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The Moondrop Quarks: a quirky IEM

HI everyone, and welcome back to The Neighborhood. So Moondrop is an interesting company to me, on the whole, I’ve liked a lot of their lower-end products more than some of their higher end ones. But it really doesn’t get any more low-end than their latest offering: the Moondrop Quarks at a price of only $12.99. So, what will I think of these are their below budget price? Let’s get InToit!

Starting out with the build here, in my opinion, some interesting choices were made were made by Moondrop here. The shell on these is made almost entirely out of plastic from the nozzle to the main cavity. It’s a very small bullet-style shell, about the size of a Tylenol. So, these things are seriously tiny, and lightweight.

The driver here is a single 6mm micro dynamic, and it appears, for the most part, to be situated right behind the nozzle. There is a punch plate filter inside the nozzle, but this is pretty much the only metal used in the structure of this IEM beyond the driver and the wiring.

The driver here is a single 6mm micro dynamic, and it appears, for the most part, to be situated right behind the nozzle. There is a punch plate filter inside the nozzle, but this is pretty much the only metal used in the structure of this IEM beyond the driver and the wiring.

Speaking of the wiring, this is an attached wire IEM. The wire itself is similar to the detachable cables that came with the S.S.R. and S.S.P., but sheathed in a silver plastic this go around. It came folded up in the package, and the wire itself did retain these kinks somewhat in my use, but it wasn’t too annoying, and my hope is that they would work out over time with more significant use. The termination is a black rubberized, angled 3.5mm that is a nice, small size, and the Y-split is a rubberized Moondrop symbol without the ability to chin synch.

So, let’s address the proverbial Elephant in the room. From my perspective, an attached wire was a mistake. These things are small, but I think Moondrop could have snuck a detachable 2-pin in here. They’re not that much smaller from the Shuoer Singer, and those have a detachable cable (although I do realize the price tag was much higher on those). Still, the attached wire seems like an artifact of yesteryear, and honestly, I expect more from a forward-thinking company like Moondrop. Furthermore, prior Moondrop IEMs with a similar design had the option for an inline microphone- the version that was sent to me from Shenzen Audio does not have a mic, and I am not seeing the option to purchase one online at this time, so I have to assume that this was omitted this go around in the design. An inline microphone is always a gamble whether it impacts the sound or not, but I think in the case of the Quarks, I would have like to have the option, as the Quarks seems like an excellent option for a cheap every day carry device. Nevertheless, the cable can be worn booth downward and around the ear, so that is a plus that Moondrop incorporated, and something that II felt was lacking in the KBEAR Neon. But, let’s move onto the sound, because, perhaps, the sound may redeem the wire and some of the other poor design choices here?

Sound wise, the Quarks are neutral in timbre, rather flat sounding, and pretty even in their presentation overall. This is not a basshead’s set, but there is a decent amount of sub-bass here. There is a pretty steep roll off it sounds like somewhere towards the bottom end, but this is a balanced bass with somewhat of a sub-bass emphasis. Compared to Moondrop’s step-up, the S.S.R., there is less bass detailing, but additional bass extension and quantity. But the low-end is also not over bloated like in the S.S.P.

Mids have a good forwardness to them, and this is pretty rare for an IEM like this in my experience. On this set, mids sound more mid-forward in nature, like a headphone, than an IEM per say. But despite their forwardness, sonics overall are inoffensive, pleasing to the ear, and never come across as harsh or overly intense. This presentation is a particular strength for this set, and I think those that felt the S.S.R.’s presentations was too thin, peaky, or aggressive for them will find the Quarks more tolerable.

With specific regard to vocals, both male and female vocals are well separated, isolate well, and nothing ever comes across as being shouty to my ears. For mid-forward vocals, these remind me of the Oxygen in a number of ways; which is a much more expensive set that I also loved for its vocal reproduction.

Yet, unlike the vocal presentation; which is stellar and remarkable, the treble of the Quarks simply falls into the “fine” category. What I’m trying to get at is that its extension isn’t particularly striking, airy, nor brilliant, but I would say the treble presence here is an improvement on the treble in the S.S.R. for sure. And, for a $12 dollar, .99 cent earphone, I really shouldn’t expect or ask for more.

Still, separation isn’t the best, and the general staging comes across as rather intimate to the listener. And, this where the S.S.R. will have the leg up on the Quarks. However; there is additional depth to the presentation of the Quarks and resolution, detail, imaging, peripheral detailing and decay are fairly similar across the two sets. Additionally, there is an obvious improvement here from the Spaceship, which came before both of the S.S.R., S.S.P., and the Quarks. By the way, I have a written review on the original Moondrop Spaceship on my website, if you’d like to give that one a read in comparison. Per usual a link to the website will be in the description below, along with links to other Neighborhood access location including Twitter, Instagram, and the Patreon; which is only a $1.50 a month for early written content and reviews. Make sure to support the channel at these access points if you can. All support is greatly appreciated, and it helps me to continue to create excellent reviews and other content for the community.

Anyhow, the Quarks are definitely a value at their rather insignificant price. These keep up with other standouts under $50 dollars such as the CCZ Coffee Bean, KBEAR KS1, Jade Audio EA3, EA1, the HZSOUND Heart Mirror, and Moondrop’s own S.S.R.- even at a fraction of the price. The build may have its quirks, but vocal lovers and fans of a balanced, but intimate presentation are sure to flock to this one in spite of it. And with that, I’m out… for now…

*Thanks to Shenzhen Audio for sending me the Moondrop Quarks for review:

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