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Creative Aurvana Air Earphones review



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Review Price £59.99

"Timeless sophistication. Exceptional audio" is the tagline. Well, on one level, Creative's latest Aurvana earphones are an unqualified success. Awarded a prestigious Red Dot award for Product Design this year, the Aurvana Airs are easily one of the most beautifully crafted and engineered sets of earphones you've ever set eyes on - and Creative knows it. The packaging literally places them on a pedestal inside a transparent acrylic case inside the box, and the whole thing screams "look at me! I'm a work of art!"

Even once you've managed to wrestle the headphones out of this complicated assembly, it's hard not to feel impressed. Those delicate features! Those lovingly constructed hinges! Those gorgeous reflective surfaces! That shiny gunmetal and gold-played plug! These are headphones so damnably attractive, that you almost can't bear to stick them in your horrid, unclean, wax-stuffed ear holes. Perhaps it would be better just to put them on the shelf and quietly admire them.

However, that's not what I'm paid for. After all, for all their supermodel looks, the Aurvana Airs are here to be worn and listened to, so that's just what I've had to do. The AAs (to save my typing fingers) use the earhook design popular with sports headphones (though heaven forbid anyone should wear them jogging, mountain biking or lifting weights and walking the treadmill at the gym - have you no soul?).The earpieces connect via a hinged armature to a cylindrical chunk of polished metal, and this in turn connects to a hook of a flexible nickel-titanium alloy, which is what you call a 'shape memory metal', with a rubbery plastic sleeve coating the end.

This means that you can bend the earhook six ways to Sunday and it won't go out of shape, making it springy, robust and comfortable. The alloy construction is resistant to dirt and corrosion, and the inert coating should - apparently - make sure that those with a sensitivity to nickel don't get any nasty side effects from use. It's a common cause of contact dermatitis (or a nasty rash), don't you know.

For all their shimmering delicate loveliness, Creative has produced a well-considered, practical pair of earphones here. At first, I thought I would struggle to get a comfortable fit on my embarrassingly miniscule ears, but by fitting the large-ish earpieces in position then sliding the earhooks round, it was possible to get a good firm fit that would easily stand up to a bit of light exercise. The usual trouble spots, like the connections between cable and plug and cable and earpiece, are solidly reinforced and the cable is nice and meaty.

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Colin Shedden

July 26, 2009, 7:13 am

I'll be honest - you may say these have incredible styling but they look very similar to the Bang & Olufsen headphones I've had for about 5 years, and probably don't sound as good!

James Reckitt

July 26, 2009, 2:53 pm

I agree with Colin, but I'd go as far to say that the design has more or less been nicked from Bang and Olufsen's A8 earphones.

Given that the Bang and Olufsens are around £60 cheaper, have the B&O name, and are nicer to look at (and probably to listen to as well) only a fool would splash out on these!

Mark 16

July 26, 2009, 6:06 pm

Stuart, I think you should should convince Logitech to send you their new 'competing' (i.e. similarly priced) Ultimate Ears 700 earphones for a comparison... I own them and Grado SR80s, and I actually prefer the UE700s. I've always thought that Creative was all about marketing and gimmicks, and Logitech seems to spend their time actually making good products instead. Be interesting to see what you think.


July 26, 2009, 8:29 pm

It's "Aurvana", not "Auvana" ;)


July 27, 2009, 12:11 am

Just to put in my 2 cents. Are there any stores that have a demo pair of in ear headphones? I wanted to try a pair before I bought them. Neither Sony Centre or Currys digital would let me, citing 'hygene' reasons. I also would not be able to refund if purchased and did not like them. What is the best way to purchase and select in ear phones?


July 27, 2009, 12:51 am

@ Peter

This troubled me when purchasing "good" earphones for the first time. Since no outlet will let you try them on, you have to go on the good reviews from trusted outlets online. That is what I did when I purchased my cx-95 in-ear phones. Firstly reading the review from this site, then aggregating it with reviews from other places.

I guess if you truly want to be an audio buff, you need to have deep pockets and accept that some earbuds won't be for you (despite what reviews say), and be able to replace them without feeling the deep loss associated with spending sometimes upwards of £100 for earbuds, when you could be purchasing, say the latest ipod for the same amount of money.


July 27, 2009, 2:45 am

@Colin, James

There are certainly similarities in the styling, but I think the design isn't a total rip-off. Creative has gone for a more metallic look, and the earhooks and armatures connecting the earpiece to the body of the earphone is a lot slimmer. I take your point, though. Without having heard the B&O headphones I can't make any comments on comparative sound quality, but I found the Aurvana Air just a little disappointing.


I'll see if myself or someone else on the team can take a look


One minute with the spellcheck could have saved me so much heartbreak. It's actually spelt differently throughout the review. I'll get it fixed for consistency asap.


I think you'll get the same response from just about anywhere. If anyone knows of a store with a different policy, I for one would like to hear about it.


July 27, 2009, 3:57 am

I've asked UE for some 'phones to review and have been told I'll be informed when they're sampling them... on which advice I'm not getting my hopes up :(


July 27, 2009, 4:01 am

I don't know about the UK, but in Germany Amazon apparently takes back everything within two weeks, including in-ears, no questions asked.


July 27, 2009, 4:31 am


I'm pretty sure that under EU distance buying regulations, if you bought the headphones from an online supplier you'd have 7 days to return the product and cancel your order (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/hel... ). I'd recommend your current course of following good review sites but following my own experience I'd also bargain on getting a set of Comply memory foam earpieces. I've got a tiny ear canal (I couldn't go running with any earphones because the shock and vibration would cause them to work loose within 100 yards) but the Comply replacements are excellent, the Comply 100's are even better than the ones I got with my Philips 9850 headphones.

The Nitinol wire arms on the earbuds will be hypoallergenic (the metal is used in stents for heart patients) so I really don't know what the inert coating is supposed to add other than a bit of 'bling'. I'm currently using SMA's as transducers for a product I'm designing, they're amazing materials but not quite the sci-fi marvels some futurologists would have you believe.


July 27, 2009, 8:08 pm

@Stuart Dark and Vivid

Thanks for the responses and comments, there are some interesting threads about distance selling ( http://www.avforums.com/forums... ) . I guess the high street stores are missing a trick by not doing in store demo's for the top of the range. (maybe if asking consumer to sign disclaimer before use of demo pair + store to provide cleaning wipes).

Angus McGillivray

January 2, 2010, 8:22 am

Having spent a year with much-loved Grado SR60s, the Aurvana Airs took some time to burn in and become accustomed to. Well, it was worth it! The Grados now seem heavy-handed - so have been honourably retired. The Airs produce such wonderful transparency with so much beautiful, spacious detail. I'm totally inseparable from them now. Worth every penny.

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