Creative Aurvana Live! A Classic Reincarnate Page 2

The inside of the two headphones; CAL! on right, Denon D1001 on left.

Sound Quality
Dayum! The Creative Aurvana Live! sounds great! Overall these cans have a warm tilt with a bit of excitement up top. The bass extension is very good, though could be a little bit tighter sounding. The bass is tastefully accentuated, but not bloated or wooly in the least. The mids connect very naturally to the low notes and would call them excellent but for being slightly overshadowed by the happy highs. The treble, though a tad prominent is very well controlled and articulate, and only slightly edgy on occasion.

Treble clarity and coherence does deliver a good sense of depth with these headphones, and the imaging is good as well. The dynamics are good but not great, missing out on the last bit of needed tightness in the lows to achieve that status.

When compared to the similarly priced and also excellent Sony MDR-ZX700, I found the Sony to have a stronger and more organically balanced mid-range; possibly superior for vocals. But the Sony's bass was not as satisfactory as the CAL!. I slightly prefered the CAL! to the Shure SRH440 and Audio Technica ATH-M50 due to the less aggressive highs.

All-in-all the sonic performance of these headphones is simply outstanding for the price, and would still be a contender at five times the price.


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response measurements show a a headphone that achieves a consistent seal with position. Low frequency extension is excellent. From 70Hz to 6000Hz the headphone has a warmish tilt and is only mildly lumpy. The spike centered at 10kHz is quite typical for headphones and does contribute to the slightly bright sound of these cans, but it is mild compared to many headphones of this type.

30Hz square wave echos the FR in showing good bass extension. Fairly flat top and not going below zero shows good phase relationship and indicates potential for tight bass, but elevated THD in the lows contraindicates tight bass. In listening tests the bass was very good but not great.

300Hz square wave shows modest overshoot, well within the norm but indicating slightly emphasized treble, which was heard. Modest ringing after edges can indicate grainy sound sometimes, but impulse response shows clean impulse with minor undershoot and fairly rapid settling. Graininess was not heard. Both impulse and 300Hz square wave response are quite good results.

Fairly even 35 Ohm impedance with 39mVrms to reach 90dB makes these a headphone easy to drive from portables, but Isolation is poor with -8dB broadband attenuation making this not a very good headphone for travel and commuting.

Previous incarnation Denon AH-D1001 measurement spreadsheet here shows both strong similarity and some significant differences between cans. Performance of the CAL! is markedly superior in my view.

Summary The Creative Aurvana Live! is simply a great little headphone for general purpose use around the home, office, or campus. The sound quality from these cans is terrific, delivering lively highs, potent bass, and good balance overall. They are bound to satisfy many listeners with their happy sound.

Though it's low isolation prevents me from recommending it as a travel or portable headphone, they do provide enough isolation to mute indoor noise, and dampen sound radiated from the cans outward to others.

I highly recommend these cans for general use, and hope like hell Creative continues to have them built for a long time to come.

Resources after the video!

Link to foster product page of basic headphone from which the CAL! comes.
Product page on Creative site.
Head-Fi CAL! review here and thread here.

Creative Labs Inc.
1901 McCarthy Boulevard
Milpitas, CA 95035
408 428 6600

donunus's picture

Are these still being made? I thought they got discontinued along with the d1001

donunus's picture

If they did get reissued, can you give us a link of where to buy them?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Here's the link to the product at the Creative store:

It's at Amazon as well. I got it from Creative's internal PR guy who didn't mention anything. I'll check again, but it seems they're still being made.

donunus's picture


pulleyking's picture

How does the soundstage performance of these headphones compare to the ATH-M50, and is the treble on the ATH-M50 really that harsh?

DT48's picture

Nice appraisal! The Foster microfibre driver of the Denons has always intrigued me. I bought the Aurvana Live and damped the cups somewhat, but still feel that it is a bit too bass heavy. Still excellent sound and hard to beat at the price.

gurubhai's picture

The Denon D1001 were my first serious headphones a few years back & I really enjoyed them for a long while. The mid-bass was a tad bloated, but that can be fixed by a little felt on the back of the driver.
The soundstage was very good for a closed can.
Overall, excellent sound apart from a 'plasticky' treble( most mid/low end dynamic headphones have this issue so not really a complaint at this price point) & a bit laid-back mids.

Its interesting that after trying out various headphones over the years, I have landed on another Foster OEM as my current headphone.
This is the NAD RP18, an OEM of legendary Fostex T50 circa 1977, similar to the Aiwa HP-500 that Tyll recently reviewed.

uaciaut's picture

Do you happen to know if Creative has since changed the driver behind the CAL's? I.E. is the current model still using the technical design of the Denon 1001's?
I'm looking to make a purchase soon and as it will be quite substantial to me i want to make sure i know what i'm buying and it's good.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
The model tested was current at time of writing. Doubt it will have changed.
uaciaut's picture

Got spooked because of the "Pricing, product specifications and availability are subject to change without notice. Package contents may vary according to the different regions." message.

Specs say the driver is "40mm Neodymium magnet with composite bio-cellulose diaphragm", sounds about right?

Junebugbaker's picture

Was wondering if you had tested the Aurvana 3 in-ear headphones. I'm looking for the best pair I can get under $250 and came across these but haven't found much about them.

donunus's picture

Tyll, do you like these as much or more than the momentum's? :)