The Moondrop Arias are an affordable pair of in-ear monitors that offer plenty of quality at their price point. They also undoubtedly draw comparisons to the more expensive Moondrop Starfield monitors as the looks and sound are relatively similar. However, as I will explain in my in-depth Moondrop Aria review, there are plenty of differences between the two.
So, what can you expect from the Moondrop Aria inner ear monitors, and should you buy them?
Let us get started and find out…
Build Quality and Design
The Moondrop Aria monitors use a metal-injected chassis that feels dense and has a certain quality about it. It has a nice dark paint job that is accentuated by striking gold stripes. The overall effect is that you could easily mistake these for something that costs twice the price or even more.
Even though the construction makes them heavier than many comparable in-ear monitors, it is not to the detriment of comfort. That is also in no small part down to the smooth quality finish and well-thought-out shape. This means that even during long sessions, they don’t become irritating and lend themselves to extended listening.
The only small criticism I have concerning quality and comfort is that although you get a selection of ear tips, I think they could be a little better. It is a personal choice, but I think spending more on a set of better ear tips is well worth the money.
I personally prefer to use Final Audio Eartips. However, if these are not your thing, there are plenty of alternatives at this price point. Regardless, quality ear tips are an upgrade I would recommend for most mid-level in-ear monitors.
Overall, at this price point, I have very few moans and niggles as far as build quality and design are concerned. However, despite an already high bar, I think the Moondrop Starfield in-ear monitors look better. They are a little pricier, though, and also have a slightly different sound signature which I’ll look at in more detail a little later.
Packaging and Accessories
There is no skimping on the box, and when you get these through in the mail, you could be forgiven for thinking you had ordered a nice piece of jewelry. It is a very pleasant unboxing experience! The carrying case also feels classy, though thankfully is not too big to easily carry around. More importantly, it is well-made and strong enough to protect your in-ear monitors in most circumstances.
They come with a wired braided cable that uses a two-pin interface situated at the front side of the earpiece. This arrangement allows the cables to neatly and comfortably fit behind the ear. Unfortunately, one criticism is that they do not come with an inline mic which I do miss. However, the two-pin connection will allow you to upgrade the cable for one with a mic if that is important to you, as it is to me.
Lightweight and comfortable…
As far as the supplied cable goes, it is super soft and comfortable. It is also lightweight and not too long, which means that it does not feel like it is going to get tangled or get in the way. Even in hot and sweaty situations, I never found it bothersome or uncomfortable.
Although you may opt to keep the original cable, which makes economic sense, I would seriously consider switching out cables for something different when the supplied one comes to the end of its life. The Moondrop MK1 is a good option though if you want to really push out the boat, the Kinera Gramr is an excellent alternative.
Now let’s get to the most important part of my review of the Moondrop Aria, which is obviously the sound.
The Aria uses a 10mm high-quality driver with a liquid crystal diaphragm. The drivers produce a much better response than you might expect for such an affordable set of monitors. Overall, the sounds don’t merge into each other, and there is plenty of detail.
The bass response is prominent, but at the same time, it is a long way from being overdone. It might not be enough for people listening to EDM or Hip-Hop but for most other genres; it is just fine. The bass is relatively clear and full-bodied though you do get a touch of bleed into the mids, which is kind of what you would expect at around this price point.
When there are vocals in the mix, the bass does not distract from them, and unless you are actively and intently listening, you are highly unlikely to pick up on any separation issues. Overall, the separation between the frequencies, even when you are listening to a bass-heavy song, is more than adequate.
The mids take a back bit of a backseat compared to the bass and trebles. They feel a little uneven, with the lower mids sounding more recessed in comparison to the higher mids. Depending on the song, it generally favors the female rather than the male voice though this is not always the case. Listening to “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse and then to “This Charming Man” by The Smiths illustrates this point perfectly.
If you need a more forward mid-response, there are better choices available. If money is not a big issue, then you could opt for a much pricier Audio-Technica ATH-E70. However, if you want to stick at around the same price point, the Moodrop Starfields would probably be more suitable.
Trebles are reasonably well-defined and somewhat elevated in comparison to the bass and mids. However, they can feel a little subtle at times whilst coming across crisp and clear. Their marketing department calls the treble frequencies… ‘glittery.’ I would agree with this to some extent though it must be taken in the context of trebles not being overly forward.
Staging is about what you would expect for the cost. The sound is not hugely expansive, but at the same time, it does not come across as unduly cramped. The only comment I would make, though, is that the focus is mostly toward the side of your head rather than to the back and front.
The separation of instruments and vocals is solid. Where there is plenty of layering in songs such as “Shangri-La” by ELO, they are more than up to the task. At no point in the song are you struggling or having to seriously concentrate to work out exactly what is going on?
Overall, the Moondrop Arai gives a pleasant listening experience that provides more oomph in the bass than the Starfields. If you can live without a more detailed mid-range and you are also looking to save a little extra cash, then these make an awful lot of sense.
The Moondrop Arias take very little driving, and even when you are using these on your phone, it is super easy to get them to a high volume. If you need to connect them to a desktop amplifier, you can use a standard adaptor. However, in these circumstances, I would suggest that you use something like the iFi iEMatch 3.5mm Headphone Jack.
So, why is that?
Basically, it allows you to harness the power of the amp and reduce the sensitivity without blowing your inner ear monitors. Additionally, it will also help to keep the sound levels down to prevent more serious hearing loss at higher volumes.
Moondrop Aria Review – Pros and Cons
- Comfortable fit
- Quality construction
- Excellent case
- Good bass response
- Crisp trebles
- No built-in mic
- Mids somewhat recessed
Looking for More In-ear Monitor options?
We’ll start by sticking with Moondrop, so for something even better looking, check out our in-depth review of the Moondrop Aria Snow Edition. Or, if you’re also considering other brands, how about our comprehensive comparison of the Best In-Ear Monitors for Singers currently on the market?
Or, if you’re also thinking about getting some more standard earbuds, check out our thoughts on the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best Neckband Headphones, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, or the Best Skullcandy Earbuds that you can buy in 2023.
Or, if you’re not sure what type of earbud would suit you best, our informative In-Ear vs On-Ear vs Over-Ear Headphones Guide is well worth a look.
Moondrop Aria Review – Conclusion
If you are in the market for a set of reasonably priced in-ear monitors, the Moondrop Aria makes a very good case for itself. They are well made, comfortable, and have plenty of sound quality for not a lot of money.
So, if you want a more bass-driven and fun-sounding set of in-ear monitors, then these are the ones to go for. On the other hand, if you want more reference-style monitors and don’t mind paying slightly more, the Moondrop Starfield is a very worthy alternative.
As always, happy listening.