tl;dr: It’s better than Aria!
- The box is smartly designed, making the IEM seems more expensive and somewhat more “designed” than other budget IEMs
- The ear pieces have less complicated finishing comparing to Aria
- The ear pieces are as heavy as Aria
- Cable is soft, though not very well behave. Still, it is better than Aria’s stock cable
- Spring tips are pretty nice. It’s rare to see wide-bore tips that are not flimsy
Impedance 28 Ω 土15% (@1khz)
How much does it cost to experience truely good sound? As Chi-Fi manufacturers hone their craft, the bar seems to be lowered with every new release. That brings us to Chu, the latest offering from Moondrop. I blind ordered Moondrop Chu the first minute the page was online at Hifigo. However, due to whatever logistical madness, it tooks weeks until I received the unit. Miraculously, I managed to ignore all impressions, reviews, and that ever popular video from Crinacle to avoid bias. Now, the unit is here. How is it?
Tuning-wise, Chu sounds like what you would expect from a Moondrop IEM: mid-forward and generally natural. It graphs very similarly to Blessing 2 and Aria, and does not hit my target very well.
Midrange is well done. Its ear-gain starts precisely at 1kHz and raises 10db steadily to peak at 3kHz, so no surprising honkiness or nasally tone. The midrange (vocal, accoustic guitar, etc.,) is pushed closer to you, allowing you to hear them clearly. I did not hear any unusual harshness that is not already in the mix.
Bass-wise, it’s alright. I did not find anything to complain, but not super impressed either. It’s no Zen Pro or E5000.
Regarding the “air” frequencies, Chu is quite natural in both quantity and quality. It would not reveal extra details in the decay and reverb of the sound but it’s not lacking either. Personally, I want more energy from 15kHz up to mimic the interesting outer-most layer of soundstage on 64 Audio IEMs with TIA drivers.
Soundstage-wise, it is also as expected from a Moondrop: wide but not very deep. The deep dip after 10kHz to a natural drop-off of high frequencies creates a good illusion of the sound expanding and fading into your surrouding, contributing to the width of the stage.
Because midrange is pushed forward (louder) whilst lower-mid and bass is pushed backward, the whole sound stage seems to exist on the same plane rather than wrapping around you.
The position of the plane (closer or further, in- or out-of-head) depends on how a song is recorded and mixed. Most of the time, you can expect in-your-head center image, but elements on far left and far right popping out of your head. If you like this presentation, then it is excellent. If you want vocal to be further from you (a.k.a., diffused center of Andromeda, 64 Audio IEMs), then it is still not for you.
Technicality / resolving / resolution is something that needs to be praised. Gone is the fuzziness around notes and unstable stereo images of Aria. Chu sounds clean and clear. It might be due to the shift of the peak from 2.5kHz to 3kHz, or much extra energy at 6kHz, or might be due to a better driver design. Because of this added sharpness, I don’t quite mind the closed-in staging of this IEM, comparing to its siblings like Aria and Blessing 2.
Chu is a good IEM, and I would not attach backhanded compliment “for the price”. Whilst it is not the immersive, “holographic” IEM that I look for, I’m thoroughly okay if I have to use this every day.
Great job, Moondrop! Now, please take this driver and make a new Blessing.