MOONDROP Golden Ages Review featured image

MOONDROP Golden Ages Review

In this feature, Meldrick reviews the MOONDROP Golden Ages, which is an LDAC and ANC-capable TWS equipped with a 13mm planar driver. It is priced at $79.99 SRP.

Disclaimer: This sample was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or status. I thank MOONDROP and Shenzhen Audio for their support.

Click here to read more about MOONDROP products we have previously featured on Headfonics.

Note that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read here in more detail.

MOONDROP Golden Ages Review featured image
MOONDROP Golden Ages Review
Summary
Judging by pure sonic performance, the MOONDROP Golden Ages is a class-leading set of TWS earbuds. Its planar magnetic driver's technical prowess is complemented by MOONDROP's clean and musical house sound.
Sound Quality
8.4
Design
8.1
Comfort & Isolation
8.2
Performance & Features
8.2
Slide here to add your score on the gear!36 Votes
8.2
Pros
Good Resolution
Well-tuned EQ Profiles
Good ANC performance
Cons
Difficult in-ear seal with its oval nozzle and tips.
Touch controls can be accidentally triggered quite easily.
8.2
Award Score

Aside from the high-performance wired IEMs MOONDROP is known for, the brand has also been steadily releasing its line of True Wireless Systems such as the Alice and Nekocake.

Their newest entry, the Golden Ages, stands out from their previous TWS models by being the first MOONDROP TWS to use a planar magnetic driver.

Slotting in the middle of MOONDROP’s TWS lineup at $79.99, its unique driver choice and in-app tuning capabilities make it a feature-rich TWS at this price point.

Read through my review below to see how the Golden Ages performs and compares against some of its peers in this competitive TWS market.

MOONDROP Golden Ages earbuds beside cradle

Features

The Golden Age’s use of planar magnetic drivers is uncommon in the TWS segment, with most pairs opting for more common dynamic drivers. On paper, planar magnetic drivers tend to offer better technical resolution performance, at the expense of power efficiency and weight.

With its support of LDAC, AAC, and the newer LC3 codec, the Golden Ages packs a comprehensive suite of the latest audio decoding and transmission technologies, aiming to deliver superior sound quality and latency.

A feature usually found in pricier TWS earphones, the Golden Ages comes with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency Mode Audio pass-through.

This increased versatility means the Golden Ages can be used to drown out unwanted background noise or let in outside road and car noise that could be useful for walks around the town.

MOONDROP Golden Ages side of cradle

Design

Cradle

The first thing that stands out about the MOONDROP Golden Ages is the retro-inspired design of its cradle.

A nod to the original Sony Walkman portable cassette player released in 1979, the Golden Ages sports a similar blue and grey color scheme with visual cues on the front that aims to imitate how a Cassette tape looks through the see-through panel of the Walkman.

The case plastic has a nice matte finish that proved to be quite resistant to everyday scratches and fingerprints. The decorative print at the front of the case has a similarly matte finish that is very slightly raised from the rest of the shell.

The top of the grey lid further strengthens the Golden Age’s association with the Cassette players of the past, insinuating that the release of the Walkman 45 years ago was the start of portable audio’s “Golden Age”.

Aesthetics will always be subjective. Throughout my testing, I’ve heard both positive and negative comments about the case design.

I quite like MOONDROP’s design choices, but those who prefer simpler or more minimalistic design philosophies akin to Apple’s AirPods may be turned off by the Golden Age’s polarizing case design.

The rear of the case shows the only button on the carrying case, a bright orange button meant to pair the IEMs with source smartphones, laptops, and other devices.

Opening the top lid shows an interior dominated by orange. The case interior is composed of a mix of matte plastic for the outer frame and glossy plastic for the portions that come in contact with the earbuds.

MOONDROP Golden Ages 2 earbuds on tape player

Earbuds

The earbud stems are constructed of lightweight grey plastic with a matte finish. They have a rectangular shape that makes them easy to pull in and out of the ear and do not cause any comfort issues.

The earpiece of the earbud is constructed of grey glossy plastic that can highlight oil and dead skin. However, it is easily wiped off by a microfiber cloth. At the tip of the earbud is the oval-shaped nozzle, a departure from most circular-shaped nozzles.

The stems have a decorative print that aims to be a nod to the independent left and right channel volume controls found on the original Sony Walkman. This is, once again, a polarizing design decision, with some people telling me that the stem decal was already an immediate deal breaker.

I am quite indifferent to the stem design, but those who may be more conscious of the Golden Ages form factor in everyday use may be put off.

MOONDROP Golden Ages earbud nozzle

Comfort & Isolation

The Golden Age’s lightweight plastic construction and average-sized earpiece make it decently comfortable once the ear tips form a proper seal.

However, the nozzle’s oval shape makes forming a seal quite difficult. The oval nozzle and oval-shaped ear tip mean that each earpiece must be in a specific rotational orientation before a proper seal is formed.

In other TWS I’ve tried, their circular nozzles make forming a seal quite easy since the nozzles and tips themselves have the same dimensions regardless of the orientation.

Throughout my testing with the Golden Ages, I always had to readjust the earbud as soon as I placed it in my ear.

With more exaggerated physical movements, I found myself having to readjust the earbuds as well. This was not because they were falling out of my ear, but instead because the ideal position for a seal was lost.

The need to constantly readjust the earbuds was especially annoying since doing so would trigger the earbud’s controls. When attempting to readjust the buds, I naturally found myself grabbing them by the stem. Doing so would either trigger the Pause/Play function or the ANC/Transparency cycling.

Once the proper seal is formed, however, the Golden Ages have good passive isolation performance.

Even in its standard mode with ANC off, the Golden Ages does a good job of blocking out road noise and lower-volume conversations. With ANC on, the Golden Ages easily drowns out louder background noises such as air conditioners.

MOONDROP Link 2.0 app control screens

Controls

The MOONDROP Golden Age‘s control scheme is quite similar to most TWS sets in the market. A single tap on either side serves as play/pause, a double tap on the left side skips to the previous track, and a double tap on the right side skips to the next track.

Triple taps activate the voice assistant and pressing and holding for 3 seconds cycles between ANC, Transparency mode, and Standard mode where neither ANC nor Transparency mode are turned on.

MOONDROP employed quite a clever system for indicating which mode is enabled. When switching to ANC mode, a female anime voice gently whispers “Shhh” before enabling ANC.

When switching to standard mode, the same anime voice lets out a “Ummm…” sound, and a “Hey!” sound is released when switching to Transparency mode.

I found the default control scheme of the Golden Ages to be quite intuitive, but those who prefer a different control scheme can easily change the default control settings via the MOONDROP Link App.

MOONDROP Link 2.0

The Golden Age’s companion app is the revamped MOONDROP Link 2.0. This app is not available on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and can only be downloaded as an APK on MOONDROP’s website.

This restricts its accessibility, particularly for iOS users, limiting the app’s potential install base amongst Golden Ages owners with iPhones.

Upon booting MOONDROP Link 2.0, the app requests access to the phone’s file system which I found quite strange, but accepted, nonetheless.

The app has a simple UI, with 4 tabs for EQ Settings, ANC settings, Over the Air firmware updates, and touch control settings. The top right corner of the app also has a PDF icon that shows the unit’s instruction manual.

Updating the device’s firmware to the 1.1.0 version through the app was quite seamless, doing so improved the ANC and Transparency mode’s performance, and added two additional EQ profiles in the app, bringing the total to 5: the Reference, Monitor, Basshead, 5128, and Secret profiles.

The app’s ANC tab also allows the user to rearrange the cycling order of the listening modes, however, I found the default Standard-ANC-Standard-Transparency order to be acceptable.

The touch portion of the app also allows users to bind the default earbud functions to different touch-and-hold combinations, but I found the default controls intuitive enough.

MOONDROP Golden Ages top of cradle

Battery life

In my testing, I found that the Golden Age’s battery life fell under MOONDROP’s advertised 6 hours. On average, I found that my usage with mixed ANC and Transparency mode usage yielded around 4.5 hours of battery life.

Once depleted, I found that placing the Golden Ages in its cradle would fully charge the earbuds in around an hour. The cradle supplied about another 3 full charges, bringing the unit’s total battery life to around 18 hours of mixed usage.

The cradle uses a subtle LED on the front of the unit to display helpful battery information. When placing the earbuds in its cradle, the LED will shine green if the cradle is at above 10% battery life, where it will continue to shine until the earbuds are fully charged.

If the cradle is under 10% battery life, the LED will shine orange once the earbuds are placed inside, unless the buds themselves are at full charge.

Pressing the pair button at the rear of the unit without the earbuds inside shows the cradle’s battery life as well. When the cradle is at more than 10% battery, the light will shine green, and then shine orange if the battery life is under 10%.

However, I found the pair button quite difficult to press once I placed the cradle in its included TPU case.

The LED also acts as a charging indicator, wherein it shines orange while the unit is being charged, then shines green for 3 seconds when the cradle is fully charged.

MOONDROP Golden Ages accessories

Packaging & Accessories

In typical MOONDROP fashion, the packaging and unboxing experience of the Golden Ages is quite good. The outer sleeve is dominated by a bright drawing of an anime girl while removing it shows a black box with a silver MOONDROP logo embossed in front.

Opening up the box shows a black plastic tray holding the earbuds, carriage, TPU case, charging cable, and 3 additional pairs of ear tips excluding the ones mounted on the earbuds themselves.

Click on page 2 below for my sound impressions and wireless performance testing.

Click on page 3 below for my selected comparisons.

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