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Over-Ear item created by kjk1281, Nov 5, 2013
Pros - Bass is perfect, General sound quality is nice
Cons - Build quality
Got this during a sale at only $100 SGD, felt extremely satisfied with my purchase as sound quality sounded extremely good with a nice, punchy bass and great soundstage. Made me start loving post-grunge again. However, after around 4 months of reckless treatment of the headphones, its left earcup snapped off. I tried salvaging it with superglue but failed.
I think this has to be the greatest weakness of this headset; its build. Although it looks pretty good, I don't think its aesthetics was worth the sacrifice of its durability. The cable provided with the headphones were mediocre at best, and the headphones by itself felt so flimsy that I foresaw its death the day I first bought it. Planning to swap its drivers into a pair of JLab Bomboras sometime in the future.
Pros - Natural, balanced, and pleasing sounding; Comfortable; Flat-fold earcups.
Cons - No plain cable without volume control for better quality sound.
I would like to thank Creative Singapore for the loan of Creative Aurvana Live 2 demo sample!
Launched in 2013, Creative Aurvana Live! 2 is a matured model that is still going strong competing with other models in this price category. There are around 10 reviews here in Head-Fi, so Aurvana Live! 2 that often called as CAL2 needs no more introduction, and I will try to write this review short and concise.
Estimated Sound Quality: 4/5 Very Good
Estimated Value (SQ/Price): 5/5 Excellent
Build Quality: 4/5 Very Good
Noise Isolation: 3/5 Good
Perceived level of:
Naturalness: 5/5 Excellent
Clarity: 4/5 Very Good
Detail & Separation: 4/5 Very Good
Holographic Imaging & Spaciousness: 4/5 Very Good
Dynamic & Transient: 3/5 Good
Treble level in comparison to midrange: 0
Bass level in comparison to midrange: 0
Relax (-) to Analytical (+) balance: -1
5 - Excellent
4 - Very Good
3 - Good
2 - Acceptable
1 - Poor
+/- 1 : Mild - Still within acceptable range for most recordings.
+/- 2 : Moderate - Generally acceptable, but may start to sound a little too much on some recordings.
+/- 3 : Strong - Generally sounds unnatural and too strong for most recordings.
Suggestions for improvements:
To include higher quality cable without microphone & volume control.
CAL2 has a very pleasing, intimate, and smooth sound character that goes well with almost any kind of recording, especially modern genres. Tonality is balanced with no significant emphasize on any area of the frequency response, slightly south of neutral, so not on the analytical side. Probably very mild emphasize around bass area to create the sensation of warm and full sounding, but just a mild emphasize. If I need to choose a few words to describe CAL2 sound signature, it would be: Smooth, balanced, pleasing, musical, and fun. No detected annoying peaks and dips across the frequency spectrum.
Bass is mildly emphasized. Slight emphasize around bass to mid bass area, good and punchy bass with good low bass extension. Low bass rumble is good but not emphasized. Meaning, low bass rumble is not very strong for realistic cinematic experience, but it is there, and not lacking. Bass speed and tightness are decent, not boomy, but not the fast hard hitting type. In my opinion, it would be better if bass dynamic can be improved further.
Midrange is natural sounding with a touch of warmness. Vocal is clear with minimum coloration. Good detail and clarity without any over emphasized in clarity. Vocal sounds smooth and pleasing with good clarity.
Treble is smooth and extended, and very pleasing for long period of listening. Treble has good extension and transparent enough for classical, but overall tuning is probably more suitable for modern genres. This is a safe headphone for people that are sensitive to bright treble but doesn't want to sacrifice clarity.
Stereo imaging is good, about average in size and depth, not congested and not particularly spacious. Instrument separation is clear enough and doesn't sound cluttered.
Dynamic is decent, not the most realistic dynamic, but lively enough, and definitely not sloppy or lazy. At this price point dynamic performance is pretty good, though if improved further it could be a giant killer.
IMHO CAL2 is more suitable for modern music, Pop, EDM, and other modern genre recordings with close miking. Though CAL2 performs quite well on classical and audiophile binaural recordings as well, but to my ears those natural distant miking recordings are not its forte. I prefer headphones with higher level of transparency and airiness, a little more analytical, for those natural recordings.
Comparison with ATH-MSR7LTD
ATH-MSR7LTD is clarity king, therefore MSR7LTD has higher perceived clarity and detail. Tonality wise MSR7LTD is relatively a bright headphone, therefore might not be suitable for treble sensitive user. MSR7LTD has more emphasize on treble and has more upper treble extension. Dynamic is also better on MSR7LTD, bass is tighter and punchier. Holographic imaging is wider and more spacious on MSR7LTD. MSR7LTD wins on technicalities, but not necessary more musically pleasing especially for long session. Using MSR7LTD for long period will be more tiring than CAL2. MSR7LTD also known to have stronger headband clamping force. CAL2 headband clamping force is just nice, not as strong as on MRS7LTD. MSR7LTD sound quality wise, in my opinion is more suitable to be positioned as professional monitoring headphone. Technically excellent for critical listening, but can be a little tiring for long session. CAL2 is a smooth and pleasing sounding headphone, with a friendlier sound signature for long period of use, more suitable for casual listening, with better listening comfort.
Comparison with ATH-M50
ATH-M50 has slightly higher perceived clarity with slightly less bass. CAL2 sounds a little warmer when compared to M50. M50 has slightly more emphasize on upper midrange, and more forward in presentation. While CAL2 midrange is a little more laid back and more relax than M50. Treble quality and extension is more or less the same. Both have smooth treble and are safe for treble sensitive users. Bass is a little punchier and more powerful on M50, slightly better bass dynamic, though bass balance in comparison to the midrange is about the same. So bass level is approximately the same, but M50 bass has better dynamic. Stereo imaging quality is approximately the same. Users prefer a more dynamic sound will probably like the M50 better, while those looking for smooth and relax kind of sound signature will prefer CAL2.
Features, Build Quality, & Comfort
Rated at 32 ohms, CAL2 is easy to drive; my old smartphone Galaxy S4 is powerful enough to drive it up to my normal listening loudness with good sound quality. I know some people might prefer to listen louder, for that a good DAP or an amp will be necessary. Comparing the sound quality between driving CAL2 using Galaxy S4 and ifi micro iDSD, though there is some improvement, but not a night and day kind of improvement. Meaning, CAL2 is quite user friendly, designed for daily use with practically any devices, and doesn't demand dedicated high-end equipment to drives it.
Fostex 40mm driver with composite Bio-Cellulose diaphragm
Overall build quality is good, pretty stylish, though a bit plasticky. CAL2 earcups can be swiveled and stored flat. This is a very useful feature, especially for traveling.
The cable is detachable, and the interesting part is the cable 2.5mm TRRS connection to the headphone's drivers. Creative knows it is important to separate the ground wire between the left and right driver to minimize crosstalk, therefore they use TRRS connection instead of TRS. Beside minimizing crosstalk, since the ground wire for left and right drivers are already separated, it is easier to make a DIY cable for balanced connection, to connect CAL2 to balanced output such as balanced headphone amplifier or balanced DAP like some models of the AK players.
Microphone quality is on the average, clear enough for phone call, but I actually expect something better. Beside that, there is a volume adjustment on the cable that though practical, technically it is not preferable for sonic purity. For purely music listening, I would suggest to Creative to consider to include a better cable without mic and volume adjustment. I believe when using a better quality cable without the volume control on the cable, the dynamic can be improved further.
I have no issue with comfort, earpads are large enough, and headband pressure is just nice, not hard. At 255 grams CAL2 is pretty light. CAL2 performs very well in comfort department.
In summary, CAL2 is an enjoyable and friendly sounding headphone that is both comfortable and easy to drive. An enjoyable companion for everyone, an excellent offering from Creative Technologies!
Weight: 255g (9oz)
Main Features: Inline Control, Volume Control
Driver Size: 40mm (1.57 inches) Neodymium magnet with composite Bio-Cellulose diaphragm
Impedance: 32 ohms
Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 30KHz
Cable Length: 1.2m / 3.9ft, Detachable cable
Color: Black & Red-Black
Equipment used in this review:
DACs & DAPs:
Fiio X3 2nd gen
ifi micro iDSD (firmware 4.06)
Some recordings used in this review:
Pros - Powerful Deep Bass, Soundstage, Sparkly non-fatiguing Treble, Appearance
Cons - Earcups are too thick, Cable, Glossy finish, Headband
Hi! I'm new to Headfi here and this is my second review. I have just recently started to get interested in audio gear and am now trying to find the most cost-effective headphones/iem for people who do not have much money to spend or are not willing to pay so much for a headphone/iem. I listen mostly to electronic music, ranging from typical house bangers to hardcore drum and bass to ambient to trance. I listen to both mainstream and underground music. I'm also a pretty hardcore fps gamer and play games most of the time and I listen to music on the go. I do my listening tests on a Sound Blaster Z with Foobar2000 as my audio player. I use only FLAC and ASIO is used as my output.
Accessories and Specifications
Wearing Style: Over-the-Ear
Weight: 255g (9oz)
Colour: Black Dark Chrome, Black Dark Red Chrome (I got this one)
Included Accessories: 1 travel pouch, 1 detachable flat audio cable with in-line microphone and a 1-button remote with volume adjustment, 2.5mm-to-3.5mm gold-plated 4-pole plug
Drivers: 40mm (1.57 inches) Neodymium magnet with composite Bio-Cellulose diaphragm
Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 30KHz
Cable Style: Detachable Oxygen-Free Copper flat cable, 1.2m
Frequency Response: 100Hz ~ 10kHz
Sensitivity: - 42dBV / Pa
The box is nicely padded with a velour on top of cardboard material that houses the headphone. Below the headphone is where you get your cable, some paperwork including the instruction manual and warranty card. Do note that I bought this headphone used but in perfect condition with about 50hrs burn-in. The carrying pouch is made out of a nice and soft felt material that is brown in colour. It won't protect the headphone against shocks and water but definitely scratches.
Build Quality and Design
I was very impressed when I first saw the Live! 2 with my own eyes. I spent a good portion of my time just examining the headphone before I even put it on. I can't really describe what Creative did to these headphones to make it look so good. The combination of chrome accents, starry grey, matte black with glossy black/red finish with a very unique triangular shaped outer earcup just fits together so well. The headband adjustments gave a good impression too, with solid tactile feedback as you slide the headband back and forth with a very audible click. The headband internally seems to be made out of a mix of plastic and stainless steel. Pictures and videos can't really tell you how good they actually look IRL. The earcups also do swivel 180° flat with the earpads facing away from you when you lay the headphone down on your neck in the correct L/R position. This makes the earcup lay on your chest which is slightly uncomfortable when you are wearing them on your neck. However, despite all the compliments, this design does have a few flaws other than the first one that I just mentioned. Firstly, the sides of the circular earcups are glossy which means that they would be easily scratched when you lay the headphone on its side. It's also a fingerprint magnet and if you have oily/sweaty hands it would obviously be quite slippery. Secondly but unfortunately, the headphone also is too thick on its sides that it makes the wearer look kinda dorky from the front and back. The joints holding the earcups rattle a little when the headphone is being shaken. Thirdly, it is impossible to adjust the clamping force of this headphone which kinda sucks. Due to its dual plastic and steel headband design, it definitely makes the headband which is fairly narrow to be much more durable. However, this also keeps it from reducing its clamping force at all. I put the headphone for a month on a wide headphone stand (meant for reducing clamping force) and it did almost nothing to the clamping force. The cable provided is the perfect length for portable use, flat with the 3.5mm connector being right-angled. The in-line control is where I wish Creative did differently. I like that it has a manual volume slider in the cable thus making the headphone suitable for the majority of smartphones. However, the volume slider is not very consistent and I preferred to control the volume of the music using my phone instead of the volume slider. It would have been nice if they had 2 different cables, a short one for portable use and a longer one for desktop use. But hey for the price I paid can't complain much.
The Live! 2 is a fairly comfortable headphone other than it accumulating heat in the earcups which obviously all closed-back headphones suffer from. The pleather earpads fairly soft and plush. The padding on the inner surface is also surprisingly thick and soft. Even if your ears are too big and touch the drivers, It would probably not hurt at all. The headband is a bit too narrow in my opinion and coupled with the absence of sufficient padding, wearing the Live! 2 for about an 2 hours or so made my head hurt. Creative should have stuffed the headband with more padding for it to more evenly distribute the weight of the headphone round the head. Adjustments to the headband are nice and solid with no sign of it becoming loose over time. The clamping force I feel is slightly too much for me. It makes my jaw sore after wearing the Live! 2 for about an hour. On the flip side, headbanging with the headphone is totally fine. The headphone sits very snugly on your head even when you look directly on the floor or at the sky. This level of confidence cannot be said on weak clamping headphones. I can wear them fine with glasses as well. Since they are for portable use a high clamping force is totally acceptable. It's not actually that bad as these headphones are over-ear after all.
Now for the main part of every headphone review, how does the Live! 2 sound? Very impressive I would say for its price. The soundstage was the first thing I immediately noticed about this headphone. A very open and natural sounding stage for a closed-back headphone. Unfortunately, this meant that the isolation was also below average for closed-back headphones. You would have to crank the volume up to enjoy your music properly in noisy environments. Thankfully noise leak in the headphone is very little so that you can blast your music without people hearing what you might be listening to. The sound signature is V-shaped. There is a large emphasis on the bass with the treble slighty boosted for that 'sparkle', however, it does it very conservatively. This leads to a very powerful sound that sounds exciting but at the same time not over fatiguing with crazy treble. People who are used to bright headphones may find the Live! 2 overly bassy. The bass is very powerful with some decay so that it doesn't punch too hard, which is good for preventing fatigue. The bass goes extremely deep with accuracy, control and detail that would certainly satisfy audiophile bassheads. The bass does not leak into the mid ranges at all which is very good. Mids are clear, sweet and present themselves slightly behind the bass and treble. It does have a fair amount of detail too with some smoothing involved. The treble is sparkly and fairly neutral with a little smoothing. It adds to the overall bassy sound signature to give it some air and spaciousness without sounding harsh. Treble extends very well with no hint of roll-off. This makes for a very natural and powerful sounding headphone that would please anyone who loves bass but with good clarity in the mids and highs too. They are excellent for movies and gaming. With its soundstage, the positioning of audio cues are better than most closed headphones and the bass boost certainly adds that extra layer of immersion in gaming. In short, it's a warm, exciting sounding headphone with a good sense of detail and depth to the sound.
I would totally recommend the Live! 2 to anyone who wants a good pair of headphones for gaming and portable use that looks great too. The few discomforts I had with the headphone can be left out due to the price of these headphones. The price to performance is very good and you should be able to get it new at about $100. A few things about this headphone could be improved but overall if you want a powerful sounding headphone with full-bodied bass, sweet mids and sparkly highs all round with good aesthetics that is somewhat portable, this headphone is a very good choice. I do wish the round earpads are oval shaped rather than being circular as it fits the majority of people better. Thank you for reading my review and have a great day
Pros - Enough bass(for me), great clarity,
Cons - Uncomfortable when wear long, bass doesn't have the *boom* feel.
After buying these great pair of headphones, I tested on my iphone 5s and I was little dissapointed for the bass level that I was expecting. I compared this to the Audio Techinca's M40x. And the bass was really a difference. The m40x were a nice pair( clear mids but lacking bass level ) but the CAL2! had much to offer.
First off, I googled around for a equalizer app for the iPhone and my Laptop(Lenovo z500). For my iPhone, Im using Equalizer by AudioForge labs and im putting the setting on "Bass Extreme". Then I had the bass level that i was looking for(at least its better than stock EQ). For my laptop im using Equalizer APO. By setting to different equalizers i can get the most out of my CAL2!.
So I recommend getting a dedicated equalizer if your using the CAL2! and wish to get more bass level than it has to offer stock.
Other app I used on iPhone was Accudio. It had the setting for the CAL2! which makes its a wondeful app for different headphones users (AKG, Bose, etc etc). But I kinda liked the bass from Equalizer so i went with it instead.
Pros - Tight bass that extends really far, comfort, aesthetics, SOUNDSTAGE, sparkly treble (I love this aspect), pleasing to listen to for long periods.
Cons - Stock cable is pretty bad and cable replacement options are limited to one other, V-shaped sound signature, poor isolation
This headphone sounds great and looks great as well. I have had this headphone for a couple months and no change in sound has occurred so this does not require burn-in.
The sound is V-shaped indeed but if you require a flatter response this headphones responds to and EQ very well. The treble is oh so detailed and is amazing for metal and rock. The bass is slightly emphasized and it decays really well to give that satisfying rumble. The only complaints are really the background sound to vocals and sometimes guitar instruments and the cable. They are clear and detailed but they are not forward due to sound signature.
This can is a marvel for electronic music however with the slightly emphasized yet tight bass. I don't what Creative Labs were thinking when they decided to use a 2.5 connector into the headphones. This seriously limits cable replacement options down to the replacement cable for the HD518, 558 and 598. The thing I absolutely love this headphone is for the ability to drop you into a space. The imaging for a closed can is so spacious. After a couple months of use the pivot points on the headband have scraped away the silver coating from repeated grinding. The build is not like a tank but they can take a beating as I have dropped it on numerous occasions.
Much like the older Creative Aurvana Live! I found these to be a great headphone for all genres with a laid back kind of dark and warm sound.
Pros - Bass, vocals
Cons - Construction
Had been selecting from Senheiser HD280Pro, Momentum Over Ear, Bose AE2, AudioTechnica ATH M50, Sony MDR 10RBT and this creatives.
This pair had given the best floor tom recognition (so you can even hear the resonant plast) without washing out the bass guitar.
Vocals, guitars are clear. Cymbals also do not wash mid-high range.
Perfectly for listening to nu-metal,trash, post-grunge bands.
But construction seems to be a bit fragile so better use them carefully
Pros - Lows, comfortable, build quality. SOUNDSTAGE!
Cons - Isolation, 2.5mm cable input.
This is my first proper set of over ears, and I'm quite surprised! The bass is fast, punchy and has enough weight to satisfy the slight basshead in me. The treble is a bit laid back for me, and I found they needed a bit of EQ. Vocals are very smooth and the soundstage is great! They produce a very natural sound. I've also had great success using them for gaming. Paired with a HifiMeDIY Sabre DAC and a Marantz 1050 amp. Got them for around $100, which is a steal considering I'm in Australia.
Pros - Soundstage, bass, build quality, detachable cable
Cons - highs, price ATM
I've had different headphones, ranging from M50, Momentums, and various lesser known brands.
This headphone though is very good! I have to say this: This may be the most comfortable headphone I've ever used. Sure, headphones that cost thousands of dollars may be more comfortable, but I'm not in that League!
I'd really like more treble, it may be a bit too laid back for me. Not ear-piercing treble, but just a tad more present.
The bass is really good! Not a basshead phone, but plenty of bass, extension and quality.
I've paired this with Nuforce dac and Fiio, and it sounds better this way. But it's not night and day difference. The DAC improves things though, like soundstage and bass.
I know a lot of people are waiting for this to come down in price, me too. So this will not be a 5 star rating, but 4.5 star, cause I still think it's a bit too expensive.
Pros - Bass, detail, wide soundstage
Cons - price, value
I really like this headphone. I've been trying various headphones in this pricerange, and decided on this one.
But maybe the Price is a bit too high, when comparing to the first Creative Aurvana Live?
The bass extension and quality is really good on this one, but I'm not sure if this is for bassheads. Fortunately the bass doesn't bleed into mids (very important for me!)
The treble is also nice, and the vocals too.
I've seen some Measurements on a russian website, and they look pretty good.
The build quality is nice, with metal headbands, and the cups swivel to which I like.
I don't like the cable because it's 2.5mm on the headphone end. I know you think this isn't an issue, but I like standard 3.5mm cables.
But like I said before, I think the Price is a bit too high ATM:/ That's will lover the value score a bit
Pros - Bass, asthetics, sturdy build quality, imaging, treble
Cons - None? Maybe flimsy cable
I've auditioned the first Aurvana a couple of times, and I've always liked it, but never purchased it.
Anyway, this new Aurvana is so good! I believe the drivers are the same as the first model, but these are definitely tweaked.
The sound signature is V-shaped, so it's more of a "fun" headphone. Neutralists won't like it, althought it's not over colored like some other Cans.
Vocals are airy and the soundstage is really good. I was seriously surprised to hear this kind of instrument separation from a Creatíve headphone.
Maybe the price will drop soon, but if you already own the first Aurvana, you must get theese!