Moondrop, a prominent Chinese earphone manufacturer, has gained a strong foothold in the audio market, offering an extensive range of earphones. Renowned for producing acclaimed models like the KXXS, Starfield, and Blessing 2, Moondrop has earned a reputation as one of China’s leading audio manufacturers.
To venture into the sub $100 market, Moondrop introduced the Aria, priced at $79 USD. In this review, we’ll explore whether the Aria can match the exceptional sound quality of the highly praised Starfield, assessing its performance and determining if it proves to be a worthy contender within its price range. Let’s dive in and see how the Aria stacks up against its esteemed counterpart, the Starfield.
Table of Contents
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.
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 coloured zipper made the case look even premium.
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.
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.
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.
- The Demon Dance – Julian Winding
- Teardrop – Massive Attack
- Positive Shadow Negative Light – Behind the Shadow Drops
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 wiht 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.
- Barbados – Ame Domnerus
- The Blowers Daughter – Damien Rice
- ME! – Taylor Swift
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.
- Counting Stars – One Republic
- Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
- Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
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.
- Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
- Roundabout – Yes
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. 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 poor and the overall listening experience is pretty mediocre for me.
If you prefer very relaxed sound signature with warm mid section and subtle rumble then this can be your option but for my taste they have more warmth in the midsection and the treble lacks sparkle and overall there is lack in energy and aggression hence i would still prefer the Starfield and i decline the statement “A cheaper version of KXXS or Starfield”.
This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C
I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.