Deceivingly good look but needs work in the sound department.
The Moondrop Kanas Pro is a name that I have seen thrown around in discussions for quality chi-fi for under $200. For some weird reasons, I love the name.
The brand – Moondrop has this “worldly anime” vibe while the model name “Kanas Pro” further veil the fact that this IEM is made in China.
This savvy branding strategy carries through to its packaging, which we will come to later.
- »Good treble performance
- »Nice packaging and branding
- »Love the aesthetic of the chrome driver shell
- »Good quality cable
- »Comfortable over-the-ear memory wire
- »100hr burn-in
- »Weak bass
- »Mids lack intimacy
Although Moondrop was officially established in 2015, its founders were already designing earbuds back in 2014.
Moondrop uses a special type of material for their dynamic driver’s diaphragm – Diamond Lead Carbon (DLC). Information on this DLC technology is sparse and there are only two IEMs – Moondrop KXXS and Moondrop Kanas Pro.
They have a few earbuds model in their inventory like the CHACONNE, Liebesleid, VX Classic, and Nameless. (Who does their product naming??)
It’s quite rare to see manufacturers allocating resources on earbuds as the consumer market trends strongly towards in-ear monitors (IEMs).
Ok enough background introduction, let’s get into the review itself.
A muted black box with their Moondrop logo imprinted in the dead center; this Japanese minimalism theme struck a chord with me. The packaging is not your typical chi-fi flimsy cardboard box. The smooth matte material has a classy quality to it.
Sadly, the accessories include is pretty minimal too.
It comes with:
- A small cloth bag (too small IMO)
- S, M, L, XL ear tips
- A removable copper-clad aluminum wire (CCAW) cable with 2-pin to 3.5mm connector
- Chinese Manual
- And a card with a special instruction
The most eye-catching part about the IEM is, of course, the driver shell. This shiny chrome housing design seems to be a pretty popular choice of style recently. I have seen it on the Tin HiFi P1, iBasso IT01S and the TFZ No.3 (TI version).
The IEM also has a nice weighted feel to it which I like. If it is too light, it destroys the illusion of the metal alloy material and cheapens the perceived quality.
The braided cable is detachable and has a peach-silver color scheme going on. The cable thickness is just about right unlike the one on Tin HiFi T3.
The nozzle is of average length. I will prefer it to be longer (such as the KZ ZS 10 Pro) as it inserts deeper into my ear canal. Everyone’s ear is different, so this part is pretty subjective.
For the first time in a long time, the default ear tips did not fit me. I usually have better luck with this.
Bad signs of things to come??
I switched to the provided larger ear tips to get a better fit.
The over-the-ear memory cable is flexible and comfortable. It fits nicely around the ear without any discomfort, even after an extended period of usage.
As mentioned above, Moondrop recommends giving the IEM a burn-in of 100hrs. In their own words:
100hrs is a lot to ask for an average listener like me, and burn-in is a contentious topic. I decided to stubbornly pop the IEM in my ear, obviously giving no two hoots about the recommendation.
And the sound quality is…… meh. I will split this sound quality section into two parts – pre-burn-in and post-burn-in.
To be upfront here, my expectation of the Moondrop Kanas Pro is pretty high. It had to at least be on par with the KZ ZS 10 Pro or even better, given the wide price gap between the two. The positive reviews from the online chatters didn’t help too.
And needless to say, I was quite disappointed. The bass was lacking. The mids were recessed. The saving grace was the treble. The lower treble was bright and energetic. The upper treble wasn’t too shabby, but there was a conspicuous sonic artifact during the 2:39 – 2:42 part of the song (Rude by Daniel Jang).
- Sub-Bass reproduction is still weak.
- The mid and upper bass is present but lacks punch.
- In terms of bass performance, KZ ZS 10 Pro takes the cake over the Moondrop Kanas Pro.
- Given that the KZ ZS 10 Pro has to spread their budget over 5 drivers (4 Balanced Armature (BA) + 1 Dynamic Driver (DD)), I assumed the quality of the single DD from Kanas Pro would have been better.
- The mids sounded less recessed after the burn-in.
- But compared to the KZ ZS 10 Pro, the mids are less forward.
- Don’t be mistaken though; the Kanas Pro mids are still pretty decent. Both male and female vocals in vocal-heavy songs like Lost in Translation by Moria & Nieman sounded enjoyable.
- It got me grooving to Creep by Radiohead quickly, but I felt that it just lacks that touch of intimacy.
- The treble performs the best for the Kanas Pro.
- It is energetic and sparkles enough for me without becoming overly-bright.
- It was a joy to listen to classical music on the Kanas Pro.
- However, it could do better on the extension to hit the sweet spot for me.
- With regards to the previously mentioned sonic artifact, it was still present after the burn-in. I went back to KZ ZS 10 Pro, and if I strain myself hard, I could also make out the artifact. In comparison, the Kanas Pro was able to bring out that detail effortlessly.
- I’m not sure if that’s a great feature, but it’s just something that stood out for me.
- My gut feeling is that the quality of the recording is sub-optimal, and the Kanas Pro can reproduce those noise audibly.
The tuning of the Kanas Pro is not my cup of tea. The bass is not strong enough. The mids are just decent and slightly recessed. It’s a pity because I did enjoy the treble reproduction. The sound separation is pretty decent, but it’s hard to judge since the lows and mids have not much to fight over.
- Driver: 10mm DLC Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 0.035mm CCAW
- Driver Shell Material: Zinc-magnesium alloy
- Impedance: 32 ohms at 1 kHz
- Frequency Range: 20 – 40kHz
The Moondrop Kanas Pro was definitely below my expectation. Given that they are 3 times more expensive than the impressive KZ ZS 10 Pro, the price-to-performance ratio is sub-par. It does have its bright spot like the treble, but as an avid EDM and pop listener, I want a sound signature that is more exciting.
Moondrop might be great at branding and has invested in R&D to bring in new technology. But at the end of the day, only the sound matters.