Creative continues to punch itself into the headphone space with an update to their Aurvana In-Ear models, appropriately named the In-Ear 2. As the name suggests, they are an in-ear model, making bold claims of blocking 95% of external noise, but not offering any active noise cancellation like the Creative EP-3NC we looked at recently.
The construction is typically solid as you'd expect at this price point. The body of the headphones is formed from metal and finished in grey; they are sombre and serious in appearance, but look rather elegant at the same time. Distinctive to the design, and boasting to boost the audio performance is the grill on the rear of each unit. They look and feel like good quality, which is what you want from a set of headphones.
With a gold plug and oxygen-free copper cables, you'll find the body of the plug housing and cable divide are equally well-crafted. The cable gives you a total length of 130cm, plenty for average listening. The ear buds are light in weight too and we found them comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
In terms of accessories you aren't neglected either. You get a choice of silicon tips, with three different sizes and two sets of each, so if you are prone to losing them, you'll at least have a spare set. We found that the larger set of tips gave us a very comfortable fit; a good fit is essential for getting the best performance out of this type of in-ear headphone.
You also get a clamshell type case which opens to reveal a cable winder, so you can easily store your headphones safely. The customary cleaning tool is also included, useful if you are prone to the build-up of ear wax as it gives you something to dig the gunk out of your 'phones. Needless to say, that has never been a problem for this reviewer.
That claim of 95% noise blocking needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. If you can't achieve a snug fit, then it won't be possible and although Creative have tested these claims, in the real world it will come down to your ears and how well the headphones fit. The aim is to ensure that you don't have to turn the volume up to drown out everyday background noise and particularly aircraft noise. A double jack adapter for aircraft is also supplied for those who travel, although the storage case doesn't house this accessory.
With an excellent fit, we found the Aurvana In-Ear 2 lived up to their claims, effectively blocking external noise without us having to crank up the volume. The other advantage that a good fit brings with it is the enhanced delivery of bass. The notable downside is that any movement in the cable will be transferred up the wire and into your ears, so if you are walking, be prepared to hear and feel the cable moving around.
We tested the Aurvana In-Ear 2 headphones with a range of music across various genres. The In-Ear 2s coped well with those tracks that pushed a heavy bass line adding the depth that is sometimes missing from dance music with cheaper headphones. But it doesn't push the bass too far, so it doesn't overpower other types of music that are less dependent on their bass line.
As all-round headphones, we found the Aurvana In-Ear 2 to deliver rich and detailed audio. They don't offer the same sort of delivery as over the ear headphones do, but as we had achieved a perfect fit, we were very impressed with the quality of the audio. Equally they performed well with a range of movies and TV, again bringing plenty of detail and depth to movie soundtracks.
Comfortable, good quality construction, great sounding audio and with those little extras like the case and accessories, the Aurvana In-Ear 2s should be a serious consideration for those looking to upgrade their headphones without stepping over the £100 mark.
Pitched in at £90, you can be sure to find them for less online and should be a serious consideration if you are looking for a set of in-ear headphones. Cable noise is a given downside for this type of headphone and some might prefer foam tips rather than the supplied silicon, but for us, the Creative Aurvana In-Ear 2 headphones performed extremely well.