Today we are talking about a couple very affordable earphones, the Moondrop SSR, and SSP. These abbreviations stand for Super Spaceship Reference, and Super Spaceship Pulse. They are both priced at $40USD.
The SSR comes in a gunmetal grey finish with a black screw, and the SSP comes in a very nice navy blue with a golden screw. I believe the SSP also has some special edition colours that have been available from time to time. Both earphones share the same size, look and weight. They also share the same limited accessories (basically a few silicone tips, and a cable, and that’s it.) They also share the same single dynamic driver transducer, which is beryllium plated. The included cable is very thin and simple, but has no microphonics, and does the job very well for an earphone that costs under $50USD.
The basic idea of the SSP, is to take the frequency response of the SSR in the mids and highs, and add a much more robust bass response. Comparing the frequency response graphs of both models show that Moondrop has done exactly that, and that is how I hear them as well. In terms of sonics, I’ll compare them in terms of bass response, and then share my thoughts on the mids and highs, which are pretty much exactly the same for both models.
In terms of personal preferences when it comes to bass response, I prefer more, rather than less. Within reason of course. Thus, if I had to choose between the SSP and SSR, I would choose the SSP every time. In fact, it has become my daily driver for all sorts of uses. The bass isn’t muddy or overblown, or entering bass cannon territory by any means, and whilst it almost prioritizes mid bass vs sub bass, with most genres, it is entirely acceptable. In terms of bass quality, the SSP and SSR are vastly the same. They both have the same level of impact and punch, and mostly only differ in terms of quantity, not quality. This makes sense given the fact they both use the same driver etc…The SSR definitely lives up to its name with a more “reference” type tuning. A few DB less bass is present, and that gives the impression of a more pronounced mid and treble response.
In terms of mids and treble, the SSR and SSP are very similar. The SSP has a bit more warmth in the lower mids and a tiny bit less low treble energy. This makes it comes across as slightly more V shaped in terms of response than the flatter tuning of the SSR. I don’t feel either is a “bright” earphone, but the SSP does seem a bit less bright than the SSR, simply due to the lower amount of bass, and slight emphasis on mids and treble on the SSR.
In terms of detail and technicalities, I think that if you go in with reasonable expectations, you won’t be disappointed. You have to remember, these are $40USD earphones, so they certainly are not as detailed or technically capable as other more expensive models. With that being said, they certainly do just fine for their asking price. The soundstage isn’t massive, but I’ve certainly heard more closed in sounding earphones. Detail levels are nothing to write home about, but again, for the price, they are totally acceptable.
In terms of cons, there is really only one thing I have noticed. The driver used in both models seems to bottom out/reach its excursion limits more easily than other drivers I have experienced, especially on the SSR. If you do a bit of a bass boost, and listen to something with a large amount of bass at high levels, you may hear a sort of fluttering effect from the driver. This isn’t a big deal, as it takes high volume, as well as a bass boost to happen, but it was just something I noticed that I haven’t noticed with other earphones.
In terms of build quality, comfort, and weight, both models do very well. These are extremely light and small earphones. They are metal, and I haven’t had a single problem with either model. Due to their size and weight, they are extremely comfortable, and I would think that even those who struggle to find earphones that are comfy, will find them acceptable.
In terms of the under $50USD earphone market, the SSR and SSP are class leading in my opinion. They are now my default recommendation, even to non audiophile friends who just want a good pair of cheap earphones. I think the vast majority of people would prefer the SSP, due to its more robust bass response, but if you find you normally prefer more “reference” type tunings, then the SSR is the obvious choice. Both versions are comfy, look great (especially the navy blue SSP) and do everything they promise in terms of sonics. If you need a back up pair of cheap earphones, a pair for the gym, or are just getting into headphones and IEMs, either of these Moondrops are a slam dunk at their asking price. Highly recommended.