As technology advanced, new types of iems emerged, such as those powered by lightning or USB-C connectors, and finally the Moondrop Quarks DSP. Another DSP will be evaluated after the 01.01.2023 but even this is promising after seeing a member here telling that he found minor difference between Moondrop Variations and this one. I’ll be redoing the comparison after first impressioning Moondrop Quarks DSP.
Layering is suberb for its price. Basses are faithful for the track. Guitar tonality changes and riffs are noticeable. Male vocals are smooth and obvious. They have a forward stance. Soundstage is not so large.
vs Moondrop Variations:
I wished a dx300 to have the source for both but dx is having difficulties at the moment for DSP (only youtube is giving playback in LO mode). So I used V30 for both. Stock App, 60/100 volume.
Variations‘ soundstage has been expanded, providing more headroom and comfort. Vibrato is smoother, and details are much more apparent. Each stick that hits on the cymbals has its own extension, plus the keyboard can be easily tracked if you know piano keys. Clarinet is presenting 3d imaging far better than vibrato and keyboard.
Quarks DSP has only a notch or two less headroom. However, layering is not even close to Variations. The overall experience is full of life with its neutral to bright presentation. Vibrato is drier here, the hits of the tiny sticks doesn’t leave a halo like image in the air. Cymbal hits are almost monotone. But the keyboard keys have only slightly less body than Variations. And in the final stage of the track, everything appears to be partially fused in. Variations had no problems about that.
I both agree and disagree with the guy who found negligible difference between those two. Aside from the $15 and $550 price differences, the difference is difficult to detect in casual listening. However, if you do critical listening on both, you will notice differences. But the rule of diminishing returns enters the scene and makes Variations the winner of the night! ps: in spite of the lack of QUAD DAC V30 conditions.