Creative Labs Aurvana In-Ear Headphones
- Nice highs, good balance between bass and treble, small and comfortable
- Mid range sounds bloated and lacks detail, fatiguing to listen to
Creative's Aurvana in-ear headphones aren't the best headphones you'll ever hear, particularly if you listen to guitar driven tunes, but nonetheless they provide a comfortable and reasonable sounding alternative to your iPod ear buds.
Price$ 129.95 (AUD)
In-ear headphones have been taking off in recent years. What was once the domain of specialist headphone companies like Etymotic and Shure is now populated by the likes of Philips and Sony. With the Aurvana in-ear headphones, Creative has decided they want a piece of the canal-phone pie. For the most part they do a decent job and are definitely a step above your run of the mill ear buds, but they won't be adequate for audiophiles.
The Aurvana's sound can be described in one word: bombastic. Due to an extremely forward sounding mid-range, most music comes across sounding extremely lively. However this isn't always a good thing. Many rock tunes with a strong emphasis on vocals wound up with overly accentuated guitar riffs. This really ruins the balance in the tunes and makes them fatiguing for long listening sessions.
We also found the mid-range a little lacking in detail and there was some noticeable sibilance on symbols and snare drums. That said, the treble notes generally rang out clearly and sweetly and the bass extended quite deeply. It didn't have the power or control of many competing models but it was adequate.
In our less guitar driven tunes we found the balance between treble and bass was quite good, but when the mid-range came into it everything got thrown a little out of whack. We'd recommend these headphones for styles such as jazz, pop or possibly rap but rock and metal fans would be better off looking elsewhere.
Design-wise these are extremely small headphones. They are barely more than a centimetre long and less than half that in width. The end is covered by a small rubber tip, which is fairly standard, although we would have liked to see a foam option included too as it can be difficult to get a proper fit with in-ear headphones. We found this model comfortable but others may not have such luck.
As the Aurvanas are canal-phones they have the added advantage of blocking out external sound. While we've experienced better isolation from such headphones before, these ones did a fairly competent job and should help keep out your typical public transport ambient noise.
They were comfortable to wear for long periods, although first time users may have a small adjustment period; having things resting in your ear canal can feel a little bizarre. Our only design complaint is the cable could perhaps be a little longer.
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