Moondrop KXXS REVIEW

Visiting Shanghai CanJam was the highlight of show visits last year as it was my first ever visit in China. I was excited to meet the attendees and companies attending the CanJam Shanghai. The opportunity for me was exciting and I could not believe the products produced for personal audio. The Chinese people who were at the show were hospitable and shared their enthusiasm and love for music.

The Chinese attendees were mostly young music enthusiasts who love listening to digital players, phones, and IEM’s. On display were many companies, some familiar to me in the US, and many that I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, and with the help of my two Chinese guides Dylan and Tom I was able to discover and meet Moondrop CEO Herbet Zheng.

Moondrop KXXS

Listening to the Moondrop KXXS at the show I was amazed at what is possible with the single driver that Herbet Zheng is using in his in-ear monitor designs.

Many companies use multiple drivers to achieve musical transparency and insert a crossover to get everything to provide a musical sound. Many times, there are issues in getting all the drivers to act as one. Herbert’s approach with the KXXS was to design a single driver without a crossover using one good driver that would achieve musicality. I was impressed with my listening session and amazed at what I was hearing, so I asked for a review sample.

Shenzen Audio sent us the $189 review sample, and I been listening and yes even comparing sound quality to my expensive custom multidriver in-ear monitors.

Design

The Moondrop KXXS is a single driver design that uses a diamond-like carbon transducer. The 32-ohm impedance has a 110 DB sensitivity making it easy to drive with all portable players and phones, The frequency response is 20-20,000Hz, making it as good as a full range speaker.

Moondrop KXXS

The wiring is high-quality Litz silver-plated 4N-OFC and uses the standard 2 pin insert found in many IEM’s. The diaphragm is listed as diamond-like carbon and PEEK material for transparency with the 10MM electric transducer.

Moondrop KXXS

They come packaged with a carrying case, and tips in various sizes that make this $189 package attractive for most people looking for a complete package. The outer casing is a unique shape aluminum casing that looks sharp and is polished.

Listening

I was using the Astell and Kern AK 240 which has over 800 albums of music in every genre. Listening to Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden’s masterpiece “Waltz for Ruth” showcased both the midrange and bass. The sound is was vivid, with an excellent balance between the two musicians.

Metheny’s guitar was alive and detailed allowing you hearing each individual note, and Charlies Haden is behind Pat in the studio with little spacing between the 2 musicians. This well-recorded sonic masterpiece is loaded with inner detail and musicality. I was amazed at the quality of sound that the KXXS was procuring while playing this tune. The sound of Metheny’s guitar was exceptionally transparent and listening clearly showcased his style of playing and made his guitar come to life. Haden’s bass notes were detailed with excellent venture and space with air between the two musicians reproduced exceptionally.

Eric Clapton’s “Wille and the Hand Jivefrom “461 Ocean Ave” is a dynamic recording and gets your body moving and has a Rhythm and Blues feeling with Clapton’s vocals and guitar work showcased.

The KXXS never missed a beat and showcased how good the soundstage was in producing space and depth. The soundstage created excellent imaging of the musicians and was wide and deep.

The midrange was outstanding, and the bass was impactful and made the performance exciting. Turning the volume up, I was impressed that the carbon driver that never missed a beat. The sound was balanced and never anything but musical. The KXXS were able to keep me focused on the music and the sound was sensational.

Kid Rock’s “Born Free” another great track with his vocal having outstanding clarity The driver was fast and kept up with the Kid’s delivery of the rock tune and kept my body moving. The exciting dynamic performance was flawlessly reproduced and created a magical listening out of my head listening experience.

Train’s “Drive By on “California 37” is another track that is fast rock and roll with excellent performances by the band and was a big hit for Train. The song is dynamic and the vocals are crisp and exciting.

Pat Monahan’s vocal was live and fresh, and he kept up with the band’s quick beat, and the KXXS once again delivered a believable performance from this track and once again kept me focused on how good the sound was. The impressively balanced midrange had excellent bass and pristine clarity in the high frequency that was always musical. Fantastic sound with an out of the head soundstage — impressive balanced performance.

Classical music is challenging for any speaker to reproduce effectively. Listening to Paavo Järi conducting the “Cinncinati Symphony” on “The Firebird Suite” is a spectacular performance and when reproduced with good gear is one of the most exciting listening experiences I have heard.

The layered soundstage was wide and deep with excellent spacing. The orchestra was layered and the soundstage was exceptionally recreated. The fast diamond-like transducer was able to recreate the performance in its entirety with excellent dynamics. The KXXS delivered the full performance without a hitch and created an unforgettable listening experience.

Final Thoughts

The KXXS with its flagship diamond-like driver is a unique and well designed IEM that delivers exceptional performance and musicality. Whether I was listening to large scale recordings or small jazz music the KXXS always impressed me in that an IEM that cost this little could deliver performance that competed with custom-designed IEM’s that were ten times more expensive.

Herbert Zheng is a gifted and talented designer who loves music, and it is evident in the creation of the Moon Drop KXXS in-ear monitors designed for music lovers who appreciate music and want excellent sound at an affordable price.

The KXXS priced at $189 is an exceptional IEM that is exceptionally built and the sound is incredible and addictive. Many listeners who listen to this remarkable design by MoonDrop may find as I did this is one terrific musical in-ear monitor that leave little if anything out of the performances. Herbert Zheng has designed a monitor that is exceptionally transparent and is able to recreate music accurately with a transducer that is balanced, alive and dynamic.

This exciting inexpensive IEM is beautifully built and insanely good at this price point. If you love music and want terrific sound at an affordable price you need to audition the MoonDrop KXXS flagship and see what is possible in single-driver design. Amazing and Highly Recommended.

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Frank Iacone

Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.

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