Today we have another product to show you from the Far-East; the Moondrop A8.
If you’re reading this article, you probably are familiar with the name “Moondrop”. Also, their Kanas Pro model might ring some bells here as that has been quite a popular Chi-Fi item lately. We did not get a Kanas Pro sample to review, but we have the A8 model which is currently the flagship model from the -now emerging- Chinese company.
Moondrop is a very mysterious brand. I searched many times for info before writing this review. But unfortunately all I had were some links to external stores that sell their IEMs. Only when I went deeper, I discovered their Official Website. Yet, the page lacks information about the brand, and even when you switch to English the page is still mostly Chinese.
Faithful, passionate, enthusiastic. Dedicated to sound quality.
There’s also an Official Moondrop Store on Aliexpress, which contains all of their products. They also share all of the news and content on their Facebook page. So I’m afraid I don’t have any information about their past and background, but we might have some info about them in future reviews.
The Moondrop A8 is the company’s assertive Mid-Fi to Hi-Fi IEM which contains 8 Balanced Armature drivers. The setup is as follows:
- 2 Knowles CI-22955 Dual Low Frequency BA Drivers
- 4 Moondrop Custom Mid-Frequency BA Drivers
- 2 Moondrop Custom High-Frequency BA Drivers
From a company which has been known for releasing budget IEMs, this was a surprising model.
Moondrop claims that they aimed a new target response curve for the A8, based on the “Harman Target Response”, and “B&K4128 Diffuse Field” for modern recording and sound optimization. The idea here is to emphasize a wide sound stage and a very transparent high frequency response.
Those are of course strong words, and we will check the sound on the second page. But first let’s take a look at the package and the IEM itself.
The Moondrop A8 arrives in a very authentic box which was quite surprising for me. The box is a rectangular one and it’s made from wood. I surely like this original approach from Moondrop. You slide open the upper cap and then the originality continues. You’re welcomed with a small painting, which looks like an anime character to me. This is quite a different presentation of a product, but very unique as well.
When you take out that paper you reach the IEM and the cable, as well as 6 pairs of silicon tips. You also get a carrying bag in a light brown color. The earpieces are stored in zippered bags separately, which is thoughtful and smart in terms of transportation. Overall it doesn’t look like a supremely premium package in terms of appearance. Yet, there’s a certain otherness in this presentation which I really like. However you should be aware that all of the paperwork inside the box are written in Chinese, should that be important to you.
Design & Build Quality
This is a very straightforward yet elegant and clean-cut work from Moondrop. The IEM obviously is fully transparent with clean acrylic material. I don’t know about you, but seeing through all the drivers and technology inside the IEMs is a very cool thing for me. You can argue they could’ve chosen at least a different color or design for the face plate area, but it still looks pretty nice.
The build quality is very impressive. Moondrop claims that these are all handcrafted. Therefore, they can only build 3 sets a day at their maximum working pace. The earpieces are very clean and there’s not the slightest mistake or flawed area inside. There’s only a small glue residue on the right earpiece, on top of the bass drivers. That’s the only thing that I could find, and that’s not even obvious at first sight.
The 2-pin sockets are not recessed but they’re perfectly crafted. Usually you see a square plastic part attached to the pins inside the shell but that’s not the case with the Moondrop A8. The pins sit there solely by themselves, and the only thing you see on the outer shell are two small holes to plug the pins of your cable in. I don’t know how they managed to do this but this is certainly impressive.
Speaking of the cable, I’m not particularly impressed by it. To be honest it looks and feels like some cheap cable which comes together with budget Chi-Fi IEMs. When I think about the beautiful craftsmanship, assertive driver configuration and sound quality that this IEM has, I think it deserves a better quality cable. Especially, the design of the cable is not done in a complementary fashion. In short; the earpieces look premium, but the cable looks cheap.
Actually, the cable is a partnership product by Lyre Acoustics for Moondrop. However it’s not a special or dedicated cable I assume. You probably can find it online quite cheap. So it’s kind of a let down for this type of product for me. The same cable also comes with the Kanas Pro, which obviously is a budget IEM.
Nowadays we see a lot of universal IEMs with semi-custom designed shells, and the Moondrop A8 is one of them. Especially the inside of the shell reminds me of the FiiO FA7. So overall, I expected a good fit and isolation from the A8 and that indeed turned out to be true.
The A8 is one of the most comfortable IEMs that I’ve ever used and it’s not just that. It isolates the noise perfectly for a universal monitor. It almost feels like a custom IEM with it’s flush fit and isolation. For me the real difference that the A8 puts on the table is comfort, though. I’ve experienced this type of flush and ergonomic fit from several universal monitors, but they usually make me uncomfortable for long periods of listening. Not so with the A8.
The supplied tips work great for me but you can always opt for some other tips from your inventory. I have several types of tips as well, but I didn’t feel the need to roll them with the A8, The IEM just fits so good that you just don’t search for anything else. A wonderful job.