We sent Dan’s Audio Review the Moondrop Kato to get his thoughts.
“I have had more joy out-of-box from the Kato at $189 than the Tanchjim Prism at $600,” he said over on his YouTube channel. “It’s got this wonderful balance across the range without it being sharp or overbearing or bloomy or anything.”
Check out the full video below or scroll on for some written highlights.
“The Kato is a balanced set to me. And I know I throw that word around a lot. I also throw around “warm” a lot and “bright” a lot. The Unique Melody Mest is generally very bright. The Tripowin Mele--great set. It’s only $50 and it will take you as much as you want to go in terms of warm IEM enjoyment as anything that would be hundreds of dollars. The Timeless: warm. Starfield: bright and kind of harsh in some places. Aria...you get the point! You get the point.
“The Kato is more or less balanced. They’re more mid-focused. They’re not sharp in the treble, like the Starfield can come across. And they aren’t warm and thumpy like the Timeless or sub-bass-punctuated-with-clarity like the Aria. The Kato is its own thing. And so it makes it very hard for me to tell you if this is worth $600* to me.
“In terms of raw enjoyment, it is worth it. I would rather listen to the Kato than the Tanchjim Prism. I have had more joy out-of-box from the Kato at $189 than the Tanchjim Prism at $600. At least, in terms of strict out-of-box first impressions only. Because the Kato is a little more balanced. The Prism is a little pitchy in the treble--I wouldn’t say sharp, but it borders on it.
“The Kato has no harshness, and that’s what’s interesting about it, too. It’s got this wonderful balance across the range without it being sharp or overbearing or bloomy or anything. Amongst all these things on my desk, it’s the most mid-focused and balanced. It brings attention to the instruments. Try Red Hot Chili Peppers. Listen for drumsticks hitting each other. The sound of it is so forward that it punctuates the rest of the song. Every instrument feels punctuated in a nice way that isn’t shrill nor bloomy from too much bass. That’s why I call it balanced. It just plays the instrument forward and engaging and smart. I think that’s what people are hearing. And I think people are loving that. People love when the instruments take center-stage instead of too much bass or too much treble. Those feel like party tricks. This feels balanced, forward, and nice. It’s impactful in the mid-section without having to abuse the bass to get that sense of authenticity that a lot of things do.
“The Kato are not that technical. They are not as technical as the Timeless. They’re not as technical or detail-retrieving at the Unique Melody Mest at $1400. But regardless of price, these are a strong A for me out-of-box.”
Editors note: The Kato is $189.99.