If you’re into IEMs, You’ve probably heard of Moondrop. They’ve been making waves with their Blessing2 and S8 IEMs. Today I’m going to focus on one of Moondrop’s newer IEMs, Kato. At $190, Kato is one of Moondrop’s more budget-friendly IEMs, and I’m going to see if it holds up to the hype surrounding the Moondrop brand.
What’s in the Box
- Moondrop Kato IEMs
- 3 Pairs Foam eartips
- 3 Pairs Silicon Eartips
- Carrying pouch
- Carrying Case
- Replaceable High-Purity Copper Thick Silver-Plated Cable
- Moondrop Postcard
- User Manual
Look and Feel
One thing Moondrop has nailed consistently is presentation. The box features its signature manga art, and my entire unboxing experience was streamlined. The Kato itself looks great, with an entirely stainless steel housing and more angular design than, it has a sense of retrofuturism to it. While they are on the heavier side, they still feel comfortable and that weight gives it a feeling of durability.
The Technical highlight is Moondrop’s new ULT (Ultra-Linear-Technology) super-linear dynamic driver. This single 10mm dynamic driver is responsible for the entirety of the sound production, and is able to give a clear response without sacrificing spatial imaging. The acoustic cavity further assists the ULT driver to resonate and not sound crowded.
The Moondrop Kato has a frequency response of 10 Hz – 45 kHz and an impedance of 32 Ohms.
For its price, the Kato has a decent soundstage. The noise cancellation does a great job of filtering out external noise and making me feel immersed. The stereo field does tend towards the narrower side and has some bleed; I listened to A Love Supreme and heard Coltrane in the right and left channel for the first time. While There wasn’t much separations, The mix was still very clear and subtle details were able to come through perceptibly. The dynamics were pretty good, though felt a bit flat at times.
The Kato has pronounced lows. While they could be a touch overpowering at times, they still felt clear and rarely got muddy. Boosting lows is common, especially for IEMs of this price, but Kato does it in a way that doesn’t sacrifice too much clarity, and gives the IEMs a large, heavy sound character. While definitely not mix-accurate, the low range on these sounds really supportive and really comes down to your bass preferences. If you like fat kicks, you’ll love these.
The Midrange does a great job in bringing out elements of the mix that tend to be lost in similarly-priced IEMs. While there is a definite scoop around 500 hZ, it opens up room for a lot of textures to come through. Lead instruments, vocals, and attacks have power to them and I never felt like I was missing something. While some dynamic subtlety is lost at times, it’s barely noticeable.
IEMs at this price point tend to sacrifice some high clarity in order to emphasize the other ranges. Kato is an exception. They have give a lot of detail in the high textures, and manage to give a sense of airiness at times when airiness is needed. Reverb tails, delays, and cymbals feel crisp and rarely enter harsh territory, which is impressive for louder-leaning IEMs. Of all the ranges on the Kato, the highs surprised me the most.
I came into this review expecting another Blessing2 or S8, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I got in the Kato. While its energized style isn’t for everybody, I personally liked the way it presented the mix. It’s by no means perfect, but the Kato is still a fantastic choice, especially compared to other IEMs at $190. Whether you’re looking for a great pair of starter in-ears or just want to try a fun, great sounding new sound palette, I’d highly consider the Moondrop Kato.