Moondrop Aria 2021 Review
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)
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.
Aria adopts a 10mm diameter dual-
cavity magnetic high-performance
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.
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.
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.
Inside the box we are going to find eight pairs of ear tips , a small semi – hard carrying case and a nozzle filter replacement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright – Laskis Petros 2021