The sound comparison was done using SM with a stock cable, stock foam eartips, and LPGT source; volume matched in every comparison and volume noted with “v”.
Supermoon (v43) vs Andro ’20 (v29) – these two have a very different tuning, but I’m sure many still will be curious how it compares. Starting with soundstage analysis, as many are aware, Andro soundstage is wide, but Supermoon stretches it a bit wider and gives imaging more 3D perception. Soundstage change is not as big here, but imaging and how instruments positioned in space is more noticeable. Then, we have the bass, where Supermoon scales up by a noticeable amount, especially in depth and weight of the sub-bass. Supermoon delivers a bass performance of a powerful DD driver, especially the amount of sub bass rumble. Lower mids are leaner in Supermoon while have a fuller body in Andro, but that completely flips as you go into upper mids where Supermoon pushes the vocals more forward and has more clarity which gives SM a more revealing upper frequencies tonality. And the same with a mid-treble where Supermoon has more energy while Andro is smoother and more polite in comparison. Another big difference is in sensitivity level where you need around 14-15 more clicks for Supermoon to match Andro level. And last but not the least, no hissing with SM, while you know how it goes with Andro.
Supermoon (v43) vs Solaris ’20 (v29) – Solaris gets closer in soundstage expansion and imaging of Supermoon, but I’m still haring SM to be slightly ahead, not by a lot, just a small margin. Solaris sub-bass has deeper extension than Andro, but still nowhere near the depth and the weight of the Supermoon sub-bass rumble. Supermoon lower mids are still leaner in comparison to Solaris, but Solaris by itself has leaner lower mids in comparison to Andro as well. Solaris 2k pina gain gives the sound more clarity and better retrieval of details relative to Andro, but Supermoon still scales it up a bit higher when it comes to upper mids. Solaris mid-treble is scaled down just a little below Supermoon, taking the edge of the treble energy. And the same as with Andro, lower sensitivity of Supermoon requires higher volume level, and you also get no hissing with SM.
Supermoon (v43) vs UM Mest MKII (v38) – I have no doubt many will be interested in this comparison. Both have a very similar 3D level of imaging and sound placement, but Supermoon soundstage width still stretches a little bit wider. Now, when it comes to the bass, they almost match each other with a very similar deep sub-bass rumble and a strong mid-bass impact. They also have a similar leaner lower mids, but it all changes around upper mids. The pina gain region is more pronounced in Supermoon, bringing vocals more forward while the mild U-shaped sound sig of Mest MKII pulls the vocals a little back. Now, even so Mest MKII mid-treble is not as elevated as in Supermoon, the contrast between its mids and treble makes Mest MKII sound crisper and brighter in upper frequencies. Opposite to that, Supermoon has more elevated mid-treble peaks which creates a better balance with its more forward upper mids pina gain region, making SM upper frequencies as revealing but not as crisp as MKII.
Supermoon (v43) vs 64 Audio Trio (v39) – And, if we are talking about the bass and the treble, there is no way to avoid a comparison with Trio. Here the soundstage and the imaging come very close. The depth and the elevation of sub-bass rumble is not too far off either, maybe with Supermoon having just a touch more sub-bass rumble, while Trio having a bit stronger mid-bass impact. They both have a leaner lower mids which creates a more definitive separation between the bass and the upper mids/vocals. Even their upper mids are quite similar, especially when you are listening and comparing the clarity and the retrieval of details. The biggest difference here is in mid- and upper treble where Trio is brighter, crisper, and harsher, while Supermoon treble sounds more natural.
Source pair up.
Supermoon has an average 15.5ohm impedance and lower sensitivity of 94dB which is still not too hard to drive. As you can see from the above comparisons, I did have to raise the volume by about 12-13 more clicks, but I found it to be OK with portable DAPs without a need for an external amp. Also, with all the DAPs no hissing was detected. For your reference, here are my brief pair up notes. And by brief, I just focus on any changes related to a sound sig and general tonality.
Lotoo PAW Gold Touch LPGT (baseline) – as previously mentioned, this is my baseline source where I hear a balanced signature with a clear detailed tonality and natural non-fatigue upper frequencies. Big soundstage expansion/imaging and hiss-free sound.
Shanling M9 – in this pair up I hear bass to be slightly elevated and noticeably punchier, and the same with mid-treble, being slightly elevated to give the sound a bit brighter and more revealing tonality. While it sounds smoother with LPGT, pair up with M9 brings back some of that upper frequency energy which you loose with foam eartips. Also, big expanded soundstage and hiss-free sound performance.
Sony WM1ZM2 – the pair up with 1ZM2 is almost like a crossover between LPGT and M9, you get a smoother more rounded low end performance and more revealing brighter upper frequencies. Still, all non-fatigue, big holographic soundstage, and pure black background with a hiss-free performance.
Cayin N8ii – this pair up is similar to M9 performance with a powerful punchy bass and very clear and detailed mids, and high-resolution revealing highs. That’s how it sounded with P+ boost enabled. Once I switch to lower output voltage P, the bass remained tight and powerful, but upper mids and lower treble became a little smoother and more organic. Soundstage remained the same, big and open, and I was still enjoying hiss-free performance.
iBasso DX320 w/amp11 mk2s – sounds very similar to N8ii with P+ output mode, having a powerful punchy bass and clear detailed mids along with resolving crisp treble. I still don’t find this to be fatigue, and I’m sure with amp13 it will be smoother and more natural. As expected, still a big holographic soundstage and hiss-free performance.
Hiby RS8 – this pair up is close to N8ii and actually sounds like being between P+ and P output settings. The bass is powerful and punchy, mids and treble are very natural, clear, detailed, a little more revealing than N8ii’s setting of P and a bit smoother than P+. I think this pair up hit a sweet spot for me. The soundstage is still big and expanded with holographic imaging. And, totally hiss-free performance.
With an exception of a recently introduced limited run Trifecta, Campfire Audio product portfolio includes many IEMs from $199 entry level and up to $1,500 flagships, including Supermoon. Just think about it, $1,500 high quality PMD flagship while some other brands have their entry level IEMs starting around $1k-$1.5k price mark. I think that is an accomplishment considering everything is designed, manufactured, and hand assembled locally in US, while keeping the price at a very reasonable level. But these IEMs are not just great because of their price, but the actual tuning and craftsmanship of the design.
While I’m curious to try now other PMD based IEMs, I can tell you with certainty that Supermoon set a very high bar with its textured deep DD-like bass impact, clear detailed mids, hi-res non-fatigue treble, and holographic soundstage expansion. Yes, my test unit is universal and I had to use foam eartips that made a world of difference. Unfortunately, my ears don’t work well with CIEM, and for those who are interested, CFA offers 2 different CIEM styles. But regardless of that, I really wish and hope for Supermoon to be released officially in universal shell to let more audiophiles discover this new gem from Campfire Audio.