Moondrop In-Ears Reviews, Impressions and Discussion

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by shotgunshane, Oct 10, 2020.

  1. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Blessing 2 Dusk Impressions

    First off thanks to SBAF for the opportunity to hear these. Tours like this very helpful to people like me who otherwise would have a very difficult time getting ahold of new gear to demo.

    Most of my experience in my 2+ years has been in the $1-2K realm so there's a chance my frame of reference is out of line with what I should reasonably expect a $300 IEM to sound like. With that in mind I'll confine these impressions to tonal preferences.

    My personal reference for "neutrality" fall more along the lines of IEMs like the Andromeda 2020 or VE Elysium. I know both of these IEMs could be described as colored-- but they are no more colored than the Dusk, just in a different direction. To understand where I'm coming from with what follows take a look at the B2 Dusk at the IEF Graph Comparison site normalized to 500Khz along side the Andromeda 2020 and Elysium.

    I was mainly interested in hearing them as I had someone non-ironically suggest them to me as a better alternative to the CFA Dorado 2020 for an IEM with a bass emphasis...suffice to say I would not agree with this view.

    Put succinctly-- these are not for me. I would describe them ultimately as "Chifi Neutral". IE., there is a slight sub-bass lift, but mid-bass and lower mids lack presence and body and upper mids/lower treble sound slightly overloaded to my ears. Comparing the graphs of the Dusk and Andro 2020 make this emphasis apparent as the Andro is basically the inverse of the Dusk in this respect (more of a mid-bass/lower mid emphasis, less of a lower treble upper mid emphasis) For a lot of my music (for which something like the Andromeda 2020 is better suited as a reference) the Dusk comes off lifeless and flat-- and often (like with something like CCR's Bad Moon Rising or Zappa's Peaches En Regalia) the upper mid/lower treble emphasis can sound shouty, harsh and fatiguing to my ears-- often borderline wince inducing. Perhaps one could fix a lot of what I'm complaining about here with some EQ my personal feeling is that I don't really hear the potential. Ultimately a hard pass from me.

    Thanks again for the opportunity.

    Edit: For an IEM at about the same price tier that I feel excels the Dusk pretty much across the board I would heartily rec the UM 3DT. It stll has what I would call a slight Chifi emphasis but the timbre, clarity and overall tonal balance is much superior. YMMV etc.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  2. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    I have Blessing 2 Dusk and UM 3DT and also think the UM is superior with my old man hearing. Dusk is good enough to keep in my collection because its a good IEM to listen to when going for a walk since I find it comfortable and won't fall out of your ears. The UM is a bit large.
     
  3. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Moondrop Crinacle Blessing 2: Dusk Impressions

    I like very much the look of Dusk . Fit and comfort was excellent, good shape, no hard edges, way preferable to Ara, Vega, Andros, the only thing that I remember being better or equal was MD+. Strangely I had problem with the seal until I put on SpinFit Twin Blade.
    When you unpack the cable your chances of matching a wire with left/right headphone is exactly 50% and it will not increase no matter how carefully you examine the cable. That's why all the Dusk 2review videos are done with the cable already connected.
    Filters: WTF? Those are not filters, just a mesh to cover top of the nozzle, Dusk is shipped with no covers , which fooled me and @Rockwell ... you get 8 in the package, and once you put them on, you need to be extremely careful not to loose them swapping tips.

    The sound
    Let's start with executive summary so it has to be with pictures:

    YES!

    [​IMG]


    NOOOOOOO!
    [​IMG]


    YES or at least strongly considered
    [​IMG]


    Sound stage and instrument separation is very good. It benefits from Jan Maier crossfeed but even without, it is spot on.
    Good transient response, very good macrodetails, and dynamic range.
    Bass is indeed excellent: extension with complete control, cello and double bass sound natural and powerful with great texture in the lower registers.

    Now the difficult part. Let's look at ER2XR. The brown filter from Etymotic ER Series Tuning kit makes my ER2XR more detailed than stock, with maybe 1-2dB elevated upper mids and treble, so it may be even closer to Dusk on the FR graph
    [​IMG]

    Short comparison: ER2XR is a single DD IEM but has similar FR, and good bass extension, but without help of the BA drivers it does not have the same level of control in bass region, transient response, instrument separation etc.as Dusk 2.
    But with the brown filter, this $100 DD IEM DD, sounds very natural across the spectrum, and is not much behind in macro details, and very close in terms of listening enjoyment. For acoustic music I would have a hard time choosing between those two.

    Why? That's what the rest of this, already I believe tiresome post, is about. And please consider that it would be silly to believe, without checking yourself, any of my pronouncements about anything that is happening above 11.5kHz.

    Female vocals.
    Very mixed bag: classical soprano is unbearable, I think I just discovered the BA sound, the question is how come CA Ara and ER4SR (with red filter) being completely BA, can reproduce operatic soprano very naturally?
    On the other hand Nora Jones, Holy Cole sound very nice on Dusk. But Hannah Reid sounds metallic.

    Most string instruments sound metallic to me, electronic like, except the cello in low registers and double bass.
    That actually creates some strange effects: for example listening to the music for string quartet your mood can oscillate between real pleasure, listening to the cello at low end, to disappointment when the sound moves to the mids
    That in comparison with ER4SR which with the same recordings sounds much better across the entire spectrum, texture and timbre, than Dusk.

    Organs: clarity, better layering than was my initial impression, and very good articulation of deep bass. Anything in low frequencies and Dusk sounds powerful, natural, and resolving. Going up the spectrum is getting flatter and more metallic sounding. That is not drastic, nothing that would make you outright reject Dusk .
    But ER4SR with the same recordings is better resolving and sounds more natural. That in spite of the fact that even with red or orange filter the ER4SR bass is nothing to write home about but it is sufficient, clear, and resolving.


    Conclusion:
    I spent a lot of time listening to metal, electronic music, soundtracks, and modern classical because it would not do justice to Moondrop Crinacle Blessing 2: Dusk if I focus only on classical. .

    And If I was mostly into electronic music, and metal, or even modern classical recordings
    (see in in https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/the-modern-classical-thread.10985/ ) Dusk 2 would be my unquestionable choice in this price range over ER4SR/XR and MD+. Or I would like to have it as an option.

    But for 80% of my listening, which is is acoustic music, I find ER4SR, with red filter that makes it touch warmer, superior to Dusk. And I would also prefer MD+ over Dusk.

    Ara with very neutral sound profile, very good micro and macrodetails, superb layering and still satisfying, well managed bass, is in entirely different league than Dusk, IMO. And it sounds great with acoustic recordings. But that's 4 times the price.

    But, even in the instrumental music category, there are some recording that would let you enjoy Dusk in all its glory:
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: May 20, 2021
  4. Ronion

    Ronion Rando

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    I have been using the Aria now for several weeks and I do enjoy it a lot. It’s not as resolving as the FDX1 though but the overall tonal balance is very similar. You can definitely hear the 4K bump in the FDX1 and I thought that might be the resolution difference I hear, but it’s not. After EQing them to match, there’s still a resolution mismatch. That said, the Aria is as close to my tonal preference as I’ve heard in an IEM. Essentially a tie with the FDX1. I literally prefer everything else on the FDX1 and I know I probably buck the trend on that, but the comfort on the FDX1 can really be perfected because of the rotatable nozzles. The comfort is still very good on the Aria after placing Spiral Dots on it. In truth, I’d be happy with either of them forever.
     
  5. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    Dusk thoughts and impressions.

    Have not heard anything over $175 ish for IEMs until this spring. Had KXXS for a year and heard starfield from a friend. Recently bought UM 3DT and Dusk was in the running when choosing what to buy. I guess my only comparison basis is to 3DT but it's not my intention to say which is better and I'll try to be unbiased.

    They are A LOT smaller than 3DT, for people that have issue with bigger IEM Dusk should be considered. Much easier to fit correctly. I used them with symbio tips. I found that Dusk didn't change as much with different source. I mostly used them out of Qudelix 5k balanced and ran them through Jot 2 also balanced. LESS sensitive than 3DT, they pic up hiss less but obviously still had to use low gain. Unfortunately I could not get time on the new IEMagni with them, since the loaner arrived when my dusk time was up.

    I was surprised how much I liked the sound sig on these. They seem a bit set back and mellower and not so in your face. I never found 3DT "SHRILL" until I listened to dusk a couple days. When swapping back I could see/hear that more clearly they are a tad "SHRILL" I also thought the Dusk sounded a tiny bit sleepy in comparison. If they could meet in the middle it would be perfect for me. I could own and live with either and be quite happy though.

    Sub bass was a tiny bit more than 3DT but I think 3DT does better quality and delineation of different lower frequency better than dusk.
    Treble/Highs were tastefully done on Dusk maybe slightly set back and less exciting but in a good way. I love cymbals and it's usually my major issue with IEM, no issues with Dusk there.

    Mids are hard for me to describe, I'm more into music than vocals and I never can quite pic up how differently vocals can be conveyed through different headphones and IEMs unless its really obvious like some others here. I can't say anything stood out vocally for better or worse on either IEM but I had no glaring issues with either as far as vocals go.
    I listen to rock, prog, metal, blues and jazz mostly and really search for good analog recordings. Stuff like Hot Rats and Moving Pictures and Among the Living were great on both for what its worth. From electric violin to keyboard synths and horns to crunchy drums and electric bass were all great on Dusk. It was a toss up between both IEM depending on what I listened to.

    One place where 3DT pulls ahead a bit is perception of stage or the ROOM. Things like Axis bold as love from Hendrix (the recent mastering that was on SACD) and the first Sabbath album (Japanese sacd 2010 or early cd masterings) you can hear the equipment vibrating and a sense of the space they were playing in. First Rage against the machine album also. Dusk doesn't feel real closed off or anything, I think 3DT sounds wider and a little taller. Transients and Decay is sort of a toss up. I suck at hearing things quickly and need time to live with stuff before I can really say. I think speed wise they are similar, nothing jumped out at me that was way faster or slower.

    I guess what I can say is I did not like KXXS or Starfield much. Dusk and 3DT are the first IEM that give me a more headphone like quality. I mostly listen to Aeolus and HD650 and always dreamed of getting something closer to that sound on the go instead of what most under $200 IEM sound like.

    One thing that's dumb is the way the filters are applied on the Dusk, if you switch tips a lot you'll be ordering some extra screens or coming up with your own solution. Not sure how common this is and is probably viewed as insignificant to people that like to mod and have seen tons of IEM.

    I appreciate the opportunity to hear Dusk and if there was a crazy sale or a used pair for a deal I would probably buy a pair eventually. Supposedly there's another version of blessing 2 coming soon if I read things correctly in other places. Should be interesting.

    Thanks SBAF I will try to hone my writing/impressions skills for future. Not really good at it I can take a beating though so please feel free to make fun of me as much as possible !
     
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  6. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Read what I discussed on the B2 before reading what I think about the B2 Dusk.

    I thought the B2 Dusk would be much better for me after hoping for more subbass and maybe a slight reduction on 3k. After using them....I actually prefer the regular B2.

    On my setup (PI2AES to Coax > BF2 > IEMagni and Shanling M3X) I was happy with the subbass increase over the B2 at first. After a while, the increase of the subbass was a little too much to the point for me it was overwhelming the mids. While I was also happy with the minor dip of 3k , I think the 3k dip plus the increase in subbass was making the vocals slightly too laid back for my taste. Some will prefer this on more modern recordings and very mid-focused recordings, but the subbass was just tiring me out after awhile. I guess I prefer the DD driver being more tight on the B2. If you like rumble, then B2 Dusk will have more of that over the B2.

    The increase of the subbass did not mean the bass textures were better, it was just more "air" in the lower end. Everything else other than the subbass adjustment and the minor 3k dip is just about the same on the B2.

    If you value more subbass for your music and don't mind slightly lesser energy on 3k, then B2 Dusk is for you. If you are more of a neutral guy and you don't have any issues on 3k (which it can be an issue for me, but it depends on the IEM), then regular B2 would be better for you.

    Still....it's a hell of a value of a $300+ IEM for both variants on the B2.
     
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    Last edited: May 30, 2021
  7. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    They have a new product coming soon with EST drivers in the top end and a new low-end driver. Hopefully it helps bridge the gap technically and sonically where everyone has made comments. A little more extension and more natural top-end wit a tighter / more detailed low-end. I believe it is coming very soon with a new name also. I'd snag it up, but the IEMagni sucked up my fun monies.
     
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  8. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Blessing 2: Dusk vs Blessing 2

    upload_2021-6-13_10-33-29.png

    If the standard B2 is a neutral tuning, and it is, then the Dusk is a downward sloped tuning. While it might not look to be that much more in measurements, the Dusk bass simply is much more prodigious sounding when compared to the B2. It’s still the same bass quality, just a lot more of it. The Dusk bass boost is a pleasant one, and centered deeply, but the over-damped feel of the bass is now much more noticeable than before. While the Dusk brings some more potentially desirable rumble, it further exposes the limits of the driver and its configuration. Ultimately it will come down to preference here, if you desired more bass than the B2, then perhaps the trade-off will be a welcome one. For me, it’s a bit too much.

    The B2 has a very transparent midrange that has fantastic resolution. For the most part, the Dusk follows suit; with acoustic music the differences are pretty minor, in busier music with higher recorded bass, it can be a little overshadowed at times.

    My biggest complaint on the standard B2 is the slightly sharp and raspy treble with some songs. The Dusk does a good job of taming this aspect but I can’t help but think it’s tamed just a little too much, particularly when mated with the amount of bass the Dusk has. That being said, the Dusk treble is well done; would have been nice to marry Dusk treble with the standard B2 bass.

    All in all it’s a solid alternative for someone looking for frequency response adjustments, to add more color, to the standard B2.
     
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  9. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    I wonder if this is a consequence of the way the venting is done. There's no front vent, the bass driver instead having an outlet tube that's split into two, with the main branch going forward to the nozzle and the other feeding back into a chamber at the rear of the earpiece which connects to the rear vent. This might cause some phasing issues or pressure variations that could have funky effects on driver excursion...?
     
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  10. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    This is something I definitely would like to understand more of with dynamic drivers. In contrast the Dunu EST 112 bass just sounds more effortless, airy and natural. Then there is EX1000 bass...
     
  11. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    Just got the Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk. I'm going to go against the grain, or at least the early impressions, and simply state that these are not for me. I don't think this comes as a surprise for anyone who knows my preferences and my specific pinna / concha inverse transfer function that my brain performs. IEMs can tend to be more problematic than headphones because they completely bypass the pinna and cocha, so certain assumptions need to be made with respect to tuning and what works for one person may not work for another. However, if you live the tonal signature, from a cost point of view, the Blessing 2 Dusk is very good.

    The bass quality seems fairly clean, but it seems I'm missing some nuance and a bit of oomph as would be expected from a DD. Reproduction of low-level information and last octave air are lacking, but this is perfectly acceptable given the price point. Tonally, this reminds me of a Drop x JVC FD0X with two exceptions that make it worse: BA timbre and lack of warmth.

    I don't mean to say the Blessing 2 Dusk doesn't have bass. I most certainly does have bass and overall bass volume seems on par with CFA Solaris (maybe a bit more in the low and sub-bass registers). However, the sound signature lacks warmth. (I almost wanted to say lacks body - I couldn't quite figure it out for a while). There's a depression somewhere in the upper bass which lends the Blessing 2 Dusk to a sense of clarity. Some sound engineers call this the cloud region after all. I'm sure others have heard this effect before with closed or semi-closed headphones where the lows may be voluminous with a dip around 200Hz. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, I found it distracting, especially with some of Tony Levin's work on bass. (Tony Levin makes Flea look like a flea).

    The upper mids were somewhat elevated for me. Although not my preferred frequency response, with DD drivers like the JVC, I could stomach it. With the BA drivers here, I could not. To summarize, I echo what @Rockwell said above: "Chi-Fi neutral".

    DSC00001(2).JPG

    Measurements will be provided in another thread, to be posted later tonight: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...essing-2-dusk-measurements.11101/#post-350968

    P.S. What's up with this? Seems kind of sexualized in a weird way.
    DSC00002(1).JPG
     
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  12. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma Facebook Friend

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    That's... anime Crinacle.
     
  13. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    Ahhh. I much better understand now. The IEM comes with a waifu.
     
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  14. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    OK Marv, I'll be the dummy. What is a waifu? Anything like the Waif look, started by Kate Moss?
     
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  15. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Claud, you may regret asking. :) BRB, getting popcorn.
     
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  16. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Modern escapism in the form of imaginary anime girlfriend(s). I wish I was joking :D
     
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  17. Ronion

    Ronion Rando

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    You can’t be serious? Can’t be.
     
  18. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Thank you Baten. Is it just old me, or is the world getting crazier and crazier?

    BACH TO IEMs:
    You guys want an IEM to listen to Led Zeppelin, Tool etc? Get yourself a CA Dorado 2020. Best I have ever heard. I keep one just for those times I want to remember the good old stoned days.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
  19. Tachikoma

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  20. scapeinator1

    scapeinator1 Once You Go Black You'll Never Go Back

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    I don’t think I have much in the way of new observations about the sound signature of the Blessing 2 Dusk, so I’ll talk about how it lines up with my personal preferences mostly. I listened with my RME ADI-2 DAC -> Jot, Sony ZX300A, and Zen DAC -> IEMagni.

    My ears are very sensitive to upper mids and treble when it comes to IEMs, which is why I usually listen to warmer sounding IEMs. My favorite has been the IER-M7 for a very long time with the Andromeda S as a close second. I appreciate how well-tuned the Blessing 2 Dusk is, but I don’t prefer it to those.

    I think that the IER M7 does a nice job with the upper mids keeping them mild and inoffensive while not making me feel that detail is being lost. I’ve liked that I can basically listen to any genre on it and it always sounds decent even if certain genres could benefit from more detail retrieval. The Andro S has a similar sound signature but with a rebound in the treble that helps again with the sense that not too much detail has been lost.

    When you look at Crin’s or Marv’s measurements there is apparently a bit of a boost in the upper mids compared to Nair or the M7. And this boost in the upper mids pushes it beyond what I prefer. Guitar plucks and the vocals on “Wonderwall” (Oasis) sound a bit aggressive/edgy with the Dusk even though I get that some may consider this more accurate. When I listened with my IEMagni setup, I did notice that the upper mids were a little bit less offensive, but it’s just not that easy to listen to bad 2000’s pop punk with the Dusk unfortunately. I don’t mean to scare people away from the Dusk though. I don't think most people would perceive the upper mids of the Dusk as too much.

    I also share some of the mixed feelings expressed about the bass. I agree that it could be toned down a bit. There were a few times when listening to tracks like Porter Robinson’s “Get Your Wish” or Haim’s “The Steps” when I thought the sub-bass a little bit too prominent. Again, this is a personal preference rather than a deal breaker. I sometimes do appreciate sub-bass uplifts because they can make electronic music enjoyable on neutral-esque IEMs like the Bastille Sig without disrupting how other genres sound. They can also make drum hits sound weightier. This implementation did somewhat alter the character of bass drums hits to be a bit too sub-bassy. Perhaps the answer is what shotgunshane suggested with just retaining the original Blessing 2 bass. This may just be limit of the components used though.

    Even though I am pointing out some nitpicks, I think the product is good value if you find the sound signature agreeable. It has noticeably less BA timbre than the IER-M7, and it is significantly cheaper. There will definitely be a subset of people that would love this tuning. It has fun bass and good detail retrieval for a decent price.
     
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