Moondrop Aria 2021

ddmareo

New Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria - Still relevant in 2022?
Pros: Great aesthetics
Sweet vocals
Wide staging
Cons: Sounds somewhat thin
Bass lacks authority
Treble extension
Shouty vocals

Notes/Disclaimers​

The unit of Moondrop Aria that I tried belongs to a friend of mine, and I got the chance to hear it for myself. Keep in mind that I've tried it for quite some time, enough for me to make a review out of it. With that being said, I'll be going to skip the unboxing and accessories stuff. Last but not least, you can take my review with as much salt as you want because the unit that I tried has already been paired with a third-party cable (TRN cables if I'm not mistaken). Also, I didn't use the stock tips to audition the unit. I used Final Audio Type E instead.

For this review, I'm using iBasso DX160 with Lurker add-ons as my main source. You can also check out my IEM Ranking List to see where Moondrop Aria stands. You can also see the tracks that I usually use as benchmarks.

Low/Bass​

Based on the frequency response, Moondrop Aria has a good sub-bass extension. But when I have actually heard it, I have to say that bass is where Moondrop Aria falls short when compared to the other sets that I have. Don't get me wrong here, Moondrop Aria has a good bass texture and rumble, and not to mention, it doesn't get bloated to the point where it overwhelms the midrange/vocal. However, the biggest concern that I have when it comes to the bass is the overall depth. When I play tracks that are supposed to give this very deep bass such as Kitty Cat Adventure by Inori Minase and Himawari no Yakusoku by Motohiro Hata, Moondrop Aria doesn't represent the deepness and punchiness that I seek. It certainly lacks authority when it comes to that.

Mid/Vocals​

Moondrop Aria really excels in this department, especially when it comes to female vocals. On tracks such as Hikari by Lilas Ikuta, Moondrop Aria can represent the sweetness and heavenly vocals of the artist really well. Not only that, but they are also natural. Despite that, it doesn't have the most organic female vocals, because I can still notice some shoutiness in the vocals occasionally. Sometimes, it is very noticeable on emotional tracks such as Again by Beverly.

The vocals on the Moondrop Aria lean on the upper side, so male vocals come across as a bit thin and lack thickness. So at the end of the day, the part where Moondrop Aria really shines is within the female vocals.

High/Treble​

The treble on the Moondrop Aria is what separates it from other sets with harman-ish tuning. No, the lower treble is not being pushed, and it doesn't sound fatiguing at all. But as there is a boost in the upper treble area, you will notice that the treble on the Moondrop Aria can get airy, which is very unique and sometimes addicting. Cymbals don't sound artificial, and it has a good natural timbre. No metallic timbre can be found. Despite that, as it pursues a harman-ish tuning, Moondrop Aria still lacks a bit of treble extension.

Technicalities​

There's nothing impressive about Moondrop Aria when we talk about technicalities except the staging. The staging can get really wide when I play tracks such as Hotel California by Eagles (Live on MTV). The details are also pretty good but not that special. And for the rest (separation and imaging), it is fairly decent.

Comparisons​

Moondrop Aria ($80) vs Tin T2 Plus ($60)
I actually like the tuning on the T2 Plus more than the Aria. The bass is deeper and punchier, and the treble has better extension and also better airiness. Aria didn't give me the same open and spacious sensation that I get on my T2 Plus. However, when it comes to the vocals, Aria has better texture and control. Tonality aside, the technicalities on both are pretty much on the same level, except that Aria has wider staging and slightly better details.

jwilliamhurst

1000+ Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria (2021) Harmonious Coherency
Pros: Stage width
Deep Sub Bass rumble
Coherent SS
Acoustic Instrument presentation
Male Vocals
Fit and Isolation
Cons: Treble Dip
Lacking Mid Bass clarity
Smooth Female vocals
Lacking depth of stage
Smoothed over micro dynamics
Moondrop Aria

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*The Aria was supplied to me for Review by Audiotiers via Apos Audio and Moondrop. I was not paid nor given any incentive for my review*


Tech, Build, Design:

Aria shell is Injection molded and has a CNC processed brass cavity. A single 10 mm liquid crystalline polymer diaphragm dynamic driver.

This is a wonderful mid-tier iem that is designed with class and style. The design and build is top notch and has a good weight to the iem’s. They are superbly comfortable and non fatiguing. Coming in at under $100, the build and design far outweighs some of its competitors and exceeds many above the price point. The cable is a 3.5mm, 2-pin 0.78 silver plated copper, nylon braided sheathing and also looks quite nice. There are some micro-phonics, so if this is a bother, I would change out the cable, although I had no issues here.


Graph: *courtesy of crinacle*

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Preamble:

Moondrop is a brand that has been on the scene for sometime and most of us are quite familiar with. For those of you that are not, they are a Chinese company making some really great products usually based around the Harman tuning or some variation thereof. The Aria being no different. My very first iem ever was there very own Blessing 2, and it seems the Aria takes some of its signature from it, while not being a Hybrid driver set up.

The Aria at first listen is extremely pleasant and smooth. If this would’ve been my entry into the iem world, I would have been extremely happy. This is a very competent single DD iem. Where coherency is the name of the game. Let's dive a bit deeper.

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Sound:

As I stated the Aria has a variation on a Harman tuning, slight V shape signature that comes off pleasing with a good pinna gain. However given this gain, the Aria comes off warm and smooth without much harshness due to its impressive Sub-Bass shelf that coats the FR with a warmth that is very balanced.

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Bass:

This is my favorite part of this monitor, The sub bass reaches fairly deep and rumbles well. The mid bass is a little on the shy side but is punchy when needed. This is not a reference bass but very fun and quite addicting. There is a lack of definition and texture in the bass frequency as a whole but that is me nitpicking. Overall the bass is enjoyable and has a nice and natural decay however lacking in some detail.

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Mid’s:

Timbre is excellent. Male vocals and strings resonate beautifully with some texture and some good spacing and air between them. Resolution is average and the mid’s can often blend into the treble a bit making imaging a bit difficult to locate the players on the stage. With some concentration it pulls through but just barely. Center image is lacking with a very left to right sound and busy tracks can come off a bit intense with the upper midrange making me wince multiple times. Intimate and acoustic music works best with the Aria, where it really shows it strength in spades. Acoustic instruments and strings are rendered with eloquence coming off full and natural. This is probably my favorite aspect of this monitor, however electric guitars lack heft and swagger. Transients come off laid back which reminds me an awful lot of Oriolus Isabellae. There is a reverb effect due to a slower decay coming from the sub bass in the midrange that is very lovely, making the stage sound more live than studio. Female vocals come off sweet and smooth. I wish there was a bit more gain to give the female vocal back some of its gravitas.

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Treble:

Treble is a dry presentation across the board. I hear a bit of air but it is rolled off and at times comes off a bit blunted or muted, i.e. cymbal strikes do not resonate through, instead are cut off. This presents a brittleness, same with tambourine. However this does give the treble a more natural smooth feel at the sacrifice of severe treble dip. For many, this will not be a problem and for this tier the tuning is honestly quite admirable. Especially with a single driver doing all the work.

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Technicalities:

Layering is tough for this single DD to keep up with busy tracks but is still very competent. Macro Dynamics are above average but micro dynamics are smoothed over. Dynamics as awhole are average which at this tier is wonderful as some kilobuck and up monitors come off super flat. Separation is decent but can come off blended at times. Soundstage width is above average, where depth is lacking but not enough to distract me from enjoying the music. Imaging is not super accurate but I can place the stage if I concentrate. Aria resolves fairly well but suffers the most in the treble. Overall, a wonderful monitor for just enjoying the music without overthinking or analyzing. I could see this being a great monitor for working or taking a walk as it seals and isolates quite well.

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Thank you to Audiotiers, Apos Audio and Moondrop for the chance to review these game changers. These are gonna shake up the competition.


*Reviewed on Cayin n6ii R01 module using Uapp bitperfect and Desktop: Roon to Denafrips Pontus 2 with Topping A90…..Reviewed in complete Stock form, with stock cable and stock Large tips*


Music Used:


Ryan Adams and The Cardinals- Beautiful Sorta


GreenTea Peng- Dingaling


Eagles- Hotel California


Dave Holland- Hands


Lady Blackbird- Fix it


Gregory Porter- Brown Grass


Oh’Sleeper- We Are the Archers


The Cure- A Forest



James Blake- A limit to Your Love
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jwilliamhurst
jwilliamhurst
The graph does show air in the upper treble but I do not hear any air or sparkle. Thanks for the tip friend. :)
drftr
drftr
Is your 3.5 star rating an absolute one (compared to what you're heard) or relative to its price? I expect the former but please confirm.

drftr
jwilliamhurst
jwilliamhurst
I rated it as I heard it. There is no option for value rating on head-fi, that would be a separate rating from the 3.5 stars I gave it for its tuning, tech, build, etc..

VLAYAR

New Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria. An epic Aria about a Fabulous sound
Pros: Neutral amazing sound, Tembr, Bass, Design, Build, Ergonomic shell, Accessories, Presentation, Price
Cons: Small case
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Packaging, accessories, design, cable and shell materials, ergonomics of shell, build quality...on my 5-point Aria scale 7 points (like hotels in the Emirates). But with sound, everything is much more complicated
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Sound. In this case, it is very difficult to describe it, because the sound of Aria is my personal utopia. If these are the first or second medium-budget iems in your life, you will not appreciate them and will soon want a new sound and new iems/ headphones/ earbuds etc., but if you have already listened to at least 50 different iems, Aria will be a revelation for you from above. This sound immediately makes you fall in love
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Aria cannot be folded into a case and will be returned to her in a year. This is the magic of Moondrop. If you are at the beginning of this path, Aria will probably be something ordinary for you and you will say that I am lying. It is no coincidence that I often write about the truth, it is just important for me, but I am a person with my subjective patterns, relative hearing, excessive emotionality to everything beautiful and thoughtful
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Now about the sound in dry format lol. The sound is spacious, with a concentration on the perfect elaboration of the mid frequencies, from which you take your breath away, because it is the mid frequency that draws us the most mysterious images, and the bass and high frequencies emphasize and ennoble them, like a gold ring that emphasizes the beauty of a diamond. The bass is outlined, of sufficient depth, not protruding. The highs are velvety, concentrated, but also like the bass, in sufficient quantity not to disturb the overall balance of frequencies
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The overall sound and tonality are very balanced, shifted towards a warm neutrality. Imaginary scene is above average width
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I sank into epithets again, but the sound of Moondrop Aria leaves no other chance
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Highly recommend to all audiophiles. For beginners, I suggest buying something easier, this sound at the beginning of the journey may not impress you
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Appreciate the small and you will touch the great ©
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Link to store:
https://shenzhenaudio.com/

#SHENZHENAUDIO #MoondropAria #MoondropLab @shenzhenaudio @MOONDROP
leobigfield
leobigfield
Are you having a good seal? Maybe try some other tips, like the spinfit?
J
jeyesam898
Amazing shots dude, well composed and great colors
S
Shravan
I chose Moondrop Aria over TIN HiFI T3 Plus and ditched Starfields too, 😄 lol totally worth it. They are amazing. Thank you so much for your detailed input, it helped me to decide.

Kuncklehead ninja

New Head-Fier
Moondrop aria 2021 ; a solid iem
Pros: 1. Good overall package for its price.
2. A good warm signature , can listen to it for hours without any fatigue.
3. Easy to drive, even with a smartphone sounds good.
4. Durability - Well built with a metal body, can easily lasty longer.
Cons: 1. Included stock tips aren't that great, might need to end up spending extra for good tips.
2. Might be little too warm for someone who's expecting a close to neutral signature.
OVERVIEW:
Moondrop Aria is a 10mm single dynamic driver which is made up of Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragm double cavity magnetic coil, LCP might sound familiar to someone who remember the Sony's MDR - EX 1000 which also uses the same LCP driver (its driver is 16mm ) but it costs around 450 USD or even more , while the Aria comes at just the price of around 80 USD(official Moondrop price) and varies upto 10 or 15 USD more considering where you purchase it from. I'm in India and purchased it for Rs.7,490.
DISCLAIMER:
I'm writing this review for people who are thinking about getting the Aria as their first serious iem to get into the hobby of being an audiophile. The unit I'm reviewing is bought from my own money and has nothing to with anyone else in the world, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I purchased it from headphonezone.in .

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SPECIFICATIONS:

Socket : recessed 0.78 mm pin
Sensitivity : 122 dB/Vrms (@1kHz)
Impedance : 32 ohm +or- 15% (@1kHz)

PACKAGE AND ACCESSORIES:



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The Aria comes with good package for its price . The box has an anime girl on its cover , after you remove the cover you find the minimal looking box written Aria and has stripes which are in rose gold accent , the box has a magnetic lid when opened you can find the iem and below it the carry pouch, inside it you can find the eartips and the paracord cable. The carry pouch has a perfect size for carrying around in travel it also has a good had shell to protect the inside belongings, I personally like the cable very much for its minimal look , it isn't the best of tangle free cable out there but it does its job well with minimal tangle and I could live with it , as for the microphonics (the noise that gets transferred to ears when cable rubs on surfaces), it has very minimal to no microphonics due to the insulation around the cable near the iem where you wear it around the ear. It comes with 2 sets of tips for each sizes viz. small medium and large respectively(in the picture i forgot to include one pair of large tips). They even come with 6 replacement filters and tweezer to change it , which is very well done from their part , with these accessories along with the metal build of Aria , it can last pretty long with little care.

DESIGN,FIT AND COMFORT:

The design of Aria is one of the best out there, with its matte black finish and gold stripes it's easily the best looking iem in the market , especially the matte black finish is gorgeous . Fit really comes down to the eatips thats used , the stock eatips isn't a great one unfortunately. The eartips can also alter the sound quality to an extent so I recommend anyone buying Aria to swap the eartips for a quality one , which atlast ends up costing more but its worth the upgrade nonetheless, but if one finds the included tips to fit well , thats a huge win since the density of the included tips is perfect for aria to sound very smooth. If you want a smooth relaxing sound out of aria I would recommend to get a light density eatip. The ergonomics is very good , its not too big and not too heavy but it isn't the lightest of weight either , as it's a metal body it does have some weight to it but shouldn't be a problem once you get a good fit with the eartip.

DRIVEABILITY:

The Aria is definitely a easy to drive iem , which can easily be powered well and sounds very well with a smartphone with decent DAC or with a good DAC dongle since many phone brands ditched the audio jack .

BURN IN:
I'm a person who doesn't have the patience to burn in headphones for hours , I like to use them as soon as I buy them, but in case of Aria , Moondrop specifically gave instructions in the manual to burn them for 100 hours. So I patiently did that and also listened to them in between in the process and noticed that the imaging started to improve after crossing 50 hours burn in and soundstage opened up a little or it maybe my perception because of the improved imaging but the point is it did improve quite well after burn in.

SOUND QUALITY:


1.VOCALS:
I would like to specifically talk about the vocals first as this is a part where the Aria's must be really appreciated. I personally give more importance to the vocals in a song as they give the song a life . The vocals sounded in a good depth , not too recessed, and not too forward, the vocals have a good body to them you can get the feel of airiness especially in the female vocals which as they are higher in frequency compared to male vocals and Arias tend to perform well in the female vocal region. Its very good for the price range and definitely the best compared to many others in the market
2. BASS
It has good amount of bass, they sound tight. The sub bass is well present and can go quite deep, the bass doesn't hinder the upper frequencies in any way which is a win in my books. But the bass can definitely be a little too much for someone who expects a neutral signature but even then they won't ever feel its too much. I personally hate bass and prefer it too be very subtle and smooth as possible but I can appreciate the bass in Aria as it doesn't affect the other frequencies in any way at all. Even in tracks like Dreamland 2021 album by Zhu which has very bass heavy songs, you can hear the other frequencies well . So bass I would say is of a good quality and amount that can be very much appreciated by anyone from bassheads to neutral tone lovers.

3.MID RANGE:
The Aria performs even better in the midfrequency than the bass, the good instrument separation and imaging adds even more delight to it. The instruments sound very natural with a good timbre. Its a very relaxed pleasantful experience. The strings of guitar, beat of drum all sounded natural and pleasing , one could just sit and listen to any song with lot of instruments in midrange and appreciate it all day long. The overall presentation of the mid range can be quite back seated a little bit in the whole signature as the Aria is tuned to the Harmon curve , but its nevertheless well presented and everything in the midfrequency can be heard clearly.

4.TREBLE:
This is the place where Aria shines the most but that said , the eartips used affects the treble performance to a good amount , so one should be cautious about it . Using a wide bore tip with dense silicone can increase the Treble to an extent , the treble in Aria has a good energy to it , but it doesn't have any sibilance or doesn't hurt your ears in anyway , it may not be the most sparkling treble out there but its the best for its price point. The most important thing in an iem is to sit and listen to it for long time without any fatigue , the high frequencies in some iems cause quite a fatigue and that isn't the case in Aria. You can increase the volume and you will only want to increase it more and more with the Aria as it never hurts to do so . The treble has airiness, doesn't fatigue you at all provided you have a good eartip and fit to experience it

5.DETAIL RETRIVAL:
It isn't the most detail retrieving iem out there but it amazes you quite well, you could hear a good amount of details which you couldn't hear in low end iems but too much detail isn't always good , but for those who require it the Aria can do decently well in that too

6.SOUNDSTAGE AND IMAGING:
As mentioned earlier the soundstage and imaging are very good and even performs way above its price point. It has good amount of height and width to it and good imaging to add on top of it. You could pickup clearly where each instrument is sounding from.

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CONCLUSION:
Overall aria is a all rounder which satisfies everyone who buys it, it does adapt very well to equalizer , you get a good package with all those accessories one can use aria for a very long time easily with a little care. At this price point I think it should be in everyone's inventory from beginner audiophiles to veterans . You can always tweak the aria to your needs and make them sound according to your preference as they perform very well in all categories. Finally I would say its worth every penny and anyone who buys it would never regret it.
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L
Lolofreak
@Kuncklehead ninja I am from india too and bought the iem in headphone zone can you suggest me a good dac for this like with good micro details too priced around 5k.
cracked
Shanling ua2 or the hidizs s9 pro are the best dongle dacs (actually u don't need more than that), for bluetooth just close your eyes and buy fiio btr5 (2021version) if possible, I'm personally using s9 pro dac and it's just awesome.
Kuncklehead ninja
Kuncklehead ninja
@Lolofreak sorry for the late reply I hadn't checked the forum for a while for dac I would suggest you to check this out https://andyaudiovault.com/100-dongles-battle-royale/ this is the biggest data out there for dacs many of them are also available headphonezone if not then check them on theaudiostore.in you may find whatever missing on headphonezone there

cappuchino

Previously known as sub30
Pros: Female vocal bliss
Neutral treble response
Exceptional technicalities for a single-DD at 50 USD. Decent at 79.99 USD.
Weighty yet comfortable and good-fitting shell (it also looks sick, personally speaking)
Generous number of accessories
Cons: Stock cable shouldn’t be like this in this price range. It’s downright bad and annoying.
Reported cases of paint-chipping
Harman bass response (sub-bass over mid-bass) - preference-dependent
Note weight
Limited listening volume due to upper midrange elevation (tolerance-dependent)
Disclaimer:

I would like to thank Ms. Cloris and Moondrop for providing a review unit of the Aria. Rest assured that my impressions written in this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions and in no way influenced by outside parties.

I am not an expert in this hobby nor claim to be an audiophile. I just love listening to music and am fond of writing articles.


Introduction:

The Moondrop Aria is arguably one of, if not, the most hyped IEM this 2021. It uses a single LCP-diaphragm dynamic driver, with an impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 122 dB. Selling for 79.99 USD (cheaper in some sites, like 30 USD cheaper). Does it live up to the hype or have we all become cult followers of the “Harman” tuning.


Oppo Reno 4 > Earstudio HUD100 MK2 (bypass, high power) > Transducer

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The Moondrop Aria is easy to drive and doesn’t require further amplification. A phone will do.


Build and Comfort:
A safe shell design that should work for most ears without any comfort issues. It’s actually perfect, in a sense – not too small where it has an unsecure fit, nor too large where it becomes too bulky to use. Just the right size.

It feels weighty and has that premium-feel from the cold metal shell. Colorway is subjective, but with my taste, it does look nice. I forgot to mention, it uses a 2-pin connection which worked with all the cables I have on hand without any problem.

Nozzle is of average width and above average length without a lip. I didn’t encounter any issues with this design and the tips I rolled with. YMMV.

Now, for the cable. OH, THE CABLE. Why is it a good idea to push through a thin, 2-core, braided and sleeved cable? It’s a tangly mess, annoying to use, and comes with all the kinks you can think of with a “bad” cable. There have also been cases of the sleeve itself fraying. 2-pin connectors have plastic housings, splitter and slider are metal with the splitter having Moondrop-branding, and the jack’s housing is metal with a very generous strain relief (L-jack).

Average isolation.


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Package: 6 pairs of silicone eartips. Moondrop-branded hard case. Tweezers. Extra filters (2 types).



Now, onto sound:

For this review, the IEM was left in stock mode, without any modification/s other than a cable change (TinHifi T5 stock cable) for usability purposes and a tip change (preference and fit - dependent). It has also been “burned-in” (putting an emphasis on quote-unquote) for more than 150 hours just for the sake of complying with the instructions from Moondrop themself (exceeding the indicated hours, even). I didn’t do any serious listening for more than three song throughout the entire “burn-in” process as I wanted to avoid any form of placebo that something did “change” with “burn-in” which may affect my judgement. Listening volume at low-medium.

This review was done with the Aria’s selling price of ~50 USD as that is the price I have access to here in SEA.
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Bass:
Let’s do quality before quantity first. It’s decently controlled for the most parts with enough texture and detail to not sound smoothened-out and is of the fast attack and moderate decay. Extension is more-than-good and will work with any song that utilizes lower bass frequencies. Now, for the quantity – Harman bass is not for me. There’s just something wrong with the elevation of the sub-bass. It randomly jumps at you and will be overbearing in some tracks. It also consumes the other bass frequencies where you start hearing nothing but sub-bass depending on the song. Mid-bass lacks weight and is overly light which is a bad thing especially with drums appearing to have inadequate body and bass guitar and the like being exceedingly too clear and weight-light (might be good for some, but unnatural for me). I do understand that this tuning is based on the mass-preference in this modern age, and putting myself in their shoes – it will definitely play well with modern songs and get you engaged with that sub-bass-driven music (club, music festival, party and the like). Definitely provides those “hard hits” necessary for that kind of music.

Midrange: The Aria’s allure and it’s fatal flaw. I’m dividing this into two parts – 1. midrange to upper midrange, and 2. male vocal region (and lower midrange). Generally speaking, there is a great sense of clarity with the midrange presentation, with it being well-defined and textured, giving this energetic color to the music. For the first part, it is very transparent with excellent articulation and “alive” factor. The Harman female vocal is something I adore with a passion. Especially at lower listening volumes, there’s just this sense of intimacy, emotion, and breathiness with the presentation of the female vocals that is different from any other tuning. Definitely one of, if not, the most appealing feature of the Aria. I didn’t encounter any shoutiness or harshness with my tolerance levels and listening volume. Now, with the male vocal presentation (lower midrange and such), there’s just no other way to describe it other than unpleasant for my preferences. it’s slightly recessed compared to female vocals, sounds overly clear, dry and lacks body (lean). If you like that type of presentation, then I guess it’ll do just fine. Personally, it doesn’t work with what I need and want.

Treble: Very mature tuning (read: neutral-ish) with a delicate presentation. It’s a gradual slope following the neutral curve and you will not be left out with any part of the treble region (decent but nothing noteworthy air extension). With that, it also avoids any peaky-ness, sharpness, or fatigue with listening for longer sessions. Nothing much else to talk about here, honestly speaking, other than if you’re looking for an energetic, airy, or lively treble response, then the Aria’s not for you because the Aria’s treble is of the smoother and more neutral side (might be dull and boring for some).

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Timbre:
LCP-diaphragm sounds natural with no metallic tint to it and is quite organic-sounding. No problems here.

Soundstage, Imaging, and Separation: Variable. IF we don’t listen to songs that utilize lower-bass frequencies, the Aria presents music in a “free” manner, with instruments and vocals having abundant space to move around in all dimensions. Introducing the elevated sub-bass fills-up the stage and becomes something of the average presentation in its price range. Decent, but nothing exceptional. Imaging, meanwhile, is a different story. The movement and placement of instruments in the soundstage is easily noticeable and quite focused. The driver can also handle busy and complex tracks, maintaining definition all throughout the listening experience… if there’s no sub-bass to distract you.

Detail-retrieval: The tuning of the upper midrange to treble-proper allows the Aria to render as much detail as it can (especially macrodetail) without sounding overly analytical. Microdetail is not as present as macrodetail (though still perceivable) due to the neutral tuning and the non-emphasis in the necessary frequency regions.

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Conclusion:


For 79.99 USD, I’d think twice unless you really adore Harman and don’t mind its one-too-many flaws in the bass and midrange. But for ~50 USD on sites like Shopee and Lazada, and if you’re a sucker for female vocals, it climbs a lot of floors up the building. Just try to avoid listening with male vocals if you’ll buy the Aria 😐 Oh, and do consider if you like or can tolerate Harman bass.




****If you have other questions/concerns with the IEM mentioned, feel free to message me****​
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tendou
tendou
Hi. Any suggestions for iem that do both female and vocal well? Aria looks like lacking in male vocal
cappuchino
cappuchino
Hi, @tendou . That's gonna be rare at the price bracket of the Aria. Although, I can think of one IEM that does both at the very least decently without any lacking frequency (still a bit recessed) and even cheaper - KZ DQ6 with foam/filter mod. @RikudouGoku has the latest mod (using Tanchjim filter) and a YT video shows the 1st version of the mod (earbud foam). Only catch is that you'll need to be open to adding some sort of filter that acts as a dampener to the upper midrange-lower treble. I personally currently use a Moondrop filter. Hope this helps 😁/

Forgot to mention, you also have to use any eartip other than the ones the DQ6 comes with 'cause those are trash.
tendou
tendou
Thanks! I'm not sure if I can mod them. Right now I'm using KC2 and it's good for both male and female vocal. Aria should be better but it will bug me if the make vocal lacks body compared to them.

hitchhiker

New Head-Fier
Pretty good mid-fi performer
Pros: Good performer for most genre with its mild V shaped signature
Decent stage
Comfortable
Scales well with amping
Cons: Slightly shouty in upper mids and treble
Not much of a sparkle on the upper end
Slight aliasing on fast tracks
Disclaimer : I am reviewing the Moondrop Aria as part of the Hifigo review tour. The opinions are purely mine and dont involve any cash or kind compensation

Overview The Aria (2021) has been a well hyped and received iem from Moondrop, featuring a Liquid Crystal Polymer based single DD in a beautiful anodized shell. It is a good overall performer across genre and does not offend anyone with its sound or pricing.
https://hifigo.com/collections/moondrop/products/moondrop-aria-2

Package and cable

The review package was the iems with the paracord sleeved SPC cables in a 2-pin configuration and memory wires near the earpiece. The iem came in a standard clamshell fabric box with additional tips. Fairly standard.

The cable did carry a bit of an odour due to the long review tour, otherwise doing a decent job. The cables after the Y-split did carry over some out of shape wire windings, carrying some memory of usage. There was no microphonics from the cable, which is great!

signal-2021-09-07-175231_001.jpeg


Sound


Source : Hiby R5, Lusya Fever dac > Quickstep Corda amp with Tidal Masters- Both sources are not colored and allow me to review the iem from a neutral standpoint.

The 10mm LPC diaphragm driver provides plenty of slam in the lower end and has a decent amount bass slam. I enjoyed the drums in Midnight Sky cover by Miley Cyrus, just foot tappingly enjoyable.

The synth sections are handled well without any jarring or sibilance. There is no trace of sibilance even on bad songs, making them ideal for poor recordings as well as good recorded tracks.

Einaudi's Lady Labyrinth (Live) had sufficient layering and width to warrant a good listen to the track. While the positioning was not pin point accurate, they sounded fairy cohesive, weaving a nice blanket of sound. The stage depth and height were slightly small, but sufficient to enjoy the music on its own.

Janine Jensen's Vivaldi did pick out chinks in the armour of an otherwise excellent iem. Cello/bass was well represented and juicy with the rendering. The violins were good too. However there was a bit of shoutiness in the upper mids/treble regions for certain sections. In the fast sections, the Aria did falter a bit at the fastest sections, with a little muddiness creeping in.

Vocals are fairly forward. A lot of the vocal details are well pronounced. Daler Mehendi's Tunak Tunak Tun had me dancing to his excellent singing and music.

Comparisons

Vs KZ ZAS

The KZ Zas is at the same pricepoint as the Aria. While the fit is quite similar, the KZ differs by using hybrid multi-driver approach against the single DD of the Aria. The bass slam on the KZ is stronger, with excellent treble energy. The Vocals on the Aria are slightly forward than the KZ. It is a matter of preference between the two and you will not be wrong for choosing either.

Vs Starfield
The slightly more expensive sibling of the Aria is slightly brighter and has a smaller low end. The Aria slams more. Again, they are complementary and fill different niches. Again you will not go wrong with either.

Conclusion

The Aria is an excellent iem that fills in the shoes of earlier stalwarts like the Kanas Pro and the iBasso IT01. The signature is in the same ballpark and offer good replacement options with good sound and nice fit.
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mRaaghava

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good Performance Across Spectrum
Very Good Build Quality
Very Good Fit & Isolation
Cons: Lacks Energy in Mids & Treble
Moondrop Aria Review

Disclaimer


Aria 2.jpg


Moondrop Aria has been provided to me for review purposes as part of HiFiGo’s India review tour. I am in no way related to them nor work for them. All my impressions are subjective to my listening capabilities and the gears used. You can buy Aria from the link given below:

https://hifigo.com/products/moondrop-aria-2

About

Aria 5.jpg


Aria is the latest budget IEM from the brand Moondrop. Moondrop is a well-known Chinese brand, which got great acclaim in audiophile circles with some great products that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Right from their successful debut IEM, Kanas Pro to their latest Variations, all have got good reputation.

Fit & Finish

Aria 3.jpg


Aria is their latest 80$ IEM, in which a single 10mm single dynamic driver does the duty. Aria has an impedance of 32 ohm and is quite easy to drive. Aria is made with matte-finish CNC machined metal in black color with nice design on its faceplate. Fit is very good and does provide good isolation. Finish is very good. Provided cable is wrapped in cloth material and is not of the best quality.

Sound Impressions

Aria 6.jpg


Bass

Aria has decent amounts of bass, has nice sub bass rumble. Mid-bass is decent. Decay is fast and bass doesn’t go deep. Though there is decent amounts of rumble is present to make Aria enjoyable, a little more depth would have been nice.

Mids

Female vocals sound clean and natural with good extensions. Mids have good amounts of details. Male vocals sound natural. It has natural timbre and tonality. But, it lacks in energy. Overall, mids aren’t energetic enough to make it engaging.

Soundstage, Imaging & Separation

Aria has good width compared to depth and height, which are average at best. Imaging is good. Instrument separation is decent, slightly congested during busy tracks. Cymbals sound clear and crisp. Detail retrieval capabilities are quite decent. Resolution and dynamics too are at decent levels.

Treble

Treble too carries same kind of energy from mids. It doesn’t get extended well enough to make Aria sound airy or sparkly. There's lack of energy and sparkle here, that makes treble a little boring. Treble has decent amount of details.

Overall, Aria does everything good, but not enough to make it stand out from the lot. Probably, sound is subjective, but I would have wished Aria to have better extensions in upper mids and treble and that bass go deeper than what's there in Aria.

Verdict

Overall, Aria didn’t sound to me like any other Moondrop products I tried like Kanas Pro, Blessing 2 and even their first TWS, Sparks. It doesn’t have that typical Moondrop house sound. It sounds different, but in the end, it neither disappoints nor excites. It’s somewhere in between. It would have been even better if Moondrop added little more energy all through.
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Kathiravan JLR

New Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria - They done it AGAIN!
Pros: Non Fatiguing Sound Signature
Full bodied Vocals
Excellent Build and Design
Price
Cons: Average Extensions of Frequencies
Dark Sound Signature (Subjective)
Moondrop is a chinese earphone manufacturer with a wide variety of earphones retailing in the market. They are one of the richest chinese audio manufacturers and have produced some acclaimed earphones like the KXXS, Starfield, Blessing 2 etc. To acquire the sub 100 usd market they released the Aria with the price tag of 79 USD. Let’s see whether the aria stands up to the sound of the highly praised Starfield in this review.



SPECIFICATIONS:

Driver Unit: LCP liquid crystal diaphragm-10mm diameter double cavity magnetic.

Diaphragm Dynamic unit.

Headphone Socket: 0.78pin.

Impedance: 32 ohms.

Sensitivity: 122dB/Vrms (@1kHz)

Frequency response: 5Hz-36000 Hz.

DISCLAIMER:

This unit is not purchased by me and it’s been provided to me as a part of Hifigo review circle and thank the Hifigo team for giving me this opportunity to test the aria out and provide my views on them. The statements I have made here are completely my point of view and nobody has influenced me to write up the review. The views may change from person to person since the Audio is completely subjective and also depends on the source and gears we use.

DESIGN AND FIT:

The design language of the Moondrop is always neat and minimalistic, no eye catchy faceplates or weird shapes, it’s just straight to the point. The full color of the earphones are black themed which is matt black! I love this matt black since they don’t attract fingerprints and sweat. The faceplate has gold stripes which gives that rich feel to the earpieces also providing subtle appearance. The faceplate and the body are seamlessly attached and no creaks are observed which indicates the Quality Control of thE Moondrop team.


There are two pressure vents near the nozzle area and the nozzle is of average length. The nozzle has no lip hence if you are using some aftermarket eartips they might not get a tight fit with the Aria but still the width of the nozzle is pretty wide and they can hold the eartips in place. The filters on the nozzle can be replaced too since they provided a set of replaceable ear filters.

They are connected to the cable via the 2 pin 0.78mm connectors which are recessed and thus prevents the breakage of the cable pins. The cable is average in quality, they are cloth braided hence the durability is very nice but the tangle issues are very much there. Since they are not smooth to touch and have that sticky feel they get tangled very easily. The splitter is made of a sturdy shell with Moondrop branding on it. They are terminated at 3.5mm with a L shaped jack.

The fit is average in my opinion even though they are pretty much light weight. The shells are not that ergonomically shaped to cover all the parts of your ear thus the isolation is pretty average to me. They still were able to absorb a big amount of external noises in your ears even with very tight seals. The shell of the Aria doesn’t settle in my concha instead they just slightly dangle and hey everyone’s ears are different hence this might vary for you.

The carry case is very good where it’s different from generic circular carry cases which have smooth texture attracting a lot of sweat and fingerprints. Instead this is rough textured thus prevents scratches with gold lettered Moondrop branding over it. The gold colored zipper made the case look even premium.


SOUND:​

The overall sound signature of the Aria is towards balanced sound. It has tuned to attain the Harman Curve and actually i’m not a big fan of Harman Curve since it has emphasized upper mids. But thankfully the Aria doesn’t have that upper mid emphasis. They have a nice balanced sound with non fatiguing sound overall with smooth treble. Even then this is not my preferred choice in this price range. Let’s discuss in detail about that in this review by going in depth discussing each frequency performance.

SOURCE:​

The aria is quite easily driveable since it has 122dB od sensitivity with 32Ohm impedance. I have used my iPhone XR with Zorloo Ztella MQA Dongle.

BASS:​

The bass is elevated overall which i like it more but the implementation is not my liking. The sub bass is average and those rumbles still lack the attack and slam. Since the bass decay is faster the rumble cant be felt evidently. Of course for balanced listeners this might be a pro for them but if you are a basshead then forget this set.

The mid bass is more warm to my taste. Sometimes the more warmth causes the vocals to be sounding muffled and the instruments get lost in the mid bass excess. The excess mid bass warmth makes the sound very intimate and lacks the lively feeling.


The sub bass is extended well and has that small subtle rumble but can’t be felt evidently. They just come whenever the track calls for it. The slam is not very strong here. It sounds dull and boring.

The texture is average and the separation and resolution in the low end is not up to the mark. I had some higher expectations in the bass department but till now this doesn’t satisfy me in the low end.

Overall if you are a balanced sound seeker then this will be a great pick for you but still the texture and resolution is pretty average for the price. If you are a basshead then please forget this earphone since even though they have a good quantity of bass still i find the quality to be inferior. When the busy and complex bassy tracks hit then this one struggles in the separation and resolution in the low end.

Tracks Used:

  1. The Demon Dance – Julian Winding
  2. Teardrop – Massive Attack
  3. Positive Shadow Negative Light – Behind the Shadow Drops

MID SECTION:​

The mid section is brought forward here which is a welcoming factor. The vocals are placed well in the centre with the instruments in the background layered very well. They have nice tonality overall with no timbre issues, if not one of the best tonally great earphones for the price. The timbre is natural and the guitar strikes are pretty natural with delicious piano tones. The drums sound very natural and clean. No robotic or anemic sounds of the instruments.

The issue I found in this earphone is that there is no engaging factor or the WOW factor which separates it from the other earphone in this price segment. They lack energy and sparkle in the mid section. The vocal sounds very natural but there is no engagement and sparkle in the voice. They are tuned to appeal to the smooth and non fatiguing vocal likers hence this might be a great pick if you belong to that category.

Overall the midsection is very smooth, natural tonality and timbre with no harshness in the voice. The layering is done well with instruments in the background. The separation and detail retrieval are very much average and nothing to brag about.

Tracks Used:

  1. Barbados – Ame Domnerus
  2. The Blowers Daughter – Damien Rice
  3. ME! – Taylor Swift

TREBLE:​

The treble has a very non fatiguing nature, You can’t find any harshness even if you are very much sensitive to it. There are no weird peaks observed and overall they are very smoothed out. They don’t have air in the upper end and sound very dull and bland. They don’t have the sparkle and energy in the upper end hence feels lifeless and very boring. The cymbal strikes natural and smooth with natural tonality.

The only positive thing I can see here is the non fatiguing nature. It surely lacks in the detail retrieval, resolution and sparkle in the upper end.

Tracks Used:

  1. Counting Stars – One Republic
  2. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
  3. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

TECHNICALITIES:

SOUNDSTAGE: The soundstage is pretty good in terms of width but in the depth and height they are pretty average. The depth is lacking pretty much hence feels very shallow and intimate. The width however gives enough room for instrument placement and air in between the instruments.

IMAGING: The imaging is pretty good and can easily pinpoint the instruments where they are placed. They nicely sweep from left to the right with nice transitions between the channels.

The detail retrieval is not up to the mark. Since they lack air the lively feeling is lost and cant be able to bring out the subtle instruments sounds hence the detail seems very much lacking.

Tracks Used:

  1. Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
  2. Roundabout – Yes

VERDICT:​

Aria, the latest budget offering from the Moondrop is one of the best in terms of sound quality that you can get for the price. They have a nice build with CNC machined aluminium with subtle design language in the faceplate. The sound is very relaxing and non fatiguing with a warm and balanced sound signature. They tuned this in-ear monitor to attain the Harman Target curve which follows the 2021 version. The soundstage is average and the technicalities wise I’m not impressed with this, the separation is average and the sub bass impact is not up to the mark but if you are not a bass addict then this can sound very beautiful to you. The mid sections are not as forward as the starfield where this is being kind of laid back lacking the air in between the instruments thus not providing the lively feeling. The treble is very smooth and has less extension, the detail retrieval is very good for the price.

If you prefer very relaxed sound signature with warm mid section and subtle rumble then this is your best bet! This thing is made exclusively for people who loves the non fatiguing sound with nice warmth in the vocals with good bass response. Overall this is a definite pick for relaxed addicts.

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Antick Dhar

New Head-Fier
A musical Nirvana
Pros: -A warmer sounding bass note that is close to the Harman target curve
-Excellent Fit and comfort
-Deep Punchy Bass response with Top notch layering
-Excellent timbre
-Balanced performance
-Depth of soundstage
-Relaxing & non fatiguing treble
-The filter replacement is included
-At a fair price
Cons: -Mids from the Starfield position could have made this an excellent IEM.
-Soundstage is average and The stage needed to be wider.
Introduction
Moondrop Lab was founded in 2014, and was incorporated in China. Their most recent single DD IEM, the Aria, and Aria Aria recital is all available for $79.99 USD. The Aria is their first commercial release and has previously been released.

Disclaimer
My appreciation goes to Cloris from ShenzhenAudio for providing me this opportunity, and my opinion of the record will be based on my honest musical choices.

Unboxing (Package & Accessories)
The box can be carried by having a carry handle placed in the center of the box. Moondrop uses a vivid illustration on the cover with the brand name, model name, and other relevant information. Inside the black box there are the golden lines patterns, as well as the IEM itself which is situated in the foam.img-1.jpeg
Accessories list:
-Moondrop Aria 1-Pair In-Ear Monitors
-One cable with two attached ends.
-Black silicone ear tips 6 pairs
-Metal Screen and Filters in 3 pare
-A single pair of tweezers (for filter replacement)
-1 zipper-carrying case
img-5.jpeg

Design & Build & Comfort

The Aria has a well-designed shell that is both comfortable and functional. The faceplates and shells are completely constructed of metal and coated in a matte black finish. On the faceplate, there are a few golden strips that cross each other and are ornamented, giving it a distinctive appearance. The words "Aria" are written in gold on the golden front of the shells, which is situated on the backside of the shells. There are no L&R indicators visible on the vehicle. There are two vents on the shells, one of which is situated on the back towards the rear side of the shells and the other which is located near the nozzle of the rocket.
The Aria's fit is excellent, owing to its well-designed, ergonomic outer shell. The nozzle has a reasonable length, which allows it to sit comfortably and securely in your ears. There is a small improvement in isolation above average, and the vents prevent pressure from building up after a lengthy period of listening.
Technical specifications:
Driver Type: 10mm Dual-Cavity Magnetic Dynamic Driver with LCP diaphragm material
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz (Effective frequency range 5Hz-36kHz)
Sensitivity: 122db/Vrms (@1kHz)
Impedance: 32 Ohm

img-3.jpegimg-4.jpeg

Sound Section

Source- iFi Hip Dac & Pairing with Final E series ear tips

Tonality

A warmer sounding bass note that is close to the Harman target curve

Bass.
The sound has a powerful thump and slam to it, with the bass taking center stage. The bass has a lot of texture and air to it. The bass is not only of a good quality, but it is also of great quantity. Even though the bass is far under the levels of bassheads, it has a full-bodied feel.

Mids

Clean and crisp mids are present. Tone is more neutral in character and may be described as slightly warmer. But Mids from the Starfield position could have made this an excellent IEM. Most of the male voices that we hear are quite impressive; the heaviness is there, and that provides clarity to the listener's understanding of the singer's weight. However, the females' vocals were superior.


Treble
Treble is fairly bright, but it's offered free of fatigue. The bottom treble has a nice level of strength which is presented smoothly.

Soundstage and imaging
A wide soundstage presentation is provided by Moondrop Aria, which also has outstanding instrument separation and layering. The duo presents them in an open, broad manner, with a strong feeling of depth on the stage. Comparing the pair to comparable IEMs in their price range, they perform very well in terms of layering, imaging, and other dynamics.img-2.jpeg



Comparison
vs BLON BL-05S -


-When it comes to build quality, Moondrop's Aria takes the cake, but the BL-05S has become less of a turn-off in recent years. Increased comfort and isolation, as well as improved comfort, are all provided by Moondrop. In terms of color palette, the Aria is more appealing.
-Timbre better on Aria
-I found the Aria 2 to be much simpler to listen to, both with great comfort and excellent isolation, as well as being better bass response and extension.

-The BL-05S features a heightened upper-mids presence for better clarity. With the Aria having a better bass response, the bass on the BL-05S suffers. Despite the overall increase in bass, upgrading to the Aria just because you want more “thump” in the lows is completely unnecessary. The BL-05S is a good voice microphone and for electric guitars. The BL-05S has a greater quantity of sparkle.

When you want a more smoother experience, try for Aria. BL-05S for the metal/rock recordings

Conclusion
Music lovers will appreciate the Aria since it is a smooth and well-tuned iem that will satisfy the majority of users who listen to a wide variety of musical genres.

Furthermore, the total technical performance and sound quality are much superior to the asking price, and the device should certainly be included in your short list of options.

It's hard to find another IEM in this price range that can provide this kind of sound that is so well balanced. If you're looking for airy, open-sounding earphones that have life-like timbre, resonant sub-bass, clear forward voice and mids, and smoothly extended treble, this is the one.

Moondrop has created a fantastic affordable product that comes highly recommended and You may simply get it from shenzhenaudio, which offers free shipping.







Vanheim
Vanheim
Great review! The Aria's sounded best to me when using spinfits cp-145 tips.
Antick Dhar
Antick Dhar
S
Shravan
Hey I'm planning to purchase Moondrop Aria and I am very much confident that I'll like them since they're according to my preferred sound signature Warm Neutral/Balanced tuning. ButI have just one nit picking to do, and that also what I've heard not tested myself, is that the there's some peak people have me mentioned because of which Aria tend to be a little hotter than usual especially to *S* *F* and where *Air* lies.
Did u feel the same? Is it too much fatiguing?
I listen to all kinds music genres, but I have soft spot for Acoustic instruments like Acoustic Guitar and the opposite too- Electronic Music too, I have wide taste in music that's why I want a well balanced IEM that can be at least good at every genre if not excellent like every audio lover's dream IEM *ThieAudio Monarch MKII*

abheybir

100+ Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria : An All-rounder!!
Pros: 1. Balanced all-purpose tuning
2. Smooth sound with textured bass response
3. Decent soundstage width
4. Very Good Price to Performance ratio
5. Comfortable fit despite of bit heavy
Cons: 1. Cable attracts microphonics
2. Depth and resolution are average
Introduction:
Moondrop was once a small studio by several hobbyist engineers in China, later in 2014 emerged as a brand for designing earbuds and in ear monitors.

The first thing you will notice when you see Aria is a well ergonomic and elegant design and accessories. The shells are made of metal in black matter colour with two vents. A proportion of an abstract geometric design has been painted on the faceplate with the word "Aria" written on the back side of the shells in a beautiful font. The form factor is quite small but overall the shells feel bit heavy as of all metal housing.

IMG_20210728_045307.jpg


Aria has been featured with 10mm Dual-Cavity Magnetic Dynamic Driver with LCP diaphragm material having a sensitivity of 122db/vrms and Impedance of 32 Ohm at 1kHz. The stock cable is bit interesting, it's sleeve is nylon braided with a universal 0.78 2-pin interface and a single ended TRS termination and looks quite rugged. Apart from that it comes with an attractive carry case and a bunch of eartips.

IMG_20210728_045749.jpg


Sources:

For this review the unit has been paired Shanling M6 (AK4495EQ) without any other amplification on portable setup. And, it has also been paired to Schiit Vali2+Mutibit Stack in terms of desktop setup

Disclaimer:
I have received as part of review circle sent from HifiGo in exchange of honest reviews. All impressions of sound are subjective to my own listening and my sources and is based on my experience with IEMs of similar hardware configurations and price range. One can purchase it from the following link

IMG_9257.JPG


Highs:
The treble I would say is bit of highlight of Moondrop Aria. It is slightly elevated but not at all harsh sounding. The overall resolution is above average and has quite good texture and air. There is a hint of brightness in the lower treble notes with good energy and timber. The upper treble is slightly rolled off. Instruments like electric guitars, cymbals and high notes of flutes and violins has quite good timber in them. Not at any point of time it becomes fatiguing and neither felt like lack of energy. This airy and non-harsh presentation of Aria is worth appreciation.

Mids:
The mids on the other hand sound slight warmish to neutral. There are good levels of transparency in the sound of all the instruments and vocals with crisp clarity. The overall resolution is average. Mids are somewhat recessed but lower mids has bit body in them and has adequate body in the notes. The upper mids has ample texture with good levels of transparency and clarity. The overall mids representation is smooth with slight loss at detail retrieval. Both male and female vocals sounds full bodied and quite emotional.

IMG_20210729_031915.jpg


Lows:
The bass has good amount of impact with good sub bass rumble. There is more presence of sub bass extension as compared to mid bass. Overall the bass has adequate levels of speed and control. In terms of quantity the bass may feel sufficient and sounds fun in this perspective.

Technicalities:
The soundstage width and overall depth of Monndrop Aria is above average as per price point of view. The IEM has an average micro dynamics. The imaging and directionality is average I would say. The overall tonality and harmonics are balanced and the natural timber is worth mentioning at this price point.

Final Verdict:

IMG_20210729_032104.jpg


Moondrop Aria is a very ergonomically designed IEM with good accessories and a decent price bracket. The overall signature is mild V-shaped with bit emphasis on bass giving a warmish character. The soundstage and depth are above average. It’s a very easy recommendation for any beginner audiophile because of the general all-purpose tuning.

B9Scrambler

Headphoneus Supremus
Moondrop Aria 2021: Alpha Dog
Pros: Look at it – Listen to it – Price to performance ratio
Cons: Mediocre cloth-coated cable – Bit too similar to the Starfield making that model redundant
Greetings!

Today we're checking out Moondrop's newest sub-100 USD release, the completely revamped Aria.

The original Aria came out in 2018 and featured a more traditional barrel shaped housing. The shells were brass with an attractive chrome coating and housed dynamic drivers with carbon nanotube diaphragms. The cable looked to be the same as that on the Spaceship, affixed to the earpieces with durable metal hardware.

The 2021 Aria drops all but the name and some of the accessories from the original incarnation. The new shell strongly pulls from the Starfield before it with a similar low profile design and cable over-ear intention. The cable is now removable and utilizes a cloth coating. The 10mm dynamic driver being used is set within a brass cavity and has an LCP (liquid crystal polymer) diaphragm with imported Japanese Daikoku-CCAW voice coils, just like the Starfield.

At a price of only 79.00 USD and measurements that line up extremely well with 109 USD Starfield, the Aria seems too good to be true. Is it? Let's find out.

DSCF1822 2.jpgDSCF1829 2.jpgDSCF1832 2.jpg

What I Hear It's not too good to be true. The Aria is just that good. As you'd expect from the basically identical measurements, it sounds extremely similar to the Starfield, though not identical. I found the Aria just a hint cooler, brighter, and sharper with a slightly tighter low end presentation. The differences are very, very minor, hardly noticeable really, but flipping between the two or using one earpiece from each product at the same time, differences are audible.

Treble is solidly extended with a mild, very pleasing 7k peak that gives the presentation just the right amount of sparkle amidst the presence region bias. Cymbals, chimes, etc. push through with just the right amount of emphasis, adding energy but not overstepping into harshness or causing fatigue. Notes also attack and decay with a natural speed that doesn't distract. Like the Starfield, the Aria's treble manages to be neither tiring nor dull, finding an ideal balance of technical competence and entertainment value. Thanks to a reserved lower treble bump, the Aria outputs plenty of detail without sounding overly analytic and dry. Even at listening volumes I'm not comfortable with, the Aria remains very non-fatiguing, though I still prefer the Starfield's slightly more mellow presentation for long listening sessions.

Dropping into the mid-range we find that vocals and instruments are comfortably weighted, with a slight tilt towards a lean presentation that highlights the Aria's outstanding clarity and audible coherence. While the upper mids see a step up in prominence, I didn't find it causing any issues with an overly aggressive or fatiguing presence, though it does contribute to the natural snap of the Aria's attack qualities. Timbre is outstanding and a step above most other products I've heard in recent memory, though the hint of added brightness to the presentation puts it a notch below the Starfield. In the end, picking apart individual elements in a track is made fairly effortless. Multi-driver and much more expensive products will show the Aria the door here, but for a budget friendly single dynamic you'll hardly find better.

When it comes to bass the Starfield was a bit soft in its presentation. Good, but a bit underwhelming when it came to punch and impact. The Aria sees improvements here as it feels a bit more precise and energetic. The linear nature of the Starfield's low end is retained with a smooth transition from lower to upper bass. Sub-bass presence is good with the Aria having no problems providing a satisfying visceral rumble when called up, though I find the Starfield's slightly more loose presentation more satisfying in this one area. Mid-bass is quick with a snappy punch that kicks extra nice at volumes a little higher than I usually listen. Texture and detail are lovely. The info-rich low notes of The Prodigy and Tobacco are reproduced properly and nothing comes across overly smooth or one-note.

When it comes to sound stage I found the Aria above average with a well rounded with a fairly even width and depth. Vocals by default sit just at the edge of the outer ear with sounds and effects convincingly soaring well off into the distance, or pulling further in for an extra intimate presence when called upon. Imaging is just as good as the Starfield with nuanced channel-to-channel movements being exceptionally clear and easy to follow. The larger than average staging does a good job of showing off the Aria's layered presentation with live recordings displaying clear depth between instruments. I also really enjoy this one with video games as you can tracks sounds and movements or simply immerse yourself in the story without being distracted by odd behaviour. Instrument separation is also excellent with busy tracks being handled quite well, even at fairly high volumes. I'd still rather a multi-driver setup for those situations though.

Overall, the Aria is an unabashed winner of a product. You get Starfield levels of performance at a lower price. This is to my ears the best single dynamic product in this price range thanks to it's technical competence, tuning versatility, and non-fatiguing nature. It has got clarity, a good sound stage, tight bass, and no glaring flaws. The Starfield is a bit smoother and somehow even less fatiguing, but it's hard to argue that such minor differences are worth an extra 30 USD. To my dismay, because I adore it, the Aria makes the Starfield kinda obsolete.

Compared To A Peer (volumes matched with a Dayton iMM-6)

Shozy Form 1.1 (74.99 USD): The Form 1.1 comes across significantly bassier than the Aria, despite not being all that much more elevated in the low end. This perceived difference comes about as a result of the Form 1.1's midrange being more linear and less raised than that of the Aria. While the Aria has the advantage when it comes to speed and control, the Form 1.1 provides a hint more texture and a more visceral experience as a result of it's more leisurely driver. The midrange of the Aria, as previously noted, is more enhanced from around 1k to 6k where they once again line up. This results in the Form 1.1 sounding warmer and more dense, giving up detail and clarity to the Aria. Timbre quality on both is equally good with a slight advantage going to the Form 1.1 Treble out of the Aria is cleaner and tighter with better defined notes and more air. The Aria's presence region bias leaves it in a better place when it comes to detail retrieval but it lacks brilliance region sparkle which is present in the 1.1. Both products sound about equal when it comes to snap and attack with each handling rapid passages just fine. When it comes to sound stage the Aria easily takes the cake. The Form 1.1 is quite average in this regard. While it has a nicely rounded stage like the Aria, vocals have a more intimate default presence with sounds staying closer to the ear. Imaging and layering qualities are more nuanced through the Aria with the Form 1.1 being more of a match at keeping individual instruments well separated.

Overall I slightly prefer the Aria, though the Form 1.1 holds it's own with a signature that is a bit more entertaining thanks to it's bigger, bouncier bass and upper treble sheen. I'd happily use either as a daily driver.

KBEAR Diamond (79.00 USD): Bass on the Diamond is slower, digs deeper with greater visceral feedback, and is more prominent overall, but the sheer presence of the midbass is too much and leaves it sounding a bit muddy next to the squeaky clean Aria. The Aria's low end is also more textured. The Aria's extra speed gives it punch and attack that the Diamond is missing. The Aria's midrange is more more even in terms of upper and lower balance so male and female vocals sound more evenly represented. The Diamond's upper mid bump gives it additional presence but throws off the balance considerably. Timbre quality is good on both but the Aria sounds more natural and accurate, lacking the unnecessary sheen of the Diamond. Treble out of the Aria is more detailed and better controlled, free of the splash that haunts the Diamond. The Diamond's sound stage lacks the width of the Aria, but isn't too far off in terms of depth. Imaging, layering, and separation are all in Moondrop's camp which competes with much more expensive products in these regards.

Overall I unquestionably prefer the Aria. It performs on the same level as the Starfield, or slightly above, an earphone which already handily bested the Diamond.

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In The Ear Like the Starfield, the Aria is a gorgeous looking earphone thanks to the matte black, rose gold colour combination. The matte black paint job feels very durable, unlike the apparently chip-prone glossy purplish-blue we saw on the Starfield (though mine has yet to chip). I love that Aria is printed on the rear of each housing in the same delicate cursive font used elsewhere. It looks classy and reminds me of older Knowledge Zenith products that printed the left and right indicators in cursive. Fitment of the two halves of the shell is good, but there is a prominent seam circling the base of the face plate that may or may not bother some. The ports for the removable cable are recessed a couple millimetres into the housing offering a snug fit for the plugs and enhanced protection from accidents and careless owners that shove the earphone in their pocket. This is a well-built product.

The cable Moondrop includes with the Aria is not my favourite. I'm not a huge fan of cloth cables at the best of times. While this is one of the better ones, it still suffers from the usual foibles. It kinks easily and is tangle prone above the y-split. One thing it does better than every other cloth cable I've tried is prevent cable noise from being transmitted into the ear. These is none. I'm sure a big part of this comes down to the excellent preformed ear guides, but either way it's great. This to me is its saving grace. That and the excellent 90 degree angled jack which has extremely beefy strain relief, similar to what we've seen from past HiFiMAN cables. The metal y-split and chin cinch are also nice additions, though there is no strain relief. I wouldn't be surprised if the cable started to fray around there with more use. Not a bad cable, but far from my favourite. For the purposes of testing I used it, but otherwise swapped immediately to the Starfield's cable which I personally find far superior.

Just as with the Starfield, I find the Aria's ergonomics outstanding, if not improved thanks to the lessened weight of the new shells. The low profile design and low mass keeps weight distribution even around your outer ear. While it has a fairly shallow fit, there is never the feeling of a compromised seal. Isolation isn't quite as good. I don't find this entirely surprising given the shallow fit and twin vents on the inside of each earpiece. Of course, foam tips help mitigate this sound leak somewhat, but not enough to make the Aria an ideal pick for routine use in noisy areas like a coffee shop or on transit.

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In The Box The Aria's packaging is some of the nicest available in the sub-100 USD segment. The front of the exterior sheath contains some of Moondrop's high quality artwork and the Aria model name in delicate cursive. Flipping to the rear of the sheath you're provided a list of specifications and large graph of the Aria's frequency response. As has been the case with past products, I have found the provided measurements to be quite accurate and not the usual marketing fluff other brands use simply to draw attention. Removing the sheath reveals a compact black box. Printed in an attractive rose gold you find the model name surrounding but delicately curving lines. Moondrop's logo can be found on the magnetic flap, also in rose gold foil. Personally, I think it looks fantastic and really gives the impression that something special is inside. Lifting the flap you find the Aria's earpieces set within an extremely dense foam insert coated with a felt-like material. Beneath is sits a cardboard insert that mirrors the design on the lid. It opens via a piano black ribbon to reveal one of Moondrop's excellent clam shell cases, held securely in place by the same dense foam as the earpieces. Inside the case are all the included accessories. In all you get:
  • Moondrop Aria earphones
  • Clam shell carrying case
  • 0.78mm cloth coated, twisted cable
  • Single flange silicone ear tips (s/m/l x2)
Overall a very premium feeling unboxing experience, only to find inside a very standard accessory kit. That said, the included accessories are of higher quality than most of the competition. The included tips use a grippy, soft silicone that reliably seals and causes zero discomfort. Some more tip variety would have been welcome, though I appreciate Moondrop doubling up on each size in case you lose a tip or two. The clam shell case is one I adore and having been using extensively with the Starfield for over a year. It is smaller in circumference than most, but has enough depth to comfortably hold the earphones and spare tips while still fitting in most pockets. It has a pleasing texture too thanks to the grippy, knobbled surface.

Final Thoughts Well, this one is a no brainer. If you've got 80 bucks to spend on an earphone and want what is arguably the most versatile and competent all-rounder on the market, the Aria is it. It looks cool, offers performance that matches products a tier higher, is well built and extremely comfortable, comes with high quality accessories, and the packaging is gorgeous. Moondrop continues on their path to becoming a leader in the industry, and I can't wait to see what they do next.

Thanks for reading.

- B9

Disclaimer A huge thanks to Moondrop for providing a sample of the Aria for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions and do not represent Moondrop or any other entity. At the time of writing the Aria was retailing for 79.00 USD: https://www.moondroplab.com/aria / www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002368718730.html

Specifications
  • Driver: 10mm dynamic w/ LCP (liquid crystal polymer) diaphragm and dual magnets
  • Impedance: 32 ohms +/- 15% @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 122dB/Vrms @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-36kHz
Gear Used For Testing LG G6, DDHiFi TC35B, Earstudio HUD100, Earmen TR-Amp, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark's Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
Tobacco – screw*d Up Friends

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abheybir
abheybir
Stunning pics and very well written!!
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler

Audio Fun

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Class leading tonality
Above average technical performance
Realistic timbre
Female vocal presentation
Clear yet smooth
Soundstage width
Build
Fit and comfort
Accessories
Replacement filter included
Cons: Bass could take more weight
Overall tone slightly on the thin and dry side
Would like to see different type of ear tips rather than two pair of same ear tips per sizes
Introduction
Moondrop Lab is a Chinese company that founded back in 2014, and they already been well known as their anime style marketing and harman kind of tuning. They have been released few really successful products since then. In today’s review I am checking out their latest single DD IEM, the Aria, which recital for $79.99USD.

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Disclaimer
I would like to thanks Cloris from Shenzhen audio for given this opportunity, and the review will be based on my honest opinion through the music I listen to.


Package & Accessories
The Aria come with a moderate sixes box, there is a typical Moondrop style illustration at the front cover with the brand name, model name and other information, whereas the specifications at the rear side of it. After remove the cover, there is the black box with the golden lines patterns, and the IEM itself are sited in the foam after the box is opened. There is the carry case that contained the ear tips and cable is located below, whereas the filter switching tools are located at the bottom in the black box, along with the warranty card and welcome card.

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Accessories list:
1 pair x Moondrop Aria In-Ear Monitors
1 pcs x 0.78 2-Pin Detachable Cable
6 pairs x Black Silicone Eartips (size S*2/M*2/L*2)
3 pairs x Metal Screen & Filters
1 pcs x Tweezer (for filter replacement)
1 pcs x Zipper Carry Case

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The accessories it come with the Aria is fairly good consider its price. The carry case is well made by the PU material, it is finished in black color with golden branded logo sported.

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The Aria come with two set of 3 different sizes of ear tips to provide the best fits, and also to avoid a situation lost. There are 3 pairs for the metal screen and filter for the replacement of the filter on the nozzles, the tweezer is also provided for a easy replacement, which is a pretty good offered.

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The Aria come with the 2 core silver plated copper cable that has branded design, it has 3.5 mm L angled connector in black plastic shell finished. It features the 0.78mm 2 pin connector with L&R indicator to show left and right. The Y-splitter are in metal shell finished, whereas the 2 pin connector are in plastic shells. There are cable slider in metal finished. It is overall well build and decent looking cable.


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Design & Build & Comfort
The Aria come with a well ergonomic shell design. The faceplates and shells are entirely made by the metal with black matte finished. There are fews golden strips that crossing each others that decorated on the faceplate, which looks pretty unique. There are the words “Aria” in the golden front located at the rear side of the shells. There are no L&R indicators sported. There are two vents located on the shells, one of them is on the back near rear side of the shells, where the other one is near the nozzle.

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The build quality on the Aria is outstanding. The IEMs are made with two pieces of metal, the faceplate and the shell. There are all made with aluminum alloy cavity material that is processed by the metal injection molding and CNC process. There are no shape edges or glue around the gap of the shell. The filter on nozzle are made by metal with the patented anti clogging filter to prevent from the ear dust. The 2 Pin female connectors are tight, and the connector do not have sign of wear and tear after I swapped few times of cable.

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The fits on the Aria is pretty good, thanks to its well ergonomic shell design. The nozzle has moderate length, so it can fit pretty stable in your ears. The isolation is slight above average, and thanks to the vents there are no pressure build up after a long listening.

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Technical specifications:
Driver Type: 10mm Dual-Cavity Magnetic Dynamic Driver with LCP diaphragm material
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz (Effective frequency range 5Hz-36kHz)
Sensitivity: 122db/Vrms (@1kHz)
Impedance: 32 Ohm


Sound

Paring

I pair up with the stock cable and Final Type-E ear tips, as I find out it provide more bass quantity and fuller sound compare to the stocks ear tips. I run through my music library on the Fiio M11 and Topping E30.

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Overall tonality
The Aria has a mildly U shape tonality, with a fairly neutral tonality that has touch of warmth carry form mid bass, it is presented in a smooth and clean manner.


Bass
The bass is clear and light. It has moderate levels of sub bass extension with moderate decay speed, which is more pronounced than mid bass. The bass has good amount of impact and punch with fair amount of rumble. On the other hand, the bass has good level of speed and control, while the detail retrieval and clarity are really well. It is overall fast and well controlled bass.

Mids
The midrange has slightly warmer than neutral tone, there is a clean yet smooth presentation. The lower midrange has moderate amount of bodies, it is presented in the clear manner with reduce lushness. The upper midrange is well pronounced, it has lively yet smooth presentation, with good levels of transparency. The detail retrieval and clarity are well done.

Treble
The treble has moderate brightness and it is presented in a fatiguing free manner. The lower treble has good amount of energy presented in the smooth manner. The upper treble are slightly roll off, but still remains fairly amount of crispness and airiness on the top end. The detail retrieval and clarity are slightly above average.

Soundstage and imaging
The soundstage width is above average, whereas the depth is average.
The imaging is above average.



Comparison
Nf audio NM2 ($99USD)

Bass
There are slightly more sub bass and mid bass quantity on the Aria, which lead to the warmer tonality. The sub bass on both extended well, but the NM2 has fuller rumble. The bass has less weight and clearer tone on the NM2, while the Aria has relatively fuller tone and slightly lusher. The Aria provide slightly better sense of impact, while the NM2 is punchier and tighter. Both of them have pretty control bass, but the NM2 is slightly better. The detail retrieval and clarity is better on NM2.

Mids
The midrange on both are both fairly neutral with bit of warmth, but the NM2 has clearer tone, while the Aria has fuller tone. The lower midrange is tad clearer NM2, whereas the Aria is tad lusher, no significantly different here. The upper midrange on both are pronounced, the NM2 has relatively brighter tonality with a lively presentation, same as NM2, but the Aria has slight laid back kind of presentation. The detail retrieval and clarity is better on NM2.

Treble
The treble are both tuned toward the bright side, and both extended well with good levels of control. The lower treble has more energy on NM2 and it is tad brighter and sharper, where the Aria is more relax here. The upper treble has slightly more crispness and sparkle on Aria, where the NM2 is roll off and smoother here. The detail retrieval and and clarity are both well done.

Soundstage and imaging
The soundstage width is comparable, depth is better on NM2.
The imaging is better on NM2.


Shanling ME80 ($99USD)

Bass
There are fairly similar amount of sub bass and mid bass quantity here, but the Aria provide a fuller rumble and better extension. On the other hand, the ME80 has fuller mid bass, which provide a punchier expression with better sense impact, whereas the Aria sound linear and tighter. The bass has slightly quicker decay speed with better sense of control on the Aria, the detail retrieval and clarity is better on Aria as well.

Mids
They both have fairly neutral tone in the midrange, but the ME80 are brighter and vivid-ier. The lower midrange has fuller presentation with more lushness on Aria, where the ME80 is clearer due to its brighter tone. The upper midrange on both are well emphasis, the ME80 has brighter tone with more vividly presentation, while the Aria has better sense of control and sound more relax. The detail retrieval and clarity is tad better on ME80.

Treble
The treble has brighter presentation on the ME80, where the Aria sound softer with a smoother presentation. The lower treble sound sharper with more energy on the ME80, whereas the Aria has a fatiguing free presentation. The upper treble has slightly better sense of crisp and air on the ME80, while the Aria is tuned darker and more relax. The detail retrieval and clarity are on par.

Soundstage and imaging
The soundstage is tad wider on ME80, but more deeper on Aria.
The imaging is better on Aria.


Compare to my relatively more objective Head-fi star ranking, this ranking will be more subjective based on my personal preference and it doesn’t take price into my consideration.

Score system:
4/10 and below: Waste of money
5/10: Average
6/10: Above average
7/10: Good
8/10: Great
9/10: Excellent
10/10: OMG


Moondrop Aria 2021:
Overall tonality: 8/10
Bass: 6/10
Mids: 8/10
Treble: 6/10

Overall: 7/10


Conclusion
The Moondrop Aria is a outstanding IEMs, with a great build quality and unique appearance. In term of the sound, the Aria provide a really easy to like sound signature, that is extremely well tuned. It has smooth yet refined tonality with a fatiguing free presentation. For $79USD, it is a no brainer and even sound better than Starfiled and on par with KXXS in my opinion.The Aria will be one of my best sub $100USD IEMs, such a great jobs again Moondrop!! Thank you for reading and Happy Listening!!

Moondrop Lab official website: https://www.moondroplab.com/
Moondrop Aria product page: https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/...diaphragm-dynamic-driver-iems-in-ear-earphone
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asifur

100+ Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria : The below $100 Champ!
Pros: + Lightweight & Very Comfortable
+ Good Build quality
+ Good tuning
+ Textured Bass with depth in thump & slam
+ Non-fatiguing Treble
+ Decent Soundstage for the price
Cons: - Cable can be tangle prone
- Clarity & details retrieval could be better
- Soundstage lacking in depth
Moondrop Aria : The below $100 Champ?

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Disclaimer:

This unit was supplied to me by @shenzhenaudio for the purpose of an honest review. Everything mentioned in this review are purely my own based on my experiences with the IEM.

Introduction:

The Moondrop Aria is a revival of their earlier discontinued Aria and is supposed to be an upgrade of the Starfield. The Aria is an affordable single 10mm LCP diaphragm and CCAW voice coil dynamic driver universal IEM.
Moondrop Aria is priced at $79.99
https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/...diaphragm-dynamic-driver-iems-in-ear-earphone

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Specifications:


Specifications are as below:
https://www.moondroplab.com/aria
  • Product name: Aria
  • Driver Unit : LCP liquid crystal diaphragm -10mm diameter double cavity magnetic Diaphragm Dynamic unit.
  • Headphone Socket : 0.78pin
  • Sensitivity: 122dB/Vrms (@1kHz)
  • Impedance: 32Ω±15% (@1kHz)
  • Frequency response : 5Hz-36000Hz
  • Effective frequency response: 20Hz-20000Hz
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Package:

Following items are found in the package:
  • IEM x1
  • Leather bag x 1
  • Original eartips x 5 pairs
  • Stock cable x 1
  • User manual
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Design & Build Quality:


The Aria sports and all new design. It forgoes the glossy appearance of a lot of Moondrop IEMs, and stick to a matte-style metal. The solid black with golden streaks makes for a classy design. The shell shape feels like the perfect size, and the cavity is ergonomic with a thin spout. Any size tips should fit right on its nozzle. it is quite light-weighted and comfortable and easy to wear. It is suitable for long hours of listening.

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The Stock Cable:

The cable that comes with it appears to be nice with good weaving but can be quite tangle-prone. Sound-wise it seemed quite good.
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Amp-ing Requirements:

I have found that this IEM can perform well without any amp-ing at all while being directly connected to devices such as: iPad, iPhone, etc..
However, this IEM shines quite a bit when paired with a good and powerful DAC/AMP.

NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SOUND....

Items used for this review:

DAC/AMP:
IFI Micro IDSD Black Label Signature
DAP/Source : @Shanling M6 PRO (21) & Q1, Laptop & iPad
Streaming Source: QOBUZ
Ear Tips: @SpinFit Eartip CP145

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Tracks Used:
The tracks I have used can be found from the below playlist that I have used and generally use for most reviews... I would like to thank @Otto Motor for his contribution here.



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Let's now talk about the quality of Sound....

The BASS:


Bass is quite prominent with some deep thump & slam in the Plume. These is good texture & air in the bass. the punch & thump is there with a good amount of muscle but not too overwhelming. Overall good performance in Bass I would say.

The MIDS:

Midrange is not recessed despite the very slight V in the tuning of this IEM. Only the lower Mids can be considered as recessed somewhat.
Rest of the Midrange comes with ample texture and layering and acoustic instruments like guitars, harp, violin, etc.. have very good transients
Both Male and female vocals come with ample texture. I felt there might've been slight sacrifices made in terms of details retrieval and clarity but that is expected given the price range.

The Treble:

The Treble seemed smooth and inoffensive. But it is not boring in any way. The treble though comes with ample texture lacks some of the air and also has some early roll off effect in some cases.

The SOUNDSTAGE:

Soundstage has average width but lacks in terms of depth - but given the price I would say it's quite decent.

Imaging & Timbre:

Sense of direction is quite good and the sound is quite natural hence I would say that this IEM has good imaging & timbre for the price.
However, in terms of micro details retrieval - I found this IEM is to be a bit lacking.

Comparisons :
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Moondrop Aria vs Ikko OH10 :

I don't have many IEMs in this price range and most of the IEMs I have is above $200 range. However, for the sake of comparison - I have included the Ikko OH10 priced at $150 which is almost 2 times the price of the Aria. That being said, I don't feel that the Aria is a less of a performer in the category.

Build & Comfort:
The Ikko OH10 comes with a much heavier steel shell - while making it look more premium is quite big and heavy on the ears.
Whereas, the Aria is much smaller & lighter. Hence, in terms of comfort it is much more preferable. I would give the edge to the Aria here.

Bass:
When it comes to bass, the Aria and OH10 has quite extensive competition - the OH10 seemed to have more depth in the Thump & slams and seemed more Bassy while the Aria seemed more balanced. I'm not in favor of overwhelming bass and therefore I would give the edge to the Aria for being more balanced with the Bass.

Mids:
The OH10 comes with significantly more recessed Mids than the Aria and in terms of sheer performance of the midrange loses to the Aria. The Aria has more texture and details and is more enjoyable.


Treble:
This is where both OH10 and Aria does well while the OH10 has more details and sparkle than the Aria - it also has rare peaks. I would call this a tie.

Soundstage & Timbre:
In terms of width & height I felt both IEMs have similar soundstage width - the differentiating factor is the depth where the OH10 has an edge mainly due to it's bass driven V-shaped tuning. Timbre is good & natural on both. I'd give the edge to the OH10 here.

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Conclusion :
The Aria is a super performer in it's own price range and can also give some other IEMs like the OH10 a run for the money which is almost twice priced.
I found the Aria performance to be closely matching but slightly short of the $200 price bracket. hence I can easily call the Aria a steal for the price. Highly recommended to people who are looking for a balanced performance within $100 price range.

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Riyan
Riyan
Another Nice review 💕. Hopefully I will buy Aria soon.
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Samin Zaman
Samin Zaman
Insane Value For The Money

JQuB3

New Head-Fier
Budget Balanced Beauty - Moondrop Aria
Pros: Balanced tuning closer to the Harman target curve
Excellent fit and comfort making it suitable for longer listening sessions.
Good bass and pleasant / non-piercing treble.
Amazing build quality with an attractive faceplate
Cons: Although well built, the cable can be a tangled mess.
Being a relatively heavy 2 pin IEM, it seems like it may fall off TWS adapters.
(Not really a con, it never actually fell down, but I was worried. 😊)
Disclaimer:-

The Moondrop Aria was sent to me by HiFiGo.com as part of a review tour in my country, in exchange for my honest opinion. I am neither paid by nor affiliated with HiFiGo or Moondrop in any way and have no incentive whatsoever, for writing anything positive or negative about the IEM. The views shared in this article are my personal views based on the week I spent using Moondrop Aria as my daily driver.

The Moondrop Aria can be purchased from HiFiGo through the following link:
https://hifigo.com/products/moondrop-aria-2?_pos=3&_sid=e7e000908&_ss=r


Moondrop is no stranger when it comes to high-quality IEMs in the budget segment. Their former successes include the Starfield, Blessing 2, Blessing 2 Dusk, KXXXS, and the Spaceship series. Their latest entry in the budget segment is the Moondrop Aria (2021), priced at about 80 USD. Given the attractive price point, one would expect some compromises, but Moondrop has nailed it with the Aria. For 80 USD, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend any other IEM that sounds as natural and as balanced as the aria. Moondrop provides a delightfully balanced IEM that is quite close to the Harman curve and provides for an engaging listening experience.

20210626_222402.jpg


The faceplate of the Aria is simplistic yet attractive. The matte finish and metal body give it a premium feel that honestly feels like it is worth a lot more than the asking price. The nylon braided cable is well built and free of microphonics. I only wish that Moondrop managed to make it tangle-free as well. Which I suppose is a common gripe with this IEM. Although the cable is very unlikely to get damaged while untangling, thanks to the nylon braiding, it makes for a frustrating user experience having to perform some witchcraft with your fingers in an attempt to untangle the cable. The IEM has a 10mm dynamic driver made up of LCP (liquid crystal polymer) and an N52 magnet system.


Bass

The Aria has a tight and punchy bass that is well controlled and hits somewhat deep. In terms of quantity, I found the bass to be more than sufficient, and might even say that the bass is elevated, albeit just a tad bit. Since the bass is somewhat lean, it sounds a tad bit boomy. Nothing bad, it sounds rather fun.

20210629_220925.jpg


Mids

Some might consider the mids lean, but personally being a fan of Shure IEMs, I loved the mids on the Aria. Instruments sound natural and have a good timbre. Vocals are quite expressive and sound full-bodied without being too emphasized or taking the focus away from the music. Male vocals have sufficient depth and weight making them expressive and female vocals sound good too. Since there is no bass bleed, the mids sound clean and engaging.


20210629_2215554.jpg


Treble

Perhaps the highlight of the Aria is its subtle yet smooth treble. There is no hint of harshness nor does the treble sound piercing. As mentioned earlier, personally, being a fan of Shure, I enjoyed listening to the Aria. Unlike other chi-fi IEMs that tend to be somewhat shouty in the upper mids and lower treble regions, the Aria is smooth with a hint of sparkle, which makes it suitable for longer listening sessions as it sounds non-fatiguing. Make no mistake, the Aria does have the required energy and a pinch of sparkle too. Just that if you’re someone who likes bright and overly energetic IEMs, the Aria may not satisfy you. I couldn’t detect any treble roll-off and was impressed by the airy and non-fatiguing presentation of the Aria.


20210629_220756.jpg

Other:

In terms of imaging, the Aria may be slightly off, but not to the extent that it sounds completely off. The soundstage was quite wide and the airy presentation made the instruments sound natural and engaging. The bass depth was good, though one may find it fall short in terms of rumble. Nonetheless, given the Harman curve-like signature, the Aria sounds natural and fairly engaging. Detail retrieval is good and it has a natural timbre that is hard to come by at this price point.

Overall

For about 80 USD, the Moondrop Aria is an excellent IEM that I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking for a balanced and natural-sounding IEM. Perhaps, a wider soundstage and slightly more depth in the lower end would make it better, but at this price point, that’s hardly a complaint. The cable is well built and has a nice nylon braiding. If only it was as tangle-free as it is free of microphonics, I would have nothing to complain about. Lastly, I tried using the Aria with the FiiO UTWS-3 but noticed that the weight of the IEM made it prone to slipping off the connector.

20210626_222559.jpg

BonGoBiLai

New Head-Fier
Value Incarnate
Pros: 1.Natural Timbre
2. Smooth and lush. No upper mid shout or sibilance
3. Fun bass. Not overcooked. Great layering at this budget
4. Comfortable and ergonomic. Good packaging and presentation
5. Cable is solid and built like a tank albeit janky
6 .Fairly wide sounding. Decent imaging
7. Easy to drive, not source picky
Cons: 1. Mids are a tad bit recessed for my liking. Stafield mids could have made this a perfect iem (still great though)
2. Cable is janky despite its good build
3. Useless storage box. Too small
4. Absence of nozzle lips limit tip rolling
Moondrop Aria has been hot stuff for a while and rightfully so. I’ve been listening to it now for over a month and my impressions have drastically evolved since the first listen till now. Let's move on to the full review/impression –

BUILD AND ACCESSORIES

Commendable job by Moondrop. The shells/housings might look like moondrop kxxs/starfield first but there are subtle changes. Housings feel sturdier and so does the understated matte paint job. Inspires confidence and might last a while before chipping starts. Fit is also massively better if compared to kxxs/ Starfield. A serious complaint tho however, is the lack of nozzle lips. That severely handicaps tip rolling as most aftermarket tips will just slide out as their stems/tubes gradually loosen up.
Unboxing experience and packaging is fairly good, again much welcome improvement over its moondrop peers. Supplied tips are fairly comfy.
I have little complaints about the cable. Its fabric braided, built like a tank and has excellent ear hooks yet very very prone to kinks and tangles. I wish moondrop opted for some paracord material instead (I often wonder why isn’t anyone adopting paracords for iem cables. It totally changed the gaming mouse scene)

SOUND

It's not a cut down version of starfield, period. In fact, Starfield and Aria should not belong in the same convo to begin with. Aria is a massive improvement in all fronts except midrange (esp. vocals).

Bass reaches deep and has ample authority and physicality. I personally wouldn’t like any more bass. It doesn’t compare to the quality ,texture or viscerality of something like a Dunu DK 3001 pro, Zen or Sony IER M9 but for the price point, I won’t ask for more. This is a massive improvement over the one note, bloated nature of starfield and overly midbass heavy e3000 as well.

Midrange however was mixed feelings at first . Aria requires burn in to actually open up the mids (not my mind playing tricks, it's real. Even moondrop themselves recommend 100 hours of burn-in/listening), It's not as upfront or engaging as the starfields but slightly recessed (esp. male vocals) but voices don't sound drowned out or muffled; they sound organic and I’ve experienced zero shout or hint of harsh s/sh sounds after hours of listening. They are not as lifelike as ie40 pro or as lush as final e3000 but something in between.

Treble is very much to my liking. It's rounded and soothing as opposed to being sharp/ spiky and doesn’t sound dark/dull which I’ve occasionally faced in Final e3000. Not much extension, sparkle and air up top but I’ll rather go for good tonality than aggressive treble details.

Timbre/ tonality is very much up my alley. There is something about the sound that’s very pleasant, natural and will grow on you. I have had similar experience with only three other iems at sub 200 range, final audio e4000, samsung galaxy buds pro and sennheiser ie40 pro. All lacked the initial wow factor and wows you over time as you listen to them more and more. Massive achievement for a sub 200 usd chi fi iem.

TECHNICALITY​

Detail retrieval is decent, will not sound impressive if you come back from sub 1000/500 usd iems but as a first listener might impress you. It does smoothen out faint nuances but for the most part, it's pretty good.

Soundstage is excellent. Not much depth but width is pretty impressive. Imaging is also above average. Slightly less accurate compared to final e4000/3000 and bl05s. Instrument separation is decent. It doesn’t sound convoluted, muffled or claustrophobic, so gets a pass mark on all fronts I guess.

Aria is easy to drive but benefits from power/headroom. Not source picky per se.

COMPARISONS​

Blon BL05s – Not a huge fan of the bl05s tbh. It sounds good and has great technicality for the price but something about the sound doesn’t feel right. Aria is the better
iem imho

Fiio FH3- I’ll call this one a tie. Aria sounds way more natural and wide but FH3 has more texture and layering in the bass and more precise imaging. FH3 is a bit more claustrophobic in comparison (quite a bit tbh) and has some metallic sheen. Both are great options for the price but I simply find the aria to be better personally.

E4000 – If powered , E4000. If not, aria (e4000 needs serious, serious power). E4000 has the best midrange under 200 usd and I don’t think anyone is snatching that throne anytime soon

E3000- Aria is a definite improvement. E3000 is also notoriously power hungry altho not quite at the level of e4k/5k plus fixed cable. Aria is the better bargain

Ie40 pro- compliments each other really well. Keep both if possible

Galaxy buds pro- A tws shouldn’t be even in this convo. But buds pros are good, very very good. Same treatment as Ie40 pro. Keep both if possible.
1625769061907.png
D
DrewVz
Super review. I just got these IEMs and I agree with just about everything you wrote. I'm anxious to see how they open up after more hours of use. Lots has been written about the Arias, but your summary matches my experience exactly. I really like the timbre, maybe even more so than some of my really expensive open-back headphones (>$1000), but wish the Arias had slightly more detail retrieval to clean things up a bit. Again, that may increase with more play time.
BonGoBiLai
BonGoBiLai
thanks! hope you'll enjoy them more over time. I think moondrop went for a more 'musical'/ pleasant sound here where details are present but in a not in your face subtle way. I really like this sort of tuning (HD 600/650, final e4000, meze 99 c/noir, Hifiman Susvara, final d8000, nearly all recent Dunu releases, Sony ier lineup, galaxy buds pro etc falls into this category)
Adnan Firoze
Adnan Firoze
Absolutely loved the succinct presentation. Keep 'em feline theme coming! Kudos!

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Sing me an Aria...
Pros: - Warm and fairly balanced tuning
- Enjoyable with all kinds of music
- Good bass extension
- Excellent mids
- Smooth treble
- Very comfortable
- Build quality
- Detachable cable
- Comes with a carrying case
Cons: - Not very open sounding
- Bass could be a little more clear and controlled
- Cable prone to tangling and fray
The Moondrop Aria was kindly provided by Shenzhen Audio and doesn't need to be returned.
I have only paid taxes and customs fees.
This is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
It sells for $79 and you can get it from Shenzhen Audio

(Note - Since I have awarded the TRN TA1 and Tripowin TC-01 a four star rating and the Aria is a better overall performer I have decided to raise it's rating to 4.5 stars)

Introduction

Aria had been a discontinued product which appeared in Moondrops product catalog for a short while and then suddenly disappeared.
And now the Aria is revived
with a new design and technology inside.

IMG_20210602_192313~2.jpg


Technical specifications

Aria adopts a 10mm diameter dual-
cavity magnetic high-performance
dynamic driver.
The diaphragm used is LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) to bring excellent transient response and high-resolution sound details.
With the help of the brass cavity's
volume control, Aria is able to have a
balanced response characteristic.
The ultra-fine imported Daikoku-CCAW voice coil brings a lightweight suspension system, which makes the sound transparent and natural.
The newly designed high-frequency
phase waveguide reduces the
distortion caused by high-frequency
phase interference, makes the treble
response smoother, and the treble
more delicate and natural.

Like other dynamic driver unit
products from Moondrop Aria also have a composite sound cavity, multiple tuning holes, and multiple acoustic damping of different specs for precise frequency response adjustments.
They ensure high-spec sound quality and high performance of the driver unit.

IMG_20210707_195424~2.jpg


Build quality and fit

Aria uses a complex process to
create a metal cavity, which is
ergonomic while taking into
account the aesthetic design.
A metal injection molding and CNC carved processing is used to produce the Aria.

IMG_20210602_193319.jpg


It has a black matte color with gold accents and looks beautiful while it is smooth to the touch.
The Aria is lightweight and discreet , it fits easily and snugly into the ear resulting in a comfortable and stress free user experience suitable for long listening sessions.
Nothing else to report here and we were left totally satisfied.

Cable and accessories

Aria comes with a detachable silver plated cable with nylon fabric braided surface that uses the 2 - pin 0.78mm interface.
The plugs at both ends are of good quality but the cable itself tangles a lot and the exterior fabric is prone to fray.
The good news is that there is no microphonic noise.

IMG_20210602_192847.jpg


Inside the box we are going to find eight pairs of ear tips , a small semi - hard carrying case and a nozzle filter replacement.

IMG_20210602_192623.jpg


Sound impressions

The Aria with a sensitivity of 122dB/Vrms and 32 Ohm impedance is very easy to drive but as always the use of a quality entry level DAC/amp is of great benefit to the performance.
Since this is a $79 dollar iem we have decided to test it with equipment of the same tier like the Rhodium , Shanling UA1 , SoundMAGIC A30 and FiiO BTR3K

As per manufacturer instructions the Aria was burned in for about 100 hours.

The overall sound signature is warm and smooth , a mild v- shaped tuning with good cohesion within the whole frequency range.

Bass is a little emphasized above neutral with a touch of mid bass warmth slightly deviating from linearity.
It doesn't have the ultimate sub bass extension to please the extreme bass head crowds but still can do very well with all kinds of modern music like Billie Eilish albeit lacking in rumble and ultimate control.
There is some bleeding into the lower mids and the masking effect can be heard but not too severely to make it sound as one note although it is not as clean as we would like it to be.
Bass performance is satisfying without severely lacking although not shining somewhere particularly.
Not too fast but not slow , tight but not very controlled , well textured but not layered , quite dynamic but not shattering , not too lean but not full bodied either , a middle ground of everything.

IMG_20210707_200308~2.jpg


Mids are the strongest point of Aria , textured and natural , layered and clear with voices and solo instruments that sound full bodied , present and well articulated.
The tuning is exceptionally balanced with the slightest upper midd emphasis that - depending on the recording - can make female voices sound a little shouty but really nothing annoying.

Treble is buttery smooth but still well extended with good detail retrieval and satisfying clarity.
Don't think it is boring or dull because it has enough energy to sound lively and engaging.
The best part is that it never becomes bright and piercing so treble sensitive users are going to love it.
There is a loss in body weight but time decay is natural and well aligned with the rest of the frequencies so the Aria sounds well blended and integrated.

IMG_20210707_200408~2.jpg


The soundstage is not something special to talk about although it is wide and airy enough as not to sound congested.

Compared to the Moondrop Starfield ($109.99)

Aria and Starfield are like twins that you have to take a closer look in order to tell who is who.
The resemblance is obvious but in our opinion the Aria is the more beautiful and premium model , furthermore it weighs less and fits better so it takes the lead regarding overall comfort.
Accessories are the same but the Starfield cable is of better quality.

IMG_20210707_195518~2.jpg


Both models are tuned almost identically and they differ in the sound quality properties and details rather than the frequency response.

Aria is crisper and faster with a distanced approach while the Starfield sounds somewhat closer to the listener.
Bass is better controlled and dynamic in the Starfield but timbre feels more natural at the Aria and that is not only for the bass but for the whole frequency range especially the mids which sound a lot more exciting.
Starfield takes a leap in the soundstage which is wider with better layering and greater space while the listener can spot the instruments with less effort.
Finally the Starfield might be a little more resolving and detailed in the treble than the Aria but it is not by any means brighter than the Aria.

IMG_20210707_195722~2.jpg


Both models offer an excellent price to performance ratio and can count among the best offerings available at the market.
Differences are minimal and you will have a hard time to decide which one to prefer.

Compared to the FiiO FD1 ($79.99)

The FiiO FD1 is another top choice of the entry level category.

The FD1 is made from celluloid and while it weighs less than the Aria it is bulkier and not as discreet.
The Aria fits better and it is more comfortable , furthermore it is more beautiful and of better build quality.

IMG_20210707_200054~2.jpg


The FD1 comes with a plastic hard carrying case , seven pairs of ear tips and a detachable cable of considerably higher quality.

The two earphones differ a lot in the tuning and the overall presentation.

Bass on the FD1 is less extended and leaner but it is more linear without any mid bass bloat and added warmth.
It is considerably cleaner with far better control and dynamics while it sounds more tight and well defined with less masking and better layering - separation of the bass line.

Mids on the Aria are the star of the show with almost perfect tuning and higher engagement factor.
The FD1 although clean and spacious is more recessed at the mids which lack body and presence while the Aria offers a rounded and finer articulation with more natural timbre and higher quality texture.

Reaching higher the FD1 is considerably more forward with extra doses of energy and brilliance.
It is faster and more extended than the Aria , resolving better but it is not as smooth , leaning on the brighter side of things.
It is less tolerant of bad recordings and can become harsh and piercing depending on the source material.
There is also a certain loss of timbral quality and a rushed decay compared to the Aria which sounds relaxed , natural and full bodied.

The FD1 excels at the soundstage which is more open and extended with better layering and increased positional accuracy.
Another difference is that the FD1 sounds distant and the listener is seated one seat further away from the Aria which has an intimate and cozy feeling.

IMG_20210707_200146~2.jpg


Here the differences are more pronounced than the Aria vs Starfield comparison and both earphones will fit different tastes and musical genres.

At the end

We are happy to find out that budget earphones are becoming better and better with a price to performance ratio highly exceeding our expectations.

The Aria is an enjoyable , smooth and well tuned iem that will please the majority of the users with all kinds of music.
Moreover the overall technical performance and sound quality reach well above the asking price and should definitely be on your short list.
A great budget offering from Moondrop that gets highly recommended.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2021
Last edited:
Ichos
Ichos
My pleasure!
G
gmdb
Nice review. Moondrop are doing some very good things with their budget range. Have you heard SSP or SSR? How do they compare to Aria?
Ichos
Ichos
Thank you.
Unfortunately the only other Moondrop product I have is the Starfield.
I do agree that they are doing a terrific job.
  • Like
Reactions: gmdb

ywheng89

Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria - Best bang for buck
Pros: Smooth and balanced tuning
All rounder
Imaging
Cons: Tangle prone cable
Average soundstage (Just nitpicking)
Moondrop Aria’s Review

Into


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Moondrop is no stranger when it comes to creating a high price performance ratio product. Aria is one of them. A single dynamic driver configuration with a high performance LCP diaphragm touted by Moondrop

Packaging/Build

The box that housed Aria is Moondrop’s signature “Waifu” design. Beneath the Waifu’s cardboard, Aria is seated in an exquisite designed black colored box. The housing of Aria feels very premium. However it does feel a little less grippy/slippery and if you are not careful you might drop the unit. It came with a set of eartips as standard, a faux leather carrying case and also replacement filter and a precision tweezer. One caveat that I have is the cable. It gets tangled up so easily and every time when you want to use the earphone, you have to spend some time untangling it. An upgrade cable is a must if budget permits.

8yJ7C3RmdZQHagV2gbXzjh5xBp9F1xpbCrVWgbaorRjCcWJh5AhisMNWA1NzyXaQ7BR0FKf37LfuReLJN8mWH2d2HNFZzgN0Jdz9CcdIRAjarOlquyv1-ZEAT5Ei3j7L5iQOmrVq


Source

Tidal MQA/Hifi -> Zen Dac - Moondrop Aria


Sound

For the sound part, I will do a breakdown as follows. Do take into consideration that my setup will somehow affect the final output. This review is done based on my setup and whatever I wrote is based on my listening experience with my setup. Prior to writing this review, I have completed the 100 hours burn in time as suggested by Moondrop. The overall sound signature of Aria is very smooth and it offers a realistic timbre. The tuning is fairly on the safe side in which I believe it will be suitable for a lot of people.

Bass

The quality of the bass is good for its price point. The extension is good and it does give off an ample amount of rumble when the track calls for it. The bass offered is of quality as well as quantity. It also feels very full bodied, but the bass is nowhere near basshead level of course.

Mids

The mids are smooth and expressive,nothing much to shout out here. Well rounded is how I will describe the mids of Aria. Nothing too luscious nor thin. Pretty balanced.

Treble

The treble is also tuned pretty safe. Nothing much to shout out here. It offers enough sparkles and air without being sibilant. Enough for it to be energetic when the track requires it to. Occasional peakiness, but only on certain tracks where it’s treble heavy. Most of the time, it doesn’t exhibit that.

Soundstage/Imaging/Separation

The soundstage is average, it is not too wide or narrow, but the imaging of Aria is what I would say is the spotlight here. Separation is on point where instruments can be pinpointed easily even when the track is busy. Left and right transitions on certain tracks such as Hans Zimmer’s Why So Serious offers a very good sense of spatial separation.

Driveability

Aria does not need an extra amp to unleash its full potential, it can be driven off a smartphone or even a basic DAP. However, to get the best out of it, it’s best to pair it with a good source of course.

Final Thoughts

I will definitely recommend this to someone who is looking for an all rounder IEM. However, one thing that I would like to highlight is that although the quality of the stock cable is very good, the constant tangling situation with the cable is quite a turn off, at least to me. Everything else is good except for the cable. At this price point, I believe Aria offers a very huge value for its performance, unlike a more higher priced Yume which is quite genre picky in my opinion, of course there will be times where Aria will struggle, but then again, at this price point, it is just nitpicking. If you’re after an IEM that will offer you a smooth experience throughout your listening session, just get this. It will not disappoint you, also, at this price point, why not?

Jhym07uKK9bMZbZG018i15lyn3-9GOqvk_3qcSMwthnuAgStCQGGFBjY58BYJB_sDpF2VGAKyoaa6ALatugMHGZl70Wux49LH9CKu088iZ0S7tjKdQPpIIKVDI5rgA2TlojvSwZd
vGmFnPpS5YsRg9yt5XBk5FEPmPPdfXQiALgwpwgPaHXkNgzOvoF8e5qNbXgTGVGCqVYkNHPrQ8yCW81N4oFp37R1d2qyjVXxgMwZ2ofh2sRdjMLvFwmWp_5QSgUGdNKah-Tcd6bN


*Aria is provided to me by Cloris from ShenzhenAudio in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. I thank her for the opportunity.

If you wish to purchase the said IEM you may head to the following site to do so.
https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/...diaphragm-dynamic-driver-iems-in-ear-earphone
Last edited:

Banbeucmas

100+ Head-Fier
The Season 3 Anime - Comparative review with KXXS/Starfield
Pros: Safe, smooth tuning that is based on Harman signature
Wide soundstage performance
A possible alternate consideration for people liking the KXXS, Starfield
Overall a safe recommendation for a lot of people
Cons: Lack depth, slightly less accurate in positional cues comparing to its alternative
Cable quality
Not something for an overly technical listen
Aria review #3.png

With how Moondrop advertises their product, I think a lot of Audio enthusiasts who happen to be Anime fans will know them. Though that wasn't the only reason why they have been gaining traction nowadays. Along the way, their product if anything has been gaining the reputation of being solid or above with IEMs like Moondrop Blessing 2 being hugely discussed in a lot of circles from my observation.

It seems like now Moondrop decided to revisit their old Aria model and gave them an update, though from the look of it the aria is more of an iteration of their popular KXXS/Starfield. Hence, to demonstrate its performance, I decided to make a comparative review this time around - let's see how it goes.

This review is a copy-paste from my blog, you can check it for more information: https://banbeu.com/moondrop-aria-2021-review-season-3/



Information:​

The Moondrop Aria was kindly provided by HifiGo in exchange for my honest review



Build and Accessories:​

Aria-packaging-2.png

  • 6 pairs of silicone ear tips (2 sets, each set consists of S/M/L size)
  • Unbalanced 3.5mm 2-pin cable
  • Storage case
  • Tweezers
  • 5 pairs of replacement filters
  • Product instruction paper and company information cards
  • The IEM itself
Considering the Aria is a revisit of their previous model: Starfield (and by extension, the KXXS), it's no surprise that the general package hasn't been changed much. Though to cope with the theme that Aria has right now, the cable and the IEM itself follow a "blacky", mysterious style.

The cable is a hot mix between hate and love for me, the texture is nice for sure, but the plastic casing for the L-Shaped jack, Y-Splitter, and the 2-pin casing doesn't sit well with me. Another thing is that the cable is prone to tangling. All of this makes it arguably worse than the Shozy Form 1.1's cable which if you have ever read my review, would know that I really like.

Similar to its previous iteration, besides the black matted paint, the Aria doesn't have any change shape-wise except the backplate is now flatter. A smaller change one can notice is the filter of the Aria seem to be slightly different, with the holes arranging in a Hexagon-shaped position.
But, that's all I can say



Sound:​

Aria and the KXXS line-up:​

Moondrop-Aria.png

Graph are measured with an IEC-711 Taobao coupler. Check the Graph comparison tool on my website to make comparison with various target curves and IEM by clicking here

If you are familiar with Moondrop product, you can skip this already, but for people who are new to the brand and doesn't know anything about their "KXXS lineup" signature, let me fill you in: These IEMs essentially follows what I would consider as a "Harman signature", though admittedly have tamer pinna gain along with a warmer lower-mid but other aspects like how the gain is formed to the similar level of raise in the bass shelf (and of course, coming from my auditory experience) do make its signature to be considered like so.
Note that this is far from what I would call a "True Harman" signature and on another note, it can be plausible that one can call the Aria signature as "Mild V-Shaped", though I digress.

What does this mean then?
Pretty much due to the target that these IEM are based on and the alternation done in the Frequency Response domain, I can consider their tuning as "safe". It's a signature type that is energetic enough without going overboard. Copping this with their technical performance (which I will address below), this generally is a decent choice in my recommendation list especially for someone who is still clueless about their desired tonal presentation.

So, why that lengthy wording about the "Harman signature" stuff? What is "KXXS line-up"?
Well, knowing Moondrop marketing strategies and tuning tactics this should not come as a surprise anymore, the Moondrop Aria essentially inherits the KXXS and the Starfield tonality, follow closely to the point that the frequency of these three IEM looks almost identical on paper, one can even think this was just a case of unit variance.

Hence, for someone who has been disliking the KXXS and Starfield sound signature, the Aria is unfortunately still a pass, but for someone who wants to know if there is any change (even how small it is or not), read on.

graph--34-.png

Now, I know there is still one more person in the family here which I haven't heard myself which is the KXXX (throw the Kanas in also if you consider it as a member of the series) but at least, at the tonality level, the Aria can be mistaken as the KXXS and Starfield respectively. In all fairness, without actually A/Bing three of them together, I won't realize that the Aria being the warmest IEM from the three. "Gladly" though, thanks to its technicality, the Aria price difference from the Starfield do make a bit of sense.

Yes, there are some small notable differences in this chamber this time around: the Aria has a wider soundstage, even among the IEM that I have experienced it gets surprisingly wide in comparisons, but lacking the depth in terms of layering. Instruments do sounds smeared together quite often hence this won't be my pick when it comes to Orchestral or Instrumental. I would even take the Starfield over this due to how more accurate the instruments are placed in the sound field than the Aria. Though, an appreciated factor that can make people pick the Aria over is that the bass response is slightly tighter.

Other than that, nothing out of ordinary. The Aria (and the whole KXXS lineup imho) is one smooth of an IEM texturing-wise. It admittedly has enough to separate them out of the sets in the sub-100$ range, but over that to the 300$ mark, detailing is just bland in comparison.
Though just to be more specific: Aria < Starfield < KXXS in terms of texture and details. Though honestly, all three aren't that far off with each other to justify them being in their own "league" respectively.

Choice comparison:​

vs Etymotic Research ER2XR:

graph-44-.png

Considering how I have referred the Aria to the Starfield in the above section. Some can guess out already if they have read through my Moondrop Starfield vs Etymotic ER2XR comparison in my ER2XR review.

The situation here while goes in a slightly different way, still ended up having identical results in a lot of points, basically:

  • The Aria has better soundstage than the ER2XR (Wider rather than deeper), just like how the Starfield is.
  • The Aria has worse detail retrieval than the ER2XR, just like how the Starfield is.
  • The Aria has slightly worse treble than the ER2XR, just like how the Starfield is.
You get the gist.
Now, if we bring the price department into consideration, the ER2XR is commonly at least 30$ pricier than the Aria. But then again, this piece of Etymotic work also has several occasions where it went as cheap as 50$ since its release already.
If you can wait, wait, else the Aria is still a solid choice, much like how I consider the Starfield as such.

vs Tin Hifi T2+:

graph-43-.png

I don't mention the Tin Hifi T2+ much these days, but it's still one of the few solid IEM in the sub 100$ bracket nowadays.
Now despite how the graph is suggesting that the Aria can potentially shoutier than the T2+, my auditory experience was a bit different, namely the Tin Hifi offering often come out as more forward and more nasally with some of my usual test vocals like Mitsuki Nakae, Mameko... comparing to the Aria. This also is one of the case where I think most of this perception was significantly due to how early the raise was rather than just having a bigger SPL.

The Tin Hifi T2+ overall offers a thicker note weight with a warmer tone in relative. This would have been what I consider as a "more pleasing" presentation until the lower treble spike at ~5.5kHz kicks in before rolling off, giving a sharp, dry sensation that might come out as offensive to some ears. Moreover, the T2+ does sound more narrow in terms of positional cues comparing to the Aria, though it has a bit more depth to compensate for this.



Conclusion:​

I will admit, I have a bit of trouble writing this review in my normal format, mainly due to how similar the Aria to its sibling. A lot of comparisons, reference to be made with the past model if anything, would have similar results with the Aria also.

That's precisely why I would recommend the Aria giving the fact that I have recommended the Starfield before. At least, the justification with the down price this time is that the Aria (imho) is arguably worse than the Starfield due to its imaging performance. Can't think of a way to blame Moondrop though, slapping a response and trying to improve the technicalities has always been their thing.
Not sure about how it will go in the future, but if this goes on, hopefully, the KXXS series will achieve the true chunk of gold it is trying to search for.
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4
430633
Interesting to see you've got 5 pairs of replacement filters- only 3 came with my set
Banbeucmas
Banbeucmas
I have no idea with that actually lol

machinegod

New Head-Fier
Perfection under 100 USD?
Pros: Smooth pleasant sound signature.
Sleek looks.
Good build quality, comfortable.
No obvious flaws.
Cons: Cable is tangle prone.
No mic present.
Stage could have used some more width.
Disclaimer : The unit was provided by Hifigo as a part of a tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own. You can purchase the Aria here.
Build & Fit
These were love at first sight for me when I saw the renders. The gold streaks on stealth black looks sleek, discreet and elegant.
On holding them you are greeted with their heft, which is an indication of their build material, solid metal. These are among the prettier IEMs out there
in my opinion. The SPC cable is wonderfully covered with nylon braid. Two gripes regarding the cable : the cable is prone to tangling still, and no mic?! The exclusion of a mic
feels like a big oversight given the aim was portability. In fact the exclusion of mic is going to be my biggest complaint.
The fit is very comfortable in my ears and should be the same for most. Found no oddities that would cause fit issues in the Aria 2021.

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Amp Needs
At 32 ohms and 122 dB/Vrms, these are easy to drive off phone directly. No external amp is needed. The sound quality didn't seem to change all that much when paired to different sources
which is a good thing, as the user isn't chained to their source. These sounds great from pretty much everything, even the weak and run of the mill sources. I cannot emphasize more how big of
an advantage this is when you are using an IEM that is aimed more towards the budget category.

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Sound Quality
These have a mild (mild!) U shape tuning which is very enjoyable for pretty much all kinds of music. The first observation that hits you is just how clean the background is (hint : good quality driver!), no grain, no muddiness. Just clean, fast and dynamic sound with a fresh tuning. The tuning is smooth and very well balanced, there are no timbre related issues and everything sounds natural and pleasant. The best way to describe this tuning is that it's a Sony MH755 on steroids with better technicalities. The low end is solid, clean and hits surprisingly hard. There might be a few times where I found the bass to be slightly loose, but it doesn't draw too much attention. Thankfully, the Aria is not all face and no pants, the texture in the low end is brought forward nicely and I didn't find myself missing any surface level detail. The bass decay is very good for an IEM in this price range, this contributes in part to the clean background. Coming on to the midrange, you can hear it take a step back, but just a step back. And remarkably (and most importantly) the texture and detail retrieval in this range is not lost. Vocals DON'T sound as if they are coming from the moon, with only but a tiny whisper reaching you. Moondrop seems to have nailed the tuning overall, as even though the midrange presentation is slightly laid back, it always keeps you engaged and linked to vocal centric music. If I had to criticize some aspects of the midrange, it would be the slight lack of depth and heft in vocals, but that is partially due to the way it is presented, i.e, the micro details in the midrange are there, but not obvious in front of you. Coming to the highs, king of the hill in this story. Natural with natural extension and smooth as butter. It has just the right amount of bite, extension, sparkle and sheen.
The top end is open and seems to have the picture perfect tuning which falls exactly along my preference.
Soundstage is adequate with a slight hint of depth handed over by the slightly laid back midrange. Imaging while not laser sharp falls in line with what the competition provides. The same goes for detail retrieval and overall resolution.

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Conclusion
In my limited (but not sparse) experience with budget IEMs (around 100 USD), I had concluded that there are many great players offering a robust sound foundation with no obvious flaws. In no particular order, some of them are the Blon 03, MH755, Tipsy Dunmer,
Tin T2. I would pick the Moondrop Aria 2021 over them all. I hate classifying a product as the "best" but I think I am going to make an exception this time. Based on the IEMs I have heard in this price range as of now, Aria undoubtedly leads the pack.
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Ace Bee

Headphoneus Supremus
Moondrop Aria: Sounds Good, Looks Better!
Pros: Good deep bass
Airy and crisp mids and highs
Solid build and comfort
Nice separation and stage
Cons: Upper mids and high notes are slightly sharper and thinner
Slightly more stage width would have been better
Introduction:
Moondrop needs no introduction in the IEM industry. It has been consistently putting out iems that are generally having positive impressions. Although my previous experience with Moondrop Blessings 2 was different (review here), I was still of the belief that not everything of Moondrop can be dissatisfactory. So when Aria (2021) came my way for review, I decided to give it a chance nonetheless.

Disclaimer: I was provided the Aria (2021) for an honest review. My opinions recorded here are completely of my own and are not influenced by any form of incentives.

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Specifications:
  • Driver Unit: LCP liquid crystal diaphragm-10mm diameter double cavity magnetic diaphragm dynamic unit.
  • Headphone Socket : 0.78mm 2-pin.
  • Sensitivity: 122dB/Vrms (@1kHz)
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Frequency response : 5Hz-36000Hz.
  • Effective frequency response: 20Hz~20000Hz

Build And Fit:
Aria (2021) has a beautiful build with mesmerising aesthetics. The shells are heavy and solidly built. The black colour, the matte finished surface, and the golden streaks add to its premium appeal even more.
Although heavy, I found that with the Spinfit CP145 tips the fit is quite comfortable actually. No uncomfortable vacuum, no loss of isolation, it was perfect!
The cloth braided cable gives off extremely premium feel also.

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Source:
Phone>UP4
Laptop>UP4 in USB DAC mode

Sound:
Filters/Nozzle Grills play a strong role here. If you look closely, there are two different sets of filters/nozzle grills. One is metallic with no sort of filter, another is a soft synthetic mesh type. The metallic one was the stock one, but with it the sound was too thin. Very airy, but sharp notes and kind of lean bass. When I swapped it with the soft mesh filter, the sound immediately improved to my taste! A meatier and deeper bass, air is very slightly compromised, note sharpness polished slightly, but the edge still remained. Overall I loved this sound and will note down my impression based on this configuration.
The sound signature is distinguishably V, which I like. The stock tips did not fit me well, so I used my own SPinfit CP145M for the review.

Low:
Low end is emphasised. It has very good extension and a full-bodied presentation. Subbass reaches deep and generates a meaty rumble. On occasions it can become slightly wooly or loose as the decay is slightly longer, but that doesn’t make it muddy, just adds character.Textures are produced quite well. Subbass has that added physicality to its notes, which guarantees a pleasant experience.
Mid bass has a very satisfactory thump to it. The attack is solid, notes have very good body and texture similar to subbass. Bass guitars and drums sound very satisfactorily full bodied. Although the full bodied notes may compromise the textures and details very slightly, to my ears it wasn’t that big a tread off. Overall, the bass was quite pleasing.

Steven Wilson - Pariah has a beautiful bassline towards the end of the track that sounds quite full-bodied, but not honky. You cannot miss it, but it doesn’t smother the other frequencies.

Listening to Metallica - The Four Horsemen, the fast kickdrum is surprisingly not so lean, and stands out quite well on its own. Notes are slightly on the thicker side and impactful.

In The Dark Knight - Why So Serious, from 03:25, the subbass rumble has that almost physical touch very well.

Battlestar Galactica Season 2 OST - Prelude To War has big drums that attack and rumble with authority when they come into play.

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Mid:
Owing to its v-shaped signature, the mids are recessed. However, they are not thin or lost behind bass and highs. Mids are quite clean and crisp. The tonality leans towards the colder side of neutral.
Lowe mids are slightly more recessed than upper mids. Notes are slightly on the leaner side, but not unnatural. Male vocals sound clean, but lack the engaging factor slightly. Instruments sound crisp and clear. Snare drum, Cello, and violin notes are clearly defined, and do not sound washed out.
Upper mids have rather more emphasis and energy. The leanness of the notes continue here, with some added sharpness which enhances the perception of details at the cost of slight listening comfort. Female vocals do benefit here - they sound brilliant and silky. Electric guitars, although sound clean with good note definition, may exhibit slight harshness depending on tracks.
Overall, the mids here have good clarity, transparency, and air. However, the engaging musical factor is slightly compromised.

Battlestar Galactica Season 2 OST - Prelude To War has an abundant amount of cello which play with controlled notes that do have weight, whereas the snares sound crisp and clearly defined in the mix.

Leonard Cohen’s voice in Hallelujah does lack weight slightly, but I can live with it, as the voice sounds very transparent and textures are produced well.

In Silversun Pickups - The Royal We the electric guitars can sound a bit harsh and uncomfortable. The vocals are thin in general and exhibit slight sibilance on occasions.

Yao Si Ting’s voice in Scarborough Fair has a high amount of energy along with sharpness. The sizzles in her voice are emphasised in Aria 2021, and may sound occasionally uncomfortable, however, the overall sound of her voice is still very brilliant.

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High:
Highs here sound quite brilliant and energetic. Lower treble have noticeably more energy that gives a clear and snappy attack. Extension of treble is good in the upper treble - no obvious roll off is detected. Following the upper mids, the high notes are similarly crisp, clean, slightly sharp, transparent, and sparkling. Occasionally the cymbal crashes may sound slightly piercing, but again that’s totally dependent upon the track. The decay of notes are good so that they do not sound cut off. The high notes have sufficient air in them that is aided by the upper treble extension. I really have nothing against the highs except maybe very occasional peakiness - which can be ignored unless you are listening to only treble-heavy music.

Metallica - The Four Horsemen has some intense cymbal crashes, and those are reproduced effortlessly. They do not sound piercing, and the placement is slightly behind in the stage that gives off a nice sense of depth.

In case of Steven Wilson - Pariah, while the background high notes portray a beautiful airy atmosphere, the cymbal crashes sound piercing and uncomfortable on very few occasions.

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Technicalities:
Due to the slightly thinner notes the perceived level of details is good for the price. The airiness helps increase the transparency.
Stage is not bad as well. Width and Height is average, but depth is good. Imaging is above average - placement of different instruments and vocals can be easily perceived, unless the track is very complex. Most importantly, the stage is quite clean and does not feel congested.


Comparison:
Vs. Penon Fan: Fan is the cheapest offering from Penon, single DD. I got it when it was at 50% off, so I thought at that price point it would be a fitting comparison with Aria 2021.
Aria 2021 is a bit more bright compared to Fan, which has a more smoother tonality. The notes of Aria 2021 are sharper than Fan. Fan has a more substantial midbass emphasis, whereas Aria 2021 has more subbass emphasis. Soundstage on Fan is slightly bigger - wider and deeper compared to Aria 2021, which sounded a little restrained in comparison. Midrange of Aria 2021 is more crisp than Fan, however, the highs sound more refined on Fan - has the energy but not the sharpness. It is more or less a draw between them.


Conclusion:
Well, for the price of $79, I cannot say I did not like the Aria 2021. It has got a good sound, coupled with even better looks and build. I’d have preferred if they worked on the sharpness a bit, and stage width also, but for the price I am really just nitpicking here, and I do not think I have heard an under $100 iem this good.

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Chaz1952
Chaz1952
@PhoenixSong & @Ace Bee

How exactly do you go about changing the filters on the Aria? This would be my very first attempt, ever. Thanks!
Ace Bee
Ace Bee
@Chaz1952 try a sharp tool - toothpick, safety pin, needle, sim tray removal pin - anything will do. Put it in the nozzle grill carefully, slightly insert it, not fully, then tug it upwards slightly - the grill will come off clean. Put on any of the extra filters after that. Easy peesy lemon squeezy.
Chaz1952
Chaz1952
Thanks!
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