You know, I love Moondrop in-ear headphones. And finally, the company released several full-size models, we will talk about the oldest of them today. It is immediately interesting, because these are open planar headphones . At the exhibition in Munich, I didn’t have much time to familiarize myself with them, but fortunately, my colleagues gave me the opportunity to do it now in the comfort of my home. And, given my penchant for hospitalization, which has worsened recently, this is all the more appropriate.
So, the stated cost of Moondrop Venus is $600. In its current small line, it is the flagship. We are promised the implementation of serious technologies, premium quality and luxurious sound. Let’s see, let’s see. The first emotions I had were pleasant, but time will tell whether my opinion about the new product will not change after long testing. To the point.
The model is delivered in a huge box, the reliability of the packaging is beyond doubt. On the cover, in addition to the characteristics and frequency response graph, there is a detailed diagram in a section with all the details.
The equipment of the first Moondrop planars is extremely modest – an adapter for the 6.3 connector and 2 cables. One is quite simple, with a 3.5 plug, in simple fabric insulation. Acoustically absolutely mediocre. The other is more audiophile, with a 4.4 Pentaconn plug, braided, made of monocrystalline 6N Litz silver-plated copper. The sound is noticeably cleaner, but the transparency is also not exemplary.
I would recommend both wires for replacement, the standard 3.5 headphone connectors allow you to choose any option for an upgrade. Although I give it credit, the included balance cable is generous. If you don’t ask the obvious question: where is the cover? A case with a solid frame? Bag? At least a bag? In 2023, even the more budget-friendly full-sizes usually offer something for storage and transportation, if only marginally so.
Also a somewhat controversial point. Moondrop Venus look thorough – large, massive, strong. The aluminum body has a good assembly, the pattern of silver grills on the bowls is intricate and neat. There are a lot of slots, the headphones came out really open. But it was their external design that seemed rude to me personally. I think it will appeal to those who like brutality.
Venus are quite heavy – about 600 g. This is expected for planarians. The leatherette ear cushions are soft, but not particularly loose, the headband is self-adjusting, the pressure is not too strong. For me, the landing was rather uncomfortable – not annoying, but not lulling with magical comfort either. However, with my Focal Utopias, I am used to this. So, during a long listening session, you will probably need a rest sometimes, and since the coverage of the headband is loose here, I would not advise you to dance in these headphones.
Features and compatibility
Frequency range: from 6 Hz to 80 kHz;
Sensitivity: 100 dB;
Resistance: 18 ohms.
One of those cases I refer to when I urge you not to believe the impedance numbers when it comes to full size models. It is important to check the requirement for reinforcement in practice. Moondrop Venus, despite the attractive indicators, in reality are tight on roll-out. They needed a desktop stationary, even a powerful Hi-Fi player gave a limited margin of volume and not the best bass depth. However, the open form factor already dictates home listening scenarios. But I also warned you.
The tech behind
Here the brand weaves a whole labyrinth of eloquent descriptions. Briefly listed: 100 mm diameter and 2 µm thick diaphragm, 1 µm pure silver circuit board instead of copper, magnetic grid of 36 N52 neodymium magnets, unique internal cavity with integrated structure made of durable CNC machined aircraft aluminum alloy, patented combined technology high-frequency waveguide phase alignment that minimizes distortion, secondary diaphragm voltage compensation technology. Here I mentioned the famous Fazor waveguides in Audeze iso-dynamos . I’m not so excited about these waveguides, by the way, but that’s okay. The frequency response curve of Moondrop Venus corresponds to HRTF, and the non-linear distortion is less than 0.05%. It’s time to find out how mature the result was. If you have finished reading and are still awake, let’s move on to the main thing.
The handwriting in Moondrop Venus is crystal clear, precise and informative. A lot of attention is paid here to microcontrast, the nuances are carefully outlined, they stand out in relief thanks to a good dark background. In general, the picture pleases with a tactile gradient of textures – the hardness of the base, the pleasant return when touching the strings, the velvety iridescent notes, the elasticity of ringing bursts. This variety is limited only by the resolution resource corresponding to the price class, but among its direct competitors, the headphones show a more decent level. Their acoustic picture is transparent, saturated, the parts intertwine flexibly and dynamically. The melodiousness gently and casually draws you into the musical plot, the coherence of the instruments skilfully conveys the drive, while not tiring with excessive assertiveness.
Despite the model’s talent for working with small details, the composition here is perceived symmetrically and holistically, which is a plus. In fact, I’m not even used to seeing Moondrop’s familiar signature style in full-size – sleek, slightly cool, colorful, ever-so-slightly aesthetic. Previously, I heard it exclusively in the company’s IEMs, but in the new product it is combined with larger images and a wonderful stage. Personally, this is a positive experience for me, because the brand’s approach to sound tuning is close to me.
In terms of tone, Venus is even, neutral, barely illuminated, but, in principle, every part of the range in them has a convincing expressiveness. Genre-wise, they are omnivorous, but they are picky about the quality of the material and the potential of the source. However, with a successful synergy, you won’t have to think about upgrading to more expensive headphones for a long time, you will get a very smart device. But remember that these are monitors. Their analyticalness does not seem overly strict, they compensate for it with a cheerful dynamic, and yet their temperament is direct and honest, and this is not necessary for everyone.
The bass is linear, restrained, non-aggressive. Their percussiveness is not forced, do not expect a rolling roar from them, but the rhythmic line is read without problems. Although I would say that the multi-layered variability characteristic of planarians is not expressed enough here. The firmness of the sabu, the composure and the expression of the pancho could also be better. But there are no complaints about the depth and control of LF.
The midrange is a trump card. Detailed, elegant, airy. Their presentation is fast, technical and legible, created for fans of crystallinity, not imposing smoothness. The separation of parties is excellent, the contours are clear and distinct. The high-frequency sounds are slightly accented to increase emotionality, but they are not over-dried, they do not cut the hearing. The atmosphere of each track is revealed vividly and inspired. Women’s vocals are juicy, smooth and trusting, men’s – confident and natural. The timbres are reliable, devoid of intrusive warm harmonics. The width and three-dimensionality of the scene is beautiful, and there is an initial play of vertical holographicity.
High frequencies are sparkling, voluminous and spectacular. Articulated, but without synthetic loudness. They are characterized by moderate stiffness, there is also a correct delineation, while the palette of overtones is abundant and multifaceted, due to this, you can easily track various attacks. For the money, it’s not bad. Music is presented gracefully, with colorful brightness and iridescent shine. It’s really beautiful. Among the shortcomings, I felt that the length of the upper HF layers was not enough. Well, given that I am the strictest judge of this spectrum, who would doubt it.
In the end, I come to an unexpected conclusion – there are a few issues with the Moondrop Venus in terms of packaging, design and ergonomics, but their sound really makes you forget about it. You know me, I don’t often make statements like that. Although it is better not to take my word for it and listen to the model yourself, I suspect that many will find here their ideal for immersion in euphoria. So, probably, the brand can be congratulated on a successful debut in a new category. Hi-Res to everyone.