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Moondrop Aria SE
June 15, 2022
Box: 162 x 106 x 62 mm
Box: 280 Grams
The Moondrop Aria SE (Snow Edition) is a variant of the regular Moondrop Aria. Both are wired earbuds with a focus on sound quality over fancy features. Let’s see if the modified design and tweaked frequency response make for a better or worse pair of earbuds.
Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.
The Moondrop Aria SE is most prominently aimed at music aficionados. People needing earbuds for exercise may find something to like here, but the lack of a microphone limits its functionality elsewhere.
What’s it like to use the Moondrop Aria SE?
The Moondrop Aria SE features an all-metal outer shell with an etched snowflake design on the side, echoing the Snow Edition moniker these earbuds carry. They feel substantial, with more weight in each earbud than most plastic earbud designs. The included replaceable cable features a more rigid section meant to loop over your ear, which I find quite comfortable, but it might not be to everyone’s taste. Included is a carrying case, as well as six different varieties of silicone tips, making it very easy to find the right fit for you. The ear tips come in two designs—there’s three pairs of regular silicone ear tips, and three pairs of clear “spring tip” ear tips, which Moondrop claims “reduce mid-treble resonances” and ensure a more even seal in your ear canal. In my experience the difference between the two was pretty much negligible, but it’s nice to have the options.
Because the earbuds themselves are quite large and heavy, you may struggle to find a good fit, but I find them surprisingly comfortable and pleasantly snug. They’re tight enough to use while exercising, but also comfortable to wear for long periods of time. While we have seen some concerns about the build quality online, we noticed no such issue despite heavy use for several days. There’s no IP rating, for sweat protection or otherwise.
How does the Moondrop Aria SE connect?
The Moondrop Aria SE connects using the venerable standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and the cable is fully replaceable, using 2-pin connectors. The jack is a conventional TRS, as there’s no microphone. This ensures compatibility with almost every device you’d want to use, so long as you have an adapter for your smartphone if it lacks a headphone jack. The cable is coated in a flexible plastic, which unfortunately gets caught on itself and tangled easily, unlike many similar products. The length of the cable is also clearly meant for smartphone and laptop users; I found it a bit short when used with my desktop computer slightly further away.
How well does the Moondrop Aria SE block out noise?
The Moondrop Aria SE is fine when it comes to noise isolation, but it’s not incredible. Frequent fliers might want something with active noise canceling instead. During the course of this review I used it in a room with other people talking and listening to music at a reasonable volume and it did a decent job of blocking out that noise. Using the Moondrop Aria SE while on a skateboard, it hushes the rattle of the wheels on pavement quite satisfactorily, too. However many other earbuds and headphones will perform better, especially those with active noise canceling.
How does the Moondrop Aria SE sound?
The Moondrop Aria SE’s primary focus is on delivering a good sonic experience. Consumer audio products often over-deliver on bass, which can hide some of their imperfections, so any product willing to offer a more even frequency response is commendable. In general the Moondrop Aria SE sticks pretty closely to our target headphone response curve. Listening tests reveal the high end often feels slightly too present, due to the relatively reduced bass output. In songs like Going for Adds by Moving Units this is quite noticeable as the hi-hats take on a very hissy quality. On the other hand, bassier songs work fine here, such as WOW, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY by Phono Pony, as well as many EDM and hip hop tracks.
If you’re a musician in a studio or live setting you should get a lot out of the Moondrop Aria SE; I was reminded of the sound of the classic Sony MDR-7506 over-ears while using them. Our testing was conducted using the clear, “spring tip” ear tips.
Should you buy the Moondrop Aria SE?
Overall we would recommend the Moondrop Aria SE, but mostly if you’re someone that’s only interested in a good listening experience—if you want extra features, you won’t find them here. The earbuds are comfortable to use. It’s easy to get a good fit thanks to multiple included tips. The included carrying case is a nice bonus. The only quibble, aside from the lack of a microphone, is that the frequency response may be a little too biased towards the higher frequencies for everyone’s taste.
If you suspect that may apply to you then consider examining the original Moondrop Aria. Overall, the Moondrop Aria SE is well priced and delivers a decent sound, but do be aware it doesn’t do anything more than that.
The Moondrop Aria is the original product the SE version is based on. It’s slightly different, with a black design instead of a white one, as well as slightly different materials in the cable. Howdever, the biggest distinction performance-wise is that the Moondrop Aria features slightly more bass-range emphasis. Which you end up choosing will depend on your preferences.
What should you get instead of the Moondrop Aria SE?
The first thing we’d recommend you check out if you’re interested in a different set of wired earbuds would be the Shure SE215, which features a plastic design and different style of cable which some people find to be more comfortable.
Another good option is the Sennheiser IE 200 earbuds, which is more expensive but also clearly worth it due to the improved build quality, nicer detachable cable design, and pretty excellent sound quality.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, the cable is fully replaceable. It connects using a 0.78mm 2-pin connector.
No, the Moondrop Aria SE is available in only this color. There is a differently colored Moondrop Aria with a similar design and black and gold color scheme, but it is functionally and audibly distinct.