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Review - Moondrop Starfield

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 




Moondrop is a company that offers IEMs in price brackets that seem to range from very cheap all the way up to expensive (over $1k). When they released the Kanas Pro, they had great success and I think that it put them on the radar of a lot of people that are involved in the world of hifi IEMs.

The Kanas Pro was then replaced with the KXXS that also received praise from the community and then recently they released the Starfield, which is supposed to be an IEM that follows the tuning of the KXXS at a lower price point, which is something that certainly interested me.



Build and comfort...

The packaging is a simple cardboard box inside a cardboard sleeve, however, the contents of the box are the first sign of the taking interest in their products.

Inside the box you get the IEMs, a nice blue cable that matches the IEMs, the typical selection of silicone tips, a decent carrying case and a few sets of spare filters and tweezers to replace them. That is something I have never received in an IEM package before.

The IEMs themselves are very pretty, in a purplish blue colour, with blue speckles, that change colour depending on how the light hits them. The are smaller than I expected after seeing images online, and although they are not the lightest IEMs, they are not so heavy that they would be considered uncomfortable, at least by me.

The drivers used are 10mm dual cavity dynamic driver with carbon nanotubes, supposedly used to help tune the IEM and get the most out of dynamic driver.

Of course, comfort is a very personal thing and in my case I find them very comfortable even with the silicone tip, which is something I usually shy away from in favour of foam tips. In this case I have been using foam tips, but I have also been swapping to silicone and back far more that I do with any other IEM.

The cable included also seems to be pretty decent in my opinion, it is not the most tangle free or best feeling cable I have had in my hands, but it does match well with the IEMs and I have no real complaints about it. I did end up using a balanced able though when listening via the Shanling M2X.



Sound...

The bass I find to be very well controlled, with a good extension into the sub bass, and a nice rounded bass sound that seems to be far more common with the presence of dynamic drivers, in this case they seem to have worked to implement the driver well and the bass is very pleasurable.

They do follow the Harman Curve as far as tuning, meaning that bass has a slight elevation over neutral, but again, I do not find it to be overdone and at no point have I found it to invade the mids.

As far as mids, they are again very smooth, with vocals that are present but without being too forward or at all shouty. The Harman Curve obviously pushes the mids slightly back in comparison to the lows and maybe in songs like "Way Down Deep" by Jennifer Bairnes, I missed a little more presence in the vocals, but that is me actually looking for faults in a cong that I have listened to hundreds of times.

In the case of songs that I haven't hear that many times, or without looking specifically for faults, they don't give me a sensation of missing mids at all.

Maybe the best part of Starfield is the low mids, which are very well defined, with plenty of body and presence. They have amazing detail in these frequencies and allow you to enjoy all the instruments found in this range without ever feeling congested or overdone. I really enjoyed listening to some performances by Jaco Pastorious, as I could focus on every nuance of Jaco's playing.

The song "These Bones" by The Fairfield Four sounded great and is definitely the best I have ever heard it on a set of IEMs, with great separation and placing of the voices.

Moving up in to the treble area, this may be the weakest area of the Starfield. But even as it's weakest point, I still found them to be very well done, without and harshe peaks or sibilance, extending well and maintaining the general sense of good sound that they present throughout the whole spectrum.

They have a touch of air around 12kHz that helps them maintain the sensation of good extension and detail all the way up to the top.



Soundstage and Imaging...

I would say that the soundstage is not excessively wide, something that I find with almost all IEMs I have tried, but is still pretty decent. The imaging and placement of instruments and voices to the left and rights seems to be very well done, although there doesn't seem to be much happening in front or behind you. It is as though everything is more or less placen on a horizontal line from left to right. For example, they don't give me the impression of being stood in front of a stage at all.

Timbre...

The more IEMs I try, the more I realize how important timbre is to me, especially with acoustic stringed instruments, I think it has started to become a little bit of an obsession for me.

In the case of the Starfield, the timbre is great, in fact, it is almost perfect for my personal taste.

I recently commented in my BL03 review that the timbre was good, the timbre on the Starfield is way superior. It is also true that the BL03 is only 1/3 of the price, so it's not really a fair comparison.

The Spanish guitars, acoustic guitars and basses that I love listening to so much, sound heavenly on these IEMs.



Conclusion...

I am very centered in the cheap (even ultra cheap) area of IEMs and the Starfield are probably reaching the limit of what I would pay for an IEM, or at least they were until I tried them, due to the use that I give IEMs.

They are not the most expensive IEMs I have had, although all the IEMs that have been of a superior price to the Starfield have been Shure IEMs that were purchased for technical reasons, solely for their use on stage as monitors. For listening to music, I prefer the Starfield.

For me personally, these IEMs seem to be perfect. I am not saying that the IEMs themselves are perfect as I know there are much better out there but I am not sure at what price bracket I would need to start investigating in order to improve on the enjoyability I am getting from these.

The Starfield have their flaws, things that can be improved without a doubt, but they are an IEM in which I personally have to look for the flaws, rather than the flaws jumping out at me. I can just enjoy the music with the Starfield and not worry about anything specific.

My test list of songs has been played multiple times through the Starfield unless I focusing on finding things wrong, everything sounds as it should to me. For my favourite genres they are great.

The eternal search that is this world of audio is of course not over, but I believe that the Moondrop Starfield has set the bar at a very high point under 100€ and I do not know how long I will have to wait, or how much more I will need to spend, before that bar is moved.

I guess I made it clear that I like the Starfield :D


Edit: I didn't post the measurements of the Starfields in this review, you can find them here: https://achoreviewsenglish.blogspot.com/2020/06/mediciones-moondrop-starfield-y-algunas.html)

SenyorC