Creative Aurvana Live 2 – Review
When I’ve heard that Creative released the Aurvana Live 2, I was very curious and enthusiast as I think that the Aurvana Live 1 is absolutely excellent for it’s price and it’s my first recommendation I give my friends to enter this hobby.
I happy to say that my curiosity is satisfied now and the CAL 2 did not disappoint.
Looks and Details
It comes in a different design than CAL1. The build quality is comparable, but the newer version has a detachable cable and turnable earcups that makes it easier to fold and carry it in the microfiber travel pouch that comes with the headphones.
CAL1 is based on the old Denon D1000. Creative moved forward and upgraded the drivers with new 40mm Neodymium with bio-cellulose diaphragm:
Bio-cellulose is a natural fiber which has extremely fine fiber and high purity. Using cutting-edge biotechnology processes, this material is compressed to produce an ultra-thin diaphragm that is ideal for headphone drivers, delivering sound velocity comparable to an aluminium or titanium diaphragm, while giving warm and delicate sound of paper ones. The result is faithful, crystal clear and detailed highs, coupled with remarkable deep and rich bass tones.
When I first listened to CAL2 I was a little disappointed, then I looked at the cable that also has a microphone and volume on it. I looked in the box and expected another “clean” cable that the competition usually offers. I didn’t find one. I felt like the sound was kind of muffled and the upper midrange too recessed. I trusted the CAL2 and I searched for a new cable 2.5mm jack to 3.5mm.
One other thing that I missed having in the package is the 3.5 to 6.3 adapter which was included in the package frop CAL1.
Today, I’ve been at the headphones event that AvStore organized where I’ve listened to FiiO X5, Audeze LCD-XC, Chord Hugo, (more on this soon) etc. I’ve also noticed that Sennheiser HD598 has the same cable connectors as the new Aurvana 2 ! I immediately put the cable on them, and, as I expected, the sound opened up, with better details, transparency, cleaner & better textured voices, etc.
Now, with the cable from Sennheiser HD598, the Aurvana 2 managed to impress me compared to it’s older brother.
The cups are bigger than on Live 1, offering better comfortability and isolation. Actually these are one of the most comfortable headphones I know.
As I said, I have used the cable from Sennheiser HD598 instead of the stock cable.
The bass is definitely goes deeper with the CAL2. The sound is fuller and it opens up, having a wider and deeper soundstage. I definitely liked this song on CAL2 better than on it’s older brother
CAL1 has the voice more forward, and actually the whole upper midrange is a little more present with the it. However the voice had better body and extension on the newer model, and on top of that it was also more detailed (more apparent plucks and extension on the guitar), better deeper bass.
I must say that this song was very impressive on CAL2. It had a very natural, full and enjoyable presentation. The drums have very good weight and body, the soundstage is quite better than on it’s little brother. The layering and instrument separation is again in another class compared to CAL1. The piano in the back has a very nice & natural tonality , with good positioning. The violin and the other instruments are as very well positioned and never blent in the same layer. The voice has a very nice, full and natural tonality, but presented some sibilance.
The treble on CAL1 is more linear and overall more present. However, the presentation was better on CAL2 as the harpischord and all the instruments sounded more natural with better extension and fuller life. Also the soundstage was quite wider and deeper .
While with CAL1 I really don’t listen to this kind of music because I don’t think it sounds sufficiently good with it, I really enjoyed it with CAL2. The soundstage is good for a closed headphone and it has a natural feeling attached to it. Again, the instrument separation, layering and details are in a class above the older brother.
I started to love the CAL2 as it made me look less and less at it’s older brother. The voice has a very nice, full and natural tonality with very good extension. The guitar plucks are very present and the extension of the guitar is quite full and pleasant. The drums show a deeper and fuller bass.
I really love the fuller tonality that CAL2 gives to the vocals, how the guitar on the left channel had a holographic presence and a very good extension and detail.
The bass is quite deeper and fuller with very present and fun midbass.
I found the mids to be very good, with extended instrument extension and full bodied voices. The upper midrange is a little more recessed than on CAL1, but overall more enjoyable.
I found treble on CAL1 to be more linear and present than on CAL2, but the latest has a more natural presentation here. It also has a sparkle (showing a spike on the treble) that on some recordings is very enjoyable while on some voices that are already sibilant it shows this flaw better.
Instrument extension and details
CAL2 has a more detailed presentation and all the instruments have a fuller life with better extension and feel.
I found the sound to be more natural than on CAL 1, with more natural voices, pianos, guitars and instruments in general.
Soundstage and layering
The sound just opens up and I must tell you than this pleasantly surprised me on some songs I wouldn’t listen to on CAL1 because of it’s congested nature. Sometimes I hear some instruments coming from the back or from a different layer and I really like it how it seems to come so natural.
I found the layering and imaging a class above the CAL1.
Even if Live 1 has a more linear sound with more present upper midrange and more linear treble, I must say I wouldn’t look back to CAL1 if I have the newer model. Every time I’ve put the Live 1 on my ears to test it on a song I’ve started missing the sound from CAL2 that for me is simply better.
I think of it’s sound to be very pleasant with a warm, but more natural tonality than Live 1 . All sounds seem more real from guitars to harpischord, piano, voices, etc
I found almost everything to be better with the newer model, from details, bass, layering, soundstage, etc. I must say that it really impressed me in the soundstage department as it has a very well layered presentation. On some songs it really suprised me of how natural the sounds from the back layers come in front without blending with the other layers.
If you find a good aftermarket cable for the CAL2, and if you liked the first model, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
At 130$ the CAL2 has an excellent price/performance ratio. So, I think Creative strikes again, offering excellent performance at a very accessible price.
I didn’t have the Sennheiser Momentum with me, but if my memory serves me right, I would prefer the Live!2 to it, because when I had Momentum, I didn’t feel the need to buy one, while with Aurvana 2 it’s the other way around.
It would have been nice if Creative offered out of the box another “clean” cable without volume or microphone.
- Deep and present bass
- Good details with full instrument extension
- More natural sounding than CAL1
- Good soundstage and layering
- Good full bodied voices
- Good price – performance ratio
- Better isolation than CAL1
- Very very comfortable
- Detachable cable (thank God)
- Not as linear as CAL1 as it has slightly recessed upper midrange and not as linear treble
- Doesn’t have second “clean” cable without the microphone and volume that the competition usually offers.
- No 3.5 to 6.3 adapter in the package