Technology

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 Review: Brilliant Playback With Iffy Noise-Canceling

Key Takeaways

  • The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 wireless earbuds have a flashy design and translucent aesthetic.
  • The earbuds feature a combination of 10mm dynamic drivers and xMEMS drivers, along with Qualcomm audio processing for high-quality sound.
  • The noise cancellation performance of the Aurvana Ace 2 is lackluster, but the earbuds offer decent battery life and can be customized through the Creative app.


There are hundreds of wireless earbuds to choose from, but the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 promise next-level listening with flashy cosmetics. While my own experience with them was more of a mixed bag than I was expecting, they are still a solid pair of buds.

The Creative Aurvana Ace 2

Creative Aurvana Ace 2

If you’re in the market for a solid set of wireless ANC earbuds for jamming out at the gym or listening to tunes at work, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 is in-ear hardware that mostly makes the grade.

Battery Life
6 hours (18 w/ case)

Charging Case Included?
Yes

Brand
Creative

Supported codecs
aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive, aptX, LC3, SBC, AAC

Bluetooth
5.3

Price
$150

IP Rating
IPX5

Solo bud mode?
No

Driver Size
10mm

Charging type
USB-C

Colors
Black and Transparent

Charging Port
USB-C

Noise Cancellation
Adaptive ANC, Ambient Aware

Pros

  • Crisp and punchy playback
  • Super-cool design
  • Solid companion app
  • Case supports wireless charging
Cons

  • Noise canceling could use some work
  • Touch points can be unresponsive
  • Not the best value

Design: A Translucent Showcase

Accessories of the Creative Aurvana Ace 2
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

I’m not the biggest fan of translucent peripherals, but I’m low-key into Creative’s decision to use see-through shells for both the Ace 2 earbuds and the charging case.

The earbuds are available in black, a color you’ll find on the backside of the driver chassis and stems. The silicone ear tips are black too, but all other parts of the bud casings are translucent. This makes for a cool steam-punk aesthetic that lets you take a gander at the internal drivers and wiring.

This also carries over to the charging case. I’m a big fan of seeing the copper-plated earbud holsters right through the shell. My only complaint is the case itself was a bit on the bulbous side, but that doesn’t detract from its portable nature. A USB-C port, LED indicator, and manual pairing button are located at the bottom. You’ll also be able to use it with wireless Qi chargers.

Other box contents include small and large ear tip sizes (mediums are already attached), a USB-C to USB-A cable, and a user manual.

Features and Controls: Qualcomm and xMEMS Run the Show

One Creative Aurvana Ace 2 earbud in front of its case
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

There are a few calling-card audio features to discuss, with one of the biggest being Creative’s two-fold approach to driver tech. Each earbud includes a 10mm dynamic driver and an xMEMS driver. The former takes care of the mid-range and low-end, while the latter handles most of the treble.

As for audio processing, Qualcomm runs the show here, handling everything from noise canceling to sound reproduction. Supported audio codecs include aptX Lossless (which delivers CD-quality bit-rates when paired with a compatible host device), aptX Adaptive, aptX, LC3, SBC, and AAC.

In terms of controls, playback, volume, EQ, and ANC toggling, are mapped to taps and long-presses on both earbud stems. These commands can all be customized in the Creative app. I did find the touchpoints to be a little finicky at times, especially when trying to space out my short and long taps.

The Ace 2 earbuds are also IPX5-rated, making them ideal for gym-going, the workplace, and everyday commutes.

Sound Quality: Dignified Delivery

The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 earbuds in their open case
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Ace 2 wireless earbuds. For playback tests, they were paired to my iPhone 12 and streamed tunes using Apple Music.

Dream Theater’s “Overture 1928” is a tour-de-force of instrumentation, featuring a medley of guitar and keyboard solos that take up most of the track’s runtime. The Ace 2 earbuds did an exceptional job at highlighting each instrument on the soundstage while delivering a punchy, low-end undercurrent.

The vocal performance was just as rewarding. Fiona Apple’s “Every Single Night” is a singer-songwriter showcase, with a light rhythm section and gentle xylophones dancing around Apple’s melodic lyrics. Listening through the Ace 2 buds brought added nuance to this track, making me feel like I was hearing the song at a chill café with solid acoustics.

Switching between different EQ presets in the Creative app brought some extra flavor to the table too. For what it’s worth, I particularly liked the “Music” and “Vocal” settings.

I also had a decent phone-call experience with the Ace 2 buds. With Adaptive ANC enabled, my girlfriend’s voice sounded a little compressed, but articulate enough to carry on a full conversation without asking for clarity. Her report back to me was that my own voice was a bit tinny but still audible.

Noise-Canceling: It Could Be Better

I hate to lead with the term “lackluster,” but it’s the adjective that fits best with the Aurvana Ace 2’s noise-canceling. Switching between Adaptive ANC, Ambient Aware, and no noise-canceling is handled with a triple tap to the left earbud stem (by default). You can also switch between these presets in the Creative app.

I had the best luck with Adaptive ANC, but it was nothing to write home about. When I first tested this setting, my apartment’s HVAC was running. The Ace 2 buds did a decent job at pulling out some of the low-end rumbling of the air system, but the sound of my girlfriend’s hair dryer received zero dampening. I completely strayed away from using the Ambient Aware, because when active, there was a constant hiss in the background.

Battery Life: Meets Industry Standards

Creative claims the Aurvana Ace 2 earbuds should last up to 6 hours on a single charge (with Adaptive ANC enabled), with an extra 18 hours provided by a fully-charged case. These projections seem to be the norm for ANC earbuds at the $150 price point.

That being said, it would have been nice to get an extra six hours from the charging case. But as far as recharging goes, it was nice to have the option of wired or wireless. For the fastest re-up though, I’d carry a portable charger with USB-C ports.

Using the Creative App: Keeping it Simple

The Creative app (for iPhone and Android) isn’t a necessary addition to your Aurvana Ace 2 experience, but it’s still a worthwhile download. After detecting the Ace 2 buds, the main screen shows a battery life breakdown for each earbud, along with “Equalizer,” “Ambient Control,” and “Custom Buttons” tabs.

When you select the equalizer, you’ll be able to customize your own sound profile by adjusting bass and treble sliders, or by dragging and dropping white dots on the EQ matrix. You can also choose from a number of Creative audio presets by tapping “Flat” in the top-left corner of the screen.

The Ambient Control dashboard lets you switch between the Ace 2’s three noise-canceling presets. Unfortunately, there’s no option here to disable the adaptive part of the ANC setting, which some folks may want. The Custom Buttons dashboard lets you assign customized double, triple, and long tap commands to each bud stem.

Tapping the gear icon on the Home Screen will take you to the settings dashboard, where you’ll be able to download the latest firmware updates for the Aurvana Ace 2.

Should You Buy the Creative Aurvana Ace 2?

While I can’t quite call the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 a boutique set of wireless ANC earbuds, they’re definitely a unique alternative to flagship in-ear options from the likes of Apple and Sony.

They look cool, sound great, and can be personalized through an intuitive companion app. Considering the ANC performance though, I do think these buds are a tad overpriced.

The Creative Aurvana Ace 2

Creative Aurvana Ace 2

If you’re in the market for a solid set of wireless ANC earbuds for jamming out at the gym or listening to tunes at work, the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 is in-ear hardware that mostly makes the grade.

Battery Life
6 hours (18 w/ case)

Charging Case Included?
Yes

Brand
Creative

Supported codecs
aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive, aptX, LC3, SBC, AAC

Bluetooth
5.3

Price
$150

IP Rating
IPX5

Solo bud mode?
No

Driver Size
10mm

Charging type
USB-C

Colors
Black and Transparent

Charging Port
USB-C

Noise Cancellation
Adaptive ANC, Ambient Aware

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