Moondrop Aria (2021): Unboxing

Table of Contents

Introduction

At this point you might be groaning: “oh great, another Moondrop single-DD in a metal shell!” An understandable sentiment considering that with this new release, Moondrop currently has four models in this similar vein:

  • The oldest of the current-production lot, the KXXS
  • The subsequent and also cheaper Starfield
  • The Drop-exclusive variant, KXXX
  • And now, dethroning the Starfield as the cheapest variant: the Aria.

And that’s specifically ignoring the discontinued Kanas and Kanas Pro, both of which being the progenitors of this particular line of Moondrop DDs. So if you’re feeling an odd sense of déjà vu just know that yes, you’ve been in this place before.

The “Aria” namesake has actually been used by Moondrop before: a single DD IEM in a bullet-style configuration not dissimilar to the once-popular Crescent. I can’t exactly pinpoint when the Aria was launched but a cursory Google search shows results as far back as 2018 though not any earlier, and the discontinuation date is even harder to nail down.

Regardless, this is it; Moondrop’s newest entry into the crowded sub-$100 space. How good is it actually?

Product page: https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/moondrop-aria-high-performance-lcp-diaphragm-dynamic-driver-iems-in-ear-earphone

MSRP: $80

Driver configuration: single DD

This Aria was kindly provided by ShenZhenAudio.

Non-audio opinions

My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.

Accessories

  • Canvas zip case
  • Tips
  • Filters and replacement tweezer tool

Cable: 2-wire twist braid in a cloth sheathing. Fairly pliable though retains a bit of kinking. No complaints beyond that.

Connection: recessed 2-pin. My first choice between the 2-pin/MMCX debacle, so no complaints here.

Build: full-metal build. The faceplate is flatter than the KXXS/Starfield but the shells seem to be made from the same mould. Feels sturdy, durable, and a bit on the heavy side.

Fit: pseudo-custom. A little hefty but otherwise comfortable.

Isolation: decent, not the best but it works.

Initial impressions

  • Obvious comparison to the Starfield here: yes, they are… very similar. It’s honestly hard to tell between the two and if I do it’s clearly not by tuning, but rather the subtle differences in how each presents their respective images.
    • The Starfield has slightly more narrow soundstage but more precise imaging, whereas the Aria can get impressively wide but at the cost of positional accuracy.
  • Otherwise yeah, another solid budget DD from Moondrop. The Aria and the rest of the DDs are definitely suffering from Same Face Syndrome at this point, but I can’t really fault it especially when it all comes with a price cut. If anything else, Moondrop’s embodying the whole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy to a T.

Measurements

Against the similarly priced Starfield and KXXS

All data has been uploaded to the Graph Comparison Tool.

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24 thoughts on “Moondrop Aria (2021): Unboxing”

  1. If this is gonna be in the same tier sound-quality-wise as the Starfield/KXXS but at a lower price then that makes me pretty happy as a denizen of sub $100 land. Basically narrows down my next purchase to either this or the ER2XR (the fit of which I’m kinda scared of).

    1. The fit of Etys is intimidating and the first time you put them in is a leap of faith. However, most people, myself included, find them to be quite comfortable once you get used to it. A while back, they also started including dual-flange tips in addition to the triple-flanges in certain packages. I wouldn’t be surprised if this became standard with all ER_ series IEMs.

    2. ER2XR amazing though especially if you can get it cheap/discounted, better technicalities (faster transient, better resolution, etc etc) and IMHO better bass (punchy yet fast, rumbly enough) and still has fairly neutral midrange despite of that. The only gripe is probably the soundstage that waayy too 2D, other than that I think it is a better IEM even when you compare it with Starfield even with cheaper price (Aria). Don’t worry, you’ll get used to its fitting probably around 1 week. Just lube up for the first time.

      1. If its 2D, do ER2XR still have mid positioning?

        Some of my iem, possibly due to the dac limitation as well, sometimes couldn’t properly portray middle positioning. so the sound feels like extreme left-right.

    3. Get the ER2XR, they’re my favorite IEMs. You get used to the fit surprisingly quickly, or at least I did. There are all sorts of aftermarket tips for the Etys, so it’s pretty easy to find something that balances comfort and isolation. I use memory foam tips from Dekoni.

      IIRC the ER2XR was $160 at launch, but I got them for $80. If you can grab them for that price, they’re unbeatable.

    4. Not sure if you have gotten it, but you can get an adapter, or make one using microtape and taping around the nozzle, to take on different ear-tips. It sounds roughly the same even when you are using double or single flanged tips but fits so much better.

  2. If I find the Starfiled have a really bad and weird type of imaging, does it mean the Aria has even bad and unforgivable imaging?

  3. Hi, are they using the same ear tips as the Starfields/KXX~ series? If they aren’t what are the differences in the tips pertaining to their dimensions and bore sizes?

    1. So Moondrop sells two types of ear tips with three sizes each for all their IEMs. The first type has a smaller core diameter (41mm) to fit the single DD IEMs, such as the Starfield and the KXXS, along with the SSP/SSR. The second type has a larger core diameter (55mm) which fits the hybrids/multi-BA IEMs, such as the Blessing 2, Solis, A8/S8.

      To answer your question, the Starfield and KXXS use the same 41mm ear tips.

  4. In my experience, the Starfields are a warmer and slower version while the Aria has controlled bass, faster transients, and more analytical details? Sometimes vocals are invasive in the Aria, and the Starfield recessed for certain male singers.

    I’m actually curious if the KXXS still further improves on what the Aria is already putting on the table on a pure performance standpoint or does the Aria completely put the KXXS out of it’s place as the more analytical and better presentation?

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