Moondrop Blessing 2 Review: Mid-Fi Paradigm Shifter

Introduction

Moondrop as a company doesn’t really need an introduction at this point: They’re the progenitor of the perplexing dynamic that is weeb and high-fidelity audio. And I can’t say that their unique marketing doesn’t work – back when I first got into the hobby, I bought the Moondrop KXXS on the tasteful box art alone. Please don’t judge me; thankfully, this turned out to be one of my better purchases. 

If we’re talking about less fortunate purchases, though…I actually ordered the Blessing 2 a few months back, but due to a supply shortage I settled for the original Blessing instead. Suffice it to say don’t make my mistake and just go straight for the Blessing 2. 

Disclaimer: I am an amateur audio enthusiast, and I don’t have half the audio knowledge/lingo that a lot of reviewers have. To this effect, I’m generally going to be a bit more blunt, and I apologize beforehand for any ambiguity. These are my purely subjective thoughts, and I paid for this IEM with my own money. 

The Tangibles

Let’s get down to business. The Blessing 2 comes in a box that is surprisingly large; it looked a lot smaller to me in pictures. Inside you’ll find accessories that include an airplane adapter, ear tips, and a synthetic carry case. Weeb art never goes out of style, and in tandem with the clean organization of accessories, Moondrop nailed it with the presentation. 

Build quality of the IEMs themselves is good. There are no surface inconsistencies to either the acrylic shell or the stainless steel faceplate. The faceplate is a glued-in, press-fit and it sits perfectly flush with the acrylic shell. A small indication of quality I like to look for with this stuff is actually the engravings. Sure, it doesn’t go strictly hand-in-hand with the overall quality of the build, but it’s a good indicator. Moondrop appears to be using a laser engraving process, and the amount of detail and clarity to the inscriptions is impressive. 

Let’s face it…if you didn’t get it with a waifu, you got scammed.

The cable is a typical Moondrop cable…which is to say it’s merely acceptable. There’s no chin slider and the plastic Y-split is a bit tacky. The synthetic case itself is interesting; it’s of decent quality with good room for the IEMs and even a small DAP, but clearly not intended to be pocket carried. 

Fit, Isolation, and Comfort

Ah yes, the elephant in the room. There’s no getting around it (and for some with smaller ears this will be quite literal), the Blessing 2 are big bois. They’re larger than any other IEM I’ve owned to date, and fit issues are only exacerbated by an enormous 6.5mm nozzle. Suffice it to say that fit is what’ll probably make or break these IEMs for most people. It’s vexing too because there’s clearly a lot of open space in the shell that’s just been filled in with acrylic material. 

Now YMMV, fit is 100% subjective, and all that as usual. But for me they work; I have smaller ears and was pleasantly surprised to find that I get a tight fit. Maybe a little too secure – there’s an unpleasant suction cup effect and the isolation is nearly on par with my Airpods Pro with noise-cancelling on! So far, the longest I’ve worn them is for three hours (Is it weird I actually timed it? I feel like most people just throw out a general statement, so I thought it would be interesting to see an actual time) with minimal discomfort. 

Sound Analysis

Testing Methodology:

  • FLAC files off of a Shanling M0 with the stock cable and stock tips. 
  • My genres of preference include country, film scores, instrumentals, EDM, and pop. 
  • Burn-in – Don’t really believe in it, unless we’re talking about your brain and ears getting used to the sound. And for what it’s worth, they sound exactly the same to me as they did out of the box. 
  • The Blessing 2 requires minimal power to drive, probably about the same as the Moondrop KXXS. There’s no hissing with any of my sources. I also don’t listen any louder than 75dB, so all you head-bangers take that for what you will. 

Bass: The Blessing 2 goes for quality over quantity in this respect; I never felt the bass infringe upon the mid-range. Not quite as fast as BA bass, a bit less controlled, but plenty more natural. Maybe just a slight, slight tinge of BA bass. Overall I think the Blessing 2 strikes a nice balance here. That said, I did feel myself wanting more sub-bass quantity on some EDM songs like Sabai’s Million Days where there’s a drop that can hit deep in the beginning. Most people will be fine with the Blessing 2’s bass, but stay away if you’re a basshead. 

Mids: This is clearly an aspect of which the Blessing 2 shines. The Blessing 2 absolutely kills it with vocals; they are smoothed and slightly pushed forward. I wouldn’t say they’re quite in your face, but this makes them always feel present. Some people have said the upper mid-range is shouty, which I guess I can see, but I’ve gotten used to it at this point with my other Moondrop IEMs. If you’re wet for female vocals in particular, Moondrop (and the Blessing 2) has your back. 

Highs: The treble is airy, detailed, and extends nicely. Maybe I’m nitpicking but if there’s one area where I think the Blessing 2 suffers, it’s in the timbre here. I don’t have a way of eloquently explaining what I hear, but it more or less reminds me of the Fearless Audio S8 Pro (although not quite as bad). Just slightly “off” and “plasticky” at times. 

Overall, this is a neutral, slightly-bright tuning to my ears. It’s quite agreeable, and I think most people would struggle to find a glaring fault with it.

In terms of technicalities, the standout for me is the imaging; I find it easy to precisely pinpoint where instrument sounds are coming from. Listening to tracks from Yosi Horikawa (Bubbles, Letter, etc.) makes this strength very apparent but even on other tracks that don’t intentionally play with imaging, it’s very clear where every little sound is coming from. I even found myself grinning stupidly a couple times when I noticed it. Imaging’s definitely on another level compared to my other IEMs, and perhaps near some flagship stuff. Likewise, it follows that separation is quite good on these IEMs. The soundstage also seems above average; I won’t comment too much here. Resolution and detail retrieval are quite good – certainly for the price – but not what I would call excellent. 

Select Comparisons 

vs. Moondrop KXXS [$190]: The Blessing 2 feels sort of like a KXXS on steroids to me. There’s much better separation, air, and detail to the Blessing 2 in general. Mids feel more refined, and slightly less shouty. Incidentally, when I listened to the KXXS vs. the original Moondrop Blessing, I actually preferred the KXXS more. It has a more exciting tonality that I’ll trade over technicalities any day. Luckily that’s not the case with the Blessing 2: It’s a clear upgrade to the KXXS sans the BA timbre. 

vs. Massdrop Noble X [$250]: This is kind of a joke for me at this point to remind me how far my tastes have come. It’s a wash as you might expect – the Blessing 2 has leagues more resolution than the muddled, veiled mess that defines the Noble X. More than anything though,  I think this is a testament to how far sound has come in just the last few years. I imagine the Blessing 2 will eventually be around the same price on secondary as the Noble X was on release. If it were 2017, there wouldn’t be a question – and there still isn’t – which one to buy. 

vs. Moondrop Blessing [$400]: Using the phrase night and day is an exaggeration, but make no mistake it’s a very, very different listening experience using these two IEMs for me. The original Blessing suffered from limp bass and an analytical tonality that didn’t play well with my preferences. The Blessing 2 has more thump and depth to the bass, and the tonality is more engaging. Mids on the Blessing 2, while they still might be perceived as somewhat thin, are neither as anemic nor as shouty on the Blessing. I sold my Blessing so I can’t recall technicalities as clearly from memory, but I would say that the Blessing 2 has a wider soundstage and for certain better imaging.

vs. Fearless S8 Pro [$500]: The bass response on the S8 Pro has more boost which sometimes comes off as unnatural, and there’s more detail to the treble – perhaps a bit too much for some people. The mids on the S8 Pro are thicker and pushed forward even more than on the Blessing 2. So the S8 Pro will appeal to those who want an engaging, aggressive IEM. The Blessing 2 is a better all-arounder to this effect. They have similar levels of resolution and technicalities with Blessing 2 having an edge in imaging.  

vs. 64audio U12t [$2000]: The U12t has a more pleasing tonality and doesn’t seem to suffer as much from BA timbre. It’s a much darker listen whereas I would say the Blessing 2 comes off as bright at times. Both have a smoothed midrange with vocals on the Blessing 2 slightly more forward. I prefer the bass response of the U12t as it has more quantity and texture. Resolution and detail retrieval goes to the U12t by a good margin, but the Blessing 2 does seem to keep up in terms of imaging. 

The Verdict 

Here’s where I’ll switch it up: I’ll be comparing the Blessing 2 with my only top-of-the-line IEM, the 64audio U12t which clocks in at a cool $2000. Is that fair? You bet it isn’t, but it should be a testament to where I think the Blessing 2 stands. 

Now if you can’t already tell, I’m pretty inexperienced in the audio world. Yet despite the phenomenon that is diminishing returns, even to me there’s an obvious divide between something like the kilo-buck U12t and my other, mid-fi IEMs. In my humble opinion, the Blessing 2 closes this gap significantly: It makes less mistakes, has better tonality, and equal if not better technicalities to all the other mid-fi stuff I’ve heard. 

So does this make it a giant killer? Not even close. The U12t is the clear winner on all fronts sans perhaps the slightly less natural bass response. Plus when you want the highest-fidelity sound, price tends to take a backseat anyways. But, and this is a big caveat, the Blessing 2 comes darn close for the price. If the Blessing 2 isn’t quite up to flagship IEM standards, it can be forgiven for being at the apex of mid-fi for an extremely compelling price. Just in a vacuum they’re already damn good; on the market, I firmly believe they shift the mid-fi paradigm and what one should expect for $300. 

In closing and to go back to the original Moondrop Blessing – it disappointed me frankly. Its tone was overtly analytical and not exactly…likeable for most people, I’d imagine. And without a solid foundation for understanding the sound, it took me weeks to appreciate the technical chops of the original Blessing. Conversely, the Blessing 2 is something that I could ascertain as simply sounding “good” straight out of the box; my appreciation has only grown as I’ve put more hours on them. So while subsequent iterations of a product too often turn out to be a low-effort re-hash or quick money grab, I’m glad to see this is not the case with Moondrop. And maybe it’s just that waifu placebo effect, but this is one of the few IEMs I’ve owned that I can already say with confidence is a winner.

Score: 6.5/10 (Very good)

Understanding my score: This is a personal, subjective assessment of an IEM’s sound quality. I don’t take into account any other factors, and it’s relative to the absolute best sound I’ve heard. Take it with a grain of salt! I’m not going to lie; I have high standards. But I’m not telling anybody how they should hear something – it’s a reflection of what of me, myself, and I hear. 

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Moondrop KXXS (1DD) IEM Review - Precogvision

  2. Winny

    Hey man,

    Great review! I was wondering whether you could foresee any issues with this IEM and potentially:

    a) Ear wax getting caught in the nozzle, which would be hard to remove after, and;
    b) Any debris getting into the back port?

    1. Precogvision

      There’s a filter that goes over the nozzle, but the filter can get ripped off if you’re not careful tip-swapping. I bought a ton of spares. No issue with debris in the back port – hope this helps!

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