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MOONDROP Aria Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Apr 26, 2022 at 11:15 am
MOONDROP Aria Picture
7.5
Neutral Sound
5.5
Commute/Travel
6.6
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
4.3
Wireless Gaming
6.4
Wired Gaming
2.2
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No

The MOONDROP Aria are the revival of a shortly-lived and discontinued model with the same name. Upon release, these in-ear monitors (IEMs) made a splash in the Chi-fi (Chinese hi-fidelity) community due to their accessible price point, especially for this manufacturer, and audiophile-centric design. They have a single dynamic transducer that the manufacturer notes is tuned with the Harman curve in mind, resulting in a neutral sound that you can use to listen to most kinds of audio content. Although they have a sleek metal chassis and a nylon-wrapped detachable audio cable, which is somewhat uncommon in IEMs, this doesn't eliminate issues with build quality.

Our Verdict

7.5 Neutral Sound

The MOONDROP Aria are good for neutral sound. They have a fairly neutral sound profile tuned with a touch of extra punch and warmth to help balance out their light-handed low-bass. Mids sound clear and present, although a little recessed, which can nudge vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix. Their rolled-off treble veils vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix while sibilants like cymbals are very lispy.

Pros
  • Very comfortable and stable fit.
  • Very consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Closed-off passive soundstage.
5.5 Commute/Travel

The MOONDROP Aria are sub-par for commute and travel. While they have a comfortable fit and feel well-built, they don't isolate you from the low rumble of bus and plane engines. They also lack audio playback controls, so you'll need to pull out your device to play or pause your music. On the upside, they have a very portable design and come with a hard carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go.

Pros
  • Very comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • Really struggles to passively block out bus and train engine noise.
  • No audio playback controls.
6.6 Sports/Fitness

The MOONDROP Aria are okay for sports and fitness. They have a comfortable fit, and their audio cable hooks over your ear. As a result, they have a very stable in-ear fit suitable for moderate physical exercise. Even though they have a wired design, their audio cable is also detachable, so if it gets snagged on something, the cable disconnects from the buds. That said, they lack audio playback controls.

Pros
  • Very comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No audio playback controls.
5.7 Office

The MOONDROP Aria are sub-par for office use. Unfortunately, they don't have a mic by default, which is disappointing if you have virtual meetings or make a lot of calls. That said, if all you want to do is listen to audio, they have a comfortable and well-built fit. They can also passively block out office chatter.

Pros
  • Very comfortable and stable fit.
  • Passively blocks out ambient chatter.
Cons
  • No mic on default cable.
  • Closed-off passive soundstage.
  • No audio playback controls.
4.3 Wireless Gaming

The MOONDROP Aria are wired headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.

6.4 Wired Gaming

The MOONDROP Aria are passable for wired gaming. If you don't need mic support, these headphones have a comfortable and well-built design. Their neutral sound profile has a touch of extra high-bass that can help emphasize sound effects while their mid-range is flat, ensuring that dialogue and instruments are clear.

Pros
  • Very comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No mic on default cable.
2.2 Phone Calls

The MOONDROP Aria don't have a microphone. However, you can purchase a cable with an in-line microphone separately.

  • 7.5 Neutral Sound
  • 5.5 Commute/Travel
  • 6.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.7 Office
  • 4.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.4 Wired Gaming
  • 2.2 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Apr 26, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Apr 20, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The MOONDROP Aria come in one color variation: 'Black', and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions.

Compared To Other Headphones

The MOONDROP Aria are entry-level IEMs with a neutral sound and well-built design. They're often compared to the MOONDROP Starfields, which are also wallet-friendly IEMs but have a different look and diaphragms. Although their nozzle design isn't swappable like the MOONDROP KATO, you can remove their filters if you need to replace them. They have a recessed treble, so details in vocals and lead instruments are veiled while sibilants like cymbals are very dull.

If you're looking for more headphones, check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best wired headphones.

MOONDROP KATO

The MOONDROP Aria are better in-ear monitors than the MOONDROP KATO. The Aria are more comfortable, and they have a slightly more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. The KATO are better built, and you can swap out the nozzles if you want to slightly tweak their sound.

Shure SE215

The MOONDROP Aria are better in-ear monitors than the Shure SE215. The MOONDROP are more comfortable and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. However, the Shure are better-built, and they can isolate you from more ambient noise.

7HZ Timeless

Depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either the MOONDROP Aria or the 7HZ Timeless for neutral sound. While both headphones are well-built and have very neutral sound profiles, the MOONDROP are more comfortable and come with a better hard case to protect your headphones on the go. However, the 7HZ have a more accurate treble range.

KZ ZS10

The MOONDROP Aria are better headphones for neutral sound than the KZ ZS10. The MOONDROP are more comfortable, have a slightly more neutral sound profile, and they come with a hard carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go. However, the KZ ZS10 feel better-built.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are more versatile headphones than the MOONDROP Aria. The Apple are wireless headphones with noise cancelling, so they can block out background noise. They're also better-built, have a built-in integrated mic so you can take calls on the go, and have an H1 chip to seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. However, the MOONDROP are wired headphones that are more comfortable.

KZ ZST

The MOONDROP Aria are better in-ear monitors than the KZ ZST. The MOONDROP are more comfortable and have a more neutral sound, which some users may prefer. They also come with a sturdy carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go.

1More Triple Driver

The MOONDROP Aria are better headphones for neutral sound than the 1More Triple Driver. The MOONDROP are more comfortable, feel better built, and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. On the other hand, the 1More come with an in-line mic by default, meaning you can take calls on the go.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones for casual use than the MOONDROP Aria. The Sony are wireless over-ears that are better-built, have noise cancelling to help block out a significant amount of ambient noise, and have a companion app that allows you to customize their sound using their graphic EQ or presets. They also have an integrated mic, meaning you can take calls on the go, and they support multi-device pairing. The MOONDROP are wired in-ear monitors with a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

The MOONDROP Aria are sleek IEMs with a black base and gold lines on the buds. Unlike the MOONDROP KATO, they have a nylon braided audio cable. They only come in this color variation.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.08 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

These buds are very comfortable. They don't put too much pressure inside your ears, and they come with several tip options to help you find the best fit. Unfortunately, the buds are a bit heavy, and it can be noticeable if you're wearing them for long periods. They also have a deep fit, and the audio cable can become tangled quite easily.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.7" (4.4 cm)
W 1.6" (4.1 cm)
H 0.6" (1.5 cm)
Volume 1.65 in³ (27.00 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

The MOONDROP Aria are very portable. They can easily fit into most pockets or bags without an issue. They also come with a carrying case to help protect them when you're not using them.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.9" (7.4 cm)
W 3.0" (7.6 cm)
H 1.4" (3.5 cm)
Volume 12.02 in³ (197.00 cm³)

The MOONDROP Aria come with a small carrying case. It has a zipper to help keep the lid closed. The inside of the case has a velvet finish. There's a small space inside to store extra accessories like the filters and tips.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have a good build quality. Their buds are metal, which feels durable, and the filters are removable using the included tweezers. It can be hard to change the filters as you can accidentally damage the mesh underneath them. There have also been several user issues reported about different elements of their build. The included audio cable can fray or curl up, while the connectors can feel loose. The paint on the buds can also chip off.

8.0
Design
Stability

The MOONDROP Aria are very stable headphones. The audio cables hook around your ears, which helps keep them in place, even during moderate exercise. While their cable can snag on something, their two-pin connector design disconnects it from the buds when pulled.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • MOONDROP Aria headphones
  • Detachable cable
  • 6x sets of foam tips
  • 3x sets of filters
  • Tweezers
  • Hard carrying case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.04 dB
Treble Amount
-1.96 dB

The MOONDROP Aria have a fairly neutral sound profile. They have a slight bump in the high-bass, which adds warmth to your mixes. Vocals and lead instruments are clear, although nudged a bit to the back of the mix. However, the treble is a lot more recessed than that of the MOONDROP KATO, so vocals and lead instruments lack brightness and detail.

9.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.14 dB

These buds have outstanding frequency response consistency. Once you get a good fit using the provided ear tips, you'll get consistent audio delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.13 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
18.61 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.48 dB
Mid-Bass
0.25 dB
High-Bass
1.56 dB

The MOONDROP Aria have outstanding bass accuracy. Most of the range is fairly flat and neutral, so mixes have adequate punch and warmth. They lack a bit of low-bass, so songs like Doja Cat's Candy feel a little light on thump and rumble. However, they still produce more bass overall compared to the MOONDROP KATO.

8.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.47 dB
Low-Mid
0.05 dB
Mid-Mid
-2.29 dB
High-Mid
0 dB

The MOONDROP Aria's mid accuracy is excellent. Although the dip in the mid-mid nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix, the low and high-mid are exceptionally neutral. As a result, vocals and lead instruments like that in Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart also sound present and clear.

6.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.52 dB
Low-Treble
-1.21 dB
Mid-Treble
-6.05 dB
High-Treble
-4.11 dB

The MOONDROP Aria have fair treble accuracy. The response is underemphasized across the range and is less flat than the MOONDROP KATO. As a result, vocals and lead instruments are veiled, while sibilants like S and T sounds are dull and lispy.

8.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
0.94 dB
Dips
1.48 dB

These in-ears have a great peak and dips performance. A peak in the high-bass adds extra warmth and boom to mixes, while a dip in the mid-mid nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix. Another peak in the high-mid to low-treble increases the intensity and brightness of vocals and lead instruments. A dip in the mid-treble dulls sibilants like cymbals.

9.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.12
Weighted Phase Mismatch
0.79
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.08
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
0.87

The MOONDROP Aria's imaging performance is outstanding. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects like instruments in the stereo image. Imaging can vary between units and can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.

1.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
4.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.5

The MOONDROP Aria's passive soundstage performance is bad, but this is normal from closed-back, in-ear headphones. To create an out-of-head audio experience, your outer ear needs to be activated by sound resonances. However, these headphones bypass your outer ear by design, so sound seems like it's coming from inside your head rather than coming from speakers placed in the room around you. Since they don't have a open-back design, the soundstage seems closed-off and not very spacious.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.3
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.192
WHD @ 100
0.063

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. There are a couple of peaks, one in between the mid to high-bass and another between the low to mid-treble. However, this can be very hard to hear with real-life content. The rest of the frequency response falls within good limits, which results in mostly clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
5.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-16.16 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
-2.09 dB
Mid
-20.08 dB
Treble
-28.26 dB

The MOONDROP Aria's noise isolation performance is sub-par. They hardly block out almost any of the low rumble of bus and plane engines. That said, they do a better job of cutting down ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of an AC unit.

8.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
29.35 dB

The MOONDROP Aria have an excellent leakage performance. Leakage is mostly concentrated in the treble range, and escaping audio sounds thin. If you're listening to your favorite tunes at a high volume in a moderately noisy environment, others around you won't hear it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.27 ft (1.30 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a detachable 1/8" TRS cable. It uses two-pin connectors to attach to the buds. Unlike the MOONDROP KATO, the cable doesn't have a PVC outer cover to protect the wires. Instead, the manufacturer has opted for braided nylon, and some users have reported issues with this material's durability.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The MOONDROP Aria can only receive audio when connected using their analog cable via PC. That said, you can purchase these headphones with an in-line mic.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only receive audio on PlayStation consoles when connecting their default 1/8" TRS cable to your controller.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones only support audio when connecting their 1/8" TRS cable to your Xbox console's controller.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

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