With the implementation of a larger balanced armature (BA) driver for bass, Avara Custom presents the AV3 – the most musical and fun-sounding model from Avara – suitable for all-rounder and mainstream music lovers.
Alvon, the founder of Avara Custom is an avid audiophile as well as the owner of Jaben Indonesia (an audio retailer since 2009). With his long experience in this industry, he spotted the room for improvement in Indonesia’s audiophile market – a locally made, customizable and affordable line-up. Since then, he has been researching and developing CIEM markets in Indonesia.
With his expertise and experience in the audio industry, particularly in Indonesia, he truly understands the unique selling points for a pair of well-received earphones – from sonic performance to physical appearance.
Hence, he founded Avara Custom with the aim to improve the Indonesian audio market – providing affordable yet high-quality universal IEMs (UIEMs) and CIEMs to musicians and audiophiles. Without disappointment, his leap of faith was well-received locally and he even took it one step further – presenting the brand to global platforms. AV3 is one of the models in his custom series and, according to Alvon, this is the most popular model for both audiophiles and musicians.
Avara Custom publishes this tagline on their website – “The most musical and most fun sounding CIEM from Avara, suitable for all rounder and mainstream music lovers”. How true is this? We will check it out in this article!
- Available in both custom and universal models
- Solid build quality
- Musical and fun sound signature
- Excellent fitting
- Can be easily driven
- Accurate bass response
- Warm mid-bass
- Engaging mids
- Well-controlled highs
- The provided stock cable brings down the overall premium appearance of AV3
The AV3 comes in a black hard box with Avara’s custom logo printed on it. There are no other details or information that can be found on the box.
Opening the box, there are brochures, stickers, and a quality check (QC) card before you can reach your CIEMs. After the paperwork, users can find a clamshell hard case with a zip, cleaning tool, leather cable management clip, and keychain. I particularly like the keychain and cable management clip; they have the premium look and this is a good marketing and publicity approach.
The stock cable and CIEMs are stored in the hard case. The CIEMs are well protected by soft tissues with a ziplock bag in the case. For those who opt for UIEMs, you should expect SpinFit ear tips in the packaging – a generous move from Avara!
- Driver Configuration: Triple precision balanced armature drivers with true crossover (single lows, single mids, single highs)
- Cable: 0.78mm 2-pin with 3.5mm unbalanced terminated 4-wire twisted cable
- Sound bore: Dual bore design
The build of Avara AV3 is premium. The shell is 3D printed and the final faceplate design matched perfectly with the desired design which is generated from Avara Custom IEMs Builder on their official website. As compared to my other CIEMs, AV3’s shells are heavier. I believe the outer shell is thicker, resulting in an overall heavier shell. This helps to strengthen the durability of this pair of IEMs.
Moving to the top of the shell, there is a flush 2-pin connector. This connector is commonly found in IEMs market, particularly CIEMs. Hence, cable rolling is not an issue for AV3 as well as other models from Avara Custom.
The stock cable provided is a 0.78mm 2-pin 4-wire twisted cable. It is 3.5mm unbalanced terminated. To be frank, the cable looks thin to me. I think this could be an approach for Avara Custom to reduce the overall cost. For those who need a more premium cable, upgrades can be done afterwards. Nevertheless, the cable still performs its job.
The cable comes with heat shrunk ear guides with metal wire inside. I don’t like this design because the metal wire always hits my spectacles and creates unwanted noise. The Y-splitter is transparent and users can see the wire distribution to the left and right channels. The 3.5mm unbalanced jack has a strain relief to strengthen the durability.
Fit and Isolation
Being CIEMs, AV3 offers excellent fit and isolation for me. The nozzle is slightly shorter as compared to my other CIEMs. This provides better comfort. To maintain good isolation despite having a shorter nozzle, I realize the nozzle diameter is slightly wider. Overall, the isolation is still as good as my other CIEMs with deeper insertion.
Due to Circuit Breaker implementation in Singapore, I did not have a chance to test the passive noise cancellation capability of AV3 in a noisier environment. However, with that excellent fit, I believe, without a doubt, the passive noise cancellation will be astonishing.
Similar to Avara Neo, the impedance and sensitivity are not provided by Avara Custom. Based on multiple pairings across digital audio players (DAPs), smartphones and amplifiers, AV3 can be easily driven. I don’t face any difficulties on any devices to drive the AV3 properly.
In this review, most of my impressions are from the pairing of Opus #3 hooked to the ALO Audio RX Nickel version. This is my favourite pairing for AV3. To ensure the review is accurate, I used the original stock cable provided by Avara Custom.
I would classify the sound signature of AV3 as musical and fun. It has a rich mid-bass and colored presentation with warmth. It’s comfortable and relaxing to listen with. It gives me the feeling of those classic bookshelf speakers like Klipsch – music notes are flowing smoothly and lively with tons of musicality.
It’s rare to have this type of sound signature especially in the price range of USD$400. This is definitely a unique selling point for AV3. I’m sold on it!
The soundstage of AV3 is above average. The staging is wider horizontally as compared to the depth, creating an oval headroom. Positioning of each instrument and vocals can be identified precisely on AV3’s presentation. The staging is neither too forward nor away from the audiences. This creates an enjoyable listening experience for users.
Listening to more complicated tracks, I don’t observe congestions despite AV3 is having a rich, full-bodied sound presentation. The layering has been done well to manage all the notes from the recording.
As mentioned in the sound signature section, the AV3 has rich lows which injects warmth to the overall presentation. The punch is definitely significant, compared to other triple BA driver IEMs, such as my Simgot EK3. The sub-bass is slightly recessed. The rumbles are not as great as dynamic driver powered IEMs, like Sennheiser IE400 Pro.
Moving to the mid-bass, AV3 has an excellent mid-bass performance – rich and well-controlled. The slams from the mid-bass are more prominent compared to the sub-bass. With the slightly slower decay speed, it creates a musical and fun sound signature. Despites having greater emphasis, the mid-bass does not bleed into the mids. The presentation is clean.
The warm mid-bass delivers Jazz in a very comfortable and relaxing approach, I immerse myself in the sea of Jazz when I am listening to Jazz Them Up by Bianca Wu. Simply amazing.
The mids are positioned slightly forward, having almost the same emphasis as the mid-bass. It has good energy in the mids, bringing a lively vocal presentation. The transition from the upper-bass to the mids is smooth, with a slight dip in the upper-bass to ensure the mids have good space to flex their muscles. The mids exhibit the warmth and rich texture from the bass.
The mids of AV3 are spacious, open and have good separation despite the presentation being rich and full-bodied. The flow is smooth and natural. Vocals are definitely the strength of AV3. Listening to male vocals like Jay Chou or Adam Levine, AV3 manages to deliver them accurately and naturally, without much coloration. The female vocals are sweet and airy. No sibilance or aggressiveness is found despite the mids are having more emphasis and positioned forward.
Compared to the lows and mids, the highs of AV3 don’t have much emphasis. Do not get me wrong, it’s positioned slightly backward but the presentation is still managed well by AV3. It’s smooth and tamed by the warmth from lows and mids. The extension of the bass is average. I observed a slightly early roll-off in the treble.
Listening to the orchestra, the strings sound articulate and natural. Cymbals have good sparkles and the extensions are controlled very well – there is zero distortion in the extension of highs. Every note is decayed well.
AV3 definitely is a good choice for those who are looking for a pair of IEMs that are comfortable to listen with. The highs are not fatiguing at all. This could be a good savior for those who have lower tolerance towards bright treble.
It reminds me of my Campfire Audio Nova, which is one of my all-time favorite IEM. Despite having early roll-off, the sparkle in the treble is not affected – bringing exciting yet comfortable highs.
The Avara AV3 is a great choice for audiophiles who are looking for a musical and comfortable sounding IEM. It’s definitely an all-rounder, with well-controlled bass, engaging mids, and comfortable highs. No matter which genre you are listening to, AV3’s got your back. It’s rare to find this type of sound signature in the price range of USD$400. AV3 is definitely unique and strong within this price range.
Avara AV3 is retailing at USD$340 and customization will be charged separately based on the chosen design. You can purchase it from Avara Custom’s official website. There are three main options for fellow audiophiles to choose from – CIEMs, UIEMs with bigger shells and UIEMs with smaller shells.
Avara Custom IEMs come with a 1 year official warranty and there is a 45 days refit period for CIEMs. For CIEMs, Avara Custom will take around three days to fulfill your order upon receiving your ear impressions. You can send them your physical ear impression or a scanned digital file.
After reviewing both Avara Neo and AV3, I’m confident enough to claim that Avara can definitely compete with big brands on the IEM arena. I am giving my second 5 star to Avara AV3, after ItsFit Fusion. Congratulations, Avara Custom!