Starfield is my first contact with Moondrop brand but right out of the box it promised to be an interesting one. Besides earphones themselves, you get detachable cable, several ear-tips, and small carrying case.
BUILD AND FIT
It seems that earphones are made of marble or some similar material. They feel reassuringly heavy and sturdy in hand. On the other hand, the braided cable feels delicate. It’s quite thin, soft, and sufficiently long. I really liked the softness of preshaped hooks that go around the ears. They’re easy to mount and adopt to any ear shape (unlike what I’ve experienced with BLON and KZ model).
Once put into place, buds were sitting securely despite their weight. The next thing I noticed is that cable is not microphonic at all. It probably has to do with it’s soft and bandy nature.
Anyway, this model definitely deserves praise for looks, fit, and comfort of use. But it’s time to find out how they sound.
I attached Starfield to my phone via HIDIZS Sonata HD DAC dongle. There was plenty of power and drive in this combo, and I’m happy to report these IEMs are not difficult to drive. So I started listening and the first thing I noticed is how well balanced and smooth the sound is. My ears usually need some time to adjust to the new sound signature, but this time I felt at home from the first note. I was listening to some acoustic guitars, and strings sounded full and energetic. Lots of details and spacial cues could be heard too, creating atmosphere and space around musicians. That said, they’re never put to the front. Sharp edges extend the main body of every tone very naturally, not trying to excite and razzle-dazzle you.
Then I changed to more potent Dragonfly Black which brought slight improvement to drive and dynamics. Changing trough different music genres I was able to once more confirm how well balanced this model is. Bass notes in both Rock and Pop songs had plenty of weight and drive, making me thump my foot with it. Even more important, it’s never bloated, never boomy, never loses pace and control. This powerful but fast-moving and precise bass is just a joy to listen to, and one of the best I’ve heard so far in any IEM.
Moving up the frequency range, more good news awaits. Vocals sound very clean and uncolored, neither mid-bass nor higher frequencies are bleeding into them. Listening to my favorite Pop and Jazz singers is a delight. They sound full and present and there’s never any artificial warmth or blooming in their voice. What made me even happier is that there’s not even a hint of harshness. So commonly used trick of boosting upper midrange/lower highs is just not present here. That same trick gives an illusion of sharper and more resolving sound but tends to introduce some nasty side effects. One of them is sibilance with voices which I’m really not a fan of. The other effect of such voicing is that listening can get tiring very quickly. You don’t have to fear any of those with Starfield as their approach to midrange is perfectly mature and balanced.
In the highest register, things proceed in a similar fashion. Integration and smoothness are a priority here. I’m able to hear airiness around instruments and voices but in a slightly laid back manner. If you want your earphones to zealously dig that last spatial cue and airiness of the recording – these might not be what you look for. But the more songs I listened, the more I appreciated this kind of safe high-frequency tuning as my ears didn’t get tired.
When all of this is put together, we get a really well-balanced signature. The seamless integration across the frequency spectrums provides a real unity to the sound. Absence of nasty blooming, added warmth or harshness just seals the deal. Lack of those artificial sweeteners leaves room for natural reverbs and echoes to be heard, and that’s what I call hi-fi.
Models I’m comparing these with might be odd to you but I’ll simply compare them to what I have at hand.
Let’s start with the cheapest one – Senfer DT6. I really like these giant killers cause their quality is insane considering the price. However, next to Starfield they sound muddy and bloomy, especially in the mid-bass and low mids section.
Next in line are Tin Audio T2s which tend to impress with their clarity. Their bass weight leaves something to be desired though. Upper midrange and highs sound exciting but bright and hissy compared to Starfield. I really like T2s but they can be tiring with some music while I can listen to Starfileds for hours without a problem.
BLON BL-03s are very resolving and fun to listen to. They’re also bassier and the quality of the bass (precision and speed) is not at the same level. Midrange on BL 03 is recessed compared to Starfields so vocals are not as present and full-sounding. Lastly, they have a much poorer fit in my ear.
Lastly, Sennheiser Momentum In-ear launched at a similar price but can’t match Starfield Sonically. Their bass is simply not as controlled, lower midrange is recessed and harshness in the upper registers can be observed.
As I mentioned at the beginning this is my first contact with Moondrop earphones and I’m happy it’s with such praiseworthy model as Srarfield surely is. It rarely happens that balance and unity of presentation are put before that last bit of excitement and tricks meant to wow you. If you’re after some specific signature like added warmth or maybe zing to highs, super airiness, etc. – these might seem voiced too safely to you. But if you don’t like artificial sweeteners and prefer your sound to be naturally balanced, these might be just the thing you need.
For once, I’m happy to get this kind of mature approach. I’m happy to hear details and reverbs as a result of fast-paced and well-behaved drivers and materials, not as a result of boosted frequencies. Moondrop Starfield has every right to be called hi-fidelity, which is something a lot of in-ears, honestly, don’t deserve.
You can purchase this model at the HiFiGo store that was kind enough to send them in for a review.
|MOONDROP STARFIELD – CHARACTERISTICS|
Driver: Carbon Nanotube diaphragm-10mm