Moondrop Spaceship: Long Term Review
Today we’re checking out one of Moondrop’s most affordable products, the micro-dynamic equipped Spaceship.
Moondrop is a brand that has skyrocketed in popularity among forum goers thanks to their excellent performance per dollar products and unique Anime girl packaging. The Spaceship was my first experience with one of their products and immediately cemented them as a brand worth following. After all, not many brands can tune a 6mm dynamic this well, nor do they commonly install them in uber compact, chromed brass housings.
Let’s take a closer look at why I enjoy the Spaceship so much, and think everyone should have one in their stable of earphones.
What I Hear Moondrop is a brand that tends to tune closely to the Harman target. The Spaceship is no different, though it deviates enough to give it it some character.
Treble has a very clean presentation with good note control and no splashiness. Notes attack quickly and decay realistically. The slightly lean presentation leaves plenty of space and air between notes. This allows the Spaceship to confidently handle congested tracks comfortably. Emphasis is somewhat moderate in the brilliance region with the presence region carrying most of the presentation. This gives the Spaceship plenty of detail, though it’s not enough to be considered analytic and won’t be outshining or competing with something like the EarNiNE EN2J. I really enjoy the overall upper range presentation here. It is very clean and mature without feeling boosted for the sake of artificially enhancing clarity.
The midrange is slightly boosted with a peak at around 2K. Vocals have a tendency to stick out but also lean slightly towards a thinner presentation. There’s enough warmth to keep them from sounding cold and dry. Sibilance is present but not aggressively so, even on Aesop Rock’s “Blood Sandwich” which is very unforgiving to sibilant earphones. The Spaceship’s mids are very articulate too, keeping up with stupidly fast but well enunciated rappers like Eminem or K.A.A.N, though fine details seem to be smoothed over just a hint. Not the most resolving midrange, but satisfying nonetheless. Timbre is also fairly accurate with the mid/upper-mid bump introducing a subtle tinniness that throws things slightly off kilter.
Bass out of the Spaceship isn’t going to set you alight, though I find the quality outstanding for something in this price range. Extension is good but roll off is present before you hit those seriously deep notes. Moondrop plays to this with a pleasing midbass bump that showcases the 6mm’s snappy attack, impressive control, and punchy behaviour. I found it pretty quick to react to the sort of rapid bass common to metal, keeping each note well defined instead of smearing them together as slower, less resolving drivers are apt to do. Texturing is also quite good with grungy notes from bands like The Prodigy sounding appropriately dirty. My only complaint levied at the low end is that mild roll off, but that’s pretty common to the driver style so no huge surprise.
The Spaceship’s sound stage is pretty typical for a 6mm micro dynamic in my experience. Wide and somewhat shallow with good instrument separation and adequate layering ability. Imaging is good with clean channel-to-channel transitions that allow you to accurately track movement. While not my first choice for gaming, the Spaceship works in pinch.
Overall, I’ve been pretty enthralled with the Spaceship and feel they’re right up there with the best micro-dynamic earphones I own. For the price they’re pretty much a no brainer with bass quantity/extension being the only thing that might disappoint buyers looking for something with a bit more umph, though I find it perfectly adequate.
Compared To A Peer
ADV 1M (19.99 USD): The 1M and Spaceship are shockingly similar in a number of ways. 6mm micro dynamic, sub-30 USD, fixed cable, metal shells, basic accessory kit, and a tuning that is pretty much interchangeable. Most of the above comments on sound apply to the 1M with a couple differences; the Spaceship has slightly cleaner, better controlled treble with a hint less upper treble emphasis. The 1M provides more subbass emphasis. Mids out of the Spaceship are a hint smoother and more refined. Other than that they’re pretty darn comparable with differences that are not sweepingly huge.
When it comes to build and comfort the Spaceship is ahead for me. The 1M has nicely constructed aluminum shells that are extremely tiny. They don’t look or feel as nice in the hand as the Spaceship though. The cable too is a step back thanks to the amount of noise it transmits. I do like the rubber above the split, cloth below, despite typically detesting cloth cables. ADV’s sheath feels tightly wound and hasn’t started fraying yet, despite owning it almost as long as the Spaceship. Comfort is basically identical between the two, but I give the Spaceship the nod because it is easier to insert and remove. The 1M isn’t much larger than a medium tip, so getting a grip on it can be a challenge. Some will definitely prefer it over the Spaceship though because you can lay on your side quite comfortably while listening to music. The Spaceship’s length is less ideal for that.
My preference is for the Spaceship, but if you can’t find one buy the 1M instead.
KB EAR KB04 (39.99 USD): The KB04 has a much more authoritative low end with better extension and subbass presence, though I give texture and speed to the Spaceship. Mids of the Spaceship are more forward and consistent in presentation regardless of the vocalist, with better timbre to boot. The KB04 has more shimmer and sparkle in the upper treble, but also has a more dry, brittle feel in the lower treble. It also provides a bit more detail and has a snappier decay than the Spaceship, it just doesn’t sound quite as good imo. The Spaceship has a wider but more shallow sound stage. Vocals sit slight further from the inner ear and sounds displace further into the distance. The KB04 does a better job layering instrument and keep individual tracks elements from blending. These two are certainly quite comparable, but for my tastes the Spaceship is the one I’d rather listen to. What you lose in technical ability and emphasis at either end you gain back via a more cohesive, realistic sounding tune with significantly higher quality mids, imo.
When it comes to build and comfort I’ll give the nod to the Spaceship, though the KB04 isn’t far off with the removable cable winning back some favour. The Spaceship’s chrome is of higher quality, seams are tighter, and the small, teardrop design better fitting and more stable. I prefer the KB04’s cable thanks to it’s resistance to transmitting noise while moving, and it can be replaced when it inevitably breaks.
As much as I enjoy the KB04, it’s tuning isn’t quite to my preference and the slightly unstable fit means they never quite disappear in the ear. The Spaceship on the other hand does a much better job of staying out of the way so you can enjoy your music, just be careful not to snag the fixed cable on anything.
Moondrop Starfield (109 USD): Despite the differences in price, tech, and design it’s clear these two come from the same family. To my ears the Starfield sounds like a Spaceship with improvements all around. Treble is better extended and more detailed, though I do find the Spaceship to have a hint more control. Attack and decay properties are similar. The mids of the Starfield aren’t quite as forward, but timbre is even more accurate and detailed improved slightly. Notes are also have bit more weight and authority to them. Bass out of the Starfield has a similar punch to the midbass but subbass emphasis is brought up. Texturing is also similar with a slight edge going to the Starfield. Sound stage is where the Starfield starts to walk away. It is similarly wide but with added depth. It images more cleanly and accurately with greatly improved layering, though instrument separation remains a strong point on both.
When it comes to build and comfort, I actually prefer the Spaceship, even if the Starfield is one of the most attractive earphones I’ve used to date. The Spaceship’s tiny brass housings have slightly better fit and finish thanks to tighter seams. Plus, there is always the worry about paint chips with the Starfield, though mine still has none. I’ll take the Starfield’s cable any day of the week though. It has a clean 2-pin design with a quiet, thin lightweight sheath and comfortable preformed ear guides. The Starfield’s comfort is a step behind though thanks to the size, weight, and a shallow fit that might necessitate tip rolling to find the most ideal setup.
The Starfield is a great upgrade from the Spaceship, though it also highlights how good the more affordable option is. If you want to try a Moondrop and had your heart set on the Starfield but can’t afford it, get the Spaceship.
In The Ear The Spaceship is a compact little thing built to a very high standard. The brass, CNC’d shells are composed of two parts, neatly sealed together with a visible, but minimal seam. The twin vents along the underside of each housing are neatly machined and line up perfectly. Nothing off kilter here. The nozzles are long but lipless, so if tip rolling make sure you pick something that’s lengthily and tight enough to stick firmly to the shaft. The drivers within are protected by well-fitted metal grills. Nothing more to talk about, except maybe the chromed finish which makes this budget friendly earphone look more expensive than it is.
Leading to the cable are long, flexible rubber reliefs that make Moondrop’s decision to go with a fixed cable much more palatable. It also helps that the cable is reasonably thick with a tough rubber sheath both above and below the y-split. It feels pretty tough and over a year of use, has held up just fine. My only complaint is that it transmits a lot of noise from movement up into the ear. Avoidable by wearing them cable over ear, just one of the many benefits of a raindrop-shaped design. The cable’s hardware is decent. While there is no chin cinch, the y-split is a piece of formed metal wrapped around a rubber inset. Laser engraved in tiny writing is “Moondrop Co.” Some strain relief would be nice, but the cable has shown itself to be quite durable so no big loss. The compact straight jack is featureless, though a flexible rubber relief sticks out the top and wraps around the cable doing a good job of protecting it from bends. Overall a good cable, minus the bland looks and noise transmission.
Comfort with the Spaceship is phenomenal. While the brass housings are fairly weighty for their size, the reasonably deep insertion means the weight is dispersed even within your ear. The long strain reliefs also help since they rest lightly against the ear, further balancing the weight. While I wouldn’t use them while lying down, I can comfortably wear them for a few hours at a time with zero fatigue.
Isolation with the stock tips is quite good, even with all the venting. The deep insertion and dense materials successfully block outside noise from coming in, and keep your music from bleeding out. I’ve had no issues using these in noisy areas like the local coffee shop or on transit. As always, foam tips are recommended for the best possible isolation.
In The Box Since I bought my Spaceship early in it’s release schedule, my packaging is a little outdated. It now comes in a more traditional (for Moondrop), stylized box with one of their amusing waifu characters that fits in better with the lineup. Since my example is out of date, let’s just skip to the accessories. Inside you get:
- Spaceship earphones
- Fabric carrying bag
- Single flange tips (s/m/l)
- Shirt clip
- Owner’s manual
- Insertion instruction card w/ waifu artwork
Overall a pretty standard accessory kit. All the documentation is in Mandarin and unfortunately illegible to my mono-lingual self. While the tips look pretty bog standard for a budget earphone, the material quality is better than average with improved flexibility and plushness. They actually seal exceptionally well and while I have tried numerous alternatives in my time with the Spaceship, I always came back to the stock mediums since they fit and pair so well with the earphone.
Final Thoughts The Spaceship is an underrated, underappreciated gem of an earphone that outperforms most of the competition in this price range. It is made from premium materials, looks much more expensive than it is, and has a well-balanced signature that should satisfy those who want something capable and more entertaining than what a typical neutral signature provides. While the fixed cable may be a turnoff, keep in mind that I’m reviewing this earphone after nearly a year of use. It still looks as good and works as well today as it did back then.
This one gets a pretty easy recommendation from me.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer I purchased the Spaceship from the Moondrop Official Store on Aliexpress for 27.20 CAD back in June of 2019 for the purposes of review. Not a free sample, no discounts, just 6MM dynamic ordering a new earphone containing his favourite driver type. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on nearly a year spent with the Spaceship. They do not represent Moondrop or any other entity. You can still order it through Moondrop here (28.62 CAD for the mic free version being reviewed): www.aliexpress.com/item/33040454925.html
- Driver: 6mm dynamic with PU+PEEK diaphragm
- Impedance: 16ohms +/- 15%
- Sensitivity: 104dB @ 1kHz
- Frequency response range: 20Hz-40kHz
- Cable: Fixed 4N Litz OFC
- Housing: CNC’d brass
Gear Used For Testing LG Q70, Earstudio HUD100, Earmen TR-Amp, Asus FX53V, FiiO BTR3K, 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