Pros: Comfort, Bass, Warm Sound, Short Cord
Cons: Lack of Imaging, Lack of Highs
Creative Aurvana Live
Cost: $60 US
Compared against my Audio Technica ATH-M50's
Looks: Simply designed with no extra flair sans some reflective ear cups. Each ear cup is clearly labeled for left and right. Leather ear pads, a slim headband, and 3ft rubber insulated cord finish off the Aurvana Live
The cord is nice and durable and the stereo connector is small enough to fit into my ipod ( with plastic cover ). The cord is Y-terminated into the ear cups and is not removable. Both ear cups swivel using two small screws per side which is nice, but I would still use some Loctite to ensure not losing the screws. The headband is slim and not uncomfortable.
For being circumaural they really could isolate better. I can hear the fan on my computer 2 ft away whereas on my M50's dampened the fan sound much better.
I have relatively small ears and the ear cups did touch the sides of my ears a tad making the Aurvana Live a bit uncomfortable. The headband is also minutely uncomfortable from being very slim, but it was not as bad as most Grado headphones or those evil bumps on the Q701 headband. After a little adjusting the Auvana Live remained quite comfortable.
Bass: Tested using Weird Al's "Pancreas", Yoshida Brothers' "Oh My Love", and Collective Soul's "Forgiveness"
The bass on the Aurvana Live is really impressive. It goes quite deep and has some kick to it. It was a bit more up front that the M50 and went a bit deeper. It was not out of place boomy and sounded good for a closed can.
Mids: Tested using Yoshida Brothers' " Tsugaru Junku" and "Aiya" as well as Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Something"
The mids were well represented. Due to a clear lack in imaging the mids were not spectacular, but they were not amiss. In Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Something" everything sounded nice and even from the bass through the mids. Vocals were not washed out as with other cans of this type. Things started to taper off toward the treble compared to the M50 which was bright using the Michael Jackson test track.
Treble: Tested using Coleman Hawkins & Duke Ellington's "Wanderlust"
There treble is where the Aurvana Live starts to roll off. It is not terribly bad, just a tad colored on the high end. Where the trumpet should have been a tad piercing was a smoothness and perhaps kindness. I did like it, but noticed it being a tad rolled off for my tastes. Due to this roll off music typically lacked a kind of airiness that is found in more spacious and bright headphones. The high hat was almost completely diminished with the Aurvana Live.
Imaging: Tested using Juno Reactor's " Conga Fury" and Great Big Sea's "Little Beggarman"
The Aurvana Live did not image tremendously well. The bongo drums in "Conga Fury" were somewhat level sounding with the rest of the image and lacked the space that the M50 provides. It was not too far behind the M50, but certainly lacked the sort of airiness you can find in tracks like this with higher end headphones like the DT990.
Amping: Tested using an m903 fed via USB uncompressed audio at volume level 58
The Aurvana Live amped became a little tinny sounding to my ears. I only heard this on some tracks with my iPod, but amped I certainly hear more often.
Amped Bass: The bass tightened up and was a tad loud to my ears compared to the rest of the spectrum. It was not super boomy and out of place, just high pressure.
Amped Mids: The mids become super clear and crisp. They were more serious and real.
Amped Treble: Amped the treble nearly matched the M50's. The high hat was more present
Amped Imaging: The image certainly improved a bunch, and tracked with the improvement heard in the M50's. In fact it gained a little on the M50 once the Aurvana Live was amped. Ani DiFranco' "Cradle & All" sounded much wider. Buddy Miller & Julie Miller's "Long Time" remained too single plane for my taste, but it did with the M50 as well.
Drums and the entire mid range to treble were so much quicker out of the m903 than the iPod. "Wanderlust" was just amazing. The snare was quick and a little in your face. The imaging on the sax gave a tad bit of air not found through the iPod.
Amped Jazz: I tested Patricia Barber "Postmodern Blues" through the Aurvana Live because jazz is hard for some cans to do. Grado SR-80's for example lack the vocal clarity and separation for really fine sounding jazz. The test track sounded nice and the vocals were clear and pleasant. I could hear the bass all the way up to the chimes.
Amped Electronic: I ran with Karsh Kales "Home" because I am very familiar with the track as well as it lacking boomy and out of place bass. The Aurvana Live lacked a little quickness in the mid range that my D2000 and DT990 have, but it was certainly not bad. Again the bass pressure was a bit much for my ears, but to some it may be just fine.
Amped Hard Rock: I decided to listen to Trantric's "I'll Stay Down" for this test. It is a nice quick song full of bass, mids, vocals, and treble. Other than a slight lack of air the test track sounded really nice from the Aurvana Live.
At $60 the Aurvana Live! is an amazing headphone. It is designed well and sounds great. Other than the lack of excellent imaging and crisp and well extended highs they are an amazing headphone. They sound a bit more fun amped than my M50's.