Mondrop Aria Review: Dolce with a Pinch of Grazioso

Pros: Pleasant tuning, Wide Soundstage, Competent technical ability, Build quality

Cons: Sound can get a little plain/dry, but that’d be asking for too much for what you’re paying

Driver Setup: 10mm LCP Diaphragm Dynamic Driver

Price: $79.99

Intro

Disclaimer: I reached out to Shenzhenaudio with interest in reviewing the Aria, and received a review unit in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions written here are my own.

Moondrop continues its “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” motto with the Aria. Featuring the same shell as the Starfield and KXXS, the Aria features a single Liquid Crystal Diaphragm 10mm Diameter Dynamic Driver. Coming in at US$79.99, it is cheaper than the highly-esteemed Starfield ($109.99) and can safely be considered a direct competitor.

Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 8.0/10)

Packaging is really gorgeous, especially considering the barebones packaging of the Moondrop Starfield. The shell is fully metal and coated with a rough matte finish. The earbuds have a nice weight to them and the pictures can attest to the beauty of the IEMs.

Included is a hard zip case similar to the one that comes with the Starfield. The included cable is a cloth-sleeved cable that goes well with the black aesthetic. It looks much sleeker and durable than the stock cable of the Starfield. However, the cable is quite thin and has many kinks above the Y-split.

Fit (Score: 8.0/10)

Fit is alright with the Aria. It’s not the most ergonomic shape and the metal shells are rather weighty. Nevertheless, they stayed snugly in my ears even while walking and I never had any issues in achieving a sustained seal. Isolation is quite good as well.

Sound (Score: 8.3/10)

Frequency Response Graph of the Aria

Sources Used

  • Hiby R5
  • Lotoo Paw S1 

Albums and Tracks tested with

  • Mumford and Sons – Delta
  • NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Andy Gibb – The Very Best Of
  • 10cm – 4.0
  • James Bay
  • AJR

Bass (Score: 8.0/10)

Very well-controlled bass with a very deep extension. On Mumford & Sons’ “Woman” the bassline was kind of thrown back with a very mellow and textured rumble. In terms of the overall bass quantity of the Aria, they are slightly elevated but nowhere near basshead levels. The lower end feels much tighter and punchier than the Starfield and thinner note thickness.

Mids (Score: 8.5/10)

Mids are very broad and fluid. Vocals are especially expressive and usually take centre stage. Upper mids are quite present and forward. Unfortunately, it was a little too much in certain female vocal tracks or higher-pitched male singers like 10cm. What I enjoyed in the Mids was that it has its own space to shine on the Aria. There is minimal bleeding from the bass and hence the vocals can really power through clearly.

Treble (Score: 8.0/10)

Just like the Moondrop Starfield, the Aria adopts a more subdued treble, with sufficient technicalities and extension without any harshness or sibilance. We should be used to Moondrop’s house sound by now. Nevertheless, there is enough extension in the upper region that gives these a greater sense of breadth in the overall sound and an added dimension in instruments like cymbals and Hi-hats.

Overall

Another thing I really enjoyed on the Aria was the soundstage. I have a soft spot for broader sounding IEMs and the Aria does a pretty good job at that. Overall, I would say the tuning of the Aria is quite versatile for many genres and in terms of detail retrieval, it’s not perfect but still pretty decent for its price and definitely exceeds expectations.

Comparison

VS Moondrop Starfield

Full review of the Moondrop Starfield

They are very similar earphones and share a lot of similarities. Some of the more notable differences are that the Starfield sounds much more intimate and have a thicker “thump” in the lower regions. This is probably due to a slower decay on the Starfield. The Starfield can also be said to be a more soulful and engaging presentation as it is more “in your face” as compared to the laid-back presentation on the Aria.

Conclusion

The Aria is another polished product put out by Moondrop. It is well-priced and is a very competent IEM in its price range. Technical ability is pretty decent at its price and the tuning is very coherent. Perhaps the only thing I can nitpick at is that perhaps the sound may get a little dry and plain during longer listening sessions. Aria as a musical term refers to an expressive vocal passage. Though Aria does a good at presenting crystal clear vocal performances, it loses out a bit on the expressive portion. Nevertheless, the Aria already gives much more than expected and I would have no difficulty recommending it as a starting IEM.

Overall Grade: A-

83%
Sound
90%
Value
80%
Design

Click HERE for our grading list for earphones

6 thoughts on “Mondrop Aria Review: Dolce with a Pinch of Grazioso”

  1. Which IEM with a budget of $70 would you consider for classical and jazz first, but also funk, EDM and pop/rock (no hard rock or metal)? Some MoonDrop Aria listeners advise to avoid it for classical. I don’t mind reduced sound stage in favor of imaging and I am sensitive to sibilance but love detail.

    1. Personally, I prefer the sound of the Etymotic ER2XR (or the ER2SE for a more reference tuning) over the Aria, especially in those genres. That said, the fit may be a little polarising for people. I find the ER2XR performs well with classical despite its limited soundstage. It has a nice timbre and pretty impressive detail retrieval for its price.

      1. Thank you for your recommendation Perry, it makes a lot of sense.

        Unfortunately the ER2XR is unavailable right now and at a listed price of 199€ on amazon.fr ! That is far out of my budget ($70 is really a hard cap, below is better) !

        I was thinking about the JadeAudio EA1. It looked like a good all rounder at a reasonable price, loved by many reviewers but you were the only one that found it trash, that’s why I decided to ask your opinion…

        1. ah I see, in my region, the ER2XR is going for about the same price as the Aria so my bad. I wouldn’t go so far to call the EA1 trash, in fact, it was probably better than its peers in its price range. It’s just that it has its limitations, especially in detail. In essence, I’d consider it a step down from the Aria, and it’s more of a “you get what you pay for” IEM.

  2. Hello, I stumbled across your webpage when looking for reviews of the QoA Vesper. I am beginner at this whole audio stuff and I find myself deciding between the MoonDrop Aria and the Vesper, how would you compare them? Does the vesper still holds it’s value in your review from a year ago or have things changed so that it’s value can be reconsider?

    1. Hello, nice to hear from you. I think the Vespers are still a very decent pickup because they fit comfortably and are gorgeous, on top of having a very coherent tuning. They have a little bit of midbass bloat but otherwise provide a nice oomph to the tuning. They are a solid package that can get you up and running from the beginning, no need to struggle to find a suitable fit, etc. The Aria costs a little more and has a different build and tuning to them. The Arias sound a little less fun but provide noticeably more detail retrieval than the Vesper. It fits well but is a little less comfortable than the Arias. Either way, they are both good pickups to me at their respective price points and I would say go with your personal preference, be it for sound/looks/fit. Hope this helps and feel free to ask away!

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