There are plenty of decent closed-back headphones hovering around the $100 mark. But I haven’t heard anything that hits the same of price/performance nirvana as the Creative Aurvana Live. Not only does this full-size headphone offer a supremely comfortable design, you’ll also get fantastic fidelity that belies its ridiculously low price tag. Dissect these cans and you’ll find a big part of why they sound so great — the CAL is equipped with the same famous (to headphone geeks, at least) drivers that graced the now-defunct Denon AD-H1001, another closed-back budget-friendly headphone in the $100 realm.
Like the latter, the CAL’s sound manages to be exquisitely detailed and open for headphone in this price range. It’s not quite as bright as the Shure, but man, if you’re a fan of electronic or hip-hop music — or anything with a synth in it — this will definitely be your new favorite everyday headphone. My only real gripe has to do with the CAL’s isolation — there kind of isn’t much of it. While they were fine for home and office listening, once out in the real world, I found a lot more unwanted sounds tended to creep into the ear cups. This is a shame, because after listening to the CAL you really will want to take it everywhere with you. It may not be clinical, but this is definitely one fun headphone.