- Type: In Ear
- Amp needed: No but better with
A few thoughts on the Moondrop Variations :
According to the usual “basic settings”, ---- selection of tips & selection of additional devices ----
I played my usual test playlist.
The first two songs made me wonder, something is different here
At the third song, it “clicks”, I played it again to make sure:
First of all, the drums kick in, which are played with force and very cleanly.
But many earphones of this quality can do that too .
The harmonica, which starts after 15 seconds and is played slightly in the foreground, confirms the precise three-dimensionality that these earphones are able to achieve, some other in-ears can do this very well, too
From a second 44 onwards, at least in my opinion, it will be unique.
The old, mumbling, quirky Rock titan starts to sing.
Not extraordinary, actually.
But the way this singing is performed via these special earphones is extraordinary
Crystal clear, each nuance brings out the uniqueness of Neil’s voice .
And all without the usual “tricks” that other manufacturers use with their earbuds.
Here the voice is not pushed, but everything else (instruments, background noises …) is reset, so to speak.
To describe this, I try to portray through pictures, as I mean that:
Some manufacturers try it that way =
or this way =
The Moondrop Variations can actually do it very naturally, and as one is used to from a concert in the real world:
This just puts the vocal artist in the spotlight and gives him absolute focus
Bruce is another artist whose recordings are sometimes “difficult” to take in terms of quality.
Here, too, on the subject of his voice, the Variations shines.
With the following artists, the peculiarities, fragility and emotionality of the respective voices are wonderfully emphasized.
Without even appearing “artificially”.
Ira brings tears to my eyes every time
Even the text on the announcement, in pink floyds „on the run“ is crystal clear and understandable without increasing the volume.
Not to mention the clearly perceptible “spinning” of the jet noise in and around the head at the beginning of the track.
Other earbuds only reproduce this sound from right to left and back again.
So far, with regard to the reproduction of voices and their attention to detail, the CA-MV10 were my favorites, due to the more coherent tonal overall tuning, I raise the Moondrop’s above the CA’s.
That sounds like a $ 1100 price difference, maybe exaggerated, but from my very personal point of view, and with my preferred music genres, that’s how I feel .
I cannot say whether this is due to the E-Stat drivers,
But these earphones "turned me on“ so much that I felt like adding another trybrid model soon, namely the:
Its 10mm beryllium-coated dynamic driver could, in my experience, add a little more “crispness” to the whole.
That’s it for now, enjoy the day with good music
Comparing this to the Oracle last night and it was clear that the Variations is the more “fun” set.
This set has a similar sub bass shelf as the Monarch which is my preference. (I love that sub bass) It’s great to see a similarly tuned IEM to the Monarch reaching for my #1 spot that has a smaller shell that actually fits my ears perfectly.
I have yet to A/B the Variations and the Monarch, but looking forward to sharing my impressions with all of you.
I have a Xenns Up coming in at the end of this week if you would like impressions before purchasing.
If the Variations is the first tribrid you’ve heard with e-stats reproducing the highs, congratulations! You’re not alone in feeling e-stats are capable of delivering detail-rich treble information without ever being harsh or sibilant somehow. It is hands-down my preferred method of reproducing highly enjoyable treble in an earphone. I myself have been compelled to try as many as I could get my hands on as well…
There should be a warning on all these e-stat earphones stating that they can be harmful to your wallet and dangerous to your ears, because the sound is so good, you’ll want to keep turning it up.
I have found that not all tribrids are the same though. The DUNU EST 112 is a tribrid but it’s e-stat treble implementation sounds different than Thieaudio’s. It sounds more like BA/hybrid treble than e-stat.
Waiting on it!
Shots of the Variations vs the Blessing 2. To my eyes, it looks like the Variations might be ever so slightly thinner than the Blessing 2. What do you see?
Honestly from the picture I can not tell. Iem is interesting
It has got to be a weird trick of lighting / camera angle, but I was seriously wondering if the variations came in multiple colors when I first looked them up. Some photos they look silver and in some they look like a dark gun metal color and others somewhere in between.
Also without putting them side by side, back to back really I couldn’t say if one is bigger or not. They look really close.
They are the color of whatever they are reflecting. They are the most difficult IEM I have to actually get the faceplate in focus.
I figured it was something like that, I also was not sure if the design on the faceplate was just drawn on or slightly etched… somI was not sure if that was contributing to the weirdness in the color.
I believe it is laser-etched.
Mini review of Moondrop’s variations
This is an early review, so I will concentrate on things other then sound
Unboxing and presentation
This was kinda marred by the shipping, but honestly it is not a bad looking package and if everything had not been shaken up in shipping I can see this being a very nice presentation upon first opening the box. The box itself is a bit too big for what is inside so if you are someone who likes to keep the boxes of products you buy this is either a really nice show piece or oversized waste of space.
Okay this may sound like a backhanded insult, but honestly these tips are one of the few OEM tips that I don’t hate. Honestly for most IEMs that don’t pack in things like spinfits, final type E, or other good tips instead of their own versions I just don’t bother. I actually skipped the packed in tips initially until @Resolution mentioned that he was using the packed in tips, so i gave them a chance and they are good. They also use a nice small plastic case to store the tips which is just a far nice way then the little plastic drug baggies you usually get.
I am not quite sure if I like, hate, or am just confused by the cable. The multi connector end is both bulky and fiddly at the same time and that is a negative, but it does give useful options. The wire is a good (if not great) weight and the earhooks are the right amount of soft and formed that they work just about perfectly. There is a nice medium braid up until the split and then just two smooth coated wires after the split that feel nice on the face and neck. I will leave measurements and metal composition of the cable to people who care more then me, for me comfort is the most important thing a cable does after just plain working.
The case is a bit big to be truly pocketable and the design is kinda silly for the extra bulk since it really is not good for carrying anything besides the IEMs (no pockets and it is vertical). It does seem sturdy and unlike Moondrop’s Aria case actually fits the IEM with the cables without feeling like it is crushing things. So not perfect, but it does the bare necessities.
It comes with extra filters, the moondrop tweezers thingies (to help change the filters if your ears are disgusting) and some cards and even an instruction booklet. The instructions are kinda odd, because I really hope someone’s first IEMs are not in the $500+ price range… but hey to each their own. There is also a postcard and various other paperwork things with plenty of anime girls… again to each their own.
They are not small, but honestly they fit beautifully. They almost feel like they float, but if you have really small ears then I could see it being an issue. If you have any of the KZ IEMs like the DQ6, KS10 pro, or EDX they are no bigger then those and better designed, at least in my ears. With a good set of tips they can easily be multi hour comfortable… but again everyone is a bit different so my fit may not be the same for you.
Short of going into sound and that will take a while longer before I have my full thoughts sorted this is my initial impressions.
So far I do not regret the price at all and they defiantly feel premium enough to justify the price.
Lol about the tips…. I was just simply shocked stock tips sealed at all. They usually never do for me.
I still wouldn’t say they are good or great for comfort, just that they worked.
Most tips seal for me, but a lot of OEM one start to bug me after some time. The silicone ones were nice, not quite type E for me but good. What surprised me is that I tried the foams and I didn’t hate them immediately. I dislike almost all foams (OEM and aftermarket ones). I am still probably never going to use the foams again, but I was still pleasantly surprised.
I can make this comparison now between Moondrop’s…
Blessing 2 Dusk
The Blessing 2 is one of the best all around neutral IEMs you can purchase today period.
The Dusk takes all the Blessing 2 hardware and re-tunes it to sound more enjoyable with a large sub bass emphasis and overall smoother treble.
The Variations is made up of what I’m guessing to be the proper driver configuration to actually pull off the Dusk’s tuning. It sounds almost identical to the Dusk with slightly better slam and better technicalities and is more efficient.
Not sure if it was this thread or not but I was being asked a lot of questions regarding the Dusk and I couldn’t speak from experience because I did not own it. I can now say easily that there is VERY little difference between the Variations and the Dusk. Anyone wanting to save some money but wanting to hear the enjoyable tuning of the Variations can rest assured, they aren’t missing out on much what so ever by skipping the Variations and just going with the Dusk. They sound very similar, but I will not deny that the Variations has a touch better slam than the Dusk and the stage felt more spacious. Not $200.00 better though.
Moondrop seems to do this quite a bit. This is pretty much how I feel about the Starfield and Aria. They are really close and honestly you can save money buying the Aria and not lose much at all.
Plus I think the Aria looks much nicer.
Agreed. I think the Aria might even be superior from everything I’ve heard(I don’t have one so I can’t say personally).
I’m guessing that Crin taught Moondrop how to tune an IEM using the Blessing 2 hardware and then Moondrop designed a new IEM from the ground up with Crin’s tuning in mind.
All three are great IEMs. I love them all. Not much need for the Dusk now or the Variations. How ever you want to look at it. Same thing with the KXXS, KXXX, Starfield and now Aria. Pretty much, all the same harman-tuned IEM with highly varying price points with hardly any perceived difference in tonality.
The advantage the Aria had was time. I kinda alway put down how close/maybe better it is to the Starfield as being the advantage of the most up to date driver that Moondrop has.
My guess is that down the line Moondrop might just eventually release another tribrid with a similar configuration to the Variations at a slightly lower price since all the growing pains/costs of a new tech will be gone.
Nothing wrong with that. That’s what progress is all about. Better product at lower and lower cost.
I have the mangird tea, do you think it would be redundant to buy the blessing 2 dusk? or buy something really better like some tribid.
I heard they both have good subbass.