If you haven’t heard of Moonbuds, its okay. Let me tell you about the company’s origin before moving on to the main review. Moonbuds is named after Moon Harvester’s bud (Moon Harvester is the founder). Before he founded Moonbuds, it was his hobby and passion to create earbuds and testing them with the audiophile community. Then he changed his passion of earbuds making into a profession and started Moonbuds on April 2018. Moonbuds initially started selling their earbuds in the Philippines and then expanded its trade to India, USA, UK, Singapore, China, etc. Now, their earbuds are one of the most sought-after earbuds in the audiophile market.
The Moonbuds Crescent is the entry level earbuds from the brand at $100.
I’ve had the Moonbuds Crescent for about 3 weeks now and have listened to them for a total time of at least 50 hours and have burned them continuously for 30 hours. I’ve used them mostly daily during this time period to listen to all genres of songs (rock, EDM, pop, movie soundtracks, Western classics, etc.).
Don’t want to read the full review? Here’s the TL:DR :
If you want a great musical earbud for a reasonable money, then the Moonbuds Crescent is for you.
But wait! Before you dive into the review, I have a quick disclaimer for you: I have bought these earbuds with my own money and I have not been incentivised or pressurized by Moonbuds or any other person to write this review for them. All the words used in this review are my own and this review is written in the most unbiased way that I could have done.
Now, on to the main review.
For a $100 pair of earbuds, they include quite a few accessories inside the case that it comes in. Also, you can personalise the case to your liking as Moonbuds offer free laser engraving on the case which is a nice personal touch in my opinion.
Upon opening the case, you will be greeted by the earbuds themselves and a plethora of ear tips to choose from for the best fit.
So, to summarize, when you receive the Crescent you’ll get:
So as far as accessories goes, the Moonbuds Crescent comes with a ton of it.
For a $100 pair of earbuds, they have a good build quality to them. Although they are completely made of plastic with the exception of the y-splitter which is made of wood (which I feel is actually a really nice touch in my opinion), they have used really nice plastic for the shells of the earbuds and it feels really sturdy in the hand.
Also, the cable used in the Crescent is a 4-core OCC copper cable which feels really nice in the hand and is also tangle-free. So, you won’t have any problems with having to untangle your earbuds once you take them out of your pocket, although I would recommend you guys to take care of this earbuds as they are by no means cheap.
So, I feel that at this price, this is as premium a build quality that you will get on a pair of earbuds.
Now this a place where your mileage may vary a lot. You see, the Crescents use the MX500 shells which are quite large for smaller ears. In my ears, it just fits. Its neither too tight, nor too loose. So, I would recommend you guys to try earbuds which use this shell before buying these earbuds as MX500 is the preferred shell style for most earbuds. Even the VE Monk+ use a MX500 shell. So, try before you buy.
In case the MX500 shell is too large for your ears, then I would recommend Yuin shell earbuds as they are smaller than MX500 and should fit any kind of ear.
As far as ergonomics go, it is quite comfortable and light. I have worn them continuously for 4 hours without feeling the need to remove them from my ears. So, if you have large ears like mine, you should not have any problems with comfort.
The fit of the earbuds in my ear is just right
Now coming to noise isolation, these earbuds are not that good because frankly, they are not meant for that. Earbuds generally let noise in to give it a feel of open-back headphones. Although if you turn the volume high enough (at a level which is neither very loud for you or too quiet), you should be able to block out most of the noise (but only the noises at lower frequencies. High frequency noise will still be heard). But its sound is best perceived at a quiet environment as with all other earbuds. There is not much else to say in this department, so let’s move on to the part which you guys have actually come here to read – its sound quality.
Now, on to the most subjective part of the review: sound quality. Also, I won’t be posting any graphs in this review (or any review for that matter), as I don’t believe in graphs as much as I believe in my ears!
This time, I’ll be listening to the earbuds via 2 modes:
I will also list the soundtracks that I’ve used for each section of my sound test. (Note: All my tracks are either 44 kHz / 24-bits – 192 kHz / 24-bit FLAC or DSD64/DSD128.)
Now, let me give you a small tip.
If you plan on purchasing these earbuds or any other high-end earbuds for that matter, I suggest you get a good DAC/AMP to go with it. It will go a long way to make your listening experience much more enjoyable.
Generally, the bass in earbuds are not that great because they tend to sit outside the ear canal unlike IEMs (In-ear monitors) which pushes into the ear canal and is thus able to deliver much better noise isolation and bass response without attenuation of the low frequency. However, that is not the case with the Moonbuds Crescent. The sub-bass rolls off at a much lower frequency than most other earbuds (at 35-40 Hz, whereas most of the other earbuds’ bass rolls off at 60-70 Hz) giving a much better bass response than most earbuds.
The bass in these earbuds is better than most other earbuds at this price!
The sub-bass is not that great due to the roll-off but it is still tight and punchy. The mid-bass is the frequency where it really shines. Its hits you hard and fast and in your face and the best part is that doesn’t bleed into the low-mid frequencies. But I sometimes felt that the bass lacked a bit of resolution. But otherwise, its perfectly fine for its price.
So overall, for a pair of earbuds at this price, I would say that the bass response is just great.
These earbuds have V-shaped sound signature. This means that the earbuds have been tuned to have a boosted bass and treble frequency to make it sound more musical and appealing to the public and due to this, the mids sound slightly recessed on these earbuds.
The mids sound a bit recessed on these earbuds but not too much as to ruin the whole experience.
But that doesn’t mean that the mids are not detailed. They are plenty detailed and vocals sound natural on them. People might think that the earbuds being V-shaped is suitable for only EDM and pop soundtracks. That is not true at all in this case. Male and female vocals although sounding slightly distant than the instruments have a nice energy in them and due to the earbuds having a V-shaped sound signature, the vocals don’t sound fatiguing to listen to at high volumes.
So, for a pair of V-shaped earbuds the mids sound just fine and it actually exceeded my expectations.
Now onto treble. Let’s start with those cymbals and hi-hats. They actually have a nice energy to them and sound detailed but they sometimes sound a bit splashy (although it is only on a few tracks that I have noticed it). But its rendition of guitar is really very good. You can even hear minute details like the guitarist sliding down on the strings in the album “Friday Night In San Francisco”.
The guitar rendition is detailed and sounds natural and its extension is also good. Piano rendition is also good and is quite detailed but sometimes might sound a bit congested in parts where there are too many notes in the same part. But in tracks where there are bells (like in Axel Thesleff’s “Reincarnation”), they tend sound boomy and there is an inherent loss of coherency and detail at that part. But otherwise, its treble is great and I don’t think that you will find much problem with it.
Now, there are 2 ways to accurately measure a earbuds’ soundstage and positioning. First, is to use well-recorded binaural tracks (see track list below for more info). The second method (which I personally prefer more) is gaming. I have used two games specifically for this purpose. One is the well-known CS:GO and the other is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (the latter is a much more immersive experience).
Now, soundstage. Since they are earbuds, they sound much more open than say an IEM. But its not as open as a pair of proper open-back headphones. Its soundstage a spherical shape and I would say that wide enough to give a feel that you are sitting inside a small auditorium.
Basically, earbuds are designed to sit outside the ear canal, thus letting in a bit of outside noise so as to give an open soundstage which is somewhat similar to that of an open-back pair of headphones.
Now coming to its positioning, I felt that it is on point. To test it out, I opened up CS: GO and I could easily pinpoint the source of the gunshot. In Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, I could feel the voices whispering in my ears. So overall, I am pretty much satisfied with its soundstage and positioning.
The separation on these earbuds are not its strong suit. In quite a few busy tracks, I felt that it lost its coherency and got the instruments all muddled up in the background. Its rendition of orchestral music is, to be honest, not very good and it often loses its detail in those tracks. But in other less busy tracks, this issue is basically non-existent and I feel that you will really enjoy the detail that it can provide in those tracks.
You should be able to easily drive them out of a smartphone but I would recommend you to get a proper Digital Audio Player (DAP) or a DAC/AMP to get the most out of these earbuds. They have an impedance rating of 32Ω and a sensitivity of ~102dB so you shouldn’t face any difficulty while driving them out of your smartphones. Since these already packs a bit of a punch in the bass department, I would suggest you to pair it with a neutral DAC/AMP like the Fiio Q1.
Tracks used: Random
In conclusion, you are getting a hand-made premium pair of earbuds which looks great and sounds great. It comes with a slew of accessories to get you started and to top it all off, you are getting all of that at a reasonable price of $100. Although its not in the budget territory in the world of earbuds, but it is a $100 well spent on a pair of earbuds which does its work really well and then some. Hence, it gets a solid recommendation from me and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a pair of music-oriented earbuds under $100 and doesn’t want something analytical.