Pro Audio Times would like to thank Moondrop for sending us this evaluation unit.
At $700, Moondrop’s S8 in-ear-monitor features an 8 balanced armature driver array with a triple crossover architecture. The clear shells are attractive, with a lucite-like clarity. Subjective comfort in the ear canal is very good, with an above average level of isolation. The 0.78-2 pin terminated cable is thin and pliable with a fine tactile feel.
Seamless crossover transitions between the 8-balanced armature drivers make for a euphonic, class-leading tuning.
Low frequencies are affected by ear tip choice and while the S8 is not a sub-bass rumbler, the main body of the bass has a little lift, with decent density and integration with the rest of spectrum. Lower mids are slightly lean, so this is not an earphone that brings out the bellow and weight of baritone instruments and vocals, but with boomy or boxy recordings, the S8 excels at cleaning the murky waters. The midrange is vivid and distortion free. On some tracks, vocals have an almost valve like glow. Upper mid energy is slightly elevated. This highlights the upper register of male and female vocals but this extra zing is surprisingly smooth and free of stridency and sibilance.
High frequencies are one of the standout areas of the S8. It’s a malleable and sophisticated treble that can accommodate a range of musical genres and styles.
S8 imaging and staging is both technical and musical. It’s an effective scope into panning and ambience and at the same time, a stimulating listening experience. Elements of the mix dance around in 3D.
An example recording that pairs well with the S8 is Belle & Sebastian’s “The Party Line”. Some IEMs present this track in a confusing fashion, but the S8 resolves it with solidity and elegance.
This is a first-rate earphone that will reveal its liveliness and personality the more you use it.