Moondrop Nameless

disclaimer:  I purchased the Nameless from Nicehck at retail price for purposes of this review.   I have several other Moondrop products and find them enjoyable so wanted to see what their entry level earbud brought to the party.  They have several models in their lineup but the Nameless is currently the least expensive so provides a way to dip a toe in the water without having to take a bath.

 

Unboxing / Accessories:

Packaging on the Nameless is understated with Moondrop’s name in English and Chinese on the front and plain black background with gold sprinkles over the rest of the box.  The rear of the box has some specs but the preponderance of the information is in Chinese while the numeric values are in English so while some are discernible, others are not.  Lifting the cover on the box reveals a foam tray with cut outs for the earbuds and cable.  A business card sits at the bottom obscuring some of the cable.  The rest of the kit is hidden under the foam tray and consists of the instruction booklet, extra foams (no donut foams provided) and a small gray cloth drawstring bag Moondrop in Chinese emblazoned on the front.    Kit is pretty minimal, but this is an entry level product so the lack of donuts and a shirt clip is not unexpected.

 

Build/Fit:  

Construction of the earbuds themselves can best be defined as truncated cone with a barrel stacked on top.  Grills are a black plastic and then have a cone shaped metal housing holding the driver.  At the back end of the cone, a small barrel sits and the cable exits via about a 2.5cm protective shaft.  This effectively limits them to tip-down use for me.  Left and Right are clearly marked on the stems which is a nice touch.   The Cone has two large slots cut as vents.  From the photos, one can see that little effort went into beveling the edges of the vent as they look a bit sharp and raw.   While I normally dedicate another section to the cable, I will include it here since it is non-removable.  The cable as it exits the earbud is a single strand lightweight cable in a clear housing that shows the individual silver-plated copper elements within it.  a small black barrel is used for a splitter and beneath that the cable thickens a bit but otherwise looks the same.  The jack is of  the straight type with  3.5mm TRS plug on one side of the black barrel housing and a short strain relief on the other.   The cable is similar to the ALO/Campfire Tinsel model or the recently reviewed ToneKing To200 cable although both of the later mentioned are detachable.

 

Internals:

Like most earbuds, the Nameless uses a larger than average single dynamic driver.  In this case, its a 13.5mm with a Copper Clad Aluminum wire coil and a polymer diaphragm.   Nominal impedance is listed as 32Ω with a sensitivity of 112 dB/mW.  I found the Nameless to be easy to drive with a phone or tablet but that quality improved with better sources.   I did find the Nameless was somewhat limited as it scaled when moving from an I-pad to a dedicated DAP like the Opus#1S or DTR1, but moving up from there to the Opus#1S/xCAN combo or the Xduoo X10Tii/xDSD combo realized no additional gains.   These are designed for use with a phone so this isnt a surprise.

 

Sound:

 

Bass:

Sub-bass is present, but not emphasized and mid-bass is mildly forward, but not dominant by any measure.  Overall, I call it good for an open back design as the bass stays in near linear proportion with the mids above it.   I’ve seen way too many comments about earbuds being bass light and while not particularly bass emphasized, I don’t feel the Nameless is particularly lacking in bass either.   Open designs simply wont produce the deep V signature some seem to want.    Bassheads probably wont appreciate any earbud, and the Nameless is no different in that respect.   Control over the bass is fairly good but attack and decay are a bit slow which gives the Nameless a it more warmth than I prefer, and means the bass can sometimes feel a bit crowded on overly complicated passages.

 

Mids:

Mids are pushed slightly forward on the low end and a bit further forward in the upper mids making vocals stand in front of the signature.  To me male vocals come across as a little thick which I think is a function of the driver speed and the bleed-over warmth.  Female vocals are a bit thinner comparatively but sound more natural as a result.   The one oddity I am struggling to define is the mids are forward, but not particularly lively or engaging.  One would think pushing the mids forward would make them the centerpiece of the sound and the element that drew the listener in, but they just don’t.  In switching back and forth between the Nameless and the To200, I kept finding the To200 mids more to my liking as they simply had more life.

 

Treble: 

Treble tuning is a bit different than most as the lower treble is not particularly the focal point of the signature.  It has good weight and detail, but falls off fairly rapidly from the plateau of the upper mids.  Treble extension is better than average and unlike most in its class, the moondrop has a more pronounced upper treble when compared to the lower regions.  This is particularly true around the 7kHz mark where it seems to have a lot of extra energy added to the mix.    The treble tuning does good things for snares and cymbals as both sound very clean and natural, but it does come across as slightly sharp edged and fatiguing at times.   I don’t find the Nameless to be overly bright, in the overall if anything it leans to the slightly dark and warm side, but a little adjustment around 7kHz does reduce fatigue for me substantially.

 

 

Soundstage / Imaging:

Soundstage is large and very well proportioned with a good sense of height.  This is a great earbud to listen to the Cowboy Junkies -Trinity Sessions on as it has enough detail to pick up all the echos and movements, really impressive.   Seating the orchestra is straight forward as the stage leaves plenty of space between instruments and imaging cues are precise and accurate.   Layering is good, but not fantastic as there are times it suffers a little as tracks get particularly busy and dense.

 

Comparisons:

 

Smabat ST-10

Build Quality –   The ST-10 has the advantage of a removable cable, but shares the disadvantage of not being usable in both orientations as the earhooks prevent tip down usage.  The Nameless of course is tip down only.   Overall fit and polish is a bit better on the ST-10.

Sound –  Bass extension and quantity is better on the ST-10 while the mids take a bit more of a backseat compared to the Nameless.  While the mids are a little recessed in comparison, they are more natural sounding on the ST-10.  Top end, the Nameless has a better top end with more detail and a bit better tonality.

 

ToneKing To200

Build Quality –  The To200 has a removable cable and more polish than the Nameless which looks like it was left “as machined” with little polish or clean up afterward.

Sound – The To200 takes a lot more power to drive adequately but rewards the user with a more natural, more neutral performance that is less fatiguing and at the same time more lively and lifelike.  Overall, the T0200 should outclass the Nameless with its difference in price point, and it does.

The To200 is much harder to drive than the Nameless and will require more amp to be useful.

 

NiceHCK EB2

Build Quality – Both are very similar in construction materials with similar cables.  Neither has a detachable cable and both fall into roughly the same price class.  One can think of the EB2 as a kind of rounded off Nameless as angles and edges are sharp on the nameless and more beveled on the EB2.

Sound –  The Nameless is darker and than the EB2 and both have an almost forced warmth that contributes to that odd tonality in the mids.  Overall, these two are similar in that both have odd issues in the mids, with similar extension and tunings otherwise.

Both are about equally easy to drive.

 

NiceHCK Me80

Build Quality –  These two are more similar than not in construction with neither having a detachable cable, and both have barrel shapes with a protective tube over the cable exit point.  The Me80 is a little better polished.

Sound:  The Me80 has a little better low end extension, while the Nameless has a bit more mid-bass push.   Mids are more natural sounding on the Me80 and a bit cleaner.   Treble is more polite on the Nameless, but a bit more detailed on the Me80.

Both are about equally easy to drive.

 

Thoughts / Conclusion:

Moondrop has released several products that I really like recently, so I took a chance that I would like the nameless as well and bought one.  I must say that it is a solid offering for the price point, but the sound signature simply is not my favorite.   So while it would be easy to say, I don’t like it, it isn’t fair to the product or the reader.    The Nameless offers a lot for the asking price with good bass, an emphasized midrange, and polite treble.   It shows some rough edges, literally, as the fit and polish is not up to the level of their more expensive products, and it lacks a removable cable that may turn some off.  My wife prefers the Nameless to most of the rest of my collection of earbuds as it sounds “more relaxed and enjoyable”.  That can be taken as a pretty solid endorsement as her normal response is “eh, its ok I guess”.

Moondrop Nameless

5.7

Packaging

5.0/10

Build Quality

6.5/10

Accessories

5.0/10

Sound Quality

6.3/10
  • 6/10
    Bass - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Mids - 7/10
  • 6.5/10
    Treble - 6.5/10
  • 7/10
    Soundstage - 7/10
  • 5/10
    Imaging - 5/10

Summary

Pros –  large soundstage with good detail and speed.

Cons – sub-bass is minimal  and build has some quality issues.