Every time that you buy a new MP3 player or some other similar device, you usually get a "free" set of bundled headphones. The bad news is that these are usually anything but stellar, leaving you to invest in a set of premium earphones on your own. One of the newer offerings in this realm of premium headphones is the Creative Aurvana In-Ear2. This set follows up on the original Aurvana In-Ear headphones, which actually won a few awards in the past. Let's fast forward to the future and see if this new revision holds true to its heritage.
Features and Specifications
In terms of aesthetics, there's not very much that's going to separate the Aurvana In-Ear2 from many of its contemporaries on store shelves. The driver design, from the outside, looks just like many other premium earphones. As do the soft silicon ear pieces that seems prevalent in many competitive offerings like the ones from Ultimate Ears and even new comer Arctic Sound. The difference is in the details.
For starters, you get a gold-plated plug, metal driver bodies, and "more refined acoustic tuning" which we'll hopefully be able to distinguish in our listening tests. The exposed acoustic grille on the other side of the driver body is quite unique, but the silicone ear tips are pretty much par for the course as mentioned earlier.
For raw specifications, you can expect Balanced Armature drivers, 15Hz to 16kHz frequency response, 42 ohms of impedance, 110dB/mW sensitivity (at 1kHz), 1.2m oxygen-free copper cable, and a net weight of 11 grams. All specifications that resonate with other front runners in the earphone game. The question is how does Creative Labs execute this list of specifications and most importantly how pleasing is the sound when you pay the $99.99US MSRP asking price.
What's in the Box?
When you open up the packaging for most headphones that you buy in most stores, you don't get much else aside from the headphones themselves. However, the premium earphone market is a little different and Creative has adjusted accordingly.
The Aurvana In-Ear2 comes with a great carrying case (which I'll discuss further in just a moment), an airplane adapter for use on commercial aircraft, six sets of eartips (two pairs of each size: S, M, L), supporting documentation, and a cleaning tool for that waxy build up (eww?).
Bearing in mind that these are earphones and not a headset (with a mic), it's understandable that a 2.5mm adapter was not provided for certain smartphones. It's nice having all those extra eartips though as fit is just as important as sound.
Audio Technology at Play
Coupled with the audio enhancing technology of the Creative Zen X-Fi Style portable media player, the Creative Aurvana In-Ear2 is said to provide quite the optimal audio experience. The Precise Balance Armature driver with the acoustic grille design is supposed to allow for a "more detailed sonic presentation" and "punchy" bass. The AuraSeal in-ear design provides up to 95% noise isolation. There is no active noise cancellation, but I found the seal to be quite good in blocking out exterior sounds.
Of course, this isolation also gives the headphones the "crunchy foods" effect where your chewing is amplified through the ear canal. A compromise of this type of design if you will when it comes to snacking and relaxing to your music. A better choice of non-crunchy foods makes this a non-issue of course.