General Information

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https://www.auraudio.store/product-page/aurora

Aurora offers a balanced tuning with a detailed and organic midrange. The 2DD+6 balanced armature configuration delivers a wide, spacious and holographic presentation that handles complex recordings with ease. Aurora can handle nearly all genres, the organic tonality and resolving power particularly suits for all genres of music

50-100 hours of burn in is recommended

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Impedance: 19Ω
Sensitivity: 104dB (@130mV)

DRIVER CONFIGURATION

Bass (2): Dual Opposed 7.5mm pu+peek DD with N52 magnet
Midrange (4): E-Audio Improved RAB Dual Drivers
Treble (2): Knowles Dual Tweeter

HOUSING MATERIALShell: 3D Printed Resin



CABLE SPECIFICATIONS



Wire Material: 2 Core, High-Purity, Monocrystalline, Silver-Plated Copper

Length: 1.2 ± 0.1

Connector: 2-Pin (0.78 mm)

Monitor plug: 4.4mm

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Latest reviews

grumpy213

100+ Head-Fier
“An aurora borealis…localized entirely within your IEM!?”
Pros: Smooth, natural tonality;
Wonderful vocal quality; and
Uniquely smooth bass response
Cons: Treble execution lacks excitement and engagement;
Intimate and slightly confined staging limits versatility; and
Rather middling accessory package.

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Preamble:​

Many thanks to @Damz87 and to Nicholas Tsu for arranging the Australian tour of the Aurora and to chowy for ensuring their safe delivery.
The sources used to form this review included:
- Chord Mojo 2;
- Shanling M6 Ultra; and
- Cayin RU7,
all fed with lossless FLAC files.


There is something in the water in Asia. The dominance of the region in the proliferation of a large number of IEMs in the last decade has been nothing short of amazing. Whilst Chi-Fi gets all the praise, there are a number of other nations providing a number of noteworthy IEMs. I have previously reviewed Symphonium, a Singaporean maker with ties to two other noteworthy compatriots in the form of Subtonic and Nightjar. Today’s review concerns another burgeoning IEM maker from the city-state of Singapore, the Aur Audio Aurora. With a small operation consisting of two friends, there appears to be an attention to detail and loving care that only a smaller shop can bring to deliver what they state on their website as being “the ultimate in sound quality and clarity unlike any other”. Rather lofty words let’s see if they can deliver such an experience with their Aurora.

The Factual Stuff​

The Aurora does not come with a box but rather in a puck style case containing:
  • The earpieces;
  • A twisted, cloth covered cable;
  • Silicone eartips; and
  • A cleaning brush.
Within the earpieces are an 8 driver setup consisting of two “opposed” 7.5mm dynamic drivers and 6 balanced armatures, with two of those being tweeters focused on the higher ranges and 4 being focused on the mids.
The Aurora is available for 560 USD.

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The Opinion Stuff​

Sound​

The review was conducted with Spinfit CP145s. The stock tips included were tested and an insight into their quality is provided in the section entitled “Quality of Life”.

Bass​

The Aurora provides a rather heathy dose of bass in the form of both an elevated sub and mid-bass lift that ensures that it is present in nearly every song that you listen to. The sub-bass presents itself as a rather pleasing rumble in songs such as “THE PLAN” from the TENET soundtrack in a manner that is neither overbearing nor overly recessed. There is a rather good balancing act here and the sub-bass shelf remains nicely elevated for that sense of presence with modern-produced music. There is a decent quality to the sub-bass as well as it remains textured and detailed.
The mid-bass is ever so slightly elevated to present a nice sense of punch and added weight to the upper-bass/lower mid regions without treading on any other part of the frequency response. There is a tendency for a mid-bass boost to muddy up some male vocals and portions of the mids but testing the Aurora demonstrates that there is little to none semblance of this.
There is a detriment to the bass on the Aurora and that is there is not a great sense of attack and dynamism to the bass in that the quantity is good yes, but it does not provide the physicality and speed you would get in other IEMs. There is a sense of a laidback and smooth reproduction of these bass frequencies and I didn’t mind it that much, however, for more aggressive basslines in trap and EDM tracks, the Aurora did not keep up that well.

Mids​

The mids on the Aurora are potentially the most well executed portion of the IEM, providing a smooth and natural tonality throughout. “2easy” by Nive and Heize is a female/male duet with rather lilting runs throughout and both vocalists receive an equal amount of attention from the Aurora. The timbre remains natural and “analogue” sounding in nature leading to a very laid-back listening experience. With more aggressive higher mid songs such as “4walls” by f(x) there is no real shoutiness or brightness to be heard throughout. This creates a rather easy-going listening experience that is non-fatiguing but there is a sense of a loss of sparkle throughout this region.
As previously mentioned, the mid-bass boost imparts a good sense of weight and warmth to the mids as well without detracting from male vocalists such as those in “Out of Time” by the Weeknd as it remained nicely separated and easily discernible.
The smooth reproduction, whilst enjoyable, appears to detract from certain instrumentalization throughout tracks such as “Starman” by David Bowie or “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington and Bill Withers with the guitar and the saxophone (respectively) losing a sense of “edge” and being more rounded in their reproduction.
Ultimately, the vocal reproduction of the Aurora is the most noteworthy element of the IEM and is definitely something that surprised me with how well it was executed. However, it does seem to be at the cost of some clarity and sparkle with upper mids and the speed and resolution of some instruments.

Treble​

Carrying on from the discussion of the upper-mids, the treble region of the Aurora is very smoothed out and rolled off in my opinion. There is a lack of engagement in this region even when throwing sibilant and very bright tracks at it. “Reckoner” by Radiohead has a wonderful string of percussion throughout the track and the Aurora provides a slightly limp and not very engaging reproduction of it, lacking speed and sparkle. “You & Me (Flume Remix)” by Disclosure/Flume has a very aggressive synth in the chorus that cuts throughout the rest of the mix with its extremely sharp ascent into the highs and it remained rather non-engaging with the Aurora.
There is a benefit with this tuning as I feel that the Aurora avoids any sense of fatigue over long listening periods with its forgiving and smooth treble regions but there is a lack of engagement and drama with instruments within the region. There is a distinct lack of airiness and crispness as cymbals do not crash with the same brain-tickling effect and a hi-hat ringing throughout a track remains recessed and indiscernible from the rest of the mix.
Overall, I feel as though the treble remains the sore spot for the Aurora as it is too recessed, smoothed out and rolled off to present the sense of sparkle and ear-tickling effect that one would expect. I see what they were going for in aligning the region with the sound signature of the rest of the IEM but ultimately it remains a disappointment for me.

Technicalities​

The Aurora’s smooth tonality belies some rather good technical chops. Despite not having detail “jump out at you” in the case of brighter IEMs, a careful listening elicits some good detail retrieval for the price range. However, the smoothed out and rolled-off nature of the Aurora ultimately limits its ability to communicate very subtle details in well-recorded tracks such as Haliene’s “Rush Over Me (Acoustic)” wherein there is a loss of detail with the piano player floating his fingers over the keys and the mechanics of the press against the pedal are not presented in the same manner as it was with other IEMs.
The staging is somewhat confined as I feel that the lack of airiness of the Aurora and the mid-forward nature leads to a rather limited width and depth to the music as things seem to present right in front of you and do not pan out very far from the immediate left and right of you. Centre imaging is a wonderful thing with the Aurora however, as the intimacy of the staging combined with the vocal quality of the Aurora with tracks such as “Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift creates a very analogue reproduction of what one would imagine an intimate performance would be like.
Overall, the technicalities require a keen ear, a rather high volume and critical listen to present themselves in fullness. The staging is rather confined, but this lends itself to the key strength of the Aurora in its vocal presentation.

Overall​

The Aurora presents itself as a vocal specialist with a dash of fun with its high quality lower-end reproduction. Where the issues (in my mind) lay is the movement into the upper mids and treble region wherein the pursuit of smooth and laid-back listening has limited the ability to communicate the drama of certain tracks and perhaps engagement with entire genres such as EDM.
Whether the great timbre of the mids and the balanced yet fun execution of the bass is enough to forgive this rather glaring limitation is dependent on your own preferences and the genres that you enjoy listening too. More acoustically focused and enjoy folksy music? The Aurora is a no brainer if your budget permits. Grating synths and harrowing percussion? Probably look elsewhere.

Synergy:​

One thought coming to my mind here namely lessons learnt after multiple DAPs, DACs and Amps plus headphones and IEMs is synergy! Hoping for the one and only holy grail Setup is maybe just a nice wish unless buying according synergy transducers and I don't believe even the best sources are an exception here. There's a reason why people are having multiple devices in parallel or reducing inventory and keeping only the ones with right synergy.

Shanling M6 Ultra:​

I would characterise the M6 Ultra (M6U) as a smooth, slightly warm source with an increased sense of presence in the mids and a strong note weight.
The M6U coalesces with the Aurora in a very forthright manner. The smoothness of the M6U combined with the already smooth nature of the Auroras present butter in audio form. There are no hard edges here and the result is a rewarding and inviting listening experience as there is not fatigue at all over the course of several hours. There is a loss of engagement by taking this approach as notes no longer really “attack” but rather simply float out for your ears to listen to.
A rather interesting presentation that will be sure to attract more easygoing listeners but sure to disappoint those looking for a more extreme experience.

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Chord Mojo 2​

I would characterise the Mojo 2 as a very, very slightly warm neutral tonality with a more natural reproduction of instruments and voices with no DSP enabled.
The Aurora and the Mojo 2 has a rather straightforward interaction with one another, with the relatively neutral tonality of the Mojo 2 bringing a greater sense of engagement and dynamism with the rather smooth Aurora. The attack and speed of certain notes is an obvious difference between the M6U and the Mojo 2. There is a greater sense of engagement with the Mojo 2 rather than having some pleasant-sounding background music.
Playing around with the DSP on the Mojo 2 affirms my previous insights into the treble region as EQ with the upper mids and treble brought about a greater sense of sparkle in the region and improved the overall experience in my mind.
The Mojo 2 synergises well with the Aurora in my mind, and I can happily recommend it with the benefit of DSP.

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Cayin RU7​

I would characterise the RU7 as smooth, slightly rolled off and warm (depending on your settings). The sound signature is meant to replicate a more “analogue” sound signature and the result is a more calming and relaxed approach.
In the same vein as the M6U, the RU7 seems to amplify the sound signature of the Aurora by smoothing it out even further. Unlike the M6U, the RU7 imbues a rather healthy soundstage and a great sense of detail and imaging in microdetails by separating the mix. The soundstage factor is a welcome element as it widens out the Aurora and provides a nicely layered listening experience.
Otherwise, the experience may be described as overly smooth by some but the experience is a rather euphonic one and I can definitely recommend this for more relaxed, laid-back listens over long periods of time that will retain your interest.
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Comparisons​

Vs Moondrop Variations​

Occupying a rather similar price range, the Variations present what one could term as the antithesis of the Aurora’s tuning ethos. Leaner and more thin in its midrange, the Variations opts for a more sharp dip in the mid-bass to more cleanly separate the midrange and the bass. Sub-bass is the Variations forte and there is a greater sense of impact in the cleanliness of its tuning but the Aurora remains a very, very close competitor.
There is a loss of mid warmth and a lighter note weight overall but in return is a cleaner tonality that seems to highlight greater microdetails throughout the frequency response. The Variations feel more sparse and wide in its presentation but similar to the Aurora, there is a lack of depth. The vocals with the Variations are more recessed in the mix and thus there is a loss of emotional engagement with certain instrumentalization and vocals. There is a definite preference for female vocals and higher frequencies in the Variations as there is a prominent edge in the sparkle factor of belted female vocals and edgy percussion. This is a definite win in the Variations favour.
Overall, I feel that the Auroras and the Variations represent similar technical capabilities with the difference being their tuning. If you prefer a warmer and smooth reproduction, the Aurora is the clear choice.
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Vs Sony IER-M9​

The IER-M9 represents in my mind, the gatekeeper of the kilobucks. With its rather inoffensive (and perhaps boring) tonality combined with its technical prowess, it presents $1000 vanilla ice-cream by which others may be tested.
The warmer than neutral tuning of the IER-M9 presents a similarly smoother experience than a lot of modern IEMs in the market but not the same extent as the Aurora. Sub-bass takes a definite hit in quantity but the quality of its detail and texture present a win over the Aurora. The mid-bass punch is also similarly impressive for the IER-M9 being an all-BA set, the Aurora does not win in the quality region but the balance in tuning of the Aurora provides it with a tonality that is more agreeable to me.
Treble is also more impressively executed on the IER-M9 with greater extension and greater prominence in the mix compared to the smoothed out and rolled-off nature of the Aurora. The IER-M9 remains rather sparkly and airy in its reproduction of the treble that lends itself to a rather enjoyable listening experience rather than being an afterthought in the mix.
Detail retrieval on the IER-M9 is also better in that microdetails are revealed to a greater extent in well recorded songs. Staging is somewhat similar with that centre-presenting vocal mix but there is a greater sense of depth and layering in the mix on the IER-M9 that gives a more textured quality to the recording than on the Aurora.
This is somewhat of an unfair comparison considering the price difference but where the Aurora can hang its hat on is its smooth, easy listening experience that is vocally focused and a better balance between mid and sub bass.

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Vs 7th Acoustics Supernova​

The Supernova is another smooth criminal in the IEM space that I am in the process of writing a review for. Considering these arrived concurrently, I compared the two due to their similar approach to tonality despite their price difference (Supernova = 800 USD, Aurora = 560USD).
The bass presents itself more forwardly in the Aurora with a more generous helping of sub-bass throughout that adds to the fun factor. The more level bass response leading into the mids of the Supernova leads to some issues with male vocals whereas the Aurora’s shelf and subtle mid-bass boost creates greater separation.
The mids on the two IEMs seek out to create a smooth and natural tonality that is pleasing to the ear. Where the Supernova separates itself is the upper mids extending into the treble region wherein the spine-tingling reproduction of female vocalisation creates a more engaging experience compared to the slightly limper production of the Aurora. Vocal fry and the inhales of the vocalist running through their lyrics seem to present themselves with far greater detail and emotional engagement on the Supernova than the Aurora. Instrumentalization such as dramatic piano solos also seem to engage more thoroughly on the Supernova compared to the Aurora.
Treble extension is not the forte of either IEMs here but the Supernova remains more sparkly than the Aurora and creates a greater sense of drama with certain instruments.
Technicalities on the Supernova take the W in that detail retrieval, staging and resolution all seem to be bumped up from the Aurora in a noticeable manner.
Overall, the Aurora and the Supernova are more similar than they are unalike, however, the Supernova represents a noticeable step up in nearly all aspects save for bass quantity and the mid-bass control.
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Quality of Life​

The 3D resin shell of the Aurora is very well made but the shells themselves are rather beefy. Whilst I had no issues with fitment, I would not be surprised if the rather wide and deep earpieces pose some issues to more smaller ears.

The included accessories are rather limited, and I was not a fan of the stock eartips in any case given they seemed to jump from rather small to very large. With that being said, the cleaning brush is always a nice addition, and I am a big fan of the puck case that does a good job of being rather ergonomically shaped and with a very nice silicone friction fit.
The stock eartips are rather wide nozzle openings that lead to a rather odd sound signature wherein soundstage is improved somewhat at the cost of some dynamics. The bass is sucked out with the stock large tips and lends itself to an even more relaxed and laid-back listening experience that I would liken to having a smaller speaker in a rather larger room. Not the ideal listening experience which is why I opted for a CP145 for my review but would likely be quite ideal for those looking to maximise the inherent qualities of the Aurora.
The included cable is soft and well-made but the memory of the cable and perhaps any cable utilising cloth covers is a rather annoying aspect as it wants to retain its shape.

Whilst related to sound quality, the Auroras are best presented whilst listening at rather high volumes, giving a greater coherency across the frequency response curve. This however, is not an ideal situation given that it may lead to some rather poor consequences. The rolled off treble was alleviated at higher listening volumes that provided a greater sense of excitement but was untenable for longer listening sessions and with songs with greater dynamic swings in volume.

Value​

I feel that the Auroras reside firmly in their price point and do not seem to punch too high up. The comparison against the Variations, priced at 520 USD usually is a rather telling one. The two trade blows in more “objective” elements such as technical performance with the main difference being tuning, which is a more preference based aspect of the game.

The accessory package is quite middling at the price point as I found the puck case on Aliexpress for $4 and the cable, whilst nicely smooth, provided some ergonomic issues for me.

Overall, at 560 USD, I don’t believe that the Aurora is a revelation at its price point but remains a very good option for a specialist IEM that excels in vocal reproduction and for those seeking out a smooth, easy listening experience.

Conclusion​

There isn’t much to dislike about the Aurora, it is a very easy listen in that I can freely just place them in my ears and leave my library to play on shuffle without any song feeling as though they have been wronged in their reproduction. Vocal reproduction is the forte of the Aurora and the intimate staging and smooth reproduction of all facets of the frequency response lend itself to a honeyed and euphonic mid-region.
However, there is a loss of overall engagement with music due to the treble performance of the Aurora that removes from the “drama” and “excitement” of certain instruments and notes hit by vocalists.
I am by no means a treblehead but the Aurora provides very little in the sense of engagement in this region and I sorely miss a more “revealing” tuning and a sense of sparkle and hair-raising peril of certain instruments.
The Aurora is not an IEM I can recommend for everyone but if you are looking for an intimate, smooth and warm listen and understand that this IEM is somewhat of a specialist, then I cannot fault it. More discerning individuals and those looking to jump up to the Aurora’s price point may find the lack of treble excitement sorely lacking.
xxAMAROKxx
xxAMAROKxx
Hard to find iems with sparkling and engaging treble in these days. Every manufacturer smoothing like Moondrop :frowning2:
K
Kazou
Realy like this aurora
grumpy213
grumpy213
It’s a really smooth listen. Unfortunately it falls out of preference basket but glad to hear you’re liking it!

o0genesis0o

Headphoneus Supremus
AuR Audio Aurora - Lovely Vocal
Pros: + Comfortable, cohesive sonic presentation
+ Beautiful timbre and tonality of midrange
+ Great bass texture and decay
Cons: - The soundstage is more cohesive and compact rather than expansive
- Smooth presentation reduces the perception of resolution
Few IEM brands have developed a strong fanbase as quickly as AuR Audio, a Singaporean IEM brand founded by two friends, Nicholas Teo and Abel Hsu. Today, we take a look at one of the newer releases from the company, the 8-driver hybrid IEM Aurora.


Forewords​

  • What I look for in an IEM is immersion. I want to feel the orchestra around me, track individual instruments, and hear all of their textures and details. I’m not picky about tonality, as long as it does not get in the way of immersion.
  • I rate IEMs within with a consistent scale from 1 (poor) to 3 (Good) to 5 (outstanding). Ratings are assigned by A/B tests against benchmark IEMs, regardless of the retail price.
  • Ranking list and measurement database are on my IEM review blog.
  • Terms used in my reviews are consistent with the glossary by Headphonesty
  • This review is possible thanks to the Australian head-fi tour organised by @Damz87 and supported by AuR. I have no affiliation with or financial interest in AuR Audio. The unit retails for $560 at the time this review was published.
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Sources for listening tests:

  • iBasso DX300 (for all A/B tests)
  • HiBy R3 Gen II
Local FLAC files ripped from CDs or bought from Qobuz were used for most casual listening and A/B tests. My playlist for A/B tests can be found on Apple Music here.

All of my listening was done with Spin-fit W1 medium ear tips. I listen at a medium volume. I usually turn up the volume until the midrange is fully audible and detailed, unless a treble peak or overwhelming bass prevents me from doing so.

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Specs​

  • Driver: 2x7.5mm DD + 4 E-Audio BA + 2 Knowles BA
  • Connector Type: recessed 2-pin
  • Impedance: 19ohm
  • Sensitivity: 104dB@130mV

Build and Comfort​

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The review sample came with a plastic puck carrying case, a set of wide-bore silicone ear tips, a cleaning brush, cable, and the earpieces themselves.

The cable is quite lovely. It is one of the most well-behaved cables I have ever used. There was no kink, no memory, and the cable can lay flat on the table.

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The earpieces are of medium size, but with longer nozzles. In the “correct” fit, where the earpieces rest against the concha of my ears, the nozzle would reach relatively deep in the ear canal. I recommend using slightly smaller ear tips than usual to support this fit. Of course, you can opt for shallower fit, but I recommend a proper deep fit with Aurora to preserve its treble extension, and the corresponding technical performance.

Tonality​

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Frequency response of Aurora against Moondrop Aria. Measurements were done with an IEC-711-compliant coupler and might only be compared with other measurements from this same coupler. Visit my graph database for more comparisons.

It is helpful to think of an IEM as a filter that highlights or subdues different parts of the incoming audio signal. This effect can be measured objectively by the squiggly lines above, called Frequency Response (FR) graphs, which measure how loud an IEM is at different frequencies from 20Hz (bass) to 20kHz (upper treble). Subjectivity is how your ears and brain interpret the effect of that filter on your music and decide whether it is “enjoyable.” There are some “rules of thumb” when it comes to tonality, but most interesting IEMs usually bend the rules masterfully.


The overall sound signature of Aurora can be described as downward tilted. You have more prominent (but not overpowering) bass response, mostly neutral midrange, and relaxed treble.

Subjectively, the overall tonality of Aurora strongly reminds me of Moondrop Aria. It’s warmer than true neutral or “flat”, but at the same time, the tonality is still correct. Aurora has correct ear gain tuning, starting from around 800-1000Hz and peaking around 3kHz. The lower midrange of Aurora is flat rather than having a “hump” to create the warmth and somewhat muffle sensation in vocals and instruments like the tuning of some Western boutique IEM brands. Most of the “warmth” of Aurora actually comes from the less contrast between lower and upper midrange.

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The treble of Aurora is relaxed. It starts to roll off after the upper midrange. On the plus side, this tuning creates a sense of smoothness to the presentation of Aurora. In fact, this IEM is quite effective at subduing harshness and sibilance of most of my recording, even the more sibilant ones. At the same time, cymbals and hi-hats are still present in the mix. The resolution in the treble region is also good. I can hear nuances and textures in these high-pitched instruments rather than just splashy high-pitched sounds.

On the negative side, I wish that the upper treble has a bit more emphasis. The treble extension is not a strength of Aurora, which negatively impact the perceived detail retrieval and staging of Aurora.

Bass and Dynamic​

A good pair of IEMs/earbuds/headphones should be able to convey, even emphasise, the sense of rhythm and the ebbs and flows of music. In general, this energy requires IEMs to be able to convey rapid volume swings on the downbeat of an orchestra or the leading edge of bass note. It also requires tactile physical sensation of the bass, and the sense of rumble and texture accompanying the bass drops. An IEM can have loud bass, but still fail to convey energy should it lack other features above.
The bass of Aurora also has a smoother presentation to it. Aurora does not focus the energy to the attack of bass notes like ThieAudio Hype2 or Effect Audio Gaea. Hence, at a glance, Aurora does not sound ultra dynamic or explosive. This presentation contributes to the calmer and easy-going sound that AuR audio aims for.

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The strength of Aurora’s bass is in the detail and decay of the bass. Abel describes the bass as “elastic”, and I agree. There is a sense of “bounciness” to the bass guitars and kick drums that is quite nice to listen to. The details that Aurora extract from the bass line are also high. I find myself paying more attention to bass guitar and double bass when listening to music with Aurora.

Soundstage Imaging​

Stereo imaging or “soundstage” is a psychoacoustic illusion that different recording elements appear at various locations inside and around your head. Your brain creates based on the cues in the recording, which are enhanced or diminushed by your IEMs, your DAC, and your amplifier. Some IEMs present a wide but flat soundstage. Some present a “3D” soundstage with layering, depth, and height. In rare cases, with some specific songs, some IEMs can trick you into thinking that the sound comes from the environment (a.k.a., “holographic”)

The tuning of Aurora favour coherency and cohesiveness rather than separation. It means that when I listen to a band or an orchestra, all the main (louder) instruments at the foreground are placed closer to each other and closer to me.

As I mentioned, Aurora does not have strong treble extension, which in turns hurts the perception of the background and expansion of the soundstage, which is created by “air”, reverb, and ambience embedded in the recording. For example, when I listen to violin sonatas and partitas by Kavakos, the sound of violin bouncing against the concert hall is hard to discern. On IEMs with stronger treble extension, this reverb can sound like a dome behind the main violin, contributing positively to the enjoyment of the recording.

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Because the foreground is cohesive and closer to the listener and the background is not highlighted and expanded, I find the soundstage of Aurora to be smaller and more intimate. Personally, I prefer more exaggerated sense of space, though I think many would enjoy the intimate sound of Aurora.

Soundstage imaging with games (CS GO Gameplay by Throneful): Aurora does a good job, but not outstanding. The left-to-right sound placement is good, but the front-to-back and low-to-high placement is not better or worse than most IEMs.

Resolution​

Resolution is a fascinating subject due to the difficulty of pinning down what it really is. To me, “resolution” can be broken down into three components: (1) Sharpness, incisiveness, or “definition” of note attacks (see the figure above). (2) The separation of instruments and vocals, especially when they overlap on the soundstage. (3) The texture and details in the decay side of the notes. The first two give music clarity and make it easy to track individual elements of a mix. The last provides music details and nuances. Smooth and well extended treble response plays a crucial role.

The more subdued treble response also hurts the perception of separation and detail retrieval of Aurora. I used the word “perception” because the actual resolution of Aurora, in other words, how it dissects dense and complex recordings, is rather strong.

For example, when I listen to Bohemian Rhapsody cover by Pentatonix, I found that it is easy to track individual voices, even the ones at the sides of the stage. Moreover, each voice has nuances and details. However, all voices tend to have softer “edge” and are more “blended” rather than separated with sharp boundaries than IEMs with razor-sharp separation like Symphonium Helios or Effect Audio Gaea. So, at a glance, Aurora can come across as slightly dull and lack incisiveness.

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However, I do not think that the true resolution of Aurora belongs to the top echelon just yet. When I listen to my usual test tracks for detail retrieval, the Bach violin sonatas and partitas by Kavakos, I found that a layer of nuances that contributes to the “realness” of the performance, such as the friction of the bow against the strings, does not come through. I could squeeze out a little bit more from Aurora by turning up the volume very high, but that’s not practical.

Source Pairing​

Aurora is sensitive to source characteristics. I did not have good listening experience when pairing Aurora with HiBy R3 Pro Saber, as the bass decay sounds duller and less textured, and the separation is not impressive. The R3 Gen II does a better job. The DX300 expands the stage of Aurora a little bit more, but it’s not significant for me. I ended up using R3 Gen II most of the time, as Aurora sounds good enough, and the whole setup is much more portable.

Comparisons​

Moondrop Aria:

  • Very similar tonality
  • Aurora is better on all technical aspects
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Moondrop Variations:

  • Day and night different in tonality. Your preference determines which one you like
  • Nearly identical resolution, both macro/separation and micro/detail
  • The Variation has more open soundstage, meaning the instruments at the foreground has more “space” from each other. This effect is baked into the tuning.
  • Bass of Variation has stronger impact but less “bounciness” and detail than Aurora
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Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020:

  • Both have warm tuning, but Aurora has a more modern and natural approach. Andromeda is obviously coloured. Your preference determines which one you like
  • Andromeda has better resolution, both macro and micro.
  • The soundstage of Andromeda is more diffused and spread out. This can be somewhat explained by the way it tunes the upper midrange.
  • The perception of space, “air”, reverberation of Andromeda is noticeably stronger.
  • The bass of Aurora is much better, especially in the decay and texture.
AFUL Performer8:

  • The tonality of P8 feels flatter, less coloured. In rare occasions, P8 can sound thin because it dips the 250Hz.
  • The bass of P8 is more snappy, but the overall sense of bounciness and texture is better on Aurora
  • Both IEM push the foreground toward the listener and opt for a more cohesive presentation
  • The background expansion of P8 is noticeably stronger
  • The micro detail retrieval of P8 is better, especially when listening to detail-rich recordings

My Take​

In summary, Aurora mostly lives up to its reputation. Yes, I wish that it has better treble extension and more incisive presentation. But I also know that if Aurora is more snappy and incisive, it would be a different IEM rather than Aurora. As it stands, Aurora is a smooth IEM that is done right, a relatively rare breed in the current market.

Absolute Sonic Quality Rating: 3.5/5 - Very Good

Bias Score: 4/5 - I’m happy to add this IEM to my rotation.

Pros:
  • Comfortable, cohesive presentation
  • Beautiful timbre and tonality of midrange
  • Great bass texture and decay
Cons:
  • The soundstage is more cohesive and compact rather than expansive
  • Smooth presentation reduces the perception of resolution
Aurora_00016.jpg


Updated: September 13, 2023
o0genesis0o
o0genesis0o
@Acts it's quite lovely. Easy to pocket. The volume wheel makes it easy to use with one hand. The midbass is a bit lighter than both Chord Mojo2 and DX300. Maybe it's because of the amp of R3II, or maybe that's how a linear presentation is supposed to be. The soundstage, separation, and midrange details are quite good. I did not sacrifice much moving from my DX300. Battery can last for two to three days if you listen an hour here, half an hour there, and only use offline files. Streaming Tidal would drain battery faster.
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Reactions: Acts
Leonarfd
Leonarfd
Nice review mate 😀
zikarus
zikarus
Thank you for an informative review!

Leonarfd

Headphoneus Supremus
A brand new day has risen with AüR Audio Aurora
Pros: Natural timbre
Refined and coherent sound
Good bass that is fast and very dynamic
Emotional and detailed vocals
Instruments sounds true to life
Soundstage is spherical and above average
Great treble extension but relaxed
None fatiguing upper mids and treble
Cons: Accessories
Long build time of one to two months
Some might prefer more thickness to the sound
Relaxed treble is good for me, but can be to relaxed for some people
I personally miss the old translucent shells and logo on front
9hE793EkZKUhO_YVJ4kr10pRhbHtdCD78NB8_ss5VubIUU1EJ_WxPEY7AFsaWlFVP6UTXpeYgjWQkLjrPJyJab5LB4ZIql9gioP9Yq-ta7DwxSZ6_mtx6bgJ2l1lzTaypVSXAVYhWQVF7WLskozLFUs


A brand new day has risen with AüR Audio Aurora

Disclaimer


The Aurora is my third IEM from AüR Audio, I bought it with own money with a very small discount. All impressions are my own subjective thoughts after having used them for a good time. I am a customer of AüR, I get nothing for writing this. These are my thoughts at this moment, and as time moves I might change my opinion.
This is also a very subjective hobby where everything from experience, anatomy or age will affect what we hear. Also keep in mind that it is easy to use bold words when talking about differences, while it may be perceived as a small change for you.
While I can perceive something as natural sounding, I do believe we can never get a perfect performance similar to what is achieved live.

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About me and my gear used for the review

My audio preference is neutral with good extension and some warmth, mids should be neutral or forward but not too much. I can also handle some treble spikes if it is not excessive. I am a believer in having different tuned IEMs for different genres or moods instead of chasing the single perfect one.
Main music genres I listen to are metal, electronica, jazz, indie rock, and pop. I am a music lover, and can also listen to almost all the genres out there. I have been into music gear since the mid 90s, gifted some big speakers at an early age. Then moved more and more into headphones with the Koss Porta Pro and a Sony Discman and Minidisc.

I have also tried playing many instruments over the years from piano to sax and have a feel for what's a natural tone, but not the biggest patience in learning to play. My wife has also played many instruments from string to wind instruments.

My current standard in Headphones is ZMF Verite and Beyerdynamic T1 G2.

My current standard in IEMs is AüR Audio Neon Pro and Penon Serial. The Neon Pro has 10 BAs, and has a near perfect tonality for me on the brighter side. The Penon Serial that also has a near perfect tonality for me, that is more relaxing and organic sounding with it is triple DD configuration. Both of them have sound signatures that I can listen to almost all types of music.

Gear used in the main rig is Topping E70 DAC together with the Topping A90 Discrete headphone Amp. I also have a Schiit Lokuis I can swap in if I want to do a little analogue EQ.
I also use the Feliks Audio Echo, one of the more silent OTL amps.

Portable gear used during the review: Cayin N7, Hiby R6 III, Quidelix 5k DAC/AMP, FIIO BTR7 and Penon Tail.

I have a good range of cables from Gladiator Cables, ISN, DUNU, Penon, NiceHCK, XINHS and some others.

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Who is Aür Audio

AüR Audio is a Singapore brand who makes in-ear monitors and is founded by two friends, Nicholas Teo and Abel Hsu. It is a small business where Abel handles the research and development while Nicholas manages the sales, marketing and distribution.

On the other side of AüR is Nicholas who has his customers in mind, one of the most helpful sellers I have contacted. When I have asked something about their products or recommendation for other audio related gear, he has been more than happy to help me out.

The IEMs are now 3D printed and handmade by Abel from start to end, carefully ensuring that everything is perfect with a quality control that is above the usual chi-fi market. The models from before this were not 3D printed and is a new way for AüR to have higher QC and productivity forward.

https://www.auraudio.store/

Allure 6 BA (Discontinued)
Neon 10 BA (Discontinued)
Neon Pro 10 BA
Aure 8mm DD and 6 BA (Discontinued)
Alita 12 BA
Aurora 2 DD and 6 BA
Ascension Configuration unknown
Allusion Configuration unknown

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So what is the Aurora

The Aurora is a hybrid IEM with 2 DD and 6 BA, tuned to be neutral in sound with some warmth. This is the first model from AüR Audio that is 3D printed from the start of launch, the other models have also moved to 3D printing. I was sceptical at first when I heard this, but I have nothing to complain about the quality here.

They have focused on selling the Aurora in the cheapest way possible. Accessories and cable are not much, but enough to get you going. The cable is the same as on the Alita, a much nicer cable than the Neon Pro and Aure cable. Silver plated copper with soft and flexible blue fabric, you also get a hard case with some tips.

The form factor is very ergonomic and the shells are average in size, they are also very light. AüR knows how to make comfortable shells, same goes for the nozzles having good length while not too long. It also has a very perfect angle and width so I can use 1 size smaller tip and still get a perfect seal.

The design is changed a little from the hand made Neon Pro and Aure and this should be more ergonomic for more people. The Part going toward the nozzle is slimmer and the ear fin is gone.

My only nit-pick is that I liked the old ergonomic design on NP more, perfect for my ears. The design now is better for the people who tested my Aurora. This is a personal thing for me, I can still use the Aurora for many hours before discomfort.

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Taken from the product listing:

Aurora offers a balanced tuning with a detailed and organic midrange. The 2DD+6 balanced armature configuration delivers a wide, spacious and holographic presentation that handles complex recordings with ease. Aurora can handle nearly all genres, the organic tonality and resolving power particularly suit is for all genres of music

50-100 hours of burn in is recommended

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Impedance: 19Ω

Sensitivity: 104dB (@130mV)

DRIVER CONFIGURATION

Bass (2): Dual Opposed 7.5mm PU+PEEK DD with N52 magnet
Midrange (4): E-Audio Improved RAB Dual Drivers
Treble (2): Knowles Dual Tweeter


HOUSING MATERIAL
Shell: 3D Printed Resin

CABLE SPECIFICATIONS

Wire Material: 2 Core, High-Purity, Monocrystalline, Silver-Plated Copper
Length: 1.2 ± 0.1
Connector: 2-Pin (0.78 mm)
Monitor plug: 4.4mm

https://www.auraudio.store/product-page/aurora



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Timbre

First off, what is Timbre?
From the Wikipedia:
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Acoustical Terminology definition 12.09 of timbre describes it as "that attribute of auditory sensation which enables a listener to judge that two nonidentical sounds, similarly presented and having the same loudness and pitch, are dissimilar", adding, "Timbre depends primarily upon the frequency spectrum, although it also depends upon the sound pressure and the temporal characteristics of the sound"

First minutes of trying a new set of gear, what I always listen to is how natural and musical it sounds. Much of this goes down to how I perceive the Timbre.

The sound of the Aurora is neutral with great extension in both the lowest and highest frequencies. Mids is in focus and is very clear on both instruments and vocals, there is no bass bleeding into mids. Bass is on the warm side with great nuance and impact, very good balance of decay and speed.
The upper mids and treble has no problem peaks and is also clear and relaxing at same time.

So the Aurora is neutral sounding with a slight bass boost, making music sound very natural.

Going to use the ranges here in review:

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Details and soundstage

One of the best parts of Aurora is maybe how detailed it is while not relying on boosted frequency areas. When I got the Aurora I had no need to reset my ears to the sound, immediately I noticed a detailed and clear sound. The neutral balanced timbre helps everything to be resolving, without any part taking over. Even with just two BAs for the treble it is plenty of air and detail.

Soundstage is also quite deep and wide, great layering and separation so imaging is very spot on. I have heard larger soundstage than this, but it is not a big difference and it is still above average sets. I would say the sound is circular with a little more width than depth, it has very accurate imaging cues in all directions. Depending on the recording it sounds more like some rows back on a performance.

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Bass

I read some first impressions from Nicolas' visit to Vietnam, I was not expecting to be totally satisfied from the bass when reading the impressions. I got an impression of the type of music they listened to, most likely Asian vocal oriented music or classical. This helped take my expectations down a few steps, what I expected was good bass that would be too light for my taste.

Good for me, the bass performance is much better than my expectations.
The Aurora has more than a neutral amount of bass, with superb extension. Not by any mean bass head level, it is more a level that should satisfy both camps.

First thing that impressed me was how detailed the bass is, lots of resolvement on each drum hit or bass pluck. The resolution is most likely higher than all IEMs I have tried, bold statement but it is what I believe going from memory.

Another thing is how visceral each bass hit is, usually I associate great slam with more bass than this. But here Aurora has great impacting bass that has a very natural decay not making it feel slow or too fast where it gets dry.


Bass is more focused on the sub bass than mid bass, so music using the sub bass range is going to give you some great rumble. When the music is centered more on mid bass the Aurora lacks a little mid bass for me personally, but also after having used it for a while this amount is very correct. This makes some music have less of the WOW factor that some want, but in exchange give you a more detailed mid range without any bleed.

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Mids

The mid range of the Aurora truly shines, and is one of the Aurora’s biggest calling cards. Everything is super clear and detailed, and can show everything that is in the recording be it soft or intense. My expectations were actually to get something similar to the Aure, but this is different.

Clean forward female vocals is perhaps the best thing here, it is very nuanced with airyness when called for. If you have ever heard people complain about vocals being veiled due to bass, this is the sound they are striving for. It is also good with males and darker females, but if you are used to a sound with more mid bass the vocals will sound thinner than what you are used to. Some time to reset your hearing will help, and then it will sound full and you will not lack anything.

How midrange is tuned make this a very good IEM for Asian focused tracks like J-Pop, never fatiguing or too thick.
Instruments are also on the resolving side, and just sound very natural. I have experienced some eye opening moments with piano arrangements or just classical music in general. Hard to explain in detail, but especially on piano it sounds so real to life. Never to hot brass instruments and this is a big one for me, I am often sensitive to the upper midrange.

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Treble

The treble is detailed but also relaxing with plenty of air, extension is really good.
I have a feeling this treble is very similar to the AüR Audio Alita treble amount, but probably less resolving.

Since the treble is not as forward you can increase the volume more without getting fatigued, this also makes the bass and mids come forward more.

Violins, Cymbals and Wind instruments sound good and true to life, never having any of the piercing character some sets have that is overly boosted in the highs.

The upper air is also very good but lacks some of the little extra that EST driver's show, still this is very good considering that it is only using two balanced armatures for the treble.

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Synergies

A small part about what gear I have been enjoying the most with the Aurora.

All my dongles or amps have sounded good with Aurora, be it based on ESS, AKM or CS chips in the DACs. The resolving Penon Tail has clearly been the most resolving and full sounding dongle for Aurora. Going into DAPs and AMPs, the Cayin N7 in Class A does give the Aurora more warmth and make it sound more organic and lively. Even better than my desktop dac amp being highly resolving and also musical.

As for tips most of my open bore tips work perfect, but what I have used that is the best for the Aurora is Canal Works CWU-GDECS gel tips. This is wide bore tips with gel between the bore and outer layer. Making bass more prominent and even tighter, while retaining full mid and treble presence. As for cable I first used my Gladiator Cables in copper, delivering great bass and resolution. Then tried to use my Penon Mix, this cable does seem to push the treble more forward and give more detail. Then I landed on my DUNU DUW-03, which is a hybrid cable. I loved this one also, but I still prefer my Gladiator.
All of them are great cables to use with Aurora and I can go for each of them.


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Music

I will just talk about some of the music I have used for the evaluation, the music I mention here are some of my reference tracks. When I am listening to music and not evaluating, I prefer to listen to whole albums. That goes for most of the songs here, all of them have great albums. When doing the comparing I have used the tracks listed here, together with some more music.

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Aurora - Runaway

First track from Aurora’s debut album, if you are from Norway, you have likely heard this hundreds of times on radio. Her voice is ethereal at parts, and the track has a wide range of expressions.

At start you get a nice slow decaying bass kick accompanied by vocalizing, the start is so nice and you get dragged in. When she starts to sing you get entranced by both her voice and the lyrics. In general this track is perfect for checking vocal capability, never any sense of sibilance on Aurora that some other sets show here. Amount of detail is at a high level, and has some warmth in both the vocal and instruments. The silent parts are very black, when it is pushed it is full sounding. As for details it is a few parts where the recording is not perfect, and the Aurora shows it when it happens. So even if the Aurora is more relaxed in pinna gain and upper treble it does not hide a bad recording, not that runaway is bad recording it is just not perfect.

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Jacob Gurevitsch - Lovers in Paris

Danish artist who plays the Spanish guitar, his guitar technique is sublime. Mexican margarita was recommended by Akros, and has stuck with me as one of my best test tracks. Perfect for evaluating how capable a set is in its dynamic range and expression, I bet I can use this one track alone and know if I like a set or not.

Aurora is very technical here and you can hear every detail going on, no doubt about that. If I go straight from a more thick sounding set like EST50 I hear more nuances and a more light presentation. Not in attack but more in the thickness of the guitar and rest, and the more I have become accustomed to the sound of the Aurora I like it more on this than EST50.

I advise checking the track out, technical and perfect for evaluating or comparing. Or just enjoy it, it is with few instruments but also complex and magical. Main focus for me is here on the guitar playing, but need to say that both the bass and drum is also perfect and make the track whole.

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Dominique Fils-Aimé - Birds

The perfect song to show how emotional and breath-taking the vocal presentation of how the Aure is. The song has Dominique's voice with some acapella, a cello and some clapping going on. Nothing more but sounds so perfect and full, I get moved by this song.

I also used this track in Aure review, it was spectacular on the Aure. But what I see here is that it is equally good with even more detail going on, just a change in warmth. The stage is quite different, here it is larger with more depth. For Example how the clapping appear much more to the sides and decay further out. The different vocal parts have a wide range of layering, more than the other sets I compare with in this review.

The double bass is so nuanced and in harmony with vocals, a breath-taking track. I find the amount of bass and mids to give everything a very correct timbre, very organic and true to life presentation.


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Alba by Søren Bebe Trio

Jazz trio from Denmark introduced by my friend Carlos, they use piano, drums and double bass. Beautiful arrangement with great dynamic sound, nice small nuances all over. Like how the cymbals are hit or how the bass is plucked, really great emotion in everything and it is not done at random. The piano is gently played, with high resolution from the recording.

I have been a lover of jazz music for a long time, I can say that I never heard an IEM I like more for jazz. At first listening to Aurora I had moments of euphoric pleasure, the upper tuning makes it a joy.
The amount of expression going on, and how the Aurora picks up all the emotional playing is at high end level. The tonality of Aurora has just the perfect tuning for this, relaxed but detailed.

How piano is played is magical, be it the low notes or higher it sounds natural and true to life. The drums are great, cymbals sound real and have nice shimmer to it. Double bass have great detail, and you hear subtle changes. I can not ask for more, unless I want to have more warmth for jazz.

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Symbolico - Gaian Portal

Thanks Alberto for introducing Symbolic, been into similar music for a long time but this group has gone past me. Psychedelic electronica or glitch hop, but genre doesn't matter. What matters is how good this guy from Israel is at mixing together into something magical.

The beat is addicting, you do get into a trance-like state of mind listening to this. This was one of the first tracks I tested with Aurora, at first when I read about Aurora I never thought it would have a satisfying sound for electronica. I was so wrong and it's maybe my favourite set now for most electronica.

Bass is tactile and the DD truly shines on every bass kick, perfection is the word I want to use.
I can be a true basshead, and here I am satisfied without it being bloated or taking over the rest of tonality. All the sounds in the mid and treble range are resolving and not peaky, and again make the bass shine even if it is not super elevated.

Just how all the sound cues go together is effortless, resolution is top notch. I am guilty in that I maybe turn the volume up more here than what is safe for long listening sessions.


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The Comet is Coming - Birth of Creation

Nu jazz from London, a group consisting of King Shabaka on sax, Danalogue on keyboard and Betamax on drums. This album is special and has been in my listening rotation since it came out, the track Birth of Creation is one of the best tracks on the album.

Sax is played with finesse and has a mellow and dark sound, almost like a voice singing. The drums gave a nice mix of sparkling cymbals, hits and nice kicks. While the keyboard makes this more of a mix between electronica and jazz, it's a cool track with a story being told.

First off this music is spectacular on Aurora, neutral sound that is not so bright is excellent here. Amount of sub and mid bass is perfect, every drum hit is nice. Sax is played more mellow but it is not veiled.
I have another set I like very much I am reviewing later this year, that can not do this song justice and is a veiled and muddy experience.


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SHAUN - Shooting Star

I have had some interest in Korean music the last months, lots of good tracks to choose from. But this track is one that has the power to make me happy and I feel good listening to it.

The tonality of the Aurora makes vocals shine, his voice is mesmerizing and you don't want it to stop. Drums are nice with great tactile bass feedback, and the bass guitar sounds good. Same for the acoustic guitar and keyboard while they stay more in the background behind the drums and voice. Great layering of all the instruments and no thick veil, and it sounds almost like a live recording where he stands singing in front of me.


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Dead Can Dance - Anabasis

The vocals and spatial cues are epic and also perfect for checking soundstage and microdetail. With the AuroraI the space is very large. The drum here is supposed to sound big and heavy, it is an epic experience on the Aurora. Reminds me almost of a ritual about to happen, with many drums being hit in unison.

Her vocal when it starts is powerful and clear, emotional in a way that for example Neon Pro can not do.

Soundstage is on the larger side with perfect imaging capability, I would almost say the soundstage is wider than deep. It's not the biggest I have heard but above your average set, but again I know that soundstage is affected by our perception and ear canal. So keep this in mind.

It is a super nice track, and can quite easily show differences in your sets.



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Ihsahn - South Winds

This is a Prog Metal track I like very much and also the whole album for that matter, I use South Winds for something weird. I check how much I need to increase the volume to get a satisfying bass kick at the start of the track, then to see how intense the rest is.

When it gets intense later I need to turn down the volume on some sets, the Aurora can be turned up here without any need to turn it down later. This is maybe a given due to the upper mids and treble not being too hot, so the Aurora passed my little check with a full score.

As for the music, I find the vocals here stellar and the tuning of Aurora do the track justice. I do not always understand why some types of metal are better than others with the Aurora, but this album works great.

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Black Sabbath - N.I.B

Always been a fan of the earlier works from Black Sabbath, this is a classic that many have heard before. Music like this I prefer on more thick sounding sets like the Penon Serial making it all sound fuller.

What the Aurora does well is having a superb instrument performance and giving Ozzy a clear and detailed sound. But I still would have liked more fullness here.

The guitar has a good grunt, and bass guitar is also nicely done. The drums are also very well done, but a little thin for my taste.

It is not bad, while this is not a set I would pick for Black Sabbath, or more heavy black or death metal.

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Hikaru Utada - First Love

A popular love song, or heartbreak song is more correct. From the year 2000 when Hikaru was 15 years old, has been well received back then and over time. She wrote the song herself not very normal for one her age, both touching and sad lyrics.

Emotional with high production quality, she sings more deeply than what was usual in Japan. Recorded close to the microphone with superb breathiness and detail, very pleasant and not as high pitched as many female J-Pop artists.

Drum kick here I am quite sure is from a keyboard or synth, gives off a great thump that does not overpower her voice. Strings in the background are also most likely digital, but sound nice. Same for guitar and synth, nice smooth detail not being thick or veiled.

And the best part is how Aurora does her voice, just the amount of emotion going on. The throbbing sound in her voice is super nice and same for her intense parts.
As an example the EST50 can not touch this and feel almost lifeless in comparison.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Lacrimosa

Most likely my favorite classical piece, this recording is superb and Sir Neville Marriner has let it be on the more faithful side to the original. I am not a person who listens much to classical music, but from time to time I do. I often tend to like classical music that has choir in it, or smaller quartets or piano pieces.

Why I include it here is because of how the Aurora is tuned, it is like made for classical. Just how the vocals and instruments are so powerful and emotional, while still not blowing your eardrum to pieces. But I promise you it gets intense with the Aurora also when asked for, the dynamic range is huge. The whole piece starts so gentle and dramatic, building up more to an intense piece. Perfect for showing dynamic range and more complex passages.

The wind instrument portrays such an airy and soft sound that is beautiful. The strings sound so dynamic and real, soft parts are clear and soft while the intensity is intense. The whole orchestral part is a work of art, and the choir and opera part top it to perfect performance.

The resolution is superb and everything is shown clearly, but if I listen with the Neon Pro it is a step above. But at the trade off at more intense sound, and slightly less organic timbre. Soundstage is very similar on both Neon Pro and Aurora, perhaps a very small edge to Neon Pro. But imaging positioning is spot on, and perhaps a step above NP for me, how you clearly hear exactly where they are performing from.


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Comparisons

When evaluating the sets I use experience from the past and fresh comparing, it takes a long time and not done in one sitting. The most critical comparison is done on my desktop setup that is highly resolving, with volume matching through a microphone to take away loudness variance.
I am using the same silicone ear tip Kbear 07, and a XINHS SPC wire on all sets.

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AüR Audio Neon Pro

Neon Pro is a IEM from AüR Audio that has 10 balanced armatures per side, it is maybe my favorite set and my standard in coherent tonality.

Overall resolution is good with both, I do put the Neon Pro a step ahead on everything except the low frequencies and low mid range.

None of them have pronounced sibilance. But if you listen to music that is already on the bright side where sibilance is naturally present, the Aurora is the most pleasing with less upper energy.

The dynamic driver of the Aurora beats the Neon Pro in bass with switch on and off, when looking at quality and resolvement of the lower part of frequencies.

Aurora seems to have more sub bass in comparison to the Neon Pro, the slam is stronger on the Aurora with more natural decay. Mid bass is similar in amount, but the increased sub bass on the Aurora makes it less noticeable than the Neon Pro.
The tuning switch ON with NP does turn it around making it more sub and mid bass on the Neon Pro. Great versatility and give extra fullness for some music, at the cost of also thickening the mids.

Mid range on the Aurora is better than Neon Pro, both on vocals and on instruments. It just seems to have the upper hand in the low mids detail and how it is pushed more forward in the mix.
Both have detailed and clear midrange, just something extra on the Aurora that also makes it sound more natural.

Aurora has very clear and forward female and male vocals, it has good balance so it's not shouty or tiresome. Neon Pro lacks some of the emotion that Aurora has with voices, the Neon Pro is similar in forwardness but the extra mid bass and treble shadow it to a small degree.

With switch on the vocals on the Neon Pro get thicker than Aurora, but not more detailed.
The switch also boosts instruments in the lowest frequencies, they can be too overpowering on a few tracks.

Treble is more relaxing on Aurora, but it's not veiled or dark. Just the overall energy is less than the Neon Pro, so naturally Neon Pro is the one with the best clarity and detail.
The Neon Pro has more resolution on most brighter instruments, and has also slightly more airiness.
The soundstage is on the Neon Pro further out with similar layering, but both have over average soundstage depth. The depth is bigger on Neon Pro but not the width, slightly more oval on the Aurora with wider sides.

Great song to use as an example is N.I.B, the sound on the Aurora is thinner and lacks some energy that the Neon Pro has. But then you try and listen to Ozzy or the distorted guitar and you notice more micro detail going on the Aurora, so both have strengths but I would pick up Neon Pro every day for this. And Switch ON for me here totally changes it, so it is very one sided which I prefer.

Then testing Perceiving all the bass on the Neon Pro is less noticeable than Aurora, and the energy in the treble makes it become tiresome after longer listening. On the Aurora there is never any fatigue and the bass seems bigger as the tonality is different, this can also make me turn the volume up more so the bass hit is even harder.

On First Love Utada voice is more airy on the Neon Pro but also more energetic and tiresome. And there is more detail going on her voice with more emotion on the Aurora, so my pick is the Aurora for J-Pop or K-Pop music in general.

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AüR Audio Aure

The Aure is now discontinued by AüR, due to not having more dynamic drivers in good enough quality. They made the Aurora as a new model to replace the gap in their line-up, this is not supposed to be the Aure 2.0.

The Aure is also a hybrid , using 1 DD and 6 BA drivers. The config is quite different, first off the 1 dynamic driver on the Aure and 2 on the Aurora. Aure used 2 BA for midrange and 4 in the treble range, the DD is also used more as full range driver backing up the rest.

Resolution is similar with a slight edge to the Aurora, depending on the song it can be more similar.
Soundstage is great on both sets but they have different types of soundstage, on the Aure you are inside the recording and music is closer. So while the soundstage is not the deepest and widest you get an extremely good sense of imaging all around you. So in theory this is like standing on the scene where they are playing, while the Aurora you sit in the audience listening.

The sub bass rumbles and hits harder on Aurora, the decay is also faster than the Aure. Going into the mid bass the Aure has a more full mid bass tonality, so certain music will sound more bassy and full with the Aure.

If you listen to strings that use the lowest octaves, the bass on the Aure is very full and fun. But at the same time it is too much and more than real life, then go to the Aurora and the amount is more correct.

Both are sets that have a really good midrange, Aure is known for its superb vocal capability.
Vocals on the Aure are thick and full, with great detail showing every emotion. The Aurora is very similar but it is thinner and shows more nuances, both are great in my book. I would say that the Aure is better on male vocals and the Aurora is better on female, but this can depend on music and your taste. If you try a sibilant song, the Aurora does it better not pushing too much. I consider both great without sibilance, but the extra fullness on the Aure can affect it on a few songs.

Strings have some extra fullness, this is very fun and makes recordings very enjoyable. Strings are still more real to life on the Aurora with more resolving capability. When listening to jazz that uses intense sounding brass parts, the Aure do not tame it as well as the Aurora. But this goes back to how sensitive you are to instruments like sax, trumpet or other instruments.

The treble is more forward and hot on the Aure, so certain songs can be more tiresome. Weird thing is that I find them both to have great treble detail and similar airyness, even with two less drivers on the Aurora.

The track Alba has some great piano playing, and truly shows the extra thickness I'm talking about with the Aure. The Piano is both closer and more in your face than the Aurora, same is for the double bass. But in the end I like it more on the Aurora than Aure.

The track from AURORA Runaway is magical on both sets, I could go both ways to which I prefer. Both have fullness here that is not on the Neon Pro, while it is slightly having more note weight on the Aure. It is more resolving on the Aurora making the separation of the sounds more clear.

Then if I listen to N.I.B I would pick up Aure over the Aurora, as the guitar and Ozzy sound more full. But the other way with South Winds, as the Aure can get to forward sounding.

Then over to Birth of Creation the Aure is slightly too thick for me and lacks some resolving capability in comparison to the Aurora. Both are great but i am nit picking here, to show the difference.

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ISN EST50

The EST50 is a tribrid that I own and love, it fits quite well in here for a comparison. It is priced similarly, and I recently finished my review for it. The sound of the EST50 is more L shaped in the sound signature with the bass taking the spotlight. Price is $449 and you get 1DD for low end, 1 BA for the mids and 1 for the high frequencies. Also for ultra high frequencies you get 2 EST drivers.

The EST50 is not the most resolving set, but it is not doing a bad job at it. Aurora is just more resolving in all aspects, this can be from the bass kicks to all the instruments playing. Soundstage on EST50 is very wide and has an average depth, maybe not the best layering. Aurora is not as wide, but is deeper with better imaging capability to pick up where things are positioned.

Bass is what impressed me the most with the EST50, it is known for its great low end. Providing textured bass that is boosted and reaching very low, almost like a subwoofer backing up a stereo system. Impactful bass kicks that make you smile, at least if you are a bass lover like me.
Both have impactful sub bass, but the EST50 is the most bass heavy. This can make certain songs be overbearing if they are already boosted in the sub bass, while the Aurora never does. The special thing is that even if the bass is louder on the EST50, the Aurora slams harder on the sub range. It is more layered and is just a higher resolving low end, and the EST50 is no slouch. Mid bass is the other way and is both thicker and with a more strong kick on the EST50.

Mids on the EST50 has been the weakest link for me, it is not bad but not good enough compared to competition. It is a little affected by bass bleed, making vocals and some string instruments more thick. While some other instruments sound thinner, and also slightly grainy at times. Male vocals are clear and full sounding, while females can at times be sibilant and too thick or even grainy. This depends on music and artist, most music is fine and is mostly noticeable when going from better sets for vocals like the Aurora.

Upper mids and treble are darker on EST50 than the Aurora, and at times can seem shouty when playing some music. Not because of the forwardness but just maybe a part of the driver quality that is starting to show it is age, development of IEMs has moved fast the last few years and the EST50 is now 2 years old. Extension is very good on EST50 and has similar airyness as the Aurora, maybe slightly better due to the ESTs character.

The track Mexican Margarita goes really well with the tonality here, the bass helps the whole thing sound more full and lively. Guitar is highly resolving and the same for the rest of the instruments. But even so the Aurora does make it sound better with more resolving capability, and even if it is leaner in the bass it sounds more forward.

The Runaway track is where I notice the bass being overbearing, slightly affecting both vocal and the bass beat and shadowing some of the rest in the mix. Her vocal can also almost be sibilant at times or grainy.

First Love is perfect to show what I mean about the graininess or sibilant side of EST50, it just lacks the finesse.

Gaian Portal is a song I can go both ways, the extra rumble is fun on the EST50. While the impact of the bass is better and the rest of the sounds is more clear and detailed on the Aurora.

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Conclusion

Aurora is a good name for their new IEM, the Aurora light is a natural light occurring in the northern sky and looks magical. The Aurora is a very natural sounding IEM, same as the northern light it brings magic to our music.

I have been impressed by the Aurora, it has lived up to all my expectations and more. You get a sound that is both fun and detailed while never being tiresome. Perfect combination where I can listen for hours. Depending on your taste in sound or music, this might be the perfect set for you.

It is not the sound that blows you off your chair, but more a sound that lures you in and gets you addicted. Except maybe for the bass, perhaps the best low end I have tried when looking at detail and quality. Mids that are detailed and neutral with some warmth, perhaps one of the best sets if you're afraid of veiled or too thick vocals. Treble that have great detail, but remain relaxed and never fatiguing.

AüR Audio has proven that they can make another product that can be unique in their line-up, and I trust that whatever Abel and Nicholas is coming with next will also succeed.

Ranking System

1 Very bad or unlistanable
2 Listenable but not good
3 Average
4 Very good
5 Exceptional or having a special sauce

Going by this ranking system together with my deeper evaluation matrix, the Aurora get a 4.5 in sound qualities. Personal bias and enjoyment pushes it up, together with one of the best vocals out there. So in end deserve for me might deserve 5 star, but it's not perfect. So 4.5 is very correct.

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Leonarfd
Leonarfd
@helloh3adfi not yet, I have a friend who can loan it to me. I'm afraid though as I bet I will like it 🤣
Danx3k
Danx3k
I have the dte900 and sr8 and I’m glad I have both, the sr8 has a more relaxed smoother presentation, whilst the dte900 is more bombastic and fun.

In regard to the dte900 and 10th, I owned the 10th and now have the dte900. The dte900 is a solid upgrade, and easily worthy of the price increase over the 10th imo. It’s pretty much an improvement in every department.

I own the Aurora too and it’s a special iem. I doubt I’ll ever part with it.
K
Kazou
Ecellent review, thanks you :)

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