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REVIEW: Creative Aurvana Air – True to Its Name

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
9f796982_CAA_01.JPG

INTRODUCTION
While Creative is certainly not a new name to audio, the company wasn't really synonymous with high quality headphones until the release of the Creative Aurvana Live! The semi-circumaural, semi-portable headphone earned a strong following for its affordability and great audio performance (which should be unsurprising considering its relation to Denon's AH-D1000/1001, both of which share the same Foster-sourced drivers). One of Creative's more interesting releases is the Creative Aurvana Air, an clip-on earbud which has gained far less of a following than its bigger brother headphone. Will the Aurvana Air take users to aural nirvana, or at the very least be a great value like the Live!? My expectations were high, fueled by a very pleasant experience with the CAL!s as well as the optimism guiding my continuing search for the ultimate earbud.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
The packaging of the Creative Aurvana Air proudly displays the earphone's elegant design. Inside the plastic package, you will find the Air encapsulated in an acrylic display case that I found to be both useless and borderline pretentious. We get it, Creative. The earphones do look great, but they belong in my ears, not on top of the fireplace mantel.
Rounding out the accessories are the far more useful leather carrying case with wind-up insert, and the requisite earbud foams, which I find to be an absolute must with these earphones.

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The Creative Aurvana Air and its protective leather case

BUILD QUALITY
The Aurvana Air's clips are said to use a coated nickel-titanium alloy, which allows them to be bent to conform to the ear. The metal is quite attractive and should prove to be durable, although the hooks themselves do seem a bit on the thin side. Perhaps that's not a big issue considering the thinner hooks most likely contribute to the Air's excellent comfort and fit. The cable has a slight rubbery feel to it, not unlike other elastomer-coated cables used in other earphones and headphones. Strain reliefs seem to be reasonably sufficient on both the housing end and the smallish straight-plug, and the metallic slider is also a nice touch. Overall, the Aurvana Air gives the impression of a product that is well-designed and worth of its price tag, at least in the build quality department.

SOUND
Before I begin on the sound, I should remind readers that the perception of an earbud's sound quality is highly dependent on fit, which in turn relies on ear size and shape, the use of foams, and other variables unique to the user. Perhaps more so than with full-sized headphones and IEMs, your mileage may vary.

One attribute that I really enjoy about the Creative Aurvana Air is, predictably, its airiness. This, combined with its exceptional ability to separate instruments and excellent imaging, help to create a sound that can only be reproduced in an open-air design. Soundstage itself isn't on the large side, though the airiness and cohesive nature of the Airs make up for this. Oftentimes airiness and cohesion seem to be mutually exclusive in most of the earbuds I've tried, but the Aurvana Air brings the two seemingly opposing characteristics together with aplomb.

The bass of the Aurvana Air is full-sounding with a good dose of warmth. Although the Air does exhibit some roll-off at the lower end of the spectrum, the bass is well-textured and well-controlled. In bassier tracks, the Air's midbass can at times seem slightly excessive, but usually this isn't a problem. The midrange is probably the Air's best asset, as it is smooth, refined, and quite detailed. With the use of the included foams as well as a secure fit, the Air is capable of excellent vocal reproduction. Strings also sound great, including everything from distortion guitar to the harp, and the sound of horns and other brass instruments flows freely and unrestrained. The treble of the Air isn't as abundant as the mids and bass, but it does exhibit smooth extension and remains articulate without a hint of graininess. While listening to the Aurvana Air, it is hard to for me to locate any true faults, which I feel allows the earphone to reproduce a wide range of genres equally well.

CONCLUSION
As I write this review, it has been approximately 8 months since I first listened to the Creative Aurvana Air, and I must say that I'm just as impressed with them now than I was the day I received them. Like the Creative Aurvana Live!, the Air is an earphone engineered for the enjoyment of music, providing a warm and laid-back signature perfect for long listening sessions. I wholeheartedly recommend the Air to anybody enjoys the open and dynamic sound of a well-designed earbud, and I feel that even those who aren't as smitten with earbuds (you know who you are) should give these a listen. The only real issues I have with the Creative Aurvana Airs is their availability and price fluctuations. Here in the US, they are pretty much only sold by Creative (through Amazon), which allows for very little in the way of competition. Also, the price itself seems to change monthly; when I purchased the Air, the price sat at around $79, which incidentally was the sale price from the beginning of this month until around this week, where the price now stands at $99. I do think the Air's sound is worthy of that price, but at $79 I feel they represent a value that rivals Creative's own Aurvana Live!

My experience is definitely limited with higher-end earbuds, so I can't say how they compare to other top-performers, but what I can say is that I like the Airs enough to where I'm willing to end my search for ultimate earbud. I'll still have a listen to some of the lower-end offerings from various companies, and I'll keep an eye out for other developments in the earbud world, but to my ears, I think I'll be hard-pressed to find a better-sounding earbud than my Creative Aurvana Airs.
Edited by kjk1281 - 10/15/11 at 1:55pm
post #2 of 7

first reply!

nice review! always like your concise and simple writting

too bad about the treble. these wont fit my tastes. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

first reply!
nice review! always like your concise and simple writting
too bad about the treble. these wont fit my tastes. 

Yikes! 200+ views and nearly one month and yours is the first reply! Congratulations! biggrin.gif

Not sure if I was clear enough in my review, but I don't think the treble quantity is lacking, just that it is slightly less in quantity when compared to the bass and mids. As always, different ears will hear differently, as I've found some reviews describe the Air's sound as having more treble than the way I'm hearing it. Also, changing the position of the bud slightly away from the opening of the ear canal will actually increase the amount of treble heard in relation to the other frequencies. The great thing about the ear clip design is that you can position the housing for the best fit and sound, and the clip will keep the earbud in place.

Even if it did lack a bit in treble, I'd still find the Air to be far more clear and refined than any of the other earbuds I've tried. I do think that you should give them a listen whenever you have the chance.
Edited by kjk1281 - 11/14/11 at 9:25am
post #4 of 7

thanks for clearing up! i doubt if i'd ever get a chance to try them , but i'll take that in count.

 

how are they in 'speed' ? lately i'm listening to very fast music , TWO-MIX if you ask , and i find the mx471 a bit slow (compared to the k312)

post #5 of 7

I have only heard good things about the Airs. However the price is more than what I'm willing to pay. Maybe when they come down to $50-60 I'll pick up a pair. 

 

I have had excellent experience with my Aurvana 2 In-Ears, other than the shallow fit. (My ear's been ruined by ER4's deeper insertions...) 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

thanks for clearing up! i doubt if i'd ever get a chance to try them , but i'll take that in count.

how are they in 'speed' ? lately i'm listening to very fast music , TWO-MIX if you ask , and i find the mx471 a bit slow (compared to the k312)

You just reminded me of when I was kid watching Gundam Wing. Ah the memories...
Anyway, I do think the Air has adequate speed at least in the midrange and treble. The bass isn't particularly fast but I don't think it'll be too much of a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

I have only heard good things about the Airs. However the price is more than what I'm willing to pay. Maybe when they come down to $50-60 I'll pick up a pair. 

I have had excellent experience with my Aurvana 2 In-Ears, other than the shallow fit. (My ear's been ruined by ER4's deeper insertions...) 

I'm not sure why Creative always seems to be adjusting the price. I certainly think they are worth $69 or $79 (which is what I paid) and would recommend them to any earbud lover at those prices. At $99 however it's a bit of a harder sell. It doesn't help that currently in the US Creative (via Amazon) is the only real vendor selling them. Some competition to bring the price down a little would be nice, especially since I feel more people need try these out.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjk1281 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

thanks for clearing up! i doubt if i'd ever get a chance to try them , but i'll take that in count.

how are they in 'speed' ? lately i'm listening to very fast music , TWO-MIX if you ask , and i find the mx471 a bit slow (compared to the k312)

You just reminded me of when I was kid watching Gundam Wing. Ah the memories...
Anyway, I do think the Air has adequate speed at least in the midrange and treble. The bass isn't particularly fast but I don't think it'll be too much of a problem.

x2 beerchug.gif. so you also watched it?! that's how i got into TWO-MIX songsbiggrin.gif

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