Moondrop Dawn Pro Review

Moondrop Dawn Pro review featured

Today, I’m reviewing the Moondrop Dawn Pro dongle DAC. The Dawn Pro features dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chips and built-in volume controls. It’s priced at $49.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Shenzhen Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.

Moondrop Dawn Pro Review
Verdict
The Moondrop Dawn Pro is a great dongle DAC for people on a budget.
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Pros
Hardware-based volume controls
Compact and lightweight
Energetic, neutral sound signature
Soundstage width and height
Cons
It's hard to find faults at this price
4.6
Our Score

Design

The Moondrop Pro dongle DAC has a compact aluminium rectangular-shaped chassis with a smooth anodized matte finish. A series of perforations on the top of the unit allow for better heat dissipation, in addition to creating a viewing window for the internal LED indicator.

On one side of the device are the volume control buttons. What’s good about the volume here is that it’s hardware-level, meaning you change the volume on the device instead of your smartphone or source. There are 100 steps for volume adjustment for smooth and precise level control.

Unlike the previous Dawn model, the Dawn Pro comes with a detachable USB-C cable, offering improved longevity and customization options. On the bottom side of the unit are the 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced headphone jacks.

Internally, Dawn Pro utilizes dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chips, supporting up to 32/384Hz and DSD512. Moondrop dongles usually perform well when it comes to numbers and the Dawn Pro keeps this tradition going.

The distortion is a mere 0.0001% and provides 131dB of dynamic range. In terms of output power, the Dawn Pro pushes up to 120mW from its balanced output which is enough for most people’s needs. It’s recommended for headphones with a maximum impedance of 300 Ohm.

Moondrop Link APP

Moondrop’s Link APP has matured to version 2.0 and while it looks a lot more polished than previous versions, it still offers fairly limited options. Within the APP you can control the volume, switch between Low and High gain modes, select digital filters and turn the LED On and Off.

The in-built volume controls

Sound

Despite its low price point, the Dawn Pro provides excellent audio quality. The sound signature is relatively neutral but with a subtle boost to presence and intensity, which gives the music some extra strength and vigour.

With suitable IEMs and headphones, Dawn Pro’s drive adds a dynamic nature and Infuses a burst of vitality into the mix. Compared to my laptop’s built-in soundcard, the Dawn Pro widens the soundstage and gives a greater sense of height. Furthermore, it elevates the level of distinction, refining clarity and overall detail.

The black background established by the Dawn Pro further contributes to a cleaner audio canvas, allowing individual elements to shine with greater precision and articulation. This also reveals subtleties in the music, ensuring you don’t miss out on any details.

Select Pairings

To test the 3.5mm output, I paired the Dawn Pro with the KEFINE Klanar IEMs and Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro (250Ω) headphones. The Klanar is an efficient IEM and the Dawn Pro had more than enough power to drive it. The soundstage was wide and the sub-bass extension was among the best I’ve heard from a planar IEM. Furthermore, the Klanar’s excellent instrument separation was enhanced even more in this pair-up.

The DT990 Pro also performed well but there was little headroom left in terms of power output. The bass had plenty of body and texture and the highs were detailed and clear but not sharp. Vocals had room to breathe and were presented with a natural sense of depth.

Dawn Pro volume buttons

Verdict

Overall, the Moondrop Dawn Pro is a standout budget dongle DAC. It sounds great, offers both single-ended and balanced outputs and has onboard volume controls. Moreover, it’s lightweight and stays cool during operation. I’d say it’s one of the best dongle DACs in its price range and it gets my recommendation.

Recommended award
Specifications

Weight: 13g
Size: 42mm*22.45mm*12.39mm
Earphone Jack: 3.5mm single-ended 4.4mm balanced jack
Frequency Range: 5Hz – 82kHz (+1dB )
Noise Floor: 4.4mm:1.3μV (AES17 20kHz) 3.5mm:1.5μV (AES17 20kHz)
SNR: 4.4mm: 131dB(A-wt) 3.5mm: 123dB(A-wt)
Line Out: 4.4mm: 4Vrms 3.5mm: 2Vrms
Dynamic Range: 4.4mm: 132dB (A-wt)
THD+N Ratio: 0.00014% (AES17 20kHz, non-loaded)

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3 Comments
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Bogumil
Bogumil
8 months ago

whether it supports headsets? (smartphones)

TheAK-Kid
TheAK-Kid
8 months ago

$50, powers DT-990s, 4.4 output…
Is Moondrop making profit from this?

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