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Moondrop Chu IEM Review – Elite Neutral

Moondrop, the brand is based out of China is a well established brand among the Audiophiles and has a big name among the competitors. They have a wide variety of collections in their catalogue ranging from budget like the spaceship, SSR, SSP  to top dogs like the Kato, Starfield, KXXS, Variations, Blessing series etc. Moondrop has a unique in house sound signature which is more on a Harman side with their special effects which is more pleasing and engaging on the ears.

The Chu being their latest budget offering priced at 20USD in this review let’s check out how this performs against the competitors.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Model |  Chu high-performance dynamic earphone
Material |  Zinc alloy
Driver |  10mm high-performance dynamic driver
Diaphragm material |  Titanium-coated
Sound coil |  0.035mm ultra-fine black CCAW 
Magnetic circuit |  N52 neodymium magnetic
high-performance internal magnetic circuit
Acoustic filter |  Patented anti-blocking (anti-imbalanced) acoustic filter
Sensitivity |  120dB/Vrms(@1KHz)
Impedance |  28 Ω 土15% (@1khz)
THD |  THD@1KHz≤1%
Frequency range |  10Hz 35kHz (IEC61094, Free Field)
Effective frequency response |  20Hz -20kHz (IEC60318-4, -3dB)

DESIGN AND FIT:

The design of the Chu is an oval shaped design fully constructed out of Zinc Alloy giving a nice premium feel on the hands. It has a good amount of heft on the hands shows the quality process that this underwent. The ear tips that they provided are the pricier spring series tips which alone will cost you half of this IEM price if you purchase it separately! The ear tips are very comfortable and excellent in terms of the seal and stability it provides. 

The cable is on the mediocre side where they are non detachable with some microphonics while rubbing along with the shirt. The colour of the cable however looks cool with that multicolour look.  The termination is 3.5mm with a L shaped connector for convenience. 

The provided carry case looks interesting where the material that they have used to produce this seems to be from a recycled material minding the green earth. They look cool and practical too but definitely not wear resistant though like a leather case. The ear hooks also have been provided for added convenience in case you are in the group of having bigger ears to stabilize the Chu.

SOUND:

The sound of the Chu reminds me of the Final Audio E1000 with added brightness. The E1000 was so relaxed at the same time it’s detailed enough during listening while the Chu is more engaging, a bit aggressive on the treble section and more lively.

The bass here is more on the neutral side while the mid range and the treble section are the shining aspects here in this Chu. The tonality being on the neutral side sounds more natural. The treble has been boosted a bit hence the string and the cymbals strike harder. Technical aspects are a bit superior too. Let’s discuss the details in the following sections.

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BASS:

The bass in the Chu is the weaker aspect as per my testing. They are pretty good in terms of control and speed but miss on the weight, slam and the body. The bass notes sound duller due to the weaker aspects of the bass section. The sub bass seems to be null in this Chu while the mid bass is mediocre. The sub bass rumble can be felt only when the track calls for it and that too in some prominent tracks while the mid bass lacks the overall body hence the overall sound appears thinner and lighter. 

The control and the speed seems to be on the right spot while the slam and the weight is the causative factor here. The Titanium drivers are supposed to be great on the bass aspect but here it’s not happening this time. The instrument separation and the clarity in the bass section feels nice and clean without any noticeable congestion.

Overall the bass region is lighter, faster and it could have been better if the slam, weight and the body has been improved. Moondrop could have used the full potential of the Ti drivers to unleash its powerful bass.

Chu + FiiO Q3 (Bass Boost) = Better Bass presence

MID RANGE:

The mid range in the Chu is more on a neutral side with one of the best representations of tonality in this price range. They appear pretty clean and neutral with natural vocal response. The timbre of the instruments appears to be natural too with some added brightness. The instruments are neatly laid out with an immense amount of space in the presentation.

The vocals are placed at an appropriate position where it’s neither too front nor too laidback rather it’s at a sweet spot. They are not aggressive on the face instead they are quite engaging and pleasing too. The piano notes and the acoustic strings sound natural but lack a bit of body due to that weaker bass. However the presentation felt clean and well separated thus the mid range lovers would definitely like this a lot. 

Overall the midrange is pretty clean and transparent in the Chu, reminiscent of that Final Audio E1000 with some added engagement factor. The notes sounded thinner due to that weaker bass but overall the presentation felt more cleaner and open with nice stage presence along with that pleasing tonality and natural timbre of the instruments.

TREBLE:

The treble section in the Chu is the striking aspect here with some top tier detail retrieval in this price segment. The extension in the top end is nicely done with more engagement and the open sound of the Chu helped in giving a wonderful treble experience. The sparkle in the top end is executed well while the shimmer and the brilliance factor are also brought out with great execution in the end. 

The cymbal crashes and the trumpets attack and the decay seems to be longer than the usual timing but still they sound pleasing and that extended timing gives that nice treble presence in the top end. Considering all these in mind, Chu still managed to avoid the Sibilance at all cost which is a pretty surprising thing. The electric guitar strings in the Chu felt more engaging and natural without any harshness. There is a noticeable treble boost in this Chu but that will only help in recreating a nice treble experience and not in the way to fatigue your ears. The detail retrieval in the top end is just magnificent for this price and do compete with some top tier dogs out there.

Overall, the treble section is well detailed, open, spacious and bright enough without causing any noticeable fatigue to the ears.

TECHNICALITIES:

STAGING: The staging in the Chu is on the bigger side both in terms of width and height. They represent a nice and wide grand presentation without causing any congestion within the tracks. The instruments are well separated out giving room for the vocal to be displayed out. Overall the presentation felt grand enough with spacious room for the play.

IMAGING AND LAYERING: If one thing I could ponder upon is this technical aspect. The Chu is just a master at this in this price segment. The imaging and layering are fantastic. The placement of the instruments appears to be precise and even in the busy tracks they can be easily spotted out. The vocals along with the instruments are layered out very well where the separation between them feels stellar. The notes one behind the other are represented very well with no congestion.

The channel sweep and the transition feels pretty smooth and no stutters have been observed. Overall Chu is a technically able IEM and it’s pretty interesting to see that the budget segment is getting more mature.

The detail retrieval and the separation are stellar with one of the best treble responses that one can get in this price range after the Heart Mirror. The high is extended well making the details pop out like popcorn. A well executed technical aspect.

VERDICT:

Chu, the latest budget offering from the House of Moondrop is a well executed package with top tier technical aspects. The Chu is priced at 20USD and at this price there’s nothing out there to match its beautiful treble and the well executed technical aspects.

The sound of the Chu is neutral to bright with more emphasis over the mid and treble section. The bass being on the lower side they feel non engaging and lacks the weight despite the use of the Ti drivers which is known for its powerful bass response, hence the bass lovers would want to stay away from this. The mid range however is excellent in terms of natural reproduction of the sound. The tonality and timbre being very natural and neutral helps the Chu in providing a nice engaging sound. The presentation feels grand and wide enough. The treble section is extended well with great detail retrieval and instrument presentation. 

The technical aspects are the star show here where the imaging, layering and the staging appears to be excellent. Precise instrument placement, well layered notes and the grand presentation makes this Chu a definite buy.

The build is a positive aspect here where most of the earphones in this price would have a plastic body while Moondrop went in premium way by providing a nice zinc alloy construction which really feels premium on the hands and has good heft representing the quality of making that underwent. The stock ear tips the best that you can get from any earphones out there. The spring series eartips alone will cost you high if you purchase separately making this Chu a worthy buy overall.

Overall, Chu is a money worthy product with excellent neutral to bright sound added with top tier technical aspects like imaging, layering and staging. The build is top notch and that stock spring ear tips are an added bonus one. Chu is just an ELITE NEUTRAL at this price and it’s a must buy to add up in your audiophiles collection.

PROS AND CONS:

Pros:

  1. Neutral Signature
  2. Imaging, Layering and Staging
  3. Tonality, Clean Presentation
  4. Detail Retrieval, Lively Vocals
  5. Build and Spring Ear Tips
  6. Price

Cons:

  1. Leaner Bass Section hence lean notes (Solved via Hardware level Bass boost)
  2. Non detachable cable

This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C

KATHIRAVAN

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I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.

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Shubham

Shubham

Shubham Garg (Editor Shubz.in) is an engineer with a specialization in Mechanical Engineering from AKTU, Uttar Pradesh. Being a mechanical engineer he has always loved to learn the inner working of various machines and consumer electronics. He regularly tests various audio, home appliances, and daily use products, to provide the best advice to readers. He is a wizard that can make your shopping easy, saving you time and stress of figuring out what to buy.

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