Moondrop Venus Review
MoonDrop has made their name producing several rounds of innovative IEMs. In the summer of 2022, however, they announced their intention to move into the headphone market. I was very intrigued to see what they could come up with considering how well they have done in the IEM market.
Introducing the Venus is a solid introduction into the mid-tier planar market where Hifiman currently holds residency. Overall, I think they came out swinging. From the self-adjusting head strap to the art deco style grills, I think they have put out a good complete package for the money.
The build overall feels quite substantial and yet very “no-nonsense.” The headband feels very sturdy as well as the cups. The self-adjusting headband is reminiscent of some of the Dan Clark stuff which I enjoy. I think it ends up fitting my head better as sometimes I want to be in-between notches on certain headphones. The material itself for the headband is a little lack luster but overall feels sturdy and doesn’t create any hotspots. The pads on the other hand feel quite lush and premium. They opted for perforated interior on them, and they breathe quite nicely. Between the large amount of swivel on the cups, the self-adjusting headband, and the plush pads they are extremely comfortable. My only gripe is I think they could have covered the screws where it all joins together, but at least its accessible should you need to adjust anything.
Going off of that is how easy they are to open up. Simply slipping off the pads grants you access to the mirror finish on the drivers with only the magnet array to cover them.
One thing I think they tried to do and have executed is great driver matching. I feel like there are a lot of companies at this price range and up that don’t do as good of a job. I mean it feels like they are hand matching these drivers in an attempt to make a great first impression and let me tell you they succeeded.
When I first received the Venus, I was really in the mood to listen to So Below. Her album left behind has been in heavy rotation for me lately. Specifically, listening to the song “Us” on Venus was a great first introduction. While the Venus may not have the most elevated bass it is extremely linear. Which at least for me I quite like. What they do very well is provide a nice punchy, fast low end. The synth that lays over the whole track provides nice weight to the mix and the Venus capture it well. The tuning reminds me a bit of Hifiman stuff with linear-ish low end and slightly bright top end.
Switching paces a bit I moved on to “Emotions and Math” by Margaret Glaspy. I first saw her Tiny desk performance and was instantly struck by her vocals. The rest of her sound is a bit like an edgy version of 70’s singer/songwriter stuff. On the Venus, her unique vocals come off quite well. She has so much texture in her voice that some headphones don’t pull it off correctly, but the Venus seem to do so. Her voice is well positioned with the rest of the instruments. However, the midrange of the Venus comes off a bit clinical but with quite stunning resolution at this price range. There seems to be a bit more resolution in the mids than in the rest of the frequency range. The heavy guitar riff that starts of “Situation” on the same album shows this well. Its very detailed and you can hear the picking of the strings.
“Take Five” by Minoru Muraoka on his incredible album Bamboo points out a few issues I have with Venus. This album for me is notoriously hard to get right for treble. I mean you mostly have cymbals, pan flute, and lap harp. On this song its easier to tell that the Venus is a bit bright but I still quite enjoy the overall tuning. The treble overall is not too fatiguing but without being as crisp and defined as I would necessarily like. The soundstage is fairly wide and the instruments are separated pretty well. What I really noticed is that the imaging and layering could be a bit better. There really isn’t a lot of depth presented in general which on this song is quite noticeable.
Overall, I think the Venus is a really good first contender for Moondrop to enter the Over-Ear market. I think the tuning will be bright for some, but I enjoyed it. They have fantastic resolution for headphones in this price range, and tonally they are very accurate if only a bit clinical in presentation. The only real negative I had with them was the lack of real imaging and layering abilities. However, for the price I think they are fantastic headphones and I hope to see more out of Moondrop in the future after such a strong offering.