Moondrop has made a name for itself in the In-ear monitor market, becoming renowned among audiophiles. Recently, they released their new high-end model S8 IEMs, which go for $700. I was a huge fan of their Blessing 2 IEMs, and am really excited to try out the S8. Today I’m going to see if Moondrop continues to deliver the same level of quality.
What’s in the Box
- Moondrop S8 IEMs
- Detachable 6N OCC Cable
- Airline Adaptor
- Zip Case
- 5 Pairs of Eartips
Look and Feel
Moondrop’s signature manga-inspired box artwork makes a return with the S8. The design of the monitors is elegant, featuring a clear housing and simple stainless steel backplate. They’re quite comfortable and I barely noticed I was wearing them after a while. Moondrop states that every pair of S8s is completely handcrafted, meticulously checked for cosmetic errors, and acoustically tested four times before being shipped. This painstaking quality control is meant to assure consistent craftsmanship at the level a machine can’t replicate. The S8 is a well-designed IEM; I can see the high level of scrutiny that went into every aspect of designing these.
Moondrop entirely redesigned the crossover on the S8 to improve its audible frequency response and performance. The S8 has a Sonion 37 Series Double Bass BA for the lows, ensuring a prominent yet clear low-frequency response. The midrange utilizes two of Moondrop’s own custom Softears D-MID-B drivers. The Highs have a Knowles SWFK Dual-BA unit. Moondrop’s goal was to improve upon the design of the A8, the S8’s predecessor, while still keeping its general sound character.
The Moondrop S8 has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 40 kHz and an impedance of 16 Ohms.
The S8 has an impressively deep soundstage. Stereo effects feel tangible and changes in panning had just the right level of severity without feeling artificially inflated. The separation is prominent, but not to the point where I feel disconnected between the two channels. The S8s have excellent noise cancellation which provides a deeply immersive listening experience. The dynamics are sensitive, neither distorting at high volumes nor losing information at soft volumes. Every element has space to come through clearly and I get an amazing sense of the spatial mix with the S8.
Moondrop utilized the Sonion 37 Series driver to great effect. The lows are dynamic and can take on a multitude of tonal qualities. Kicks have just the right punch, subs have just the right hum, and everything has presence when the mix calls for it. While they do tend toward the heavier side, the lows do a good job of not drowning the rest of the mix, which is incredibly impressive to me.
The S8 brings out the best of the midrange for me. The low mids bring out that punch and grit that can give energy to a mix but don’t feel boomy. Vocals and lead instruments are front and center, while not crowding out other elements of the mix. The mids sound natural and do the mix justice in most instances.
I thought the highs on the S8s were somewhat subdued at times. While they still came out when they needed to, I sometimes wanted to hear more crisp highs to balance out the other ranges. This didn’t bother me or detract from my listening experience, but it was noticeable on some reverb tails at times. That being said, the highs are incredibly clean and assist in creating space in the soundstage.
While it may not be everybody’s favorite, Moondrop’s signature sound character and precision have made them one of my favorite IEM brands. The S8 is a culmination of an extensive effort on Moondrop’s part to create a crystal clear sound for its listeners. While the S8 is by no means perfect, it suits my personal tastes incredibly well. If you’re looking for a high-end IEM that can give a good, clean sound across a variety of genres, the S8 is a more than viable option. I’m excited to see what Moondrop does next.
– Great response across the frequency spectrum
– Deep soundstage
– Aesthetically pleasing
– On the pricier side
– Somewhat subdued highs
You can buy the Moondrop S8 here