Moondrop PARA Review

Today, we review the Moondrop PARA Planar Magnetic Headphones. It retails for $299 USD.

 

Disclaimer: Linsoul sent us the Moondrop PARA for this review. As always, I am here to share my honest experience with the product.

Moondrop

Moondrop company, established in 2014 and officially branded in 2015, specializes in the research and development of an extensive array of audio equipment. Initially, the team at Moondrop concentrated exclusively on earbud design. However, over the years, they have expanded their product line to include a diverse range of devices. This expansion now contains DACs, AMPs, headphones, and Bluetooth accessories. This growth in their product range is a reflection of Moondrop’s determination to explore various frontiers of audio technology in order to meet the diverse needs of audiophiles and casual listeners alike. At Headfonia, we’ve had the opportunity to review various Moondrop products in the past. You can find those articles here.

Moondrop PARA Planar Magnetic Open-Back Headphones

Today, we’re exploring the Moondrop PARA, one of the newest members of Moondrop’s headphone line-up. This line-up features five headphones crafted from various materials. The dynamic driver VOID marked Moondrop’s initial venture into headphones, followed by the JOKER, another dynamic driver-equipped model catering to the entry-level portable audio market. Moondrop’s current mid-tier offerings include two planar magnetic headphones: the PARA and the VENUS. Additionally, Moondrop is developing a new electrostatic headphone named Moonzero.

Moondrop unveils an ambitious leap in its headphone designing abilities by introducing its new PARA model. At the heart of PARA’s design is a 100mm large diaphragm incorporating FDT tech, a.k.a. Full Drive Technology. This innovative design enlarges the vibration area of the central part of the diaphragm by making use of the ineffective circuit areas and offers a more uniform coverage compared to regular planar magnetic headphones, according to Moondrop.

Para features a complex NS52 magnet array consisting of 36 extra large neodymium strip magnets to generate a planar magnetic field covering the entire vibrating surface of the diaphragm, optimized by finite element analysis and a highly damping, flexible composite diaphragm.

Structurally, the PARA inherits the integrated driver-cavity design of its big brother, the VENUS, but evolves it with advanced materials for a lightweight yet rugged build. Moondrop’s attention to detail extends to every component of the driver, including a highly resilient pure silver etched circuit and secondary diaphragm stress balance technology, which together ensure a stable, distortion-free listening experience.

Coupled with Moondrop’s scientific approach to tuning, PARA promises natural timbre and ultra-low non-linear distortion, creating a natural and open acoustic performance with a relaxed presentation typically seen in more expensive headphones. I believe PARA represents a significant step forward for Moondrop as they continue to delve deeper into high-performance headphone design. The PARA is available from Linsoul for $299 USD. Let’s get to the evaluation without further ado, as there are many grounds to cover.

Specs & Highlights

Type: Full-size open circumaural headphones

Driver: Planar magnetic

Diaphragm: Ø100mm + array of 36 N52 neodymium magnets

Sensitivity: 101dB/Vrms (@1kHz)

Impedance: 8 Ohm +/-6 15% (@1kHz)

Frequency response: 15Hz – 53kHz

Packaging & Accessories

The Moondrop PARA arrives in white packaging with an artwork cover that slides over a large black cardboard box. Moondrop’s “waifu”, a well-recognized mascot among fans, sits on the outer cover, illustrated with pink hair and wearing the PARA headphones.

The outer cover can be removed to reveal the black inner box. The inner box features the headphone’s model name in chrome lettering in English and Chinese. The foam interior is lined with the glossy fabric typical of luxury headphones, with the headphones in the center. Above the headband is a compartment for the entirety of the accessories. These include a 6.35mm adapter, a black braided stock cable with dual 3.5mm plugs, a traditional Moondrop postcard, and a user manual. The PARA also comes with two sets of ear pads: the pre-installed pads have a hybrid structure with velvet lining, while the additional set in the box is made of faux leather with perforated inner walls.

Overall, the inclusion of an extra set of earpads is a welcome touch, especially considering that manufacturers typically reserve such additional accessories for models priced over the $400-$500 range. However, the stock cable does feel somewhat flimsy. I had expected Moondrop to include a more premium cable, similar to what they offer with their higher-priced IEMs like the Kato or Blessing 3. That said, Moondrop’s upgrade cables are reasonably priced, so it’s understandable that they might choose to reduce costs in this area without compromising overall quality.

Design, Build Quality & Comfort

The PARA has a mostly metal frame, complemented by a suspension-style headband with a dotted design. The framework of the headband is made of metal, and the suspension pad is made of felt. Plastic elements, such as the inner chambers of the ear cups and the dual 3.5mm jacks, blend seamlessly into the design. The transparent housing of the cable receptacles is particularly attractive. The swivel system is quite good as well, allowing 4-way damping.

The grilles on the outward-facing side of the earcups are decorated with a dotted pattern, serving the dual purpose of protecting the drivers and allowing room for diaphragm movement. Weighing in at around 520 grams, the PARA is on the heavy side. However, this is to be expected for a full-size planar magnetic headphone made primarily of metal. However, the well thought-out design of the suspension headband overcomes any concerns about the weight during use.

In terms of build quality, the headphones have a premium feel and feel more expensive than their price would indicate. The PARA feels sturdy enough to withstand prolonged use, with hinges and joints that remain silent and rigid under physical pressure.

Many audiophiles have different tastes and needs regarding ear pads, as no head anatomy is the same. Some use glasses, which effectively hurt the seal of the headphones when used with pads that are too stiff. The pads of the PARA are interchangeable and can be detached from the body by pulling gently. The quality of the pads is good, and I found the comfort of the default pads slightly better due to their more pliable structure compared to the leather set. You can also replace the suspension felt with leather, as the adjustable headband mechanism uses screws. I am not the biggest fan of this as it is hard to make micro-adjustments to the headband due to this design, but it is more modular than traditional plastic mechanisms often found on cheaper headphones. 

In terms of comfort, I found the PARA to be quite comfortable. The clamping force is light, yet the headphones seal well around my ears for a planar set. The suspension system distributes the weight evenly, so there’s no problem there either. For comparison, they weigh 80 grams less than an Audeze LCD-2, but feel much more comfortable due to their well-designed frame. Another example I can give is that these headphones are much more comfortable than the 200-ish gram VOIDs.

 

The review continues on the next page. Click here or use the jump below.

Page 1: Moondrop, PARA, Packaging & Accessories, Design, Build Quality & Comfort

Page 2: Sound, Low, Mid, High, Technical Capability, Comparison, Last Words

 

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