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Review - Moondrop SSP (sub 50€)

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 



As always, first comes the disclaimer… The Moondrop SSP was kindly sent to me by Shenzen Audio. They have not requested anything in exchange for sending these IEMs, nor am I receiving anything in exchange other than the IEMs which they have not requested that I return.

As always, I will be as honest as possible but these IEMs have not cost me anything, so take that as you may.

Although they have not requested it, I think it is only fair that I share the link to both their website: https://shenzhenaudio.com/ and to the SSP on their website: https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/moondrop-ssp-super-spaceship-pulse-beryllium-plated-dome-diaphragm-dynamic-driver-in-ear-earphone

Now, on to the review.

Intro…

It has taken a while for me to get to this review, as they actually offered to send these IEMs to me before they were released, back in October last year. They were then shipped to me in November but got lost in transport. By the time I realized this, it was in December and although they sent me another set, by the time it arrived, it was the Christmas period and things were a little crazy. But… finally… here we are.

During these months, I have managed to avoid reading reviews of the SSP but I have seen a few comments on them around the web. Basically, I had heard that they were very similar to the SSR (which I reviewed here: Review - Moondrop SSR) just with more bass. I guess that description is correct, sort of, but I didn’t really fall in love with the SSR (although they are decent) and I am not one for excessive bass, so I wasn’t too sure if I would actually like the SSP. I guess you’ll find out in a minute.

The SSP, as with the SSR, uses a beryllium coated driver with a fancy suspension ring and magnetic circuit that I failed to explain during my review of the SSR and I am not going to improve by explaining now.



Presentation…

Apart from the colour of the box and the anime girl on it, I could just copy and paste this part from the SSR review, as the presentation and contents are identical.

In this case, the box in which it packages is purple (rather than white). On the back we find an image of the IEMs components and a graph showing frequency response. Inside, the IEMs are located in a cutout with a smaller box at the bottom containing the accessories.

The accessories are a few different sizes of silicone tips and a drawstring bag. The only other item we find in the box is the user manual, so nothing really exciting.



Build and aesthetics…

Again, this could just be a copy and paste from the previous review as the build and aesthetics of the SSP are identical to the SSR. In this case, the IEMs are blue (again instead of the white SSR I purchased) and I am glad they are not white otherwise I would not be able to tell them apart.

For those who haven’t read the SSR review, I will briefly go over it. The IEMs are tiny, slightly larger than some of the models that I reviewed from Hifiman, but only slightly. They are small enough to lay on your side if you wish but the over-ear hook on the cable stops them from being totally flush in my case, so I (personally) wouldn’t recommend them for sleeping. 

The paint finish on the SSP doesn’t look quite as “cheap” as it did on the SSR (only when very close) but it could be due to the colour rather than an improvement in the finish. The shape are something that I haven’t really seen much from other companies, I believe that in the SSR review I said that they sort of resembled something from Campfire Audio rather than the majority of budget IEM offerings. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that they look like a CA IEM, just that the chosen shape reminds me of some of the CA models.

I also said that the build and aesthetics of the SSR were mediocre, being a long way from resembling anything of high quality, and although nothing has changed in the build and shape, just the matte blue finish does improve the looks in my opinion. They are still not something that would be confused with an expensive IEM but they don’t look as tacky as the others did (again, all that is just due to the different colour of the finish).



Sound…

Now, this is where things do change, but not really a whole lot. As I said, these have been mentioned to be the same as the SSR with more bass and the frequency response is very similar. Before I go on to discuss the usual parts of the range, here are two graphs, the first being the SSR and the second being the SSP. Both graphs are courtesy of In-Ear Fidelity (with the permission of Crinacle).



As you can see, the graphs are very similar except for the increase in bass response and a little bit of a difference around the 4 to 8kHz part.

As with the SSR, after trying various tips, I chose my usual foam tips for both comfort and sound.

As always, I will start with the sub-bass and I must say that the extension and presence is more noticeable than on the SSR. However, it is not as exaggerated as it would seem to be if we compare it on the graphs above. There is less roll off and this is noticeable on tracks such as “No Mercy”, where the intro has a rumble that is not excessive but suits the song far more than the SSR does.

In the remaining bass frequencies, there is again a very noticeable increase in comparison to the other model but these are not to be considered bass-head IEMs. In fact, as some one who is not a fan of excessive bass, I find the levels to be quite adequate. There doesn’t seem to be any decrease in the speed and definition of the bass notes on the SSP (in comparison to the SSR) but they are more lively and I find them more enjoyable. I was impressed by the bass on the Tin T2+, which has plenty of bass when needed but only when needed, in the case of the SSP, the bass is always present and doesn’t have quite the slam that the T2+ does when pushed, but it is not a level of bass that I find to be invasive, at least not to the point of overpowering other frequencies (as is the case on many other V shaped IEMs). As far as quantity, I would say it is at a similar level as the Starfield, although not quite at the same level as far as quality.

As the SSP transitions from the higher bass into the lower mids, it is not quite as clean as it is on the higher priced Starfield, or the SSR which has a lower level of bass, but I don’t find it to produce a bleed that dirties the lower mids too much. The speed and definition is at a sufficient level for the instruments to remain clear during the transition and while it doesn’t provide huge amounts of detail in this region, it does keep bass guitars (and the lower end of other instruments) well defined, without them seeming to blend together. It is not an IEM that I would choose to focus on bass lines such as those on “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes” by Paul Simon or “Jack Of Speed” by Steely Dan, but they are enjoyable.

Throughout the mids there is the typical recess found on so many IEMs, which does remove a little of the presence from the lower end of vocals when there are bassy instruments surrounding them. For example, I find the instruments on “Smooth Operator” to be more enjoyable than the voice of Sade, but again, it is not offensive, just not great for those vocals either.

Reaching the higher end of the mids, there is a steep climb towards 3kHz that does do a decent job of recovering some of the presence that is lost in the lower end of voices. This is done without the IEMs becoming nasal or harsh, although I did find saxophones and other brass instruments to be a little overpowering at times. 

As we move into the higher frequencies, using test tracks such as “Code Cool” by Patricia Barber, the sibilance is kept in check pretty well although not perfectly. There are parts of the song that exhibit a small amount of sibilance but not enough for it to become uncomfortable. Although, if the track is sibilant and harshly recorded, such as “If I Was Your Vampire” by Marilyn Manson, then it does portray this, it does not hide it at all. In fact, that specific track doesn’t sound good on any decent set of headphones and the SSP is no exception, it is a combination of harshness and bass for the most part.

As we reach the higher treble, the sensation of “air” and “shine” is neither better or worse than on the majority of single dynamic driver options. It could benefit from a little more extension but is by no means the worst I have heard (far from it).

The speed and detail of the SSP is decent although it is a step down from the SSR in this regard. They do a good job of separating instruments and their notes for the most part, but when things get busy, they do seem to blend together more than on the other model. The increase in bass does add to this. In fact, I would say that the control of the bass is the most impressive part of their speed.

As far as soundstage and image presence, here it is much the same as the SSR. They are not very wide IEMs, then again, the majority aren’t, and I would say that there are around average. I don’t spot any real differences in width with the other model and the placement I would say is slightly better on the more neutral version.



Conclusion…

I think that the SSP are a “guilty pleasure” set of IEMs. They are not the “most” anything really but they do have an overall sound and presentation that I find enjoyable for when I am listening to music as a background to doing other things, such as working. I have worn them daily for the past week or so, for periods of 3 or 4 hours at a time and I have found myself tapping my foot to the music on many occasions. 

They are not meant for focusing on and dissecting the music, they are meant for enjoying the music. I would happily choose these as my IEMs when walking, working, or generally doing other stuff that is not focusing on nuances of the music. I find the bass to be quite enjoyable and the overall sound signature I find to be pleasant. I think that these IEMs will be pleasing for many people. In fact, I am pretty sure that if I were to give these to my wife, I wouldn’t get them back.

If you are a bass head, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a critical listening set of IEMs, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a comfortable, lightweight, easy listening set of IEMs in the sub 50€ price range, I think these should be something you try out.

One last thing that I haven’t mentioned is power. I was surprised to find that the SSP need a fair bit more on the volume wheel to get to my usual listening levels. They were still adequately powered by things like the Shanling M0 or M2X, at least to reach my usual listening levels, but I did find my phone to be nearing max before I got the level I wanted (and my phone sounds terrible at those levels, not that it sounds much better any lower) so I would say that something with a little more power than the usual cell phone may be needed. To give you an idea, to reach my usual levels (which are not high), I was nearing 50% on the Atom. Admittedly on low gain but that is still more than I usually have it set at when listening to IEMs. 

So, to conclude the conclusion, I think these are an decent set of IEMs for the price and I have enjoyed them more than I did the SSR.

SenyorC