Reviews of Moondrop Starfield and Blessing 2 (+ Illumination) Moondrop Starfield Single Dynamic Driver MSRP $109 The Starfield is what I would call a warm and smooth take on a neutral signature. While it’s more neutral than most stuff out there, it’s not exactly a reference type tuning. Bass is pleasantly boosted over neutral without sounding bassy. It’s got really satisfying punch and rumble. Mids are natural, with slight heft to my ears, and sit well in the pocket drawing your attention in. Treble is just a little under neutral for an ever so slightly laid back and forgiving presentation. Tonality is great; it’s very natural sounding. Staging and resolution on the other hand are just average, yet somehow this is a plus- the Starfield just lets the music wash over me without constantly analyzing everything. Instead I’m thinking, man that song was great, I wonder what’s next on the random rotation. Aesthetically the Starfield is a very attractive IEM. The shells appear to be the same as the Kanas Pro but with a blue/purple metallic paint instead of a metal finish. They have a matching blue/purple braided cable. It definitely contributes to the outer space vibe. Accessories are minimal and not really worth going into detail; regardless its a powerful package for a mere $109. You couldn’t touch this quality for under $400 back when I first joined Head-Fi. Starfield vs JVC FDX1 Source: Modius>THX 789 Starfield with Ortofon tips; JVC with Ortofon tips and green filters Bass on Starfield hits harder and rumbles louder. However, the FDX1, while leaner down low, hits cleaner with more precise texturing. This is where the FDX1 really shines; some may find it too lean but it’s tight and detailed, and the more pleasant and full bass of the Starfield is a bit soft and hazy in direct comparison. A more technical dynamic driver bass meets a more fun and full dynamic driver bass. The FDX1 just sounds leaner and faster. Rock guitars have more bite, more attack. In comparison the Starfield sounds a little richer, thicker and more laid back in the upper midrange to lower treble transition. While it doesn’t have the same rock guitar bite and attack, it’s still very satisfying, yet always maintains a pleasant demeanor. On the Starfield, male vocals carry a little more weight and gravitas, and feels closer to the listener, whereas they are lean and clean on the FDX1. On female vocals, the FDX1 has more energy and transparency but Starfield still has plenty of energy in my estimation, yet seems smoother and more pleasant without sounding too deep and chesty like typically warmer or stage oriented IEMs. The FDX1 can give you chills one moment and the cringes the next. Starfield is just in the pocket, serving you listenable hit after listenable hit. Neither the FDX1 or Starfield are very airy sounding. Never the less, the FDX1 comes across as brighter and less forgiving due to it’s peak in the upper mid/lower treble area. When it comes to staging, both are fairly similar in width, height and depth. Their biggest different is in the Starfield sounding closer to the listener and the FDX1 sounding somewhat further away. The FDX1’s driver seems faster- faster transients, with less decay/rebound time, which translates to higher resolution and better imaging, but the difference isn’t night and day; more incremental. While the FDX1 betters the Starfield in technicalities, the Starfield pulls ahead in its ability to pleasantly satisfy and never offend song after song after song. Moondrop Blessing 2 Hybrid: 1 Dynamic and 4 Balanced Armatures MSRP $319 The Blessing 2 has a fairly unique build. It’s a 3D printed acrylic housing that appears to be solid throughout. It’s polished to a very clear and attractive finish. This version has stainless steel faceplates but it appears colored wood is available as well. The overall look belies it’s modest price. The nozzles are pretty thick and smooth, so using after market tips might be an issue keeping them on. Luckily the stock tips are very good and seem to be custom molded for the nozzle. The cable is copper braid that is very soft and pliable with low memory and boutique looks. The Blessing 2 is a neutral sounding in-ear; it is a reference type signature. It has a very slight bass boost over diffuse field flat that is centered in deep bass. The result is a natural, yet neutral sounding bass with very good extension. It has impact and rumble when called for but is never over accentuated to my ears. While very nimble and quick sounding, it’s lacking a bit in texture compared to the best dynamic drivers, resulting in a slightly over damped sound. The midrange is, again, neutral sounding; it’s clear, transparent and biases neither lower or upper mid. Thin recordings will sound thin; thick recordings will sound thick. Treble is mostly balanced with the rest of the spectrum, with the exception of a slight peak between 8 and 9k. While adding sparkle and a hint of brightness, it can sound a little sharp with some music. Key words here are slight and little; it’s mostly in control but can be annoying at times. Compared to its cheaper sibling, the Starfield sounds warmer and bassier. Starfield has more overt low bass texture but it sounds slower and softer compared to the more controlled Blessing 2. Male and female vocals on the Starfield have a hair more heft and the Blessing 2 has a hair more energy in upper mid and a bit more transparency overall. Blessing 2 is crisper up top, less forgiving but more resolving. If there is natural sibilance in the recording, it’s going to be more noticeable on the Blessing 2. Both are similar enough in staging with the Blessing 2 diffusing out from the eyes and ears a bit bigger overall. Where the Blessing 2 pull away and begins to earn it’s more expensive price tag is in layering, separation and imaging. It’s placement is much more precise. There’s more space between the instruments. Micro details are easily more evident. Whereas the Starfield is more blended and organic sounding. Blessing 2 vs JVC FDX1 Source: Modius>THX 789 Blessing 2 with stock tips; JVC with Ortofon tips and green filters FDX1 bass is slightly elevated over the Blessing 2. I has a bit more punch and rumble, as well as more noticeable and tangible texture. Even though the level is a little more elevated on the FDX1, Blessing 2 bass feels a bit denser. Perhaps this is damping effect I mentioned earlier. Male and female vocals are eerily similar; with male vocals the FDX1 sounding a little richer and Blessing 2 having a bit more transparent energy in the upper midrange for female vocals, as the FDX1 pushes its peak a little higher into the transition to treble. Perhaps the FDX1 sounds a hair nasally in direct comparison. Both have great rock guitar bite and crunch but the Blessing 2 definitely sounds a little more tonally correct here. Once we move beyond guitars into cymbals and high hats, the FDX1 has a bit better brassy timbre and more natural decay. However it’s peak that pushes into the mid to treble transition can create a masking effect over top end detail, obscuring it just a bit, as well as creating some occasional harshness. Conversely, while the Blessing 2 8-9k peak sharpness negatively affects timbre in direct comparison, however it is also noticeably more resolving in the treble region. While neither are going to be known for satisfying soundstage junkies, the Blessing 2 does sound a little more spacious over the FDX1, particularly in width. Much like with the difference between the Blessing 2 and Starfield, those difference are also noticeable here, in that the Blessing 2 is more precise in its imaging and layering and has more space around individual instruments, compared to the more blended FDX1. Overall the Blessing 2 is just a more resolving in-ear, except in bass texturing where the FDX1 has the slight edge. While I was disappointed by the older Kansas Pro, possibly due to the overzealous hype it was receiving at the time, Moondrop has hit it out the park with both the Starfield and Blessing 2. Value, in my estimation, is through the roof for both models. In an era where it seems in-ear pricing continues to escalate, Moondrop is if offering fantastic sonics at fair and affordable prices. Both the Starfield and Blessing 2 are going on the recommended list.