Exciting and agile
The AV3 strikes a very good balanced of everything that affects the sound quality. Nothing goes out of proportion.
There is no aspect of its SQ which invites any type of criticism while delivering very good amount of details, fantastic resolution and transparency with a neutral tonality.
Matching with sources
feel inside the ear
Not many are aware of Avara customs, while talking with some of my fellow audiophile friends I discovered that barely any of them were aware of this brand. Coming out of Indonesia they take pride in being the maker of “The first affordable CIEM in Indonesia”. Their CIEM lineup starts with Avara AV1Lite which is priced at just $99 (I haven’t seen a CIEM for a price as low as this) it is essentially the cheapest CIEM I have ever seen listed on a brands website.
They put the customer first and in their words:-
“Avara Custom is designed to provide customers with best sounding CIEM/Universal IEM with most affordable prices and fastest production lead time (3 working days)”
They have released a new electrostatic hybrid earphone Avara ES T-6, currently being reviewed by @DEEZEL.
I am covering the Avara AV3, their best selling earphone, available in custom and universal shell types, it houses 3BA drivers, one for bass, mids and highs each, incorporated in a dual bore design is priced at $340 for both the universal and custom versions. One can choose the shell color and faceplate design irrespective of their choice version.
In their words:-
“Avara AV3 is Custom In Ear Monitor with 3 Balanced Armature Drivers. Avara AV3 reproduces deep and enhanced bass response, engaging vocals and smooth highs. Avara AV3 is really good for genre like pop, rock, trance, hip hop thanks to extra low driver.”
The AV3 faces tough competition from a plethora of earphones, I don’t have a lot of earphones in this price range but I will compare the AV3 with TFZ Secret Garden 3 and Fibae Black.
Head in here to order your AV3:-
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:-
First thing that greets us out of the box is the ownership card which has the date of manufacture, serial number, owner’s name and testament signature of QC. Below that are an AVARA sticker and an informative booklet with information about the brand.
Under the documentation is the carry case, the earphone and 3 pair of ear tips in S/M/L sizes are placed inside that. Beside the case are a few interesting things. It is not common for CIEM brands to ship earphones with a key ring, I have seen this but it is not very common. There is a leather cable strap, bigger than average but that makes the earphone stand out from the lot. Stuck to the cable strap is the cleaning too.
I would have liked a few more pair of tips but these CIEM brands barely ship with more than 3 pair of tips with their universal earphones.
HOW IS THE BUILD QUALITY:-
Earphones in this price range either use plastic or metal as their shell. Coming from a house of custom earphones the Avara AV3 is just a custom type earphone with universal nozzle, it has layers of resin as the shell material giving it a more premium and custom type feel. The nozzle lip is uncharacteristically rounded and one can fit T200 size tips on it.
The build fells very sturdy, I look it on an 11 day tour where it went through tough situations and 5 feet falls on airport floors and it survived to tell the tale, this shows what to expect from it. Just don’t put brute force on it and it will survive without much problem.
Being a semi custom earphone, one can choose the shell color and faceplates of their own choice (some of them are chargeable), but the options to customize is limited, you can’t choose between MMCX and 2pin, it will be 2pin. You can’t chose any other type of cables either, you have to stick with the stock grey cable. What is personalize able is the face plate, you can send in your design and they will put it on it.
Get to this link to customize your unit.
HOW IS THE CABLE:-
The cable here is a common cable with brands like Custom Art, InEar and a few other Chi-Fi brands. This cable is not bad at all but all these brands can use something slightly better looking maybe, maybe be something without wire inserted cable guides.
Even if they don’t decide to change this cable is not bad by a long shot. I have experienced reasonably priced aftermarket 8 core cables doing worse than this stock cable, these brands don’t have many reasons to change the cable but it is not as complimenting as something what BGVP and TFZ earphones ship with.
Moving on to the cable quality, the 3 core braided cable has a nice feel to it, there are no unnecessary layers of rubber on it, hence it’s not bouncy at all. It’s very supple and doesn’t tangle easily either. There is no microphonics to worry about. The 90degree 3.5mm gold plates jack is minimalistic in size and is more suitable than straight jacks. The cable guide is metal wire inserted which keeps shape once shaped to ones comfort, an aptly comfortable cable on its own.
The cable is good but it will be nice to see a bit more premium cable with it.
HOW DOES IT FEELS INSIDE THE EAR :-
Being a semi custom IEM the Avara AV3 feels very comfortable inside the ear. The semi custom type shell plays a big part in making it one of the most comfortable earphones in this price range. Where earphone a notch above this price range come with barely any ergonomical touch to them the AV3 lands itself in the class of Nocturnal semi custom earphones when it comes to comfort and ergonomics. In short, the Avara AV3 is one of the most ergonomic earphones in this price range.
The wing on the inner side of the shell gives very good amount of grip inside the ear. The nozzle is not very deep into the ear but thanks to the extension of the inner shell it is aptly deep into the ear and gives a secure feel.
The Weight of the earpieces is neither heavy nor light. It can be categorized as slightly heavy still it is fairly comfortable inside the ear as the wire inserted cable guide takes most of the weight away.
HOW DOES THIS SOUNDS:-
The AV3 houses 3BA drivers, one for bass, one for mid range and one for highs with true crossover technology in a two bore design. As mentioned earlier the AV3 is the best selling earphone form Avara Customs and it is evident just out of the box why it sells the most. It is not their latest earphone, nor has plenty of hype around it, but has the quality to push it high on the sales chart.
It maintains very good balance between bass, mid range and treble, none of them being over emphasized compared to the other. The bass delivers nice thump, the mid range shows very good amount of details and transparency with a shining treble presentation.
In their words AV3 is:-
“The most musical and most fun sounding CIEM from Avara, suitable for all rounder and mainstream music lovers”
It delivers a very detailed and engaging presentation with a healthy dose of bass and plenty of details to it. The sound signature is fairly neutral with a bit of brightness to it. The overall tonality is neutral with a natural timber.
There are earphones with 2 drivers for the lower end and still are unable to deliver fuller and punchier bass notes. The Avara AV3 has a single BA driver for the bass region and delivers a nicely weightier lower end without any problem. It far more punchier and voluminous compared to reference type or flat sounding earphones like ETY ER-4P and Audiofly AF-180.
It moves good amount of air with a punchy slam which is slightly smaller than the Fibae Black and similar to the Secret Garden 3 (another 3BA based earphone). The size of the slam is somewhere between the Fibae Black and Fibae 3. Amount of air the AV3 moves is better than many BA based earphones in this price range. The sub-bass reach is very good. it goes very deep into the spectrum. The extension is as good as the Fibae 3 but the Fibae 3 delivers bigger sub-bass body and rumble. Compared to both the Fibae earphones the AV3 delivers faster notes with a nicely paced decay which is not unreasonably fast and makes its presence felt.
Mid bass has bigger body compared to sub-bass giving the lower region a full bodied feeling. Notes are nicely rounded with a good slam to them. Upper bass is well controlled and has good amount of forwardness.
It is never expected from a BA based earphone to lack details and the AV3 doesn’t go against this. While delivering plenty of details it maintains good amount texture with the notes. The Level of control shown by it is fantastic.
The AV3 delivers an enjoyable lower end with a nicely weighty approach to it. It is neither thin nor thick as it maintains good note thickness and accuracy. Yes you can’t call it pin point accurate but it can’t get much better while maintaining a fantastic balance of everything.
MID RANGE :-
If the mid range of an earphone is done well, it leaves me impressed and the AV3 is a good example of that. With just one BA driver assigned for the mid range, the AV3 manages to deliver a very spacious and engaging mid range with very good amount of details and accuracy.
The mid range is nicely balanced with the bass region with similar amount of forwardness and energy to it. The transition from upper bass to lower mid is well maintained with good amount of details and energy. The AV3 does not do it as flawlessly as the Fibae 3 which maintains fantastic accuracy and levelness with the rest of the spectrum but manages to deliver sharper and better amount of details.
Vocals sound crisp with very good accuracy and details, the decay is nicely paced giving the notes good amount of body and sharpness while maintaining fantastic transparency. Both male and female vocals sound fairly accurate. Male vocals have slightly slower decay compared to female vocals, giving them the required throaty feel. Female vocals are sharper with accurate notes depth and have better texture and tonality compared to male vocals. The AV3 delivers sharp, accurate still enjoyable vocals. There is no sibilance to worry about here but if you don’t like sharpness, this might cause some discomfort.
Compared to even the Fibae 3, the AV3 deliver better transparency and clarity with instruments. Instruments have very good bite with accurate notes sharpness. Notes have very good finishing with equally good texture to them. The stage feels more open and the expansion feel more natural compared to the competition. Instrument distribution and density is far superior to the similarly priced Secret Garden 3. The upper mid range maintains very good amount of energy without getting uncomfortably sharp or peaky. Some might find it slightly on the aggressive side but for me, something that doesn’t get uncomfortable is fairly comfortable.
Thanks to it’s bigger than average stage size and accurate notes thickness the AV3 has very good amount of air between instruments. It at no point feels clumsy, and thanks to its fantastic transparency it picks up plenty of micro details.
The AV3 is equally impressive with the treble section. The only driver assigned to deliver the whole Treble region manages to deliver a very impressive treble section with plenty of spark and energy.
The transition from upper mid to lower treble is fantastically done without any loss in details, energy or forwardness. Unlike the Secret Garden 3 the AV3 manages to keep the lower treble region clear of any type spikes while maintaining equal amount of sharpness and energy.
Let it be pianos, trumpets or cymbals, all of them have very good amount of sharpness and the finishing to the note along with the presentation is very good. All the instruments maintain good amount of texture and let it be the resolution, transparency or imaging the AV3 delivers without any problem.
The Extension of treble is as good as some of the earphones priced in higher price brackets. It maintains fantastic amount of energy deep into the spectrum. The bigger than average stage size helps a lot with instrument placements and density. There is plenty of air between instruments thanks to accurate notes thickness and very accurate instrument placement. Layering and separation of the AV3 is as good as it gets in this price bracket.
While the AV3 keeps the notes slightly on the sharper side it never gets uncomfortable at any point.
TECHNICALITY AND MATCHABILITY:-
The Avara AV3 is not a very demanding earphone. Even with its 50ohm impedance it is acceptably driven out of my Samsung Galaxy M30s while delivering a full bodied lower end and acceptable amount of details. The main reason behind this is its 120db sensitivity which helps it get loud without being pushed hard.
One might find older generation mobile phones not being able to push the AV3 to an acceptable level. It is advised to use a dedicated DAP or amplifier to get the best out of it. The AV3 doesn’t have any problem with a variety of sources. It takes the base sound character of the source and adds its own traits to it.
If you are using something like ZX300 it will add some sharpness to its base smoothness while making the upper mid range more susceptible to peaks while retaining its sonic abilities.
While driven out of the Shanling M5s, which has smoother and fuller notes across the spectrum the AV3 follows suit and deliver smoother and fuller notes compared to the ZX300 and Plenue R. It maintains the M5s’s stage size without a single peak across the spectrum. The bass notes feel fuller and deliver better slam. The mid range feels lush with fantastic note’s body. Nothing shines out of proportion. The treble is smoother with a very good stage size. This combination brings the gentle side of the AV3 while giving a bit of the bite away. And if you love silky smoother and lush notes, umm.. You should not go for the AV3.
When driven out of the Plenue R the AV3 adds even more sharpness to the already sharp notes thickness of the R. It tends to deliver slightly smaller bass volume compared to both ZX300 and M5s. Some might find this combination a bit more aggressive than what they desire as the presentation gets very precise and analytical. What is good about this combo is the amount of details and air between instruments it is able to extract out of the AV3 is fantastic. The stage size is not the biggest either but it does feel acceptably big.
What impresses me the most about the AV3 is its ability to respond to equalizers without losing details at other parts of the spectrum. You can pump up the bass from the EQ if you find it on the lower side but I find the bass to be good enough and didn’t had to use any EQ for the review.
VS Secret Garden 3:- ($359)
The SG3 has plenty of similarities with the AV3, both have similar 3BA drivers setup and share a similar sound signature too. Both the earphones come with similar type of accessories but the TFZ cable feels more premium.
The SG3 delivers slightly bigger sub-bass punch, mid bass is similar in quantity and quality, upper bass lacks a bit of energy. The transition of upper bass to lower treble has a small dip in energy. Mid range doesn’t manage to maintain impressive amount of transparency and clarity of the AV3. The Vocals region has more energy and is more forward, while the rest of the mid range feels partly veiled, lacking some clarity. Notes feel less natural. Treble has similar extension and energy but is more uneven in comparison. The SG3 is susceptible to sibilance.
Even when the TFZ has exact driver configuration as the AV3 it doesn’t manage to impress like the AV3. It sounds tingly with some part of the spectrum shining brighter than rest.
VS Fiabe Black:- ($495)
Housing a single BA driver, the Fibae Black, even when is priced considerably higher, doesn’t manage to out do the AV3.
It has bigger sub-bass rumble and moves more air. Mid bass and upper bass is similar to the AV3, Decay of the Fibae Black is slightly slower. On a whole it deliver more voluminous lower end in comparison. The bass to mid transition is good, but doesn’t do better than AV3. Mid range feels very dull and lifeless compared to the energetic and agile mid range of the AV3. Vocals do have better timber, texture and feel more natural. Treble region lacks some extension and energy. Similar to the mid range the treble region too feels dull. Stage size too is smaller from every direction.
Layering and separation of the AV3 is superior, AV3 has more air between instruments too. Except the bass region the only thing the Fibae Black does better than the AV3 is sonicality.
The AV3 delivers better details, transparency and is more engaging while the Fibae Black is good for a casual listening sessions.
If you were paying attention, I have mentioned that the AV3 is the best selling earphone from Avara Customs, not their latest. The AV3 is nearly two years old and the Secret Garden 3 and Fibae Black came out this year, but none of them are as capable as the AV3. It shows how good it is.
The AV3 has fantastic balance across the spectrum, you just don’t see any type of over exaggeration at any point. The bass has a nicely rounded body with a good punch to it, the mid range has fantastic transparency and clarity with an accurate vocal region, the treble region has fantastic energy till the end and extension is better than its price range.
What makes the AV3 stand out of the rest is it is hard to find an earphone that doesn’t cross the limit while delivering this type of details and clarity. The balance is of all the things is very good.
If you are looking for an earphone under $500 that delivers on every front and doesn’t lack energy at any point, even in this flood of earphones, the AV3 is the one to get.
Thank you for reading, have a nice time.