Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP – Is The Higher Price Of The DSP Worth It?

Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP

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The beloved Moondrop Quarks had its time in the spotlight when it came out. It was such a good budget performer that people praised the brand for it and its price-to-performance ratio at that time was unmatched.

After a while, Moondrop decided to update the Quarks, releasing the Moondrop Quarks DSP.

The Quarks DSP brought in some changes, such as the analog signal input is now digital, which results in higher processing speeds and a more robust power source. The Quarks retails for around $12 while the DSP costs almost $28 – more than twice the price of the original version.

In this post, we’ll compare these two IEMs and see if it’s worth paying that much for the DSP version or if you should just save your money and get the original Moondrop Quarks. Let’s get to it.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Moondrop Quarks Earphone Closed Anterior Cavity Micro Dynamic Driver IEM Earphone (Without mic)
Moondrop Quarks
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Moondrop Quarks DSP in-Ear Earphones, DSP Equipped, USB-C Connection, Supports 4 to 43,000 Hz, Clear Housing
Moondrop Quarks DSP

Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP: Sound Signature

The Moondrop Quarks have a neutral sound signature. Regarded as one of the most recommended IEMs at the time of its release, the Quarks allows the user to enjoy music the way they’re intended to sound.

Its sound signature is perfect for jazz and classical songs as this IEM presents the mixes with a natural and warm sound.

Moondrop Quarks vs Moondrop Quarks DSP
The Moondrop Quarks and Quarks DSP have the same shell design | Make Life Click

The Moondrop Quarks is for you if:

  • You like a natural sound with a hint of warmth.
  • You like a signature that lets you enjoy the tracks as close to their production.
  • You like a sound that’s accurate and flat.

Like its predecessor, the Moondrop Quarks DSP also has a neutral sound signature. However, it’s an improvement as the experiment on utilizing digital processing technologies and implementing them into a classic IEM worked wonders to give a more refined sound. 

As it’s more refined, the Quarks DSP offers a sound that’s perfect for those who like listening to metal, rock, pop, R&B, and hip-hop.

The Moondrop Quarks DSP is for you if:

  • You like a sound that clearly and naturally delivers vocals, ensuring a detailed presentation.
  • You like a good sub-bass extension without overwhelming the other frequencies.
  • You like a sound that’s presented clearly with neutral tonality.

Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP: Sound Quality

Regarding sound quality, the Moondrop Quarks lacked treble and bass presence. 

However, considering it’s an IEM with a neutral sound signature, the bass is tuned adequately but can still be lacking. The mid-bass has more body and presence compared to the sub-bass. Unfortunately, the bass tends to suffer from muddiness upon listening to bass-heavy tracks.

The midrange of the Quarks is one of its redeeming features, as they’re very present. They’re tuned to make vocals and instruments more present in the mix, creating a more natural sound. However, they do lack clarity and body at times. 

As for the treble, it didn’t have any harsh frequencies and sibilance, which is an excellent plus for its affordable price.

Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP - Design
Quarks with a 6mm DD and Quarks DSP with a 6mm with CCAW voice coil and neodymium magnets | Make Life Click

One must also consider how well an IEM works in games. So, in terms of Valorant and CS: GO, the Quarks has an above-average performance. The soundstage and sound separation were adequate, allowing the user to pinpoint the enemies’ location accurately. It was also able to give justice to the soundtracks of RPG games.

The Moondrop Quarks is for you if:

  • You like adequate sound imaging and separation.
  • You like more highlights on the vocals and instruments than other frequencies.
  • You like a bass that’s just right and not overwhelming, especially if you’re not into bass-heavy songs.

The sound quality of the Moondrops Quarks DSP is visibly an improvement over the original version because it was able to give and present more features and textures.

The bass is toned down compared to cater to bass-heavy tracks. It presents a good sub-bass extension with a noticeable rumble on the low frequencies as it follows the Harman neutral curve. The midbass is still present, yet not as apparent. 

What’s great about this IEM is that there’s no mid-bass bleed, unlike the original version. This allows users to enjoy a cleaner presentation of the various frequencies.

The mids were also improved as they’re more transparent and cleaner to listen to. They’re well-balanced and controlled, ensuring that they don’t overpower the rest of the frequencies yet still present an accurate detail retrieval. Both male and female vocals and the instruments in the mix were presented accurately.

As for the treble of the Quarks DSP, it’s well-controlled, preventing any sibilance and harsh frequencies. Treble peaks also didn’t appear in any of the tracks I listened to. However, the treble did appear somewhat thin. It also had a decent amount of sparkle and texture but it’s nothing that would make it stand out.

The Moondrop Quarks DSP is for you if:

  • You like a clean and detailed presentation of the various frequencies.
  • You like a midrange that highlights and properly articulates instruments and vocals.
  • You like a decent sub-bass extension without the boost from the bass.
Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP
Quarks with a standard 3.5mm and Quarks DSP with a USB-C port | Make Life Click

Moondrop Quarks vs. Moondrop Quarks DSP: Caveats

Upon initial testing, the Moondrop Quarks disappointed me. 

In a neutral or flat-sounding IEM, it’s usually expected to not have as much bass presence. The bass and treble seem to be pushed at the back of the mix and lack presence. The mids also lack body and presence. And the highs, though adequate, can still be improved.

The Moondrop Quarks DSP also has some flaws even though it’s noticeably an improvement over the original version. 

There’s that lack of mid-bass presence. Even though this IEM has a decent sub-bass extension, the presence of the mid-bass seems inadequate, causing it to lack a bit of body sometimes. This IEM also has an average treble extension, which I hope they improve in future releases.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Moondrop Quarks Earphone Closed Anterior Cavity Micro Dynamic Driver IEM Earphone (Without mic)
Moondrop Quarks
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Moondrop Quarks DSP in-Ear Earphones, DSP Equipped, USB-C Connection, Supports 4 to 43,000 Hz, Clear Housing
Moondrop Quarks DSP

Conclusion

Overall the Moondrop Quarks DSP is the better option compared to the Moondrop Quarks. 

The DSP version is a great standalone piece, even without the help of a DAC. It maintained the excellent characteristics of the non-DSP version and even fixed some of its flaws, which makes it a worthy upgrade. 

Even though the Quarks DSP is more expensive, it’s a no-brainer option over the original Moondrop Quarks, especially if you have that extra cash to spend. 

A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.

This post was last updated on 2024-04-10 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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