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Over-Ear item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Comfortable, good sound quality
Cons - Cabe doesn't detatch
Pros - detail, comfort, rounded low end
Cons - earpads could be larger
I've owned quite a few cans and ended up really digging the sound of Denon headphones. With a pair of AHD-2000's at home, I wanted something just as fun at work. I've auditioned the Audio-Technica M50, Koss DJ-100, AKG 240S, AKG 44, and Triple.Fi Pro's connected to a uDAC for work. The DJ-100's were good, albeit a bit dark. The sibilance in the AKG's were too fatiguing and the AKG 44, though incredibly inexpensive with the Guitar Center deal under $20, lacked body. The M50's, though excellent at their price point, weren't as detailed as I liked. Triple.Fi's are great but I realized I wanted a pair of cans at work. Ultimately I wanted a fun, detailed pair of headphones under $100.
I looked at picking up a pair of the 1100's, but after some research I decided that I wanted try the CAL! since they shared the same drivers as the Denon 1001's. They are just what I was looking for: sub $100 cans that were as fun as my D2000's. Next step: pair it with a Fiio E6.
Pros - Nicely detailed, laid back, broad and even frequency bandwidth
Cons - Deep bass is slightly unprecise, some classic orchestra can be a bit squishy
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Finally I can send my Superlux 668B where they belong - into the trashcan. Due to a discount at the german Creative store website, I was able to order the Aurvana Live for 49€ (equals ~62$).
Lots of plastic, but seems durable and well crafted, also nice to look at. Dueto the little weight and the well adjustable headband, they're superbly comfortable, even for guys with bull shaped skulls (like me^^).
Sound : The good
The Aurvana Live! has no real weakness. The sound is very nicely detailed and staged, it can reach quite low and has no breakaways -up or down- anywhere the frequency range. Voices are soft and detailed as well, very slightly taken back though, "S" and "F" sounds stay where they belong, no mentionworthy sizzling or hissing, even with harshly mastered stuff like George Michael's "Precious Box".
Sound: The bad
The deep bass section is slightly washy, but in a close limit. Listening to several classical test songs, I recognised that with some situations, the sound stage became rather "promiscous", I wasn't able to tell apart the different instruments anymore, it all sounded squishy - but that happened very selectively, so I can't tell if it was the particular recorded material or the headphones - but it should be mentioned anyway.
Value for money - Outstanding.
Yes, lots of plastic is involved, but that's not really a surprise in the below-50€ market here in Europe, is it? The sound makes up for it. Detailed, laid back, no real weaknesses. Very well done, but the same of course goes for it's older brother, the Denon 1001.
My Advice - If you're unhappy with budget "tips" like the Superluxes, go for the Aurvana! They are WAY MORE FUN!
Pros - Warm, bassy sound, but with plenty of detail. Amazing price-quality ratio
Cons - If there are any cons... small cups
As you probably know by now, these have the same driver as the now deceased DENON ADH1001, created by Foster. They look the same, I actually like the glossy black plastic of these more. The cups are a bit small and sometimes hurt me since I use ear piercings, but this if you don't I doubt you'll have problems. The pads itself are very soft. Isolation is less than most closed headphones, but you trade that for a large soundstage.
The bass extends very deep and there's plenty, I tested it with some tracks I know to contain bone-shaking sub-bass. The mid-bass is very pronunciated, making the beats above the rest of the music a bit. The mids are good, recessed but clean. Basically you feel like they were toned down a bit without losing quality, and it's really not excessive. The highs are slightly subdued and could extend more, but it's still very good, and the sound isn't dark. The emphasis on bass and lower mids makes vocals seem far away, like slightly behind the low frequencies, which makes them good for electronic and not so stellar for music depending a lot on vocals. I still enjoy metal and indie rock on these a lot. Detail is surprisingly good, these exhibit strings and other revealing instruments very well. You can feel the fingers hitting the cords in a guitar, and drums feel very textured (like you could 'feel' it and understand what kind of surface the stick was hitting). I don't feel like the soundstage is big, but definitely bigger than most closed headphones.
If you enjoy electronic music of any kind, rap/hip-hop, basically anything with a synth, these are one of the best deals you'll get. They work well with most genres I've tried, but are definitely meant for those. Rock, metal and jazz work well, but I understand someone might think the bass is excessive.
Also, these are very mod-friendly. The cups are only hold by 2 screws, there's lots of cup space to use for your wacky experiences. I have recabled mine just for fun.
Pros - Comfortable, Bass, Price
Cons - Design, No Folding, Y Cable
When you do hours of research and actually go and spend your money on something that cost more than you wanted to spend, you aren't exactly "thrilled" about taking it everywhere with you on daily commutes. Which is why after dishing out $100+ on a pair of Shure Headphones I decided to search for a pair of headphones that sounded great, and I didn't mind taking everywhere. They arrived on December 29th meaning I have had about 2 1/2 weeks with them and so far I have do not have many negative things to say about these headphones.
Starting off I bought these new for $65 on Amazon, although they normally retail anywhere around $70-$100. When I started looking for my "Daily" headphone I knew after seeing these get a decent amount of excellent reviews, that this was the direction I wanted to go. They come with a small bag, a 1/4th in. non-threaded adapter, and a 5ft extension cord to plug into the end of the 4ft long cable on the headphones. My first impression of these cans was that the earpads and the headband were so soft. Out of a long line of different headphones I have tested (i.e Beats Solo/Studio/Pro, Soul SL150, Klipsch Image One, Shure SRH-750DJ, etc.) I can easily say these are the softest most comfortable headphones I have tried on. The design of these was also a plus with an all black headband, and a shiny black earcup with a chrome trim around it. The CAL!'s also feature a tangle free cord, which I have found to have worked exceptionally I have never been able to even make a tangle on my own. The only real problems some may have with the overall design is the fact that it has a Y shaped cable instead of one coming out of only one ear, the size of the earcups compared to the headband is kind of awkward, and these headphones have no folding capabilities for easy portability. Needless to say the design of the headphone is exactly the same as the Denon D1001, and thats not all it also "borrows" the same Foster driver as them which would mean you should get the exact same listening experience right? Not quite.
The technical specifications, and sound of the Creative Aurvana Live!'s are exceptional considering the price that one would pay for them. Weighing in at around 7.4 oz. these headphones certainly are not heavy at all, and are not noticeable while on your head. The impedance in these are only 32 ohms meaning that they can be easily driven by any phone, or mp3 player without the need of any amplification. Creative claims the frequency response on these is 10hz-30khz making the bass on these pretty good. Sound-Wise the bass on these headphones is phenomenal, yet not overwhelming. Some of the other competitions headphones seem to only focus on bass, bass, bass. But these seem to do everything well easily putting higher end/priced headphones to shame. I tested out a pair of Sennheiser HD 205's (which I also did a review on) against these and I wasn't even able to entertain the HD 205 anymore as even a bit of competition. I found it a bit funny that the Creative's can be used as a nice earmuff in the cold too! Compared to the Denon D1001 the Creative Aurvana Live should have nearly identical soundstage, but because the CAL! has thicker earpads it creates more bass, thus making the Creative Aurvana Live a more bassy headphone than the Denon D1001.
In conclusion if you dont mind having a two sided cable, and the fact that it cannot be folded into any smaller form, the Creative Aurvana Live is easily one of the best headphones under $100, maybe even under $200.
Sound Quality: 9
Design : 7
Value for Money : 10
Ease Of Use: 9
Pros - Really comfortable, great isolation
Cons - Brand?
After reading reviews here and learning about the Denon drivers, i went for a pair of these for the office. They are surprisingly comfortable to wear, the soft pleather pads perfectly covering the ears, with the only discomfort issue being that your ears warm up a bit after a while. Great sound isolation from outside. Short cord length makes them portable - I quite often wash the car wearing these cans, and the short cord means no snagging etc.
The headband plastic looks a little fragile, i'm not sure these could live in and out of a bag, also the cable is a little thin and the jack surround is poorly glued in place (although that flaw allows me to plug it into my iphone4 bumper case!).
Bass is full and defined, mids are smooth, highs are there, but perhaps that high end sparkle could be better, they sound kinda warm - they say a recable can improve the highs though.
I got these at a reduced rate on Amazon and am very happy with them. Great sounding cans for the money. Here's a couple pics i took:
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.
Pros - comfort, sq, bass
Cons - bass, build quality, isolation
These are wonderful hidden gems of headphone world. Using the same guts as the renowned D1001k they produce a bass driven warm sound without any bass bleed to midrange. Midrange is also well-done, male vocals especially. Treble is nice and has the occasional spark when needed. Presentation is adequate for closed headphones. Overall, the sound signature is quite fun for most genres, the only problem I had with them is the extra messy and fast metal pieces. The reason is that bass is not well controlled. I sense that -though I am no expert-, these are not technically most proficient headphones even in their price range.
Comfort is probably unbeatable. Build is decent but a bit flimsy. And lastly look elsewhere for isolation.
I can't believe that someone can get them for 70 bucks new and much less second hand. Such a great value!
Pros - Comfortable, not a sound slips out, gorgeous, great sound quality, affordable, durable
Cons - Can become uncomfortable after long use
As we always remember the last words the longest, let's begin with the complaints:
My main beef with these are that they don't have a removable cord, and that the cord exits from both ears - these head phones are way too good to waste on a bad cord that glitches after just 6 months of use. Also, the headband is rather hard and presses uncomfortably on your head if you keep them on for a few hours in a row.
So! With that out of the way - the good stuff:
These are simply amazing. I love them. They close comfortably and perfectly around the ear, the sound is perfect and practically none of it slips out even if you put them on loud. These babies should last you a lifetime if you recable them once in a while, and they should definitely be worth it.
They also have a design that is very easy to customise, with the closed, plain black plastic. The silver band around the black frames your personal design very effectively.
Pros - Great price/value. Solid bass. Very comfortable.
Cons - Cord exits both sides (minor detail). Don't fold at all.
Bear in mind these are my first quality headphones so it is a world of difference from anything I have had previously. I did a load of research before grabbing these and I am very pleased.
Out of the box...
I think these are a good-looking piece of gear. Aside from the headphones you get the 2.5 to 3.5 mm adapter, a cord extension, and a carrying case (soft, velvety bag).
Again, never having any high quality headphones before, I was blown away by my CAL!'s. I expected a big difference but these sound close to some several-hundred-dollar headphones I have tried. I can hear new details in songs I've heard a hundred times. I find the sound very clear and the bass is awesome. You can feel the bass fully and it seems to adapt well with the sound (or source in general). For example, in a bass heavy rap/hip-hop song the bass hits fully but you don't lose out on the rest of the details. On the other hand, in a song with little bass (a piano piece, say), there isn't any unnecessary or added bass noise.
I have used these watching video and they perform here as well. Watching action is particularly rewarding (just hearing talking sounds high-quality/clear, but really not super special). Action sounds full and almost seems like surround sound. I've caught myself looking over my shoulder after hearing a background sound, thinking it came from the room in which I was sitting.
I can wear these bad boys all day.
Again, I think these look nice. Functionally, I would've liked if they had the cord exiting from only one side, but it really not a big deal. I like how the cord is only about 3 feet (I don't want a huge spool of wire like a lot of "DJ" headphones have). Plus they do offer an extension cord.
I think the biggest design downside for a lot of people is that these don't fold. It doesn't really bother me because folding headphones really don't get much smaller. Plus I think this knocks the price down a little and it has nothing to do with sound, so it's almost a plus for me.
I think these are outstanding. At only $60 you can't go wrong if you want a solid, affordable pair of headphones.