Creative Aurvana X-Fi Headphones

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Creative Aurvana X-Fi Headphones

We’ve never liked headphones that use active noise cancellation because they simply mask environmental noise by generating background hiss. But Creative’s Aurvana X-Fi headphones are almost good enough to win us over.

Donning the headphones and activating their noise-cancellation circuit instantly silenced the background cacophony created by our building’s HVAC system and myriad nearby computers—and we could barely detect the circuitry used to accomplish the feat.

That’s impressive, but Creative has also taken two features from its X-Fi soundcards and embedded them in these phones. We’re big fans of Creative’s X-Fi Crystalizer because it adds a natural and pleasant sonic presence to both compressed music (e.g., MP3s and WMAs) and songs played straight from CD. We’re not so impressed, however, with Creative’s X-Fi CMSS-3D, an algorithm that taps the onboard DSP to widen the stereo sound field.

Audio purists, of course, will cringe at the thought of using any of these features because this processing alters what the artist has wrought. And as much as we like the noise-canceling feature’s ability to isolate us from the outside world, we did turn it off while listening to music because it adds a harsh edge to midrange frequencies. We found this phenomenon particularly noticeable while listening to the guitar and Linda Thompson’s plaintive vocals on “Walking on a Wire” (from her collaboration with former husband Richard Thompson, Shoot out the Lights).

These headphones are clearly not designed for mission-critical applications such as monitoring mix downs. They also consume batteries at an alarming rate: Having neglected to turn them off before leaving for the day, we came in the next morning to find their two AAA batteries completely drained (they behave like normal headphones without power, so the lack of batteries doesn’t render them useless).

As much as we like Creative’s X-Fi Crystalizer technology, as great as the Aurvana X-Fi headphone’s sound, and as nonintrusive as their noise-cancellation circuitry is, we still prefer the passive noise-blocking technology offered by in-ear phones such as Shure’s SE530.

Creation

Active noise-cancellation works well; good sound.

Destruction

Active noise-cancellation still detectable; harshes midrange tones; drains batteries.

8

6

Comments

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Nirvana1000

I think alot of headphones are overpriced.I remember listening to $15,000 Headset which included a tube amplifier at Bay Bloor Radio(a high end audio store a few years ago and i can't remember the name of them).Sure they sounded great but who in their right mind would pay that much money for amplified headphones.But that is an example of extreme overpricing!My $30 Sony headphones with 40mm drivers,great frequency range,good impedance and awesome bass boost coupled with my Extreme Gamer X-FI Soundblaster card sounds pretty awesome to me!

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wctieman

My main purpose for my computer is Gaming. I bought these head phones and tested them out for one week, in the end I couldn't tell the difference in sound quality between these and my Logitech Supra-aural Premium Stereo Headset $13.99. While it doesn't have noise canceling, I couldn't tell any difference when using these head phones. You had to have all the option turned on inorder to get a proper output level.

I really think its all psychological with these head phohes. The sound is low and hard to hear, the out put level with out touching the volume goes up as you turn on the features. When I put the Logitech head phones all everything is crispe and clear.

I know others will disagree with me, I really wanted to like these headphones. However with a $300 price tag, it should blow away my little 13.99 head phones.

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nedwards

These headphones are quite good, actually - I just forgot to select the verdict in the dropdown menu, and it defaults to one. It's fixed.

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SEALBoy

These headphones are so bad, the author is clearly in self-denial. In his overwhelming urge to resist the truth, he has created a fantasy review which would normally rate around an 8. With his last ounce of sanity, however, he managed to change the rating - just the rating - to its correct value, right before he passed into the coma induced by the headphones.

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int_main_void

I thought a product had to physically harm an editor before it could receive a 1.

What harm was done?

Was it so heinous that all mention of the harm (or the now-maimed editor) has been stricken from the review?

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sc123

A "1". Really? Lol.

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