Review: Creative AURvana Platinum

There is usually a fairly sharp line between gaming headphones and pure audiophile / music headphones. If we ignore the herd mentality where everyone in Stockholm seems to walk around with the same headphones on the subway (probably bought on the premise that “everyone else has them!”), You can often still see – and guess at the price tag – which handset belongs in which category.

creative aurvana platinum

In the case of Creative AURvana Platinum, which is the company’s somewhat aging flagship model, it is not as clear black or white. If you look at the Swedish price (SEK 3,200-4,500), the headphones seem to be aimed at music-loving audiophiles. At the same time, they are adapted for wide use and Creative is a company many people associate mainly with sound cards on PC, rather than hi-fi products. And even though the headphones are difficult to get hold of in Sweden, you can now buy them – with free shipping and bluetooth dongle – via Creative’s European website for about SEK 1,300 today. Although the headphones come packaged in a box that inside encloses the expensive grips with silk fabric (!), These – quite really big pieces – look a bit like a hybrid between a luxurious gaming headset with faux premium finish á la expensive hifi brands, thanks to details such as fake leather, metallic imitation (which is actually plastic) and an earthy brown color design that exudes 70s retro.

AURvana (which probably refers to Nirvana, the Buddhists’ “paradise” – ironically “nothing”) squeezes quite firmly around the skull. The covers, which are of the over-ear model, initially feel very comfortable, fairly cooling and comfortable thanks to the “skin”, but a position to adjust the firmness would probably still have been welcome as we after a relatively short time of listening became a little tender in the planet. The headphones can be connected either via the included 3.5mm cable (hold this tight, as the other end to be inserted into the headphones is of the odd format 2.5mm – unclear why?) Or wirelessly via bluetooth, where the devices that support the superior format aptX gets proper push in sound quality. Wireless offers a decent range of about 10 meters. For those of you who have NFC-compatible devices, there is also a function for quick connection wirelessly through a small tap and a full three noise-reducing modes are offered. First, the least aggressive “home” mode, the medium mode “outdoors / on the train” and the most noise-reducing “aircraft” where the headphones’ “counterwaves” should drown out the murmur and noise from the aircraft engines. The noise reduction works really well overall and the damage to the original sound image felt extremely marginal. And speaking of flight mode, Creative has also sent with an aircraft adapter (you know, one with two 3.5mm sticks) to use on the trip, along with a fully approved carrying bag to have everything in.

creative aurvana flight connector
A caring gesture by Creative to send with for the plane journey.

A feature that sounds great and that we have been asking for for a long time is Creative’s ShareMe, where a friend with the same pair of Creative AURvana Platinum can share your sound, so that together they can experience a good song or exciting movie on the go. Since we for obvious reasons only got a couple of AURvana to test, we have not been able to find out this further, but it sounds very smart.

This is how Creative AURvana Platinum sounds (read our philosophy on testing headphones)
What immediately becomes apparent with AURvana is how generous they are with the base. You who beg for Dres Beats can expect something from a similar sound palette, with extremely present bass that feels darker and duller than rap, but at the same time provides some support. AURvana thrives best in the company of basic music, such as hip hop, hard rock and some instrumental and well-mixed radio pop. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to color the soundscape a little too much, which sometimes gives a dark and murky tone in songs that should otherwise feel razor sharp in the middle register, such as punk music or Ane Brun ‘s acoustic works and Sting ‘s always equally well-mixed classics, such as Fields of Gold.

creative aurvana
Photo: senses.se

When you test them for games, the impression is similar – thanks to the AURvana Platinum being relatively easy to drive, it is no problem to connect them to your PS4 or Xbox One S controllers via the 3.5mm jack. Games like Rime get an obscure and dramatic tone, from the beautiful intro music to the trembling flashes. Bullets and explosions win densely and effectively in Battlefield 1 and although we think the rich base can color some voices a little too much, there is nothing that makes us want to stop playing one of our favorite games of all time: The Last of Us.

Watching movies gives about the same sound character, where deep bass tones are highlighted in action reels like Assassin’s Creed, but the sound at the same time can feel a bit “foggy” in more fine-tuned dramas that rely on midrange and treble. Even though the sound image is broad and well-defined, we sometimes lack the finest details and nuances in the soundtracks.

To be able to use the headphones wirelessly, they need to be charged via the included USB micro cable, which takes about two hours and then the charge is enough for use for just over 15. Should the cream run out, you can always connect them analogously via the included 3.5mm cord. The sound was very similar in both cases, provided your sound source is of high quality. Audio files recommend that you run the wire for the best sound, but thanks to aptX, wireless bluetooth is so close now that we think it can be the pure placebo effect (if we ignore that wireless is more open to interference from other radio waves). Had it not been for Apple’s idiotic opposition to aptX in the iPhone, this standard would have been part of all sensible, wireless lures a long time ago. Thanks to the fact that the speaker elements are a bit larger (50mm instead of 40mm, which is most common) with a maintained impedance of 32 ohms, it is no wonder that the headphones can play much more bass than several others in the price range, without requiring muscular power sources that drive judgment.

Creative AURvana Platinum har också en inbygd mikrofon med brusreducering, så man lyckas bibehålla intrycket av hifi-enhet då man slipper den in- och utfällbara (eller avtagbara) mikrofonen, som fullkomligt skriker spel eller telefonväxel. Ljudet då man pratar i dem är helt OK och det finns även knappar på högra kåpans utsida, som tar lite tid att vänja sig vid att hitta, där du kan styra volymen, ANC (active noise cancelling = brusreduceringen) samt spola/hoppa fram och tillbaka.

Summa summarum
På det stora hela är Creatives AURvana Platinum kompetenta lurar, som innehåller de allra flesta finesser vi kan önska oss (trådlös anslutning, aptX och bra brusreducering) och samtidigt fungerar brett med både musik, spel och film. För dig som reser mycket eller vill kunna röra dig fritt i hemmet medan du njuter musik med väldigt mycket bas så är Creative AURvana Platinum inget tokigt val. En av de större nackdelarna är att de tyvärr inte är särskilt bekväma att bära en längre stund, vilket lite dödar poängen med deras premium-design, trådlöshet och extremt personliga färgval, som påminner om ett lyxigt privatklubbrum inrett med skinnsoffor och tweed. Den maxade basen är också dubbelsidig: å ena sidan ger den bastant kropp åt rätt ljudmaterial, å andra sidan slår den ibland för skoningslöst mot finess och detaljer. Creative AURvana Platinum sticker verkligen ut med sin triangulära design och 70-talsbruna färg, något som lär väga för eller emot beroende på din personliga smak och självförtroende.

Eftersom lurarna släpptes 2015 så börjar de nu också bli lite till åren och den svenska prislappen på mellan 3 200 och 4 500 kr skulle göra att de hamnar i “rekommenderas ej”-facket. Men eftersom Creative numera säljer dom via sin hemsida nu för 1 300 kr inkl frakt och bluetooth USB-dongle så får man se dom som ett klart intressant och prisvärt alternativ i samma prissegment. Du lär ha svårt att över huvud taget få  tag på ett nytt par i en svensk butik, så det låga lagersaldot ihop med åldern och Creatives rea gör att vi anar att en ny modell är hyfsat nära förestående. Inför nästa inkarnation hoppas vi på lite mer balans mellan bas, mellanregister, diskant och utgångspris.

Review: Creative AURvana Platinum
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