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Last week I became the proud owner of a set of Creative Aurvana In-Ear2 earphones which retail for £89.99. And these are the proverbial “bee’s knees” – oxygen-free copper cabling and gold plated connections. They are also really quite light and compact.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who gets excited about unboxing, but the packaging for these headphones is superb. Considering the contents the box is not overly large and a window on the front shows off the earpieces. Open up the box and slide out the plastic surround and you will come across a small, neatly folded black cardboard box – this contains an assortment of eartips (2 pair of small, 1 pair of medium and 2 pair of large – the other medium pair are already on the earphones), aircraft adapter, cleaning device and some tiny manuals. Back in the main box there is a handy case which the earphones can be wound into.

My usual headphones of choice are a relatively cheap (£20-£30) pair of foam-pad earphones. The Aurvana’s, in comparison, come with rubber eartips and fit snugly in your ear canal. As a result up to 95% of sound is blocked. Like sticking fingers in your ears, though, you end up hearing your own breathing a lot louder – none-the-less it does provide a much quieter listening experience without the background noise.

There is some sound leakage from them but it’s not excessive.

I’ve tried the earphones with a selection of music from Will Young to The Prodigy and all sounded clear and detailed. I love the soundtrack to the recent Star Trek movie, so that had an airing – the chimes in the opening number, for instance, I’d never heard before. Nor had I heard the musicians making various noises in the background. I also tried them with a BBC audio Podcast and it was immediately obvious the improvement in sound as I heard every rustle of script paper and could tell where all the edit points were.

Now, I’ll admit, I’m no audiophile. But, thankfully, a friend is so I asked him to try them. He stores all his recorded music uncompressed and uses earphones that cost many hundreds of pounds (and this isn’t including the £100+ it cost to have some custom eartips made). He thought the Aurvanas were excellent for the money and particularly liked their small size. He found them comparable to Shure SE210 earphones, which have a price of £125 (and they are a lot bulkier in size).

[review]I think these really are excellent – they look and sound brilliant and are extremely well presented. It’s such a shame that, thanks to breaking my last MP3 player, I’m reduced to using them on my mobile phone![/review]

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