Moondrop SSR Super Starship Reference Review

General Information

Design, Build and Comfort
The SSR design takes a fresh direction from the original Spaceship elliptical shape. The design, an almost “heart” shaped from the faceplate perspective, the right-angled straight nozzle and the cable pin connector placement, at first sight, created much puzzling questions on fit and comfort. And when you pick the SSR up for the first time, it all made sense. The solution, the size. The SSR is one of the smaller sized iem you can find on the market. The small size made wearing the SSR natural and fit excellently. Just a slide in, twist forward and with the right tips, they sit snuggly in the ear.

The SSR housing uses Liquid Metal Alloy material. It has a gloss-like gunmetal textured finishing and is very lightweight and feels incredibly solid. There’s confidence in handling them without worrying if it will break or warp under rough use. The faceplate and shell are held together with a black rivet, to complete the industrial design look and feel. A small air vent is located along the inner side of the length of the nozzle. An interesting placement for the vent. The nozzle ends with a tightly knitted mesh (patented triple layer anti-clogging acoustic filter) to keep ear wax and dust out. The other end of the “heart” shaped design sits the 2-pin connector (which accepts 0.78mm 2-pin cables) and the L and R indicators clearly embedded in the housing, making cable rolling a breeze.

The stock cable comes in an interesting clear pvc jacket that houses the Silver-Plated 4N Litz cable. Something refreshing from the now common bare braided stock cable. The cable itself is more than fairly soft with a little “springy” feel to prevent tangling up. Also the 2-pin ends are fitted with a flexible memory rubber guard that retains the ear hook shape, yet easy to stretch and bend when wearing them over the ears. The right ear cable comes with a red-ring to indicator. Small details but very comfortable thought out solutions on Moondrop’s part. We can swap out the stock cable for other cables to satisfy our cable rolling needs and also add those new Bluetooth add-ons and turn the SSR into a TWS iem as well.

The heart of the SSR iem, rest the Beryllium-plated Dome with a PU Suspension Ring diaphragm, accompanied by a N52 High Density Magnetic circuit (among the highest grade of magnets available in the market) to form the engine.

Fit wise, the SSR design works excellently with my ears and the M-size tips provide very good isolation without feeling ear ache or fatigue over long listening sessions (of about 2 hours straight).

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Sound Quality
For this section, the SSR iem with stock cable, were put through over 120 hours of continuous playback and followed with 24 hours of “resting” the drivers, since they arrived. This ensures during the review period, the iem sound characteristics have reached adequate maturity.

Choice of portable set-up employed in this review.
  1. The Dethonray DTR1 Prelude player paired with its headphone amplifier companion HDA-HA2, through a Toxic Cables Silver Widow interconnect.
A little note, to get (what I would consider) the correct fit, after insertion, try a track that has drums and “thump” in their impact. If we hear a solid “thump”, the insertion, tip used and isolation is ideal.

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Starting things off, my immediate impression.
The SSR Super Spaceship Reference iem, given its performance, is perhaps incredibly surprising that it sits in its price bracket (USD39.99). Surprising. When we read that an iem “punches way above its price”, it has never carried more precedence than the SSR.

Moondrop’s SSR is another step in raising their game in terms of performance to price. Pushing the value chain upwards in terms of performance while keeping the price attractive.

As soon as the SSR sit in my ears and the music starts, I was greeted by the familiar Moondrop signature sound. Which connected me back to the time I first heard Moondrop’s StarField. Am not sure if it’s a coincidence or is it Moondrop’s way of connecting its range of iems in a familiar way. After some thoughts, I would say it is a positive feel good move. And that is as far as the similarities go between the StarField and the SSR.

Detail Retrieval
The SSR has a taste of picking details to be spotlighted. This nature is more evident when the SSR itself tends to have a very dark background itself. It came to my attention when playing Fleetwood Mac’s Sara and Not That Funny tracks from the Live album. The way the selected details were highlighted like the organ keys that were struck, mainly the higher keys were more pronounced and that presented the track to be heard differently from how it is usually done. Lindsey’s vocals especially the screams sounded very natural and the nuances in his scream could also be heard. Even Yanni’s Santorini track had more pronounced emphasis in some of the upper register side of the music. Be in for an adventure to hear your music a little differently.

Score : 7.5/10


Dynamics
The immediate sonic delivery is pure energy. The SSR is energetic. There is amazing energy and speed in delivering a reference-like and uncoloured sound.

The highs are vividly sparkling and shimmers before fading at the end without effort. High hats with Chimes ripple and fades almost like as quickly as it came. In most experiences, such energetic treble delivery comes with some visceral impact, and with the speed that SSR does, tend to be fatiguing in short listening sessions. Not so here. In Bee Gee’s Night on Broadway, Yanni’s Point of Origin and Ayumi Hamasaki’s We Wish tracks, it gives very clear examples of this.

An area to note though, out of the box, the volume between layers of vocals and instruments, seemed pushed upfront, leading to music tracks sounding two dimensional with little separating the louder and softer passages. After 60 hours of running in the drivers, the separation of louder and softer passages in the music improved significantly.

Score : 7.5/10


Imaging
From the Live recordings, the instrument placements were adequately highlighted. More of either left, right or somewhat meshed in the centre. In better recordings, the instruments and vocal placement do improve. Though I feel is reasonable given it’s target budget segment.

Score : 7/10


Soundstage
Turning to the Live recordings once more, the SSR staging is respectably wide. Enough to give the performance a good sense of air and space. There is more sideways perceived staging than height and depth. This can be roughly measured during the level of applause from the crowd in the recording. And thanks to its somewhat dark nature, the quieter passages of piano keys stand out for its intimacy.

Score : 7.5/10


Speed
One of the early findings and as true then as of this writing, the SSR is a fast sounding iem. That beryllium coated dome and N52 magnet of a circuit moves at incredible speed. They keep up with just about every fast track I could throw at it, including A-Ha’s Train of Thought, where the starting portion of the track is too incredibly fast for many dynamic drivers to replicate accurately, is replicated flawlessly here.

Also Kylie Minogue’s Disco Down, the electronic beats in the background were rendered beautifully. The synthesiser beats come alive in the SSR, where they would normally be more “in the background” and muted sounding in other dynamic driver iems.

Score : 8.5/10


Timbre
Kris Allen’s In Time track, has rattles, guitar strings, drums and the works. The drum rumble ripples with very light (but enjoyable) low end decay across the starting of the track and brings in the soft natural rattles in concert with Kris’ finger style guitar strums and plucks. Each string just sounded natural and life-like as they can be rendered. Similarly can be heard in Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well from the Live album. In standalone string albums, such as Kaki King’s Great Round Burn track (and by extension the whole album, Glow), sounded exceptionally good and enjoyable. The string pluck displays layers and they just pull you in as you listen. Truly mesmerising.
Vocals have a natural tone to them though they may sound somewhat less inviting due to that lack of warmth many would be accustomed to listening. You know, that warm wrapped around feeling. However, some recordings are done with a warm sounding slate, such as Yanni’s I Genitori, which sounded splendid (I’d attribute this to a fine mix of warmth, clarity, detail, all nicely shaken into a perfect cocktail flavour. Synergy.)
Perhaps this portion may be the decisive part for those who would like the SSR or perhaps look to other Moondrop iems. In terms of the vocals, string instruments and even the high hats, the natural almost uncoloured sound would be the SSR’s strength. For most, the very light mid bass bump may be enough to enjoy the music. Though the low end drum decay may be too light to sound “complete” for those who are used to more warmth and “meaty” presentation.

Score : 8/10

Tracks used for the review,
  1. Yanni - Santorini (Live)
  2. Yanni - Point of Origin (Live)
  3. Yanni - I Genitori
  4. Fleetwood Mac - Sara (Live)
  5. Fleetwood Mac - Not That Funny (Live)
  6. Fleetwood Mac - Oh Well (Live)
  7. Bee Gee - Night on Broadway
  8. Ayumi Hamasaki - We Wish
  9. A-Ha - Train of Thought
  10. Kylie Minogue - Disco Down
  11. Kris Allen - In Time
  12. Kaki King - Great Round Burn

The Child that is smart and also a tease
The SSR Super Starship Reference monitor, by my account above, may seem to be a tricky iem to figure out. It does make you work hard to understand it better. The music we know so well, takes interesting turns in the way its detail is spotlighted and hidden.

After running through more music tracks than the ones listed here, I’ve come to the realisation that the SSR excels well with fast tracks in the electronic genre, and on string element albums from such as Kaki King and Lindsey Stirling. They sound very good for their price, and even exceptionally more so on said genre of music.

The SSR in my books make an enjoyable and fun sounding outdoor monitor. The energy and speed makes listening more exciting. Am sure some may even find this addictive especially with fast sounding tracks. It also complements other Moondrop monitors such as the StarField. Especially so if you need more bite and energy in your instrumental library, the SSR delivers.

Overall it is a welcoming new addition to the Moondrop family and another signature high quality of work.
The Package
The SSR comes with the following,
  1. The Super Spaceship Reference iem
  2. SPC cable
  3. 3 pairs of silicon tips (S, M and L)
  4. Small pouch
  5. Moondrop card
  6. Warranty document
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Product Specification
SSR
Transducer typeBeryllium-Coated Dome with PU Suspension Ring and N52 High Density Magnetic circuit
Operating principle Vented
Frequency response:20Hz-20kHz
Impedance:16 Ω @ 1kHz
Sensitivity:115dB / Vrms (@1khz)
Stock cable
Material 4N-OFC (Copper)
GeometryLitz design
Y-splitMoondrop circular (black)
Monitor interface2-pin 0.78mm
Connection3.5 mm single-ended
PriceUSD 39.99


Review Ratings
PROS

+ reference, uncoloured and pleasing signature
+ fatigue free during fast high impact tracks
+ very durable industrial design
+ exceptional performance in string genre
+ scales with better amplification

CONS
  • subjective looking design for iem
  • bass centric and more warm sounding listeners will need look elsewhere

Rating (out of 10)
Sound Quality8
Build Quality9
Design and Usability 8.5
Comfort9
Value for money8.5


If this review interest you, and the product could be something you’d like to try or add on to your collection of sounds, you may find themselves available on here.

Disclaimer:
The SSR Super Starship Reference monitors were provided by Shenzhen Audio for the purpose of this review.

I was invited to provide my honest and unbiased opinion and have no affiliation or receive any form of compensation for this review.

This review did not go through Moondrop or Shenzhen Audio, meaning they will see this review at the same time as you are here.

Latest reviews

Pros: Outstanding detail and clarity in the mids - Comfortable, durable design - General accuracy and non-fatiguing nature
Cons: Tiny carrying pouch – Bass isn't as punchy and textured as the regular Spaceship
Greetings!

Today we're checking out an earphone that I was very excited to receive, the SSR, or Super Spaceship Reference.

That second S for 'Spaceship' is why I was so pumped to review the SSR. The original Spaceship was one of my favourite purchases in 2019 and served as a near perfect daily driver for my listening needs. Small, comfy, and with a level of sound quality that belied the very low price tag. It reminded me of the sort of hidden gems I'd find back when I first dove into the hobby when Chinese hi-fi products were just starting to build steam. A time when there was nowhere near the coverage and hype we see nowadays.

The SSR at 39.99 USD isn't quite as budget friendly as the Spaceship or some of my now obsolete gems, but with the slight price increase came some significant changes to aspects that people disliked about the Spaceship. The SSR has a more stylish, low profile shell with an over ear design that helps provide a more secure fit. The cable is also removable now, and uses a common 0.78mm pin size so you have lots of third party options available should you break it.

I'm not going to mince words; the SSR is awesome and easily up there as one of my favourite earphones of the year so far. Read on the find out why.

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What I Hear The SSR does not stray far from the signature found in it's predecessor, the Spaceship. That is very much a good thing in my opinion, as I quite enjoy that wallet-friendly, micro-dynamic equipped earphone. That said, there are some notable differences that lead me to expect the SSR will be slightly more universally appreciated.

Like the regular Spaceship, the SSR presents its treble with a smooth, grit-free sound that is tight and well controlled. No splash, no harshness. I find the SSR a hint warmer with a bit more weight to notes, yet it loses none of the airiness and space between notes. As a result, the SSR handles congested tracks just as comfortably. As with the original, I find the SSR to place more focus on the presence region instead of that upper treble brilliance, through the transition from one region to the other has been improved and balanced out. This combined with the slightly warmer sound results in similar detail, but within a more refined, smoother presentation. While detail is quite similar, I find the regular Spaceship just a hint more textured thanks to it's slightly cooler sound. Regardless, the SSR's treble presentation is maturely tuned and an absolute massage for the ears. I can listen for hours without fatigue settling in.

For the most part I find the general midrange emphasis basically identical to the original Spaceship. That is, the SSR pushes the mids forward, particularly vocals. The drop of additional warmth I was hearing in the treble is present here too, and I've been enjoying it more than I was expecting. I tend to enjoy a slightly, lean, dry sounding midrange, descriptors I cannot levy at the SSR in any way. Vocals aren't thick per say, but they've got weight and girth to them with female vocalists carrying the torch. Sweet and intimate, with plenty of detail. Because I enjoy the SSR so much and find it entirely non-fatiguing, for a good chunk of my testing I was listening at much higher levels than the usual “is anything even playing” volumes I prefer. Sibilance was impressively well-controlled, even on Aesop Rock's notoriously unforgiving “Blood Sandwich”. Since pretty much everyone says the SSR can be shouty, I looked for comments that actually included the tracks where they tested this. I know I'm not particularly sensitive to peaks, but even raising the volume to levels that caused clear distortion, nothing sounded shouty. Loud, oh yes, but shouty? Na. You want to hear something shouty pick up a Blue Ever Blue 2000EX and set yourself a new bassline. I hear this midrange as tonally accurate with great timbre, and with an absence of the occasional tinniness I heard in the previous model.

Despite nearly identical low end measurements to the Spaceship, I perceived the SSR as the warmer, bassier of the two. Extension is similarly good with some roll off in the lowest regions. Like the Spaceship the SSR can provide some decent thump and solid visceral feedback, but it's not going to rattle your eardrums. Where they really differ is in how that low end is presented. To my ears, the SSR is slower and softer with less texture. It seems to handle rapid double bass just as well, but grungy notes from The Prodigy and Tobacco are smoother. The differences aren't terribly vast, but they're certainly noticeable and give each a unique character, especially when you bring back in the mids and treble which are a hint cooler and less refined on the Spaceship.

The SSR's sound stage houses some similarities to the Spaceship, but in general I find it clearly superior here. Like the Spaceship the presentation is quite wide with effects able to careen off into the distance. There is a depth to the SSR's sound that the Spaceship lacks, giving the SSR a more dynamic and natural feel, especially with live recordings. I found imaging to be quite good with vast sweeps of movement channel-to-channel. Instrument separation is also quite impressive for such an inexpensive earphone, though a hint behind the Spaceship, with layering falling clearly into the SSR's favour. Where the Spaceship could sound a little confined on particularly busy tracks, the SSR remains open a spacious.

Overall I think this is a brilliantly tuned earphone. While not unanimously better than the original Spaceship, the SSR will without question proudly join it on my list of favourites under 50 USD. It can also now be the one I point people to when they say they wanted to try the Spaceship, but were turned off by the bullet-shaped shell or fixed cable.

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Compared To A Peer (volumes matched with Dayton iMM-6)

Kinera SIF (39.99 USD): I quite enjoy the Sif and while I think it's a good earphone, the SSR outclasses it. Treble out of the SSR is smoother and cleaner sounding with a better overall balance. The Sif's midrange is less forward with slightly less warm tone. Detail and clarity are good, but a step behind the SSR, as is timbre which takes on a lighter feel than is otherwise natural. Close, but not as nice as what the SSR outputs. Bass is where the Sif is going to win many over since it offers up notably more presence in both mid and sub regions. The presentation is more forceful and powerful with an even more visceral response to the deepest notes. Midbass is a little bloated feeling compared to the SSR, but it offers up more punch and a bit more texture. Neither sound particularly quick, though the SSR has a clear edge when it comes to rapid double bass notes thanks to the extra definition it provides between each hit. The Sif has a good sound stage, but the SSR's less intimate default vocal positioning gives it a better sense of space. Imaging is similarly clean between the two, while I find the SSR more layered and dynamic and instruments better defined and separated on congested tracks.

When it comes to build the Sif's plastic housings match the SSR in terms of fit and finish, though I prefer 2-pin designs to MMCX so I'll give the SSR the edge. Isolation is much better on the Sif with overall comfort being quite similar. The SSR will probably suit more users though since it has a distinct size advantage, despite the Sif not being particularly large. Cables are bout on par. The Sif's twisted cable looks fantastic and shares a similar aesthetic while being even softer and more pliable. The sharply angled preformed ear guides do result in even more annoying tangles to deal with should you store the Sif carelessly.

As you probably gathered, I prefer the SSR. It sounds more mature and refined with better technical capabilities. Other aspects like design, shape, cable, and comfort are a bit more personal or preference driven.

TinHifi T2 (49.90 USD): The T2 has been a staple recommendation of mine since I first covered it way back in October of 2017. In this hobby, that is some pretty ridiculous staying power. The T2 earned it though thanks to excellent build quality and a neutral-leaning tune that was unlike pretty much anything else on the market, all at a price that most could comfortably afford. I think it's time to let the old dog retire though, as to my ears the SSR is a step up in many ways. Treble is smoother and tighter with just as much detail and none of the roughness, though the T2 provides more sparkle and general energy to the sound it outputs. The midrange is more forward and vocals more coherent out of the SSR, and instruments presented with more accurate timbre. Bass digs deeper, is tighter, faster, and overall more refined, though I'll give T2 the nod for texture. The T2 holds it's own when it comes to sound stage though, offering up an experience that is just as spacious and more even when it comes to width and depth. I'd say the imaging out of the T2 is a hair more accurate and laying a hint improved, though I find the SSR to better separate individual instruments.

When it comes to build both are very well done, though the T2 gets the edge. Fit and finish is better with less visible seams and a design that works just as well cable up as it does in a more traditional cable down setting. I love the cable on my original T2, but I get why it was replaced for later iterations. It is somewhat stiff, rough to the touch, and has a great memory for sharp bends and kinks. Newer versions come with a much more flexible and manageable cable, though one with less character. When it comes to fit the T2 has not developed a particularly favourable reputation in the community. Personally, I find it fine for a product of that design. Stability is okay and I don't have to constantly reseat it. Others were not so lucky. I suspect those who own both will find the fit of the SSR to be greatly superior.

I love the T2. It was a revelation and I hope it's never forgotten. That said, it is starting to show it's age next to products like the SSR and even Tin's own T2 Plus that was recently released. It's still better than 90% of the offerings in the price range though.

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In The Ear The SSR features well-constructed, liquid metal alloy housings. Forged from two pieces and held together with a single hex screw, it looks and feels very study though the seam between the two parts is quite visible. Spacing is uniform and tight all the way around though. The cables plug in tightly and with a recessed design should be well-protected from accidental bends. The metal nozzle grills with integrated tuning damper have been neatly installed, as have the inner filters and vents found just under the L/R markings which have been forged into the body instead of printed or painted on. I have no issues with the way the SSR has been constructed, and also enjoy the design which pulls clear inspiration from the FLC 8S in terms of the general shape. The placement of the various vents/filters/screws also mirror the filter location on the 8S, further strengthening the similarities. That said, the SSR is not a ripoff given it is significantly smaller, does not feature an in-depth filter system, and is overall much more blocky around the edges.

The silver-plated cable I am quite fond of being that it is very similar to those found on a few favourites from my past. It is soft and pliable though the preformed ear guides, while flexible and comfortable, do lead to easy tangles if you aren't careful when putting them away. The clear sheath also works in this cables favour allowing you to see the silver-plated strands within. It is quite visually striking when you take a close look. The hardware Moondrop selected is also a plus, as least in most areas. The 90 degree angled jack is compact and well-relieved, as are the tiny 0.78mm 2-pin plugs carried over from the Starfield (though here they are clear, not blue). While the plugs are labelled with L and R lettering to denote channel, it is extremely difficult to see so Moondrop added a red rubber ring to the right size to help out. That's a thoughtful touch. The y-split is my only area of concern since it is quite sizable and lacks strain relief out either end. A chin cinch would have also been a welcome addition, but one is absent here. It's easy enough to make one with a twist tie or something similar though, if you feel it is needed.

When it comes to comfort, I found the SSR to be quite nice to wear. The small size and light weight combined with rounded edges and a reasonably long nozzle means it is quite stable during heavy movement. I can also comfortably lay my head on a pillow with them in since they sit so flush with the outer ear. Isolation is pretty sub-par though, at least without music playing. Since there are vents all over the place, plenty of sound leaks through. I can pause my music to chat with my wife while leaving them in, for example. Not too many earphones out there I can do that with. Now, bring music back into the equation and oddly, isolation feels pretty good. Little volume compensation seems to be needed to block outside noise, especially if you opt to squeeze on some foam tips.

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In The Box The SSR arrives in a squat, square box with the usual flair Moondrop is known for on the front; attractive fonts and anime artwork. This little lady was so popular, they even made an acrylic stand of her. If I saw this in a store I would have no idea it was earphone packaging. Honestly, it's really quite refreshing and a welcome change of pace from the usual packaging trends. Flip around to the back and you find more traditional and helpful details; an exploded image of the SSR showing off it's component parts, an accurate frequency response graph (not the usual marketing-guided fakery we typically see), and a spec list.

Lift the lid off and you find the SSR's earphones with cable attached resting comfortably in a foam insert. Alongside the foam insert is a smaller cardboard box embossed with the Moondrop logo in silver foil, inside which you find the included extras. In all you get:
  • SSR earphones
  • 0.78mm Silver-plated 4N-Litz OFC cable
  • Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
  • Fabric carrying pouch
While you are not provided a ton of extras with the SSR, what you do get is quality. The tips are the same ones included with the original Spaceship and the Starfield, using a soft, grippy silicone. They provide a great seal and are very comfortable. The fabric carrying pouch is thick and dense and feels like it could stand up to a ton of abuse. It's too bad it's so small though. Even after wrapping up the cable tightly with a three finger wind, there is just barely enough space to hold the SSR, and certainly not comfortably.

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Final Thoughts The SSR is yet another class leading product from Moondrop. Like the Starfield, its performance is so very clean and reliable with few faults, all of them minor. My only real complains are levied at somewhat pointless stuff, like a lack of extras and a carrying pouch that is barely large enough to cram the SSR into. Other than that, it's all good. The SSR is small and comfortable, well-built with a quality cable, and sounds great thanks to a creamy midrange and refined treble. Bass could use a hint more slam and texture, but that is just in comparison to the regular Spaceship. It is still quite satisfying, even on bass heavy tracks where you feel the SSR might be out of its element. It all sounds quite spacious too with excellent technical presence for such an affordable earphone.

This is one happily joins the Shozy Form 1.4 as one of my personal favorites of 2020, and as a result gets an easy recommendation. If you're looking for something in this price range, the SSR is well worth checking out.

Thanks for reading!

- B9

Disclaimer Big thanks to Moondrop for sending over a sample of the SSR for review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on a couple weeks of use. They do not represent Moondrop or any other entity. At the time of writing the SSR was temporarily removed from sale due to some issues with a recent batch of cables, but when it returns it will retail for 39.99 USD on Moondrop's official AliExpress store: https://moondrop.aliexpress.com/store/4980017

Specifications
  • Impedance: 16 ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 115dB/Vrms @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 20-40,000Hz
  • Driver: Beryllium-coated diaphragm with PU suspension ring
  • Cable: 0.78mm Silver-plated 4N-Litz OFC
  • THD: <1%
Gear Used For Testing LG Q70, FiiO M3 Pro, FiiO BTR3K, Earstudio HUD100, Earmen TR-Amp, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark's Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends
Pros: Fast, tight and punchy bass
Good technicality for the price
Easy fit and very comfortable
No sibilance or harshness
Cons: Can be too shouty/intense for some people
Vocal might sound too thin
Faint bass rumbles
Not for basshead
Full Disclaimer: The review unit was sent to me by Shenzhenaudio in exchange of my honest opinion on this IEM. I'm not getting paid by them nor I'm affiliated with the store or by the Moondrop company itself. This entire review will be coming from my own experience with the IEM.

You can directly purchase the Moondrop SSR from Shenzhenaudio official store for the price of $40

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Introduction:
Since most people who are into chifi has probably known Moondrop at this point, I'll just skip this part to keep things shorter.

Unboxing:
The box is pretty simple, the mascot girl is at the front cover and there are a graph and specifications of the iem at the back. The size of the box itself is not very small but not that big either.

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The included accessories are:
- Silver Plated 4N-Litz OFC
- A small black pouch
- 1 set of silicone tips (S, M, L)
- Manuals & QC card

Built Quality & Fit:

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Housing - The housing of SSR is made of liquid metal alloy housing with a glossy finish. It has some weight on it since it's metal, but it's still very lightweight when you wear them on your ear compared to their bigger brothers like KXXS/Starfield. With its shape resembling the FLC 8s or a heart, safe to say they are very comfortable and easy to get the right fit with. They also will not cause any fatigue or pain if you wear them for a long time.

However, the isolation on SSR is not as good as other iems with bigger housing. Here the isolation level is more or less similar to a bullet style iem.

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Cable & Tips - The SPC is really nice for the price, it's soft, no microphonic nor does it retains memory when you roll them up. It has a tiny red ring near the right 2-pin connector for L/R markings and a rubber-made round splitter, which imo, better than the one on the Starfield or the B2 since it has no sharp edges. But just like other moondrop cable, it doesn't have a chin slider.

The silicone tips included is similar, or maybe the same as the one provided on Starfield. They are usable out of the box, but for better a fit and comfort, i would suggest to do some tips rolling.

Carrying Pouch - It's tiny. Maybe even a bit too tiny. Even the og Spaceship with $20 price tag has a much bigger pouch than the SSR. But despite the tiny size, it's still can be used since the cable is pretty soft to be roll up, so just roll it smaller & it will fit in to the pouch nicely.

In terms of the material, the outer was kind of the water resistant type instead of cloth material like the og, which can help protecting the iem from accidental splash of water.

Sound Analysis:

Gears used in this review:
DAP: Shanling M5s
Cable: Stock cable
Tips: Ortofon
Playlist: Korean R&B, Neo Soul, Hip hop, Jazz, Jpop, Western pop, Orchestral

Utilizing the beryllium coated-dome, SSR is the newest budget single-DD line from Moondrop to replace the Spaceship.

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SSR measurement was done using an IEC-711 clone with 10k as resonance peak. The data is raw & uncompensated, so flat in graph is not flat in real life.

Looking from the graph, unlike their other IEMs that used their own VDSF tuning, SSR instead was tuned into the warm diffuse field sound signature with a slight midbass boost and a peak at the 3kHz before it start to roll off.

Lows - The bass on the SSR is pretty decent for its price, imo. It is quite tight and fast without bleeding to other frequency while still delivering enough amount of punch, texture and body to the mix with the about 5db boost on the 100Hz (lower midbass).

However, what makes the bass here not the best is the lack of the bass rumble. The early roll off on the subbass has significantly made the rumbles almost doesn't exist. It's still there, but it's very short and faint. So, if you need a good subbass/deep bass rumble on your iem, I would suggest to just skip the SSR.

But honestly, after using the B2 for a while, I unexpectedly able to enjoy the bass on SSR without much of a problem since the first time I listen to them. Maybe because it has more punch than on the B2 too.

Mids - The main highlight of SSR that get a bit controversial.

With the unusually high boost on the upper midrange, it is pretty obvious that SSR is not going to be for all kind of ears. If you are used to a thicker sounding IEM, you'll surely find them too shouty (went past borderline), thin and doesn't have much body. I personally didn't get too bothered much, but it does sound a bit too thin for my taste too, so if they lowered down few db, it will be much better.

But since they are pretty laid back, they didn't sound harsh even with that excessive boost. And in terms of the positioning, the vocal is definitely more foward than instruments.

The tonality here is not as bad as few reviewers had stated. They are quite less accurate but they are still tolerable.

Highs - The treble on SSR is save as usual. It have some nice shimmers to it but it's still pretty smooth overall. Instruments like cymbals or high hats also still sounds natural enough with sufficient amount of air and crispness.

Soundstage and Imaging - The size of soundstage is pretty in the average with the dominace on the width than the height. The sense of depth are also a bit lacking, so layering is still a little flat and feels less 3D. But for instruments positioning, they are still very good considering the price is only $40.

Resolution and Seperation - For the price, I think they are good enough. Detail & resolution is a bit above the average, but instruments on SSR are seperated and defined well than their price tag, as they didn't sound congested or getting mixed a lot as on the Starfield.

Comparison:

SSR_vs_Bl03.png
Blon BL-03 - Bl03 is totally the opposite of the SSR. They are much warmer and midbassy, contrasting the neutral-bright signature of SSR, which overall a safer tuning that can be accepted by most people.

The bass on blon is much slower, looser and bloated, resulting them to sound much warmer. But subbass has more presence on the Blon than SSR.

For treble and technicalities, SSR definitely better since I can hear the cymbals playing more clearly and detailed than on the Blon.

SSR_vs_Crescent.png
Moondrop Crescent - Since the unit I received have bass problem (crazy bass boost up to almost 20db), I have do some modding to bring them down to the level close to Starfield. So this comparison is with a modded crescent.

Crescent also has a more relaxed tuning like the blon 03 that focused more on the midbass. It's much harder to drive, but bass punch and rumble is much better here. The mid is also thicker but with a bit lower in clarity due to bleed. Crescent is also more in-your-face type, so the soundstage feels more intimate and narrower than on SSR.

SSR_vs_SF-1.png
Moondrop Starfield - Easier to drive, better in almost all aspects except instrument seperations, clarity and transient. The mid bass is also more bloated here since it has slower speed and longer decay, but they have better lower end extention and punch. Soundstage on Starfield also has better presence, it feels more spacious and in depth than on SSR.

Conclusion:
SSR is another solid IEM from Moondrop in the entry level range. It has good technicalities, decent accessories and they are tuned close to the Diffuse Field instead of a more fun sound signature like the v/u-shape like other IEMs in the same price range.

It definitely can be a steal for those who wants to taste the DF tuning that are mostly only available on higher budget IEM or Moondrop's own neutral VDSF that's only available on their higher end IEMs or just want a daily beater IEM that can play weeb music or orchestral well.

But then again, if you aren't a fan of this kind of shouty tuning since the beginning of time or you've tried other Moondrop IEM and feel they are just too shouty for you, just skip the SSR. You aren't losing much.
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R
rprodrigues
yorosello, would you say that Starfield is worth the additional $ 60?
yorosello
yorosello
@rprodrigues it'll depends on what you are looking for. Since the sound signature is a bit different. Starfield is a lot warmer than SSR & technically better.
Pros: good, clean bass response
- strong technicalities
- cultured waifu art bonus points
Cons: liberal upper midrange boost
- not for bassheads
- bright/shouty to the point of fatigue
Please view the review on my site here for the ideal viewing experience. I have a few other IEM reviews too.

Introduction

If you’ve read my Blessing 2 review, then you’ll know that I have high regard for Moondrop as a company. Moondrop is mainly known for two things: Their excellent taste in waifus and their incredible lineup consistency. And to the credit of the latter, they’ve proven time and time again that they know what they’re doing. In fact, they practically have a monopoly over the sub-$1000 range with their Starfield, Blessing 2, and S8 trio of IEMs. These IEMs are geared towards the mid-fi crowd though, and the SSR (Super Spaceship Reference) which clocks in at $40 is simply them revisiting the IEM budget-arena and attempting to further exert such dominance.

Disclaimer: I purchased this IEM with my own money, and I have no conflict of interest with Moondrop. As usual, everything that follows is my honest thoughts.

The Tangibles

IMG_1242.JPG

S-tier waifu without a doubt. Read on to find out about the actual sound though.
IMG_8426 2.JPG

IMG_4566 2.JPG

The SSR arrives in a square, cardboard box. Accessories include the cable, eartips, and a synthetic pouch. The IEMs themselves are made of metal and have an outer coating to prevent oxidation/rust. People hate on Moondrop's cables, and production is halted because of a cable quality issue, but this is probably their best yet. Tragically there's still no chin slider; it's covered in a clear, plastic coating, so it won't tangle as easily.

Fit, Isolation, and Comfort

Given the, let’s just say interesting, ergonomics of the SSR, I was somewhat worried about this aspect, but the minuscule size should mitigate most issues. Personally, I can keep them in my ears comfortably for several hours. Isolation is poorer than normal because they don’t fully seal off your canal like some larger IEMs might. As usual, standard disclaimer that fit is 100% subjective and that it’ll depend on your wholly unique ear anatomy. But the SSR are absolutely tiny, and if you can’t at least fit them in your ear then you’re probably cursed and should just quit IEMs altogether.

Sound Analysis

Testing Methodology:
  • Stock cable and stock tips.
  • FLAC files off of a Shanling M0.
  • Burn-in – Don’t believe in it unless we’re talking about your brain and ears getting used to the sound. For what it’s worth, I rarely hear differences after the fact.
  • SSR takes a surprising amount of power to drive. No trouble running it off of any of my sources, but I had to give it more juice than usual. I also rarely listen at more than 75dB, so take that for what you will if you’re a head-banger.
Bass: The SSR is very light on the bass; it’s good ‘ol DD bass with a distinctive punch and texturing. It runs close to neutral with a very slight boost and is pretty clean. If I have one real knock on the bass, it’s a lack of sub-bass extension. But I’m sorry, there also isn’t enough quantity. And hear me out – it’s not strictly a problem with the bass itself (which is very good), but an issue with the boosted upper midrange and treble that I’ll elaborate on more below. There just needs to be more bass to balance those higher frequencies.

Midrange: This is normally where Moondrop IEMs shine, and to a certain extent this is still the SSR’s standout, but it’s simply too pronounced. Whereas the other IEMs in their lineup already border on shouty-ness in the upper midrange, the SSR takes it not just one, but several steps further with a very liberal boost at 3kHz. I know what they were going for here – they’re tuning towards weeb music and anime OST tracks – but this is too much.

Thus, especially with female vocals, it has an inverse effect: The SSR comes off as almost shrill. Take for example “LIKEY” an upbeat, energetic track with a lot of synthetic sounds and higher-pitched vocalists by TWICE; it was almost painful to listen to. To be fair, I found it does work nicely with Aimer, a J-pop female vocalist with a unique, huskier voice and some SawanoHiroyuki[nZk] stuff whose vocals are normally too recessed with most IEMs. In typical Moondrop fashion, vocals are thin, lean towards smooth, and have good clarity for the price nonetheless.

Highs: Admittedly I don’t focus a lot on the highs while listening, and I’ve mentioned this in some previous reviews. As long as there’s nothing too out-of-place, I’m a happy camper. To this effect, I think the SSR’s treble presentation is actually fine. It’s clean, pronounced, and has a nice sparkle to it. Depending on one’s preferences, I could see this being either good or bad, but again – there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.

This is probably the most egregiously tuned Moondrop IEM yet; there’s an almost exponential rise to the mid-range at around 1kHz that extends to the treble region. It’s bright to the point of shouty-ness at times, and coming from the Thieaudio L3/L9 I recently reviewed – which are much darker – it was a real slap. I did grow accustomed to it after hours of listening, but I know that not everyone will. It’s not a laid-back tuning to me, and it’s a bit of a niche for sure. Maybe if you have some hearing loss in the upper frequencies this could be considered a pro – no, I’m serious.

Let’s briefly talk about technicalities because at least Moondrop hasn’t completely dropped the ball here. Timbre is good, and I don’t hear any issues here as should be expected with a dynamic driver. Soundstage is average, but imaging is particularly good, punching well-beyond it’s price point not unlike the Blessing 2. Something else I was pleasantly surprised by was the transient speed. Sure, it’s not BA fast, but for the price? It’s pretty darn good, and has no trouble keeping up with some busier tracks. Resolution and detail retrieval seem par for the SSR’s $40 price tag.

Test Tracks (some of the ones I went through)
  • Aimer – Hakuchumu, i-mage <in/AR>, Brave Shine
  • Brooks & Dunn – Red Dirt Road
  • Eden’s Edge – Amen
  • Eric Church – Springsteen, Hell on the Heart
  • Keith Urban – Defying Gravity (Album)
  • SawanoHiroyuki[nZk] – Best of Vocal Works (Album)
  • Taeyeon – My Voice (Album)
  • Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance (Album)
  • TWICE – LIKEY
The Verdict

The SSR is like that kid-brother you love to death, but won’t ever shut up. I really want to like it, but simply put, the tuning is too shouty for the vast majority of people. It’s not a very agreeable tuning in the most objective sense, and it’s just weird to see Moondrop do something so esoteric because they’ve played it safe so far. We knew it was going to happen eventually though, and it looks like Moondrop finally has a miss. For $40 I’m definitely inclined to say it could’ve been a lot worse, but the SSR still isn’t as good as it could’ve been with the solid “VDSF” tuning that they normally follow. Hopefully they don’t make the same mistakes with their upcoming SSP! For now though, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt plus the usual cultured, waifu art bonus points.

Given my blatant critique of the SSR, I suspect this review won't grace the front-pages of Head-Fi like my last few reviews have. Make no mistake that the SSR’s still far from being horrible; in fact, it’s an acceptable entry point for someone interested in the Moondrop sound. But I do consider myself a straight-shooter, and I cannot in good faith cut Moondrop slack here despite my affection for the brand. Personally, I’d save my money for the Starfield or the Blessing 2 as they’re much better value propositions (relative to their price brackets) despite their higher cost of entry. So as much as I hate to agree with a certain reviewer who takes their cues from 2Pac DSD, this one should be a hard pass for most buyers and even die-hard fans of Moondrop.

Score: 3/10 (Average)
Understanding my score: This is a personal, subjective assessment of an IEM’s sound quality. I don’t take into account any other factors, and it’s relative to the absolute best sound I’ve heard. Take it with a grain of salt! I’m not going to lie; I have high standards. But I’m not telling anybody how they should hear something – it’s a reflection of what of me, myself, and I hear.
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RONJA MESCO
RONJA MESCO
Whoa...shots fired. Three outta ten is nothing to sneeze at or a grain of salt. It makes it seems this is a bottom of the barrel KZ or TFZ IEM that you find for $15.
Precogvision
Precogvision
@RONJA MESCO Lol, just looks bad because it’s relative. I consider it average SQ-wise. So on a letter grade-scale like Crinacle’s roughly a C give or take.

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Errr...you review in the wrong spot...we are here in the overview section...check the "Add a review" button in the top right.
 
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