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Moondrop Quarks IEM Review – An Unveiled Gem

Moondrop, a famous and well established brand in the ChiFi market has already launched a wide variety of products ranging from budget to premium category. The KXXS and the Blessing 2 are highly praised earphones by the people for their exceptional sound quality. Can the brand give the same high quality sound in the budget range too? In this review lets see whether the Quarks is a major GO or a DOWN.

DISCLAIMER:

This unit has been provided to me by Cloris Gee from SHENZHENAUDIO in exchange for my honest opinion on them . This review is completely based on my experience with this unit and I have not been influenced by anyone to manipulate this review by any means. The experience may vary from person to person since it depends upon the source and the gears used to test it out.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Frequency Response : 4Hz-43kHz(IEC61094, Free Field)
Effective frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz(IEC60318-4, -3dB)
Sensitivity: 116dB/Nrms (@1khz)
Impedance: 16Ω+ 15% @1khz)
THD: <1%@1kHz
Configuration: High performance 6mm micro-dynamic driver
Material: PC

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PACKAGE:

The package is very minimalistic, neat and pretty small too. The outer box is black coloured with the Moondrop Logo on the top. Opening the box, there is the IEM itself securely placed in the cardboard tray while the cable is neatly tucked below the tray. There is a card to teach you how to wear the earphone which is quite funny. The carry pouch is also included which is quite fine and nothing to describe about it. The eartips are included inside the carry pouch which is pretty generic. Overall the presentation is neat and simple. A very good move to reduce the cost of the earphone.

DESIGN AND FIT:

The design of the Quarks is pretty minimalist and simple. The whole body is made of transparent plastic where the internals are pretty visible. The size is pretty small and tiny as a bee and has only the space to accommodate the tiny 6mm micro dynamic driver. The nozzle is average in length and has the lip for the tip placement. The nozzle is however pretty wide but the stock tips are not that wide hence the tips insertion in the nozzle is pretty difficult. 

With some innovation they designed this Quarks differently claiming the design as the Closed anterior cavity micro dynamic driver IEM. This is quite the first time that a brand goes towards this approach where the anterior cavity is closed pretty much thus providing a great isolation from the external noise. The isolation of the Quarks is pretty decent and with correct eartips and seal you can achieve what the brand claims.

The small bullet shaped design is very comfortable to wear for a longer period of time and a good earphone to listen to music while sleeping since this shape doesn’t interrupt the head position. 

The side of the earpieces are graphically mentioned by giving the red quarks logo on the right side and the black quarks logo on the left side which is a pretty nice touch. When the eartips are fitted the earpieces appear smaller than the eartips! Overall a pretty excellent fit and design

The cable is however okayish for the price. It’s a non detachable cable with a nice splitter with branding over it. The termination is L shaped and the cable is very microphonic. The texture is kind of sticky but overall the thickness is pretty good. It would have been even better if it was a detachable cable.

SOUND:

The sound profile of the Quarks is pretty neutral. Nothing is boosted or tamed thus providing nice smooth and natural sound. The 6mm composite magnetic micro diaphragm dynamic driver is able to deliver all the enough details from the track and pretty good enough to make this compete in this ultra budget range. The overall sound may not be the giant killer but for the price this thing just shuts down the sound of other competitors. IN this review let’s see in detail about the sound.

Source: iPhone + Zorloo Ztella MQA + FiiO Q3

The Quarks is slightly power hungry where with normal sources the volume needs to be pushed very high to attain the listenable level of sound and with some powerful amps this will be benefitted.

LOW END:

 The low end of the Quarks is pretty neutral and flat but it’s not boring at all. The bass is faster, punchier, clean and well textured. It’s not weighty, attacking or thumpy which most of the bassheads please for it. Overall I loved the bass in this even though im a bass head. It’s just about the quality rather than the quantity. The sub bass here is very good and emphasized more than the midbass.

The Sub bass is well extended and very good for the price. The sub bass rumble may not be a very striking feature but still it strikes when the tracks calls for it. Especially in the tracks like “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT SAVING THE WORLD” the subtle sub bass can be heard very clearly. The rumble cant be felt but can be heard. The Quarks rumble can be also felt but only when the track digs deeper in the sub bass region which is pretty nice since this clears out the midrange from bloating or bleed which we will discuss in the midrange department.

The mid bass is just clean and lean. The emphasis here is just subtle and you won’t be experiencing any weighty and full bodied bass rather it’s very clean and lean. The leanness makes the sound very well separated, detailed and textured. 

The bass performance can be felt evidently when you start listening to some serious bass tracks like the “Bad Guy ” and tracks like the “Royals’ ‘ by Lorde. If the track calls for it then the Quarks unleashes its low end performance.

In the track “Even Heaven” by Aimer at the start of the track the sub bass presence can be heard clearly and this is one of the tracks where one can feel the sub bass which is present in the quarks.

Tracks Used:

  1. Why Do We Fall – Hans Zimmer
  2. Polite – Erika De Casier
  3. Even Heaven  – Aimer

MIDRANGE: 

Sweet…Sweet….Sweet… The midrange is very deliciously presented. Both the male and the female vocals are positioned very well which is in forward position. I personally like forward vocal placement since they give that engaging ang energy in the midrange. The Quarks have that engaging and the energy in the Midrange which is very nice considering the price. The tonality is very natural and slightly brighter overall which is like it and it’s not overly done. The timbre is spot on and the separation in the midrange is quite surprisingly neat.

The amount of air it carries in the midrange is very huge considering the price and the detail it brings out of the midrange is quite impressive. The drum hits and the piano notes sound very natural and clean. The body in the vocals are nice and weighty, they don’t feel  very lean. The vocals sound nice and full bodied even though the mid bass is not that emphasized and that’s the wonderful aspect of the Quarks. In the track “Perfect” – Ed Sheeran the male vocal sounded just beautiful and the electric strum along with the other instruments in the background sounded very natural and the layering is done very well for the price that can be appreciated at 1:48 in the track.

In the track like “Inferno”- Mrs. Green Apple the instruments sounds very well separated and has that nice and natural tonality and in the track like “Kokuhaku’ – Supercell the kick drums in the background have a nice attack and the electric guitar sounds nice and full. The clean bass made the midrange a star show here and I loved the midrange in the Quarks a lot! It’s just clean, engaging and energetic!

Tracks Used:

  1. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  2. Makin My Love – Easy Wanderlings
  3. The Blowers Daughter – Damien Rice

TREBLE:

The treble in the Quarks is smooth and non fatiguing overall. The roll – of in the treble is evident but that’s not an issue considering the price. The 3k peak which is observed in the graph may taunt you but believe me this thing just sounds as smooth as possible. Even after extended listening sessions I did not find that quarks are uncomfortable to listen to. The sibilance is out of the park in the Quarks and even while listening to sibilant prone tracks like the “Move Your Body” – Sia this just sounds nice and smooth in the Quarks. The top end has good enough sparkle and air which is very good for the price. 

The cymbal crashes are very natural and the hits attack and the decay are pretty fast and sweet. The acoustic strings and the percussion instruments sound soft and sweet in the Quarks. The neutral to brighter tonality helped the Quarks in the treble by revealing a lot of details and separation even though they are a bit rolled off in the top end.

Overall the treble is very inoffensive, smooth and nice. No harshness or sibilant thus providing nice longer listening sessions. The quite natural and neutral-bright tonality makes the Quarks an excellent pair for casual listening even for audiophiles.

In tracks like the “Cannonball” – Damien Rice the acoustic strings on the right and the left side sound very natural and crystal clear, even the switching of the strings can be heard clearly. The Quarks may not have the best extended highs but this is the best in what it has.

Tracks Used:

  1. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
  2. Santeria – Sublime
  3. The First Time – Treble Charger

TECHNICALITIES:

Soundstage: The soundstage of the Quarks is quite wide. The height and the depth are quite average but the width is very impressive. The instruments just extend from the extreme right to the left creating that nice wide soundstage. The depth is less since the bass is not that strong or deep. Overall the soundstage is quite impressive for the price it quotes.

Imaging: The imaging is quite good in the Quarks. There is a nice transition of instruments from one channel to the other without any stutters. The 3 point imaging is not felt here thus providing that nice sense of complete smooth sweep across the channels.

The detail retrieval and the instrument separation are above average and the wide soundstage helped in the separation thus not creating any congestion within the instruments. The detail retrieval in the midrange is quite excellent and in the treble its average since the extension is not that great.

VERDICT:

Quarks, the latest ultra budget offering from Moondrop is a 5 star rated product as per my experience with it. The Quarks may not be the next budget killer or a blon alternative but Quarks is just totally a different beast. The neutral sound signature of the Quarks is quite addictive in the long run and the sweet midrange is just more than enough to justify the five star rating. The low end may not be very strong, weighty or attacking and it’s definitely for bassheads but the bass here is just clean, punchy, fast and tight. The treble is smooth and inoffensive thus making it  a very good pair for bedtime listening or for casual listening yet maintaining good enough details and separation within the tracks.

Compared to the Tanya which is another product from Tanchjim priced similarly, I liked the Quarks more because of the neutral background, energetic and engaging midrange and a much more impactful sub bass. Overall the Quarks sounds spectacular for the price and it’s a quite different sound signature in this price range and thanks to the MOONDROP team to bravely release a neutral sounding one in this price range since most of the products are mostly a v shaped and this sound of the Quarks made me to name it as the UNVEILED GEM.

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.

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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