There hasn’t been a new true wireless from Moondrop since the Sparks. Now they have a new flagship pair of TWS earbuds that aim to focus on sound quality over everything. Moondrop is mainly known for its great budget IEMs like the Aria and Kato. Can these new Alice earbuds provide you with the level of sound quality that Moondrop is known for?
What You Get
- Alice earbuds
- Charging case
- Charging case cover
- 3 pairs of Moondrop spring tips
- 3 pairs of silicone tips
- User guide
Look and Feel
The Alice is a departure from most modern true wireless earbuds. They take on a design that is reminiscent of the Sony WF-1000XM3. Its got a bulgy construction for its ear cavity, but I think the fit is better here. You’ll find them comfortable with how light they are, feeling more like a stemmed earbud than an in-ear one. There are no other variations to the all-white design, but it feels like there should be. I would welcome a black or other color version of this design, but as they stand, the Alice carries a simple style that works.
Design and Functionality
For the Alice, Moondrop wants to ensure that you are getting the most IEM-like sound you can over Bluetooth. This is helped by using the 10mm U.L.T super-linear dynamic driver, which is the same as their Kato model. The advantage here is that the magnetic circuitry is stronger than most true wireless drivers, inferring an enhanced acoustic signal. Its DLC diaphragm also works to enhance dynamic range and acoustic dampening. The interior design is the most exciting part of the Alice when reading more about it, but its wireless features are lacking. It has a companion app, but I found it to not work particularly well. The Alice is advertised to house a couple of notable features like EQ and a virtual soundstage mode, but it doesn’t seem like the app had any of those options the few times I was able to connect to it. When I did connect to it, after numerous failed attempts on my iPhone, all I got was a variety of vague tuning presets that didn’t seem to work for me. When trying to operate the earbuds with touch functions, they are very responsive, acting with a short delay to each action.
You get Bluetooth version 5.2 with the Alice and an aptX Adaptive CODEC. I experienced one instance of dropout, but the earbuds paired quickly.
For the price, an eight-hour charge is very good. The Alice’s charging case provides an additional 40 hours of playtime as well.
Moondrop is boasting a soundstage performance similar to their Kato IEMs, which is pretty spot-on for the most part. The Alice is relatively wide for the price, maybe the widest you’ll find outside of pricier models. Its extended width does a great job of feeling like the sound field is wrapping around you. If you like hearing the spatial imaging appear like it’s originating outside of the shell of the earphones, the Alice will give you that response. On the flip side, the staging is mostly linear, with a majority of sound elements appearing on a flat plain across the left and right channels. The Alice does a great job of balancing its openness with a more standard stereo sound. With that being said though, your music should always sound clear and well-organized. You also get some interesting layering going on that offers good separation and dimension from back to front. I think it says a lot about the ability of the Alice that I sometimes forgot I was listening to true wireless.
You won’t find much emphasis on the bass. The Alice keeps its lows pretty relaxed and tight. There is a presence to it, with a standard level of impact, but you won’t feel much of it. It’s a clean timbre that presents itself as lean in tone. Some good punch is provided in the mid-bass, but you won’t find much heft in the sub-bass frequencies. I find that the lows here are more about finesse than texture, and it works for the earbud’s intended tuning. The various tuning modes in the app don’t fiddle with much of its response either.
The midrange makes up for a lot of the energy missing in the lows. Here, the timbre is expressive and full. You feel like the music has a significant drive to it, with different instruments standing out in a way that makes them easy to identify. They take on a shape that feels whole and true to their performance. The Alice uses its space wisely, filling out the tone and providing clarity to notes and textures. You feel closer to each detail provided, enhancing the impact of the sound in instruments and vocals.
You won’t need to worry about any peaky treble with the Alice. While the frequencies are well represented, their tone is mostly smoothed out. I never thought the highs had any problems breaking through in the sound signature, they’re just not as voluminous as the mids. Starting in the upper mids, you get a good level of natural clarity without much bite. Hits from cymbals are soft, but you can still feel them taper off in the mix.
I had some significant issues with the Alice, but almost none of it had anything to do with its sound performance. If the Moondrop Link app could sort out some of its faults then I think the Alice could genuinely be one of the best true wireless earbuds you can get. At $189, there wouldn’t be anything else close to its ability, but unfortunately, too many poorly executed functions hold it back.
The Moondrop Alice is available at Audio46.