They are making more and more quality IEMs affordable
The Moondrop Chu is kindly supplied to the Subjective Review offices by Shenzhen Audio and can be sourced via this link or copy and paste
Shenzhen do a price match and I can personally vouch for their integrity and professionalism. In short – if you like the sound of these from this here article – you know what to do. Go pay your respects to Shenzhen Audio ; you’ll thank me for it!
This is currently for sale in the non mic wired version for a crazily low £16.31!
I don’t think most customs people are that concerned about such imports…
All you have to concern yourself with is the question – should I part with my hard earned money? And that is precisely why you have come here! Let us get down to business…
Moondrop are a company I am well familiar with. I have reviews out there of the Blessing 2, Sparks, Quarks and Arias. All of them I have raved about. Moondrop, among a few really good Chinese Audio companies out there, seem to constantly find ways of producing really decent sounding IEM’s. They have done a beryllium TWS with aptX – the Sparks – and the Blessing 2 is an easy recommend for top end IEM sound quality, muscling into territory occupied by the likes of the Meze Rai Penta. The Quarks were tiny things, but the goods were there – they did their duty and performed with all their heart, for a price next to nothing. I was offered a Chu and had a notion that they would build on the reputation already fostered by all those others I’ve heard.
The Chu is another tiny IEM. It is a single driver dynamic. It has extremely high sensitivity, it has very low impedance, which should hold no surprise given its diminutive dimensions. This means that the Chu is ridiculously easy to run. The driver shells are made from zinc alloy, not plastic. The Chu has a fixed cable. It is an unbalanced 3.5mm design. The driver is a dual cavity design. The diaphragm is titanium coated. The tuning is aligned to Moondrop’s VDSF curve, an in house measurement utilising a real World approach to what makes music sound great. I have exclusively used the Chu in my Samsung A52 smartphone, which has a 3.5 unbalanced jack.
The unboxing experience
Is a deeply emotional part of the bonding process with your precious new purchase. It has to be right. It has to feel special. First impressions last – that expression has stood the test of time, which has an irony to it – I understand that. When you unpack your audio gear, you start with either a positive or negative experience, based on what you can immediately see and feel. If that experience is negative, it ultimately sows the seeds for a potential return – no company wants that! At the risk of people shouting “foul play!” and “bias” I am gonna put it out there – Moondrop are the leaders in achieving that initial WOW factor. No one does it better. There; let the dice fall as they may. I’ve put it in print. Moondrop know what makes the customer come back for more. A couple of little extras ; they needn’t cost much – they just demand a little imagination. It is really nice to give you a chance to see me unwrapping an item. It is as close to the experience you will have, should you choose to go the same way. I have been extremely busy lately, and my knowledge of the Chu was only that it was a new budget IEM. Beyond that, I do not look at reviews and only look at Shenzhen’s info when the product has arrived. I am trying to give you my personal opinion rather than regurgitating someone else. Originality is what you deserve. My opinions are mine; they are not derived from any other source. I stand by my opinions once they have gone to print. This is not borne from arrogance. It comes from the want to give you, the reader, a different perspective from that of other articles or videos you may come across. From your research, you will find what you need, if there are even a few out there like myself, you should get a broad spectrum of opinion from which to establish a knowledge base within which you can make an educated decision on what your next buy will be.
I was wowed by a few things when I unwrapped the Chu. I was impressed by the artwork; tasteful, elegant, cute, and distinctly Moondrop. I was pleased to see that the IEMs looked so Moondrop, with the splashed gold decals across a softly shaped metal shell. I was impressed with the finish of the cable. It interweaves reds and blues and greens, I could gush but take a look at the video if you’re not with me. Let me say this again – it’s a £16.31 IEM! You’d got me at the cable! There’s much more to these. I cannot be anything but impressed by the look and feel of the Chu, but I haven’t got to the bottom of the box. They have included a case – to a £16 IEM! What’s more, it isn’t a cheap and cheerful type, like we see all too often, even on some of the more expensive earphones – companies – you know who you are, and you should hang your heads in shame! The case has a bit of Chinese writing on it – to my ignorance I don’t know what it says (but I’ll try and find out) and is a soft black felt/cardboard affair. It has a strong popper so it traps the Chu reassuringly inside.
To help you get the thick cable (thicker than I expected it to be at this price) under control, they’ve thrown in a velcro fastener. There are £1000 IEMs I’ve reviewed that haven’t got one of those. These are £16 – did I mention that before? The Chu didn’t come with tips already attached, as is the industry standard. Instead a cylindrical black box contains a set of 3 eartips. Astonishingly, they’re not cheap, flimsy tips! They’re spring tips. A soft, thick silicon outer with a thick, more rigid centre. The tip is such an important part of an earphone, and how many countless times have I improved the sound exponentially by replacing them with better ones? Not needed today folks. Moondrop have your back when it comes to tips. £16……
I have one more thing to reveal on that unboxing – during my search for tips, I found an innocuous plastic bag, containing a set of silicon ear guides.
I wasn’t expecting that, either! In for a penny in for a pound, I threaded the cable through them and sacrificed some of the overall aesthetics in favour of the prospect of a more secure fit.
In which I shall relay my adventures with fit, build and sound quality.
The Chu is a tiny little thing and, whilst it does have the pebble shape it doesn’t have the sharper edging to get under the flaps of the outer ear lobe. The earhooks help pull the Chu into the sweet spot, presenting it at the right angle to the ear canal entrance. I won’t bleat on about this; those that have visited here before know how much importance I attach to the sweet spot being kept firmly in place. The need for constant micro adjustment from a restless fit gets as boring as hearing me state the need to nail this, as a make or break for an IEM. I am pleased to say that , for the times I have used the Chu, I put it into the entrance to my ear canal and forgot about it. I am grateful for this and never want to be complacent about the fit – I customise my own, ill fitting IEMs, and I know how hard this is to get perfect. So far, so good, Madame Chu. But what of the build?
In which I describe the cosmetics as well as the reinforcements and any imperfections I can found, so as you don’t need to look for them! I like the look of these; gold lacquer, on a pebble shaped black surface, with a reassuringly thick cable. Looking closer, the fixed cable has subtle, rubberised strengthening near the drivers, a nicely etched Moondrop plate by the V split,
and plenty of ribbed protection at the jack. The cable is much more than I’ve yet seen on a budget model. It looks so nice, is thicker than the standard fodder you’d expect. It’s much thicker. And those colours were entirely unexpected.
I could find nothing untoward in my scrutiny of the Chu; as I expected from Moondrop, it has passed the QC test.
The best has been left until last. If you’ve already watched my video, you already know this. I was gobsmacked by the sound check! There is viscerality with the bass response of the Chu. Yet; it has no bloat. Did I say that right? Yes, I will stick with this statement – at £16 – we have decent bass that you can feel, and it’s fast. Does the bass intrude into the mids and mess things up there? No. It doesn’t. The response of the Chu is linear. I describe my first listens to all types of tracks on my Samsung A52 as a pleasure; no matter how low a bitrate I threw at the Chu, it responded with valour and presented me with a sound stage and linearity that are more of the real of the £100 IEM and have no place in a £16 IEM. It’s a scandal! I could listen to this sound signature all day – that comes from someone who has been lucky enough to have every type of headphone or IEM you could ever imagine. I have listened for long enough and with enough kit to know what good is. The Chu is better than that noun – it is GOOD! Vocals are easy to follow, there is no ringing in the upper mids or highs, there is low frequency excitement that I was not anticipating. The CHU stays loyal to the VDSF curve and what more can we do than sit back and appreciate the success of this dedication to the truth – fidelity.
Moondrop – please don’t change. I wholeheartedly recommend this for those who want to experience music the way it’s meant to be heard and don’t have a huge amount of money. You will be rewarded…..