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Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Exceptional but flawed

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 review: Exceptional but flawed

Creative Aurvana Ace 2

The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 uses a new solid-state driver that produces a surprising level of clarity and detail that you probably won't find in earbuds at this price range (S$219). While the sound is exceptional, the Ace 2 has its share of flaws and quirks. They aren't deal-breakers for me, but there's definitely room for improvement, starting with the Creative app.

Quick specs

  • Two-driver system with xMEMS driver and 10mm dynamic driver
  • Adaptive hybrid ANC and ambient mode
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • 6 hours of playtime without ANC, 24 hours total playtime with case

Despite its name, the Aurvana Ace 2 is not a sequel. Instead, the Ace 2 is a higher-end model (S$219) that supports AptX Lossless, has adaptive hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC), and comes in a translucent black and copper finish. In comparison, the Ace (S$189) has a more mundane black and copper, doesn't support AptX Lossless, and uses hybrid (no adaptive) ANC. Both are otherwise identical in just about every other way, from the design to the two-driver system (featuring the new xMEMS driver and a 10mm dynamic driver) that's the key selling point. These earbuds are the first in the market to feature xMEMS' solid-state drivers, which are silicon-based Micro-Electromechanical System (MEMS) speakers that promises, among other things, greater clarity, better audio separation, and IP58 dust and water resistance.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2
Translucent, not transparent like the Nothing earbuds. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Do these earbuds fulfill those promises? Well, you probably won't find better-sounding earbuds at this price. The Ace 2 produces plenty of detail and clarity in the highs. The mids and lower notes are apparently produced by the 10mm dynamic drivers because the the xMEMS drivers can't do it yet. But here's the thing: I preferred the sound with ANC, even if it feels more enclosed. The bass is more tight and punchy, while the vocals sound more intimate. Without ANC, the sound is more open, but the highs are more diffuse. I also experienced a fair bit of wind noise during brisk walks using these earbuds without ANC. It could just be my personal preference, but try them out in a store if possible. The ANC is middling. It reduces some noise, but doesn't cancel the lower frequencies to the same extent as other, albeit more expensive earbuds.

Creative Aurvana Ace 2
The black and copper design certainly makes the wireless charging case stand out. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The Ace 2 also supports LE Audio, which uses a new LC3 codec, and promises better sound, and lower latency, while being more power-efficient. I tested the Ace 2 with the Pixel 8 Pro, which supports LE Audio. But there's a catch: The Creative app currently doesn't connect to the earbuds if you're using LE Audio. I had to switch to Bluetooth Classic if I want to use the app, and play with the equaliser. However, here's another quirk — the earbuds won't automatically connect to the Pixel on Bluetooth Classic. It only connects automatically in LE Audio. Hopefully, Creative can fix this soon, and also improve the app. Because the app is currently good only for adjusting the sound profile, and maybe re-assigning the touch gestures. For starters, how about giving users the ability to adjust the ANC level like some other Creative headphones?

I also found the touch controls for the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 to be rather finicky. There are times when it wouldn't register a tap or be a fraction slower to respond. But I never really liked using touch controls anyway. Creative's control scheme is also slightly different from other brands, which takes some getting used to. I have no complaints about the battery life, which is more than decent. I feel Creative could have added in-ear detection, though. But perhaps I'm being too greedy here. After all, the Ace 2 is only S$219. Some shortcomings and quirks are acceptable at this price range, especially when it punches above its weight in the sound department. Get it now from Creative's online store.

See Also
Creative Katana SE

Note: Review set provided by Creative.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Excellent clarity and detail, but middling ANC, and software quirks

Buy it from Creative

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