Creative does a great job with value-focused soundbars and speaker systems, and while its wireless earbuds don’t get quite as much attention, that’s about to change. The Aurvana Ace 2 are the first earbuds to feature solid-state silicon drivers, and they aim to deliver life-like sound that’s better than just about every other product in this segment.
Like Creative’s other earbuds, value is a big part of what makes the Aurvana Ace 2 stand out. Even though they include an xMEMS solid-state driver and all the extras you can think of, they’re available at just $149 — a relative bargain considering the number of features you’re getting. I used these earbuds for 10 days, and here’s why I think they’re worthy of consideration.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: Price and release date
Creative unveiled the Aurvana Ace series on November 9, and the earbuds are now up for pre-order at Creative’s website, with sales kicking off December 26. Creative has two models on sale; the standard Aurvana Ace has hybrid ANC and misses out on the AptX Lossless codec, and it has a more muted design without all the bold accents. The Aurvana Ace is available for $129, while the Aurvana Ace 2 is selling for $149.
I’m not too keen on the naming of these products, as it somehow suggests that the Ace 2 is the second-generation version of the Aurvana Ace — that is not the case. Both earbuds use the same xMEMS driver, deliver the same caliber of sound, connect over Bluetooth 5.3, and have IPX5 water resistance. Other than the differences I outlined above, they’re identical.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: Design
This isn’t evident from the marketing materials, but the Aurvana Ace 2 have a see-through outer shell that looks fantastic. The shell of the case is also see-through, and you get a good look at the batteries housed within. Obviously, Nothing is the brand that comes to mind when you think of transparent earbuds, and while Creative isn’t as aggressive about marketing the Ace 2 as such, the design is clearly striking.
What I particularly like about the design is that you can actually see the drivers — which isn’t possible on the Ear (2). In fact, the translucent design works in the favor of the earbuds as you just get a little glance of the innards, and it doesn’t dominate the attention.
The Ace 2 have a copper accent at the back that gives the earbuds just a little bit of flair. If anything, the case is the star of the show here, as the generous use of copper makes it dazzle. I don’t think it looks ostentatious, but then again, I like to add RGB lighting to just about everything, so if a minimalist design that isn’t too showy is what you’re after, you should take a look at the standard Aurvana Ace.
On that note, the Aurvana Ace have the same dimensions as the Ace 2, and the only difference is that the earbuds and case don’t have the translucent design. The fit, controls, and all the other features are the same. You get IPX5 ingress protection as standard on both the Ace and Ace 2, and that makes the earbuds a good choice if you’re looking at workout-focused options.
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The rest of the design of the Ace 2 is standard fare; you get an elongated stalk, the shell rests in your inner ear without exerting much pressure, so the earbuds are comfortable to wear for an extended duration. They’re also extremely light; each earbud weighs just 4.7g, and the total weight including the case is 46g.
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The case is easily pocketable, and the translucent design really makes it stand out. It doesn’t have the same IPX5 rating as the earbuds, but that’s not a huge omission. Overall, Creative did a stellar job with the design of the Aurvana Ace and Ace 2, and the earbuds (and the case) immediately grab attention.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: Features and connectivity
The Aurvana Ace 2 aren’t lacking in this area, with Creative outfitting the earbuds with pretty much all the features you could ask for. They pair over Bluetooth 5.3, and in the two weeks I tested the earbuds, they had rock-solid connectivity. I used both earbuds with the Pixel 8 Pro and iQOO 12, and I got decent range with no issues around connectivity.
You get decent ANC on the Ace 2, and it was able to effectively tune out low-frequency sounds. Like other earbuds, it struggles with high-pitched noises, but in everyday use cases involving traffic and ambient noise, these earbuds do a fantastic job. You also get a lot of codecs, including SBC, AAC, AptX, AptX Adaptive, and AptX Lossless, so if you want to stream high-res music, these are a good alternative. Of course, you’ll also need a phone that has the requisite codec.
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What’s also great is the level of control you get in customizing the sound. Creative has a parametric EQ, and while you can just use the preset modes, you get the option to fine-tune the EQ to your liking, and it’s great — other brands should take note (yes, I know Wavelet exists).
That said, there are a few drawbacks, notably around gesture controls. You get a large gesture control area over the stalk of each earbud, and while you can change what each action does, I found the controls to be very finicky. They wouldn’t register most of the time, and the few times I was able to trigger an action, it took a while to register. The only other feature where they’re lacking in is auto play/pause — the music doesn’t automatically pause when you take these buds out of your ear. The feature needs a dedicated sensor, and Creative hasn’t bothered with it.
The Ace 2 manage to last a decent amount of time between charges, and I got close to the six-hour figure touted by Creative. The case holds another three charges worth of power, so in total, you can get up to 24 hours of music playback before having to plug the case in. On that note, the has wireless charging — you can see the coil on the Ace 2 — and you can charge the earbuds on the back of a phone that has reverse wireless charging without any issues whatsoever.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: Technology
The biggest talking point with the Ace 2 is that they use xMEMS solid-state drivers. They also have a traditional dynamic driver, so think of the arrangement this way: the 10mm dynamic driver does a lot of the heavy lifting — it’s tuned for bass and mid-range — and the xMEMS driver fills in the gaps, hitting the frequencies the traditional driver isn’t able to resolve.
This isn’t a new idea either; a lot of IEMs — including the likes of the Letshuoer Cadenza 12 — use a hybrid driver configuration where they combine dynamic drivers with Knowles balanced armature (BA) drivers. Knowles BA drivers are lighter and offer better fidelity than a dynamic driver, so they’re the go-to choice for most audio brands in the IEM segment. That said, they still rely on a lot of moving parts.
That’s what makes the xMEMS tech so exciting. The MEMS driver used in the Aurvana Ace 2 doesn’t have any moving parts, and as a result, it is tiny — it’s about a quarter of the size of Knowles BA drivers. It has silicon membranes that are sandwiched between a piezoelectric layer, and an electrical signal passing through this layer moves the silicon membrane up and down, producing sound.
This approach has a lot of advantages; the smaller size of the xMEMS driver means audio makers can add larger batteries to earbuds, and as there are no moving parts, the design is inherently water-resistant without the need for adding any coating over the driver. There are inherent gains when it comes to the production of these drivers as well. As they’re made out of silicon, they’re fabricated at a foundry, and they’re uniformly consistent — there’s no need for calibration.
Now you have a broad overview of how the tech works, let’s get down to the sound quality of the Aurvana Ace 2.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: Sound quality
I was excited to take a look at the Ace 2 because of the xMEMS driver, and to their credit, the earbuds manage to deliver. The sound you get here is among the fullest of any product in this segment, and it’s clear that the solid-state driver has a lot of potential.
You get a good bass with decent extension, and while the Ace 2 aren’t as exaggerated in this area as the Ear (2) or the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, they have good rumble and vibrancy. Mids are detailed and have plenty of body, and you get excellent instrument separation. But it’s the treble where you’ll notice the biggest difference from other earbuds; the Ace 2 have a wonderful treble extension that lets you hear little nuances in a track, and they’re particularly well-suited to rock and heavy metal — obviously, I like how these sound.
There’s no sibilance to the sound, and on balance, I think Creative did a brilliant job with the tuning out of the box. Of course, you can always tweak the sound via the EQ, but even without changing a single thing, you’re guaranteed to like the way these earbuds sound. The Ace 2 really come into their own when listening to high-res music, and while there are earbuds that sound better — the Momentum 3 come to mind — you don’t get anything for $149 that comes close.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: The competition
Solid-state drivers are heading to a lot of wireless earbuds over the course of the next 12 months, but right now, Creative is first out of the box with the Aurvana Ace 2. So if you want to take a look at what the tech has to offer, this is the only game in town. And if you want recommendations on wireless earbuds in the $150 segment, I like the design and sound quality of the Ear (2).
The Ear (2) aren’t as refined as the Aurvana Ace 2, and they don’t last as long between charges. But other than that, they sound good, look pretty distinctive, and have a lot of features.
Status Audio’s Between 3 is also a decent alternative, with the earbuds offering great sound quality and a design that looks distinctive.
Creative Aurvana Ace 2: Should you buy?
You should buy this if:
- You need earbuds with incredible sound
- You need ANC
- You want customizable EQ
- You’re looking for lightweight earbuds that are comfortable to wear
- You need a great value
You shouldn’t buy this if:
- You use gesture controls a lot
- You need auto play/pause
Overall, the Aurvana Ace 2 are a great choice even without the xMEMS drivers. They have a great design, comfortable fit, sound great, and deliver good ANC with an ambient mode that’s easy to toggle, and you get IPX5 ingress protection with all the high-res codecs you need.
Combine all of that with a customizable sound, engaging dynamics, and an excellent value, and the Aurvana Ace 2 have all the ingredients to take on the best wireless earbuds in this segment.