Moondrop has an ever-expanding library of audio products. Most of their selection consists of IEMs, but they’ve recently started to produce a couple of headphones as well. They have a mid-budget open-back planar called the Venus that I enjoyed, and now Moondrop has a more inexpensive option with the new Para for $299. There are a few open-back planar headphones in this price range, but is the Para one of the best?
What You Get
- 6.35mm Plug
- 3.5mm Headphone Cable
- Earpads x 2
- User Manual
- Brand Card
Look & Feel
Everything about the Para’s design screams durability. There aren’t a lot of headphones for this price that feature a rigid aluminum frame like this. From the huge ear cups to the suspension headband, the Para has a look like it’s built to last. The face or ear earcup has a grille that takes up its entire surface, which completes the Para’s very mechanical design. In terms of fit, the headphones are surprisingly lightweight. The Para uses thin earpads, but they still work to provide the best comfort possible, securing your ears firmly for a good seal.
The Para offers a full-sized 100mm planar magnetic driver with a specially constructed FDT (Full-Drive Technology) diaphragm. This is a flexible diaphragm that contains high-dampening capabilities, with pure silver etched circuitry for higher-resolution tuning. It also contains an N52 Neodymium circuit for higher sensitivity so the headphones can be driven better from a variety of sources.
I mainly stuck with the stock pads throughout my testing, but I switched the cable to Moondrop’s Line W 4.4mm balanced to use with my Questyle M15. This combo gave the Para a huge open headspace. It reminds me of how the HiFiMAN Sundara or Edition XS respond, with their floaty and spaciuous imaging. Nothing feels like it takes a specific position, but the soundstage lets every sound element operate in a holographic stereo field. The way the Para layers the soundstage and imaging makes the sounds appear separated, but precision isn’t part of its performance. The immersive qualities of the Para are still top-notch, especially if you’re into more ethereal music.
While there’s a definitive shape to the bass, it never reaches full force. Most of the time it stays back in the mix, resonating at your jawline with smooth tonality, but never taking a commanding punch. It never lacks presence though, as the frequencies always sustain great clarity and appear full in the mix. If the frequencies contained more sub-bass lift or a more concise punch, then the bass would make the Para a bit more gripping. For what it is, I still appreciate the neutral timbre of the lows, as they come through with general accuracy and detail.
There’s definitely plenty of room for the midrange frequencies to move around in. Each instrument feels like it has more than enough room to breathe, giving the surface of their tone better distinction in the mix. Some of the notes that come through the Para might not take on the clearest shape, but they still respond with fullness. The upper-mids have the greater emphasis here, displaying crisp vocals with a sharp underlining tone. Female vocals that use a lot of reverb can appear very lush, helped by the tail given by the colorful treble.
If you like your shimmery highs, then the Para is the headphone for you. The tone is very expressive and glittery. Instruments and effects soaked in reverb are where the Para shines, accentuating how these elements dissipate in the mix. Ambient synths and vocals stretch outward with crisp detail and flavorful sparkle. It’s like the highs have a shading coating the frequency response with its striking glisten, but it’s still not the most revealing treble. The texture is used more to colorize the region instead of unfolding it naturally, but I enjoy this response on a pure level of enjoyment rather than an analytical one.
The Moondrop Para is definitely fun to listen to, with plenty of immersive qualities that will keep you listening. Its soundstage is very airy, with tons of space akin to what you might hear from the similarly priced Sundara. You won’t get as much bass, but the frequency response is well-balanced and contains some lively performances. Its build is what really goes beyond the price, giving you a sturdy design for long-term value.
The Moondrop Para is available at Audio46.