Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artefacts/emphasized due to coupler resonance. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalized to my best abilities between earphones. Due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others.
As aforementioned, the Blessing 2 targets Moondrop’s VDSF signature that is, in many senses, a hybrid between Harman and diffuse field neutral. When getting this specific with tuning, do note that personal preferences will weigh in heavier in their interpretation as changes here are not so overt. The Blessing 2, much like the Starfield, presents a very balanced and linear sound with only small deviations from what I would consider to be neutral. In turn, it isn’t, this is a slightly bright leaning monitor and also a slightly vocal forward one. By extension, it doesn’t provide an especially full or smooth sound so take note if that is your preference.
Bass by all means is very even and it feeds gradually into a similarly even midrange that sees a progressive climb to 3kHz hump for pinna gain. It sounds a little more forward here than the Starfield and, in turn, is pushed slightly towards the forward and revealing side over organic and smooth. The highs too, are subjectively well done. The Blessing 2 measures smoother than the Starfield, but due to differences in its note presentation and a slightly more isolated 6k peak, appears slightly brighter leaning to my ears; albeit, I am a younger listener.
High frequency presence can be altered to some degree with fit depth, bore size and tip material. However, it appears that Moondrop have given this consideration with the stock tip design. We observe a cut out and step-down bore size reaching the sound output. This somewhat normalises fit depth in conjunction with the design of the shell. Though third party tips do allow for some leeway here, I didn’t find the overall signature as balanced and naturally voiced, I feel the stock tips best represent the intentions of the designers in this instance. I have frequently been recommended foam tips for a fuller, smoother sound and indeed this is the case. Though not for me personally, I think this is a great avenue for those that find the Blessing 2 too bright out of the box.
The low-end was my biggest qualm with the Starfield. It was well-tuned for sure, but also somewhat sloppy with a poor technical performance. The Blessing 2 handily appends this and introduces an even more linear tuning, especially in the sub-bass. I still hear and uptick of sub-bass weight here, albeit, this is similar to my personal impression with most Harman-ballpark earphones and isn’t too apparent coming from other hybrid or DD IEMs. Sub-bass extension is excellent as you would expect from a well-tuned DD, with a solid slam, slightly increased pressure, and well-defined rumble if not the visceral sub-bass you get from a higher end model.
Above lies a clean mid and upper-bass tuning and impressively smooth transition into the midrange. Due to the slight reduction in overall bass quantity, the Blessing 2 doesn’t come across as fuller or warmer relative to the Starfield despite having less of a lower-midrange dip. The tone is clean, the tuning linear and the timbre accurate. It also represents a hearty step up from the Starfield in terms of technical performance. And though not the best technical performer I’ve heard in this price range, the excellent tuning maximises the qualities you can hear from this driver. Note attack is concise if not especially agile or hard-hitting while decay is slightly on the quicker side.
This produces a very punchy sound with good dynamics and standout separation, permitting a nicely defined and textured mid-bass. Driver control could still be slightly improved, some competitors get away with a more coloured tuning while upholding similar detail retrieval; this would give the Blessing 2 a great advantage. Regardless, it cannot be denied that the Blessing 2’s bass note presentation is coherent and natural, especially for a hybrid. Again, I see very little complaint with the Blessing 2’s bass performance in isolation, it’s no TOTL performer but if such a tuning suits your preference, it represents a strong performer overall.
Here is where the Starfield redeemed itself; I praised its highly natural vocal range that was an aberration at its asking price. Intriguingly, even when stepping up a few price tiers, it’s still difficult to come by such a natural performer. The Blessing 2 thankfully falls from the same tree. Tuning transitions smoothly from the bass, delivering a good amount of body and coherence in the lower-midrange and an almost dead neutral tone; neither warm nor cool, showcasing impressive transparency. Vocal body is also essentially neutral as well, this is not a thin earphone and the voicing is natural without any dryness as a result. It skilfully represents the mastering style of each album without introducing its own colouration in the regards of tone and body. An uptick of density tempers any intensity or sharpness introduced by such a neutral style of tuning to good effect; it’s a bit more inviting than a lot of reference-target earphones to my ears as a result.
Small qualities are still apparent to the extent that I would consider the Blessing 2 slightly revealing. The 3kHz region sits a few dB forward and, in accordance, the vocal range too is slightly forward and comes across as very slightly strained – sans complementary warmth and body. This is an articulate monitor too, never sibilant but with sharp transients informing a highly defined and layered vocal image. This comes at the cost of introducing hints of rasp at times, despite increased density. I would consider these faults nit-picks as they won’t bother some as much as me – and they don’t bother me all that much despite my preference for a smoother, warmer sound. The beauty in the Blessing 2 is ultimately its refinement as, despite achieving neutrality in many regards, it never comes across as lifeless or sterile. This is a mostly transparent and faithful sound with an accurate timbre and carefully restrained colouration that enables it to remain engaging and inviting over longer listening.
Moondrop have done a sensational job implementing the SWFK tweeter setup here though do note that the presentation differs to the single dynamic Starfield by some degree. In particular, the 5kHz region has been tamed a little and the middle-treble is darker. In turn, the 6k region comes across as a little more isolated despite not possessing overt emphasis in and of itself. The Blessing 2 sports a sharp transient response with keen, swift note attack and these qualities in conjunction contribute to a crisp yet slightly thin instrument portrayal and slightly more aggressive detail presentation that draws the listener’s attention.
It isn’t brittle, fatiguing or strident, rather a crisp and slightly bright leaning monitor. The upside to this is that the Blessing 2 conveys a highly detail dense, concise and focused foreground. One that is contrasted to a clean background that doesn’t compete for attention but rather draws further focus to the fine details in the foreground. Percussion comes through clean and clear with an almost effortless fine detail presentation. The Blessing 2 is very organised and meticulous, able to deconstruct complex tracks with relative ease. Though extension and resolution of micro details clearly do not match a high-end monitor, they certainly punch above their price class and do so without resorting to overt brightness or peaks. The clean transient response is key, contributing to excellent separation and the aforementioned organisation and composure.
Above is a natural decay most apparent with cymbals that are presented without tizziness or metallic timbre. The dark background imbues apparent layers, and though it isn’t the most open and airy monitor, there’s plenty of headroom and background detail available to craft a convincing sense of distance and dimension; if not too much sparkle or top-octave energy. The Blessing 2 may be a touch thin and aggressive, but it offers an outstandingly nuanced foreground detail presentation whilst upholding simply good background micro-detail retrieval. It won’t be for those wanting a smooth sound, similarly, those wanting an atmospheric or high-energy top-end. Rather, this will appeal to those valuing strong detail retrieval and a crisp, clean yet well-balanced delivery, something not so easy to find.
The Blessing 2 provides a reasonably spacious if not overtly huge soundstage that extends just beyond the head in width and provides good depth projection. It’s a slightly oval presentation altogether and never claustrophobic. Imaging is a highlight, directional cues are very sharp and distance is accurately portrayed due to the linear tuning. Vocals are strongly centred and the presentation is organised into gradual, defined layers with an immersive lateral spread. Outstanding separation aids this impression alongside contributing to the effortless detail retrieval provided by this earphone. Neutral note size means enormous space isn’t required, and each element is given plenty of space to breathe. Notes are also well-defined and organised which helps the listener discern and appreciate each small detail. Nonetheless, due to the organisation and balance, coherence is good too, this is hardly a thin or sparse image as aforementioned. High marks!
With a 22-ohm impedance and 117dB sensitivity, the Blessing 2 is very efficient and doesn’t require much power to reach high volumes. With its complex filter system and driver setup, a quality source is still recommended, though it is impressively source agnostic since a lot of this is achieved acoustically.
Output Impedance Sensitivity
Switching between the Shanling M2X (1-ohm) and Hiby R6 (10-ohms) reveals that the Blessing 2 plays impressively well with higher impedance sources. There remained a mostly balanced and easily enjoyable sound from the Hiby. Bass was slightly more laid-back but similarly well extended, vocals were quite natural, a little thinner and more strained and highs were slightly more prominent. A low output impedance is ideal to uphold the delicately tonality intended by Moondrop, but those with a source of slightly higher impedance shouldn’t feel like they need to purchase a new device to drive this earphone.
The Blessing 2 does benefit from a little more output power. Switching from the Shanling to my THX 789 revealed a more physical sub-bass and slightly more controlled and defined bass in general. The desktop source also provided a larger stage but, especially, made a noticeable difference to imaging. The Blessing 2 scales well with more resolving sources. Still, it is more forgiving of most DD and hybrid earphones of low output power due to its balanced bass tuning that is less susceptible to becoming bloated or muddy. In terms of hiss, the Blessing 2 is not overly sensitive like some BA monitors, there was zero noise on the M2X that usually has a little hiss on sensitive monitors, even at the lowest volume setting.
Suggested Pair Ups
Due to the more transparent tone of the Blessing 2, it is quite revealing of subtle source colouration. This will of course, vary with user preference, but according to common consensus online and my own preferences, I enjoyed it most from smooth sources with a bit more body such as the Chord Mojo and the SMSL SU-9 and THX 789 combo I’ve been using with my desktop. More neutral sources such as the Khadas Tone Board and THX combo pushed it a little brighter. Similarly, though the Shanling M2X is a little warmer down low, it has a slightly forward detail region that also made the Blessing 2 sound a little brighter. A resolving source is recommended alongside a lower output impedance, but you can get away with a slightly lower quality source if your budget is stretched.
Moondrop Starfield ($109): TheBlessing 2 and Starfield are cut from the same cloth but do vary to an extent. The Starfield is a little softer around the edges, more forgiving, smoother and subjectively, more natural. Meanwhile, the Blessing 2 has a bit more of a vocal push and a slightly more aggressive bass and lower-treble despite being just as balanced overall. The Blessing 2 has a similar bass presentation but it’s much tighter with better extension and pressure. Mid-bass has a lot more definition on the Blessing 2, being smoother and muddier on the Starfield, driver control is simply much better. The midrange is actually a bit more natural on the Starfield, it has slightly less intensity in the upper-midrange and also a slightly smoother articulation.
By comparison, the Blessing 2 is a little cleaner with higher definition. Its vocals are slightly more forward and strained that said. The high-end is crisper on the Blessing 2 and more natural in body and tone on the Starfield. Albeit, the Blessing 2 is massively more detailed, the Starfield has a smoother note attack and misses a lot of fine detail by comparison. Both decay naturally, the Blessing 2 provides a lot more headroom and background detail. The staging tells a similar story, the Blessing 2 is more spacious in all axis and imaging is a lot sharper and more layered. It separates better due to its more defined transients and slightly higher contrast tuning.
Oriveti OH300 ($299): The OH300 is a similarly balanced but more W-shaped and forward. Its bass has similar extension but also more sub-bass kick and a slightly fuller mid-bass before a more recessed upper-bass and lower-midrange. Though fuller, the tone is similarly quite clean and driver control is better, it sounds a bit more defined than the Blessing 2, albeit, the Moondrop has better separation and timbre. The midrange is more natural on Blessing 2, the Oriveti has a more forward vocal range but also more bass and body. The Moondrop is clearly more linear and its timbre is more consistent track to track.
The Oriveti offers higher clarity and definition at the cost of sounding a little thinner and, at times, honkier. However, as it has smoother articulation, the Oriveti doesn’t sound sharp or overly intense to my ears. Up top, the Moondrop is just slightly brighter and crisper with more aggressive note attack. The Oriveti has a smoother lower-treble and 7k peak for detail presence. The Moondrop is more detailed and textured though the Oriveti is almost as clear with less sharpness and just a bit more air. The OH300 has a slightly wider soundstage and separation is almost as good, while the Blessing 2 offers a bit more depth and sharper imaging.
Periodic Audio Be Modded ($299): Covering the rear vent on the Be results in a highly balanced and coherent sound while still benefitting from excellent driver quality. It is similarly balanced overall but also a little warmer which subjectively makes the Be slightly more musical and widely appealing, while the Blessing 2 is more transparent and refined. The low-end extends similarly on both, the Be has a little more bass in general, especially mid-bass. In turn, it’s slightly warmer and fuller. The Be has better immediately better driver control, it sounds more separated and defined despite being warmer, though the Blessing 2 does still have a cleaner tone and slightly better timbre if sounding not quite as direct and focused in its note delivery.
The Be has a slightly warmer and smoother midrange albeit with a sharper articulation due to a 5k peak, I didn’t personally enjoy it with tape or fabric covering the nozzle either. Both have a natural voicing and excellent timbre, the Blessing 2 sounds a little more strained but also more accurately articulated, the Be a little more over-articulated but also smoother and not as forward. The treble is crisper and more up-front on the Be, more linear on the Blessing 2. The Blessing 2 is more detailed, the Be has less background detail especially. They have similar soundstage dimensions, the Blessing 2 has sharper imaging and slightly better separation, it’s biggest advantage is in the treble.
GAudio Nair (759 EUR): The Nair is much more expensive but hits a close DF-neutral tuning from a 3-BA setup. Actually, these earphones sound quite similar, the Nair is smoother and a bit more refined, the Blessing 2 has a deeper bass extension and slightly more energetic top-end. The Blessing 2 has slightly more bass, sub-bass especially and better extension with its DD. Both have excellent timbre, the Nair is quicker in attack and decay, it has better fine detail and texturing in the mid-bass but also lacks the same dynamics. The midrange is less forward on the Nair but since it has less bass too, the tone and body is quite similar. However, vocal positioning is more accurate on the Nair, similarly, it sounds a little more coherent.
The Blessing 2 has a bit more contrast, it’s slightly more forward and has slightly sharper articulation too. Both score high marks in timbre, the Nair has a slight edge, I think it will have more universal appeal in terms of its voicing. The treble tells a similar store, being a bit more even on the Nair with slightly better extension too. It has a more even lower-treble, so it has better body and isn’t quite as sharp. Both are very well detailed in the foreground, the Nair does so with better texture and body, however, it also has slightly better resolution and headroom. The Nair has a slightly larger soundstage and both image and separate similarly well.
I paid almost full price for the Moondrop Blessing 2 as this model has already been widely covered on the net. So, here’s a new perspective; how does my purchase feel as a consumer? I would say I am very satisfied.
It won’t replace my flagships, but I also wouldn’t feel it absolutely necessary to buy one had I started out with the Blessing 2. I think many buyers are jaded by price hikes in this industry, but the fact that flagships are becoming more prohibitive doesn’t mean the mid-tier price range has stagnated. In fact, these models are growing more holistic than ever, the Blessing 2 exemplifying this. Because it really makes no deal-breaking compromises in hitting its lower price point that would invoke a buyer to seek upgrade. Rather, it simply scales down technical performance.
The tuning is just about as balanced and natural as a high-end model so this isn’t felt quite as much, and the fit and isolation also score well. Under direct comparison, it does lack the treble extension to provide the sparkle and micro-detail high-end models can achieve, the bass could also be better controlled. But, even then, this is undoubtedly a well detailed earphone with standout imaging and separation. Being slightly bright leaning, it also won’t suit all; though lovers of a warm, smooth sound will find no shortage of competitors offering such. Still, few of these can create as well-rounded a package as the Blessing 2. This is a balanced and refined earphone that punches well above its asking price.
The Blessing 2 is available on HiFiGO and APOS Audio (International) for $319 USD at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with Moondrop or HiFiGO and receive no earnings from purchases through this link. Apos Audio is a sponsor of THL with which I am affiliated.
Track List –
Beck – Mellow Gold
Bob Segar – Night Moves
Brb. – Sorry That I Love You
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
Crush – NAPPA
Dire Straits – Communique
Dirty Loops – Next To You
Eagles – Hell Freezes Over
Elton John – Honky Chateau
Eric Clapton – Unplugged
Joji – Sanctuary
Nirvana – Nevermind
Pixies – Doolittle
Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
Radiohead – OK Computer
Rich Brain – The Sailor
Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride