Creative’s past headphone efforts have left us cold. They’ve always seemed like me-too products with solid but uninspiring performance at mid-range prices.
So it was with some trepidation that we approached the Aurvana Airs. From the word go, it’s clear they’re different. First, while Creatives of old looked like replica Sennheisers, these glossy designs are unique. And while they’re not the first ear-hook designs, they are the priciest we’ve seen.
Within the package is a neat leather carry case with novel cable management and two sets of foam earpads. These proved utterly useless, tearing immediately when we tried to attach them.
Fortunately, they’re not needed. The chrome finish of the buds means they’re comfortable all the same. The rest of the design is pleasing, too, with a soft-touch rubber coating for the 1.2m cable and an attractive, aluminium-sheathed in-line 3.5mm jack.
Look closer, however, and things aren’t so rosy. The metal bars that bridge the buds and skinny memory frame earhooks are rough-cut metal – no match for the build of Atomic Floyd’s Airjax.
The upside is that they’re very light – you can barely feel them on, and they can be worn for prolonged periods without fatigue, unlike most intrusive in-ears.
Airs and graces
When it comes to performance the Aurvana Airs more than justify the outlay. As the name suggests, they sound open and airy, much more like open-backed cans than lightweight in-ears.
This makes them more insightful than similarly-priced sound isolators. You can hear every breath and nuance, and the separation between instruments is palpable.
Like most in-ears, though, they don’t dig all that deep. They’re punchy and exciting but hardly gut-shaking. If you’re a bass fan, these may not be the headphones for you.
Another issue is that their open nature means background noise can encroach on their performance. If you want headphones that block out the bustle of the commute, look elsewhere.
But if you want lightweight, portable headphones with the best balance of talents at their price, look no further.