Moe Audio SS01

REVIEW: Moe Audio SS01 - Twin drivers, Double Sound

                                                    



Specs:

Drivers: Twin Dual Dynamic 5.8mm Carbon Nano tubes (CNT)
Frequency Response: 8Hz~25KHz
Weight: 6.8g
Impedance: 12Ω
Sensitivity: 107dB
Cord Length: 1.2 m
Plug Size: Gold-plated 3.5mm Straight plug

 


Build Quality & Design:

The overall quality is quite good. Starting from the top, the housings are made of plastic, rather thick and solid enough. While they lack a strain relief at the entry of the housings, the shells themselves cover the necessary portion of the cable. The cable itself is really good. It's a thick, flat and almost tangle-free cable, kinda plasticky but of very good quality, and I dare to say it's one of the better ones I've seen on the sub $100 range. Surprisingly, it is not as heavy as other flat cables, and microphonics are (*almost*) non-existent (unless you really ask for it). At the end, the straight plug is very well relieved too.
They are available in 3 colors:

The design might look a bit flashy, especially on the red color version, but they're rather cool.


 

Accessories:

3 pairs of eartips in S, M, L sizes, a shirt clip and and soft carrying pouch. Nothing great, but personally it's all I needed for these Moe SS01.



Fit, Comfort & Isolation:

This was quite the surprise. While the twin drivers are set in a vertical configuration making the shells a bit 'taller', the SS01 design is very ergonomic with the angled nozzle and very comfortable for long listening periods, at least to my ears. The fit might be a bit tighter, but they sit very securely. Despite the rather shallow insertion, isolation is surprisingly very good and I had no need to change from the included stock tips to get the best fit and sonic results. I'd say isolation level is up there with the RE-400 with the Sony/Dunu hybrid tips, so that's more than enough. Mild driver flex is present both when inserting and adjusting them, but that's the only thing I'd complain about the SS01.


 


Sound:

If the build quality is good and the fit is very good, then the Sound must be excellent, and in fact, it is quite amazing. The SS01 feature the same twin drivers that the older JVC FXT90 have, but are supposed to been tuned slightly different. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried a FXT90 yet to make a comparison.
From the first moment I tried the Moe SS01 right out of the box they managed to captivate with their thick and immersive sound. The strong bass is the first thing to notice, and while the mids weren't really missing, the highs sounded too smoothed down.
Surprisingly, the SS01 improve a lot after some break-in time. As suggested by a company insider, they need about 50-100 hrs of burn-in to show their real strength. As my pair was slowly reaching the 100 limit, I was amazed how the sound quickly evolved.
My impressions are based on using the stock medium size tips and I don't feel the sound is lacking anything with those.
The overall sound is very full, warm and thick from lows to highs, with a very engaging presentation that easily catches the attention of the listener. It's a nice mix of fun and accuracy that makes them suitable for every kind of music without compromising at any field.

The 'lower' one of the twin micro drivers is in charge of; guess what, the low end. Having a dedicated driver for it, the bass is quite strong and prominent, yet accurate and detailed. Mid-bass is at its fullest, with a lot of power and kick, and would never be missing when it's called. Sub-bass has good depth, but not the deepest you would find in this price range and it's also not as enhanced as the mid bass. That's not to say it's lacking or anything, on contrary is far from being neutral, but still not to compete with true bass monsters (such as the Audiofly AF45 or AF56). The special part about the lows here is the extreme fun factor and catching rhythm that from the first listening reminded me a lot to the famous Fischer Audio Eterna's crazy low end. Of course the Moe are on a higher league when it comes to quality and accuracy.

The upper driver is in charge of both the mids and highs, and it is not too difficult to notice that there're two drivers playing together.
Similarly, the midrange is very full as well, thick and forward without feeling congested at all. Leaving the bass part to other driver alone lets this upper driver to play its role and focus in presenting clear mids which are clean from bass bleed. There's a very nice sense of warmth that spreads trough lower to upper mids, and both sound evenly forwarded. Vocals are given a high priority and sound really good; smooth, with good body, well textured and very sweet, both male and female ones, and don’t sound harsh at all, even at higher volumes. The VSD1-S, for example, might have, slightly, the upper hand when it comes to female vocals alone, but loose on male vocals, while the SS01 show a better balance. They also sound smoother and less shouty and grainy than the ATH-CKM500. While they're still not at the Hifiman RE-400 level, they're definitely one of the best midrange and vocals performers among sub $100 IEMs I heard.

Treble might be what changed the most through the burn-in process. At first it sounded too smooth and rolled-off, which wasn’t necessarily bad, but was lacking some life. During a regular period of running, the highs start to 'bloom' and sound much more even with the mids, showing a more natural feeling. Lower highs are full as the rest of the sound, but upper highs remain smooth and fairly limited in extension. While they cannot be called a 'bright' phone, they have satisfying crispness and enough sparkle. Fortunately, I didn’t notice any serious annoying peak and the SS01 rarely show some graininess. Sets as the CKM500 can be harsher and less forgiving. Even the brighter RE-400 can sound sharper at matched volumes against the SS01, and while both remain at the 'smooth' category, the Moe's aren't as refined and 'airy'.

Both soundstage and detail are very impressive. The sound is rather big giving a good distance between instruments, throwing the vocals forward to the middle of the stage. At first the detail is a bit shy, but develops a lot in a short time offering excellent clarity not only for a 'thick and fun' signature, but also beating many similar priced earphones.


Value:


With their first SS01 model, Moe Audio have already released a winner product in its price bracket. Not only they're well built and comfortable, but also well isolating. The sound is amazingly fun and engaging without losing in clarity at all, and have became one of my favorites IEMs and of the easiest to recommend as they show that music is meant to be enjoyed. Let's hope to see more great products from Moe Audio soon.