I get a lot of headphones to try out, but don't be jealous, most aren't all that interesting. Not bad, just very average so there's nothing at all memorable about most of them.
When I popped on these Creative Aurvana Trio headphones my ears perked right up, however. The sound was anything but ordinary. The clarity and open quality was special, and truly remarkable for a headphone that retails for $150 (£130).
The Trio is, naturally enough, a three-way design, with two balanced armature drivers and one bio-cellulose low frequency driver in each earpiece. You get three different sizes of silicone ear tips, and a pair of foam tips, and I found the Trio's angled earpieces unusually comfortable. The user-replaceable cables, with inline one button remote and microphone is compatible with iOS and Android phones. The cables are designed to hang straight down, not go up and over your ears. The headphone comes with a one year warranty and a hard carry case.
I started listening to the Trio with R.E.M.'s first album Murmur, it felt downright jaunty, the band is so limber and free, and Michael Stipe's vocals were assured. The Trio made the most of the music.
The Isle of Dogs film soundtrack unleashed an army of drums and percussion instruments pounding inside my head, in a good way. It's an usually good sounding recording I use to suss out the differences between headphones. In this case the Trio and the 1More Triple Driver ($100) that also uses two balanced armature drivers and a dynamic driver in each earpiece. Both headphones were exceptional in the portrayal of the big bass drums, but the Trio pulled ahead with the clarity of the sound of the chanting male chorus, and the wood blocks, high bells and other percussion instruments. The Trio's superlative transparency made all the difference in this showdown.
I also noted I could listen at fairly quiet volume levels and still hear extraordinary detail. Mind you the Trio doesn't rely on overemphasized treble to create a false impression of detail, it just sounds very neutral and pure at any volume.
One issue that bothered me was the Trio has one of the more tangle prone cables I've used, even when I took time to carefully wrap the cables after each use I still had to spend a minute or two detangling them before I could start listening again. Noise isolation on the NYC subway was a little below average for this type of headphone.
I fell for the Creative Aurvana Trio big time, because it checked all of the audiophile boxes: It's transparent, spacious, bass is clean, treble is unhyped and pure, it's all good. But if you're hankering for big and boomy bass and overly crisp highs the Trio might sound a tad bland. As always sound quality is a matter of taste, and the Trio was mighty tasty for me.