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Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK Full Review

Introduction

The Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK is a highly anticipated in-ear monitor (IEM) that has generated a lot of buzz in the audiophile community. This collaboration between the renowned IEM brand Moondrop and the influential reviewer Crinacle has been in the works for quite some time, with the goal of creating a true reference-level IEM that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible at this price point. With its unique tri-brid driver configuration, advanced tuning techniques, and innovative DSP cable, the DUSK promises to deliver an exceptional listening experience.

Disclaimer: This review reflects my honest opinions only. I haven’t received any compensation to influence my thoughts. All ratings consider the product’s price point.

Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK

Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors (Image via shenzhenaudio.com)
Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors (Image via shenzhenaudio.com)

Specifications

  • Cavity Material: 3D-Printed Medical Resin
  • Driver: 2 Dynamic Drivers + 2 Balanced Armature +2 Planar Magnetic Drivers, 3-Way
  • Earphone Jack: 0.78-2pin
  • Cable Plug: 3.5mm Single-ended plug / USB-C
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-24kHz
  • Effective Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz (IEC60318-4,3dB)
  • Impedance: 14.5Ω±15% (@1kHz)
  • Sensitivity: 119dB/Vrms (@1kHz)
  • THD: ≤0.5% (@1kHz, 94dB)

Individual ratings

Bass

The bass performance is outstanding, with deep and impactful sub-bass extension, tight and articulate mid-bass punch, excellent control, and remarkable texture.

0/5
Midrange

The midrange has exceptional transparency, naturalness, and emotional delivery of vocals and acoustic instruments, striking a perfect balance between warmth and detail.

0/5
Treble

The treble response is smooth and extended, rendering high-frequency details with precision and clarity, without harshness or fatigue. However, a slight treble emphasis is there, which may not suit all listeners.

0/5
Soundstage And Imaging

The soundstage is impressively large and spacious for an in-ear monitor, creating a sense of depth and width that enhances the overall listening experience. Imaging is precise and accurate, with excellent instrument separation and placement.

0/5
Detail Retrieval

The ability to resolve intricate details and separate individual instruments with exceptional clarity is a standout quality, allowing the appreciation of nuances often lost with less capable in-ear monitors.

0/5
Dynamics

The dynamic performance is exceptional, with a sense of immediacy and impact that brings music to life. Transients are rendered with precision and speed, ensuring faithful reproduction of attacks and decays.

0/5
Resolution

The level of resolution offered is breathtaking, capturing every nuance and micro-detail with stunning clarity, typically reserved for much more expensive in-ear monitors.

0/5
Build Quality

The build quality is excellent, with a solid and durable construction that inspires confidence, featuring sleek carbon fiber faceplates that are both visually striking and lightweight.

0/5
Comfort

Despite its larger size, the comfort is surprisingly good, with an ergonomic design, high-quality silicone ear tips, and a lightweight construction that prevents fatigue during extended listening sessions.

0/5

Overall Rating

0/5.0

Bottom Line

The Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK is a game-changer in the market of high-end IEMs, offering exceptional performance, versatility, and value that is sure to impress even the most discerning audiophiles.

Pros

  • exceptional build quality and durable construction
  • comfortable and ergonomic design
  • Balanced and natural default tuning
  • Outstanding bass performance with deep extension and excellent control
  • Transparent and lifelike midrange reproduction
  • Smooth and extended treble response
  • Impressive soundstage and precise imaging
  • Excellent instrument separation and detail retrieval
  • dynamic and impactful presentation
  • exceptional resolution and transparency.
  • includes both a standard 3.5mm cable and a DSP cable for added versatility.

Cons

  • A larger size may not suit everyone.
  • DSP cable and app could be improved (addressed in detail below).
  • A slight treble emphasis may not suit all listeners.

Gaming Performance

The DUSK's exceptional technical capabilities make it an excellent choice for gaming. The wide soundstage and precise imaging allow for accurate positional audio cues, giving you a competitive edge in first-person shooters and other action-oriented games. The dynamic presentation and deep bass extension also contribute to an immersive and engaging gaming experience.

0/5.0

Movie Experience

For movie enthusiasts, the DUSK delivers a cinematic experience that is hard to match in its price range. The balanced tuning and natural timbre ensure that dialogue remains clear and intelligible, while the dynamic presentation and deep bass extension add weight and impact to action sequences and soundtracks.

0/5.0

Music Genres

Suitable

  • The DUSK's balanced and natural tuning, combined with its exceptional technical capabilities, make it an excellent choice for a wide range of genres.
  • It excels with acoustic and vocal-centric music, allowing you to appreciate the nuances and emotion of live performances.
  • It also shines with genres like rock, metal, and electronic music, delivering a dynamic and impactful presentation that brings the energy and power of these genres to life.

Not Suitable

  • While the DUSK is a highly versatile IEM, its slight treble emphasis may not suit listeners who prefer a more laid-back or relaxed presentation.
  • Genres like smooth jazz or classical music with a strong emphasis on strings and woodwinds may benefit from a slightly warmer and more relaxed tuning.

Equalization Tips

  • For those seeking to fine-tune the DUSK's sound to their personal preferences, here are some recommended equalization settings, but there are already a lot out there you can check those also for more variations:
  • Treble-sensitive listeners: Reduce the 6–8 kHz range by 2–3 dB to tame the treble emphasis.
  • Bass-heads: Increase the sub-bass region (below 100 Hz) by 2-4 dB for even more visceral impact.

1. Packaging

Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors (Image via shenzhenaudio.com)
Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors (Image via shenzhenaudio.com)
  • Moondrop x crinacle dusk
  • 2 cables one dsp and other 3.5mm
  • eartips
  • case
  • paperworks

2. Design And Build Quality

The DUSK's design is a departure from the traditional Moondrop aesthetic, featuring sleek carbon fiber faceplates that give it a more industrial and understated look. The build quality is excellent, with a solid and durable feel that inspires confidence. The carbon fiber faceplates are not only visually striking but also lightweight, ensuring a comfortable fit.

3. Comfort

Despite its larger size, the DUSK is surprisingly comfortable to wear for extended periods. The ergonomic design and high-quality silicone ear tips provide a secure and stable fit, while the lightweight construction prevents fatigue during long listening sessions. The included Moondrop Spring Tips are particularly noteworthy, offering excellent grip and isolation.

4. Sound Quality

Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors
Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors

I. Tonality

The DUSK's tonality is a true work of art, showcasing Crinacle's exceptional tuning skills. Right out of the box, the IEM delivers a balanced and natural sound signature that is both engaging and immersive. The default tuning is a perfect blend of warmth and clarity, with a slight emphasis on the lower frequencies that adds a touch of richness without overwhelming the midrange.

II. Frequency Response Graph Of The Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK

Image of frequency response graph of Moondrop x Crinacle Dusk in-ear monitors

III. Bass Response

The bass performance of the DUSK is nothing short of outstanding. Powered by Moondrop's H.O.D.D.D.U.S. (Horizontally Opposed Double Dynamic Drivers Unit System), the low-end extension is deep and impactful, yet remarkably well-controlled and textured. The sub-bass rumble is palpable, adding a visceral quality to bass-heavy genres like electronic and hip-hop, while the mid-bass punch is tight and articulate, ensuring that basslines remain clear and defined.

IV. Midrange Performance

The midrange is where the DUSK truly shines, delivering a level of transparency and naturalness that is rarely achieved in this price range. Vocals are rendered with exceptional clarity and emotion, with a perfect balance of warmth and detail that allows you to appreciate every nuance and inflection. Acoustic instruments, such as guitars and pianos, sound incredibly lifelike, with a realistic timbre and a sense of three-dimensionality that creates an immersive listening experience.

V. Treble Response

The treble response of the DUSK is smooth and extended, thanks to the implementation of micro-planar drivers. High-frequency details are rendered with precision and clarity without ever becoming harsh or fatiguing. Cymbals and percussion instruments have a natural decay and shimmer, adding a sense of air and openness to the overall presentation.

5. Technicalities

Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors (Image via shenzhenaudio.com)
Image of Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK in-ear monitors (Image via shenzhenaudio.com)

I. Soundstage And Imaging

The DUSK's soundstage is impressively large and spacious for an IEM, creating a sense of depth and width that enhances the overall listening experience. Imaging is precise and accurate, with excellent instrument separation and placement within the soundstage. This allows you to easily pinpoint the location of individual sounds, contributing to a heightened sense of realism and immersion.

II. Instrument Separation And Detail Retrieval

One of the DUSK's standout qualities is its ability to resolve intricate details and separate individual instruments with exceptional clarity. Even in the densest and most complex musical passages, each element remains distinct and well-defined, allowing you to appreciate the nuances and intricacies that are often lost with less capable IEMs.

III. Dynamics And Speed

The DUSK's dynamic performance is truly exceptional, with a sense of immediacy and impact that brings music to life. Transients are rendered with precision and speed, ensuring that every attack and decay is faithfully reproduced. This dynamic prowess translates into a more engaging and involving listening experience, particularly for genres like rock, metal, and classical music.

IV. Resolution

The level of resolution offered by the DUSK is nothing short of breathtaking. Every nuance and micro-detail is captured with stunning clarity, allowing you to appreciate the most subtle aspects of your favorite recordings. This level of transparency and resolution is typically reserved for much more expensive IEMs, making the DUSK a true standout in its price range.

6. Comparisons

AFUL Performer 8 Vs Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK

Compared to the AFUL Performer 8, a direct competitor in the same price range, the DUSK offers a tighter and more controlled bass response, smoother treble presentation, and a more spacious soundstage. While the Performer 8 has a visually striking design, the DUSK's overall technical performance and tuning are superior.

Thieaudio Hype 4 Vs Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK

When pitted against the Thieaudio Hype 4, another popular option in this price segment, the DUSK shines with its superior bass quality, more balanced tuning, and better midrange presence. The Hype 4 offers a wider soundstage but can sometimes sound overly bassy and lack vocal clarity in comparison.

Conclusion

The Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK is a true masterpiece that sets a new standard for what is possible in the realm of high-end in-ear monitors. With its exceptional build quality, comfortable design, and outstanding technical performance, the DUSK delivers a listening experience that is truly unparalleled in its price range. Whether you're an audiophile seeking the ultimate in sonic fidelity or a music lover looking for an immersive and engaging listening experience, the DUSK is a must-have addition to your audio arsenal.

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Overall User Rating

5.0

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