Sound quality is something that regularly gets overlooked.
Everyone raves about the amazing picture quality of Blu-ray discs, for example. But how often do you hear anyone say anything about how good the audio is, even though it's utterly brilliant compared to what you get on a DVD?
Seeing is believing, as they say, and with sound… well, you can't see it, can you?
The human brain is much better at capturing visual memories than audio ones, too, so it's much easier to look at a TV and say 'that looks better than the other one' than to switch between headphones and work out which sounds better.
The way this usually pans out on the street is that people will drop £200 on a new iPod but they won't bother to buy a decent set or headphones to go with it.
The audio market is further muddied by the fact that there are many so-called premium audio brands out there that claim to offer studio-quality sound, while actually delivering something distinctly mediocre – Beats by Dr. Dre, anyone?
For those who care though, there are lots of genuinely brilliant earphone and headphone products out there. And we're happy to report that the Creative Aurvana In-ear3 earphones are pretty good, too.
They're noise-isolating rather than noise-cancelling, and they do a fantastic job of blocking out external noise. The PR blurb claims 98 per cent of outside noises are blocked by the 'AuraSeal' design and we can't fault them on this score. If noise isolation is top of your feature list, these earphones are about as good as it gets.
However, that's not to say they're the best earphones in the world. They're not.
We're always perplexed as to why some companies coat their cables in grippy rubber. Sure, it means the wires grip your clothes and don't jangle about as much when you're on the move. But the downside is that they're just so difficult to untangle when they emerge from a bag in inevitable and inexplicable super-knots.
Sound quality is head and shoulders above most bundled earphones, and obviously a lot better than ones that cost a bit less. Each unit packs two drivers, one a woofer and the other a tweeter. Bass, midrange and highs are all recreated smoothly without any imbalance.
But that price… these earphones cost £129.99 on launch, which is a lot of cash to drop on a pair of earphones. If you value sound quality though, and you've got money to spend, you probably wouldn't be disappointed by them.
That said, shop around a bit and you'll find some models in other ranges from the likes of Shure, which offer similar sound quality for a lot less cash.