Moondrop Aria Snow Edition

Moondrop Aria Snow Edition

6 July 2022 0 By Petros Laskis

Let it Snow

Pros: + Balanced tuning with very natural timbre
+ Tonal accuracy
+ Very musical and engaging
+ Good bass technicalities
+ Smooth and forgiving
+ Open sounding soundstage
+ Excellent looks
+ Well made and durable
+ Good quality cable better than that of the Aria 2021
+ Comes with a carrying case and the most beautiful package

Cons: – Not the most refined or resolving
– Not the last word in technicalities
– Not that impactful and visceral
– Treble tuning might be too safe for some people
– Average imaging and scale of presentation
– Cable plugs don’t look very durable

The Aria Snow edition (snow from now on) was kindly provided by Shenzhen audio free of charge in exchange for my honest and subjective evaluation.
I only covered import fees and tax, I didn’t receive monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don’t use affiliate links.
The price is $79.99 and you can order it from Shenzhen audio.

Aria Snow edition

Launched in 2021, the Aria featured a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragm and a composite structure that resulted in exceptional performance.
They were widely acclaimed for their timbre and tuning, and became an
instant hit.
Many discriminating users, however, noted that the popular tuning of the Aria had deviated somewhat from
the classic Moondrop tuning they had come to love.
The Aria Snow Edition is the emphatic response to this
valuable feedback.
As the name suggests, the sound of the Aria Snow is clear,
transparent, and rich in detail.
The Aria Snow replaces the
original LCP diaphragm of the Aria with the same first-generation diamond-like carbon (DLC) composite
diaphragm used in the Kanas Pro Edition while retaining
the Arias tried-and-tested driver and cavity structure.
This combination of old and new preserves the Arias
delicate treatment of high frequencies, while taking
advantage of the Kanas Pro triple-frequency balance
style, thus delivering high-quality detail and pure, clear
timbre.

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Technical highlights

Utilizing a 10mm diameter dual-cavity dynamic driver, the Aria Snow inherits much of the component configuration
and the acoustic structure of the original Aria.
It also adopts an ultra-fine imported Daikoku CCAW voice coil to form a lightweight suspension system, and a brass inner cavity controls the volume to regulate the natural frequency of
the system.
The most notable difference in the Aria Snow is the adoption of the same first generation DLC composite
diaphragm used in the Kanas Pro. The Kanas Pro was launched in 2018 and received high praise for its excellent sound quality and high cost performance.
The DLC diaphragm is a composite of nano-thickness diamond-like
amorphous carbon deposited on high internal resistance base material.
The high rigidity, high damping, and lightweight of this composite material results in outstanding
electroacoustic performance.
The Aria Snows high-frequency waveguide structure has
been carefully modified to take full advantage of the new DLC composite driver.
The Aria Snow not only leverages
the excellent performance of classic legacy materials, but also integrates new structural improvements, delivering a smoother and more refined treble with rich detail.
In common with all Moondrop dynamic driver products,
the Aria Snow uses a composite cavity, multiple tuning
holes, and multiple acoustic dampers with different parameters for accurate frequency response adjustment.
The resulting tuning meets all technical objectives and
delivers an exceptionally satisfying listening experience.

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The frequency response of the Aria Snow is highly
consistent with the Target Response which combines HRTF
(Head Related Transfer Function) and Room Response
Function.
Without resorting to boosted bass frequencies aimed at coloring timbre, the Aria Snow delivers real timbre
performance and a wider vertical soundstage close to the
original studio sound.

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Build quality and appearance

The ear shells are made from CNC milled aluminium with a brand new surface texture coating that emphasizes its metal texture with a complex and esthetically pleasing snowflake pattern that perfectly
matches the visual theme of the earphones.
They are very beautiful and visually appealing and I like them much better than the Aria 2021.

Ergonomics and isolation

The ear shells are very lightweight and follow an anatomically shaped design that offers a very conformable and stress free fit that isn’t too deep.
I wore them for hours without any signs of discomfort.
Passive noise attenuation is good but not the best although it gets the job done so you can certainly use them outdoors.

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Cable

The Aria Snow Edition comes with a replaceable 6N oxygen-free copper silver-plated cable with a high-permeability insulating protective layer
It features a 0.78mm 2-pin connector that gives users the option to easily
replace the stock cable.
The cable is of good quality, it has low microphonic noise and is tangle free but the plastic 3.5mm doesn’t inspire too much confidence.
Anyway this specific cable is of better overall quality and handling experience than the one that came with the Aria 2021.

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Accessories

The Aria snow edition comes with the classic Moondrop carrying case, this time in a white color and two sets of eartips in three different sizes each.

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Listening impressions

The Snow is pretty easy to drive so a good quality USB DAC dongle should do the job.
I have mostly used the FiiO KA1, iBasso DC05 and Violectric Chronos.
As per usual practice the earphone was left playing music for about 100 hours before critical listening.

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The overall tuning is absolutely balanced, the snow is natural sounding with spot on tonality where all instruments are heard with their real timbre.
The snow is fairly transparent and clear while it is musical, expressing and organic sounding, making for a very enjoyable listening experience.
It can perfectly reproduce all kinds of music, pop – rock – EDM, you name it but where it really shines is with naturally recorded unamplified instruments.
The bass response is the reference kind without any unnatural coloring and it has a surprisingly good sub-bass extension followed by a naturally downsloping curve up to the mid range.
The snow is not a “bass-head” earphone but it can easily handle bass heavy electronic music with great results although it is not recommended if you love your bass shaking and boosted.
On the other hand, all acoustic bass instruments are reproduced with exemplary fidelity and tonal accuracy without the slightest hint of mid-bass masking or overlapping of the mid range.
Texture is not very visceral but not lean either, balanced is the word to use, while clarity and definition are way above average.
Dynamic behavior is satisfying and realistic, of course not in the same level of physical impact as earphones with larger, beryllium plated, dynamic drivers but still very convincing.
The driver is fast with a quick recovery, the bass sounds very tight and controlled with great layering and instrumental separation, it can do Mahler without even sweating.

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The mid range timbre is again natural and tonally correct, very suitable for listening to acoustic instruments without tonal shifts that could color the sound.
All types of voices sound equally intense and just a step forward, they are present, well defined and clearly articulated.
The harmonic saturation is plentiful, overtones get clearly expressed, the snow is not dry nor boring, it is rather lush with the ideal quantity of warmth.
What I liked very much was how well voices and solo instruments blended together like when listening to the famous Handel aria “Let the Bright Seraphim” for soprano and natural trumpet that is part of the “Samson” secular oratorio.

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The treble tuning is smooth and controlled but not muted or subdued, it might be lacking in top end extension and vividness but it really shines in tonality, something certainly preferred over ultimate detail retrieval and artificial brightens just for the sake of sounding more technical and analytical.
As long as you can listen to one hour of solo harpsichord music without getting a headache then the tuning is spot on and you shouldn’t really care about the lack of overall refinement or the deepest micro detail retrieval.
Soundstage might not be the last word in imaging accuracy, holography or the scale of the presentation but then it is quite extended with a surplus of air so it doesn’t sound congested while positioning cues are satisfying.
Anyway, technicalities are certainly up to the task for a $79 single dynamic driver earphone that otherwise excels in tonal accuracy and musicality.

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Vs. Moondrop Aria 2021 ($79.99)

The Aria 2021 is the slightly warmer and more bassy sibling of the snow.
The Aria 2021 has the better sub-bass extension and a more emphasized bass tuning with a more visceral texture but the snow has the most convincing tonality (at least if you care about acoustic instruments) and the edge in bass technicalities including speed, control and layering.
Upper treble might be a touch more sparkling in the Aria 2021 but the snow sounds more refined, less grainy and cleaner.
Choosing over the two is pretty easy, if you like your music bassy and warmer go for the Aria 2021 but if you prefer more natural and correct timbre with improved technicalities then let it snow.

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Vs DUNU Titan S ($79.99)

The Dunu Titan S has a different form factor, the Aria Snow is more discreet, lightweight and comfortable fitting but the Titan S has more modern, industrial looks and it comes with a slightly better quality cable, a special carrying case and one more set of eartips.
The Titan S tuning is neutral with an upper mid range/treble emphasis that makes for a more forward, sparkling and bright sound signature while it is more detailed and analytical.
Otherwise they sound quite alike in the bass and the mids with the snow being more organic and natural sounding while the Titan S is cleaner, slightly more dry and artificial but it has better technicalities, especially in the bass which is more impactful.
If you mostly listen to electronic music or you prefer a more analytical, detailed and luminous sound then the Titan S should suit you better, else just let it snow.

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In the end

Snow weather is cold and icy when you are wandering outside but it gives you a cosy and relaxed feeling when safely watching from your warm home and this is exactly what the Aria Snow edition is going to do with your senses.
Balanced with the most natural timbre and an organic sounding nature it is one of the most musical and engaging earphones you can buy for less than $100.
Get one, choose your favorite music, sit at your armchair and let it snow.

Test playlist

Copyright – Petros Laskis 2022.