Pros: Well-Tuned, Slightly Coloured-Neutral, Technical all-rounder for the price.
Cons: Shouty upper midrange, may induce fatigue after extended periods of listening.
Driver Setup: 1 Dynamic Driver (Beryllium-plated Dome with a PU Suspension Ring diaphragm)
Price: $39 (USD)
Disclaimer: This review set was graciously lent to me by a friend for review and the review is written of my own accord.
This is a review of the Moondrop Super Spaceship Reference earphones, more commonly known as simply “SSR”. Moondrop has been one of the audio companies that I felt has been the most consistent in the realm of Chi-Fi and despite its minor slip-up in the first batch of SSRs, I am glad that they are back in the market stronger than ever. Without further ado, let’s take a look at Moondrop’s attempt at conquering the budget market.
Accessories (Score: 6.5/10)
The unit comes in an anime-themed box (typical of Moondrop) and it comes with the IEM itself and cables rolled up in a box below. It also comes with a set of ear tips which I find sub-par and I had to resort to my usual final audio ear tips again to achieve that seal. As usual, this section typically highlights unmet expectations for $40 I am not going to nitpick much given its great price-to-performance ratio.
Build Quality and Fit: (Score: 8.0/10)
The unit is quite small and it sits nicely into my ears which I find a huge plus. The shell is made from metal and it does feel as though it’s built like a tank in my hands. Its barebones design may leave some disappointed, but Moondrop has you covered with an array of colour schemes available. However, I must say I am quite a fan of minimalistic design. Its cable is built well especially at this price range, not many weak spots and is of significantly higher quality as compared to a typical budget IEM 2pin cable.
Sound: (Score: 8.0/10)
Frequency Response for the Moondrop SSR
The SSR does sound like a reference IEM with and somewhat diffuse-field tuned frequency response but with a more aggressive take on what we usually coin as “neutral”. Overall sound presentation is slightly skewed to the right with the upper parts to be more prominent but still maintaining a good balance with its lows and midrange.
- Ibasso DX120
- iPhone XR
- Atom DAC and AMP
Music and Albums, I listened to
- Alan Walker
- Billie Eilish – When we all fall asleep, where do we go?
- Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
- Cigarettes After Sex
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
- One Republic
- Keane – Fears and Hopes
- Nino Rota – The Godfather OST
- Studio Ghibli
- ACDC – Highway to hell
- Turin Brakes
- Amber Rubath
Bass (Score: 8.0/10)
Basslines on this unit display some agility and it sounds quite linear without much boosting detected in this region. The sub-bass extends pretty okay but not deep down such that you can enjoy that rumble that many other bass-centric IEM possesses. What surprises me is that bass notes still hit hard, and notes are generally well-textured despite not having much frequency boosting in this region. I am quite pleased with the bass performance of the SSR at this price point. I do notice that although separation is decent enough, it sounds to me that the decay is relatively long and may result in muddiness as the response hits lower.
Mids (Score: 7.5/10)
This is a tricky portion to review as it has a slight jump in its upper mid-range which can potentially border on being glaring or shouty. Now, it boils down to preferences with regards to energetic vocals that keep the overall presentation vocal-centric and its centre of attraction or being overly dominating which drowns out other lines. Its lower mids sound uncoloured and tuned to be neutral which really helps boost that idea of having forward mid to upper midrange which I am leaning more towards satisfactory than otherwise.
Instruments wise, violins and trumpets tend to suffer from that glare which is very apparent in pieces that are played loud and those that have huge dynamic ranges. In general, I admit that the mid-range on this IEM is spectacular and I do enjoy it most of the time other than its overly present upper midrange which is really uncommon in this price bracket.
Treble (Score: 8.0/10)
I find the treble region to be tuned well as it does not sound sibilant. The SSRs are airy and cymbal shimmers are delightful and not overly splashy. You can have such clarity without being overly boosted and this unit may be one of the better-tuned units where there is clarity and speed which can be found on pricier units. The treble on this to be slightly forward as compared to typical neutral-touted monitors which I do appreciate that energetic uplift sometimes, but it may lead to some fatigue over long listening sessions.
I really do enjoy Moondrop’s take on this new budget reference IEM which is a direct competitor to Tin Audio’s T2 in the sub-$50 range where the SSR was tuned to be more forward and energetic in its upper mid-range to satisfy some form of sonic cravings which I really appreciate. Its timbre is accurate enough, nothing sounds too artificial to me, imaging is above average, the soundstage is wide and spacious and lastly, its tonality is just my only gripe with the unit with it being slightly skewed to being hollow.
I wouldn’t call the SSR a neutral or a $40 reference IEM pick but more of a slightly coloured IEM that carries certain traits of a neutral set. The SSR does have lots to offer, its packaging and design exceeded my expectations, and I can experience this sonic signature under $50! I sincerely recommend the unit if you are looking for something that is slightly north of neutral and something that does not cost much, the SSR is unique enough and technical enough to be one of my long term rotations in the future. Check out its twin here!
Overall Grade: B
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