MOONDROP Sparks TWS IEM Review
MOONDROP is a popular Chinese Portable Audio brand that was once a small studio by several hobbyist engineers, which has been emerged in 2015 with focus on products like Earbuds and In-Ear Monitors.
Their first product was the VX that was an Earbud, while the company gained popularity after the “Liebesleid” in 2017. MOONDROP released some IEM’s including the earliest “IX” with unique design and interesting sound, the “KANAS” series and other IEM’s like the “Blessing”, “A8” and “Reference” who justified MOONDROP us as premium IEM manufacturer.
- MOONDROP Website: https://www.moondroplab.com
The Sparks is the first True Wireless earphone of the company and features a Single Dynamic Driver with a 6mm Diameter Beryllium-Coated Dome Diaphragm + PU Suspension Ring. The Sparks features also a patented “Anti Clogging Acoustic Filter” and offers the latest Bluetooth 5.2 Version that supports codex like aptX, AAC and SBC.
I would like to thank MOONDROP for providing me the Sparks sample for review purposes. I am not affiliated with MOONDROP beyond this review and all these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
Price & Availibility:
The MSRP price for the MOONDROP Sparks is about $89.99 USD. More information’s can be found under the links below;
Package and Accessories:
The MOONDROP Sparks came in a stylish white box that was wrapped with a black cardboard that sports the Sparks branding and an Anime (Witch) character on the top, while the bottom shows some product related specifications.
This box contains the following items;
- 1 pair x MOONDROOP Sparks TWS Monitors
- 3 pairs x Conic Silicone Ear Tips
- 3 pair x Short Silicone Ear Tips
- 3 pairs x Grey Silicone Ear Tips
- 1 pair x Foam Ear Tips
- 1 pcs x Charging Case
- 1 pcs x USB Type-C cable
- 1 pcs x Print Material (User Manual, Quick Star Guide, Warranty)
The MOONDROP Sparks came with a nice looking case that was put in to a separate box.
Design & Build Quality:
The MOONDROP Sparks is a fancy looking TWS (True Wireless) IEM with a pretty unique appearance that is available in three different color options, which are Pink, Purple and the Black one like my review unit.
The Sparks features a Single Dynamic Driver with a 6mm Diameter Beryllium-Coated Diaphragm Dome + PU Suspension Ring and is equipped with a High Flux Density Magnetic Circuit + N52 Neodymium Magnet.
The Monitors shell is made of semi-transparent plastic material (ABS/PC) that has a soft matt finish, which makes it very lightweight.
The left faceplate sport a half moon while the right monitor has a star illustrations that do give the Sparks a pretty nice look and unique appearance.
Each faceplate acts as a multifunctional touch surface for commands like next/previous track, play/pause and long press for voice assistant, etc. and do have small openings on each side.
Under those faceplates do have LED status indicators that do light up in in different colors, which are visible on the semi-transparent matt surface.
The rear part of each monitor features the sound nozzle, the charging port and a microphone. The sound nozzle has a slightly angled profile and features metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of strange particles like dust, ear-wax, etc.
Near the sound nozzle is a small opening for the 6mm diameter dynamic driver that is visible under the semi-transparent plastic shell.
The build quality of the monitors is fine and I do like the soft surface of the plastic material that is used for the Sparks.
The charging case of the MOONDROP Sparks is made of the same plastic material like the Monitors and has the same soft matt surface which offers a nice to touch feel when you hold it in your hands. On the top of the charging case has a nice pattern in yellow color and sports the stylish MOONDROP logo.
At the rear side is the USB Type-C charging port that can be charged with the cable that comes in the box when you connect it to your PC or with an adaptor to a wall charger.
On the front of the case is the Sparks branding and 3 led light status indicator that are visible when you charge the case.
When you open the case you will see the seats for the monitors and the LED light surface. These seats have a magnetic surface to ensure the right connection for the charging process and to avoid that the earphones drop out.
The charging which has a 700mAH build in battery is pretty lightweight thanks to the use of plastic material.
Fit / Comfort & Isolation:
The MOONDROP Sparks is a pretty lightweight TWS IEM with a comfortable shape that fits quite comfortable in to my average sized ear concha. The sound nozzle is also just long and wide enough to use with a wide variety of ear tips.
The Sparks has no Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) while the Passive Noise Cancellations is pretty fine for the use in relative noise environments like a bus or train.
Some Technical Specifications:
- Driver Type : Dynamic Driver with 6mm Diameter Beryllium Coated Diaphragm
- Frequency Response : 20Hz – 20kHz
- Bluetooth version : 5.2
- Bluetooth Range : about 10meters
- Bluetooth Codec’s : aptX / AAC / SBC
- Battery (Case) : 700mAh
- Battery (Earpiece) : 50mAh
- Charging Rating : 5V-500mA
- Play time : up to 8 hours (Earphone) / +40 hours on Charging Box
Each MOONDROP Sparks earpiece has a build in 50mAh battery that offers an average playtime of about 7 hours if you do use the aptX codec that is pretty good for a True Wireless IEM.
Pairing, Signal Strength, Latency & Navigation, NFC:
The pairing of the MOONDROP Sparks is pretty easy; you only need to turn on the left and right monitors for the first time. After that, the earpieces do pair automatically when you select it from your Smartphone, Tablet, etc.
The operating distance of the Sparks is about 9 – 10 meters and is pretty stable without to show any unwanted disconnections.
The build-in microphone offers an average performance paired with my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
When it comes to the BT latency of the Sparks, I can say that is shows a pretty good performance with a very low (maybe some milliseconds) latency (lip sync delay), while watching to TV Shows on YouTube and movies on Netflix, paired with my Phone or Table.
The touch surface on both earpieces works pretty fine. Some of the touch operations are listed below;
- Wake up Siri : Long press for 2 seconds
- Answer/ Hang up the call : Double tap any single earbud
- Reject the call : Long press on any single earbud
- Play/Pause music : Double tap any single earbud
- Previous Track : Triple tap the left earbud
- Next Track : Triple tap the touch pad on right
- Replace connected device : Long press the both earbuds for 3 seconds
The MOONDROP Sparks comes with a build in NFC antenna that is located on the Charging Case, which is a nice addition if you device support NFC connectivity.
The MOONDROP Sparks adopts a cooperative development plan with Hiby Music. EQ adjustment, TWS+ switch, touch operation definition and OTA upgrade function can be performed by installing Hiby Blue app on your mobile phone.
PS: The default EQ option is the original tuning of the earphone, it is not recommended to modify
Some Additional Features:
A) VDSF (Virtual Diffuse Sound Field) tuning
The Built-in DSP of the Bluetooth chip and the dynamic tuning technology makes the Sparks almost in line with the new VDSF target response to minimize the disadvantages of TWS IEM’s in terms of sound performance over wired IEM’s.
B) TWS+ dual transmission
The Bluetooth audio circuit based on Qualcomm QCC chip developed in cooperation with Hiby Music. Aptx/AAC high-quality transmission protocol supported and TWS+ dual-channel transmission to ensure low-loss and high-fidelity signal transmission.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : MOONDROP Sparks, LYPERTEK Tevi, HiFiMAN TWS600
- Source : FiiO M11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Apple iPad Air2
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Deezer HiFi)
- Photek – The Hidden Camera (Spotify)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Sparks is the first TWS product of the company that looks pretty fancy, but the main question is, how does it sound? My first impression was quite positive, especially regarding the price!
The MOONDROP Sparks has a musical presentation and warmish tonality, with good bass response for a TWS IEM with a relative small 6mm diameter dynamic driver and shows more intensity in the midbass region, the midrange on the other hand is fairly spacious with good sense of clarity thanks to the upper midrange elevation. The treble region is smooth and has an average level of extension with focal point in the lower treble area.
Please note that this review is written after a burn-in of about 50 hours. I have used the stock silicone ear tips that where include to the package. I have paired the Sparks mainly with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra together with the FiiO M11 Pro and have used the aptX audio codec.
Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:
The Sparks offers an efficient bass response for a TWS IEM with a warm tonality. The subbass is region shows an average sense of depth and rumble, with sufficient level of resolution and decay for a TWS In-Ear Monitor.
The midbass region of the MOONDROP Sparks is more pronounced compared to the subbass area and adds the overall presentation warmish and musical tonality. It is fairly impactful and shows a moderate level of speed which is quite suitable for most modern genres, while I wouldn’t recommend the Sparks for those who listen to genres that do need a faster response like metal or jazz music.
Instruments like cross drums are pronounced, trumpets do sound bassy, while bass guitars are warm and full bodied.
The midrange of the MOONDROP Sparks has a mildly warm tonality and shows a good sense of transparency and airiness. The general resolution of this area is pretty good for a True Wireless IEM thanks to the upper midrange tuning that is more highlighted compared to the lower midrange area.
Male vocals and instruments like acoustic guitars or organs do shows an moderate level of depth and body, while female vocals or instruments like pianos or electric guitars do sound more forward crisp/lively and detailed.
The treble range of the MOONDROP Sparks sounds less highlighted compared to the upper midrange area and has in general a pretty smooth and fatigue free. The lower treble range of is more pronounced compared to the upper treble region which means that it shows a treble roll-off in this area. The treble range shows a moderate level of speed, quantity and detail retrieval, while the treble extension is a bit short.
The MOONDROP Sparks offers a fairly good performance in terms of separation and placement of instruments and vocals, especially for a TWS IEM at this price range.
The stage has a moderate level of airiness and shows a slightly better sense of depth compared to its wideness, while listen to Yosi Horikawa’s “Bubbles”.
MOONDROP Sparks versus LYPERTEK Tevi:
The MOONDROP Sparks shows a slightly fuller and warmer tonality compared to the LYPERTEK Tevi. The subbass of the Sparks shows slightly more depth and intensity, while the Tevi has edge when it comes to the decay. The midrange of the Sparks sounds more pronounced and full bodied with better level of impact, while the resolution and speed is pretty similar.
Both the TWS800 and N6PRO are some of the few products that I have listened to, which do have a remarkable audiophile level like sound performance.
The midrange of the MOONDROP Sparks has a warmer tonality and offers a better sense of musicality compared to the LYPERTEK Tevi that sounds a bit dry but has more headroom in direct comparison. Both male and female vocals are reproduced more natural and emotional when I do listen to the Sparks. The Tevi sounds slightly more transparent, while the resolution is on par with those of the Sparks.
The treble range of both the Sparks and the Tevi is smooth and fatigue free. The MOONDROP Sparks has the slightly edge in terms of extension and detail retrieval, while both are successful in terms of control.
Both the Sparks and the Tevi do have a fairly good performance in terms of separation and placement of instruments and vocals (for TWS IME’s). The main difference is that the Sparks offers a slightly better sense of soundstage wideness, while the Tevi has the upper hand when it comes to the depth.
MOONDROP Sparks versus HiFiMAN TWS600:
The MOONDROP Sparks has a warmer tonality and offers a more musical and natural presentation compared to the HiFiMAN TWS600 that sounds dry and unnatural in direct comparison.
Both the subbass and midbass region of the Sparks shows a better sense of depth and intensity. The subbass region of the Sparks offers more rumble and is also more successful in terms of extension. The midbass region of the Sparks is more impactful and dynamic, compared to the TWS600 that has the slightly edge in terms of speed and decay.
The midrange of the MOONDROP Sparks sounds fuller and more emotional compared to the HiFiMAN TWS600 that is too upfront, dry and unnatural. The Sparks is superior when it comes to the lower midrange depth, body and extension, which makes it more successful with male vocals or instruments like acoustic guitars or violas. The upper midrange of both the Sparks and TWS600 is pretty highlighted, while the TWS600 is a bit more detailed, but quite uncontrolled compared to the Sparks that shows a more natural and forgiving character in this area.
The lower treble range of the MOONDROP Sparks offers a better sense of clarity and definition. The Sparks is also more natural and detailed in this area, while the TWS600 shows a peak around the 8 kHz region that gives it a slightly advantage in terms of airiness and sparkle.
The soundstage of the Sparks is more successful in terms of wideness, while the TWS600 has the upper hand when it comes to the depth.
The Sparks is may the first TWS In-Ear Monitor of the company on the market, but it offers a pretty fancy look, many features, a great battery life and stable connection, beside its quite musical tuned excellent sound performance.
Pros & Cons:
- + Nicely Tuned Musical Presentation
- + Good Sound Performance for a TWS IEM (Resolution, Control, Clarity)
- + Great Battery Life & Stable Connectivity
- + Fancy Look & Comfort
- + Loots of Features (App Support, aptX, NFC, etc.)
- – Upper Treble Roll-Off
- – Average Microphone Quality
- – The Anime theme is maybe not for everyone
Thank you for the Read!