Moondrop Blessing2: This is a good one. Period
Pros: Wonderful Moondrop tuning
Good bass reach
Vocals are very good
Fit my average sized-ears just fine
Cons: Not mine
Maybe a bit more and deeper reach of bass?
Moondrop Blessing2 ($319): This is a good one. Period.
Intro: As part of the S8/Blessing2 tour, this came from Moondrop via @Wiljen. Other than the Kanas Pro, I had not heard any Moondrop models. I really enjoyed the Kanas Pro and enjoyed the S8. But I will admit that the Blessing2 stole me away upon first listen. Many reviews have espoused its virtues before my listen. Many fawned over it as the flavor of the month and promoted it as “punching above its weight.” While I really do not like using the former, for once something performs well it should stand the test of time, the later does have some merits. But as stated in my S8 review (and others), it may be that those other units in comparison underperform. I like to think of it that way.
I thank both Moondrop and @Wiljjen for the tour samples, and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Read on for some very good comparisons at the same price, as this is a hopping full price range.
Impedance: 22Ω@1kHz (±15％)
Frequency Response: 9-37KHz (Free Field. 1/4″MIC,-3dB)
Effective FR: 20-20KHZ (IEC60318-4)
Sensitivity: 117dB/Vrms @1kHz THD：<1％@1KHz
Driver Config: 1DD 4BA Per Side, Triple Crossover
High Driver: Knowles SWFK
Mid Driver: Softears D-MID-A
Low Driver: 10mm Paper Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
Channel Mismatch: ±1dB @1kHz
Socket: 0.78-2 pin
Pinhousing：3D Printed Medical Grade Resin Housing
In the box:
Tips (s, m, l)
Dunu SA6 ($549)
UM 3DT ($399)
Thieaudio Legacy 4 ($195)
Phonic BWD9.2 ($385-435)
ddHiFi Janus ($199)
Cayin N6ii mk2
Shanling M6 Pro
iFi Zen CAN/DAC
Buena Vista Social Club
Stevie Ray Vaughan
As part of a tour, the unboxing of the unit is not what the consumer may receive. Coming in a gray box, you lift the lid and are presented with a nice light gray zippered case and a tips holder. The gray case is large enough to hold a small DAP along with the Blessing2’s, which is a welcome addition to cases. More of late are making slightly roomier cases, as opposed to that unnamed brand who doesn’t even include a case with their products…charge a bit more and include a case for goodness sake.
Fit, Finish, Build:
Anymore once you pass a certain price, build and fit/finish are expected to be good. Kind of like a foregone conclusion such as needing coffee in the morning, or the commute to work, school, etc…it is a fact of life. And all of the iterations of Moondrop I have had in hand do follow suit. Well built, solid of feel, and with good fit. Add in that the looks are subdued but elegant and you have the makings of something that does not draw attention to itself but focuses on the sound.
Made from 3D printing and a metal faceplate, the form of the Blessing is teardrop, but not overly large. Translucent allows one to view the insides, which is becoming more de rigor, and stylish. Gone are the days of cheap looking insides. Now it is like a mid-engine supercar showing off that V12 under the bonnet. A larger nozzle has no lip, but some have mentioned running steel wool to scuff it up. Thus, the tips would hold better. I found no problem, but this does seem logical. The larger size of the nozzle does not bother me with fit, either. The tips included do go further onto the nozzle, hence a deeper insertion point. This gives a good seal, and I also noted that only one of the three sound tubes have an inserted tube with a metal “sleeve,” thus; well I’m not sure. That tube is for the highs, while much thinner tubes are used for the mids and the dynamic driver. In fact, the thin tube on the DD is the longest I have seen (which doesn’t really mean anything either).
As far as fit goes, I had no problem, and seal is above average, but not completely isolated. The unit does stick out a bit from my ear, but the over-ear guides hold the IEM in place well. Plus, I really like the look of the cable. Copper is my cable of choice and seeing the somewhat loosely wrapped wires does not exude a sense of cheapness. An acrylic circular y-splitter adorns the cable, with no cinch. The look is elegant and purposeful. Subtly well-dressed.
The cable ends in a right-angled plastic jack, which to me is the downside. Compared to the rest, it looks cheap and out of place. I have come to appreciate quality craftmanship and fit with the Moondrop label, and the jack falls short of that. But that is all that does.
A single 10mm dynamic driver (Softears D-mid-B-mid) is flanked by dual mid and high balanced armatures (Knowles SWFK) and fit together neatly in the vented resin shell. No space is lost. To me, the shell is pretty solid surrounding the driver units, unlike what Fir and some others have done with the tuning of the shell itself to replicate home listening acoustics. I do find that fascinating, but I am also sure this adds significantly to R&D and hence price. KISS comes into play here.
Put all of this together, and the B2 is easy to drive. Made for phones with dongles to DAP’s the B2 could be enjoyed across my spectrum of sources.
Summary: A thoroughly satisfying listen with enough bass to keep you interested, and enough clarity to make for good listening highlight the B2 to me. Soundstage to me is a bit higher than deep and width is good. Solid speed and depth are promoted from the bass, but not at the expense of the mids such as guitar solos and accompanying instruments. With good weight, male vocals sound vibrant and female vocals as well. With enough detail up top to replicate open and airy sound, the treble is neither biting nor boring. This is a wonderfully sounding unit, but a bit thin when compared to more expensive units. That thinness is not a detractor though for the overall character provided is a very competent package, which is fast becoming one of my favorites at this price.
Bass is taut and fairly deep without bleed into the mids; a welcome listening experience as a result. Not overly punchy like the Hero or something of such, but rightly taking its place as the foundation. I find this set up to be on the warmer side, but without being tedious or slow. A certain richness is promoted giving an almost false sense of depth. A nice trick up its sleeve. I find the level of bass quality to override the quantity, which makes for a very pleasant sound, without that bleed of others. The live version of To The Gypsies is a perfect example of the bass working in concert with the mids.
I also appreciate excellent quality mids, and one of my favorites is the Dunu SA6. To me it is just about the best quality mid out in that range right now. But it is a bit forward. On the B2, there is no “look at me” to those mids, and the Knowles play ever so nicely together. It could be the pairing of dual BA’s together, which aides in the presentation but whatever it is, I do appreciate it. Vocals such as Roger Daltry or Dave Matthews sound sublime as does Mark Knopfler. Deeper in tone, all three presented through the B2 sound natural with a slight warmth to them, but not an unnatural warmth. There is nothing artificial here. Detail retrieval through the mids comes across as clean and somewhat airy. I consider the mids from the EE Hero to pretty much be my standard (even if it is V-shaped), and of course the B2 cannot match that but this is certainly no slouch, with good clarity present.
Treble is good, but not excellent. No matter, for that good is really quite good. No sibilance or overly sparkly sound here. No, the sound emanating from the B2 is of good energy and believable. Sometimes there is a false or artificiality to the treble region, accommodating some other aspect of the sound. Not here, as what I hear is good and honest. I thankfully appreciate the lack of overly sparkle, as even on my Hero it can become tedious on some songs. Not here as the sound is a pleasant ride on a slow Sunday afternoon. Call it presence. And in the right amount.
Soundstage as mentioned is good and I hear it to be a bit wider than deep, but with good height. But all is close enough for me to call it “mostly cubic.” This does allow for a good graphing of instrumentation and layering. Think of the 3-D graphs you had to do in high school Geometry and that would be the 3-dimensional nature of the B2. Placement of those instruments can be had quite easily giving a good sense of air between notes and instruments.
Moondrop Blessing2 ($319) v UM 3DT ($399):
Cutting this back to the only one in the same price, I did test the B2 against those above, but feel it would not be a fair comparison as many other have done so already. Hence the 3DT. A spur purchase from Andrew in return for a review, I found the UM to be indeed representative of the UM “house sound.” Excellent details, with enough bass to keep you hopping, but not enough to call them bassy by any means, the 3DT is a wonderful representation of what can be done when UM provides their sound to an “affordable” unit.
The mids of pretty much any UM unit are simply put, sublime. Among the best out there and a defining point to each market point. The 3DT does not disappoint and better than the Moondrop, but different. Slightly more vibrancy and with a bit more energy to me, here the mids definitely let you know they are the star of the show. Not so on the B2. Working in concert with the others, the B2 to me presents a more rounded signature. If it is a sound, which presents a more even set of tone, then the B2 may be to your liking. But if you value mids and do not mind them being the hit, then the 3DT just shines. From that, the 3DT provides more clarity, but without losing that warmth I have come to truly appreciate from Unique Melody.
This comes down to whether you want a sound that is extremely competent and pleasant versus one that says, “here is the star, enjoy it.” I really do like both but find the B2 to work across more types of music.
Moondrop Blessing2 ($319) v Dunu SA6 ($549):
A wonder of looks and the sound to back it up, the SA6 has made the rounds with a couple of peers. We all agree that is and was at the time a fantastic IEM, especially with the tuning and interchangeable jacks. There was not much wrong with the Dunu save a “custom-like” fit, which was not for all. With deeper reaching bass, and a slightly higher upper-mid push than the B2, the SA6 is still one of my favorites. For clarity, I would give the nod to the B2, but in overall character, the SA6 wins it for me.
Moondrop Blessing2 ($319) v Thieaudio Legacy 4 ($195):
Not really a fair comparison, but the L4 has much going for it anyway. Solid build, gorgeous looks and a thoroughly satisfying sound makes for an immediate interruption in the $200 IEM price-bracket. While I find the sound a bit “delicate,” it does present an open, airy note with much going for it. Vocals are quite good, making up for that lack of bass reach (to me). Where the B2 bests the L4, even without considering it comes before it in the alphabet; is in a richness of sound, which cannot be matched. The B2 is still one of the richest, most full sounding IEM’s at the price to me. But with enough air between notes to make that sound vibrant as well. Nothing delicate here, but not overwhelming either. Just a thoroughly good sound.
Moondrop Blessing2 ($319) v Phonic BWD9.2 ($385-435):
Coming to me during the pandemic, the BWD9.2 quickly became one of my favorites, and I willingly helped a small builder, who knows his stuff. Vibrant as the B2 is, the BWD bests it, and almost too much. If something can be too airy (but not hollow or thin), the BWD might be it. That is until you realize you are immersed in something so expansive that you look in wonder at all of the detail going on around you. One of the most detailed IEM’s I have reviewed at any price, the only thing lacking to me was the fit. And with a call to Kenneth, he could easily modify this. Gorgeous reclaimed wood, hand craftsmanship to die for, and the sound to back it up. The two of these complement each other nicely.
Moondrop Blessing2 ($319) v DDHiFi Janus ($199):
When offered a choice, I waited for the final production model, for I determined that my ears were not good enough to help with the tuning. I left that to better reviewers than I. And that finished product is quite good to me, with the interchangeability of cables to boot. The only thing the Janus lacks to me is isolation. Even with foams. If you can tolerate a larger size, then do it. You will be rewarded with excellent tight, fast bass response from the single DD, and a vibrant sound, which makes you think this has to have a BA inside as well. Thankfully DDHiFi did not overcompensate with the notes up top to even the signature. Slightly rolled treble may not be for everyone, but in conjunction with very good mids, the Janus presents a thoroughly satisfying sound to me and can hold its place at the $200 price.
Coming into this review, I already appreciated the tuning, fit and feel of the Moondrop units. To me, they deserve much more acclaim (and longevity, I’ll get there) than they receive. We as a society find ourselves looking for the new model even as the current model has just come out. Witness car models and how the next model year, in this case 2022, with come across showrooms in late July. Seriously, that is warped. We purchased a 2021 Subaru Forester in November of 2020, and that is more like it. I appreciate manufacturers letting their wares speak for a decent amount of time.
Unfortunately, in the audio industry to stay the same is to stagnate and fall behind the others. Look at the profligacy of a certain Chinese company, which has two letters…the model is out and the “next greatest” is already being promoted. This is huge reason why I still have the UM Mason V2. It is going on 5 years old (ancient in portable audio terms), but feel it STILL holds its own to many flagships and earned that respect from flickernick when he graded it as #4 out of the 12 or so he tested. I purchased it, and still use it to cleanse my listening palette. And to me, this is what Moondrop has done. Make something timely, appreciated and respected for the longer run. They will still innovate, and produce models, but their IEM’s, which are respected and purchased the world over will still be there in a couple of years’ time.
We are often asked, “what’s the best at price-X?” Or “should I get the newest model from XYZ?” I say no to both. What is best is defined by too many factors, and even flickernick’s WELL respected undertaking drew criticisms (unwarranted in my book, but within their right). But his testing was rock solid, and he could make that educated answer to the question, “what is best.” He justified it, and many IEM’s were sold as a result. I purchased one as mentioned and his commentary was spot on to me. And here is where Moondrop has earned my respect. They produce IEM’s, which are fabulous of build quality and sound. Many others do as well, and as @wiljjen stated in his review, had he heard the B2 before the S8 or SA6, he may have called the B2 one of the best. To me, it is still one of the best at this point and should be given a serious listen. Ultimately that decision is up to you, and you alone. But I ask that you do so looking at the long game. Look, listen and purchase something, which will stay with you like it is the only IEM you will own for 5-10 years. And the B2 and S8 are two of those I would consider for that purchase.
I thank Moondrop for the loan of the units, they were both fabulous and I hate to see them go. I also thank @Wiljen for his patience with my proclivity to procrastinate. Summer is here and I shall finally have more time.
Go listen and be happy. We deserve it after 2020. Cheers and good health.