MOONDROP DASH HiFi Mechanical Keyboard Review – Premium DAC/Amplifier Inside!

Introduction

If you look at all the MOONDROP coverage on TechPowerUp to date, then you would find a lot of wired and wireless in-ear monitors (IEMs), given the Chinese audio brand is quite famous for them. But 2022 has been a real stepping out of the comfort zone for MOONDROP with the launch of a few portable DAC/amps and dongles to power said wired IEMs, as well as the announcement of three over-ear headphones, of which we should be seeing some launch imminently, if not already by the time this review goes public. The company has also put out accessories including acrylic IEM stands, but has gone beyond audio in China with MOONDROP-branded snacks and food/beverage kits too. While those are beyond the scope of this website, what did surprise me was the launch of MOONDROP keyboard switches in partnership with G-Square, a keyboard design and manufacturing studio. The linear Lunalight and tactile Tessence switches are sold exclusively through Drop.com, and this was to be a herald of things to come as MOONDROP entered the keyboard space too.

The MOONDROP DASH, which will also be referred to as DASH75, suggesting this is the first of many MOONDROP keyboards planned, was first teased in June as being a HiFi keyboard, which immediately led to questions and speculation as to what this meant. Photos and information eventually came along to reveal this would be a mechanical keyboard with an integrated DAC and amplifier to allow headphones and earphones to be connected directly from the keyboard. There have been several keyboards in the past which simply used a 3.5 mm audio pass-through from your motherboard to the keyboard itself via an ungainly thick cable or worse, and this is different in that the keyboard takes a single USB input from your PC and gives you not only a working keyboard as expected but also two spare USB ports and a USB DAC/amp too! This ends up appealing to me not only in the keyboard category but the audio one too, and I was eagerly anticipating to see how it pans out in practice. Thanks to MOONDROP for providing a final engineering sample to TechPowerUp as we begin this long, detailed review with a look at the product specifications in the table below. Please also note that the finished retail units will have minor optimizations done which I will point out over the course of this review, and also add further photos/comments when the updated parts arrive.

Specifications

MOONDROP DASH HiFi Mechanical Keyboard
Layout:81-key, 75% form factor in a modified US ANSI layout
material:Aluminum chassis, polycarbonate bottom panel, PBT plastic keycaps, foam sheet
MacroSupport:Yes (via QMK/VIA)
dimensions:313(L) x 163(W) x 46(H)mm
Weight:~2.1 kg / 4.6 lbs
Headphone Jacks:3.5mm single ended + 4.4mm balanced output
SNR:123/131 dB (A weighted) for 3.5/4.4 mm output
line-out:2/4Vrms from 3.5/4.4mm output
Wrist Rest:no
Anti Ghosting:N-Key rollover USB
MediaKeys:Available as a layered function
Cable Length:6ft / 1.8m
Software:Open source firmware with QMK/VIA support
Switch type:MOONDROP x G-Square Lunalight linear switch
Backlighting:no
Interface:USB
Warranty:One year