Moondrop Starfield: Unboxing

INTRODUCTION

I remember the early days when barely anyone has even heard of the brand “Moondrop”. It was by pure accident that I stumbled upon measurements of the original Blessing on the Ear-Fi Blog, at which point my interest was piqued enough to start asking around for sample units to review. 

It’s funny in retrospect, how this almost-underground upstart company managed to hit the Harman in-ear target better than Harman could. And so established their reputation as the “Target Hitter”, tuning their IEMs to Harman (and Diffuse Field in the case of the Spaceship).

I don’t think anyone, myself included, would’ve expected that Moondrop would become one of the greatest chifi powerhouses of the new generation, churning out product after product that received their own share of critical acclaim and mainstream hype. Their meteoric rise no doubt contributed to many other chifi companies’ consideration of Western academic curves as viable targets, which may be why we’ve been seeing a renaissance of chifi IEMs attempting to emulate Harman (to varying degrees of success).

Moondrop’s original superstar was the Kanas Pro, a metal-shelled DD IEM that served to be their ticket into audiophile fame. It was then discontinued and replaced by the more-similar-than-different KXXS, right down to the shell shape and aesthetic design. The Starfield is the latest addition to what I’d consider as Moondrop’s “midrange DD lineup”, though in this case the Starfield is not a replacement to the KXXS but rather its own product altogether.

At a price way cheaper than the KXXS, it seems that Moondrop is looking to dominate a new price bracket. Let’s see if their newest entry is worthy of their reputation.

Product page: https://hifigo.com/products/moondrop-starfield-carbon-nanotube-diaphragm-dynamic-earphone

MSRP: $110

Driver configuration: single DD

This Starfield was provided by HiFiGo.

NON-AUDIO OPINIONS

My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.

Accessories:

  • Canvas case
  • Tips
  • Replacement mesh filters
    • Tweezers

Cable: 4-core round braid. Gets pretty kinky and has some loose braiding in spots. Skinfeel is alright but overall this is one of the cheaper quality stock cables I’ve come across.

Connection: Slightly recessed 2-pin (0.78mm). Should be resistant due to lack of swivel and proper security, but would’ve preferred a fully-recessed connection.

Build: painted metal. Feels sturdy, no apparent weak points on first glance.
Caveat emptor: there have been many reports on the Starfield’s paint chipping over.

Fit: not a normal shell shape, but fits me fine personally.

Isolation: above average, could be better but enough for outdoor use.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

  • The Starfield actually sounds almost identical to the KXXS.
    • I personally prefer the Starfield’s tonal balance because it has a little less shout, and is also a tiny bit warmer as a result.
  • Excellent technicalities; probably not to Etymotic’s level but certainly way beyond that of its similarly-priced peers.
  • The Starfield pretty much makes the KXXS obselete. Unless you just want the anime packaging.

My upcoming review will be a shootout between the Kanas Pro, the KXXS and the Starfield.

Measurements

Data has been uploaded to the Graph Comparison Tool

Support me on Patreon to get access to tentative ranks! My usual thanks to all my current supporters and shoutouts to my big money boys:

“McMadface”
“Desertscrub”
Rahul
Chris
Denis
Nicholas
Alexander
Galactus

9 thoughts on “Moondrop Starfield: Unboxing”

    1. To my ears, the Starfield caves in earlier in the bass on busier tracks compared to the ER2XR (superior bass control, tightness, texture and resolution on the ER2XR in comparison) and its tonal balance is also a bit less smooth, refined and realistic to my ears compared to the Ety (in addition to being somewhat warmer in the lower mids, upper root and upper bass/midbass transition), with the less precise imaging (instrument placement) in comparison, however it’s not a big gap. I like my Starfield, especially since it doesn’t require as deep insertion as the Ety, nonetheless without budget restrictions, neglecting isolation (ER2XR is ahead) and based purely on technical performance and overall tonal smoothness, I’d personally go for the Etymotic, while for comfort/ease of insertion/wear, I’d take the Starfield (which is also why I got it in the first place – close enough in tuning to the ER2XR which I love, but doesn’t require as deep insertion (that I don’t always want) and has got a much less microphonic cable (due to the twisting/braid and the shallower insertion)).

      1. Just a follow-up: it’s not that I would say that it’s a big difference between the two in terms of technicalities – the ER2XR just remains cleaner and better controlled on fast and busy tracks with a lot going on, while otherwise there isn’t really a difference much of the time. While I’d highly recommend the ER2XR, I’d “only” recommend the Starfield. In terms of technicalities, it’s probably like Porsche 991 C vs 991 CS – not that I have any experience with any of these two cars, but that’s probably how I imagine the difference between the ER2XR and Starfield. But car/any other analogies suck most of the time anyway, so…

  1. Interesting. I found that the Starfield is a KPE with a lesser bass but essentially identical midrange (see superimposed measurements). The upper midrange is too pronounced for my German ears…I therefore taped 80% of the nozzle off with 3M micropore tape. This added note weight, too.

    But yes, overall a winner and I like it very much. In the future, Moondrop should rely more on their ears than on graph templates.

    1. I agree jürgen. It’s such a good sounding in-ear. But the upper mids are about 3db too hot for my ears as well.

  2. As to conflicting Moondrop models: I found the $30 Crescent so nicely tonally balanced with such a mature imaging that I gave the KPE away. The only downside of the Crescent was its limited resolution. Moondrop quickly discontinued this killer earphone for not spoiling their profits from the more expensive models (I speculate).

    1. Crescent was excellent but had one major issue, condensation. The nozzle had a paper sound filter which would clog with condensation after a while and sound would get muffled. Such a good IEM crippled by a bad design.

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