Moondrop Aria 2021

kmmbd

100+ Head-Fier
The Big “Little” Upgrade
Pros: Great build quality
– Comfortable fit
– Punchy, textured bass that doesn’t bleed into mids
– Beautiful reproduction of acoustic guitars/strings
– Good stage width/height
– An overall dynamic presentation that’s one of the best in its price class
Cons: Stock cable forms kinks, gets tangled in pocket
– Somewhat soft transients
– Treble lacks sparkle, rolls-off early
– Soundstage depth/imaging is average
– Lower-mids can sound a bit recessed
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Moondrop needs no introduction nowadays after being one of the most consistent manufacturers out there in terms of releases and their adherence to hitting “target curves”, or a specific frequency-response in other words.

The Moondrop Aria 2 (2021) is their latest release that, on paper, succeeds their age-old model, the Aria (which had a shell similar to their now discontinued Crescent). Confusing naming schemes aside, the Aria refresh is nothing like the old model with a very different shell design along with a detachable cable (whereas the previous model had a fixed cable). Moreover, it seems to compete directly with their own Starfield and might even retire the old model given its lower price tag.

Let’s see if the new Aria 2 is a worthy refresh, and if it can carve itself a spot in the ultra-competitive budget segment.

This review originally appeared on Audioreviews.

I assign a numerical value to each parameter, and said value is assigned (subjectively of course) based on the performance of the item in question against other similarly priced products.

5/5 = Excellent/Class-leading performance
4.5/5 = Stand out feature falling just short of class-leading
4/5 = Pretty good, not much to complain about
3.5/5 = Decent
3/5 = Average or so.
2.5/5 = Below average
2/5 = Awful
> 1.5/5 = Abomination


Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Nappoler Hu from HiFiGo was kind enough to send me the Moondrop Aria 2 for evaluation.

Sources used: Questyle CMA-400i, Sony NW-A55 (MrWalkman modded), LG G7
Price, while reviewed: $80. Can be bought from HiFiGo.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

The packaging, in usual Moondrop fashion, has an anime box-art. Other than that the accessories are mostly standard: a cloth-braided cable, 6 pairs of eartips, a small carry case, a pair of tweezers to replace the nozzle filters, and some spare nozzle filters. While the tips and case works fine, I’m a bit annoyed with the stock cable. Now, it’s an upgrade over Starfield’s noodle-like cable but the ergonomics are poor and it gets tangled very easily. The sheathing is also stiff and forms kinks very easily. I’d recommend an upgrade cable if budget permits.
4/5

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BUILD QUALITY

The build quality is excellent with an aluminium alloy housing. The matte black paintjob has a soft-touch finish and the rose-gold pattern on top adds a bit of character to the shells. There are two vents on the inner-side to alleviate pressure. The 2-pin ports are recessed which is great for long-term durability. Finally, the nozzle doesn’t have any lips to secure the tips but it does grip the tips better this time around (unlike the Starfield nozzles where tips would slip out). The paintjob also seems more durable than the Starfield one (which chipped off easily) but time will tell. So far so good.
5/5

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COMFORT AND ISOLATION

Due to its snug-fit and lightweight nature, the Aria has very good wearing comfort. Isolation is above-average too and with the right tips you can drown out quite a bit of outside noise.
4.5/5

SOURCE AND EARTIPS

For the purpose of this review, I primarily used the Questyle CMA-400i and LG G7 as sources. The Aria 2 runs well on most sources, though with better sources it does seem to scale. I’ve found it to pair the best with Questyle CMA-400i but then again it’s a desk setup and costs quite a bit. On a budget, the LG G7 worked just fine, with the Sony NW-A55 providing a very dynamic and engaging presentation.

The stock tips are fine but I opted for Spinfit CP-145 as it seemed to slightly widen the stage without sacrificing on the tonality/technicalities.

DRIVER SETUP


Aria 2 opts for a 10mm LCP (Liquid-Crystal Polymer) along with an N52 magnet system. The voice coil is just 35 micron thick and there’s also a brass cavity on the back to reduce resonance. Finally, the high frequency waveguide disperses high-frequency waves to reduce resonance peaks. LCP diaphragms have been used in legendary single-DDs like the Sony EX-1000, though in that case the diaphragm size was much larger (16mm) and the diaphragm stiffness also reportedly higher. However, given the price constraint at play here (1/6th of the EX-1000ST) it’s great to see LCP diaphragm here instead of the more mainstream CNT, Ti/Be-plated PET, or DLC diaphragms (though the latter costs more usually).

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One interesting tidbit: Moondrop recommends 100hrs of burning to ensure that the drivers are in “optimal” condition. They even provide some burn-in instructions in the user-manual (comes in the box). I usually don’t bother with IEM user-guides but this one time I’m glad I read it. Whether or not you’re a believer in burn-in, it’s interesting to see that Moondrop is recommending this as they’re usually very focused on measurements and such (burn-in usually doesn’t show up in FR graphs). I decided to follow the guidelines and burned-in for ~60 hours or so before forming my impressions. It doesn’t hurt after all.

TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES

The Aria 2 has a warm, upper-mid centric presentation that has some similarities with the Harman In-ear target curve. Fortunately, the upper-mids aren’t as pronounced as the Harman IE target and the mid-bass has more body, resulting in a more even and natural transition from sub-bass to upper-bass and lower-mids subsequently.

The standout feature on this one has to be the bass response which, IMO, is one of the best under $100. The bass reaches all the way down to 20Hz and provides excellent rumble. Best of all: it doesn’t slope right away as it moves into the mid-bass unlike some recent IEM releases that gives rise to what I call “2.1 subwoofer effect” (you feel that the sub-bass is detached from the rest of the frequency). As a result, the bass frequencies are all well-portrayed and the sub-bass focus sounds tastefully done. Snare hits are authoritative, double-pedals have a full-bodied nature to them, and most of all male vocals don’t sound thinned-out. Bass texture is great, and bass speed is above-average.

As we move into the lower-mids, it does some warmth from the mid-bass bump but this is where I encounter my first issue with the Aria 2. The male vocals sound somewhat distant, although they’re perfectly intelligible. The finer articulations (vocalists inhaling/exhaling, subtle shifts in the delivery) are not as well portrayed as a result. Female vocals are much better portrayed however though again the lower-ranges suffer from recession. On the plus side, these are excellent when it comes to rendering acoustic guitars. The leading edge of guitars sound crisp while having a certain heft to them. Distortion guitars are not as well portrayed however due to less energy around the 4KHz region, but this also helps in reducing listening fatigue so there’s that.

Finally, the treble, and there’s not much to say here. It’s inoffensive without being boring. The treble rolls off fast post 11KHz and doesn’t really offer a lot of sparkle or air. Cymbal hits sound somewhat muted and the resonance after the hit is absent. There’s a slight peak ~10KHz in the official graph which seems more like driver resonance and didn’t really bother me during listening sessions. I should also add a note about the timbre which is very natural here and doesn’t suffer from the artificiality of the typical BA drivers (and even some metal-coated PET diaphragms).

Dynamics are quite good, especially macrodynamics are class-leading. Micro-dynamic shifts (gradual changes in volumes) are portrayed fairly well though some of the competition does that better. Staging is good overall in terms of width/height, though stage depth is lacking vs the higher-tier IEMs. Imaging is not as precise as I find on competing IEMs so I’d say it’s about average for the price bracket. Separation is good, however, owing to faster transients of the LCP diaphragm, though I do find the leading edge of notes to be somewhat soft which robs some instruments off of their excitement/engagement factor. The better transients also aids in complex tracks though the treble does seem to get drowned out in that case.

Overall, I find the Aria 2 to have a very versatile sound profile that works well across a variety of genres. The presentation is dynamic with a very natural timbre and excellent rendition of acoustic guitars/percussion instruments. Due to the wide stage, instruments aren’t congested and separation is very good as well. However, the male vocals might sound recessed, the imaging isn’t as precise as I hoped it to be, and stage depth/treble extension is lacking. Given its budget nature though, I’m willing to forgive a lot of that.

Bass: 5/5
Mids: 4/5
Treble: 4/5
Imaging/Separation: 3.5/5
Staging: 4/5
Dynamics/Speed: 4/5
Timbre: 4.5/5


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SELECT COMPARISONS

vs Moondrop Starfield ($109): The Starfield received mostly rave reviews upon launch, though I myself found it very average on all fronts apart from the mid-range (vocals, to be specific). It was kind of a one-trick pony and I didn’t find the trick to be entertaining enough to warrant a super-positive review. I’d not discuss differences in build/accessories here as they are mostly similar (though Aria 2 cable is better).

The Aria 2 fixes most of my issues with the Starfield. The bass is much tighter with faster transients, acoustic guitars and percussion instruments don’t sound as “mushy” anymore, and the treble actually has some life in them. The stage is also wider and taller on the Aria 2, though stage-depth is similar on both (as in average). They measure similarly on FR but during listening the difference these technical upgrades are very noticeable. The one area where the Starfield trounces the Aria 2 is the vocal performance with Starfield having a more up-front/engaging vocal delivery. That’s about it though, and I’d pick the Aria 2 over the (more expensive) Starfield 11 out of 10 times.

vs Final E3000 ($50): The Final E3000 has long been one of my favorites under $100 and the Aria 2 has challenged it well for that throne. In terms of build quality, Aria 2 gets brownie points for having a detachable cable (though the supplied cable is far worse than E3000 stock cable). Both are very comfortable IEMs and offer good isolation.

The sound profile is quite different between them. The E3000 is a laid-back sounding IEM with warm, thick notes and an uncanny ability to separate the vocals from the rest of the instruments. In fact the biggest difference between the E3000 and the Aria 2 is how the former projects a wide, deep soundstage. Vocals are also more lush on the E3000, though they are even more recessed than the Aria 2. In terms of bass response, the Aria 2 is more sub-bass focused whereas the Final E3000 has mid-bass focus. Thus, the snare-hits/double-pedals sound even more substantial on the E3000 whereas Aria 2 can reproduce bass rumble better. Treble is about similar on both though the E3000 has slightly better sparkle and energy in the leading edge of cymbal hits. Imaging is also better on the E3000, though it falls behind the Aria 2 in complex tracks due to slower driver. Finally, microdynamics are superior on the E3000 with the Aria 2 having better macrodynamics.

One thing to note is the amping requirements which is higher on the E3000. Aria 2 is far easier to drive. All this makes the Aria 2 an easier pick for those who want more balance across the spectrum and don’t want to invest in a source. If you have a good source, however, the Final E3000 is still a very unique offering and will be right up your alley if you want a non-fatiguing, laid-back yet impressively wide presentation.

vs BLON BL-05S ($40): This is a comparison that many requested due to the BL-05S punching way above its price-tag in terms of technicalities. Let’s get into it, then.

In terms of build, the Aria 2 wins simply because of a more agreeable color, though I’m lately finding the BL-05S less of a turn-off. The stock accessories are also super-terrible on the BLONs so Moondrop gets an easy win here. Comfort/isolation is also better on the Aria 2.

Now, let’s get into the sound. The BL-05S has more focus on clarity with a more prominent upper-mids presence. The bass suffers on the BL-05S as a result with the Aria 2 having a superior bass response. In fact, the improvement in bass alone warrants an upgrade to the Aria 2 if you’re using BL-05S and need more “thump” in the lows. In the mids, I find the BL-05S to be better for female vocals and electric guitars. Treble also has more sparkle on the BL-05S though cymbals can sound a bit splashy at times on the BL-05S (which the Aria 2 avoids). Timbre is better on the Aria 2, so is soundstage width and height and the overall dynamics. Stage depth and imaging, however, is better on the BL-05S, so is the separation (surprisingly so).

It’s quite ironic that the BL-05S, despite being half as costly, is besting the Aria 2 in a few technical aspects (mainly imaging and separation). However, I find the Aria 2 an easier listen with far superior comfort/isolation and of course: bass. I can also see many getting both these IEMs to cover all bases (Aria 2 when you need a more smooth listen, BL-05S for the metal/rock sessions).

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CONCLUSION

The Moondrop Aria 2 is a wholesale upgrade over the Moondrop Starfield on many fronts, despite the apparent similarity in the FR graph. I was very disappointed with the Starfield so the Aria comes as a form of redemption for the budget Moondrop offerings, among which I’ve only like the Crescent so far (and they don’t even make them anymore).

For me, the Aria 2 is now a default recommendation in the $100 range and renders many of its peers/predecessors irrelevant, if not unremarkable. It doesn’t excel in many technical aspects but as an all-round package it is very hard to beat. The stock accessories are good enough to get you going, the bass response is fantastic, the mids sound just right (albeit the lower-mids recession can sound a bit odd), and the treble is inoffensive for the most part aiding in long-term listening. Add to that good dynamics, separation, and stage width, and we’ve a new winner.

Well done, Moondrop, and I hope you guys keep it up.

Final Rating: 4.25/5

Last edited:
Ace Bee
Ace Bee
Cool. No problem.
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tradyblix
tradyblix
hah ! what a load of rubbish
kmmbd
kmmbd
@tradyblix "load of rubbish" - how exactly? Being a bit more articulate helps identifying the issue. :)
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iceperry

New Head-Fier
Pros: Pleasant tuning, Wide Soundstage, Competent technical ability, Build quality
Cons: Sound can get a little plain/dry, but that'd be asking for too much for what you're paying

Intro


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Disclaimer: I reached out to Shenzhenaudio with interest in reviewing the Aria, and received a review unit in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions written here are my own. For more reviews like this, consider checking out our website www.perrivanaudio.com!

Moondrop continues its “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” motto with the Aria. Featuring the same shell as the Starfield and KXXS, the Aria features a single Liquid Crystal Diaphragm 10mm Diameter Dynamic Driver. Coming in at US$79.99, it is cheaper than the highly-esteemed Starfield ($109.99) and can safely be considered a direct competitor.

Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 8.0/10)


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Packaging is really gorgeous, especially considering the barebones packaging of the Moondrop Starfield. The shell is fully metal and coated with a rough matte finish. The earbuds have a nice weight to them and the pictures can attest to the beauty of the IEMs.

Included is a hard zip case similar to the one that comes with the Starfield. The included cable is a cloth-sleeved cable that goes well with the black aesthetic. It looks much sleeker and durable than the stock cable of the Starfield. However, the cable is quite thin and has many kinks above the Y-split.

Fit (Score: 8.0/10)


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Fit is alright with the Aria. It’s not the most ergonomic shape and the metal shells are rather weighty. Nevertheless, they stayed snugly in my ears even while walking and I never had any issues in achieving a sustained seal. Isolation is quite good as well.

Sound (Score: 8.3/10)


Sources Used
  • Hiby R5
  • Lotoo Paw S1

Albums and Tracks tested with
  • Mumford and Sons - Delta
  • NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Andy Gibb – The Very Best Of
  • 10cm – 4.0
  • James Bay
  • AJR

Bass (Score: 8.0/10)

Very well-controlled bass with a very deep extension. On Mumford & Sons’ “Woman” the bassline was kind of thrown back with a very mellow and textured rumble. In terms of the overall bass quantity of the Aria, they are slightly elevated but nowhere near basshead levels. The lower end feels much tighter and punchier than the Starfield and thinner note thickness.

Mids (Score: 8.5/10)

Mids are very broad and fluid. Vocals are especially expressive and usually take centre stage. Upper mids are quite present and forward. Unfortunately, it was a little too much in certain female vocal tracks or higher-pitched male singers like 10cm. What I enjoyed in the Mids was that it has its own space to shine on the Aria. There is minimal bleeding from the bass and hence the vocals can really power through clearly.

Treble (Score: 8.0/10)

Just like the Moondrop Starfield, the Aria adopts a more subdued treble, with sufficient technicalities and extension without any harshness or sibilance. We should be used to Moondrop’s house sound by now. Nevertheless, there is enough extension in the upper region that gives these a greater sense of breadth in the overall sound and an added dimension in instruments like cymbals and Hi-hats.

Overall

Another thing I really enjoyed on the Aria was the soundstage. I have a soft spot for broader sounding IEMs and the Aria does a pretty good job at that. Overall, I would say the tuning of the Aria is quite versatile for many genres and in terms of detail retrieval, it’s not perfect but still pretty decent for its price and definitely exceeds expectations.

Comparison


VS Moondrop Starfield

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Full review of the Moondrop Starfield

They are very similar earphones and share a lot of similarities. Some of the more notable differences are that the Starfield sounds much more intimate and have a thicker “thump” in the lower regions. This is probably due to a slower decay on the Starfield. The Starfield can also be said to be a more soulful and engaging presentation as it is more “in your face” as compared to the laid-back presentation on the Aria.

Conclusion


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The Aria is another polished product put out by Moondrop. It is well-priced and is a very competent IEM in its price range. Technical ability is pretty decent at its price and the tuning is very coherent. Perhaps the only thing I can nitpick at is that perhaps the sound may get a little dry and plain during longer listening sessions. Aria as a musical term refers to an expressive vocal passage. Though Aria does a good at presenting crystal clear vocal performances, it loses out a bit on the expressive portion. Nevertheless, the Aria already gives much more than expected and I would have no difficulty recommending it as a starting IEM.
D
Da4enn
what do you think is better Kinera BD005 Pro or Aria?in my country the BD005 Pro cost $38 and the Aria cost $57

gadgetgod

Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria:- Smooth Performer!!
Pros: Excellent Build Quality with a stunning matte finish.
Easy to power.
Smooth U-shaped sound signature.
Spacious, Open Presentation.
Treble has a sparkly yet fatigue-free safe tuning.
Cable quality is really good.
Cons: Vocals sound crisp and clean but miss the engaging factor.
Included tuning nozzle filters are hard to switch and there is not much difference in sound with them.
Moondrop requires no introduction. They have made a great reputation in the industry as leading manufacturers of high-tech IEM sets with multiple successful pairs such as the Starfield, KXXS, Blessings 2, S8, and many more. Recently Moondrop released its latest single DD offering in the budget segment, the Moondrop Aria. They have actually used the name Aria of a previous single DD set that they released back in 2018 but discontinued it soon. The latest Aria 2020 only shares the name with the previous model, here the set is entirely redesigned with new looks and powerful performance. I got the Aria a few weeks back, Today I am sharing my review for this latest offering from the house of Moondrop.

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Disclaimer:-

I got the Moondrop Aria review sample from HiFiGo.com in return of my honest opinion on the set. I am not paid or affiliated by either HiFiGo or Moondrop in any way to write positive or negative about the pair. All thoughts in this blog are completely my own based on my personal experience with the pair. You can buy the Moondrop Aria from HiFiGo from the link below.

https://hifigo.com/products/moondrop-aria-2?_pos=3&_sid=e7e000908&_ss=r

You can also read this complete review and my other work on my website here.

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Packaging & Accessories:-

I got the Moondrop Aria without its retail packaging to keep my shipment size small and reduce some taxes. But I received all the accessories such as the included ear tips, carry case, tuning nozzle filters, nozzle filter changing tool, and a manual. Though I checked out unboxing by HiFiGo on their YouTube channel, the retail packaging of Aria is beautiful and well designed with an anime girl image right on the front. But since I received no package, no comments on the packaging of the pair.

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Package Contents:-

>Moondrop Aria earphones.

>2-pin cable with fabric coating and 3.5mm termination plug.

>Six pairs of silicone tips.

>Three pairs of grill-type covers for the nozzle.

>Three pairs of foam-type covers for the nozzle.

>Carry case.

>Clip to carefully change the cover in the nozzle.

>User guide.

Design & Build Quality:-

Excellent, excellent is the word that comes into my mind when I hold the Moondrop Aria in my hands. The earpieces here have an excellent metallic build with a rich matte black finish to them. There is a beautiful pattern of lines on the face panel with golden color. Aria is also printed on the backside of the shells. The two-pin connectors are recessed onto the body and are present on the top of the shells. There are two vents for the air pressure management inside the cavities, both are located on the inner side. The pair is so well-built that it is really hard to find cons in its build quality, especially considering the price of just 80$. To me, it looks better than the glossy Moondrop Starfield.

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The included cable is also very good. It has a fabric coating throughout, never gave me any tangling issues. It has R and L denoted near the connectors with rounded foam covers too for a round-the-ear firm fit. Though the carry case is quite small though this is just nitpicking to find faults in the build quality of the pair.

Fit & Noise Isolation:-

Moondrop Aria initially gave me a slight bit of fit issues with the stock tips, The pair sealed the ear canal completely but kept on falling from my ears. Using Final Audio Type-E tips or SpinFit CP100 tips provided a much-improved fit. My entire time with the pair is spent using Final Audio Type-E tips. They surely gave me a very comfortable experience with very good noise isolation blocking out the environmental noises.

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Driving The Moondrop Aria:-

Moondrop Aria can be driven easily off a regular smartphone with a 3.5mm jack. I paired it with my basic Honor View 10 smartphone and the output was actually loud even at 11/14 volume level. I also used Aria with my Cayin N3 Pro and it was an excellent pairing. Clean background, good clarity, smooth, warm vocals, punchy bass are just some of the key characteristics of the N3 Pro and Aria pairing. Also, it was adequately loud at like 45/100 volume on the medium gain on the N3 Pro. Shanling M3X also offers a decent source for Moondrop Aria, it has a clean, powerful presentation at about 55/100 volume on low gain. Don’t worry if you don’t have any power source, you can easily enjoy the high-quality sound with the Aria right off your smartphones though like always I suggest using Portable USB DAC/AMP or Hi-res players for the best experience.

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Sound Quality:-

Moondrop has an open, crisp, and engaging sound presentation with a slightly warm tonality and a U shape signature. It is said to follow the Harman tuning curve, but in my review, I will not be comparing it instead I will be sharing my experience with the pair. The pair produces a punchy lower-end response that sounds refined and well-textured, shows good quality in both sub-bass rumble and mid-bass slams. Vocals have a warm touch though they sound recessed and backward compared to the instruments. Treble portion has a good sense of energy and has a safe, non-fatiguing response with good micro-detail retrieval. One thing I loved the most with Aria is its crisp clarity throughout the frequency range, like the lower end is tightly controlled, doesn’t leaks into the mids, the overall clarity of the pair is just top-notch. It has a spacious, airy soundstage presentation that brings a wide, expansive experience with live performances, binaural recordings, and more. Recently I also reviewed the Whizzer HE01 that is also available for the same price, the resolution and clarity of Aria are on another level. Great job by Moondrop in tuning this single DD pair. Here’s the frequency-wise description of the sound.

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Lower End:-

Moondrop Aria produces its charm with a tight, punchy lower-end response. It hits with a well-textured refined bass response that adds the fun factor to our music and complements the other frequencies. Lower end has quality rather than quantity, it has a clean, punchy presentation with minimal bleed to mid-frequencies. The pair has powerful slams in mid-bass and produces decent rumble in the sub-bass region. It can not be called a bass-heavy pair rather, we can call it a balanced U-shaped signature with elevated bass response.

Mid-Frequencies:-

Mids are the main attraction with decent clarity and smooth, natural tonality. Instruments have an airy presentation with a spacious sound stage. Both male and female vocals have a nice body and carry a natural tonality with a slightly recessed presentation. They don’t sound engaging as with the HE01, maybe because HE01 has a more upfront presentation for vocals. Though the resolution and clarity of vocals are simply top-notch. Instruments have good clarity, separation with quality layering.

Treble-Frequencies:-

Aria has a safe, smooth treble frequency response. It shows good energy and sparkle with a smooth non-fatiguing response and good extension. Instruments such as Electric Guitars, Violins, Pianos show excellent separation with a non-sibilant response. The pair also produces good micro-details presenting a very enjoyable experience for its users.

Soundstage and Layering:-

Moondrop Aria has a spacious soundstage presentation with excellent instrument separation and layering. The pair has an open, wide presentation with a good sense of depth on the stage. Layering, Imaging, and other dynamics of the pair are very good compared to other IEMs in their price range such as T2 Plus, HE01, and more.

Changeable Filters for Nozzle:-

The filters are very small and quite hard to switch between. But with foam filters I find the bass to be slightly better than the stock grill filter. With the available grill filter, I don’t find much difference in the sound.

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Moondrop Aria Vs Whizzer HE01:-

HE01 and Aria both come at the same price 79$. But they both differ in sound quality with different presentations. Here are my comparison findings between both of these:-

>HE01 has a more intimate presentation with forward vocals.

>Aria has better resolution and clarity throughout the frequency range.

>HE01 has more bass quantity, while Aria has better quality with a refined, textured response.

>Soundstage on both the pairs have a similar width though depth is better with Moondrop Aria.

>Treble extension and clarity are better on Aria.

>Aria has better build quality also cable is fabric coated in Aria.

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Final Words:-

Moondrop Aria has a very open, smooth-sounding signature with punchy bass and a safe, non-fatiguing treble response. It suits multiple genres with its energetic response making it an all-rounder pair under the 100$ price tag. The pair has tough competition with HE01 where I personally found the vocal performance to be better, but the overall resolution and clarity of Moondrop Aria has a much better presentation and makes it my preferred choice most of the time. You can check out more details about the Moondrop Aria on HiFiGo Store here.
G777
G777
I believe the extra Included filters are meant to be replacements. The Aria uses both a cloth filter and a metal filter on top of that.
gadgetgod
gadgetgod
@G777 Ah that's why no difference noticed haha. When i put both Foams that kind of increased slight bass punch though.
Kathiravan JLR
Kathiravan JLR
Nice review bhai 😀

SenyorC

Head-Fier
Moondrop Aria - Better than the Starfield?
Pros: Tuning, Soundstage, Value for money
Cons: For the price, can't really pick any
This review is also available in Spanish on achoreviews.com and on YouTube.

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The Moondrop Aria was offered to me with a discount by HifiGo, for which I am grateful as this was an IEM that I was very interested in trying due to my previous good experiences with Moondrop.

I have not received any specific requests from HifiGo, so, as always, these will be my own opinions, keeping them as honest and unbiased as possible, but it is always good to take into consideration that I have received a discount in exchange for this review.

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Intro…

I just said that I have good experiences with Moondrop, I have not yet heard an IEM from them that I dislike. Yes, some are better than others, as is to be expected, but the general tuning curve that they follow is one that I do not find offensive in any way. They do have slight variations of the tuning on different models, such as the difference between the SSR and SSP, where both IEMs are decent but are flavoured slightly different for different personal preferences (or moods).

I have also been listening to the Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk for a while now, although I have not yet reviewed it due to reasons that I will explain in its review, when I finally get it done! Taking advantage of this brief mention of the Dusk, let me quickly say that the Aria are not in the same playing field as the Dusk, however, that is not surprising seeing that the Dusk are four times the price of the Aria. I will go more into detail on the Dusk once I get that far.

However, one set of IEMs that I have been listening to for around a year now, and is totally relevant to this review, are the Moondrop Starfield (review here). The Starfield have been my go to IEMs for a long time and have always been my personal recommendation for IEMs around 100€. The Aria are the closest contender yet and come in around 30€ cheaper than the Starfield.

So, do the Aria replace the Starfield as my “go to” IEMs under 100€?

I will make some comparisons throughout this review in order to find out.

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Presentation…

The presentation of the Aria is very reminiscent of the Starfield, although the box shape is slightly different.

The box is another cardboard sleeve, with an anime girl on the front, from which box slides out from the inside. In the box we find the IEMs, the cable, a transport case and various sets of silicone tips..

For a set of 70€ IEMs, there is plenty of content and the presentation, while I am not someone interested in Anime, is pretty decent.

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Build and aesthetics…

Starting with the IEMs, the build and shape is very similar (although not identical) to the Starfield. There are a few less curves on the Aria, with the faceplate being a little flatter. The size is also almost identical, with the Aria being just a little thinner overall. I find both sets very comfortable, again, almost identical, although the Aria does seem just a mm or two smaller, making them that tiny bit more comfortable.

One thing that is completely different is the finish on the IEMs. The Starfields have a beautiful sparkly blue/purple finish which is very delicate. My Starfields have a few chips in the paint and I have never dropped them, it is just from the usual random clicks together while using or storing them. The Aria opts for a much simpler matte black finish with gold highlights (lines) on the faceplate. While they don’t look as impressive as the Starfield, they do look like they will withstand the usual scrapes a little better.

I have absolutely no issues with the build quality, or aesthetics, of the Aria. The cable, however, is not quite the same story.

I have seen people praise the Aria cable and say they much prefer it over the Starfield cable but my experience does not match I’m afraid. The cable included with the Aria is a fabric covered cable which spends more time being untangled than actually in use. Due to the type fabric used to cover the cable, this not only keeps the general form that it was packed with (at least for the few weeks I have had them) but also decides to adapt any form that is not the one I want. After dealing with untangling it every time I wanted to use it, I finally gave up and started using the Starfield cable. The Starfield cable is not excellent but it is a 100 times better than the one included with the Aria, at least in my opinion.

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Sound…

Now, if the aesthetics and build of the Aria and Starfield are almost identical, the sound is just as close. I am going to go through the usual steps of my reviews but I will say that, when using foam tips on both, it is very difficult to notice the difference between, although there are a few noticeable differences when comparing them directly.

As is the case with the Starfields, I prefer the Xelastec tips but due to the hassles of using them for comparisons, I have performed the detailed listening and comparisons for this review using foam tips on both.

Subbass

The sub bass extension is very good, reaching quite low and with a presence that is very similar in quantity to the Harman target, although it is portrayed in a different way due to differences in the higher bass regions that I will mention in just a moment.

There is enough subbass to present the necessary rumble in those areas on tracks that need it, such as “No Santuary Here” by Marian Herzog feat Chris Jones. I have switched back and forth between the Starfield and Aria and really can’t notice a difference when the same tips, cables and sources are used.

While the subbass does have good presence and quantity, due to the differences against the Harman target in the higher bass regions, it does not portray itself as overly boosted and may not be enough for those who are looking for a lot of subbass.

Bass

The bass of the Aria, as with the Starfield, is elevated in comparison to the midrange, offering an overall V shape style tuning, similar to the Harman target but with one major difference in the low end.

Where the Harman target has a more pronounced drop above 80/100Hz up to the higher bass regions around 250/300Hz, the Aria is a much smoother descent. The Aria is more of a slow slope rather than a dip and doesn’t actually meet up again with the Harman target until we are way into the lower mids. This gives the Aria more presence in the mid to higher bass regions, showing around a 3dB difference at the 200Hz mark.

I have repeated many times that I am not a huge fan of neither overly exaggerated bass nor the Harman target, and whilst the Aria has more in the higher bass regions (and lower mids), this actually smooths out the response in the bass region, making it not seem quite as boosted due to it being a smooth roll off from the subbass into the lower mids.

I actually like the frequency response of the Aria (and the Starfield) in these areas and whilst it is not exactly my most preferred, it is a presentation that I find enjoyable and creates a very easy listening experience.

Mids

The transition from the bass into the lower mids is clean due to that smooth descent that I have mentioned. The Aria don’t give a sensation of bass bleed, nor do they come across as recessed in the mids, even if these are at their lowest point around 1kHz.

Vocals are nice and present, without any sensation of lacking presence in their low end, with the majority of mid centric instruments presenting a nice tone and being overall well done.

Female vocals, such as those in “Down To The River To Pray” have a nice body to them while deep male vocals, such as “These Bones”, do not seem overly done in their lower end.

The rise from the center of the mids to the higher mids is more pronounced than the descent from the lower regions, and they don’t drop off immediately after their peak around 2.5 to 3kHz, keeping a similar presence up into the lower treble, which can sometimes make IEMs sound shouty or nasal, but in the case of the Aria this is not the case.

Treble

The Aria present quite a decent extension in the treble range, not seeming to suffer from the typical single DD roll off as much as many other alternatives. There is enough extension and sensation of air for me to find the high ranges enjoyable. It is not on the level of a decent BA treble range but if I had to choose between the single DD of the Aria (or the Starfield) against a not great BA, I would have no doubt about choosing the Aria. However, there are a few times, especially when listening to things like the higher ranges of violins etc., where they can come across as a little harsh in these regions.

They also manage to avoid sibilance, or rather, they don’t add sibilance to the equation. In songs like “Code Cool”, there is just a hint of presence but nothing that is uncomfortable in my opinion.

Speed and detail

Until now, I have only really mentioned tuning, which is something that you will either like or not, depending on your preferences. When we get into the speed and detail, this is where we are reminded that these are 70€ IEMs.

It is not that they are terrible in regards to speed, far from it, they perform very well for their price category and do not seem lacking in comparison to the Starfield, but there are times when very complicated and busy tracks can show the limitations of the single driver.

I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this lack of speed, like I just said, they are very good for their price range but other well implemented hybrid IEMs will perform better in this regard.

In the details is where they do suffer slightly, but again, depending on what we are comparing to. Compared with the majority of IEMs in their price range, I would say that the presentation of details is pretty much equal or better than the majority. However, when listening to IEMs that are more capable, admittedly more expensive, the limitations do show.

Soundstage and imaging

My biggest surprise with the Aria was how increased the soundstage width is in comparison to the Starfield and to many other options in this price range. Now, it is not night and day, the Aria do not have an extremely wide soundstage (as is the case with most IEMs, especially in this price bracket) but they are noticeably wider than the Starfield and I would place them above average for the IEMs that I have reviewed.

The placement of images inside the soundstage is decent but is not spectacular. I mean, you can easily locate instruments and position them in the soundstage, it is the details behind them that are more difficult to appreciate.

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Conclusion…

Back when I reviewed the Starfield nearly a year ago, they were the first IEMs I purchased that broke the 100€ barrier and they have remained my reference and recommendation for IEMs costing 100€ or less. I have reviewed other IEMs at similar (or cheaper) price points that have been better in a specific category but not as an overall package… until the Aria.

The Aria, in my opinion, is almost a clone of the Starfield as far as sound and comes in at 30€ cheaper. When doing direct comparisons between the Aria and the Starfield, with all else equal, I do sometimes notice small differences but not enough to stand out without direct comparisons. There are obviously also small differences in aesthetics, build and the cable included, with me preferring the Starfield as a personal choice but I would say that you are paying 30€ more for a nicer cable and paint job (that chips easily).

Once thing to also note is that, as with the Starfield, I feel that the Xelastec tips do improve it overall in comparison to the foam tips I used in this review. They seem (with Xelastecs) slightly more open and the details are slightly easier to appreciate. Again, not night and day but certainly a noticeable improvement.

I am very pleased with the Moondrop Aria and have no doubt that I would recommend it (along with the Starfield) as my preference under 100€.

JasonLucas

New Head-Fier
Home run 🔥
Pros: Sounds great with everything

energetic mids / relaxed bright detailed highs with slightest bite

Punchy and tight mid bass and good sub bass
Cons: None to me at price
Could have better soundstage?
Moondrop Aria 2



Safe near Harmon curve tuning

Slightly better technical ability the starfield with details and resolution
A slightly better less expensive Starfield with a Better cable

Kinda a U-shaped with additional warmth in the low end
energetic mids / relaxed bright detailed highs with slightest bite

Punchy and tight mid bass

Excellent for all genres

Great price
Excellent layering and resolution

Standout separation

bass is good and well controlled

Transient response is great

Male&Female vocal sound good

treble is crisp but easy

very Transparent with a Wide Soundstage

Versatile sound, No harshness or

Sibilance

Easily driven

Cable has a braided fabric sheath.

.78

Good fit and seal , average isolation
Great Dynamics and clarity

Balanced tonality
Definitely recommend 🔥

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darmanastartes

500+ Head-Fier
Encore
Pros: same safe tuning as the Starfield but edges out its predecessor in technical performance at a lower price point, vastly better included cable
Cons: none at this price point
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INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Moondrop Aria is an in-ear monitor (IEM) featuring a 10 mm dual-cavity liquid crystal diaphragm dynamic driver. The Aria is available at ShenzhenAudio for $79.99. I received the Aria from ShenzhenAudio in exchange for a fair and objective review.

SOURCES:
I have used the Moondrop Aria with the following sources:
  • Hidizs S9
  • Hiby FC3
  • Hidizs H2
  • E1DA 9038D
  • Qudelix 5K
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
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The Moondrop Aria comes in a rectangular black cardboard box with a black slipcover. The front face of the slipcover is illustrated with the Moondrop mascot. The rear face lists the Aria’s technical specifications in English and Chinese. The rear face also includes the Aria’s frequency response graph. This graph is very similar to my own measurements (shown later) and those taken by Crinacle, with some differences in the treble that are likely a result of the insertion depth each respective measurement was conducted at. This is an impressive level of transparency, particularly on a budget product, and I wish more manufacturers would follow suit. The box is printed with the name of the IEM and the Moondrop logo in rose gold filigree.
Inside the box, the IEMs and the included carry case are held in foam mounting sheets. The package includes a detachable 2-pin cable and 12 grey silicone eartips in three sizes (S, M, L). In addition to the usual documentation, a set of replacement nozzle filters and a tool to install them with are also included.
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The included carry case is the same attractive and well-made Moondrop-branded semi-rigid zippered carry case included with the Moondrop Starfield. As with the Starfield and its carry case, the Aria’s carry case is a little small for its purpose and requires tight wrapping of the cable to close completely. I attempted to fit the Aria and the tiny Hidizs H2 inside the Aria’s case but was not able to close the case without deforming the Misodiko foam eartips I used with the Aria during my listening. If you use silicone eartips you may have better luck fitting a small dongle inside the case along with the Aria.

BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:
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Like the Moondrop Starfield, Moondrop Illumination, and previous single dynamic driver Moondrop IEMS, the Moondrop Aria uses a two-part metal shell design. The seam between the Aria’s inner body and its faceplate is less prominent seam than the Starfield’s, but more prominent than the Illumination’s. The housings have a near-matte black finish with filigree in the same pattern and rose gold color as the packaging accents. “Aria” is printed next to the 2-pin housing on the top face of the inner shell section of both earpieces. While the Aria’s faceplates retain the overall fingernail-shaped footprint of Moondrop’s other dynamic driver IEMs, they flatten the subtly distinct sub-faces found on the Starfield’s faceplates into a single gently curved surface. The 2-pin connectors are slightly recessed. The inner face is shaped similarly to that of the Moondrop Starfield. There are two circular vents on the inner faces of the earpieces in the same places as those on the Moondrop Starfield. The nozzles have recessed mesh covers. The nozzles do not have a lip to secure eartips.
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The Moondrop Aria’s 2-strand cloth-wrapped braided 2-pin cable improves on the Moondrop Starfield’s in most ways. While a tad heavier than the Starfield’s cable, the Aria’s cable is less-tangle prone and less microphonic. The 3.5mm jack is metal as opposed to the clear plastic used on the Starfield’s cable, and the strain relief above the 3.5mm jack is more robust. “MOONDROP Co.” and the unit serial number are printed in white on the metal Y-split hardware. The cable has a chin adjustment slider, which is most welcome to see. There is no strain relief at the Y-split. The cable uses preformed earguides. The minimalist 2-pin connectors have faintly raised markings to indicate left and right, which are slightly easier to distinguish than the nearly invisible markings on the Starfield’s cable.

COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:
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The Moondrop Aria is intended to be worn cable-up. They have a shallow insertion depth, and I found them to be extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods. I did not have issues with the housings migrating out of my ears with large-sized Misodiko foam eartips. However, given the similarity of the Aria’s shell design to that of the Moondrop Starfield, I suspect that secureness of fit would be worse with smaller eartips. Isolation is average. There is no driver flex with foam eartips.

MEASUREMENTS:
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My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. There is a resonant peak at 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable. These measurements were taken with the stock small-sized silicone eartips.

SOUND AND COMPARISON WITH MOONDROP STARFIELD:
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Note: My impressions are based on use with large-sized Misodiko eartips, which Moondrop rebrands as MIS tips.

Moondrop Starfield Review. Radiant | by Alec | Bedrock Reviews | Medium

The Moondrop Aria has a virtually identical tuning to the Harman-ish Moondrop Starfield. However, after extensive listening, I feel that the Aria narrowly edges out the Starfield in terms of detail retrieval and resolution. This became evident to me after repeatedly listening to the first 30 seconds of the track First Punch by Nothing More.


With the Moondrop Aria, the micro-dynamics of the hi-hat pattern at the opening of the song are a hair clearer to me. Similarly, when the bass guitar enters, there is greater space and definition between it and the kick drum with the Aria as compared to the Moondrop Starfield. Another improvement the Aria makes is the reduced degree to which vocals overwhelm lower midrange instrumentation. On many Harman-ish IEMs, such as the Starfield, vocals are front and center and have a tendency to overshadow lower midrange instrumentation on busier tracks. The Aria has slightly better clarity and balance in this respect as compared to the Starfield. I want to emphasize that these distinctions took repeated listens and close attention to draw out and are not anywhere close to night-and-day differences. If you are listening to music and not gear this will not be something you notice, and I do not endorse buying the Aria to replace a Starfield already in your possession on these grounds.
The Moondrop Aria has elevated, well-extended sub-bass that recedes as the frequency response transitions into the mid-bass to avoid creating congestion in the lower midrange. The Aria offers healthy amounts of rumble and slam for the average listener, though both bassheads and neutrality purists may be disappointed by what has become the consensus bass tuning for IEMs. The bass is both impactful and precise, with excellent speed and articulation. The bass has good texture despite the level of restraint shown in its presentation.
As mentioned before, the Moondrop Aria’s mid-bass recedes early enough to avoid creating congestion in the lower midrange, but not so early as to rob notes of weight or warmth. Like the Moondrop Starfield and other Harman-ish IEMs, I hear the Aria’s midrange tonality as dead neutral, though listeners accustomed to IEMs with a warmer tonality will likely find it cool. While the lower mids are recessed compared to the upper mids, male vocals intelligibility is excellent. Male and female vocals are perceived evenly. Female vocals are clear and presented without a hint of sibilance. The balance struck between presence and smoothness is exceptional, and timbre is excellent.
The Moondrop Aria’s treble is crisp and energetic, with ample air and sparkle. Transient delivery is fast but not unnaturally so. Instrument separation is excellent. The Aria’s soundstage is a bit wider than the Starfield’s, but the Starfield has better imaging.

AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
Like the Moondrop Starfield, the Moondrop Aria can be driven to a comfortable listening volume with a competent dongle. I did not notice hiss with any of my sources.

CLOSING WORDS:
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The Moondrop Starfield was already an incredible IEM for the price. With the Moondrop Aria, you get a much better cable and slightly better technical performance at a lower price. As I indicated earlier in this review, I do not feel that the Aria offers technical improvements significant enough to warrant a purchase from existing Starfield owners. However, if you’re just getting into IEMs, you would be hard-pressed to do better than the Aria at the sub-$100 price point.
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4ceratops
4ceratops
I ordered them 15 days ago and my expectations are growing. Thanks for the review.
Pancakess
Pancakess
How does it go against the shozy form 1.1 (black/gold aesthetics xd) from lows, mids, highs, seperations and resolution? dont know if am asking to much lol sorry
Z
Zeppmeister
I'm ready to invest in a good pair of IEMs, not entry level. Have been looking in the $150 to $250 range. These are obviously below that. Should I have these on my shortlist or am I better off dropping $200 and realizing an ROI?
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