Audiophiles on a finances are spoilt for selection because of loads of wonderful, reasonably priced IEMs from numerous manufacturers primarily based in China, which can be accessible in India. A variety of these ‘Chi Fi’ manufacturers come and go, however one explicit model has caught round for some time and has constantly produced wonderful, value-driven merchandise. Moondrop is fashionable for its finances and mid-range audiophile IEMs, and its most up-to-date launch is the Moondrop Chu, which has been the topic of some hype in audiophile circles.
Priced at Rs. 1,999 for the variant with an in-line microphone and distant in India, the Moondrop Chu is a handsome pair of in-ear screens with 3.5mm wired connectivity, 10mm dynamic drivers, and a promise of impartial tuning and detailed sound. Is this the very best reasonably priced audiophile-friendly pair of earphones you should purchase proper now? Find out on this overview.
Moondrop Chu design and specs
Like most of the area of interest, audiophile merchandise from China, the Moondrop Chu shouldn’t be judged by its uncommon title. The earphones look fairly good for a product priced below Rs. 2,000, with the steel earpieces sporting an fascinating leaf-like sample. The solely product emblem on the headset is on the plastic Y-splitter module on the cable, whereas the earpieces have markings solely to point the left and proper channels.
The Moondrop Chu has a clear, mounted cable with an in-line distant and microphone, and a 3.5mm plug for connectivity to the supply gadget. The three-button distant has controls for quantity and playback. You can go for the variant with out the in-line distant and microphone in case you want, which prices a bit much less at Rs. 1,799.
I discovered the match of the Moondrop Chu to be a bit tough, due to how lengthy it takes to get the match proper. The silicone ear ideas provided a good seal and maintain, and the ear hooks (included within the field) let the cables slip in and keep in place for safety, nevertheless it all the time took some time and effort to regulate the cable size under the ear hooks and match them in place.
It bought a bit faster to do over time, nevertheless it undoubtedly is not as straightforward as on the equally priced Final Audio E1000C and KZ Audio ZSN Pro X. However, the Moondrop Chu feels much more strong and premium than the Final Audio and KZ headsets, and likewise seems quite a bit nicer.
The Moondrop Chu has 10mm dynamic drivers, a frequency response vary of 10-35,000Hz, an impedance score of 28Ohms, and a sensitivity score of 120dB. The specs make it straightforward to drive with even primary supply units equivalent to finances smartphones, and might be comfortably pushed by the Shanling UA2 transportable DAC. The gross sales bundle consists of three pairs of silicone ear ideas, rubber ear hooks, and a small cloth carry case.
Moondrop Chu efficiency
With Bluetooth headsets turning into extra reasonably priced previously few years whereas concurrently bettering in audio high quality, many want the comfort of wi-fi connectivity to wired headphones and earphones. However, wired listening has the important thing advantage of providing significantly better sound high quality, and the Moondrop Chu delivers sound that’s convincingly higher than even the very best true wi-fi earphones you should purchase proper now.
For this overview, I had the Moondrop Chu linked to a OnePlus 9 Pro (Review) with a Shanling UA2 DAC within the center, and used Apple Music to stream high-resolution audio tracks. I additionally used an iPad mini (2019) as an alternate supply, connecting the earphone on to its 3.5mm headphone jack.
In each instances, I discovered the Moondrop Chu to be very loud; I discovered the 60 % quantity degree on the iPad to be enough typically, whereas I did not dare to go previous the 50 % degree with the Shanling UA2 DAC driving the earphones. The sound felt wealthy and tonally wonderful, with the earphones managing to maintain up with the highly effective enter sign with none audible points. With a great match, the sound was partaking, revealing, and filled with vitality.
With Hold Back Love by Dutch funk trio Kraak & Smaak, the beat sounded deep and impactful, because of the tight, responsive bass on the Moondrop Chu. The mid-tempo tempo of the monitor allowed for loads of element to be heard, together with the faint devices within the background, and significantly within the vocals which sounded clear, cohesive, and practical past what I’ve heard on some other entry-level audiophile earphones.
Switching to extra melodic genres, I listened to a canopy of Psapp’s Cosy In The Rocket by The Chillout Airlines Crew. The sound was detailed, whereas the soundstage was spacious and wealthy, providing the form of exact, immersive sound that solely a great pair of IEM can. Everything within the monitor from the mild vocals to the playful tune sounded wealthy and filled with character on the Moondrop Chu. Although the tight bass tended to seize my consideration, I discovered the mid-range to be refined as nicely.
At occasions, I discovered the treble a bit harsh on the Moondrop Chu, significantly at increased volumes the place the earphones had been already pushing laborious. At the identical time, the aggressive bass additionally tended to trigger a little bit of listener fatigue in sure bass-focused tracks, equivalent to Take A Look Around by Limp Bizkit. Like many IEMs within the audiophile-focused class, the Moondrop Chu tends to get overwhelmed by quick, overpowering tracks, and performs greatest with melodic, progressive music, significantly the home and smooth rock genres.
The Moondrop Chu is a musical pair of earphones at its core, however the microphone did give it a little bit of flexibility with use. Performance on calls was first rate indoors, and I even used the earphones to file a prolonged audio clip on one event in a quiet room, to good impact. Strangely, utilizing the Shanling UA2 DAC appeared to disable the microphone and in-line distant completely, however these labored wonderful when the earphones had been immediately linked to my iPad.
There are fairly a couple of first rate choices for audiophile-grade IEMs at below Rs. 2,000, however none that I’ve had an opportunity to make use of have been as a lot enjoyable because the Moondrop Chu. Although the method of placing them on is time-consuming and tough, it is a well-built pair of earphones that greater than makes up for its shortcomings with its efficiency, significantly when paired with a great DAC and high-resolution audio tracks.
Small shortcomings within the sound are current, however these are completely forgivable given the worth of the Moondrop Chu and its affordable capabilities as a hands-free headset. On the entire, that is maybe the very best starter IEM that I can suggest proper now, and is a powerful demonstration of simply what might be achieved on a good finances, by way of sound high quality.