Active Noise Cancellation technology has been around for a while, and has remained practically unchanged. A lot of headphone manufacturers sell noise cancelling models, and American audio specialist Bose is one of the most popular names in the segment. However, its products are priced at a significant premium, as is the case with the excellent but very expensive Bose QC 35.
The Creative Aurvana ANC hopes to make active noise cancellation technology more affordable, thanks to its Rs. 10,999 price tag. Although in-ear ANC headphones are available for less, the Aurvana ANC features an over-ear fit and a removable and replaceable battery to power the noise cancellation circuitry. Does the Creative Aurvana ANC have what it takes to challenge the might of more established and expensive noise cancelling products? Find out in our review.
Creative Aurvana ANC design, specifications, and comfort
The headphones have a typical over-ear design, with plastic ear casings, padding around the cups, and a basic headband with a metal frame. The outer surfaces of the earcups feature a mirror-like finish, along with the Aurvana logo and a grille that slightly exposes the drivers and also hides the noise cancellation microphones. The left ear casing has the power switch for the noise cancellation function, while the entire right slides open to reveal the compartment for the battery.
Unlike most noise-cancelling headphones that have an in-built rechargeable battery, the Aurvana ANC functions on a single AAA battery. Creative claims that the headphones will offer 40 hours of noise cancellation on a full charge, but this depends entirely on how you use it. We noticed that listening to music on the headphones with noise-cancellation switched on also gave a hint of amplification to the audio, which no doubt contributes a bit to battery consumption.
The headphones are fairly comfortable for everyday use, thanks to ample padding and a lightweight design. The set is sold with a hard carry case, a detachable 3.5mm cable, a single AAA battery so you can get the headset going straight out of the box, and an airline adapter. The cable is fabric-coated and has an in-line remote and microphone. It's suitably tangle-resistant, and sturdy as well.
On the specifications front, the headphones are powered by 40mm neodymium dynamic drivers, and have a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz. Sensitivity measures in at 100dB, while the maximum impedance is 290Ohms with noise cancellation turned on. The battery ensures that enough power is sent to the headphones to manage the high impedance.
Creative Aurvana ANC performance
We tested the Creative Aurvana ANC with our OnePlus 3 (Review) and a Windows laptop, listening to audio both with and without active noise cancellation. Focus tracks were Knife Party's Bonfire and Shanks and Route 94's My Love.
Starting with Bonfire, we found a strong low-end and decent bass, provided that noise cancellation with its inherent amplification was switched on. When the bass drop of the track kicked in, there was a satisfying aggression to the sound while keeping the mids and highs a bit soft to promote the lows. The sub-bass in particular is excellent, but the mid-bass is great as well. Switching off the amplification makes the sound softer and also takes some of the edginess and aggression away from the bass. On the whole, we preferred the sound with the Aurvana ANC's circuitry enabled, and in fact the headphones were a bit of a disappointment when running purely on source amplification.
Moving on to My Love, we found that the headphones provide an open, clean sound with plenty of scope to pick up individual details in this track. Everything from the finger snapping at the beginning to Jess Glynne's vocals had a strong sense of definition, but all of this was once again only achieved with the amplification turned on. It's important to note that amplification only helps these headphones achieve a level of audio quality that most others at this price can without any help from a power source. Noise cancellation cannot really be felt when audio is playing, as the effect is faint.
Coming to the signature feature itself, the active noise cancellation provided by the headphones is quite basic, and doesn't do a lot of reduce droning background sounds. The effect of silence is minimal, and does not come close to the quality offered by better (and admittedly more expensive) noise cancellation headsets. There's very little actual benefit on offer here, and if that's what you really need then you're better off spending a bit more on better headphones.
The Creative Aurvana ANC isn't bad in itself, but that doesn't mean it's very good either. It feels a bit flimsy, and while the mirror-like finish may appeal to some, others may find it a bit much. We also have mixed feelings about the use of a AAA battery instead of a typical in-built battery that can be charged normally. These headphones are comfortable though, and do sound decent with the active noise cancellation and amplification switched on.
With those switched off, the sound is weak and lacking in excitement, but even with it on the noise-cancellation effect is far too weak and inconsequential to make an actual difference in noisy environments. While we can't really complain that the headphones are bad, you are better off spending a bit more on options such as the Sony MDR-100ABN if noise cancellation is what you're looking for.
Price (MRP): Rs. 10,999
Ratings (Out of 5)