Moondrop in-ear-monitor roundup: KXXS, Starfield and Kanas Pro
This installment is a spotlight on Moondrop’s KXXS, Starfield and Kanas Pro earphones. All three models are well built, have good ergonomics, and offer a good value to cost ratio. Rather than getting into design and features, this feature will focus on comparative sound quality.
Within the trio, Kanas Pro ($179 USD) is the least sonically nuanced but its tonality is easy to like. The top end is not as airy and sparkly as the Starfield or KXXS, so certain recordings can sound a bit congested. But its reigned in upper mids and highs means less sibilance and stridency and out of the three models, the Kanas Pro has the most organic and immersive midrange. For people who are sensitive to high frequencies, this IEM will not tire your ears. K.D. Lang’s “Ingénue” is a beautifully recorded album with a good deal of upper-mid and high-end energy. The Kanas Pro is complimentary to this type of production because it tempers some of the brightness.
KXXS ($190 USD) delivers the best detail and has the widest, most precise stereo image. Listening to the Weezer song, “Falling For You”, the instruments and vocals have a convincing sense of layering and separation. This IEM is sensitive and responsive to harmonically rich and complex guitar tones. Hi-hats and cymbals are presented with almost ruthless resolution. Straight out of a phone, tablet or computer, the noise floor is a little higher on the KXXS, but with proper IEM impedance match, it’s fine.
Compared to KXXS, the presentation of Starfield ($110) is close, but slightly less etched. It’s a balanced and cohesive listening experience that defies its price. A bit bloomier in the lows and lower mids and smoother in the top end, its tuning is fluid, and for some, might be preferred over the more technical and analytical KXXS.
Each of these three Moondrop offerings sounds terrific. Distinctions between them are affected by the source material, DAC, headphone amp, and ear tips. As a general conclusion, the vibe of the KXXS is more akin to accurate studio playback. Starfield is quite similar but a tad friendlier and more forgiving. Kanas Pro evokes a more analog personality.
Pro Audio Times would like to thank Moondrop for providing these IEM’s for review.