If you're interested in sub-$100 IEMs, there are few audio manufacturers that offer as much value as Moondrop. The Chinese audio maker saw a meteoric rise in recent years on the back of its budget IEM portfolio, and the defining trait to all of its products is value. While there have been a few stumbles along the way — the Stellaris was too bright for my liking — the brand generally launches one bestseller after another.
The Venus is Moondrop's first planar headset, and it's safe to call it the brand's most ambitious effort to date. The headset uses custom 100mm drivers, has a gorgeous design that's made entirely out of aluminum, and two high-quality cables in the box. I used the Venus for just over a month, and I'm ready to call these one of the best overall planar options in the $500 category.
Moondrop Venus: Pricing and availability
Moondrop unveiled the Venus in November 2022, and the headset is now available from all major audio retailers for $600. I got the unit from HiFiGo, and like other Moondrop products, the Venus is covered by a standard one-year warranty.
Moondrop Venus: Design and comfort
The Venus exudes elegance like no other headset in this category, and at first glance, it feels more like a product that costs $3,000 instead of $600. The design is made entirely out of aluminum, and you get a floating-style headband with a suspension band that's made out of faux leather. The ear cushions are also fashioned out of the same material, and the fit and finish is incredible. There's no doubt that the Venus is built to last, and you certainly feel the heft when you pick up the headset.
Coming in at over 600g, the Venus is one of the heaviest headsets I've used yet, but to Moondrop's credit, you won't notice the weight once you wear the headset. The floating design for the headband ensures the weight is distributed well, and the suspension band definitely makes a big difference. The headset is rather large as well, but I didn't have any issues with the size or weight.
I also have to mention that this is one of the most striking headset designs currently available. The all-aluminum chassis looks gorgeous, and the visible bolts where the headband connects to the ear cups gives the Venus an industrial look. The design also allows the ear cups to swivel along the vertical axis, and the machined grille adds a lot of character to the overall aesthetic. The Venus looks and feels like a high-end product.
The ear cups feature a faux leather finish and have perforations on the inner side, so there is some breathability. I would have liked to see additional ear cushions bundled in the box — like the Thieaudio Wraith — as the ones that are included tend to run a bit warm, but other than that minor quibble, I have no qualms with the design and build quality of the Venus.
They connect via 3.5mm plugs, and you'll find two cables in the box: a single-ended 3.5mm option, and a balanced 4.4mm cable. The latter is particularly interesting as the silver-plate design allows it to mesh well with the headset. The cable itself is one of the best I've used in this category, and I intend to use it with other headsets.
Moondrop Venus: Sound quality
With 18Ω and a sensitivity of 100dB, the Venus isn't particularly demanding, but you will need to pair it with a decent source to unlock its full potential. I used it with the Fiio M11S, and while it held up just fine, the Fiio K9 Pro showcased what the headset can truly achieve.
The Venus delivers excellent lows, with good rumble and definition, and the bass is characteristic of planar drivers: it's fast and detailed without being overbearing. The mid-bass has plenty of definition and character, and it feels natural. Moondrop did a good job in this area, and the Venus delivers a tightly controlled low-end that's engaging.
The mids are where the Venus truly comes into its own, with the headset offering crystal-clear vocals with a bit of warmth. Even in complex situations with plenty of instruments, there's excellent separation and articulation, and the Venus is just as comfortable with jazz as heavy metal.
In a similar vein, the treble has good extension without any harshness, and it works well with vocals and stringed instruments like guitars. It isn't overly bright, and you get a fuller sound signature here than with other planar headsets in this category.
The soundstage is immersive, with a lot of depth and spaciousness to the sound that's highly engaging. The headset is particularly well-suited to large orchestral ensembles, and it does a brilliant job with imaging.
Moondrop Venus: The competition
The Venus is very similar to the HiFiMan Edition XS. That particular headset doesn't quite have the same design flair, but you get a sturdy build quality. The Venus sounds fuller and more engaging, but the Edition XS costs $100 less.
Moondrop Venus: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want a planar headset with a gorgeous design
- You’re looking for an immersive soundstage with good resolution
- You want an engaging sound and excellent tuning
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You want a bass-focused sound
- You’re looking for a light headset
The Venus is a magnificent first showing by Moondrop, and it is among the best headsets in the sub-$1,000 category. The design is among the best I've used, and although the headset is quite heavy, the weight is balanced well, and at no point does it become uncomfortable.
Moondrop did an excellent job with the tuning, and the Venus offers an engaging sound that's full of character. It pairs well with a variety of genres, and the wide soundstage puts you at the center of the mix. It has a lot of positives, and other than needing a good source to take full advantage of the large drivers, I can't think of any negatives here. If you're in the market for a sub-$1,000 planar headset, the Venus is an easy recommendation.
The Venus is a fantastic effort by Moondrop, and although it costs $600, you are getting excellent value here.