Moondrop Stellaris Review: For the Treble Masochists

I think it’s safe to say I’m normally a huge fan of Moondrop IEMs with the Aria and Variations being some of my main recommendations even to this day. I wasn’t that impressed with the recent Aria Snow Edition so I was very excited when I heard Moondrop was coming in late to the game with their take on the second generation of planar IEMs flooding the market. The Stellaris is one of the cheaper planars being offered at the moment, coming in at $109.99. I can’t quite make out if this is a new driver but I’m guessing this is another rehash of the common 14.5mm planar in circulation. 

Quick shoutout to Shenzhenaudio for sending the Stellaris to review. While I always appreciate the chance to test and review products sent in from manufacturers or dealers, it never affects the rating of my reviews.

Gear Used

IPhone 14 Pro Max with headphone adapter, Shanling M3X, Topping G5 and SMSL SU-9 feeding the SP400 amp.

Looks and fit

The Stellaris is huge!!! It is fairly chunky and the nozzle is silly long. This can be crammed deep in the ear if you want a super deep fit. These shells are a little on the heavy side but I didn’t find them discomforting for longer sessions after messing with tip sizes. The 2 pin connector caught me off guard as I assumed these would be worn at an angle so I was surprised when I saw the connector at the top of the shell on the longer side. The shell has a pretty neat design with a painted blue that has a sparkle and changes to a more purple color depending on the lighting. The star theme might seem childish to some but I do like it overall. This paint does however seem on the glossy side and I imagine it will scratch or chip easily just at first glance.

Isolation and sound leakage

The shell has two vent holes and I couldn’t tell if the gold vent looking thing was actually a vent or not. Regardless, this does leak sound at normal or higher volumes and while it’s not much different than a vented DD IEM, I think it would be very noticeable to others in quiet areas. It does however do passive isolation pretty well and it blocks out a good amount of sound when you get a good seal.

Packaging and accessories

We get a bigger box with the standard “Moondrop mascot” on the front in a line art style. I think it looks good but after seeing the box art of the Moondrop Kato “sea blue” version, I now have this weird high standard for Moondrop waifu box art haha. Inside the box we do get the newer blue flip cover carrying case, some new silicone tips that look and kinda feel like Xelastic tips and a set of foam tips. Plus the normal user manual and warranty card stuff. I think this is a nice set of accessories, though the Stellaris is so big that it doesn’t really fit that well into the case it comes with which is awkward.


These final impressions were done off the SMSL SU-9 connected to the SMSL SP400. These impressions are what the Stellaris sounded like to my ears. This was also using the stock Softears UC tips. Things like ear tip selection and DAC/amp selection will produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

I was super stoked to check out the Stellaris so I was quickly caught off guard on my first listen. I found them overly bright and into the second track I pulled them out of my ears and was like “ UMMMMMMMM, NO THANKS ''. So I then went into swapping tips around doing everything in my power to not use their foam tips since I never find foam tips are worth the loss of details and loss of subbass slam that happens when I use them. After everything I just settled with the stock Softears UC tips and continued on at a lower volume that would allow me to listen without the treble killing me.

So! Let's get into it!! The Bass does hit pretty well and it sounds well controlled. Very much “planar bass” and it's fast and goes down low. I do find with a lower volume, I do lose a little of the bass impact but this is the sacrifice that had to be made to listen comfortably for me. The mids are crisp and I find instruments to be about average for the price range but I found both male and female vocals really well done here. I think those who like vocals will really like the details from the Stellaris. Now onto the upper mids/treble. I do find myself treble sensitive but I just couldn’t listen to these for long sessions ever at slightly lower volumes. I’m not sure where in the treble it's a problem but I do find these to be clear sounding and I think it does pull in details well enough. Just at the cost of comfort and everything has a somewhat grainy sound to it. While others might be able to handle it with no issues, I can’t. Which is a bummer since I think with a little less intense treble, the Stellaris could be a real winner given its price.


Staging has good width and depth. Though the width felt more like a cone(width) of sound from my ears and it just sounded a little different. I was impressed with the staging though and I think the imaging was fantastic on these as well, even if I struggled with the treble a bit.


These will be drivable off all the modern dongles and DAPs just fine. I do think the Stellaris is harder to drive in general which was a surprise. While I heard no floor noise when running this balanced, I did notice a weird hiss/grainy noise when playing music in the treble region which was strange. 

Stock cable

This is a pretty neat stock cable that matches well to the color scheme of the Stellaris shell. It has a blue and gold color mix inside the clear cable sleeving. It also uses blue and gold furniture which looks good overall. I think the stock cable will be fine for most people and I would say only swap it out if you want to play with the Stellaris in a balanced output. 

IEM comparisons

Moondrop Aria

The Aria is my go to for under $100 and with it coming in just $30 less I thought it would be a good comparison. I think the tuning on the aria is really good and it indeed can be used for longer sessions without fatigue. I would call the tuning somewhat similar but with less technicalities and less intensity. The planar tech in the Stellaris can’t be beat and when comparing the two and details from the bass and treble just sound more detailed on the Stellaris. The Aria being a single DD is a little slower sounding down low but the mids and treble sound more enjoyable to me. I think for those who try the Stellaris and might not be able to handle it, will like the Aria as a backup. Staging is better on the Stellaris IMO. 

Letshuoer S12

While the S12 does come in $40 more than the Stellaris, I think it is leaps and bounds better tuning wise. The S12 hits harder in the bass and it sounds better controlled. The instruments sound better on the S12 when it comes to mids but the vocals sound better on the Stellaris. The upper mids are strong on both IEMs but the treble sounds more tolerable and refined on the S12. Both have fast treble but the Stellaris just bites too hard and I always end a few tracks having to shake off the intensity. I thought the S12 had raw sounding treble but the Stellaris takes it to a new level. I do believe the detail retrieval is better on the S12 and I would personally take the S12 over the Stellaris any day. I would say the staging and imaging sound about the same between the two with the Stellaris having a unique depth.

Amping Combinations

Topping G5

The G5 is a little brighter sounding but it does have a “desktop” sound to me so I was hoping it would bring out the best in the Stellaris. It didn’t. I actually didn’t test on this setup for long due to how intense the treble got for me. Which is why I’ll be keeping this section short. I would say stick with a warmer source if you buy the Stellaris.

Shanling M3X

The M3X does sound warmer to me in general and it paired well enough with the Stellaris. The Bass is noticeably warmer sounding and it allows the Stellaris to thump a little more. The mids are a little more laid back and the Vocals sounded more relaxed but still wonderful. The treble was still violent to my ears but I was able to deal with the sharpness for longer. Even with some of the bite and fast decay being relaxed a little, the Stellaris was able to produce some good details up top. I would definitely say something like this M3X would pair better with the Stellaris.


Like most IEMs, the Stellaris doesn’t need a desktop amp to power it properly. It does seem to like a little more power but I was only sitting at 36/99 volume on high gain so not much stronger than some of my other power hungry IEMs. I did get the best and most painful sound out of my desktop stack but I would prefer a warmer sounding source for the Stellaris.

Overall thoughts

Anytime I listen to an IEM and start tip swapping to make it sound more enjoyable or to “fix” something, I know there is something wrong. I love this newer generation of planar IEMs so I was bummed to find out that I really disliked the Stellaris. Keep in mind that this is subjective so while I can’t stand the intense treble here, I think others might enjoy it. So for those treble masochists, they might find this interesting and extremely enjoyable. For me though, I can’t recommend the Stellaris and especially so when the Letshuoer S12 can be had for $40 more at the time of this writing. This is the second recent release from Moondrop I didn’t quite like so I’m hoping the next Moondrop IEM I plan to review will be better. Thanks for reading!!

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