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✒️ Author: Kah Hon | 📷 Photo: Hai Wei

Moondrop, a relatively young audiophile company which has skyrocketed to stardom, consistently creating IEMS punching way above the competition, setting new standards in the audiophile market space. For many, the MoonRiver 2 may seem like their 1st attempt at creating a portable DAC/amp dongle, but it is actually a spiritual successor to the MoonRiver 1, their initial DAC/amp offering which did not make it into mass production. The MoonRiver 2 also aims to surpass what the 1st gen model was capable of at the time, while showing how far the technology has advanced in the portable audio space.

The MoonRiver 2 is quite a striking looking device at all angles; housed in a very interesting and efficient design, reducing as much wasted space, almost wrapping the internal circuitry in CNC aluminium alloy shell, machined to perfection. While it feels relatively lightweight (which is a good thing for people using on the go), its construction is solid and rather sophisticated. Internal wise, the MoonRiver 2 features the dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chips, mated with dual Op amp chips churning up to 4 Vrms in both headphone and line out stages. The MoonRiver 2 connects via Usb Type-C, designed to connect OTG with mobile devices, and both 3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced headphone output ports. Included is also a silver plated transparent USB type C cable, which just looks plain cool. There is a small LED which shows the source file quality playback which is fine and all, but I wish the LED wasn’t as bright as it currently is.

The Moon River 2 sound signature offers a very clean, uncoloured neutral sound with a hint of brightness in the treble. Lows reach down to the sub-bass regions without breaking a sweat, yet it is fast and agile, having a more tighter and snappier bass response. The mids are where the Moon River 2 shines, with enough weight and body to instruments as well as vocals for both male and female artists. The mids carry great resolution and clarity, showing exactly as the recording intended, the positioning is just right, not too distant nor is it too intimate. Highs are more on the brighter side, with good sparkly treble and plenty of microdetails. Sibilance may happen but only when the recording/track has it. Despite its small form factor, it packs a lot of punch and driving power, being able to drive pretty much every IEM available and even some lower power hungry headphones; connected to my laptop, barely reaching 20% volume, I could power the Moondrop Variations at near deafening levels. While it does draw quite a far amount of power from your device, as 4Vrms, it’s a reasonable trade off.



  • Moon River 2 vs Shanling UA5

Compared to the Shanling UA5, the UA5 sounds more fuller and a bit more weight/body to the sound signature, relative to the MoonRiver’s clean neutral signature. The UA5 shows more slam and definition in the lows, while the added warmth and body to the mids makes the vocals sound more organic and natural, at the slight expense of the airy treble and sparkle. The sound stage of the UA5 is not as wide as the Moon River but they both have about the same imaging capabilities.

  • Moon River 2 vs Cayin RU-6

The Cayin RU-6 is the opposite of the UA5, it is brighter and more airy than the Moon River 2, while still retaining very good micro details. The lows are tight, clean and go really deep, but it has less presence and emphasis, having a more lean signature. The mids sound slightly distant compared to the Moon River 2, but in return you have probably some of the best treble air and sparkle along with TOTL level of imaging, air and separation. The Cayin RU-6 really excels in the sound stage and imaging, having a bigger height and depth overall compared to the other 2 dongle DACs.

Once again, like their IEM lineup, Moondrop has once again created a product which punches way above its asking price, competing with models that are above its category. If you are looking for a neutral, clean, fuss free portable dac/amp wrapped in one of the most unique shell design and plenty of power to boot, look no further.

◆ Dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chips
◆ Two Dual-OP Amp chips
◆ 3.5mm SE & 4.4mm balanced output
◆ USB type-C connection OTG
◆ CNC machines Aluminium Alloy chasis
◆ Dedicated volume control
◆ 32-bit/384khz, DSD256 support


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□ Retail : RM799 | Promo : PM for best price

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(4 wires Neotech spiral structure rectangular OCC copper silver alloy, gold plated connectors, WBT soldering)


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