Moondrop is one of the most well-known Chinese brands when it comes to in-ear monitors. They have been producing some of the best IEMs in almost every price range ever since their inception in 2015. They are best known for producing hits such as the Moondrop KXXS, Blessing 2, and S8.
This time Moondrop is back again and has set their sights on the budget category. The Super Spaceship Reference (SSR) is one of Moondrop’s most anticipated IEMs. And as its name implies, its goal is to give a reference sound signature at a budget price point.
It has been delayed in the past due to quality control issues. But now it is here and is ready to take off. Will Moondrop continue their hot streak in producing successful IEMs? Keep on scrolling to find out.
We would like to thank Moondrop for providing the review unit and for making this review possible. However, this does not influence our review in any way. Everything written here is my honest opinion.
Packaging and Accessories
Moondrop never ceases to impress when it comes to the packaging of their IEMs. The SSR comes in a small box with Moondrop’s signature anime artwork. The artwork is seriously eye-catching and beats most of the plain-looking box art of most budget IEMs.
Also, if you look closely, you can see the character wearing the SSR. That’s a nice touch from Moondrop.
Once you open the box, you are immediately greeted by the IEMs. The cables are already attached to the shells, but they are cleverly hidden behind the foam where the IEMs are attached to. But aside from that, there isn’t much to see here.
You get the IEMs, a soft pouch, some spare ear tips, and some paperwork. Despite the simple packaging, Moondrop still managed to pull off a clean presentation. Overall, Moondrop has paid close attention to the quality of the packaging of the SSR, which made me even more excited to try them out.
Design and Build Quality
The Moondrop SSR has a unique design. It has a shape that, in some angles, closely resembles a heart. It also features a single gold screw on the faceplates, which is reminiscent of some higher-end IEMs.
The shells are a lot smaller than what you typically get at this price point. However, they feel substantially better than the plastic shells commonly used by entry-level IEMs.
I like the unique shell design. It helps differentiate the SSR from the sea of similar-looking acrylic and plastic shells in this price range.
The SSR also feels solid and high-quality. It is made of liquid metal alloy, so it is more than capable of being a daily driver.
In addition to its unique design, the SSR also has several color options available. It comes in white, silver, pink, and green. Surprisingly, the SSR has more color options than its higher-end siblings. The white color featured on our unit looks classy and fits the overall spaceship theme.
The SSR comes with a Silver-Plated 4N-Litz OFC stock cable. This comes as a surprise since most companies in this price range tend to stick with braided SPC or simply plain low-quality cables.
The cable is soft, and I did not have any problems with handling it. The color also matches with the overall aesthetics of the SSR.
There are several design elements that further add to the appeal, such as the Y Splitter with Moondrop’s branding. It is worth noting that the 0.78mm 2-pin contacts are housed in a plastic enclosure instead of the usual metal enclosure we see on higher-end cables.
Fit and Comfort
The Moondrop SSR is very comfortable to wear thanks to its small and lightweight design. These practically disappear on your ears while wearing them. You can wear these for hours without encountering any fatigue. The SSR also doesn’t stick out from your ears, which is great for those who are concerned with how they look in public.
Before we get to the sound quality, I want to quickly mention the power requirements of the SSR. Most entry-level IEMs are aimed at smartphone users, which means most of them are fairly easy to drive. The SSR is no different. However, I noticed that the SSR needed to run at higher volumes compared to my other IEMs.
The Moondrop SSR is utilizing a single dynamic driver. This has been Moondrop’s go-to configuration for most of their sub 200 USD offerings. However, the SSR goes for a different tuning.
As its name implies, the goal of the SSR is to produce a reference sound signature. That is true for the most part except for its boosted upper mids and lower treble. And due to its energetic upper frequencies, the SSR is bright sounding. This kind of tuning is rare for this price range as most brands tend to go with the safer V-shaped tuning.
The bass is dialed down on the SSR to fit its reference tuning. The SSR has a neutral bass response that is surprisingly not completely dull. The sub-bass region, in particular, packs a punch and is able to perform when it is needed.
The bass has an overall natural sound to it. This is largely thanks to the dynamic drivers, which are known to perform well with low frequencies. The lows are tuned in such a way that they are always complementing the mids instead of competing with them. You can clearly hear and distinguish bass notes, but they won’t be in your face.
The low quantity of the bass can make the SSR thin sounding at times. This was evident with tracks that didn’t focus on the vocals. You could feel that there is a gap in terms of detail in between the sub-bass and the mid frequencies.
The mids are the star of the show here. Due to the bump in the 3 kHz region, the upper mids are extremely forward. And with the help of its dialed down bass response, the mid frequencies are highlighted. Female vocals, in particular, are a joy to listen to.
This is a risky tuning since Moondrop is placing all their bets that the midrange can perform. But I am happy to say that the SSR has the technical capability to pull this tuning off. Vocals, guitars, and other instruments in the midrange have plenty of detail and can even compete with more expensive offerings.
The problem that I can see that some listeners will have is the presentation of the mids. As mentioned earlier, the upper mids and highs make the overall tuning bright. And in some songs where these frequencies are emphasized, the mids can be perceived as shouty, which can result in a fatiguing listening experience.
And in some cases, the overemphasis of the upper mids creates an inaccurate sound. Electronic music, pop music, or more complex songs that tend to highlight different instruments will sound weird because only the vocals are popping off.
The mids are also on the thinner side. And again, when combined with the bass response, the overall sound may lack the fullness of V-shaped IEMs.
But personally, as a fan of female vocals and guitar-driven music, the SSR was a treat to listen to. For sure, it won’t be for everyone, but the SSR truly excels at what it is great at.
The overall signature of the SSR is already bright. If the highs were tuned similarly to the mids, then the SSR will be too piercing for a lot of users including myself. Fortunately, Moondrop has done a great job of controlling the highs to complement the mids.
Highs are reserved and are not as forward as the upper mids. They have a good amount of extension, which makes instruments such as cymbals detailed.
The highs don’t try to compete with the mids and are instead placed in the background. Cymbals such as the hi-hats, for example, also take a backseat but help with completing the overall sound of the track.
Imaging and Soundstage
The soundstage of the Moondrop SSR is quite intimate. But it was wide enough to allow proper separation on the different frequencies. Imaging is very good for its price point, as you can determine where the various sounds are coming from.
BQEYZ Spring 2
Both the Spring 2 and the Moondrop SSR are bright sounding IEMs. However, there is a clear difference in terms of the presentation of their sound.
The Spring 2 has a more well rounded and complete sound because the bass frequencies are not as dialed down as the SSR. The highs are also more detailed and extended. And of course, the mids are not as forward as the SSR.
However, in some songs, the SSR’s mids are more enjoyable due to how upfront they are. This is very interesting considering the huge gap in the price of these two IEMs. And the fact that some comparisons can even be drawn between these two earphones indicates just how much value you are getting out of the SSR.
I imagine a lot of users will be pairing the SSR with their mobile phones through a USB Type-C adapter/DAC or the phone’s built-in headphone jack (if you still have one). In my case, I used the ddHiFi TC35B and streamed music via Spotify.
The SSR’s technicalities translated well. And since the TC35B rolled off with the highs, the SSR did not sound too bright. I did, however, have to turn up the volume to almost 100 percent.
Astell & Kern AK70 Mk2
The AK70 Mk2 is a fuller-sounding and more detailed source, so it is expected that it will also pull more information from the SSR. But since the AK70 MK2 was more resolving on the upper mids and highs, they started sounding peaky especially on brighter sounding tracks. While it didn’t bother me too much, I would imagine treble sensitive people who have higher quality sources may experience listening fatigue.
Overall, despite its unorthodox tuning, the SSR has managed to win me over. But I can understand why a lot of people may also dislike the SSR.
If you are a fan of vocals, then the SSR will be a treat to listen to. But if you are more of a fan of bass or a more balanced tuning, then you might want to look elsewhere.
I firmly believe that the Moondrop SSR is a step in the right direction. They are venturing in a path that most companies are trying to avoid. And bringing reference tuning at a budget price point is something that everyone should respect, regardless of whether or not they enjoy the sound of the SSR.
The Moondrop SSR can be purchased at Moondrop’s AliExpress Store as well as on Amazon.
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Frequency response: 20-40kHz
- Sensitivity: 115dB/Vrms @ 1kHz
- THD: <=1%
- Housing material: liquid metal alloy housing
- Coil: 0.035mm-CCAW (daikoku)
- Magnet: N52-high density magnetic circuit
- Acoustic filter: patented anti-blocking filter
- Cable: silver-plated 4N Litz ofc
- Connectors: 2Pin 0.78mm
- Diaphragm: beryllium-coated dome+PU suspension ring
Albums Used For Testing
- Milet – Eyes
- Babymetal – Metal Galaxy World Tour in Japan
- Babymetal – Metal Galaxy
- Mamamoo – Reality in Black
- Nobuo Uematsu – Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy
- Pentatonix – Pentatonix Volume 2
- Lindsey Stirling – Artemis
- Moe Shop – Moe Moe
Stephen is a musician, cinematographer, and headphone enthusiast who is passionate about reviewing audio equipment. He has been playing guitar for at least a decade, which introduced him to professional recording equipment such as headphones and in-ear monitors. With the help of reviews and online content, he was able to learn the ins and outs of the hobby. His goal is to give back to the community by providing quality content to help others enjoy the beautiful (and expensive) world of audio.
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD660s