"The Creative Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus is a good pair of earphones that suffers in its bass performance"
Singapore-based Creative is an audio brand that has a good foothold in the Indian market. From its SoundBlaster range of sound cards for personal computers to its massively popular Creative EP630 in-ear headphone, the brand has somewhat of a loyal fan following in the country. It is also known over the world for its Bluetooth speakers and gaming headsets. However, when the talk shifts to audiophile products, Creative is definitely not a brand that comes to mind first.
But, did you know that Creative actually makes audiophile-grade products under its Aurvana banner? The Creative Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus is the company’s most premium in-ear headphones. It is an incremental update to the Aurvana In-Ear3 with an improved fabric cable and an angled L-plug. The Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus has two balanced armature drivers per earphone, which Creative calls “micro studio speakers” in its marketing content. While calling a bunch of drivers inside a pair of “micro studio speakers” might be a little bit of an overkill, Creative is not entirely wrong either. In any case, we shall let it slide for now and test the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus solely on its merits. Let’s dive right in.
Creative makes use of a dual-driver setup inside the earphones: there is a balanced armature tweeter and another balanced armature woofer. The tweeters are meant for the mids and the highs, whereas the woofers will drive the bass. Balanced armature drivers are different from dynamic drivers - used by most earphones today. If you want to understand the difference, you can read Brian Li’s informative and scientifically accurate write-up on the topic. The main difference you need to know about the sound quality is that dynamic drivers are better at pushing the lower frequencies than balanced armature drivers. This could explain why Creative has used a dedicated balanced armature woofer for powering the bass.
Moving on to the specifications, Creative claims that the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus can go as low as 10Hz and hit a high note of 17KHz. Thanks to the use of balanced armature drivers the impedance level is a healthy 28ohms, which indicates that the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus can easily be driven by portable audio equipment including smartphones.
The dual balanced armature drivers are enclosed inside a hard plastic casing that looks really premium, thanks majorly to the glossy chrome finish on the exterior. It is actually easy to mistake it for metal. Creative uses a 1.3m braided nylon fabric cable, which also includes a remote control and a separate microphone. This setup is unlike most earphones that embed the mic in the remote itself. We shall find out during our testing if it actually makes a difference. About the remote, it has a volume slider and a play button. The tactile feedback of the play button is decent but we advice against using the volume slider because it has very finicky controls. The cable terminates at the L-shaped gold-plated headphone jack. The one great thing about the cable is that it doesn’t tangle easily. Moreover, it doesn’t even have any cable noise creeping in even when you are walking around with it, therefore negating the need for a dedicated shirt clip.
The earphones are meant to be worn over-the-ear style, which essentially means that you have to loop the cable around your neck. Thanks to the 19g weight of the earphones, it doesn’t weigh down the ears and feels comfortable throughout long listening sessions. However, we noticed that finding the ear tips with the correct fit is a tough task. Especially, the small foam tips that come in the box won’t fit people with large ear openings (in this case - the reviewer). Note that it is vital to find the right fit because the bass response takes a hit otherwise. You also get an airplane jack and a high-quality leather carry case inside the box.
Before we get to the sound quality of the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus, we’d like to mention that the noise isolation on these earphones is really top-notch so much so that you can easily drown out the din inside your noisy office even at 50 percent volume levels. This also indicates that the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus can get loud, very very loud. We tested it on an Apple iPhone 6 and a MacBook Air.
The Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus has a generally flat response with a major emphasis on treble and mids. In fact, the presence of a dedicated woofer driver notwithstanding, all we could hear was the mild existence bass. This was especially evident in songs like Alan Walker’s Faded and BTSTU by Jai Paul. Jai Paul’s song is particularly heavy on sub-bass sounds and while the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus managed to recreate it, Paul’s voice and the mid-range frequencies overshadows the bass. However, the In-Ear3 Plus comes on its own in acoustic songs that are laden with guitar strumming. Nick Drake’s Free Ride is a great example of this; each and every guitar note was crisp and Drake’s voice had a good amount of weight. For those who listen to a lot of classic music, jazz, or vocal-heavy songs, the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus will more than just serve the purpose.
If there is one thing that the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus excels in, it is in soundstaging. Despite the fact that the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus are inserted inside your ears, we can assure you that we heard a wider soundstage than most competing earphones in the same price range. Even the imaging was pretty good, and we listened to Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know to test this. The rock song’s chorus section at the fag end can get a little overwhelming — with a multitude of instruments kicking in along with the vocals — for many earphones to reproduce, but the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus manages to clearly separate the instruments and deliver more clarity. The microphone more than serves the purpose during phone calls and offers great sound fidelity as well.
Creative has definitely improved upon the previous iteration Aurvana In-Ear3 with the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus. The new earphones have a better design, incredibly detailed performance in the mids and the trebles, and at least some semblance of bass.
Currently, the Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus is priced at Rs 11,000 and unfortunately faces some tough competition from better sounding options like the Fidue A73, Trinity Audio Delta, and the Rock Jaw Kommand - all of which use the combination of a balanced armature driver and a dynamic driver. What this setup does is that it drives the low end (bass) much better than the dual balanced armature (tweeter+woofer) combination inside the Aurvana In Ear3 Plus. If you are willing to spend a little more, the Shure SE315 could be a much, much better option.
The Aurvana In-Ear3 Plus is a good buy if you want a pair of studio monitors for professional listening because they provide a mostly flat yet accurate sound. However, those who want a little more oomph in the bass section might have to look elsewhere.
Smartphones have become a necessity in today's digital age. Be it browsing the web or connecting with you...