I know that feeling. I have a headphone site idea I “started” 3 months ago… yeah, it’s nowhere.
Haha no worries. We appreciate everything you already do in the community! I look forward to the day it’s up and running, though.
I just swapped the standard silicone tips on my B2D for Spinfit CP155s. Never had good bass with Spinfits. But on the B2D I get a very nice seal, they are very very comfortable … and the bass is as good, if not better than with the standard tips.
I get the impression that I get more details in the highs too.
CP500 would also work. Just a slightly different shape.
SpinFits have a tip for everything. I have been leaning toward them lately on my iems as they are easy and balanced. Very nice. Definitely better than B2 included ones.
Have you tried symbio W’s. Some of the benefits of foam without the negatives. I liked them a lot too. And xelastec, of course.
I actually like the included tips with the B2D. So up until now I didn’t feel the need for tip-rolling on that IEM. But I got the Moondrop foam tips in and while I was changing tips anyway I tried the Spinfits too. Didn’t expect much, but they are surprisingly good on the B2D. They (cp155) never sounded good on other IEMs I tried them with.
Moondrop Starfield Review
Written by Chrono
Moondrop is an audio company that, at this point, probably needs no introduction. After all, it seems as though regardless of what price range you look at, you’ll find one of their IEMs as a top contender. In this review, then, I’ll be sharing my experience with the single dynamic-driver Starfield; which at its retail price of $109.99 makes for a very enticing entry point to the IEM market.
So, does it sound as good as it looks?
Sources and Music Used in Listening Tests
All the listening for this review was done on the Astell & Kern SR25. For the listening tests I used music from a wide variety of genres including Rock, Jazz, Classical, Acoustic, Hip-Hop, and latin. I played tracks from my own FLAC library as well as from Tidal Streaming Service (Master Quality).
Packaging and Accessories
Despite the Starfield being a fairly affordable IEM, it’s clear to see that the Moondrop cut no corners when designing the packaging for these earphones. The Starfiled comes packaged in a slender box, with a sleeve that depicts a starry night accompanied by the silhouette of what appears to be a manga-style character–very fitting for a Moondrop product. Getting past the sleeve, the inner box is decorated in blue with silver sparkles to match the Starfield’s aesthetic design. It may not seem like much, but it’s honestly great to see this level of attention to detail for an IEM at this price-point, as it makes for an user experience that you’d only expect from more premium products.
As for what’s inside the box, you of course get the Starfield IEMs, a 3.5mm to 0.78mm two-pin connector cable in blue (to match the Starfield’s finish), a black carrying case with gold “Moondrop Co.” text, six differently sized sets of silicone eartips, and some replacement dust filters for the drivers.
Build and Comfort
Undoubtedly, the Starfield stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to their build quality. The Starfield’s chassis seems to me as though it’s composed entirely out of aluminum, which makes them feel sturdy and inspires confidence that they won’t have structural problems any time soon. Then there is, of course, the Starfield’s metallic, blue-purple finish, which with its silver sparkle pattern creates a striking appearance with depth. Again, this makes the Starfield feel significantly more premium than what its price tag may suggest, and I’d love to see more companies showing this level of care for the presentation of their products.
For comfort, the Starfield has a very nice mold that fits very nicely and is properly contoured for the shape of the ear. Now, unfortunately, like the Blessing 2, the Starfield is on the larger side for IEMs, which may cause some fit issues for users with smaller ears. Additionally, because of the all-aluminum chassis, the Starfield is also fairly heavy. They’re not really fatiguing to wear, but after having been recently testing the IE 100 Pro, I definitely miss the smaller form factor and lighter weight of those IEMs when compared to the Starfield. So to sum it up, the Starfield feels remarkably premium, but it seems to come at the cost of some comfort.
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Moondrop Blessing 2, which at $319.99 serves as my IEM benchmark for frequency response and technical performance. Naturally, this means that I was really looking forward to trying out the Starfield and seeing just how close it got to the Blessing 2 at a third of the price. Additionally, I was interested in checking out how they would compare to the IE 100 Pro from Sennheiser, which I personally really enjoy and is in a similar price bracket.
For its overall sound signature, I’d describe the Starfield as being pretty similar to the Blessing 2, though with a noticeable lean towards the warmer side. The bass response on the Starfield has a full and present sound to it, whilst the midrange is rich and balanced. The treble, then, is where I think that Starfield can be a little… interesting… but we’ll get to that briefly.
The bass response on the Starfield is very nicely contoured, with an accurate depiction of low tones. The Starfiled has a very satisfying, harman-like bass shelf that really rounds out the bottom end by giving the subbass region good presence, whilst also bringing forth some of that deep, low frequency rumble. Compared to the Blessing 2’s bass shelf, I felt as though the Starfield packed a little more weight and warmth in the low end. This was something I really appreciated as it kept the bass very engaging, but also clean, as this elevation only started off at around 100-120hz. In fact, of the IEMs I’ve tried, this one might have my favorite bass response.
Despite enjoying the evenness that the Blessing 2 offered compared to some of the more mid bass centric Sennheiser IEMs I’ve listened to, I always felt as though it could actually use a bit more energy in the low end; and the Starfield offered just that.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much for me to comment on in regards to the Starfield’s midrange–they’re simply great.
Instrument and vocal fundamentals in the midrange are well represented on the Starfield, with an even and organic tonality that makes for some lush and rich midtones. Likewise, the presence region between 2-5K is neither forward, nor laid back, it properly highlights the overtones in that region; although every now and then it sounded to me as though 3K may have had the slightest emphasis on it.
Ok, so whilst I love the bass and midrange on the Starfield, the treble range is where it starts to lose its charm for me.
The highs here are very warm, and for my tastes and preferences they’re a touch too dark; enough to where I feel as though the harmonics that lie in this region just don’t come through enough to contrast the rest of the mix. This, for me, made the Starfield sound somewhat stuffy, or nasally, as it just didn’t seem to have that top-end glisten and brilliance.
Additionally, the treble region here seemed to have some unevenness to it. At around 5.5K in the lower treble, there was a subtle bump there could make the midrange to treble transition a little harsh whilst also introducing noticeable glare. Then, it also sounded to me as though there was a slight peak somewhere between 8-10K, which in combination with the lower treble bump, resulted in the occasional sibilance.
Personally, I don’t mind the treble being on the warmer side, and I know that some listeners will enjoy the more relaxed and laid-back highs. However, those narrow elevations that treble has, I found, could make listening experience (and to be fair it varied on instrumentation) just a little bit fatiguing, even more so than on brighter headphones, like the Blessing 2, or the IE 100 Pro.
For its retrieval capabilities, the Starfield, I think, delivers performance that is suitable for its price bracket. Of course, it lags behind the higher-end Blessing 2, but its internal resolution matches that of the IE 100 Pro. One comment I will make, is that I think that the darker treble region, and the lack of upper treble extension doesn’t really help the Starfield in sounding particularly resolving. That being said, though, for the bass and mid regions the Starfield feels well-defined and structured; adequately texturing the tones in those frequency ranges.
Soundstage, Imaging, and Layering
The presentation for the Starfield, I found, was pretty similar to that of the Blessing 2; very intimate and not particularly the most spacious one. Nonetheless, I think that its soundstage and image depth performance lines-up pretty closely with that of most IEMs; so whilst it doesn’t exceed my expectations, I wouldn’t say it performs poorly.
Again though, like on the Blessing 2, I’ll note that its imaging is not the most spectacular, as at least for me it felt as though everything was shifted slightly forward; so left/right sound more like front-left/front-right.
When it comes to creating a sense of punch and slam, I think that the Starfield performs better than most, even when compared to other dynamic-driver IEMs. The lows have a pretty satisfying kick to them, and they feel even more impactful than on the Blessing 2; likely due to the more generous bass shelf. Combined with the weighty snap and strike that it has in the top-end, the Starfield definitely makes for an energetic and engaging listening experience.
With its amazing build quality, its affordable-yet-premium user experience, its solid technical performance, and it’s good tonality, I feel as though the Moondrop Starfield brings a lot to the table for $109.99 and it should be a set to keep an eye on if you’re looking for an entry-level IEM.
Between the Starfield, and the similarly-priced IE 100 Pro ($99), I would personally gravitate more towards the latter as I appreciate its higher degree of comfort and the more present, but even, treble region. Still, the Moondrop Starfield is an excellent choice for listeners who prefer a warmer sound signature to those looking for a well-rounded IEM alike.
Excellent review @Chrono.
Great review @Chrono!
Thanks for posting this review.
I’m new to the headphone/iem scene and I don’t have all the ‘audiophile’ sound description terms but your experience seems to validate mine.
I bought the Startfiled because pretty much every review said it was in the top group of $100 iems and pretty neutral / close to Harman.
But to me it sounds ‘thin’ and sometimes glaring, even if I apply pressure to make sure there is a seal.
Since I have hearing loss I never know how what I experience compares to others with good hearing. Reading your review made me feel there is hope for me and maybe I can make my way through this journey.
Do any of you boost the bass on the Blessing 2 with a bass shelf? Since the DD driver is the same as what’s in the Blessing 2 Dusk, I figured it should be able to handle a bass shelf of +3 dB at 120Hz, no? Then it’ll match up close to the Dusk.
I just got my Blessing 2s yesterday and was a bit disgruntled when I learned of the existence of the “Dusk” variant
Looking at the measurements though, they weren’t all THAT different - just a few tweaks here and there. So I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you just try a bit of EQ to see if you can get closer to the Dusk tuning?”
Well, I haven’t actually heard the Dusks but the EQ I came up with should match pretty closely what I’m seeing measured, at least, and sounds pretty good to me.
Feel free to give it a try.
The Moondrop Starfield was already an incredible IEM for the price. With the Moondrop Aria, you get a much better cable and slightly better technical performance at a lower price. While I do not feel that the Aria offers technical improvements significant enough to warrant a purchase from existing Starfield owners, if you’re just getting into IEMs, you would be hard-pressed to do better than the Aria at the sub-$100 price point.
My full review, with measurements, additional images, and an in-depth comparison to the Moondrop Starfield, is available on my blog:
I ordered a pair from Headphones.com a week or so ago but have yet to receive a ship date. An anxious to get my hands on them.
Alright, interesting development in my experience with with Blessing 2.
I’ve been tip rolling like crazy to see if I can make them comfortable, and so far these guys are the best.
I guess this is a reminder to always keep an open mind lol.
Love them so far. Very strange size/ fit but I seewhy they are so highly regarded. I have never heard TOTL IEMs so this is the most expensive IEM I’ve tried. They do everything well.
The Aria is Moondrop’s latest in-ear monitor (IEM) and also one of its most compelling ones. It’s priced at just $79 USD and may dethrone their more expensive product lines. I guess in the world of IEMs nowadays, releases come out so often and so quickly, each one needs to one-up the next in both price and performance I feel like the Aria is one of those shakers.
First off, the Aria was provided to be by the HifiGo Store for this review. This product can be purchased directly from their HifiGo store at http://www.HifiGo.com or directly here: Moondrop Aria 2 2021 LCP Diaphragm Dynamic Driver In Ear Monitors IEMs — HiFiGo
The Aria has a similar but not quite the same look to the Starfield before it. It has a medium-sized housing made of aluminum, and finished with a matte black coating with gold lines across the face. The driver choice for this unit is a 10mm liquid crystal polymer (LCP) dynamic driver and there is a single vent on the inner shell.
The included cable is a fabric cloth-sheathed cable that is a tad stiff and easily tangled unfortunately. It has a nice feel to it, but I found it very unusable as it would knot up quickly. The Aria also comes with a series of tips and extra filters.
For those who have already listened to many of Moondrop’s IEMs, you’ll quickly feel right at home with these as the Aria is tuned to their standard house tuning that is quite similar to what you’d find in the Kanas Pro, KXXS, Starfield, S8 and others. This VDSF (Virtual Diffuse Sound Field) tuning they came up is similar to the Harman IEM Preference target, however having a warmer low-end and tamer upper-midrange. It’s a very pleasing sound overall, and the Aria may actually have something extra that was missing in Moondrop’s other sub-$200 IEMs.
First off, I have not listened to the Starfield before, so I won’t be able to do direct comparisons, though I hear this model is quite similar to it. I have owned both the Kanas Pro and KXXS however, and the Aria is very close to how I remember these two sounding with one key difference: upper treble extension!
Yes, one of the main drawbacks of my beloved Kanas Pro was that it felt very roll-off in the treble range. It was a very laid-back tuning, that was wonderful to listen to for hours, but did not necessarily sound complete or airy. The Aria, from a tonal balance perspective, has this. In fact, its treble extension is perhaps borderline a little too elevated. I can see some people perhaps finding it a little too bright up top, but I think its quite manageable even on my most cymbal-attack gauntlet of music.
The bass on this unit actually can be at times a lot more than I expect, especially once I found a good fit and seal with SpinFit CP145 tips. I was listening to “Begins Againers” by Scott Mulvahill and the amount of bass slam was surprising. I don’t know if I remember the Kanas Pro or KXXS hitting as hard. This particular song is a rather simple one, with male vocals and an acoustic stand-up bass guitar and hand slaps, so the bass strums really stand out.
I then pulled up all the graphs of the Moondrop series, and I do show just slightly more sub-bass levels on the Aria, though I’m not so sure that is completely accurate due to coupler changes, or if it does in fact show what I hear. That said, all of these are tuned with more bass than what I’d consider a neutral reference, though I don’t find the level of bass to be over done or muddy. In fact, it’s quite enjoyable and provides a good mix of fun and warmth, without sounding too forced.
On the same track as above, “Begin Againers”, it was pretty evident that the Moondrop Aria’s technical capabilities are limited, especially when it comes to texture, layering and just pushing out more definition in the resonating harmonics of each bass guitar strum. When I put on the Unique Melody MEST, it was a night and day difference in these abilities to resolve and show fine micro-details. The Aria’s bass guitar sounds were just smeared and more one-noted, despite both showing similar bass quantity.
It’s not a totally fair comparison since the MEST is upwards of 15X the price of the Aria. When I compared the Aria to something more along its price category, like the Thieaudio Legacy 3, it’s bass quality was improved. The Legacy 3 isn’t the best at resolving capabilities down low, so it’s a trade-off for cramming more drivers into budget unit.
The staging of the Aria is surprisingly pretty wide. It’s not nearly as deep and wide as the MEST, but its on par with the Hidition Viento in width, though does fail in depth, which I think the Viento does well. Going back to the previous thought though, the Viento’s bass quality is just a tad better than the Aria. Its bass is driven by balanced armature drivers and not a dynamic driver, and so it doesn’t have that natural resonance that I love about DDs, but I still find it better than Aria’s. But again, this is a $1000 IEM and comparing it to something that is $79 is a bit blasphemy.
The Aria is something of a weird product in my opinion. It redefines Moondrop’s product lineup because it perhaps outclasses it’s IEM collection up to $300 (Blessing 2 beats it handedly), yet cost only $79. Moondrop took the winning recipe of the Kanas Pro and made the KXXS, and then cheapened it with the Starfield, and then essentially took that and made it even less expensive. Trickle down manufacturing at its finest here?
I really enjoyed the Aria, and can easily recommend this one at its price point. I find it’s tuning to be very easy to pick up and put on music of any type. It has a great balance with a nice level of bass, extended treble and a mid-range that isn’t too soft, but not overly warm either. It’s not the most technical IEM out there, but its really pleasing and solid.
Check out the Aria on the IEM Graph Tool: http://iems.audiodiscourse.com/?share=Antdroid%20Target,Aria
First post here, but thought I’d share my recent experience with the Blessing 2s in case it helps anyone. After reading a number of reviews I decided I wanted to try a hybrid iem and this sounded like an interesting one. After I ordered, I learned about the Dusk and then everything I read after that seemed to pinpoint the failings with the B2 (lacking bass, harsh upper mids etc.) and I was hating it before it even arrived. When I first tried it, it immediately sounded harsh and I quickly added some EQ to up the bass and reduce the upper mids. That felt better at the time, but I was still feeling it was l too harsh and every couple of songs it made me cringe with sibilance. I don’t know if it made any difference but I was originally listening balanced from a new Shanling UA2 and later abandoned that (too awkward) for the UP4 via BT (first balanced and then back to the stock cable single ended). After originally thinking I’d archive them, I persevered and slowly eeked away the EQ as I adapted and now I love them (without EQ). I don’t believe in burn in particularly, but there is definitely a mental adjustment to make. Now when I compare them with my HD650s the HD650s seem to have recessed mids and lack clarity. I know they don’t lack clarity, but it just shows how my brain has adapted to the new signature. My previous go-to iems were some Fearless S6Rui and a reshelled custom TrippleFi 10, so I was used to the more pronounced bass. I think my initial feeling of harshness was because I was trying to play them at the volume where the mid-bass was what I was used to, but that was pushing the high frequencies to unhealthy levels. To anyone who has bought and regretted buying the B2s, just be sure to give your brain enough time to get used to them and they are fantastic. I would probably have gone for the Dusk if I’d have known about it, but in many ways I’m glad I didn’t as that would just move it closer to everything else that I have, rather than making it unique.
Great first post, and welcome to the forum. Your experience serves as a great lesson to everyone getting into this hobby, and even some of us that have been here for a while. I’m glad you’re enjoying your B2’s!
Ahh yes, the ageless soliloquy… “ B2 or B2D ?? THAT !!!.. is the question: whether tis’ nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous treble, Or to turn ears towards a sea of bass, and by opposing choose one. ( just for and giggles…I’ve heard neither one. Just artistic license or stupid ramblings, your choice) I plan on getting one of the two.