Moondrop Stellaris Review

Moondrop Stellaris review featured

The Moondrop Stellaris is the first planar magnetic IEM from Moondrop. It features attractive alloy shells and a 14.5mm planar magnetic driver. The price is $109.

Moondrop Stellaris Review
Verdict
They might be pretty but the end result is pretty disappointing.
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Pros
Good detail retrieval
Speed and control
Fast, tight bass
Overall resolution
Cons
Horrible fit
Heavy shells
Dry middle and upper bass
Lacks a sense of rhythm
Upper midrange can get strident
3
Our Score
WHERE TO BUY

Moondrop Stellaris

Specifications
  • Driver configuration: 14.5mm Planar Driver
  • Socket: 0.78mm 2-pin
  • Sensitivity: 117dB/Vrms (@1kHz)
  • Impedance: 36Ω±15% (@1kHz)
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-50kHz
  • Effective frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz (IEC60318-4, 3dB)
  • Price: $109
Moondrop Stellaris design

Design

Stellaris boasts a starry sky theme on its exterior. The faceplate pattern is gold while the body of the shells has a sparkling deep blue colour. I think they look great and the build quality feels good.

However, these shells are huge and they are heavy. Combined with the extra-long nozzle, I find the Stellaris fits poorly and feels uncomfortable in my ears.

The stock silver-plated copper cable has a mixture of gold and blue wires that match the shell design nicely. There’s a circular plastic Y-splitter along with a gold metal chin slider. At the top are 0.78mm 2-pin connectors and the cable terminates in a 3.5mm single-ended plug.

Stock SPC cable

Sound

Moondrop Stellaris frequency response graph

As usual, we see an elevated sub-bass followed by a rapid fall-off in the middle and upper bass. This does a few things; first of all: if you’re a fan of bass guitars – sorry (I feel for you). Stellaris delegates mid and upper-bass notes to the back seat of the bus.

Case in point: Dr Dre’s “Let Me Ride”. Let Me Ride is a song driven by its bassline, where it gets its G-funk groove. Listen to Let Me Ride on the Stellaris and you’ll hear a weak, lacklustre bass guitar in the background. As a result, the song loses its rhythm and subsequently, a big part of what makes it great in the first place (which is that melodic G-Funk vibe).

This also carries over to the lower midrange and leaves male vocals sounding dry and lacking in body. Yes, it opens up the lower frequencies and creates an airy presentation, subsequently improving the overall resolution. But at the same time, it lacks soul.

Note weight is on the lighter side of neutral with fast transient attacks and rapid decay.

The midrange has excellent transparency and is very detailed and spacious. So, if you’re into technicalities more than tonality, you might find the mids appealing. However, beware of the upper midrange lift because it can make things shouty or even sharp.

Stellaris’ treble is precise and loaded with details. It’s resolving, crisp and extremely fast; maybe a little too fast as trailing harmonics and decays are cut off somewhat abruptly.

Soundstage and Technical Performance

In terms of technicalities, this is where Stellaris’ strengths lie. Detail retrieval is above-average and you can hear some micro-details that many other IEMs fail to pick up.

Both instrument separation and imaging are good and the driver maintains composure even during complex music thanks to its speed and control. As such, the soundstage is organized and quite spacious with no signs of congestion.

Closeup of the shell

Verdict

The Moondrop Stellaris comes with an attractive design. Unfortunately, the shells are large, heavy and uncomfortable. To make things worse, Stellaris has a dry, bright and unengaging tonality. If you prefer details over tonal balance, then you might appreciate Moondrop’s first planar IEM. But for my taste, the Stellaris is not something I would willingly spend a day with.

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