He tends to be quite strict about separating technical proficiency from enjoyment for the ratings, so he could potentially like an 8 phone more than an 8.9 one.
Mini-REVIEW: MOE Audio SS01 (WARNING: Tongue-In-Cheek and Tacky) - Page 5
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From the legend himself:
"You know, the MOE did start out around an 8.5 like 3 months ago but the more I listened to it the more the upper midrange bothered me. I ended up listening to the VSD1S more despite the VSonics' sibilance so I couldn't in good conscience give the MOE a higher score."
I agree with this. It is a bit harsh without an EQ cut there.
Don't hold your breath though, you'll suffocate waiting...
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My review of MOE SS01 posted: http://www.head-fi.org/t/684159/chinese-asian-brand-info-thread-headphones-iems-amps-dacs/3135#post_10573705
I'm disappointed in mine. I got mine through that site that starts with an M and ends with a P. So I doubt that I can return them. I had them for 5 days now, and no matter how much I hope that the sound will improve with burn-in, they simply won't get much better. I had to return my TTPOD T1E a few weeks ago because one side was louder than the other. I wanted an exchange, but ended up with a refund instead. Which was fine at the time as I had anticipated the SS01 to take over where the TTPOD left off. Boy was I mistaken. The mids are more recessed in the SS01, the highs lack the sparkle and presentation of the TTPOD, and the bass is not as tight or as powerful. It's just not as good. Period. And the accessories are lacking. A clip, carrying pouch, and a couple of pairs of tips. That's it. The TTPOD came in a fantastic box, with a carry pouch (crap ones, but still in there) and up to 8 pairs of tips. Plus I liked the cable of the TTPOD way more than the one on the SS01. So there you have it. Totally disappoionted in the performance, and it costs more than the TTPOD. Now I would gladly buy another TTPOD T1E, but I already have the Havi B3 and they're better IMHO. Also, there is the new TTPOD T2. With the Pro in the works. Triple driver.
Anyway, I wish I could return the SS01. They don't sound bad. Just not as good as the other stuff out there. And costs more.
I may have judged them a bit too soon. They've opened up a bit. The sound is now wider, much more airy, the treble has improved dramatically and the sound is now pretty much on par with the TTPOD. In fact, I think that these might be more balanced than the T1E. Overall, pretty happy with them these days.