INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Moondrop Super Spaceship Pulse (SSP) is an in-ear monitor (IEM) using a beryllium-coated dome diaphragm dynamic driver. The SSP retails for $40 at HiFiGo. I received the Moondrop SSP from HiFiGo in exchange for a fair and objective review.
I have used the Moondrop SSP with the following sources:
- JDS Labs The Element
- Qudelix 5K
- E1DA 9038D
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The Moondrop SSP comes in a square purple box illustrated with the infamous Moondrop anime waifu in full color. Technical specifications and a frequency response graph for the SSP are provided in English and Chinese on the back of the box. The package includes a detachable 2-pin cable, three silicone eartips (small, medium, large), a synthetic fabric drawstring bag, a quality control pass chit, a contact card written almost exclusively in Chinese, and a user manual, also written almost exclusively in Chinese. The bag is made from a different material than the bag that was included with the Moondrop Moondrop Super Spaceship Reference (SSR). This bag’s gently textured matte black faux leather is much classier than the shiny black nylon of the SSR’s included bag.
BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
Like the Moondrop SSR, the Moondrop SSP has low-profile housings with an almost heart-shaped faceplate cross-section. Instead of the clear wax-finished aluminum of the SSR, the SSP opts for a deep blue matte finish. The faceplates have a brass nut set into the surface, and there are several vents on the inner face of the housing and on the side of the nozzle. “L” and “R” are inscribed into the inner faces of the housings. The 2-pin connections are slightly recessed. The nozzles do not have a lip to secure eartips.
The 2-pin cable has a transparent plastic sheath. The Y-split is a black plastic disc embossed with the Moondrop logo, and the L-shaped 3.5mm jack hardware is clear rubber. There is strain relief only above the jack and there is no chin slider. There is a red O-ring on the right-side cable in addition to the typical raised “L/R” indicators. The cable has pre-formed rubber ear guides. The fit of the 2-pin connectors is extremely tight.
COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
The Moondrop SSR is intended to be worn cable-up only. The earpieces have a moderate to deep insertion depth but are comfortable to wear for extended periods. When worn, the entire housing falls below the outer surface of my ear, making the SSP ideal for use while sleeping. Secureness of fit is excellent, but isolation is average. The SSP does not have driver flex.
My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. There is a resonant peak at 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.
SOUND AND COMPARISON WITH THE MOONDROP SSR:
The Moondrop SSP sounds and measures like a more consumer-friendly version of the Moondrop SSR. While the SSR did not lack bass, at least at my preferred insertion depth, the SSP offers a more visceral and immediate listening experience. Interestingly, the SSP sounds more balanced and coherent overall than the SSR. Although the above measurement indicates that the SSP’s upper midrange is even more exaggerated than the SSR’s, I found that the SSP’s more elevated mid-bass region provides an appreciable counterweight to the midrange and lower treble that the SSR lacks.
The SSP has better-extended sub-bass extension compared to the SSR, though the overall bass tuning emphasis remains on the mid-bass. Sub-bass extension is not the SSP’s strongest suit, and listeners seeking a distinct sub-bass shelf should look elsewhere. The bass response largely retains the class-leading technical performance of the SSR with respect to speed and articulation. Some resolution is sacrificed for impact and slam but I would still take the SSR over any of its peers in the $40–50 price range for bass detail. The more prominent bass response affords the SSP superior bass texture compared to its predecessor.
There is greater body to the SSP’s lower midrange than the SSR. There is also a greater sense of mid-bass bleed, which reduces midrange clarity somewhat. Again, this has the effect of taking the edge off of the SSP’s presence region, which I feel is a tradeoff worth making. Male and female vocal intelligibility are excellent, though not quite as clear as the SSR. The SSP does not put female vocals as far ahead of male vocals as the SSR. Both male and female vocals are less intense and shouty on the SSP than the SSR, though some vibrancy and richness are lost. Timbre is very natural.
The treble presentation is competent but unexciting. Similar to the upper midrange, although the SSP’s lower treble measures as being more elevated than the SSR, this seems to be offset by the even greater increase in bass quantity. Like the SSR, the lower treble is more emphasized than the upper treble. Air and upper treble extension remain limited. Transients are natural-sounding to the point of being unremarkable. Soundstage and instrument separation are excellent.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
Like the Moondrop SSR, the Moondrop SSP demands a competent amplification device to achieve volume levels I find acceptable. I did not notice hiss with any of my sources.
The Moondrop SSP carries over almost everything I liked about the Moondrop SSR while making changes in key areas that will make it more appealing to a wider audience. In particular, the SSP’s overall tuning is more universally agreeable than the SSR. The SSP’s biggest remaining flaw is that like the SSR, the SSP struggles with extreme high- and low-end extension. Overall, the SSP is a safe buy at $40 and a great entry point into enthusiast headphone audio.
The SSP can be purchased at the link below: