Review: Avara AV3 – Accessibly Neutral

Avara AV3

 

Sound

Bass presentation is of lighter body, slightly south of neutral with good extension. Yet it does not reach the deepest to give a satisfying sub-bass rumble for people that are looking for that, the existing sub-bass in the AV3 is softer and might be better of with some more power in it. However the mid-bass and upper-bass presentation is very nice and controlled. It shows good texture yet could be tighter for my taste. Bass shows good resolution, especially for the asking price. Bass heads might turn away from the AV3 unsatisfied, yet the AV3 is not about knocking out teeth with bass quantity.

Mids are smooth and well resolutioned, but can come across as a little hollow at times. What Avara did realize indeed very well is instrumental separation, there is a great sense of space in the constructed sound stage with good amounts of air between the individual musicians. Speaking of sound stage, I am unsure if I ever heard a bigger stage in a monitor of this price range. It stretches well in width and depth but lacks height. Voices are well centered with good left/right imaging. What I’m missing here is body and soul. The entire midrange is rather uncolored and dry, what can be seen as a good characteristic, yet can also cause a less enjoyable signature over time.

Avara AV3

Avara AV3

Treble for my taste could use more energy and sparkle. I tend to like brighter signatures a bit more, as long as high notes have decent warmth in them. The AV3’s treble is neutral with a slight laid back sound. It is soft and not intrusive. You won’t be smacked with energy or sharpness, this makes sure you won’t run into any sibilances when you listen to your favourite tracks. Treble is not very extended or airy, but for the price it’s going for, we can’t want more.

Avara says the AV3 is a great all-rounder, suitable for any genre. I find this statement is pretty accurate, with mild exclusions. The AV3’s softer, slight neutral signature is not going to stand in the way of many genres.

Aftermarket cables

Cables are such a nice audiophile day-destroyer. Either you fight with your life to defend the sonic benefits of them, or you are in the opposite situation and declare them as bottled snake oil without any scientific evidence. Personally it took a while until I found myself in the pro-cables camp. Around two weeks ago even one of my, absolutely not audiophile, colleagues could hear the effect of cables on one of my universal IEMs I borrowed him, because he took care of some work I had no time for. I think, it comes down to a good number of factors that play into the process of finding a cable’s sound. The most important is always the monitor and how well it responds to cable-rolling.
The AV3 in my opinion shows the effects very well. It responds particularly well to Copper based wires. I also found that they enhance all the parts I criticized just before.

Avara AV3

Avara AV3

Effect Audio – Ares II (8-wire)

I recently was handed this bespoke cable from Effect Audio. It counts double the wires as it’s „regular“ counterpart. The Ares II enhances overall body and emotions, resizes the sound stage to a wider and deeper degree, and adds a number of clarity to the picture. It brings in more control to the lower segments and lifts them a touch for a more dynamic signature. The entire sound becomes more enjoyable and fun to my ears.

plusSoundX (Gold Plated Copper)

The X-series cable is such a treat for every on-the-go audiophile. It is hyper lightweight and vanishes once the monitors are inserted. The GPC X offers great transparency for a dual-wire cable. It softens treble a bit, but gives it a richer tonality. Bass gets elevated to a more dynamic point, with tighter punch and more control. AV3’s sound stage does go deeper and a touch wider with better layering and imaging.

plusSound – X8 (Tri-Copper)

The Tri-Copper is an industry solo with its three Copper based materials used for each wire. I doubt there is anyone out ther going the tripple route for any of their cables. PlusSound does not follow the general mainstream. The X8 is one of my favourite cables for a lush and emotional sound, spectacular mids and visceral bass. The AV3 is elevated with more emotions and body. The stage stretches noticeably wider and deeper.

Avara AV3

Avara AV3

Conclusion

We have seen many companies trying to push the boundaries for the best possible sound, and everyone seems to be focused on releasing one high priced model after another. It is refreshing to see companies such as Avara trying to redefine what is possible in lower segments and offer their customers good sounding gear at very affordable price points.
The AV3 is such an example, it convinces with good technicalities and versatility yet is kept back by the cable it comes with. Hook it up to a nice Copper based cable such as the Effect Audio Ares II and enjoy a rounder and fuller sound.

The AV3 comes packed with good transparency, instrumental separation and layering and a neutral sound that will suit many audiophiles. For a relatively new company, I think Avara has done a good job. There are a few things they should address in build quality though. For the insane low price Avara sells the AV3 for, I think it’s safe to say it will find a good number of people that will enjoy the AV3.

4.7/5 - (123 votes)

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

14 Comments

  • Reply May 25, 2018

    Jonathan Z Bernabe

    Looking at their IEM builder they have a model called the AV1LE (Lite Edition) which dips below 100 USD. Will you guys be reviewing those too? I’m curious of how they sound.

    • Reply May 25, 2018

      Linus

      Oh I didn’t notice that one. Thanks for the pointer.
      Currently there’s no plan for it, but that doesn’t mean we won’t ever 🙂

      • Reply May 27, 2018

        Jonathan Z Bernabe

        No problem, hope you guys get to review them soon 🙂

  • Reply May 25, 2018

    Dan

    Hi, how would you compare these to the Lear Turbo or even the Jomo Haka? Considering they are right smacked in between those two price wise.

    • Reply May 25, 2018

      Linus

      I agree, it would be great to compare them, yet all of them are handled by different people here.
      Lear is Berkhan and Haka was covered by Lieven.
      So I unfortunately can’t offer you the comparison. Sorry.

  • Reply June 14, 2018

    Kidd

    Hi Linus, is there any universal IEM you would compare this with around that price range? I’m interested on buying one, but still thinking if the universal IEMs on that price range would sound better than the AV3. Thanks!

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Linus

      Hey Kidd,

      thanks for your comment.
      I’m currently test driving the new AK/JH Billie Jean and it is fantastic. It goes for 350$ I think, so just a little more than the Avara.

      • Reply June 15, 2018

        Kidd

        Review for the Billie Jean will be out soon, I suppose? Would you be so kind to put the detailed comparison between the AV3 and the Billie Jean on the review?

        Looking forward for your review of the AK/JH Billie Jean. Thanks Linus!

        • Reply June 15, 2018

          Linus

          No problem. 🙂

          There are some other products in the queue before the Billie Jean, but it will be published soon, yes.

          I will include a comparison to the AV3.

          • Reply August 2, 2018

            Brian

            In your initial impressions of the Billie Jean, would you choose these over the CIEM Avara AV3? Do you like the Billie Jean more than the Michelle?

            • Reply August 2, 2018

              Linus

              Hi Brian,

              thanks for your comment.
              Yes, my impressions of Billie Jean are more positive than with AV3. I have never heard Michelle, sorry.

              • Reply August 2, 2018

                Brian

                Oh the Michelle’s are just Astell’s next step up above the Billie Jean’s (they used to be their cheapest offering before the Billie Jean’s came out).

                What are some of the advantages of the Billie Jean over the AV3? Sorry I know you’ll publish a detailed comparison soon but I’m about to pull the trigger on one of them for my birthday in a week so I just wanted to pick your brain a bit.

                • Reply August 3, 2018

                  Linus

                  Yeah, I know what Michelle is, but I still haven’t heard it 😉

                  To me Billie Jean is just more alive, fuller, has great bass and more energetic treble.

                  • Reply August 3, 2018

                    Brian

                    My bad, I somehow read “I have never heard OF Michelle” instead of “I have never heard Michelle” lol. Thanks for your feedback! I’m gonna go down to my local Astell & Kern dealer this weekend and try them out!

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