Moondrop announced the Aria Snow edition in mid-June. Having a new 10mm dual-cavity Diamond-Like Diaphragm (DLC) dynamic driver, the new Aria Snow Edition inherits much of the component configuration and acoustic structure of the original Aria. It also adopts an ultra-fine Daikoku CCAW voice coil to form a lightweight suspension system and a brass inner cavity.
The new Aria Snow Edition replaces the original LCP diaphragm of the Aria 2021 with the same first-generation diamond-like carbon (DLC) composite diaphragm used in the Kanas Pro while retaining the Aria’s original shell design.
The Aria Snow makes use of a brand new surface coating that emphasizes its metal texture with a complex and snowflake pattern that matches the visual theme of the earphones. On the Aria 2021’s coating, people had many complaints, let’s see how the Snow will hold up.
The bass of Aria Snow is quite linear, quite detailed, and quite impressive. With Aria Snow, you notice the finer details that it can render in the bass of your favourite songs and the way it conveys certain nuances. You get a new sensation of speed as well, as Aria Snow can keep up with heavy tracks, you feel every little reverberation in the sound.
The speed of the driver is quite relevant for the midrange as well, which, compared to the bass and the treble, is quite pushed forward. This makes Aria Snow a really great performer for vocal-driven music, Jazz, and other types of music where you’d want a less intrusive bass, along with a lean and smoother treble. The thing that is the most impressive here is the level of clarity and detail. You get to hear and be able to analyse every single detail, every single texture and micro-texture, all the things that are normally smooth are now expressed and distinguishable.
The Aria Snow is a mid-centric IEM with good extension. Mids are smooth, detailed, and engaging. The timbre and thickness of vocals are good and strings have enough energy to sound life-like. Overall, very well done and not overdone as is the tendency. These manage to not recess the mids without highlighting them to the point of sounding unnatural. The midrange can feel slightly forward and slightly aggressive, especially with certain types of music, but this makes the songs that are musical even more musical, the added texturization to a guitar solo makes it even more immersive and vivid to experience.
The treble is quite smooth and lean, especially if compared to the energetic and forward midrange. The lower treble flows smoothly from the upper mids. Highs give the Aria Snow some air at the top without being out ahead of the rest of the signature and show no tendency to get harsh. A second smaller bump gives a little sizzle and sparkle at the very top and helps with percussion sounding correct. Overall the treble is polite and well-mannered but provides enough top end to avoid feeling enclosed. The detail in the treble is good, and its speed is as quick as the treble and the midrange, but the quantity of the treble is not exactly what we’d go for if you’re a metal or rock listener. Instead, if you prefer your treble smoother and leaner, with a presence, but in a non-intrusive manner, then Aria Snow should bring you lots of fun and a pretty good experience.
In short, they will work well with vocal-driven music and also in instrumental genres like jazz and classic. Aria Snow is smooth and lean, with a linear and fast bass, so metal and rock music will also work well with them. The details and textures are quite amazing.
The soundstage is impressive as its depth and width are both about equally good rather than being oval-shaped like so many at or near its price point. The height is good as well, but not on par with the depth and width. Imaging is aided by good instrument separation and positions on the stage are easily recognized. Layering is very good with orchestral pieces showing good separation without misplacing them on the stage.
Snow vs Aria 2021
DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) diaphragm vs LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) diaphragm.
Aria 2021 has more elevated bass compared to Snow and Snow has more elevation compared to 2021 on the 2.5Khz-4.5Khz region of the spectrum. Aria 2021 suits bass lovers more and the Snow suits to balanced sound signature lovers. Is this statement right to say?
Well, of course not. Graphs are there to get a general idea of the sound signature of an earphone. And earphones should never be compared by just looking at the graphs without listening to them. Also, I think graphs should never be used to describe the sound of an earphone because the sound signature is not the same thing as the sound itself. The sound that we hear in our brains, ear is just a vessel yes, changes because of many factors before it is finalized. The shape of our ear canal, the length of our ear canal, the fit of the earphone, the nozzle width of the ear tip that we are using, the material of those ear tips, and even the mood we are in. The list goes on but to cut it short, we all hear different, that fact is so real.
One more important factor why we should not make conclusions just by looking at the graphs is the technology that is used in the earphone. This brings us back to the comparison. You see I didn’t like the sound of Aria 2021 as many people did. I just found it boring. And didn’t know why until I listened to Aria Snow. Although they look identical on paper the Snow sounds different and more fun to my ears. The quality of the low-end is better, has more layers and therefore more detail. Think of it as Snow having more waves in the same area compared to the Aria 2021. And I think this is because of the difference in the driver types that are used. DLC vs LCP. Quality beats quantity. The same goes for the upper mids and treble, the Snow sounds more forward because of the tuning and the timbre quality of the instruments and vocals are better, making the Snow more fun to listen to.
Snow vs Chu
Moondrop Chu also has a 10mm dynamic driver but with a Titanium-Coated diaphragm compared to bigger sibling brothers and definitely has the potential to compete with them.
First of all, Chu is the brightest sounding IEM in 3. You can see why in the graph (5Khz-8Khz). Also has the least elevation in the mid-bass section in 3. Because of these, you may find the Chu most thin sounding compared to the brothers. But the tonality holds up, also the tuning if you like bright (on the edge of sibilance on some vocals when it gets lauder, at least for my ears). Moondrop Chu is also the easiest to drive in 3 with the 18Ω impedance compared to 32Ω of two Aria. There is not too much to complain as it costs just 19$. And if you like to do some mod you will be surprised how close the Chu can sound to its brothers. More on that in another article, after my IEM measurement gear arrives. The Chu is like a baby who needs attention (mod) to grow and to sound more mature. I prefer the Chu over Aria 2021 because I love bright IEMs but chose the Snow at the end because of its more finished and mature sound, without modding the Chu.
I think that the Snow is the better version of Aria’s by a good margin. Moondrop made a clever move with the driver change and a better tuning which suits many who seek a good all-rounder IEM under 100$. In my list, Aria Snow took the crown back from Dunu Titan S in this price range.