Moondrop SSP English Review

 

A Simple Hourly Rotation

 

Ratings

 

Construction and Design
90
Adjustment/Ergonomics
80
Accessories
60
Bass
74
Mids
90
Treble
67
Separation
75
Soundstage
75
Quality/Price
88

 

Pros

 

  • Design and construction.
  • Big midrange.
  • Cable.
  • Very small size.

 

Cons

 

  • They require some power to drive.
  • Upper zone not very explicit.
  • The low zone is not capable of handling very heavy, uncontrolled or unfiltered bass. At high volume, there is a risk of clear distortion.
  • Storage bag too small for use.

 

Purchase Link

 

https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/moondrop-ssp-super-spaceship-pulse-beryllium-plated-dome-diaphragm-dynamic-driver-in-ear-earphone

 

Link to the Store

 

https://shenzhenaudio.com/

 

Introduction

 

With the intention of not touching the SSR tuning, Moondrop has released a product exactly the same, but with a higher lower zone. Those who found the SSR a little warm in the bass, have seen how their suggestions have been taken into account, in this new model. Apart from this small change in frequency response and colour, the rest is identical. There is only one colour to choose from, a very elegant and striking dark blue, more prominent than those of the SSR. The anime girl on the cover has changed her clothes, with something more «trendy» and less cheesy. Let’s see if there are more differences than those raised a priori.

 

 

Specifications

 

  • Drivers type: Dynamic with Beryllium-Coated Dome diaphragm + PU Suspension Ring
  • Magnetic circuit: N52-High Density Magnetic Circuit.
  • Frequency Response: 20-20000Hz
  • Sensitivity:115dB/Vrms @1kHz
  • Impedance:16Ω @1kHz
  • THD: < 1%
  • Material of the capsule: Liquid Metal Alloy Housing
  • Coil: ⱷ 0.035mm – CCAW [Daikoku]
  • Acoustic filter: Patented Anti-blocking Filter.
  • Connector Jack: 3.5mm in angle
  • Cable: Silver Plated 4N-Litz OFC
  • Capsule Connection Type: 0.78-2pin

 

 

Packaging

 

The SSPs come in a purple, virtually square box. Its dimensions are 116x115x42mm. On its main side there is a drawing of an Anime girl, as a classic image of Mondrop, something that has been repeated in other models, even in other brands. On this occasion, his clothes have been changed for something more sport. On the back side, there is a diagram with the breakdown of the interior of the capsule, the specifications, in Chinese and English, as well as the frequency response.

Once the box is uncovered, you can see the SSPs, with their cable attached, embedded in a very black foam mould. At the bottom, there is an elongated box, made of black cardboard, with the brand logo in silver letters. Inside it there is a small black bag, with the logo in white, in the lower right corner and a bag with the silicone tips. In summary, the complete content is:

 

  • The two SSP capsules.
  • The 4N-Litz cable with 3.5mm angled gold-plated connector. The 2 pin 0.78mm connectors
  • Transport bag.
  • Instructions and warranty card.
  • 3 pairs of dark grey silicone tips, size SxMxL.

 

The box is very compact and tastefully decorated, with the capsule and the FR being particularly noteworthy. The transport bag is too small and is not suitable for storing the SSP, because the task is not easy, nor fast. The set of tips is the minimum necessary.

 

 

Construction and Design

 

Again, the shape of the capsules is exactly the same as the SSR model, with a different and unique blue colour. The capsule is made of a liquid metal alloy. Its external face is asymmetrical, one half looks like a classic drawing of a heart and the other, an inverted little house, drawn by a child. At the lower vertex, a completely gold-plated allen screw stands out, its tip protruding from the inner side. There is a large hole next to it. The letters R and L, which identify the channel, are deeply inscribed in the metal. The nozzle is mounted on a large cylindrical base, approximately 5 mm long and 5.5 mm in diameter. Its interior is protected by a dense metal grid. At the foot of the metal cylinder, near the tip of the screw, there is a slot with a hole in the part closest to the nozzles. The 2Pin connection plate is embedded in the base of the «house». It is made of transparent plastic and the two hollow connection cylinders are gold-plated.

The Litz cable is 4-core silver-plated. It is covered with transparent plastic. The Jack connector is 3.5mm, angled and gold plated. Its sheath is also transparent plastic, in a classic style. The dividing piece is a black plastic disc; on one side is inscribed the brand logo and on the other side its name. There is no adjustment ring. Near the two-pin connectors, there is a semi-rigid coating, to facilitate the adjustment on the ear. The two-pin connector is rectangular, slightly more bulky at the top and the two pins are completely external. A red ring, located next to the connector, serves as a channel indicator.

The capsules are actually very small and are painted bright white. Their design is special, and does not go unnoticed. But their small size, can damage the reproduction of the very powerful bass, perhaps there is not enough space for the complete elongation of the diaphragm…

 

 

Adjustment and Ergonomics

 

Such a small capsule, despite the design of the nozzle column, can only offer a superficial fit. Its small size allows rotation inside the hall. This makes the choice of tips essential for a long-lasting fit. In my case, I have to resort to larger or foam tips, to ensure their position and a good fit. On the other hand, for small ears, the size may be very adequate; for me, it has been a little more problematic. However, these problems have not been related to ergonomics, but rather to the sealing and, above all, the sound obtained. I have had to search through many tips until I found the best relationship between the lace and the best sound, something that is usually not very complicated for me.

 

 

Sound

 

Profile

 

In my case, the profile of the SSP is not the same as the one described in the frequency response of the box. There are many more changes in my model, regarding the SSR. Not only does it have a maximum elevation of 4dB at 100Hz, but that difference remains, but in negative, from 3kHz to 7kHz. This way its profile is more like a light but balanced V. I must say that it fits much more to my preferences, but the level of detail and clarity suffers.

 

 

Bass

 

The fact that it has a greater presence in bass does not make it an IEMS bass player, not even suitable for music where the lower zone predominates. It seems that they have pushed the small driver to the limit, making him suffer more, when he is demanded with a medium-high volume and music of that style. Again, in these cases, an audible distortion is reached, there is always some channel that suffers more than the other or resists better.

The mid-bass now stands out more clearly, but leaves the sub-bass more naked, undernourished and less deep, given its greater polarisation. The lower zone is less linear and more conventional, with an emphasis on 100Hz. However, it seems that even the lower zone has suffered technically. The fact of having forced the tuning of the basses, has limited the speed, the more contained and better drawn hit of the SSR. I have the feeling that the decay is slower, generating more pose, a warmer sound and not so clean. The absence of sub-bass colours the sound of the area, as well as making it thinner. The body with a narrower base moves away from realism when reproducing pure sub-bass, losing a deeper tone in accordance with the nature of the lower area. Really, it was not the positive bass tuning, which I expected to find in this SSP, although I am grateful that this range is more abundant, because the fun factor has increased considerably.

 

 

Mids

 

The middle zone of my SSPs is «special», with more emphasis on the lower zone, something natural due to the greater presence of bass. But the upper mids are not «equal» to the SSR, but everything that has been raised in the lower zone has been removed from 1kHz onwards. This fact has a big positive part: male voices are much more natural and complete. Even in women’s voices, sibilance has disappeared. The warmth of the sound has been very much in evidence in the first half of the middle zone. But it has also become more conventional, without that polarisation that SSRs had, which gave it a greater inclination towards details, than the rest. Now the protagonism returns to its place, showing a more realistic sound and tone, in exchange for losing in brightness and details; perhaps even too much. If I received a unit with a «special» tuning, I would have preferred it not to be so far from the original, in the mid-high range. I’m sometimes critical of this emphasis on this area, which has become so fashionable lately. But in a warm IEMS it can have a greater benefit, bringing clarity, saving you from darkness and giving you a spark in detail and small nuances. Not so in this unit, and what I used to think was a bit excessive, is now certain, but there is a lack of that spicy touch that makes the sound so dynamic. Even so, the voices are very enjoyable, as well as the instruments, being very suitable for rock, vocal and acoustic genres, thanks to the fullness of its first half.

Going into detail, the texture of the male voices, as well as their tone, is completely pleasant and realistic, with no undesirable echoes. They have a right mix between roughness and smoothness, which makes them noticeable and clearly perceptible in their details and nuances. The feminine voices, on the other hand, suffer from a certain sparkle and joy, but they do not stop sounding very well drawn and defined, quite clearly, despite the fact that the profile is somewhat darker and duller, but retaining a very healthy naturalness.

The instrumentation has a very analogical sound, not at all cold, with a tone very much in line with the good recordings of the 80’s. The separation feels remarkable, as does the sense of space. The sound is very palpable in this area, present and close; one perceives a close intimacy and a close relationship with the music, as if it were a secluded, club-like stage, although not without air, but with brilliance. This sensation, produced by the special tuning of the high mids in this unit, generates a highly enjoyable bond with the listener: it is true that micro nuances and other technicalities provided by a more analytical profile are missed. But, on the other hand, there is a very exhilarating hyper-realistic smoothness. I must admit that with genres other than electronic music, these SSPs are to be loved.

 

 

Treble

 

The high area of my unit has a control according to the rest of the profile, calm and warm, somewhat lacking in brightness and notoriety in the first area. I find that the highs are expressed trimmed, filed, without expanding upwards enough to energise the sound and apply a more brilliant patina. In this way, the sound maintains that darkness and a softer profile, very controlled, perhaps too much, resulting in a sound that is not very lively, without edge or joy. The extension is equal to that of the SSP, but with a clear downward trend.

 

 

Soundstage, Separation

 

On this occasion, the SSP has a more intimate and secluded scene, but quite enjoyable. There is space and separation, a good dose of air to prevent its representation from being closed. But it is near and close, something that contrasts with the better depth given to this model. The width remains remarkable, as does the instrumental positioning, but it is not as precise and defined as in its previous model, perhaps because of its lesser expressiveness of detail and micro nuances. The smoother sound also contributes to a more homogeneous soundtrack, with a darker, sharper and more distinguishable background being more difficult to observe.

But if there’s one thing that stands out in this SSP, it’s its concise sound: there’s no echo, the notes are immediate and are never projected beyond the unreality. Perhaps it’s a little cut down on harmonics, or perhaps it’s the result of a higher control. But the point is that this sonority is something that attracts a lot of attention and there are many factors that contribute to recreate it in this way. Without a doubt, it’s the great opposite of SSR and the one that makes me lean more towards this model.

 

 

Comparisons

 

Tin HiFi T1 Plus

 

Both IEMS are recent and have similarities in their frequency response, as they have a similar profile. However, in reality, the sound differences are remarkable. One of the first things that catches your eye is the brightness, much more noticeable in the T1 Plus. Secondly, the lower zone, the Tin HiFis can withstand anything that’s thrown at them, while the SSPs are much more delicate in this respect. The third big difference is sensitivity: it can take more than 10dB of volume to match your output, with the T1 Plus being very easy to move. SSPs require much more power. The other differences are easy to see but not as big.

The lower amount of brightness makes the overall sound of the SSP much more sparse, dry and tight, without a hint of echo, much more concrete and cut. The T1 Plus offers a more common sound, more fluid, liquid, with more sparkles and expansion, which fills the silences with its harmonics and a longer treble propagation. While the SSP offers a duller, quieter, rather peculiar and particular sound, really different.

However, the battle between the two IEMS, in the middle zone, is quite complex and much will depend on the tastes of each individual. The T1 Plus, despite being V-shaped, has a fairly full-bodied midrange, just like the SSP, but the tone and expression of both is very different. This is where all the adjectives written previously and which define the behaviour of each one come together. Because of their special and intoxicating character, the SSP win in this struggle.

Another thing is the lower zone, much more complete and fuller in the T1 Plus, with a more powerful and deep hit, perhaps something more rubbery and less contained. SSPs seem to have more control, but they’re also more colourful. On the other hand, the T1 Plus does not suffer from large, fat or distorted bass, while the SSP clearly does.

In the upper mid-range there is a clear emphasis of the T1 Plus over the SSP, giving it an initial brightness and more clarity, as well as a boost in the initial highs, with a more perceptible projection. But there comes a point where the T1 Plus seems to stop and the SSP continues a little further. Although neither is characterised by specially worked-in treble, they are kept under control and always in line with their profile.

On a stage level, the T1 Plus offers a more rounded, tubular image, with greater depth and a sense of escape. The SSPs have a flatter but wider projection, with a more accentuated proximity to the elements, which provides greater intimacy. There is less depth, but its more concrete and concise sound provides a little more separation between the elements, given the greater fluidity of the sound of the T1 Plus. If we talk about nuances and details, at the micro level they are more perceptible in the T1 Plus, the lower depth of the SSP seems to hide some small central details.

 

 

Blon BL-01

 

This is the latest model that Blon has brought to market, also at a rather reduced price, as it costs less than half that of the SSP. In terms of price, the comparison may not be very accurate, but at the frequency response level, both IEMS also have similarities in their central area, while at the extremes the differences are greater.

The graphics do not lie and the BL-01 destroys the comparison with the SSP in the lower zone. Any comparison below 100Hz makes no sense, since SSPs do not support heavy bass loading. If you can’t measure the bass with electronic music, what good is a bass analysis, pure observation of its technicalities? If, in order to listen to the bass in SSPs, you have to set the volume at a medium level so as not to reach the distortion… It’s very difficult to compare them. Even so, the SSP are characterised by their lack of depth, focused on the mid-bass, with a definition that is also medium, the BL-01 gain in depth, impact, realistic sound, power, punch and even containment. I don’t think that the SSP have a better low zone technically with the BL-01, at least I can’t distinguish it.

The SSP media are flatter and darker, comparatively speaking, with that closer and more concise sound. In the BL-01 there is a clear brightness and also depth, although the greater influence of the lower zone is noted in this case. One can hear the voices, but also a very close bass line, even higher. In this sense, the SSP mids are less influenced by the low zone, which only gives it warmth. But the upper zone doesn’t help with the brightness either. But, uniquely, thanks to these facts, the Moondrop’s midrange sound is so special and distinctive and sure to be a hit with many listeners. Again, the BL-01’s mids are closer together, with less separation, while the SSP’s have better definition, faster mids, with more space between them, a darker background feel and greater proximity.

In the upper area, the Blons express themselves more freely and with a little more presence and extension. It is clear that they are brighter and have more light, but the sonority and expression is not far between the two IEMS. I think SSPs still have more control and restraint, while Blons can sound a little more erratic and unpleasant at times, offering a more excited, but less refined, representation.

The scene for both is not very big. There’s a bit more separation in the SSP, while there’s a bit more three-dimensionality in the Blon, because the details are more splashy and have more depth. But although the Moodrop feels more intimate, the width of its image is greater, even its height. In terms of detail, the BL-01 is easier to see, although the micro nuances are equally barely distinguishable.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The received SSP model assumes a clear rotation of its frequency response, with respect to the 1kHz centre point. By nailing a pin in that point, one can rotate, clockwise, the curve of the 4dB SSR and the profile of these SSP would be almost obtained. This movement is responsible for the bass being emphasized and the mid-high and early treble being turned off in the same proportion. In this way, the sound turns towards warmth, towards the music and not towards the details. And it is the resulting musicality that is the greatest exponent of this new and identical model. And yet, what wins is situated in the centre, where a different tonality to the conventional one has been found, which is executed with a mastery that produces a dark and pale beauty, to which it is very easy to succumb. One of the best sensations in mids that can be heard for this ridiculous price.

 

 

Sources Used During the Analysis

 

  • Burson Audio Playmate
  • Qudelix-5K
  • xDuoo XP-2Pro
  • HyBy R3 Pro
  • E1DA #9038D

 

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