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The Moondrop Aria SE sitting on a wooden table with knick knacks surrounding it.

Moondrop Aria SE review

A set of wired earbuds with a focus squarely on sound quality. But does it deliver?
By

Published onMay 2, 2023

6.5
Moondrop Aria SE
The bottom line
The Moondrop Aria SE is a great pair of earbuds so long as you know what you're getting. They're comfortable, they have a pure focus on sound quality, and they're repairable. However the lack of a microphone may be a dealbreaker for some.

Moondrop Aria SE

The Moondrop Aria SE is a great pair of earbuds so long as you know what you're getting. They're comfortable, they have a pure focus on sound quality, and they're repairable. However the lack of a microphone may be a dealbreaker for some.
Product release date
June 15, 2022
Price
$79.99 USD
Dimensions
Box: ‎162 x 106 x 62 mm
Weight
Box: 280 Grams
Model Number
What we like
Comfortable
Substantial build
Replaceable cable
What we don't like
Sound may not be to everyone's taste
6.5
SoundGuys Rating
6.9
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
2.5
6.3
6.0
Durability / Build Quality
5.9
-
0.0
Value
6.9
-
0.0
Design
8.5
-
0.0
Connectivity
6.5
-
0.0
Portability
8.8
-
0.0
Feature
5.0
-
0.0
Comfort
8.0
7.5
8.0

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.

About this Moondrop Aria SE review: We tested the Moondrop Aria SE over a period of one week. The company provided the unit for this review.

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?

A closeup of the Moondrop Aria SE coiled up together on top of a wooden table.
The Moondrop Aria SE has a stiff section at the top of the cable that is meant to loop over your ear.

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 sitting inside its carrying case on top of a wooden table.
The Moondrop Aria SE includes six different swappable tips so you can find the right fit.

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 isolation chart, showing some noise isolation in the high end.
The Moondrop Aria SE isn’t great when it comes to noise isolation, but it does a good enough job for most everyday scenarios.

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 frequency response chart, showing it sticking fairly close to our ideal frequency response with a slight drop in bass.
The Moondrop Aria SE follows our ideal headphone curve pretty closely for the most part.

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?

The Moondrop Aria SE's carrying case sitting on top of a wooden table.
The Moondrop Aria SE includes a carrying case with zipper, which is great for avoiding damaging it.

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.

Moondrop Aria Snow Edition EarbudsMoondrop Aria Snow Edition Earbuds
Moondrop Aria Snow Edition Earbuds
Comfortable • Substantial build • Replaceable cable
MSRP: $79.99
The Moondrop Aria SE is a great pair of earbuds so long as you know what you're getting. They're comfortable, they have a pure focus on sound quality, and they're repairable. However the lack of a microphone may be a dealbreaker for some.
The Moondrop Aria SE vs Moondrop Aria frequency response chart. The Moondrop Aria has more bass.
Overall the difference between the two is fairly minimal, but you’d be able to hear it pretty clearly if you listened to both.

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.

Moondrop Aria High Performance LCPMoondrop Aria High Performance LCP
Moondrop Aria High Performance LCP
Frequency response • Replaceable cable • Price
MSRP: $79.99

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.

A macro close up of the right Sennheiser IE 200 bud rests on teal fabric.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The Sennheiser IE 200 is a step up in overall quality and in price.

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.