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Review: Creative Aurvana Air

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
This is my first attempt writing a review. Below is my thought on Creative Aurvana Air (below I refer these as Air).

I got these second-hand from my friend today for around 50 dollars. He has these burned in for more than 100 hours, so I don’t think that further burn-in is needed. I'd always wanted to try these as all reviews I came across about them are positive, so today I would like to share some of my thoughs here.

Things that strike me first time listening to them:
• Wow, impressive soundstage!
• Very good imaging for earbuds.
• Rather neutral, if not a little to the bright and warm side.

Now I have three pairs of earbuds: Air, Sennheiser MX90, and AKG K314P. I will be comparing the Air with MX90 first, then maybe later with K314P.

The comparison below is done with the ‘nude’ condition of the Air and MX90: no foams are added on them.

Soundstage:
The Air is a clear winner here. Soundstage is big, have a good sense of depth and height. MX90 has a narrower soundstage, and sometimes musics seem to be flowing within my head.

Imaging:
Hands on the Air. They do give you a 3D presentation. You will definitely be surprised as their 3D presentation, in my opinion is just few steps behind my beloved CK10 and IE8. As for MX90, instruments sometimes become ‘fuzzy’ and hard to pinpoint the location. Soundstage and imaging are the very strong points of the Air in my opinion.

Instrument Separation:
The Air obviously has better instrument separation. The Air is airier than MX90. Both of them however, suffer from midrange overlapping on the bass at times in busier passages.

Transparency:
This belongs to the Air again. Treble on MX90 is veiled compared to the Air. The Air has more detail, especially in bass and treble.

Bass:
I like the bass of IE8. So, please take this into account when I comment the bass of the Air and MX90. The Air has more bass quantity compared to MX90. It’s like “Where is the bass?” with MX90, but “So there is plenty of bass!” with Air. Drums have more weight on the Air, but with MX90 it’s like drummer hitting on plastic containers… Although not as much bass as the IE8’s, it is very pleasant and I like acoustic with the Air. By the way, it was CK10 that makes me realized that there is not only bass in music

Midrange:
Midrange of both are not too forward or recessed, but sometimes I have the ‘in-your face’ sensation with MX90. MX90 has a lush yet smooth midrange, better than the Air. I like vocal with the MX90. The Air has a more laid-back presentation in the midrange.
EDIT: Further listening with them, I find that midrange presentation is almost the same on both the Air and MX90, with the Air has a drier vocal. So, it was my mistake saying the MX90 to have lush, smooth and sometimes 'in-your-face' midrange.

Treble:
The Air has a good extension on treble but doesn’t fatigue the ears. ABing them side by side makes MX90’s treble seems to be veiled and less detail.

Fit:
I prefer the fit of MX90. Their 'twist to fit' holds the buds rather firmly. On the hand, it is quite a trouble fitting the Air on your ears, which you have to place the hook nicely around your ears so that they stay firm.

Conclusion:
I have yet to hear other high-end earbuds like the Yuin's or TM Blox, but I am pretty satisfied with the Air. I bought my MX90 almost 3 years ago, which was priced around 80 dollars that time. As for the Air, one can find a brand new for less than 100 dollars, in Japan. I will choose the Air over MX90 for sound quality. As for fit and comfort, I like the tradisional design of MX90.

However it is difficult to judge whether they are worth the 100 dollars. If you hate IEMs, you would like to try these. There are always cheap yet high quality IEMs out there for your choice, like Cyclone, Thinksound, Hippo, MEelectronics, Sound Magic...I have never tried these so I can't comment on how the Air worth the money comparing to these IEMs. To be honest, though the Air sounds fantastic, they are great being earbuds, but far behind the league of CK10 and IE8.

Again, this is my first time writing a review, any comments or critics are welcomed. Please forgive my poor English.
post #2 of 28
Thread Starter 
A link to the Air:
http://www.creative.com/aurvana/prod...urvanaair.aspx
post #3 of 28
Thanks for the review! I've been waiting for some Head-Fier impressions of the Aurvana Air for quite a while now. I'd probably grab a pair if I wasn't broke.

Also, I wouldn't worry about not comparing the Airs to similarly priced canalphones or IEMs. This is because I feel that great earbuds give a sense of air (no pun intended) that just can't be replicated by most in-ears (well, at least the cheaper ones that I have had experience with).
post #4 of 28
Sweet. They look pretty stylish. Also, I agree with kjk - conventional buds and IEMs just sound different so don't sweat it. I do think you need to buy a KDE250 and do a head-to-head though .
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your inputs!

I won't be compairing the Air to CK10 or IE8, simply because I will just grab the CK10 or IE8 over them

If I had a chance trying the low-budget (but not low in sound quality) IEMs, I will definitely write a comparison of them. By the way, I am tempted to try the Hippo VB or Cyclone PR1 in the mean time, while waiting for joker's review on the new IE8-equivalent but cheaper IEM.

As for KDE250, I did a brief listening to them last year's summer when my another friend visited me (It is good to have audio-fevers friends). Can't really remember exactly how they sound, but if my memory serves me right (please take this into account), they are dark, fairly good amount of bass, but kind of lacking details...They didn't impressed me. And I feel the soundstage to be strange, and the fit...Much more troublesome than the Air, and hurt your ears as the big housing of the earbuds go in vertically. My friend bought them at around 25000yen (near 270 dollars I think) that time. (You can find them at 140 dollars from Amazon). I can't really comment much, so...Hope there are KDE250 owners out there to say more about them.
post #6 of 28
I don't think there are any KDE250 owners except the originator of the first KDE250 thread and that thread read more like promotional material than an actual review. Vague impressions are about as good as it gets for that phone, really.

And yes, the price has dropped a lot. MSRP is $250 and that's what they sold at when they were release.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/k...-250-a-412952/

Though I wasn't much impressed by them last time, if there are any owners of these (there must be one or two here in Head-Fi) please give your comments.
post #8 of 28
Thanks for the review. The Airs remind me of the old Audio Technica EC7/EC700, which sounded decent but cost way too much.
post #9 of 28
they look so much like the famous Bang & Olufsen earphones

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
@project86, I can't really judge whether the Airs worth the MSRP of 160 dollars, or street price around 90 dollars, but it definitely worth my 50 dollars (what I paid for buying second-hand from a friend). As for MX90, I bought them for 80 dollars, and the last time I saw them the price had dropped to 40 dollars.

I have yet to try the great Yuin's PK series, Sennheiser MX series, nor EC7/EC700 that you mentioned, but in my opinion the Airs better MX90 in sound quality. And in some ways the Airs do perform close to CK10, in terms of clarity and bass response.

@Nocturnal310, they do look alike, for your information the design of the Airs os closer to EC7/EC700. I have came across a review comparing A8 to the Airs, and the two seems to be shining in different ways, with the Airs to be slight better than A8.

CREATIVE EP-AVNAIR
This is the site where I read the review, it is in Japanese though...In my opinion this is a very trusty site and the moderator has a very big collection of headphones and earphones. (Homepage: He&Biのヘッドホンサイト)

By the way, just for your information, the moderator rated the following (out of 5, just in terms of sound quality):
•AKG K14P: 3.5
•AKG K319: 3.5
•AT CM7Ti: 4
•B&O A8: 4
•Creative Air: 4.5
•Sennheiser MX500: 3
•Sennheiser MX760: 3.5
•Sony MDR-E888: 3.5
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
K314P added in comparison. All of them are tested with no foams added.

Sound Signature:
•Air: Neutral (if not a tiny bit bright and warm), airy, spacious, huge soundstage, balanced overall.
•MX90: Rather neutral (though lacking bass), adequate soundstage.
•K314P: Mid-oriented, smaller soundstage.

Soundstage:
Simple. The Air has it. K314P has a narrow soundstage, smaller than MX90. I am not sure whether K314P has a very forward vocal so the soundstage seems to be smaller, but they definitely don’t have a good sense of height. Music sounds full and warm on K314P than the Air, perhaps because of lush midrange.
Air>>MX90>K314P

Imaging:
Though K314P has a smaller soundstage, and music seems to be trapped in your head (closed-in sound), in my opinion it has a fairly good imaging, at least notes don’t become blurry like MX90. You can locate instruments easier than with MX90, but still the Air has a better 3D presentation and imaging.
Air>>K314P>MX90

Instrument Separation:
MX90 and K314P bow to the Air. Simply the best out of the three. Though K314P has a smaller soundstage, they don’t suffer from instruments overlapping each other like MX90 does at times.
Air>>K314P>MX90

Transparency:
K314P on par with the Air, but the midrange of K314P is elevated. MX90 on the other hand has a slightly veiled treble and lacking of bass.
Air=>K314P>MX90

Bass:
This is very close too. Both have almost equal quantity of bass, perhaps with the Air a tad more, to my ears. Decay of notes is longer in K314P. The Air has better definition and more precise.
Air=K314P>>MX90

Midrange:
The Air and MX90 take their hats off in front of K314P. Lush, sweet, forward-sounding midrange, very typical AKG’s house sound in my opinion. K314P makes the other two to sound hollow in comparison. Among the three, I love jazz the most with K314P. Norah Jones is sweeter than ever. K314P wins for their presentation in vocal, but the Air has better details overall.
K314P>>Air>MX90

Treble:
K314P has more treble energy compared to the Air and MX90. In contrast, the Air and MX90 have a more laid-back treble. One might find the treble in K314P to produce sibilance, but if you are used to it you find them to be very pleasant though. The Air however, doesn't suffer from midrange overlapping the treble like K314P. MX90 in comparison, has a slightly veiled treble. The Air remains the most precise and detail.
Air=>K314P>MX90

In my opinion, K314P does very well for its price. I bought it for 2500 yen 2.5 years ago, and never really listen to them until I decided to compare them to the Air.
post #12 of 28
"Rather neutral, if not a little to the bright and warm side"

Are these not to opposing sound descriptions???
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
@ace5000, what I mean is the sound is not too warm nor too cold, not too dark nor too bright. For example, if the brightest is a 10 and the darkest is a -10, I would give them 1 points of brightness and 2 points of warm.

Sorry I couldn't explain too well.

Or do you mean warm and bright are opposing to each other?
post #14 of 28
Air certainly seen very promising to an A8 user like myself, but I don't have friend that want to sell me an Air for $50
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi ClieOS, I sincerely think that this phones deserved to be reviewed by you and other more experienced Head-Fiers. Although I am very satisfied with what I got for 50 dollars, but I am really no expert putting them in words how good they are. My review is unmatured. So, if you wish, I can send them to you and hope that you can write a review for them. If interested please PM me.
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