Searching for Moondrop Aria Upgrade

I’m on the search for some new IEMs to replace or be an addition/upgrade to my Moondrop Aria and need some recommendations, since I have seen there have been a lot of interesting releases and it’s been a while since I looked into IEMs. So I’m kinda lost into which I should look into.

What I liked:

  • No uncomfortable highs, like the TIN T4
  • Overall okay sounding, especially with AutoEQ applied
  • Decent Bass, they seal pretty well

What I disliked:

  • They only really sound okay, even with EQ
  • Vocals sometimes don’t sound as clear, even with EQ
  • Could use some more clarity in the mids or well they could use some more clarity overall really

Price range:
Max. 200€ (or slightly above, if it’s really worth spending slightly more)

What Headphones and IEMs I own:

  • Beyerdynamic TYGR R (daily driver when on my PC, replaceable cable mod + thicc earpads)
  • Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X (bought them for on set recording, quit, but still listen for when I need isolation)
  • Sennheiser Momentum TW 2 (just some TWS I picked up years ago, convenient)
  • Moondrop Aria (see me using them way more often than the Sennheiser Momentum)
  • TIN T4 (not used them for years, the highs are just too much)
  • Moondrop CHU (backup for travel)

Music I mostly listen to:

  • Metalcore
  • even more Metalcore (mostly modern and melodic)
  • Rock
  • Alternative
  • Punk
  • Rap / HipHop
  • and more

Also if someone has a recommendation for bluetooth dongles, I would highly appreciate. Been looking into those bellow, but can’t decide.

  • Qudelix 5k (looks like a mighty device, lacks 4.4mm but do I really need 4.4 balanced for future proofing?)
  • Fiio BTR15 (updgarded BTR5, seems to have some issues)
  • Fiio BTR5 (easier daily driver than the q5k, no EQ)
  • Fiio BTR7 (kinda big)
  • Muse Hifi M4 (also kinda big, but has 2.5, 3.5 and 4.4)

For BT dongles you mention autoEQ. If that’s something you do often or want to continue doing then nothing is going to compete against the Q5K. If size isn’t so much an issue and no EQ is required the m4 looks promising. I would skip the btr15 cause of the current issues and the btr5 cause it’s an older device. The btr17 should be coming out soonish so it would be hard for me to pull the trigger on the btr7 now although it seems like a great device if the size isn’t an issue. I’m not the biggest FIIO fan. They drag their feet when it comes to software updates and promised features.

As for IEMs. The cinocotres might be a winner for you in that price range but they are too new so it’s hard to say. At that price I really like the EA1000 although the lack of sub bass makes it not particularly great for hip hop. Hype 2 would be a safe bet around that price as well imo

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You mentioned no uncomfortable highs. So getting any Simgot iEM like EA1000 or EA500 LM might be an issue.

I would get EA1000 and Simgot’s tuning kit, mod the black nozzle and you will get a fantastic IEM. It’s way better than any DD in recent years.

Same can be done with EA500 LM.

Do you want to stay with dynamic driver IEMs?


+1 for Qudelix 5K. It’s a real swiss-army-knife, and they continue to push software updates for it even though it’s been out for years. I can’t see myself ever selling mine, it’s just so versitle. I use modular cables, so swapping to 2.5 for balanced is no issue.


I figured as much, especially cuz of the EQ. The features and size make it just the perfect. Thanks!

Yeah, I really feel like I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to highs/treble. Looked into the EA1000 and Hype 2. Both seem to be amazing IEMs. To get a better feel for the EA1000 and the Hype 2, I listened to the sound demos from Dan’s Audio Reviews. I have a feeling that I would really like the Hype 2. The highs don’t seem to be that bad on the EA1000 actually, EQ or the mod probably could fix it, but I definitely prefer the Hype 2 slightly more, especially in the male vocal range. Overall they seem like a huge upgrade compared to my Moondrop Aria. Thanks for the recommendations!


Not necessarily, I haven’t had anything other than what I listed in my post, I’m very open minded in that regard.

just an FYI, both the EA1000 and the H2 are gonna be pretty different from the Aria. If you want something more similar, the Moondrop Kato will do.


Thanks for the information! I looked at the Kato a while back, but wasn’t convinced when I first thought about upgrading. I think the Hype 2 would be a much bigger step up and having a completely different IEM might actually be a nice thing. I might buy the Kato at some point (to add to my Waifu IEM collection), but right now I don’t really see myself buying them.

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The Kato is a 3 year old IEM that isn’t worth the price it still sells at anymore. It’s been passed over by several IEM’s in the same price range.

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That is true in the general scheme of things, but if someone wants a direct upgrade over the Aria, the other iems mentioned are not it.

Old != bad

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Sure, but read his actual post. His “plus” for the Aria was that it sounds “okay”, and the negative was that it sounds…just okay.

Does that seem like someone who is absolutely in love with the Aria’s tuning and therefore needs a poor value-proposition “direct upgrade” to it that is 3 years old and no longer competitive lol?

Even if he ultimately WAS in love with the Aria, both the Aria and Kato have super common Harman-esque tunings that TONS of other IEMs are very similar to. It’s not like the Aria has some super-unique tuning that only the Kato can match, and therefore its the only viable direct upgrade. The Chopin for example is tuned very similarly, and is outright better than the Kato for basically the same price. So why buy the Kato? There is no point IMO.

And again, it sounds like the OP is completely open to try something new…which basically opens up every other ~$200 IEM in the Kato’s price range.

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I guess I am the lone Kato fan still around. Slap some ePro Horns and a balanced cable on the Kato and the Kato jumps a couple levels up the audio ranking. The Kato is still a bargain. The Kato has the perfect balance of mid to sub bass for me. I listen to alot of JRock and JPop. The Kato is superb for those genres. The Kato’s tuning is sublime with ePro Horns and the Moonriver 2 Ti in balanced.

As per the OP’s needs, well, it comes down to taste. Some people like a sub-bass focus, others prefer a mid-bass focus, still others like a balance. These preferences goes up the audio spectrum. Then you have the “technicalities”. At $200 most “technical sets” do it with spikes to give the appearance of detail. Some people like a big soundstage. I dislike large soundstages except for classical. The widened soundstage shenanigans (pseudo reverb) often times comes at the expense of a focused bass region. The list goes on…

Sort out your preferences first then find the IEM that checks the most boxes.

@RyuRenyama, if you are also looking for a BT dongle plus an IEM, for the same-ish price of the IEM and dongle why not look at the Sony XM5 and the Sennheiser Momentum 4? You have BT, wireless, and EQ all in one with them plus no wires at all and you get superb isolation. :slight_smile:

Went with the Hype 2 and Q5K

If my Aria break or get lost in the future, I might replace them with something similar like the Kato or Chopin. Just to have a similar sounding IEM again. But for now, I think a different sounding IEM like the Hype 2 is a good idea. I really appreciate any recommendations you guy made tho!

To be honest, I like the look of the Kato more than the Chopin. And if I can get a better sound with just a few upgrades and have a better looking IEM imo, I would definitely go for the Kato. But I also understand that in the future the Kato might not be worth any money at all. Then I just hope that there will be an even better option in this price range with similar sound and great looks to replace the Aria with. But yeah, for now I’ll try out the Hype 2 and see if I like them or not.

Been thinking about it a while back, but as long as my Sennheiser Momentum TW 2 still work (and they’ve been dropped many times and I’ve almost lost one of them twice), I don’t see myself buying something all to similar. They’re definitely nice to have, especially if you want no wires at all and superb isolation, but yeah don’t really want to spend money on new true wireless earphones for now. But thanks!

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