Ultimate Moondrop Buying Guide
Everyone knows Moondrop. You cannot be in Chifi and not heard of at least the Starfield or the Aria. However, little do people realize that the rest of Moondrop’s IEMs are also incredible in their respective prices. Starfield and Aria are benchmark IEMs, other IEMs like Blessing 2, Variations, and S8 are also benchmark worthy. Today, we’ll dive into each one, explore the differences and see which one will be the best for you! Spoiler alert, you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
List of IEMs we’ll be covering today (Video Version Here: https://youtu.be/0EP3yflfJ18)
SSR & SSP
SSR and SSP are sibling IEMs; they have a similar upper-midrange forward signature with one significant difference, the bass. SSP has more bass, which balances the otherwise shouty nature of the SSR. SSP is still shouty, but a lot less so, making it an overall more enjoyable listen between the two IEMs. Both IEMs have a rather impressive resolution as well for the price. Overall, excellent IEMs for the price, my favorite between the two would be the SSP for its more versatile and easier to listen signature.
Aria, Starfield, and KXXS
These three IEMs are like triplets. They sound 90% identical to each other with minor differences. All three are Harman tuned IEMs, sporting great mid-bass control, natural vocal timbre leading up to a tame and relaxing treble response. Out of the three, the KXXS has the best bass control and overall resolution. Starfield has the best imaging and the most relax treble, and Aria has the widest staging but the least accurate imaging. All three are fantastic for their respective prices, but being so close in performance, it’s hard not to recommend Aria for its sheer value alone.
Blessing 2 & Blessing 2 Dusk
These two IEMs are what truly elevated the name “Moondrop” in the audiophile community. Both IEMs are extremely well-tuned, having accurate-to-life instrumental and vocal responses and very balanced overall sound. A couple of differences are the bass; the Dusk version has noticeable more bass while the original is more neutral in that area. The second difference is in the upper midrange; the Dusk is more relaxed while the original is slightly more aggressive. Detail retrievals on these are also incredible for the price, competing with many IEMs $500 and above. If you want to hear some of the best IEMs on the market or a sampler to what the top-end can provide, look no further than these two offerings.
Variations are the newest in the Moondrop line-up and arguably the best price-to-performance. The signature is well-tuned and balances like previous Moondrops with a few changes in signature from the norm. Variations focus mainly on the sub-bass and treble extension. Sub-bass hits deep, and treble has an incredible sense of air and openness, giving this IEM an impressively wide stage. The lower midrange is pushed back to provide a sense of separation between bass and male vocals. The result is a highly well-separated clean sound that can wow just about anyone. Overall resolution on these is also one of the best you can hear under $700. Variations is simply a top-notch set for the money.
Last but not least, we have Moondrop S8. The signature on these is similar to Blessing 2 Dusk, focusing more on sub-bass and upper midrange with a touch of energy in the treble for extra fun. The highlights on these will be the vocals, wide-staging, and smooth-as-butter bass response. Overall, another beautifully tuned IEM and competitive resolution. The only kick to this IEM will be the noticeable BA timbre. Some may enjoy these, while some may not.
Which Should You Buy?
In conclusion, which Moondrop should you get? If your budget is Under $200 I would highly recommend the Aria for the value, no need to jump to Starfield or KXXS unless you want that extra 10% boost in performance. If your budget is $300 I would suggest the Blessing 2 or the Dusk. However, if you can save up a little more, the Variations is by far the best choice. If money is no issue, I would still recommend the Variations over the S8, both are great, but Variations is comparable in performance for $200 cheaper. The only reason I would suggest the S8 is if you love the tuning on Blessing 2 Dusk and you want a straight upgrade. Other than that, Variations is the best we’ve talked about today. In any case, whichever Moondrop you decide to go with, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed at all. Moondrop is, after all, one of Chifi’s top-performing brands.