After the success achieved with Harman Target tuned models, MoonDrop scores another home run with the release of the new, Diffused Field Target tuned, Super Spaceship series.
MoonDrop, founded in China, is an IEMs manufacturer that is growing in popularity. There are plenty of raving reviews about this brand – especially highlighting the Blessing 2 and Starfield. These are both highly recommended models by the audiophile community due to their attractive pricing and physical appearance. Besides these two reasons, MoonDrop is well-received by the community because they tune most of their IEMs based on the Harman Target Curve.
The new MoonDrop SSR and SSP that we are reviewing in this article are different in terms of the tuning approach. Instead of the sought-after Harman Target Curve, Moondrop used Diffuse Field Target to tune them, which also is heavily-used by Etymotic, one of the most popular IEM brands for studio usage.
Will the Diffuse Field Target tuned SSP and SSR inherit the popularity of other models of MoonDrop? Let’s find out more in this article!
MoonDrop SSR: Overview
- Affordable price with great build quality
- Good clarity
- Transparent mids
- Tight and accurate bass
- Excellent fitting
- Bright sound signature which might be fatiguing
- Lack of bass rumble
- Lower mids are off-timbre
- Distortion at higher frequencies
MoonDrop SSP: Overview
- Affordable price with great build quality
- Good clarity
- Natural and lively mids
- Impactful bass
- Excellent fit
- Well extended highs
- Neutral sounding
- Comfortable for long listening
- None at this price range
The packaging for SSR and SSP are identical, including accessories like ear tips and cable. Also the same as other models from MoonDrop, the packaging has an anime character. For those who are unfamiliar with MoonDrop, most of the models have a specific anime character assigned. The technical specifications are printed at the back of the packaging.
Here are the accessories in the packaging:
- Stock cable
- Silicone ear tips
- Fabric pouch
- User manuals
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 40000Hz (1/4 Free-Field Mic)
- Effective frequency response: 20Hz–20000Hz (IEC60318-4)
- Driver: Beryllium-coated dome + polyurethane suspension ring
- Housing material: Liquid metal alloy
- THD: ≤ 1%
- Cable material: 24 AWG Litz 4N OFC
- Cable connectors: 0.78mm 2-pin
- Sensitivity: 115dB/Vrms @ 1khz (SSR) and 112dB/Vrms @ 1khz (SSP)
- Impedance: 16Ω (@1khz)
- Voice coil: φ 0.035mm-CCAW [Daikoku]
- Acoustic filter: Patented Anti-Blocking Filter
Design and Build
The shell design of SSP and SSR are exactly the same, except for the color. For SSR, users get to choose from four different color options – silver, green, pink, and white. For SSP, there is only one color – royal blue. The shell is crafted with 2 pieces of liquid metal alloy. The two pieces of metal are secured with a screw, with the driver enclosed.
MoonDrop utilizes 0.78mm 2-pin connectors for both the SSR and SSP. The nozzle is long and at a right angle from the shell. The opening is covered with MoonDrop’s patented 3-layered anti-clogging filter and acoustic damper unit, which protects the IEMs from earwax attacks and provides precise control of frequency response.
The stock cable provided in the packaging is made of 24 AWG Litz 4N (99.99%) pure oxygen-free copper (OFC) wires. The cable is silver in color and protected by a layer of transparent plastic. The braiding of the wires can be seen clearly. I am glad that the cable is soft and supple – no significant microphonics were observed when I moved around while wearing the SSR or SSP.
Fitting and Isolation
The shells of SSP and SSR are small – I think this is one of the smallest for IEMs. I do not have any issues in fitting them well into my ears. With the longer nozzle’s help, the insertion is decently deep and further improves isolation.
MoonDrop is smart in designing the vent, located at the side of the nozzle, for mitigating driver flex. Almost no surrounding noise can enter users’ ears through the vent.
To analyze the sonic performance for both SSP and SSR accurately, I paired them with my reference digital audio player (DAP) – Lotoo PAW 6000.
Despite being rated as high sensitivity and low impedance, both of them actually need a certain amount of power to drive properly. I need to turn the volume to around 50 at high gain to get a good audible volume from SSP and SSR. This power requirement is close to the Peak Audio Origin, a pair of planar magnetic powered IEMs.
I do not recommend users to pair these IEMs with a mobile phone. Get yourself a DAC dongle or even a DAP before getting the SSR or SSP.
Sound signature and soundstage
Before I received them, my first guess on the sound signature was that the SSR would be neutral and the SSP would sound slightly warmer. The actual sound signatures skewed from my expectations – SSR are bright sounding while SSP have good neutrality. I think the SSP have a closer sound signature to the term “reference,” which is used in the model name of SSR.
The driver enclosed in both models are the same, so the sound signature difference is a result of tuning only. Besides the sound signature, the soundstage of SSP is quite different from SSR, very likely to be caused by the presentation. The headroom of SSP is more holographic and three-dimensional, as compared to a planar presentation of SSR. The layering is handled better on SSP too.
The most significant difference between SSR and SSP is the bass. SSP have a more dynamic and lively bass presentation, which creates sufficient rumble for audiences to stomp their feet following the beat. On the other hand, SSR have a faster and “colder” bass response, resulting in a more analytical and technical presentation. These two models are designed to cater to the needs of different groups of audiophiles.
The sub-bass of SSP extends deeper and further. This extension yields a more holographic headroom, which I mentioned in the previous section. SSR are more “flat” and planar in terms of presentation due to the lack of sub-bass extension. The bass hits at the same level as the mids. This is also the reason why the SSP handles the layering better.
When I am listening to rock music, the kick drums and bass guitars tend to get congested with the vocals, which sounds quite messy to me. SSP handles this better, having good layering and space to cater to instruments and vocals.
The position of the mids is similar for both SSP and SSR. They are neither overly forward nor recessed. However, due to the differences in overall sonic characteristic and bass performance, the final results differ. The SSR has a more transparent midrange, thanks to the fast-beating bass. They have a minimum amount of coloration from the bass and will give back to the user whatever is fed to them.
However, due to the lack of weight in the body, the lower midrange, especially male vocals, sound unnatural and technical. This causes the overall timbre to be off. I think the later release of SSP is partly to address this weakness of the SSR.
Due to the warmth from the bass, the midrange of the SSP has a fuller body. They are more natural and lively compared to SSP. When listening to pop music, the vocals penetrate through your ear canals and tickle on your eardrums, giving you an “eargasm.”
Again, SSP and SSR show very different characteristics in their midrange performance – transparent and uncolored on SSR vs. lively and natural on SSP. The choice is yours!
This is the closest characteristic between the SSP and SSR. Finally, there is a similarity in their sonic performance to show that they are brothers.
The highs for both SSR and SSP are well-extended. They are airy and spacious. The airiness in the highs contributes to the overall clarity for these two models. I have much experience with entry-level IEMs from big companies like Sony and Sennheiser. Most of the entry-level IEMs focus on excitement from sub-bass rumble, but compromise overall clarity. I am glad that MoonDrop is approaching it differently – preserve the clarity by improving the bass “quality” not just “quantity”.
It’s great that MoonDrop, being a newcomer, can achieve such great clarity on their entry-level models. This shows MoonDrop’s maturity in IEM tuning and design.
Having said all that, while the highs are very similar, they are not identical. Due to the lack of emphasis on the bass on SSR, the focus is all steered towards the highs, resulting in a brighter sounding sound signature. Users might get tired after long listening sessions due to this. SSP is more comfortable to listen to for longer periods of time due to their smoothness in presentation.
Besides the bright signature, I found some significant distortion during the SSR’s decay of the highs. I heard this as some sparkling observed at higher frequencies. This sparkling caused the overall presentation to be messy. The SSP do better at this. I am guessing that the stronger bass impact of SSP helps to “shadow” the sparkles from the high frequencies.
Where to Buy
Both SSP and SSR retail at USD$39.99. They can be purchased from HiFiGo’s official website.
Despite MoonDrop releasing the SSR and SSP as a series, they are two totally different IEMs in terms of sonic performance. The similarity is limited to physical appearance only.
The SSR are a great choice for audiophiles who are looking for brighter sounding IEMs. For those who do not fall under this group of audiophiles, SSP will be more suitable.
SSP are a pair of omnivorous IEMs – they can handle multiple genres without many issues because of their neutrality, while the SSR are more restricted and limited to certain genres, such as acoustical and classical.
SSP are definitely an all-rounder, with better bass impact, an engaging midrange, and comfortable highs.