrop Venus, and now I don’t feel the weight after a full day of wear.
So if Venus is too heavy for you, you just have a weak neck. But don’t worry, Venus will train you, and you will emerge with a giga-chad neck like me.
Okay, that’s enough about comfort. Venus is great all around if you can handle the weight, and the build quality is one of the best you’ll find in headphones. Next, let’s tackle sound quality.
Venus’ sound signature is neutral with a touch of brightness. As a neutral headphone, the Venus does an incredible job; it’s clean, spacious, and quite detailed. The lower midrange is devoid of warmth or mud, and the upper midrange is full of life yet natural. Timbre is slightly spicy with the lower treble boost, but it’s not harsh or concerning for those sensitive to treble. In contrast, it has many benefits, like adding nuances and details to the vocals and incisiveness to many instruments. The treble air helps with spaciousness and higher instrument details as well. I have zero to complain about from midrange all the way to treble. It’s lovely to listen to such beautiful vocal recreation that’s so full and lively at the same time. What I do have some nitpick about is the bass.
The bass on the Venus has many great qualities; it’s tight, dynamic, controlled, and speedy. The only thing is it needs more power. Now, it’s challenging to add bass to open-back headphones. Another way around it is to reduce the higher frequencies to shift the balance towards the bass frequencies. Here lies the tuck-of-war of the Venus. It has a bright-leaning signature with all the benefits I mentioned above, but this also comes at the cost of bass presence. The bass comes across as secondary to the mids and treble instruments, which some listeners will prefer and some won’t. Depending on my mood, I can enjoy bright and bass-leaning signatures, and the Venus serves me well as a neutral-bright and detailed listen. However, you should look elsewhere if the bass is essential to you.
Detail-wise, Venus is competent. It has great note definitions and micro-details. This quality is most notable in string instruments, with each pluck and slide sounding distinct and satisfying.
Venus is no slouch when it comes to the soundstage as well. Its comfortable wear and bright signature give it a spacious sound. If you’re wondering how comfort plays a role in soundstage, it has to do with psychoacoustics. I’ll explore the topic more in a separate article, so here is a short explanation. Long story short, tighter clamping, smaller earcups, and discomfort can ruin the perception of soundstage to a degree.
In summary, Moondrop Venus is highly detailed and spacious and a top technical contender for the price.
Comparison VS. Hifiman Edition XS
As most readers may know, there are very few good options around $500 for open-back headphones—so few that I can only think of two comparisons, the Hifiman Edition XS and Focal Elex. However, since I’ve yet to hear the Elex, we’ll compare Moondrop Venus to only the Edition XS in this article.
The Edition XS is another top contender in the price bracket with its neutral-balanced tuning, exceptional timbre for a planar headphone, and excellent comfort. Compared to the Moondrop Venus, the Edition XS is less bright and more balanced, which means the bass sounds more forward on the Edtion XS. Timbre is also more natural and smoother on the Edition XS, though it is less detailed than the Venus. Another notable difference is the midrange. Edition XS has a slightly pushed-back midrange around 1Khz to 1.5Khz. This makes the vocal sound more distant. In comparison, the Venus’ vocals are more intimate.
Long story short, both are top contenders for the price, and you won’t be disappointed owning either. But if you must pick just one, I recommend Venus for those seeking more details and the Edition XS for those seeking better timbre and bass. Comfort is another factor. The Edition XS is much lighter and more comfortable than the Venus. If you think the Venus is too heavy, Edition XS might suit you more. Again, both are great. You can’t go wrong with either.
My first experience with Moondrop’s headphones was the Void, which was underwhelming, to put it lightly. So for their second headphone release to compete at the top tier of its price bracket was a huge surprise. Moondrop Venus is a remarkable pair of headphones in many ways, and it gets a high recommendation from me. If you love neutral bright signatures focusing on lively vocals, details, and spacious replay (plus tank-level build quality), look no further than Moondrop Venus. Excellent job, Moondrop
Check out both headphones here! (affiliate links)
Moondrop Venus: https://bit.ly/40wLUID , Hifiman Edition XS: https://bit.ly/41uITdh