Moondrop Moonriver 2 Review: Best Drop for the Price? 

We saw it coming from miles away. Moondrop has been teasing us for a while, announcing their debut to the DAC market with Moonriver 2. 

The wait is finally over as you can get your own Moonriver 2 DAC for the hefty sum of $190.

However, questions are thrown around whether the famous brand can justify the price of their new launch.

Let’s find out everything the new DAC can offer from this Moondrop Moonriver 2 review.

The new moondrop moonriver 2 is very lightweight as it only weighs around 17 grams. As the very first Moondrop DAC in the market, the Moonriver 2 boasts high quality-audio enhancements. In addition, the Moonriver 2 supports both 3.5 mm and 4.4 mm audio connections.

Today, we’re going to take the new DAC under the spotlight and assess all its features. 

Let’s begin:

Moondrop Moonriver 2 Review: What’s New?

On February 28, Moondrop dropped a tweet, giving the fans a sneak peak of their upcoming product.

The Moonriver 2 is the first-ever DAC launched by the company famous for its top-quality IEMs.


It took no time to stir up the audiophile community and started a new wave of discussions. 

Right after the release of Moondrop Kato, the brand launched its first-ever DAC.

The Moondrop Moon river 2 release is a step in a completely new direction for the brand.

At first, fans were concerned about the supported USB type of the device. Many audiophiles find the Micro USB a bothersome connector and want type-C USB instead. 

Answering their prayers, Moondrop announced their new DAC to support type-C USB.

Not only that! The Moonriver 2 has some solid features and high-end specs to back the hype over it. Here’s what it has:


  • Dual Cirrus CS43198 DAC chips with dual op amp chips
  • 4 Vrms output power
  • 16-32-bit/ 44.1-384kHz, 
  • Fully balanced four-channel architecture
  • Replaceable type-C charger
  • Lightweight Aluminum alloy body, weighs around 17g 
  • Size: 56.8mm x 19.4mm x 12.5mm

So far, no clear information is revealed about the Moonriver 2 crosstalk. But Moondrop has announced the Moondrop 2 price at around $190. At such price range, it can clearly compete with some of the top r2r DACs in the market.

Moonriver 2 VS XDuoo Link2 Bal: Any Different?

With its launch on March 25, people started comparing the Moonriver 2 with xDuoo Link2.

Understandable, considering the close similarities between the two DACs.

Did Moondrop just rip off the already existing xDuoo link2 bal DAC? Not really.

Despite being almost identical, Moonriver 2 boasts some significant differences with xDuoo Link2 Bal. 

Let’s go through their differences and see if Moonriver can stand up to xDuoo Link2 Bal. That’ll help us figure out “Is Moonriver 2 worth buying

Build Quality

Made of Lightweight Aluminum alloy, the Moonriver 2 has a feathery feeling to it. Only weighing around 17grams, it’s one of the lightest DACs out there. Compared to Moonrain 2, the Link2 is heavier, weighing just about 28g. It’s made of Sandblasted Aluminum with two layers of double-sided 2.5D glass.

Both the DACs being made of Aluminum, they’re both similarly durable.

However, the Link2 edges over the Moonriver 2 DAC in this case. Getting to the size, the Moonriver is the smaller between the Link2 DAC. 


DAC Chips

Both the DACs use dual Logic DAC chips from Cirrus. Moonriver 2 uses the Cirrus Logic3198 DAC chips, whereas the xDuoo Link2 Bal uses the LogicCS43131.

Now, from a neutral point of view, both the chips are almost identical with no significant differences.

Perhaps, the only difference is that the CS43131 chip consumes more operational power of 6.25-40.2mW.

Compared to that, the Moonriver 2 Moondrop consumes about 26mW as operational power.

Background Noise

The xDuoo Link2 creates almost no background noises for either 3.5mm or 4.4 mm. During our testing we found no audible noise coming out of the xDuoo Link2.

When testing the Moonriver 2, we noticed slight background noises. This noise varied from 3.5 mm to 4.4 mm as well.

We got a background noise of 1µV with 4.4 mm balanced headphone connection. The noise lowers down to 1.2 µV with the 3.5 mm connection.

Frequency Range 

The new Moonriver 2 takes the win in this segment with its impressive frequency range.

You can experience a wide array of frequencies with the moonriver 2. A range of 6Hz-85kHz (±1dB) at exact with a very slight deviation.

On the other hand, the xDuoo Link2 Bal offers a vastly smaller range of frequencies. From 20Hz to 20kHz frequency.

However, the xDuoo Link2 Bal frequency doesn’t deviate as much as moonriver 2.

So, we can say that the xDuoo link2 is slightly better on this front.


A very important aspect of DAC sound quality is the THD+N measurement. It’s the Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise. It’s one of the trusted factors to judge the overall performance of the DAC.

In this case, the moonriver 2 has slightly more distortion than the xDuoo Line 2 Bal. 

And that’s about all the differences you’ll get between the Moonriver 2 and xDuoo Line 2 Bal.

From what we saw, there’s almost no significant difference between the two DACs.

But that won’t stop us from coming up with a verdict. And we’ve made our decision. 

According to our assessments, the xDuoo Line 2 has a slight edge over the Moonriver 2.

So it’s understandable that both the DACs cost almost the same. All the fuss about the Moonriver 2 being similar to Line 2 makes sense after all.

Does the Moonriver 2 Justify Its Price?

Now that we learned how the Moonriver 2 fared with its competitor, the price seemed reasonable. 

Is Moonriver 2 worth buying?

Judging the features and specs of the new Moonriver 2, we believe it’s worth the price. For only around $190 bucks, you are getting a polished product with high performance and quality.

But what does public impression suggest? Is the release price of $190 really that reasonable?

Or is it simply overpriced for such specs in contrast to the other DAC/AMPs?

We’re about to find that out in the following segment. Time to dive deeper!

First Impression

On unboxing, the Moondrop looked very sharp with its rigid, dark look. Holding it in our palms, we barely felt any weight from the DAC. 


We have to say, the design looked okay despite all the buzz around the product design. Unlike the other DACs in the market, Moonriver 2 took a minimalistic approach with their design.

The Moon river 2 DAC is built with a cutting-edge, high-precision CNC machining process.

It surely felt robust and the lightness might take some time to get used to.

Sound Impression 

Many of your might question:

Is Moonriver 2 good?

The honest answer will be YES. Featuring both single-ended as well as balanced headphone output, the Moonriver2 is a flexible DAC.You can experience a powerful thrust thanks to the dual OPAMPs in Moonriver 2. Its balanced connection is capable enough to run 300Ω headphones.


We’re yet to test out how the Moonriver 2 teams up with other famous headphone brands.

But what we can assure you, is that the Moonriver 2 is highly compatible with Moondrip IEMs.

The Moonriver 2 is designed to seamlessly connect with most high-end Moondrop earphones. 

All the Moondrop IEMs are expected to perform well with the Moonriver 2.

In fact, we predict that you can get the most out of your Moonriver 2 with the following IEMs:

Hopefully you’ll get a great listening experience with the above-mentioned IEMs.

How are we so sure about the compatibility?

Well, we’ve already explained how well the DAC performs with the 3.5 mm earphone.

The DAC can power even the most performance-driven earphones out there. And Moondrop is known for their leading-edge products.

As its potential new flagship product, Moonriver 2 is expected to perform well with Moondrop earphones. 

You can connect other good IEMs like KZ as well with your Moonriver 2.

Comparison to Other Brands

As mentioned before, Moondrop is one of the biggest players of the audio industry. And the launch of their new Moonriver 2 was bound to create huge hypes.

When compared to other DACs in similar price points, the Moonriver proved very competent.

Topping e30, another great DAC around the same price range came a bit short of Moonriver 2.

While comparing Moonriver 2 vs Topping E30, Moonriver dominated with more PCM and better THD+N.

It handled the background noise far better than the Topping E30 and also had better SNR value.

When compared between Topping D30 and Schiit, the Schiiit Modi performs closer to the Moonriver 2.

With so many high-end features and top-quality performance, you can expect it to cost over $150. And with the added cost you have to pay for the brand, we think the price is justified.


Does the Moonriver 2 Support All Available Devices?

Yes. The Moonriver 2 is compatible with almost all available devices and operating systems. This also includes Windows, Mac, Android, and even iOS.

Can I Use Moondrop IEMs with the Moonriver 2?

Obviously! Moondrop IEMs are fully compatible for use with Moonriver 2. In fact, you can get the most out of your Moonriver 2 using any Moondrop earphones.

Is the Moondrop Moonriver 2 Durable?

Yes. For such a lightweight build, the moonriver is a durable DAC. With an Aluminum alloy build, the Moonriver 2 can withstand serious blows without breaking apart.

Drawing the Curtains

We’ve finally reached the end of our Moondrop Moonriver 2 review. Hopefully, this review proved helpful to you. 

Let us know your thoughts on the Moonriver 2 price. Is it justified?

That’s all from us. Best of luck with your DAC experience!

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