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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (12/10/2019: Schiit Gaming Dac/Amps 'Hel' and 'Fulla 3' added)

Discussion in 'Video Games Discussion' started by mad lust envy, Jan 17, 2011.
  1. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Note: This is likely going to be my final review until further notice.


    Creative Aurvana Trio
    $149.99 MSRP (as of Oct 2018)
    Where to buy: Creative, Amazon

    Once again, I'd like to thank Creative for giving me the opportunity to test one of their products out.

    Here is something relatively new for me. An IEM: The Creative Aurvana Trio (I'll shorten it to just calling it the Trio for the purpose of this review). A triple-driver hybrid in ear headphone, in which if you've known me long enough, you're likely aware that I'm not particularly fond of IEMs in general. Not because of any performance issues (far from it, actually), but because my sensitive ears just can't handle in ears for longer than a very brief period of time, regardless of how comfortable they are to everyone else.

    Has this changed with the Trio? No, but I wanted to give the Trio a chance for those that may be used to IEMs in general, and may be looking a a great pair for their varied purposes. Thankfully, the Trio is unquestionably a solid headphone. I'm not going to pretend I know much about the technicalities of IEMs in general, or the difference between standard IEMs, and something like a triple driver hybrid.

    Per Creative:

    Hybrid Triple-Driver System
    At the heart of the Aurvana Trio is the hybrid triple-driver system. This allows the Aurvana Trio to deliver exceptionally pristine audio across the audio spectrum.

    Balanced Armature Super Tweeter
    Delivers detailed highs.

    Balanced Armature Mid-Range Driver
    Supports natural mid-range playback.

    Bio-cellulose Dynamic Woofer
    Delivers rich, deep, and accurate bass.

    Take that as you will. I'm here for the sheer performance of the Trio first and foremost. You can rest assured, whatever method they're using, it works exceptionally well. I can only compare it to my experience with what I'm used to, and I definitely feel that they easily stand up to full sized headphones.

    Build Quality:

    As I'm not very experienced with IEMs in general, I tend to view them typically as small barrels with a tip, that's about it. Contrary to that, the Trio appears considerably more premium than some nondescript standard IEM design. I certainly wouldn't mistake the Trio for any other IEMs I've ever seen.

    The main body is made of a rubbery looking plastic , with some metallic silver-ish accents. The nozzle with the ear tips is placed at the far right and left of the face, and are angled to better fit your ear canals. From memory, I'd say the housing and nozzles are quite big compared to some standard fare IEMs, so make note of that, if you are used to smaller IEMs.

    There is no driver flex to speak of, thankfully, so don't worry about any crackling noise coming from the Trio when inserting/removing them from your ears. There is none.

    The cables are detachable via the MMCX connectors, so if you ever wanted to upgrade, it would be a pretty simple affair. The cables themselves are fully braided from the headphone to the plug. The cable is 1.2m long, and unlike my tried and tested Koss clip on headphones, the cables are long enough to put my source device in my pocket without feeling like I'm applying tension. I wish more 'portable' headphones were at least this length. They're either too short, or too long. To me, the Trio is the perfect length.

    I'd say the cables are on the thin and light side, though the braiding helps them not feel fragile or flimsy. The braiding keeps them from twisting and tangling. Even bunching the cables up to fit the Trio into its small case is no issue, and the cables unwind with ease, with no 'memory' in the cable afterwards. I'm a big fan, and based on those aspects alone, I wouldn't ever feel a need to upgrade.

    The 3.5mm TRRS plug is angled at 90 degrees with a thin housing and generous strain relief on the cable side. I don't see there being a problem with full insertion of the plug with most phone cases.

    The right side cable is where the in-line mic is placed. It is small and unobtrusive, with a single button for answering phone calls, or pause/playing your music. It doesn't add any noticeable weight to the right side cable.

    Cable noise is moderately low. It's not completely quiet when moving about, but it easily gets mostly drowned out by whatever you're listening to. I have definitely heard much worse, and don't find it an issue here.

    As a final note, I don't have any problems with the build quality of the Trio. I feel the ruggedness and durability factor seem high, and are good enough to satisfy the vast majority of people interested in the Trio.


    Small carrying case - A small, black case with a magnetic flap. I like the small size and dimensions, as it will easily fit my pockets, though I do with the inner area was just a little bigger. I like to wind the Trio's cable and stuff it in first, followed by the Trio itself, that way I can just grab the Trio and the cable will unwind itself as I take it out of the case. Right now, the Trio sticks out a bit from the case. If it were just a little more open, it would all fit in perfectly. A minor pet peeve, nothing major. It is a great case.

    Airplane adapter - Not much to say here. If you feel like listening to whatever in flight movie is playing, the adapter should allow you to plug in the Trio. Simple as that.

    Ear tips - The bag has 2 extra pairs of silicone tips (small, large in addition to the medium sized tips on the Trio itself), and 1 pair of foam tips that are on the medium but long side. I would've been overjoyed if they added a smaller pair of foam tips. I greatly prefer foam tips over silicone, though in this case, the foam tips are a bit too big for my ears. Thankfully, I didn't note any sound balance differences between the silicone and foam tips.


    This is an area I don't exactly feel comfortable in addressing, as I just don't find the vast majority of IEMs comfortable. It's hard to gauge where the Trio stands in terms of comfort, as my experiences have almost never been positive, outside of things like the JVC marshmallows, and some AKG IEMs that came with my phone.

    What I will say is that for an IEMs, I can wear the Trio for a solid 30 minutes to an hour without feeling like I need a break. It's not bad in that regard. My ear canals get 'itchy' and sore after awhile, and need a considerable break, though this isn't exclusive to the Trio.

    In terms of weight, I don't have much to compare it with, but I'd say the Trio is light enough to essentially feel like you're not wearing anything, compared to everything else I'm accustomed to. Certainly not heavy enough to feel like it's slipping out of my ears at any given time.

    The Trio comes with silicone tips of various sizes, and I found that only the smallest size fit me well enough without too much pain. The others are simply too big for my ear canals, as are the foam tips.

    Really, take my claims of comfort with a grain of salt, as IEMs just aren't in my area of expertise. You may or may not have differing opinions, especially if you're accustomed to IEMs.

    Noise Control:

    As an IEM, I wouldn't expect any real sound leak to the outside world, and the Trio is no exception. Anyone within a few feet from you shouldn't really hear anything other than a very, very low amount of higher frequencies. Certainly not enough to wake up a significant other if you happen to be listening to something right next to them.

    As for isolating outside noises, it attenuates outside noises well enough to not be a major problem in any regard, especially if you're actually listening to something.


    IEMs typically have a considerably different presentation of sound compared to full sized headphones or even on-ears. It's not an easy comparison, due to the much tighter head space. That aside, IEMs have their own strengths. The Trio is no different. While I can't be sure what a triple driver hybrid design brings to the table compared to a more standard IEM design, I can for certain say the Trio has some excellent sonic traits.


    The bass on the Trio is what can be described as deep, enveloping, and omnipotent. It clearly tilts the Trio into a warm, bassy headphone, and as such, will favor those who prefer a tilt in that direction. It is undeniably subterranean and cavernous, easily hitting the lowest notes even at 20hz. There is a substantial amount of rumble and energy near the 40hz range (my favorite area of bass), and a good sense of impact even at 60hz and above.

    The bass is woolly and thick, which I consider about average in terms of speed and clarity, so it may not suit those who prefer a more linear, more articulate, and speedy tone. It isn't one note, nor overly sloppy, but it isn't the tightest bass I've heard.

    Personally, I do like the depth and enveloping nature of the Trio's bass, though I do feel it could stand to be a bit quicker and more articulate. In non-bass heavy tracks, the warmth and tonal characteristics of the bass won't intrude on the sound. On bass heavy tracks, you'll definitely note that the lead is definitely the bass, with everything else playing second fiddle. For my preference, I'd say a slight reduction in bass volume would've made it a more enticing headphone.

    Is it a basshead headphone? I wouldn't say it's for bassheads only, but it's definitely leaning on romanticizing bass a bit more than those looking for detail orientation. It can still do other things well, as I'll note below, but bass is definitely here to play.

    The bass energy can steer focus away from other areas of sound. Steering focus away does not mean smother, or veil. It literally means that while the midrange and upper ranges remain clear and satisfying, the bass is just more of the spotlight, if there is considerable attention placed there. Because of this, the Trio may actually make a better headphone for non-bass heavy uses rather than FOR it.

    Midrange to Treble:

    Second to the bass is the midrange, which is very well balanced, and tonally organic. It is smooth throughout most ranges, with plenty of presence in the lower midrange at 200hz-400hz. From then on, it remains nice and even, up to about 2khz which then starts a rapid climb up to about 4.5-5khz as the highest peak and prominence on the Trio. Past that into the treble range, it levels out and begins dipping at 6khz to about 8khz with a gentle rise to 10khz, which does not trend towards hot or sibilant. I could hear the sparkle all the way up to around 14khz.

    If playing music that doesn't focus on on the lower ranges, the midrange and treble are crisp and focused, with a natural tonality.


    With no processing - I never truly expect any IEM to have a fantastic soundstage just from my limited experiences, and I wouldn't say the Trio is any exception. Mind you, I honestly can't gauge soundstage for IEMs with any confidence. I don't really put much stock into soundstage when listening to music or normal media use, with the exception of how well instruments and other sound cues are placed and separated within that soundstage. The imaging capabilities on the Trio are quite excellent. I have heard a few headphones that smear details and sound cues together. The Trio does a fine job in allowing sounds to have their own areas within the virtual head space.

    With virtual surround processing - This is where I'm particularly blown away. Simply put, the Trio is one of the very few headphones in all my experiences where it could fool me into thinking I'm listening to speakers. Particularly with something like Sennheiser's GSX surround, I was awestruck with how well the Trio throws out a virtual surround soundstage. The Trio's imaging and separation of sounds is quite fantastic. What this means, is that simply based on that, the Trio would make a very, very solid headphone for gaming positional accuracy.


    It's kind of a hard to talk about the Trio's clarity, because the bass isn't the type to muddy up and veil the rest of the sound. Its weakness is that the bass is potent enough to take away focus from the excellent traits the midrange and treble have. When you're listening to non-bass heavy media, the Trio is a tonally warm-natural but clear headphone. The midrange is present if a bit on the flat range in terms of forwardness, with exception to the peak at around 4.5khz which is pronounced and sharp. The treble is nice and shimmery without sibilance, hotness, or piercing nature that hurt other, very good headphones. So I'd say that clarity is a strength for the Trio particularly on non-bass heavy music genres.


    • No amplification needed
    • Fast, analytical solid state recommended

    At the time of this review, I did not have any serious headphone amplifier, but thankfully I did not find the Trio to be anywhere near reliant of such. Even the meager amplification of the GSX1000 powered the Trio with plenty of volume headroom. The Creative G6 even more so with its vasts amounts of volume headroom for even harder to drive headphones. Even off a Nintendo Switch and a Galaxy S9, I found no issues with getting enough volume out of the Trio. Volume isn't everything, but I didn't find the Trio to sound starved for power in any occasion. If you're going to amplify the Trio, I believe that an amplifier focused on details and speed would suit the Trio.


    As previously stated in the soundstage section, the Trio has excellent imaging and positional accuracy. Instrument separation, and sharp, concise audio cues already make it a potent headphone for gaming purposes. Thankfully, it holds up in other aspects for gaming as well. The well balanced midrange and extended treble lead to a mostly pleasant and balanced sound for most forms of gaming. The guttural growl and rumble of the bass makes casual gaming incredibly immersive and fun, and while something such as a constant drone of bass frequencies may be a slight detriment in other areas for clarity, gaming rarely has examples that mimic that issue. I can't ever say the Trio's bass truly becomes a problem in gaming for the overwhelming majority of the time.


    From what I can hear, the mic picks up my voice just fine. The tonality is on the thicker, warmer side. There is external noise pick up as well. Nothing major for taking calls or casual chatting, though I wouldn't use it for competitive gaming or most forms of online gaming where the external noise will likely drive people crazy. The noise itself is minor, but it is constant. My recommendation is that if you're going to use the Trio to game, don't use it for chatting while online gaming. For sending messages, it's perfectly adequate.

    Personal Recommendations:

    It may not come as a surprise to anyone, but I do find the Trio is suited to a variety of purposes. It is an excellent headphone for portable use. I'm particularly fond of the Trio for my Nintendo Switch. While I use my Koss PortaPro wireless for phone use, I would have no problem switching it out for the Trio if I ever left the PortaPro at home. In this case, the Trio actually blocks out external noises, which may or may not be a benefit depending on situation. I personally like to be able to hear my surroundings, so the Trio isn't ideal for me. However, if you're, for example, in a train or plane, noise isolation is always beneficial.

    For active on the go use like working out, I do feel the Trio is a great choice, as it's one of the very few IEMs I have used that doesn't slowly creep and fall off my ears with some minor head movement. Everyone's ears are different, but I do think this is one of the safer choices for that.

    For home use, the Trio is also an excellent performer, though I personally would almost always prefer to use a full sized headphone for serious listening sessions.

    As for actual media, the Trio excels for things such as movies, casual gaming, and most music. I'm at odds with myself when it comes to music genres, as the bass is quite potent and can be overly so with bass heavy music to my ears. On the other side, it makes bass heavy music even more immersive, and can inject some flavor to other genres that may benefit from it. It's a double edged sword. This isn't an exclusive problem with the Trio, but with any headphone that may have potent bass.

    As stated in the gaming section, the Trio is a great choice. It's detailed, lively, and fun. It absolutely shines with virtual surround processing devices with its excellent imaging and positional accuracy.

    Likes and Dislikes:

    • Design
    • Detachable MMCX braided cable
    • Great treble range
    • Performance with virtual surround processors

    • The bass could stand to be dialed back a little
    • Peaky 4.5khz range
    • In line mic button is a bit mushy (could be more clicky for a more consistent button press)

    Final Impressions:

    The Creative Aurvana Trio was more or less an experiment for me, seeing as I'm simply not and will never be an IEM kind of guy. That being said, I am thankful that my first IEM tested in many years ended up being a really good one, despite it perhaps being a little heavier on the bass than my typical preferences. Perhaps it's simply how much my tastes have changed throughout the years. I was a mild basshead for a very long time, and as time went on, my ears adjusted and adapted to a more warm-neutral tonal balance. I still do love a bit of emphasis in the bass, mind you, and the Trio is 9/10 of the way there. Perhaps with a successor to the Trio in the future, with a slightly mellower bass range, it could have a sound signature that would perfectly fit my tastes.

    There is an excellent headphone here despite my minor complaint of its bass omnipotence. I am very, very satisfied in nearly every other regard. The tonality, the upper end extension, the engaging and fun signature for casual gaming and movies, there really isn't much to dislike here.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  2. Yethal
    How are Bluetooth and phone app relevant for PC use?
    Xspearo likes this.
  3. Clean6eR
    yay g6 just turned up! 32bit 384 or whatever works with no pops or crackles,

    the mic doesnt record while in direct mode which is a shame, but the monitor does work while in it!

    the mic monitor is pretty good, a step up than what i had with the x7, having control over it on the device is great!

    just switched it to the ps4 and i loose ability to use direct mode at all when using ps4, but mic monitor works a treat still so im pretty happy with this device, does what i wanted it to and pretty well.

    when my friends are on later i can test if the chat on ps4 gets put through the surround processor like it does on the x7, that drove me insane having them sound like they were in a tin can, its why i got the artis pro game dac, thats not too bad. im hoping the g6 doesn't then i might start using surround for gaming again.
  4. silverthornne
    Chiming in because I own an E5 that I bring to my job and an X7 that I keep at home. The whole E5 and X7 supporting Bluetooth are game changers for me as I can have rich, immersive audio while gaming or listening to my music library on my PC while also having a connection to my phone, allowing me to switch to my podcasts on my phone whenever I want or to take a phone call at any moment, all the while using my favorite headphones as the X7's and E5's mics are more than acceptable to use for phone calls. So I usually have my custom in-ear monitors plugged in to the E5 at work while listening to my music library and am able to take any phone calls without having to seek the phone, switch headsets, etc. It seems simple, but it's such a convenient setup that the first thing that I thought when I saw the G6 announced was "where's the Bluetooth support?" When at home, it is just convenient to be able to take any calls while gaming with awesome sound quality. No need to pause the game, look for the phone or any of the like. I use a pair of HD6XX at home and I keep them on all the time as the X7 takes care of call audio, call mic, PC/Console audio, and PC/PS4 mic.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  5. Vader2k
    Really? I'm still seeing it for $149.99. Is there a coupon code or something?
  6. illram
    Control the app via your phone. It's an additional convenience.
  7. Clean6eR

    just played for a while with friends using the g6, i had to unplug it and switch back to my mixer, the voice monitoring has the same delay as the x7 which makes it unusable for me with my highly isolating headset.

    for my money two best gaming things are audio mixers and the steelseries game dac
  8. Xspearo
    Are you on console? I havent had this issue.
  9. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    I'm an idiot. That's for the Aurvana Trio. MY BAD.
  10. Vader2k
    Ah, alright. Not a problem, it happens. :)
  11. Clean6eR

    Yea on console (ps4) and on pc. i wasn't using any of the processing or scout mode rubbish in order to try to reduce the level of processing its little a1xx chip had to do (or whatever there little mixing chip is called)

    when i wasn't gaming and i first got it i tried the monitor with no other music or sound and it seemed like it was instant monitor but when gaming with my friends it was extremely obvious to me. many people can adjust to the delay that the surround processing does when its turned on and i can get used to that after time but when i first turn it on that level of delay is also very noticeable to me.

    i tried on console with the optical cable and all audio going only via that cable and also with all audio going only via USB. both had sidetone delay sadly. The x7 i found had the exact same issue, as did there zxr sound card, the only other sound card by creative i own that doesn't do it is the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty. that had zero delay monitoring.

    i used to use ath adg1x and hd800s with a mod mic 4 uni on the x7 and turned the monitor off entirely and that was awesome but since i have been told my noise level is annoying i have had to switch to a VERY isolating setup and i need monitor else i end up screaming!

    mixers/processors that have no delay on monitoring:
    • Astro mix amp, the TR is really quite good but monitoring on them is the quietest of the mixers i own. (hd800 show the weakness of the audio quality on this amp clearly)
    • Turtle beach tac (nice loud monitor but with noise gate so its not disturbing hiss with your monitoring) hd800 VERY much show a processed and metalic sound from this source, also sensitive headphones show a underlying hiss on all audio from this unit which is sad
    • Triton ax pro amp is actually really quite good all round, the surround processing is a little errr echoy/processed seeming compared to newer algorythims. and all the cables make it very spagetti western themed!
    • Steelseries amp pro, one of the best, sound quality is solid, its quite, the surround is even good on it (dtsxv2) i got mine with the headset which is also an ok headset but it means it didnt come with a convertor cable to use any headphones with it.

    any prosumer mixer or digital interface seems to have zero latency monitoring on them and i have found that mackie seem to make ones with more powerful hp out and quieter mic pre-amps when compared to ebay Chinese ones and Beringher ones.
  12. Lay.
    With Astro MixAmp Pro TR the mic monitoring is Ok for me. With G6 it is way too loud for me. I did not even thought about the delay. I just turned it off with open headphones and have not missed it after that.
  13. Clean6eR
    i dont think monitor is needed on open headsets but did you know if you push the volume knob in on the g6 and keep it held down the light goes from white to red, when its red you can turn the mic monitor up and down to suit, i REALLY liked that feature. tapping it once disables it which i guess you must have known... i dont think through what i type .... :frowning2:
  14. Lay.
    If only it would adjust the monitoring but it will adjust the mic loudness too. If I adjust the monitoring quiet enough for me, my friends complain that they can't hear me :beyersmile:
  15. Clean6eR
    good point, if your a pc player you can change them independently in the software but then the knob on the device will still control both in that out of sync state.

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