Moondrop Aria 2 Review

The Moondrop machine continues to churn out a lot of similarly tuned IEMs and now headphones in varying price levels. Each of them have their own little charm to them, and typically have been some of my favorite products at each tier. The original Aria was quickly one of my favorite Moondrop products because it was essentially almost the same exact tuning but with a much lower price tag than the Kanas Pro and KXXS -- the two IEMs that put Moondrop in the minds of many in the hobby.

Today, I'll be taking a look at the updated Aria 2. This was sent to me by APOS Audio for review as a loaner product. The Aria 2 cost $89 and can be purchases at the following link:

I probably will end up keeping this review fairly brief because the tuning is very much in-line with most of Moondrop's single dynamic driver lineup, and isn't too far off from the original Aria, the Kanas Pro, KXXS, or the Starfield series. Instead, I do want to put a bigger focus on the package itself.

The Aria 2 is one of the more complete packages Moondrop has released. I love everything about it -- from the IEM design, to the case, and the cable: it's all really well put together and should appeal to many.

The shell design is all metal as before, but instead of the black and gold design of the past, the 2nd generation Aria 2 switches it up with a silver metal finish, with a faceplate of subtle white dots and a focused gold circle at the bottom corner, that acts as a vent. This rather simple look is both elegant and attractive to my eyes.

The shell also retains its small size and lightweight, despite being metal, and is easily worn in my ears for hours. There are also 3 total vents with 2 additional ones being in the back.

Moondrop went with a thicker 4-wire braided cable this time, that is of a silver with black lines look. I've seen this cable look in other products, so it was nice to see it added here. It's very flexible and soft, and looks great with the shell pairing. The cable terminates in 2-pin connectors, and has a modular jack that comes with 3.5mm and 4.4mm options. This jack keeps a low profile, and while it's probably not the best looking jack I've seen, its very functional, and much smaller than other modular plugs.

Moondrop probably leaned upon the popular Eletech circular zippered cases with their design choice for the carrying case included in this box. The included cases features a Polyurethane (PU) leather fabric in a stylistic brown color with a zipper top. It doesn't have a lot of room inside for accessories, but fits the IEM and cable wound up perfectly. I really like this case a lot as it's both small and compact, and stylish.

Sound Impressions

Aria 2 sounds like a Moondrop. It has a balanced U-shaped signature with a slightly elevated bass and treble section, with a slightly dipped, but steady mid-range. The result is an IEM that works well with many genres, but doesn't exude a dynamic excitement nor does it exhibit any major faults either.

Rock sounds like Of Monsters and Men's Hunger sounds pretty good with this IEM. It has a tuning that has a great balance for many genres, and I dig it a lot for this band who are standard indie rock band but with both male and female vocals. Nanna's vocals have good presence in this specific track, but never reaches an area where its sibilant of fatiguing. The bass guitar and drum tracks sound controlled and have enough energy to keep the song moving. 

This IEM doesn't have a huge soundstage by any means, but its not narrow either. It's right around average for most IEMs, and the differences between "large" and "average" are fairly small. I don't find that Aria 2 struggles with busy passages or with separation, and actually am somewhat impressed with its location abilities.

The dynamics are decent too. It's not anywhere near the most dynamic in-ears I've tried, but does a good enough job that I don't find it sterile or flat. It's got a nice amount of impact, but not as much slam as I would perhaps prefer.

The Aria 2 has a very similar tonal balance as the original Aria except with a slightly elevated subbass range. In most of my music, this difference is negligible, but for tracks with heavy subbass focus, this change may be desired.

I recently listened to the Starfield 2 and these two do share a lot of similarities as well. The Starfield 2 has a slightly elevated upper-mid range giving vocals more presence. I personally prefer the Aria 2's more relaxed tuning in this respect. The differences are very subtle, however, and at the end of the day, you could almost decide between the two based on whether you like blue or silver IEM colors.

Final Thoughts

The Moondrop Aria 2 is a step up from the original Aria, which for a long time, was my baseline, under $100 recommendation. This one is $10 more than what the original was priced at if I recall, but the improved cables with modular connectors, carrying case, and overall shell quality are more than enough to cover the additional cost. 

While it's not a major sonic improvement over the Aria or other Moondrop products, this is an easy recommendation for those who are looking for a well-balanced, enjoyable IEM with a great starter kit of accessories to enjoy music with.

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