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