Not so long ago, Moondrop Audio released their SSR or Super Spaceship Reference in-ear monitor and got a mixed reaction. Although it was impressive in a technical sense considering the price, it wasn’t a tuning that worked for everyone. Well, now there’s another version available that promises to be more musical with a conventional tuning. Meet the Moondrop SSP or Super Spaceship Pulse.
The SSP has a single BeryIIium-coated dome diagphragm dynamic driver encased in the same tiny amorphous metal alloy housing as the SSR. So how does the new Pulse sound? It’s definitely more musical than the Reference model and I think it will be better received by the community. Let’s get into it.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
I believe it is in my nature to dance by virtue of the beat of my heart, the pulse of my blood and the music in my mind.
Really solid build quality
Extremely comfortable shells
Engaging bass performance
Good tonal balance
Included storage pouch is too small for practical use
Requires substantial driving power for optimal performance
Package and Accessories
Like the SSR, the Moondrop SSP comes in a small square-shaped box with their popular waifu character on the front. This time around, the box is black in colour which gives it a nice differentiation from the SSR. On the rear side of the box is an exploded diagram of the earphones plus a specifications list and frequency response graph.
Inside the box are the usual offerings, including the Moondrop SSP earphones, a detachable 2-pin cable, 3 pairs of (really small) eartips and a carrying pouch that is way too small to be of any real use.
Design, Comfort & Noise Isolation
The SSP essentially has the exact same shell as the SSR which I am more than happy with since it’s one of my absolute favourites. It’s made from a liquid metal alloy which is lightweight but extremely durable.
At the time of writing, the SSP is only available in a dark navy blue colour with a matte finish. The faceplates are an L or arrowhead shape and sport a gold-coloured hex screw that contrasts beautifully with the deep blue colour of the shells.
One of the things I love about these shells is their diminutive size: they’re really tiny which not only makes them super easy to carry around but also really comfortable too. Since the nozzles are quite long and the shell body is so thin, the only thing that really comes into contact with your ear is the eartips. Needless to say, you could probably wear these all day long without any issues.
Noise isolation is actually pretty good for such a small earphone. These are ideal for most everyday environments such as commuting, public transport and busy public spaces.
The included cable is the same one that comes with the SSR. It’s a silver-plated 4N Litz OFC cable with transparent insulation. At the top are the transparent plastic 2-pin connector housings and pre-formed ear guides. The Y-split is disc-shaped with Moondrop branding and the cable terminates in a right-angled 3.5mm plug.
Handling is superb and the cable drapes well and has hardly any microphonics. Overall, this is an excellent cable for an IEM at this price range.
Gear used for testing
iPhone with Shanling UP4
PC -> iFi Audio ZEN DAC
One of the first things I noticed about the Moondrop SSP is that it’s quite power-hungry. Although it can be driven straight from a smartphone, I highly recommend using a DAP or some form of amplification to get the most from it.
Like the SSR which has a linear tuning with a forward upper midrange, the SSP adopts something similar albeit with a more prominent low end to balance things out. It has a light V-shape signature that is warm but lively with an upfront presentation.
The bass is rich, hard-hitting and is one that’s very physical in terms of impact. You can feel the SSP vibrating with bass in your ears at any given chance. That’s not to say this is a basshead IEM per se. It isn’t. In fact, although the bass is boosted, it still sits slightly behind the upper midrange in the mix.
But due to the shell design, the SSP bass feels bigger than it actually is. It’s not huge in quantity but it delivers with such effortless authority. The sub-bass has a light, smooth rumble with fairly good extension. SSP’s mid-bass is slightly more prominent and delivers with tactile impact.
There isn’t an abundance of texture and leading edges are somewhat blunted. But it’s hard to be too critical of minor technicalities at this price point.
Midrange notes have slightly more body than the SSR due to the added weight of the bass and a slight attenuation in the presence range. However, this does make the mids sound a little more recessed than they do on the SSR.
The midrange is still fairly neutral, especially in the lower bands. Male vocals sound uncoloured and articulate with just the right amount of body for naturalness. In addition to the lift in the bass, the SSP’s upper midrange has been slightly attenuated which reduces some of the glare and produces a more natural albeit for some a less exciting sound.
Midrange timbre is pretty impressive for this budget earphone and I was impressed with how it performs listening to “Fugitive Places” by Thomas Strønen and Time Is A Blind Guide. The strings and piano sound lifelike and convincing, even if the upper registers are a tad bright.
The SSP treble has also been tuned to be a bit safer compared to the SSR. This not only compensates for the extra recession in the core midrange but it also reduces some of the sibilance that the SSR sometimes reached.
The transition is fairly smooth from the upper midrange all the way through to 8kHz before it starts to steadily roll-off. This puts most of the focus firmly in the lower treble which has sufficient drive but at the same time leaves the upper treble feeling slightly compressed. Nevertheless, the level of detail is still very good overall.
So, while there is still a good amount of detail rendered, the level of transparency doesn’t quite reach that of the SSR. Although there’s enough core treble to maintain clarity in the mids, a little extra lift in the upper treble would produce a lighter, airier tone.
The SSP’s soundstage dimensions are modest but still reasonably spacious. Stage positioning is somewhat forward but there’s a good sense of depth behind and to the sides of the centre image. The control of the bass and the neutral weight of the midrange improves instrument separation and avoids congestion.
Tin Hifi T2 Plus
The Tin Hifi T2 Plus is the latest in the popular T2 series. Like the Moondrop SSP, the T2 Plus has a single dynamic driver. What really stands out about the T2 Plus is its linearity i.e. it’s very evenly spread across the bass, midrange and treble bands.
The T2 Plus’ bass has slightly better extension but it’s not as prominent in quantity as on the SSP. Due to the linearity of the curve from the bass all the way through the midrange, the bass on the T2 Plus tends to blend into the overall sound more and loses some of its definition, despite having a cleaner leading edge than the SSP bass.
In the midrange, the T2 Plus again is more in line with the bass and treble. Vocals mingle more with the music rather than jump out like they do with the SSP. Furthermore, the SSP separates instruments more clearly despite the recessed midrange. The T2 Plus’ strength (its evenness) also highlights its weakness, which comes in the form of reduced dynamics.
The T2 Plus treble has better extension and is very light and airy. It creates a really open, spacious sound. While not as direct as the SSP treble, the Tin Hifi IEM’s treble is silky smooth and weightless, creating a larger albeit less stable soundstage.
The BLON BL03 is a single dynamic driver IEM. It has a v-shaped signature with good clarity and exceptional bass control. The BL03 sound is not as upfront as the SSP, giving it a larger soundstage and less intimate presentation.
Bass extension on the BL03 is greater and although it isn’t as physical as on the SSP, the BL03 has greater bass reach. More emphasis is put on the sub-bass while the SSP puts more focus on the mid-bass.
In the midrange, the BL03 is more linear where the SSP upper mids are more upfront and really leap out at you. Due to having less boost in the presence region (4-6kHz), the BLON’s treble (in particular the upper treble) gains more of a foothold and gives it an airier sound with more openness.
The Moondrop SSP (Super Spaceship Pulse) is another fantastic release from Moondrop Audio. With its warmer but still technically nimble sound, it’s sure to please more average consumers who want something more musical and less analytical than the SSR (Super Spaceship Reference).
When it comes to audio and build quality, the SSP is outstanding. It also comes with a good cable which combined with the earphones makes the overall value rather exceptional. This one is a winner and should be high on your list if you’re shopping for an earphone under the $50 mark.
Frequency Range: 20Hz–20kHz (IEC60318-4)
Frequency Range: 20Hz–40kHz (1/4 Inch Free-field Mic)
Sensitivity: 112dB/Vrms (@1khz)
Impedance: 16Ω (@1khz)
THD: ≤ 1%
Diaphragm: Beryllium-Coated Dome + PU Suspension Ring
Housing material: Liquid Metal Alloy Housing
Acoustic Filter: Patented Anti-Blocking Filter
Magnetic Circuit: N52-High Density Magnetic Circuit