I bought headphones for 80 euros for on the go

MeinMMO author Marko Jevtic is always looking for the best accessory for his game setup. Probably the best buy for him was the Moondrop Aria. These are in-ear headphones for less than € 80, which can easily compete with the most expensive devices.

Good sound is one of the most important things when it comes to games, especially for shooting game fans. When the explosions sound bombastic and you can hear every single bullet ricocheting from the wall, it not only helps the immersion.

A really good set of headphones can be like an “audio wallhack” that can tell you the most relevant information with great precision, even through multiple walls. Nothing makes you significantly better at playing faster than the ability to see things with your ears instead of your eyes.

Knowing exactly where your opponents are, how they move and how they are equipped is extremely important, especially in multiplayer shooting games. If you can do that just by listening carefully, you know you are properly equipped.

To get the most out of this, I have already tried a number of products. From the very good HyperX Cloud II and Cloud Alpha headsets to the € 600 Beyerdynamics DT1990 Pro, I have tried everything recommended by experts and used by professionals.

And although I do not hesitate to recommend these devices, I no longer use any of them. Instead, my favorite headphones over the last year have been a small device for which I only paid € 79.

These are Moondrop Aria – IEMs in the extra class with a unique price / performance ratio.

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Moondrop Aria: The best headphones under $ 100

What bothers me about regular gaming headphones? So far, my favorite headphones have been the Beyerdynamics DT1990 Pro. These open monsters have outstanding sound quality and offer a great, open sound image. They are great for both music and games, no doubt. But they have a few drawbacks that are annoying or even problematic:

  • Like open-backed headphones, they let in a lot of noise from the outside.
  • They are relatively heavy and large, which is why they are not suitable for traveling and get tired for long hours in front of the PC.
  • They are uncomfortable to wear on hot summer days and cause an uncomfortable feeling of sweating.
  • They cause the famous “headphone hairstyle” with obvious dents in the hair.
  • They cost as much as € 600 in suggested retail price.

What headphones do I use now? Therefore, in June 2021, I was looking for an alternative to my DT1990 headphones for on the go and for the hot summer days and came across Moondrop Aria.

Moondrop Aria belongs to the category of so-called in-ear monitors, abbreviated IEMs. You will often see this type of wired headphones on the concert stage with the biggest pop stars like Ariana Grande because they are supposed to produce studio quality sound in a compact format.

Moondrop Aria headphones
Moondrop Aria are wired in-ear monitors, in short IEMs

Aria costs only € 79 on Amazon and has excellent reviews. The headphones have a 4.4-star rating from 571 Amazon reviews, rtings.com calls them the best wired headphones, and tech YouTuber Optimum Tech believes they leave nothing to be desired.

But what was most compelling to me was the conclusion from headphones.com:

At € 80, the Aria offers phenomenal value for money. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that Aria can compete with anything up to the € 300 mark, […] From price to fit to sound quality, Aria offers an extremely convincing offer. To me, Aria is an ideal entry-level IEM.

So I ordered them as an occasional replacement for my extremely good, insanely expensive headphones for $ 600. And when I tried Moondrop Aria, it was clear after just a few minutes:

These things will replace everything I’ve used before. Not only do they sound just as good as headphones, which cost almost 8 times as much, they are much more comfortable to wear and can be used much more flexibly.

So for me, the Moondrop Aria is not only the clearly best headphones under € 100 – I am convinced that most players do not need to buy other headphones.

Moondrop Aria: pros and cons of the headphones

What are the strengths? The benefits of Moondrop Aria quickly became apparent after a brief test:

  • Incredibly good value for money
  • The small form factor makes the headphones always comfortable to wear.
  • They are very suitable with the Aux connection on the gaming PC and on the go.
  • Like in-ear headphones, they insulate well from the outside world and hardly let other noise through.
  • The soundscape is surprisingly open, although Aria as IEMs obviously have a small soundscape as large headphones with open backs.
  • The sound profile is very neutral, balanced and clear.
    • You can hear each instrument clearly on your favorite songs.
    • Explosions in games are not too powerful, nor are they exhausting over time.
    • Footstep sounds in shooter can be heard clearly and assigned a direction without any problems.
    • Small weaknesses in the treble can be compensated for with equalizer settings.

The bass surprised me most pleasantly. The little Aria may not shake like the coolest headphones, of course, but they sound very powerful, especially for their compact size. Whether I was listening to the rattle of cool machine guns in Call of Duty or the dirty beats from my rap playlists, Aria was consistently entertaining.

Another great benefit is the interchangeability of the individual elements. You can completely replace the included 0.78 pin cable, as well as the silicone tips.

So I replaced the standard cable with one from Tripowin, which has a built-in microphone. If you want the headphones to be wireless, you can even use special Bluetooth antennas, like the ones from Linsoul, instead of a cable.

Instead of the standard silicone tips, I use AZLA SednaEarfit XELASTEC, which adapts to my ear shape and thus ensures even better insulation and a stronger hold in the ear. Here you need to be careful about buying the right size for your ears.

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What are the weaknesses? With these upgrades, I was able to compensate for most of the few criticisms I had for Aria. Before you buy Moondrop Aria, you should know the following disadvantages:

  • The standard accessory is average.
    • The braided cable has no special properties and can easily be tied or frayed.
    • If you need a microphone with your headphones, you must retrofit it.
    • When you run or jog, the included cable makes a lot of noise, as you can hear.
    • The silicone fittings do not have a good grip and can become uncomfortable in the long run.
  • For the IEM, you need to replace the filters relatively often, as the sound passages are ‘clogged’ with dirt and moisture (replacement filters and tweezers are included and can be bought cheaply)
  • IEMs have very short cables (1.2 meters) and therefore I need to have an AUX extension on the PC.

So if you want a really perfect experience with Aria, you need to retrofit some places. Fortunately, however, each inconvenience can also be removed according to your own wishes and needs, so you have exactly what you need from the headphones. The cost of the upgrades is also affordable at the low purchase price of € 79.

That’s why voice chat is so damn important in multiplayer games

Conclusion: Moondrop Aria is a clear buy recommendation for gamers

Moondrop Aria blew my mind a year ago and still does to this day. I would actually only use them for jogging, for my Nintendo Switch and for gaming sessions on hot summer days. But since I bought it, I have not played without it.

They sound great, are incredibly practical and portable and can easily lie in your ear for hours. In-ear monitors are an insanely good alternative to all the cool gaming headphones that one usually finds on gamers’ desks.

When I raved about Moondrop Aria in front of my MeinMMO colleague Tarek Zehrer, he bought it too. What he wrote to me afterwards made me very happy, but not surprised: “You did not exaggerate. I hear instruments that I had never heard before. These are my favorite headphones from now on. “

Yes, significantly more expensive headphones may sound a little better than the Moondrop Aria. And if you are a mega sound enthusiast with the right budget and do not want to compromise at all, you would be better off with the more expensive products.

But if you are looking for headphones that are prepared for any gameplay situation and any genre of music that can be adapted to your own needs and that also costs less than € 100, you can not avoid Moondrops in-ear monitors.

If you are instead looking for wireless Bluetooth in-ear headphones, colleague Benedikt Schlotmann has tried a few for you:

I blind tested 5 in-ear headphones and was surprised by the winner

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