Audio

Creative's affordable Aurvana Active Noise Cancelling headphones

When turned on, the noise cancellation does its job very well.
When turned on, the noise cancellation does its job very well.PHOTOS: CREATIVE

The earphones are made for travelling, especially long rides

The Aurvana Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones, the latest addition to Creative's premium Aurvana series, is not the company's first noise-cancelling headphones. But it is the most budget-friendly one to date, at just under $200.

It is a reasonable price, given how well the ANC performs.

While it has a sound quality that is versatile enough for a variety of audio needs, it doesn't really have a clear area where it shines.

I found the mids and highs quite clear and resonant, but the bass lacks warmth and oomph.

The sound quality becomes noticeably better and clearer when you turn on the noise cancellation, even if your ambient surroundings are quiet. The feature requires one AAA battery and lasts for about 40 hours - more than enough for even the longest flight.

When turned on, the noise cancellation does its job very well. I wasn't able to hear most of the ambient noise unless I focused specifically on picking up outside noise.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $199

    DRIVER DIAMETER: 40mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 170g without battery and cable

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

There is some sound seepage, though, even when the volume has yet to reach its maximum.

It is noticeable if someone is sitting next to you, which may irritate your seat neighbour if you are on a long flight.

One of the biggest advantages the headphones have for me is how portable it is. It is pretty light and comfortable, coming in at a mere 190g with the battery and detachable 1.5m cable.

The leather memory foam padding on the earcups are soft and cushy, so I could leave the headphones on for hours on end without feeling too much discomfort.

It is much better than heavier headphones which start to tire you out after a while, or those with harder ear padding that compresses the ears after prolonged use.

The comfort and lightness come at a price though.

The plastic construction of the earcups, while light, makes the headphones look and feel a bit cheap.

The earcups can be folded in to fit the travel case that comes along with it, together with one AAA battery and an aeroplane stereo adapter. The case is made of a sturdy canvas that should protect the headphones from jostles and bumps as you go through airport security.

It is meant to be for travelling, be it on long plane rides or commutes, but it has one small design flaw. When hooked around my neck, the width of the headphones is not wide enough, so I ended up walking around with the headphones choking me a little bit.

When you consider that top-line noise-cancelling headphones, like the Bose Quiet Comfort 25, retail for almost $500, the Aurvana ANC headphones are a good budget alternative.

•Verdict: An affordable, light and comfortable pair of headphones which will suit the average user who wants solid noise-cancellation performance at a budget.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Creative's affordable noise-cancelling headset'. Print Edition | Subscribe