MOONDROP DAWN PRO Review – New King of the Budget USB DACs
The new DAWN PRO from MOONDROP adopts dual flagship decoding amp chips CS43131 from Cirrus Logic. It uses a HiFi-class USB digital interface chip, dual independent crystal oscillators, and three independent power supply chips for supplying each IC separately, forming a set of high-efficiency and high-performance HiFi audio circuit architecture, which meets enough thrust, ultra-low distortion, ultra-low noise, and rich details in audio experience with low power consumption.
DAWN PRO is compatible with most available computers, smartphones, and laptops, and supports decoding PCM from 16Bit/44.1kHz to 32Bit/384kHz, even for 1Bit with DSD512. DAWN PRO offers a 131dB dynamic range, and ultra-low background noise, its distortion is as low as 0.0001%, and the SNR exceeds 116dB, 4Vrms/120mW lossless output power.
The housing of DAWN PRO combines aviation aluminum alloy, CNC, and mold forming, and the surface is processed by the anodized, which has excellent texture and durability. In the design of the heat dissipation structure, DAWN PRO has utilized the design idea of desktop HiFi devices, and the heat dissipation vents are set above the chips which generate more heat, improving the heat dissipation efficiency.
MOONDROP DAWN PRO has 100-level hardware volume control that can be easily adjusted using the physical volume keys present on the device. This gives better control in pairing low-power requiring sensitive in-ear monitors and easily adjusts using precise adjustments.
DAWN PRO houses dual headphone output ports. It supports both 3.5mm single-ended as well as 4.4mm balanced headphone connections.
What’s in the box
High-Performance Dual DAC Chipset.
Dual CS43131 DAC Chips.
Supports High-Res PCM & Native DSD Decoding.
32-Bit/384kHz PCM & Native DSD256 Audio Decoding.
Clean Power With Independent Power Chips.
Ultra-Low Clean Output WIth Low Noise-Floor and Distortion Ratings.
Large Output Thrust.
100-Level Smooth Volume Control.
3.5mm Single-Ended+4.4mm Balanced Outputs.
Built-in Heat-Dissipation Design.
Aluminum Alloy Housing.
Swappable Type-C Port.
Earphone Jack: 3.5mm single-ended 4.4mm balanced jack
I would like to thank Shenzhenaudio for providing me with the review sample of Moondrop DAWn Pro.
MOONDROP Link APP
Digital filters, gain, led on-off, and hardware volume control (100 steps). These are what you can do in the APP. This is the new 2.0 version of the APP, looks nicer, and supports wallpapers and themes, etc. But there are still Chinese words even if the language is selected to English.
Let me start this paragraph by saying that DAWN PRO is a very competitive product. The portable USB DAC market is very saturated right now and new products are coming out every day. As the number of products increases, it becomes more difficult to distinguish good products from mediocre ones. Fortunately, the product we are listening to today is very good and it manages to make you notice it from the very first track.
The DAWN PRO is a transparent, clean, and resolving DAC. It does a great job of conveying the sound signatures of the in-ear monitors or headphones you pair it with and does not saturate or color them. Which is exactly what you should expect from a good-quality DAC-AMP. It offers a neutral signature.
The DAWN PRO is very energetic from top to bottom, especially present in the upper mids and treble regions. Also does well in the detail retrieval department, especially around the midrange section.
The bass region is fast, agile, and has a good texture. The quantity of the sub-bass is sufficient. Bass feels agile and recovers fast, which contributes to the sense of speed, hence, enhancing the technical capability of the DAWN PRO. The control is very good here also, so there is no section overlap of any kind and the transition between bass and mids feels smooth.
Here we have a neutral bass tuning. The warm bass tonality tends to relax the bass and presents it in a tamed manner but with a good amount of body and low-end extension nonetheless. Bass is fast and it has a good pace and attack. Bass comes with a neutral amount of body, but it’s punchy and impactful. Bass never feels exaggerated in presence. Detail-wise it’s ok, but it’s not the best. Layering on the other hand is impressive.
The midrange takes front and center stage. The mids perfectly connect to the bass with the same presence, body, and impact.
The midrange is perhaps my favorite out of the three major regions. The low mids have a good body, are adequate, and do not feel too thick or too thin. The DAWN PRO is quite balanced in this regard. The timbre feels accurate, the presentation feels neutral and transparent. It does not feel like it’s throwing details in your way, more like it presents them and you are welcome to pick them out. What I mean here is that the presentation does not feel forced or artificial, it is rather detailed, articulate, and transparent in a natural way.
The vocals are brilliant with great resolution. The transition between subregions is seamless, the mids feel coherent and they do a great job of carrying the emotion hidden in the tracks. The upper mids have impressive energy and extension and follow the steps of the impressive treble.
The high frequencies also seem to be controlled and slightly timid, somehow held back from crossing over into distortion levels. Perfectly connecting from the mids, the DAWN PRO is balanced in the overall presentation. The amount of body is the same as before and what is remarkable here is the liveliness and energy in the delivery.
The top-end spectrum is quite nice. The DAWN PRO has great treble energy. It is not particularly aggressive or bright, MOONDROP did a good job of fine-tuning the treble. The quantity feels accurate and the quality is definitely impressive. The definition and extension are great also, highs have good attack/decay and feel dynamic. Lots of space, good air, and spacious positioning on the stage. As I said before, DAWN PRO reflects quite accurately. Overall, the treble is impressive.
Just for $50, the MOONDROP DAWN PRO is a very good dongle DAC and I’m sure it will be appreciated by many audiophiles with its sound quality, high-level hardware volume control, APP support, low power consumption, and small size. For the price and specs, the DAWN PRO is almost irresistible and gets the easiest recommendation from me. MOONDROP’s best USB DAC-AMP so far in my opinion.