The Moondrop Aria might be the preferred pair of IEMs on sale at present. Identified for its distinctive tuning and inexpensive value, this pair has primarily dominated each audiophile suggestions record because it launched early final yr.
This yr, Moondrop launched a in another way tuned model of the Aria, known as the Snow Version. Apparently, some audiophiles took offense to the moderately populist tuning of the Aria and needed extra precision and neutrality within the sound. In order that’s precisely what Moondrop did and positioned big snowflakes on the perimeters of the earbuds so everybody is aware of who they’re for.
Thinly veiled insults apart, we now have two pretty totally different variants of the identical IEM, designed to attraction to the 2 predominant camps of the audio world. One which strives for neutrality and the opposite for enjoyable. Let’s examine how they carry out.
Each variants of the Aria have the identical primary design that is made out of a strong block of aluminum and makes a loud thud when it hits your desk. The distinction is primarily in colour and finishes, with the usual Aria solely coming in black with a gold sample and the Snow Version in silver with an intricate snowflake design. The Aria additionally has a rougher texture whereas the SE has a smoother end.
Having owned Moondrop IEMs and in addition seeing different individuals’s Arias, I can say that the end on these is not going to final. The usual Arias ultimately lose loads of their luster as they rub in opposition to your ears and the paint begins chipping and peeling. I am undecided if the identical will occur with the SE nevertheless it’s doable.
Apart from the paint, the primary distinction visually between the 2 is the cable. Each IEMs use customary recessed 2-pin connectors however the Aria include a black nylon braided cable whereas the SE include a silver coated plastic cable.
The SE cable is okay. It is skinny and light-weight and customarily unnoticeable when you put on it. It does get tangled simply and tends to retain its form a bit.
The Aria cable is thicker and heavier. It additionally has better microphonics and is extra simply heard rustling in opposition to your garments in your ear. It does really feel so much nicer, nevertheless, and in addition not often will get tangled. The splitter for L-R cables has a pleasant steel termination level and one other steel bit to maintain the 2 cables collectively. The jack on the finish additionally has a sturdier rubber coating. It is positively a nicer cable and feels dearer than the one which comes with the SE.
Each IEMs include a compact carry case. It’s kind of small so that you do should aggressively wind each cables to suit inside, which additionally encourages tangling and kinking on the SE cable. The thicker Aria barely suits inside its case and positively required a bigger housing. The instances have a pocket for putting ear ideas and maybe an non-obligatory tip cleaner.
General, each the Arias are typically well-made IEMs regardless of their sub $80 pricing however until Moondrop has made some enhancements, anticipate the paint to return off after a few yr.
The core design of the Aria is extraordinarily comfy. Each IEMs sit very properly inside your ear and really feel like they had been custom-made for it. The burden is manageable they usually do not stick out an excessive amount of. The usual silicone ear ideas they arrive with are additionally ok.
The variations come from the cables, with the SE having a tackier cable that is tougher to curve round your ears and does not really feel as good because the rubberized ear hooks on the usual Aria cable. However as talked about earlier than, the SE cable is lighter whereas you positively continually really feel the presence of the heavier Aria cable in your chest. It additionally simply will get extra in the best way attributable to its thickness.
Happily, you’ll be able to all the time simply swap out the cable with your personal if you’d like a special design, texture, or size, or wish to use a balanced connection.
After spending the primary couple of minutes with the usual Aria, it is simple to see why they’re so well-liked. It is as if the frequency response was tuned by the hand of God itself and there is principally nothing you’ll be able to complain about.
The Moondrop Aria have a barely v-shaped audio signature. Each the bass and treble frequencies have been boosted over reference however in a meticulous, ‘we’ve got been doing this sh*t for years’ method that few corporations can. Admittedly, Moondrop has primarily reused its tuning from the Starfield, which itself was tuned after the KXXS, in order that they actually have been doing this very same sound with minor refinements over a number of years.
The tip result’s a tuning that is borderline perfection. The bass has a pleasant heft and rumble to it however by no means as soon as will get overpowering or bloated. The treble has a very good quantity of sparkle and airiness with out ever being sibilant or harsh. The mid-range is ever so barely pulled again, simply sufficient to subtly shift focus in direction of the bass and treble frequencies however with out being drowned out or making a gap within the center.
Because of this, the sound may be very dynamic and energetic whereas nonetheless having a fairly devoted illustration of the supply audio. And that is the great thing about Aria’s sound, the place you do not really feel like you might be compromising the integrity of the unique recording with a view to have a enjoyable sound. It is primarily the very best of each worlds.
Switching from the usual Aria to the Snow Version initially looks like somebody drained all colour from the world. It all the time jogs my memory of switching a cellphone’s show from the usual vivid profile to a extra correct sRGB mode. It is nearly offensive at first.
However spend various minutes listening to it and your mind will get acclimatized and also you notice the SE sound is a revelation of its personal. The drivers use a better rigidity DLC composite diaphragm and are tuned to Moondrop’s VDSF goal that’s designed to breed a extra correct, impartial sound.
The result’s a sound that could be a breath of contemporary air, particularly within the finances audio section. The SE has distinctive timbral traits, with most vocals and devices sounding excellent and completely pure. The treble has a extra pure circulate to it with out including further sparkle or vitality on the prime. And whereas the bass has a particularly minor enhance to it, it’s remarkably clear and exceptionally well-controlled.
The mid-range efficiency is unbelievable. Because the SE doesn’t have as a lot vitality within the lows and the highs, the sound initially comes throughout as extra mid-forward however you quickly notice that it is not as a lot emphasised as ‘right’. There actually are not any notable spots of emphasis or melancholy throughout the audible frequency vary, resulting in a really even when considerably boring presentation.
The general sound is simply actually clear, to the extent that it does not even really feel like you might be listening via one thing however moderately simply on to the supply audio itself. The drivers simply dissolve in your ears and get out of the best way, letting you give attention to the unique sound. It’s remarkably unremarkable in the very best method, because the earbuds reduce including any character to the sound within the pursuit of accuracy.
If the Aria are like shuriken, the Snow Version are like a scalpel. I would not even thoughts recommending them for infrequent mastering or monitoring functions, as they are surely simply that good.
Switching again to the usual Aria is like bumping up the colour saturation once more. At first, it feels a bit gaudy in comparison with the SE however Moondrop’s masterful tuning wins you over shortly and it is simple to lose your self within the music.
When it comes to technical efficiency, there is not a ton of distinction between the 2. Each are fairly well-resolving with good imaging efficiency. Soundstaging is unremarkable, as anticipated from an IEM design, however each nonetheless sound fairly spacious in order to not be claustrophobic. Actually, the primary distinction goes to return all the way down to the tuning.
If you’re within the IEM world, there is a good chance you already personal the usual Moondrop Aria. If not, then it needs to be excessive in your purchasing record as they are surely a unbelievable pair of earphones and essential for anybody with $80 to spare.
As for the Snow Version, this one actually is for the purists. I can not think about lots of people having an issue with the usual Aria tuning however for individuals who do I think about the Snow Version would attraction immensely. It is unapologetic precision with simply the correct quantity of enjoyable blended in. Coming in on the similar $80 value as the usual mannequin, the SE is proof which you could have high quality audiophile-grade sound with out breaking the financial institution.
No matter which you choose, the 2 Arias are distinctive merchandise and properly value their asking value.
Due tofor offering the assessment models.