Moondrop Crescent


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Adheres to the Harman Target
- Natural tonality and timbre
- Great imaging for an IEM
- Fantastic Value for Money
Cons: Adheres to the Harman Target, so if you're not a fan...
- Fixed cable
- Heavy housing
- Stock eartips might not fit everyone
- Hard to find since Moondrop has reportedly stopped production of these
(This review was originally published on my blog)

Moondrop. I wonder what it might mean…

Nonetheless, Moondrop made a name for themselves with their fantastic Moondrop Blessing 5-driver hybrid that targeted the Harman Curve, aka the “reference” frequency response that an In-ear monitor should have. While I personally believe that Harman target response’s 3K peak is too much for me, many find such a frequency response rather pleasing.

Enter Moondrop Crescent, Moondrop’s second-lowest offering as of now (lowest being their budget earbud: Moondrop Nameless) and one that also tries to adhere to the Harman target. Unlike its bigger brother, it has to do with “just” a 6mm micro-dynamic driver. There are other compromises as well (lack of detachable cable, sparse accessories etc.). Read on.

(Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Definitely the expectations from a $15 IEM won’t be the same as a $150 one, and that’s the approach taken while assigning scores. I bought this unit with my own money for testing purposes. Disclaimer)

Sources used: LG G7, Yulong DAART Canary, Fiio E07K, iPhone SE

The housing is apparently made of brass, and I believe them because of the sheer weight of these IEMs. Man, they’re heavy, heavier than many multi-BA hybrids. The cable is unfortunately fixed and doesn’t have a separate rubber strain-relief (the strain-relief is built into the housing). However, I don’t mind the actual quality of the cable. It’s pliable, not too thin/thick, doesn’t tangle too much, and even though the cable noise/microphonics can be annoying, an over-the-ear fit solves that.


Accessories: For a $30 IEM, Moondrop didn’t skimp too much on the packaging contents at first glance. There are three pairs of eartips, a carrying pouch, and a shirt-clip. A hard-case would’ve been nice but it’s not too shabby.
However, where they completely drops the ball — those crapshoot eartips. Absolutely terrible. The first thing you must do after getting these IEMs is to either use tips from your other IEMs, or just get a pair of Spinfit/Final E-series tips alongside. Do note that the nozzle is thicker than average and thus many eartips didn’t fit properly (Ostry’s OS series tips, for example).

IMG_1900_R.JPG IMG_1910_R.JPG

Comfort: Due to the heavy housings, this thing isn’t the most comfortable of IEMs. You definitely notice that they’re in your ears, and throughout the first week or so I had to constantly adjust and readjust them. Eventually I opted for an over-the-ear fit and it’s been pretty decent since then. Also, changing eartips do wonders in terms of comfort (I am using Final E-series tips) so that’s another thing to keep in mind. Isolation is also not the best, since the housings are vented on the back (notice the three vent-holes).


Now, on to the sound:

Lows: Bass here is slightly accentuated, but mid-bass bloom is kept well under control. Bass notes aren’t the tightest or the fastest, but they don’t lose much of their texture, so bass-heavy tracks sound rather pleasing. Sub-bass response is good enough for most, though I miss the rumble of the lowest registers. Most importantly, the bass can hit hard if that’s how it was recorded in the original track, and this kind of faithfulness in sound is rare in such budget IEMs.

Midrange has a slight dip in the lower-mids, and this robs male vocals of some “fullness”. Case in point: Chris Cornell’s vocals in Audioslave’s Like a Stone sounds a bit more strident and thin than it should be. Upper mids can also be a bit shouty in certain tracks (due to the 3KHz peak), so be mindful of that.
However, rest of the midrange is just blissfully engaging. It’s transparent without much coloration, and full of micro-details. Amidst the barrage of muddy/completely outta whack midranges of certain IEMs *cough* the KZ ones *cough* Moondrop Crescent stands out with a (mostly) neutral midrange that is true to the source and doesn’t have any timbral issues.

Treble is delightfully portrayed. It’s not too heavy handed (no weird peaks around 8KHz, at least for me) and cymbals sound crisp without being splashy (a mistake many BA-driver-based IEMs do). E.g. Chris Adler’s drum track on Lamb of God’s Redneck sounds just as it should, with the ride cymbals sounding crisp and each hit on the splash cymbals having a satisfying shimmer. It’s also well-extended, reaching up to 14KHz and that adds some air to the treble notes. All-around fantastic performance.


Soundstage: Soundstage is rather wide, thanks to those venting holes at the back. It extends halfway to the shoulder-length on both sides, but the Z-axis extension (height) isn’t as good as top-end IEMs. Compared to the other IEMs in this range though — exemplary.

Let it be known that I am a sucker for good imaging. Let it also be known that Moondrop Crescent is an absolute boss at it. Yosi Horikawa’s Crossing sounds enveloping, with the motorbikes and cars speeding along the left to right channel in a smooth, unfettered motion. Front and back separation is also impressive. What it does lack though is cardinality, i.e. I don’t get that “top-right, top-left” sensation that certain other IEMs provide e.g. Meze 11 Neo. This is nitpicking at this point, however, and I am very surprised at how well these IEMs can reproduce directionality.

Through the roof. Yet to find another IEM at this range that sounds so balanced and can lock heads with much pricier IEMs (and come on top, more on that later)

Select Comparisons:

TinAudio T2: T2 is currently the chi-fi darling of many people, so Moondrop Crescent has its work cut for it. Firstly, T2 has the upper hand in terms of build quality due to the replaceable cable. However, Bass response is where Crescent blows it away (unmodded T2, that is). No contest.
Midrange is a different story though. T2’s midrange is even more detailed, and sounds noticeably brighter. The notes are also thinner in size, which might be a good or a bad thing depending on your preferences. Treble can be a bit hit-or-miss with T2, since it doesn’t play nicely at all with poorly mastered tracks. Crescent is little less fussy, and while the treble sounds compressed in such tracks, they don’t sound like a pair of garden shears.
For me personally: I prefer the Crescent, but only because of the (slightly) better imaging on them, as soundstage is mostly similar in size.

vs Meze 11 Neo: Meze 11 Neo has been my commute-IEM for over 3 years now. It is yet to die on me, so one can guess that it has a special place in my heart. Firstly, the inline mic makes 11 Neo much more suitable for portable use/on-the-go use, along with the much lighter housings. Bass on 11 Neo is bigger, but also has quite a bit of mid-bass bloom so it doesn’t sound very refined in quiet environments. However, when out and about, the outside noise does tune that bass out a bit and you can appreciate the (very) musical mids and less-accentuated but accurate treble more. Soundstage is more intimate on the 11 Neo, but imaging is even better. Drums also sound better on them surprisingly, perhaps due to the way they can simulate the heavy hits of kick/bass-drums. The $30 price premium you have to pay for it though might not be worth it to many, since treble is better and mids are more detailed on the Crescent.

vs 1More Triple Drivers: 1More triple drivers have a much more comprehensive packaging and the build looks and feels even more solid. It also has better bass response than the Crescent. However, Crescent has the upper hand in everything else: mids, trebles, overall tonality and timbral accuracy, imaging. About time for 1More to bring out something that’s worth it, since the Triples have been well outperformed by something that costs less than half.

vs Final E5000: This is a comparison I did out of sheer curiosity. E5K costs ~10 times more than the Crescent, but just the price tag should not be a barrier while comparing things in the audio world, IMO. Either way, E5K has better soundstage, fuller, more engaging mids, and an insanely hard-hitting bass that reaches so low you really have to hear to believe. Treble response is a bit laid-back on E5K though, so Crescent has more noticeable cymbal hits and splashes. However, E5K has great upper-treble reach, so the cymbals, while not the most authoritative, sound just as good if not better than on the Crescent.
Overall, E5K does perform as well as that price-tag would suggest, but it obviously doesn’t sound 10 times better (well, maybe the bass/mids does sound that much better). Most importantly, I never felt that Crescent was completely falling apart in comparison — which is no mean feat!



Refreshing — the word I think best fits Moondrop Crescent. It’s refreshing in this current market where a new IEM is getting released every time you drink a glass of water. It’s hard to get noticed in this cut-throat competition, even more so to stand out — and Moondrop Crescent does it with aplomb.

If you want a balanced signature that has the right amount of bass, and isn’t too uncomfortable with wearing them cable down and changing the eartips — Moondrop Crescent is the answer. I am not saying “if you’re on a budget” because frankly, even those with high-end IEMs should try this one just to see how far chi-fi has come.

It’s a home-run, and then some.

#Recommended (as long as the stocks last, or Moondrop decides to continue production again)

Test tracks (as YouTube playlist, often updated):
Last edited:

Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great build; perfect timbre; cohesive sound.
Cons: Hard to drive; heavy earpieces.

My rating considers value (perceived monetary worth). This review was originally posted at


The Moondrop Crescent is a sturdily built, (Harman Target) neutral tuned single dynamic-driver earphone with a warm, full, homogeneous, organic sound that rivals its Kanas Pro sibling at 1/6 of the price. You find more photos of the Moondrop Crescent HERE.


I took a lot of flak by fanboys recently for my review of the Moondrop Kanas Pro [HERE]…”fanboys” means people who already owned the product. My main criticism was an unbalanced tonality from a misfit between an overly boosted bass and a thin midrange…which does not contradict the review of our own Biodegraded [HERE]. But isn’t the basic idea of a review to critically assess the pros and cons of a product rather than feeding a confirmation bias? Doesn’t the attentive reader benefit from taking in as many informed opinions as possible? “Sunshine reviews” consisting merely of descriptions laced with interchangeable commonplaces and buying recommendations may help the manufacturer/distributor/seller (and the reviewers by keeping their gravy trains going) but they are not informative and therefore useless for the critical reader/potential buyer. Let’s see what we can do with the Moondrop Crescent, another earphone from Chengdu, Sichuan, China.


Model Number: Moondrop Crescent
Material: Brass
Driver: dynamic
Sensitivty: 98 dB
Impedance: 32 ohm
Frequency Response: 16-30000 Hz
Cable Length: 1.2m
Plug Type: straight
Color: Gold
Tested at: $29.99
Product Link:
Miss Audio Store



Included are the earphone with the attached cable, felt storage bag, shirt clip, three pairs of silicone eartips, and the usual paperwork. Build quality is stellar. The rounded piston-shaped brassy metal earpieces are heavy, the cable is soft, rubbery, and a bit springy. Fit and comfort are what you expect from this shape (with a bit of weight added). Isolation depends on the tips used, the largest included ones worked well for me. Just like the Kanas Pro, the Crescents are hard to drive. They work with a phone but better with my Audioquest DragonFly amp/dac.



JK’s tonal preference and testing practice

A word on the Harman Kardon neutral curve: I don’t consider it as neutral or even optimal. It is the idea of a single person, Sean Olive, it changes from time to time and is therefore not universally valid. But the curve is a useful reference marker.

The Crescents are warm and rich sounding earphones coming from their low end: the lower bass is slightly boosted (could be a bit less for my taste). Extension in the sub-bass is good but the low end could be more controlled and textured. OK, I have to remind myself, this is a $30 earphone. The whole midrange could be a bit thicker but remains warm (and not neutral as in the Kanas Pro). Male and female voices sound amazingly relaxed and natural but are also a bit back. The upper midrange remains calm, almost smooth, there is no annoying Chifi peak in the 2-4 kHz region. Extension towards the top end is good and without unwanted surprises, but the treble could resolve better (cymbals tend to smear). The timbre is spot on – exquisite – and that’s where the value is in the Crescents imo. Soundstage is of standard width (bassy tracks shrink it) but is reasonably deep and high in my perception. The other technicalities such as detail resolution are not of premium quality but quite acceptable. Considering the Crescents’ low price I may borrow the hollow standard phrase that they provide a refined and mature, non-fatiguing listen (as opposed to sounding tinny or plastic-like with weird treble peaks, not unheard of in this price category).

In comparison, the **** **** [review] have a less natural timbre but a more forward midrange and they are easier to drive. The Kanas Pro [review 1 | review 2] have a better resolution than the Crescents but they sound less homogeneous. Both earphones aim for the Harman target in their frequency responses. The Crescents are darker than the Kanas Pro, their bass fits better in the mix making for a more balanced tonality. The identical sounding Paiaudio DR2 [review] / Hill Audio Altair•RA [review] are much bassier resulting in a more pronounced V-shape.


Yes! There are certainly $$$ earphones out there that don’t have the Crescents’ tonal accuracy.


The Moondrop Crescent could be a poor man’s Campfire in terms of haptic and build (I have never listened to a Campfire). To me they sound like a premium earphone in need of a bit (but not much) of refinement. The Crescents are yet another example of a price/quality mismatch (relative to the diminished return earphones). I prefer them over the $180 Moondrop Kanas Pro, not because they are “better” but because they are more homogenous and more comfortable. And they cost much less. The Crescents are good, enjoyable earphones independent of price.

P.S. I am surprised that no hype has developed around the Moondrop Crescent but on the 6 times as expensive Kanas Pro. There are hardly any reviews of the Crescents to be found — they are obviously not pushed by the distributors. Could it be that there is more money in the higher-priced earphones?


This pair of the Moondrop Crescent was provided by Miss Audio Store for my critical analysis. I thank them very much for that.

About our measurements



100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sounds good out of the box, better than almost all stock IEMs at or near its price
Solid build
Not a prima donna; it sings just fine straight off a phone, laptop, or dongle.
Cons: Can be uncomfortable (for me at least)
Feels heavy in the ear
Bass can’t be reduced easily with the usual reversible mods
A headset version with mic and button isn’t available
Only comes in gold
Can take weeks to arrive unless you pay a lot of money for shipping
Ok, it's sort of like a review. But not really. Technically it is?

Moondrop Crescent FR.png

Moondrop Crescent frequency response​

I think it sounds good. I hear the canal resonance a little over 7 kHz, because I can’t insert it much deeper with the stock tips. I tried to match this with my measurement. The peak doesn’t sound as severe to me compared to what’s in the graph. You can determine where you’re hearing the resonance with a sine sweep. I created one that can be manually controlled: the link is in my sig. It also has a filter that can help determine the peak’s height in dB. Often, the center frequency isn’t exactly at the same spot for the left and right channels, and this can be heard as the sound moving from left to right (or the reverse) during the sweep.

Moondrop Crescent, stock tips, deeper insertion.png

Red: deeper insertion with stock tips. Right channel shown.​

Tips and tricks
The frequency response didn't change much with other silicone tips:

Moondrop Crescent with Sony hybrid and Spinfit CP100 tips.png

Red: Sony hybrid tip
Green: Spinfit CP100​

Moondrop Crescent with medium and small Sony MH755 tips.png

Red: medium Sony MH755 tip
Green: small Sony MH755​

Moondrop Crescent with small Sony MH755 and Spinfit CP100 tips, deep insertion.png

Deep insertion
Red: small Sony MH755 tip
Green: Spinfit CP100​

I like the sound better with deeper insertion, which I can get with the small Sony tips. The front vent seems to have been partially blocked by the silicone sleeve in the measurement with the small Sony. Here’s what it looks like when it’s blocked more:

Moondrop Crescent with small Sony MH755 tips, front vent blocked.png

Red: Front vent blocked​

The Sony tips aren’t an exact fit for the Crescent’s nozzle, so it’s a bit tight. I can avoid blocking the front vent by not fitting the sleeve all the way to the base of the barrel. This also helps with getting a deeper insertion in the ear to avoid frequencies where the resonance makes vocals too sibilant.

Moondrop Crescent with Sony hybrid tips.jpeg

Sony hybrid tip not pushed all the way in​

I tried it with Comly foam. TX400 is a tight fit over the barrel, so my guess is that it deforms the foam in a way that hurts the response above 10 kHz. The universal-fit Comply Sport Pro with Smart Core works better here:

Moondrop Crescent with Comply TX400, Sport Pro with Smart Core tips.png

Red: Comply TX400
Green: Comply Sport Pro with Smart Core​

The sound with the TX400 is way too dark. Comply Sport Pro makes it sound dark too, but not as much. The resulting response with the foam tips is a lot easier to EQ, compared to silicone. The spike from the ear canal resonance balances the elevated low end. When the foam tip flattens that peak, it sounds like you turned up the bass. But if a system-wide equalizer were available, this is how I would use the Moondrop Crescent. For me, the Comply Sport Pro is the least uncomfortable of the tips.

Moondrop Crescent, blocked vents.png

Effect of blocked rear vents:
Red: three rear holes blocked
Green: three rear holes and bottom of strain relief blocked​

This result is a bit disappointing. Playing with front vents and poking holes through meshes have acceptable risk with dirt cheap IEMs. But for a $30 model that takes weeks to deliver, I think I’ll let someone else go first with the non-reversible mods.

Some comparisons
Here’s what the frequency response looks like with the closest-sounding IEMs I have:

LG QB3 AKG, Sony MH755, Philips SHE8105.png

Red: LG Quadbeat 3 tuned by AKG
Green: Sony MH755
Blue: Philips SHE8105​

I didn’t include the Sony MH1 in the comparison because my units don’t perform as designed and have to be fixed with mods, even though they behave like the typical samples that you can buy today. The Moondrop Crescent doesn’t sound as v-shaped as the others shown in the graph, especially the Philips. But the SHE8105 can be modded to sound close (see here:

SHE8105 tuned to usound vs Moondrop Crescent.png

Red: Moondrop Crescent
Green: Philips SHE8105 with reversible mods
Gray: Usound target​

It seems that the Crescent is tuned closer to Usound than to the 2017 Harman IE target. I prefer it when the 8105 is modded to sound closer to Harman than Usound, but with less bass. It doesn’t have the Crescent’s air in the top octave, but there’s not as much musical content up there, and a lot of folks can’t hear them anymore. Instead of the Crescent’s resonant spike, the energy is more spread out across a wider frequency band. The 8105 mod has a smoother and livelier response up to 12k, where there is more to be heard. I haven’t decided whether I like the broad peak around 3k.

I'll update this report after I spend more time with the Moondrop Crescent. I've only been listening to it for two weeks.

Update, March 4:


The rear cup can be pried off with a little effort, but you have to be very, very careful. Use too much force and you will rip the wires off the driver and you'll have to solder them back in. The rear volume can be reduced. This will reduce the bass further. See the discussion in this post in the Moondrop IEMs thread:


With the reduced bass, foam tips don't make it sound as dark anymore.



New Head-Fier
Pros: deep bass
clear mids
close to harman curve
smooth treble with sparkle
Cons: can be a bit bright
bass isn't super lovable
You heard about the Sony MH1. You bought the hype, maybe even twice. You bought the IEM, and expected this wonderful sound. Instead what you got was a disappointment.

You might like the well balanced Moondrop Crescent better - a beautifully built take on that perfectly smooth MH1 sound that everyone was raving about. But this time, its done right.

The bass is warm and deep, largely following the Harman target (Its actually closer to oratory1990's USound target, which is very similar). There is ever so slight mid-bass boost, but its still in perfect balance with the rest of the sound. Is the bass fast? Not really, but its not too bad. Is it bloated? Ever so slightly, but nowhere near most IEMs on the market. Think of it as a pleasant bump, a gentle nod to bassheads.

The mids are in perfect balance as well. There is slight preference for female rather than male vocals in the presence region - male vocals might feel slightly recessed. Based on the bass and treble you would think the sound is slightly V shaped - and it is, yet the mids are coming through very clearly.

The Crescent's treble is its biggest advantage over other IEMs. Its quite smooth sounding, with just a single peak similar to Sony MH1C. Yet it somehow manages to keep this peak under control - it only adds some sparkle. Fans of Sennheiser over-ears might find it a touch too bright, but to me it sounds very nice.

I measured the Crescent with Dayton IMM-06 and added Sony MH1C for comparison:


The green line is the MH1C you would probably get if you buy one. Very boosted bass and muted treble. No wonder people are disappointed when they get a MH1C, this doesn't sound great at all! Its usable when out and about - the bass boost is a bit more acceptable then, but for normal use it just dominates everything else.

The red line is a good copy of MH1C And its almost perfectly balanced - bass is nice and warm, mids are heavenly and treble is smooth and refined... for the most part. Its just a tiny bit shouty - the 3K peak is a bit over the top - and the treble is still a little muted. Unfortunately, in my experience, only 1 in 5 copies are like this.

And then we have the Crescent, correcting the flaws of MH1C, adding some mid presence (the DF raise in the mids starting at 600Hz) as well as the extra sparkle and air.

Note: the peak is at 9K due to measurement depth, When listening in the ear it might be in a different position and will probably not be as strong. Depending on your ear canal and tips used, it could be anywhere between 6.5KHz and 8.5KHz. The extra brightness compared to MH1C continues all the way to 12KHz. This results with extra sparkle and some air. On half of the music I listen to, this is a slight advantage. On the other half a slight disadvantage. One thing is certain though - the crescent is slightly brighter than the MH1, which is already considered to have decent amounts of upper treble. Will it be too much for you? It depends on your ear canal length and sensitivity. Probably not, its really very subtle. But its possible.

Lets look at a quick recap of the non-sound aspects:

Cable: I got the gold color with a black cable. The cable is non-replaceable, with pretty bad microphonics. However, it looks durable and is tangle-free.

edit: If you're up for modding, these threaded MMCX connectors fit perfectly into Crescent's threaded strain-relief hole:


Left: Stock Crescent with black cable and stock tips.
Right: Modded Crescent with mmcx terminals, 6 core MMCX cable and Sony MH1C tips​

Build: Metal construction, solid and heavy. Feel like a tank. I find it hard to imagine these breaking, ever!

Tips: Only two sizes included - medium-small and medium. If you use very large tips, you might need to look elsewhere for alternative ones. I recommend the Sony hybrid tips as they make the treble even smoother.

Comfort: Very comfortable, almost to the point where its possible for me to sleep with them. However the nozzles are a bit on the large size and may be uncomfortable for those with smaller ears. Changing the tips to Sony hybrid tips should work fairly well in fixing that since they stay further away from the housings.

Some comparisons:

* to Sony MH755 - Crescent's treble is much smoother. The 3K peak is less pronounced which helps the Crescent avoid mh755's shoutiness. There is a bit more mids in general, and the body extends all the way to the bass. If you think mh755 has a lot of bass you'll find Crescent's a bit too much
* to Sony MH1 - Almost the same sound, but with more brightness and sparkle
* to TRN v80: Much better tonality. TRN v80 mids are wrong and dull and treble is hotter than the sun almost to the point of being unusable even with foam tips. Crescent's treble is heavenly in comparison. TRN's bass, however, is much nicer, with more texture and detail and less smearing
* to KZ ed16 - Similar problems in the treble region like TRN v80, which the Crescent doesn't have. Mids and presence more correct on the Crescent. Bass of KZ ED16 is slightly nicer, less boosted

Final verdict:

Will this IEM be right for you? If you don't mind a slight mid-bass boost, and a bit of extra treble sparkle and air, the answer is probably yes. If you're a Harman target junkie on a budget, definitely absolutely yes. But even if the answer to the above questions is no, for the money I think its worth giving a shot. Its truly an outstanding IEM for the price.
Yeah I've read that article a lot of times, but I still refuse to believe this, because the general consensus (i.e. most people on head-fi) is that the MH1C is a bassy IEM. The idea that 90% of MH1C users got a bad QC pair just doesn't stick.
You can believe anything you like, its a matter of perspective :) Either way, the Crescent is very different from the *average* MH1C (regardles of whether the average MH1C was Sead's intended design or not) based on my... erm 8 pairs at this point I think (1 perfect, 1 inbetween and 6 "bad"). Of those 8 pairs, 2 are MH1s bought 2015 (1 in-between good and bad), 2 are MH1Cs bought 2016 and 4 are MH1Cs bought end of 2018 (1 good). So I think I have a decent enough sample size, but you never know.
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