Sparks to light up your (audio) world.
PROS: Excellent VFM, highly attractive shell and charging case design, tuned to Moondrop’s VDSF target curve, very well balanced signature, natural reference tonality and timbre, forward upper-midrange for good strong instrument definition, balanced, clean, smooth and natural treble response, good clean soundstage and detail retrieval for the price.
CONS: Long nozzles and deep insertion fit might not work best for everyone, Moondrop app is Android only for now and needs to be downloaded by scanning a code as it isn’t available on Google Play Store, App has no customisation options besides touch control, IPX rating not specified, volume control not controllable via touch button or configurable to do so via app, no LDAC support.
Moondrop is one of the most popular brands to emerge out of China in recent years. They’re based out of Chengdu, Sichuan and quickly became fan favourites with products like Kanas, Kanas Pro, KXXS, Blessing1, Blessing2, A8, S8, etc. Most of their entry level products are made out of metals but their upper range are majorly resin based IEMs with semi-custom shells like Blessing2, S8 and Solis which are also offered as CIEMs. They even make earbuds named ShiroYuki, Namesless, VX, Liebesleid, Chaconne, etc and have recently released a TWS IEM called Sparks too which we are reviewing today. They like to dabble with popular target curves and have received critical acclaim and appreciation for their tuning based on their in-house target curve called Virtual Diffusion Sound Field (VDSF) that they try hitting with most of their IEMs.
Disclaimer – The product was provided to me free of charge for the review in exchange for my honest opinion.
- Driver – 6mm Dynamic Driver with Beryllium-coated dome + PU suspension ring
- Frequency Response: 20-20kHz
- Magnetic Circuit – Improved high flux density magnetic circuit + N52 Neodymium magnetic
- Bluetooth Version – 5.2
- Audio Transmission Formats – aptX Adaptive/aptX/AAC/SBC
- Battery Capacity – Headphone: 50 mAh | Charging case: 700 mAh
- Playback Time: 8 hours (earphones) + 48 hours with charging case
- Charging Rating – 5V/500mA
- Bluetooth Range – 10 metres
If your smartphone supports NFC, you can pair Sparks using NFC by touching the NFC chip located in Sparks’ charging case right above the charging port to the NFC chip located in your smartphone.
Photo Courtesy – Moondrop
Included in the box.
- Moondrop Sparks TWS earphones
- Charging case
- USB Type-C charging cable
- Ear Tips – 1 pair of foam ear tips & 3 types of SML silicone ear tips
Build Quality and Design.
Sparks comes in 3 colours – Black, Pink and Purple. The one I have here has a highly attractive faceplate design which looks like a prop straight out of a Star Wars movie. It has translucent black semi-custom shaped shells which are made up of high quality plastic with a rubbery satin smooth finish. The shells have an LED under the faceplate which glows red and white, where red indicates charging and both blinking consecutively indicates pairing mode. The charging case is tall and has 3 yellow LED lights indicating level of charge. The charging case also has NFC support to quickly pair the TWS to your smart phone. I personally love the design of the shells as well as the charging case, probably my favourite out of all TWS IEMs I’ve had the pleasure of trying. The outer leather case (pictured below) can be bundled together with Sparks for $5 extra (bundle total of $94.99) or can be bought separately later for $9.99. I highly recommend getting it as a bundle because it looks spectacular and protects the charging case against scratches and accidental drops.
Fit and Comfort.
Sparks’ nozzle is rather long, designed for a snug deep insertion fit, which can take some getting used to if you’ve never tried a deep inserting semi-custom/CIEM shell. Sparks comes with 3 different types of silicone ear tips in SML size and a pair of foam ear tips for one to try, experiment and get the best fit. Even though I managed to get a decent fit with some stock ear tips, I found 3rd party ear tips like Azla Sedna and Spiral Dots to be most comfortable, which made Sparks fit and feel like a CIEM. Even with a deep fit and me having fairly big ears with good concha depth, the shells still protrude outside. The shells are big, so don’t expect them to disappear in your ears like the Samsung Buds+ do. I think Moondrop should’ve worked on the semi-custom shells and nozzle length design a bit more to make it more versatile and easy universally. Nevertheless, isolation is very good owing to Sparks’ deep fit, better than most TWS IEMs I’ve tried.
Bluetooth pairing is extremely quick and easy, even quicker with NFC. The connection stays strong till 10 metres as advertised with no transmission dropouts within that range. The in-built microphone’s voice quality is pretty good and battery life too was close to 8 hours roughly in my tests. Sadly, it doesn’t support LDAC, only aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC and SBC.
Touch Operation –
- 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 for 2 seconds
- 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 the connected device – Long press the both earbuds for 3 seconds
The touch operation is customisable using the Moondrop Link app which can be downloaded by scanning the picture below (only Android) as it isn’t available on Google Play Store. Besides this, the app only has the product manual in English. No EQ profiles or Ambient Sound customisation like in Samsung TWS app, which is a downer because Buds+ is now similarly priced and comes with excellent app integration with a lot of customisation options. Also, Sparks’ volume level can’t be controlled via touch nor can it be configured to do so via the app, so you need to take out the phone out of your pocket every time you wanna adjust the volume.
No IPX rating is specified for Sparks, so be careful when using Sparks for running or gymming. Definitely avoid using it when raining or swimming (lol).