Moondrop Chu Wired Headphones Review: Best Audiophile Headphones on a Budget

There are so many options among budget audiophiles that it’s hard to find just one. Credit goes to several China-based brands in India who offer affordable In-Ear Monitors (IEMs). Many of these brands come and go. But there is one brand that has stood the test of time and continues to make great value products. Moondrop is popular for its budget and mid-range audiophile in-ear monitors. Their latest release is the Moondrop Chu, which has been the talk of the town among audiophiles.

The price of Moondrop Chu in India is Rs 1,999. It comes with an inline microphone variant and a remote control. The portable looks good and features 3.5mm wired connectivity, 10mm dynamic driver packs, and promises neutral tuning and detailed sound. Is this the best affordable pair of headphones for audiophiles right now? Find out in this review.

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Moondrop Chu Design and Specifications

Like other China-based audiophile products, don’t judge the Moondrop Chu by its name. This less than Rs 2000 product is a very attractive product, in which metal earphones with a metal foil pattern have been given. The only place the logo is on the product is on the plastic Y-splitter module on the cable. The headset has markings for the left and right channels only.

The Moondrop Chu features a transparent fixed cable with an in-line remote, microphone, and 3.5mm plug for connectivity to a source device. Its three-button remote has volume and playback controls. If you want, you can also grab a variant without inline remote and microphone, which is available slightly cheaper at Rs 1,799.

It took me a while to get the correct fit of the Moondrop Chu. Its silicone eartips provide a good seal and grip. Alongside this are some ear hooks (found on the box itself) so the cable slides inside and stays in place. But it takes some time to adjust the length of the wire under the ear hook to make it fit in the right place.

They adjust quickly with use, but they’re still not as smooth as the Final Audio E1000C and the similarly priced KZ Audio ZSN Pro X. However, Moondrop Chu feels solid and premium compared to the Final Audio E1000C and KZ Audio ZSN Pro X, and they look better too.

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The Moondrop Chu houses 10mm dynamic drivers and has a frequency response range of 10-35,000Hz. It has an impedance rating of 28 ohms and a sensitivity range of 120dB. Its specifications make the wearable easy to use even with basic devices like budget smartphones. These are easily compatible with the Shanling UA2 portable DAC. The sales package also includes three pairs of silicone ear tips, rubber ear hooks and a small cloth case.

Moondrop Chu’s performance

Bluetooth headphones have become more affordable over the years, and their audio quality has also improved. Therefore, many people now prefer devices with wireless connectivity over wired headphones or headphones. However, wired connectivity sounds better, and the sound quality on the Moondrop Chu sounds much better than currently available true wireless earbuds.

For this review, I used Moondrop Chu with the Shanling UA2 DAC on a OnePlus 9 Pro and used Apple Music for hi-res audio tracks. As an alternative source, I used iPad mini (2019) and used it with direct 3.5 headphone jack.

In both cases, I found Moondrop Chu to be quite loud. I found that 60 percent volume was sufficient on the iPad, while I didn’t dare go above 50 percent with the Shanling UA2 DAC. The sound was quite rich and the tone was excellent. The fit was excellent, making the sound feel very engaging and energetic.

The rhythms on Kraak & Smaak’s Hold Back Love sound deep and punchy, thanks to its tight and responsive bass. Details were decent due to the medium tempo beat, which also featured weak instruments and background vocals. I have not heard such a sound in any entry-level audiophile headphones.

I then switched to more melodic music, including Cozy In The Rocket by The Chillout Airlines Crew’s Psapp. There was a lot of detail in the sound. The soundstage was rich and immersive, something only a good in-ear monitor can deliver. The sound of the track was quite rich, from soft vocals to fun melodies. Although the tight bass caught my eye, the midrange also sounded refined.

I found the treble a bit stingy at times, especially at high volumes. Meanwhile, the aggressive bass on tracks like Limp Bizkit’s Take A Look Around made for dull music. Like other IEMs in the audiophile category, the Moondrop Chu also tends to overdo it on fast, high-powered tracks. It performs best on melodic and progressive music.

The Moondrop Chu is primarily a pair of musical headphones, but its microphone also makes it flexible to wear. Indoor call performance was decent, and I recorded a long audio clip in a quiet room with decent effect. I was a bit surprised that the inline remote and mic were dead when used with the Shanling UA2 DAC, but they worked fine when plugged directly into the iPad.


There are only a few IEM options under Rs 2000 that can be called good audiophile headphones. But none of the ones I’ve used so far have given me as much fun as Moondrop Chu. Although they are time consuming and a bit fiddly to set up, this shortcoming pales in comparison to their performance when listened to with a good DAC and Hi-Res audio tracks.

There are minor sound flaws, but these can easily be overlooked for the price and hands-free convenience. Overall this is probably the best Star IEM I can recommend right now and a great example of good sound quality on a budget.

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