One of the best budget EDCs and sub-$200 IEMs!
PROS: Excellent VFM, build quality, tuned to Moondrop’s VDSF target curve, very well balanced signature, natural reference tonality and timbre, sub-bass reach and rumble, smooth and natural treble response, good clean soundstage, very good clarity and detail retrieval for the price. Personal favourite sub-$200 IEM.
CONS: None for me personally for its asking price.
Moondrop is one of the most popular brands to emerge out of China in recent years. They’re based out of Chengdu, Sichuan and quickly became fan favourites with products like Kanas, Kanas Pro, KXXS, Blessing1, Blessing2, A8, S8, etc. Most of their entry level products are made out of metals but their upper range are majorly resin based IEMs with semi-custom shells like Blessing2, S8 and Solis which are also offered as CIEMs. They even make earbuds named ShiroYuki, Namesless, VX, Liebesleid, Chaconne, etc and have recently released a TWS IEM called Sparks too. They like to dabble with popular target curves and have received critical acclaim and appreciation for their tuning based on their in-house target curve called Virtual Diffusion Sound Field (VDSF) that they try hitting with most of their IEMs.
The product was sent to me for the review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Links – Moondrop Kato (Shenzhen Audio)
- Driver – 10mm ULT (Ultra Linear Technology) Dynamic driver
- Diaphragm – 3rd generation DLC composite diaphragm
- Housing – MIM Stainless Steel
- Switchable nozzles – Stainless steel | Brass
- Frequency response range – 10Hz – 45kHz (IEC61094, Free Field)
- Effective frequency response range – 20Hz-20kHz (IEC60318-4, -3dB)
- Impedance – 32Ω ± 15% (@1kHz)
- Sensitivity – 123dB/Vrms (@1KHz)
- Distortion – < 0.15% (@1khz, AES17 20kHz, A-weight)
Included in the box.
Kato, like most Moondrop IEMs, comes in nice Anime style packaging but steps it up with a much better unboxing experience as well as better accessories compared to past Moondrop releases, in fact much better than their flagship Moondrop S8’s packaging too. Here is a list of all that is included in the package as well as unboxing pictures.
- Moondrop Kato
- 2-pin cable with 3.5mm jack termination
- Silicone Eartips – 3 Pairs of Silicone Spring Tips | 3 Foam ear tips
- Carry case + extra carry pouch
- 2 Nozzle filters
- Manuals/warranty cards
Kato has stainless steel shells, good quality chrome plating, switchable nozzles than screw in well, a nice lip to hold the ear tips and recessed 2-pin sockets which lock in the cable tightly. Even though it has the same faceplate as KXXS, I dig the new diamond like design on the bottom shell which helps fill up the concha better. All in all, I see Moondrop has put good amount of thought in Kato’s design, which is confidence inspiring and looks like it is built to last.
Cable – Moondrop has finally joined the attractive stock cable team. Kato’s cable looks and feels much MUCH better than KXXS, Blessing2 and S8’s stock cables. It has a tough outer sheath, wraps easily, isn’t microphonic and doesn’t entangle. It isn’t the supplest cable but I’d go as far as saying that it is probably one of the best cables that a sub-$300 IEM comes with. Kudos to Moondrop for finally making it happen!
Fit and Comfort.
The new diamond like pattern in Kato’s bottom shell (pictured below) makes them feel slightly fuller than KXXS and fill up the concha much better as a result. They fit me very well with the stock Spring and Foam ear tips but I prefer them even more with BGVP’s A07 Medium ear tips. A07 tips kinda resemble Acoustune ear tips but are slightly bigger in size when comparing the same sizes. I use these tips with most IEMs as they fit my ear canals very nicely. Kato’s shells aren’t too heavy for stainless steel shells and fit very comfortably. Isolation is fairly good even though Kato has 2 vents for the dynamic driver. It is better than Aria and KXXS as Kato’s shells fill up the concha better than them.
Picture courtesy – Moondrop
Page 2 – Sound Analysis, Comparisons and Conclusion.
11 thoughts on “Moondrop Kato”
How does Kato pair with Hiby New R6 2020? My current setup is New R6 with Fiio FH3. FH3 to Kato, upgrade or side grade? Thanks.
I really like Kato’s pairing with R6 2020 and is what I mostly use when listening to Kato. Compared to FH3, Kato is better tuned and sounds more refined, has better midrange tonality as well as better overall balance.
The comparison was done thru 3.5 or 4.4?
Thanks for replying. Will gonna get it soon.
I generally shuffle both 3.5mm and 4.4mm when comparing but nevertheless, it shouldn’t matter much in this case because both IEMs are easy to drive.
Once again, thanks for replying 🙂
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Hi, thanks for the review. I bought Kato and very pleased with it and now am looking for dac/amp dongle. Do you think it would pair better with L&P W2 or Cayin RU6 or Paw S2? Thanks
Hey! I don’t have any of those dongles. I use the iBasso DC05 when I want to use my phone but I mostly use my DAPs, laptop or desktop setup for music listening. Kato is very easy to drive and either of those dongles will work well.
I am listening with an cayin n3 pro and sennheiser ie80. Now I want something new. Do you think tanchjim oxygen or moondrop kato are good Upgrades and which do you think suits better with the n3 pro? I prefer kato but I am listening to rock pop and acoustic music. I hope you can give me an advice.
And your site is amazing one of the best reviewing pages.
Hey, thanks! I don’t have the N3 Pro but you can’t go wrong with either Kato or Oxygen. Oxygen has very slightly better technical performance but Kato is the better all rounder because it has a more comfortable fit and better accessories. Oxygen’s fit can be tricky for some because of its short and stout nozzle.
I really love this kato. It sound very lively compared to old ciem I had: roxanne, Mest, zues X. I’m very disappointed at Audeze isine i3, 7khz timeless. None of those present very good planer sound quality.I expect them to sound rich, full with very good bass detailed ofc I compare them to lcd 3f.
what’s upgrade over Kato? I’m thinking Xelento ?
thanks for the review
You’re welcome! What kind of signature do you like and what’s your budget? There are some really good offerings from Moondrop and Softears in the price segments above $200 that can work as a really good direct upgrade to Kato.