Creative Aurvana 2 Review

The Creative Aurvana Ace series is the talk of the town in the consumer audio industry: it is the first mass-market true-wireless earbuds using xMEMS solid state audio drivers, as well as the one of the few earbuds that support LE Audio codec. The product has won praises generally during its initial press preview around the world. It offers a 6-hour battery life (ANC off), up to 24 hours with case that supports wireless charging, IPX5 water resistant, supports aptX lossless (only on Aurvana Ace 2), aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC, SBC, and LC3. After spending about a week with the Aurvana Ace 2 retail unit, I am ready to share my impressions in this review article.

Aurvana Ace 2 Sound Quality

When Creative invited me to their office for an exclusive preview of the Aurvana Ace series, my first impression is that the earbuds do not sound bright. There are merits to having a controlled treble, but I would have thought that Creative engineers would tune the Aurvana Ace to emphasize on the clarity, especially when they are using a new set of silicone drivers that can theoretically outshine the traditional diaphragm drivers.

ANC and Ambient Mode

The Aurvana Ace 2 supports adaptive hybrid ANC, which I feel offers adequate noise cancellation at low frequencies. They help in keeping noise level low and allow you to enjoy the music. The upper frequencies are not removed as effectively as other pricier earbuds like AZ80. For Ambient mode, there is a little more white noise that cause the upper midrange to be a bit artificially boosted. Connecting the earbuds to the Creative app, there is no option to adjust the ANC and Ambient mode levels.

Call Quality

The Aurvana Ace 2 uses Qualcomm cVc and three mics on each earbuds to manage the voice pickup against the noisy background. At quiet locations, the mic pickup is loud and prominent, as if the mic is next to the mouth. At noisy places like the food centre, the mic struggles to cancel the background noise and retain the voice. Once again, it is imperative that you speak up loudly and not talk too soft, or else the voice will break up.

LE Audio and Limitations

Not many people have devices that support LC3, and unfortunately, they will not be able to get better audio quality from the Aurvana Ace 2. When testing the audio quality with aptX, I detect higher levels of compression, the treble is little more pushy, the stereo imaging is not as expansive. With LC3, the dynamics are a lot better, the music is more organic and expressive, less distracting without any audible trace of digital artefact.

As the LE Audio is still considered an experimental feature in Google Pixel 7 Pro, there are some features that may not work fully. For instance, in LE Audio, the voice call mic is very soft, and almost inaudible unless you hold the mic in front of the mouth. The initial connectivity to LE Audio is also a hit-and-miss, but once it’s connected, it will not drop out.

I had wanted to get a proper LC3 codec-support device to properly test the Aurvana Ace 2. The good news is that Creative Bluetooth dongle BT-L4 which comes with the Zen Hybrid Pro SXFI will support Aurvana Ace 2 pairing in the coming weeks as they prepare a new firmware.

Verdict

The Aurvana Ace 2 has demonstrated that using xMEMS drivers, the earbuds can produce articulated music details to bring out the finer sound that often gets buried in highly-excitable audio mixes caused by overzealous treble sparkles. It certainly makes listeners rethink about what they have been listening to and how good earphones can deliver more musical information to their ears. Creative has employed new technologies to achieve something that might take greater effort using traditional dynamic drivers. Depending on your playlist, the difference may not be obvious. For that, the Aurvana Ace 2 is better suited for listening to quality mixes, instrumental genres, jazz, Classical. Highly-compressed electronic genres like hip-hop, dubstep, dance might not get any benefits.

If you have great interests in listening your favourite songs in greater detail, I highly recommend you get the Aurvana Ace (S$189) or the Aurvana Ace 2 (S$219). Visit the official product page to learn more about the new technologies.

Summary