Moondrop KATO IEM Review |

Moondrop has grow to be one of the crucial thrilling manufacturers in in HiFi, delivering hit after hit in its mid-to-upper vary line. Final yr, I reviewed the KXXS, the corporate’s mid-range single-dynamic driver flagship. It was a powerful providing and a stellar introduction to the model. After greater than two years of R&D, Moondrop is again with its successor within the KATO. Constructed from stainless-steel, and that includes the corporate’s new 10mm Extremely Linear driver expertise, is the KATO a worthy successor to the KXXS?


  • Present Value: $189.99 (HiFiGo
  • Newly-Developed ULT Tremendous Linear Dynamic Driver.
  • third Era DLC(Diamond-Like Carbon) Composite Diaphragm
  • Interchangeable Nozzle Design
  • third Era Patented Anti-Blocking Acoustic Filter
  • Newly Designed Spring Silicone Ear Suggestions
  • Skilled Tuning Following VDSF Goal Response
  • Excessive-High quality Copper Thick Silver-Plated Cable
  • Gold-Plated 2-pin 0.78mm Connectors

Moondrop KATO – Unboxing and Key Options

The KATO’s relationship to the KXXS is written throughout its design, and it’s clear that Moondrop deliberately discovered particular factors to “develop.” Take the field — the packaging and presentation are comparable, however the KATO is clearly stepped up with fancier packaging that opens like a e-book. 

Moondrop is a grasp at presentation, and that’s clear right here. From the “Moondrop presents” embossed on the interior cowl to the best way by which the screens are displayed, virtually jewelry-like, alongside the equipment. Contained in the field, we have now a pleasant fake leather-based carrying case, a silver-finished copper cable, six pairs of S/M/L ear suggestions (3 every silicone and reminiscence foam), and a set of alternate brass sound tubes.  It’s a full package deal and all of it feels well-made. 


The earphones themselves are beautiful. Just like the KXXS, they’re fabricated from stainless-steel, however the KATO makes use of a brand new steel powder injection molding course of, which has allowed them to bevel the floor a bit like a gemstone. I used to be despatched the matte model, nevertheless it’s additionally obtainable in a mirror end. Even the matte model does a superb job of catching the sunshine and taking part in with shadow for a really distinctive look. If there’s one factor you possibly can say about Moondrop, it’s that they know the best way to make handsome earphones. 

Contained in the steel shells is the corporate’s model new Extremely Linear Know-how driver utilizing a diamond-like carbon diaphragm. The fabric is inflexible but resilient, permitting it to shortly and exactly transfer within its magnetic area. The interior partitions have additionally been shaped with an irregular floor and part information parts in an effort to cut back standing waves and distortion. In accordance with Moondrop, this design permits for better dynamic vary, improved tonality, and higher soundstage.


One other evolution is that the sound tubes are actually replaceable. The pre-assembled tubes merely screw off and could be changed with a second brass set. I struggled to discern a distinction between them, nevertheless it’s good to see them included regardless. Ought to something occur to the unique, you’ll be capable to swap to the brass and proceed listening to your earphones. 

The cable on the KATO undoubtedly feels increased high quality than the KXXS, however ultimately, I nonetheless discover the KXXS simpler to handle. The KATO’s cable is thicker and as an alternative of a rope-like braid is 2 coiled strands wound round one another. It seems nice and works tremendous (and the steel ends are a really good contact that lends it a premium really feel). The plastic coating on the skin appears barely thicker, nonetheless, which makes the cable stiffer and extra inclined to hold up on issues. If this bothers you, it makes use of a regular 2-pin connection so is well replaceable.

Moondrop KATO – Consolation and Match

I struggled to discover a good match with the KATO with silicone suggestions. The diameter of the sound tubes is massive sufficient that I needed to pull my left ear again and actually work it in there to discover a good seal. If I moved an excessive amount of (even simply working at my desk) it could generally come unfastened and should be reseated. I haven’t had this subject with many different earbuds, however the KATO isn’t the primary I’ve encountered it with, so this has extra to do with my anatomy than a fault of the earphones. Nonetheless, when you’ve got smaller ears, remember that match may very well be a difficulty.


Fortunately, Moondrop included foam ear suggestions which helped (however didn’t fully remedy) me overcome that problem. It’s a disgrace, as a result of I desire silicon, and particularly the brand new Spring suggestions Moondrop has designed for the Kato. They’ve a singular look and sound nice with a correct match. 

Regardless of their angular look and steel construct, as soon as you discover the correct suggestions, they’re surprisingly snug. They are not too heavy and are not uncomfortable to have in opposition to your pores and skin. These little angles actually do not press or jab as they appear to be they may. 

Moondrop KATO – Listening Impressions

After spending the previous couple of weeks testing tribrid earphones, it was refreshing to return again to a single dynamic driver that is available in below $200. Anybody who tells you that you must spend lots of of {dollars} to choose up a great-sounding earphone doesn’t know what they’re speaking about and the KATO proves it. Greenback for greenback, this can be a mannequin for the sort of efficiency it’s best to anticipate at this worth level.


The KATO is a heat headphone, however not overly so. Listening to Jonny Craig’s Going Beneath, the bass is available in deep and low, giving the music a large, resonating basis. When the kick drums are available in, they’ve punch and sufficient velocity that they sound sensible. Swapping to Atreyu’s Bleeding Mascara (throwback post-hardcore FTW), the machine-gun kicks have been clear an articulate when many headphones (together with the Aria) can’t sustain and grow to be muddy.

Mids are completely stable. There’s tons of element within the guitars. Shifting to Atreyu’s Proper Aspect of the Mattress, the layering between the tracks (devices) actually shines by, which is ideal for syncopated harmonies. Going the opposite path with Coheed and Cambria’s Pearl of the Stars is not any much less spectacular. Acoustic guitars have a really sensible and detailed sound that just about sparkles when two are taking part in without delay. 


Highs are clearly tuned up, however I didn’t discover the Kato to be sibilant or fatiguing at secure listening ranges. Excessive hats, cymbals, and bells come out and add shimmer. Turned up too loud, they may grow to be fatiguing, however the identical is true of most earphones. Should you wish to jam out, it’s one thing to remember and may very well be clever to make use of an EQ in these situations.

One of many extra spectacular qualities of the KATO is its soundstage. A few of Moondrop’s advertising and marketing claims show true right here. For a closed-back earphone, it feels surprisingly extensive. Imaging and positioning in that headspace is distinct and straightforward to interpret. This additionally makes it a good selection for some impromptu gaming. They nonetheless gained’t compete with an open-back gaming headset, however activate Dolby Atmos and also you is likely to be stunned how succesful they’re.

For its worth, it’s additionally surprisingly adept at digging out element and backbone in music and video games. If in case you have an ear for tremendous particulars in music, the KATO don’t disappoint. Take a music like Delirium Set off by Coheed and Cambria. There’s is a lot happening in that music, and I’ve listened to it for it for almost 20 years. I do know that music inside out, and may the KATO enable me to listen to the tiny nuances like the feel of the chunk, soiled guitars, even on the unique, decrease high quality recording. 


Remaining Ideas

The Moondrop KATO is a worthy successor to the KXXS. It delivers wonderful sound high quality and is nicely priced for what it delivers. I solely want it match higher, however with reminiscence foam suggestions, I’m nonetheless capable of hear them to their fullest potential. Should you’ve been searching for a step up out of your Starfield or Aria, this can be a worthy selection. 

The product described on this article was offered by the producer for analysis functions. | Moondrop KATO IEM Overview |


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