REVIEW: Nuraphone Wireless Headphones
- John Reilly
- On January 24, 2019
So, as we all may or may not know, everyone’s hearing profiles are different. I may like more bass while you enjoy more treble, that’s just personal preference. When we buy headphones, the majority of the time, the amount of tweaking and customising you can do to their sound profiles is quite limited. Sometimes, your phone will allow you to tweak the sound via an in-built equaliser also but again, this can be quite limited in its functionality. Enter Nuraphone, the flagship product from Melbourne-based company, Nura.
Nura understands that we all hear differently. They’ve developed an automated process that, when setting up their Nuraphone headphones for the first time, it will carry out a custom audio test of your hearing to deliver, what they believe is, the best audio settings for your particular hearing preferences.
‘Sound’ too good to be true? Read on to find out if ‘the Nuraphone’ lives up to these lofty claims.
On first appearances, the Nuraphone looks like any other pair of headphones, albeit quite a chunky pair of over-ear cans. Their metal and silicon finish is quite industrial and reminds me of Sennheiser’s HD1 over ear headphones with their adjustable cups. It’s inside these cups that things get interesting. In here, you’ll see earbuds that protrude right out in an almost probe-like fashion.
When you place the headphones on for the first time, you’ll have to make a few adjustments to make sure the internal earbuds line up with your ear canals to form a tight seal. The overall fit, when correctly positioned both on your head and in your ears is definitely snug and ensures a good seal all round.
Once on, the Nuraphone are surprisingly comfortable and cause very little discomfort. If you do feel a little discomfort from the size of the ear tips on the earbuds, each pair of headphones come with 3 varying sized tips, small, medium or large, for you to choose from to ensure you can create the right seal.
Another cool feature, quite literally, is the ‘TeslaFlow’ venting system which the heaphones use to provide cool air into the inner ear cup whilst venting the hot air out.
Now this is where the Nuraphone starts to ‘mix’ things up. These headphones are all about customisation and even use biological science to try and achieve the best audio profile they can for your particular hearing abilities.
Like any top of the line headphones, the Nuraphone comes with its own dedicated app that walks you through the set up process. It ensures you’ve created a proper seal of both the cups and earbuds before playing a 60 second automatic hearing test.
It’s this test, which plays varying tones into your ears and waits for the echo back from your eardrums, (I said biological science was involved, didn’t I?) that, when run through Nura’s custom audio algorithm, forms your very own audio profile.
Once finished, you’ll see a visual representation of your profile, in pleasing hues of pink, orange and purple. The app also allows you to create two additional profiles if you happen to share your headphones with people.
The Nuraphone connects to your device via Bluetooth but there are also a selection of additional cables you can purchase if you want to connect them up to your phone directly or audio system. The actual connection port on the headphones uses a proprietary port and not USB-type C or Micro USB so this, according to Nura, allows them to be cable-agnostic, and users can decide the type of wired connection they’d like for their headphones.
The headphones turn themselves on and off automatically when you place and remove them from your head and, with a little bit of audio magic, can also tell who’s wearing them out of the three saved audio profiles. There’s something very cool about putting on the Nuraphone and hearing: “Welcome back, John” whilst stating the battery life also.
On the outside of each earcup, there is a little branded circular metal disc that’s touch sensitive and you can use the Nura app to customise these to perform different functions such as turning on the Social Mode or pausing the music. When switched on, Social Mode turns on 4 of the headphone’s microphones to allow you to hear what’s going on around you and hold a conversation without having to take the headphones off. These little touch controls also have haptic feedback which is a nice addition but they can be a little too sensitive at times.
The Nuraphone also come with active noise cancellation (ANC) thanks to a software update last year. Having been testing the headphones for a few weeks now, I can easily say that Nura’s ANC implementation is one of the best I’ve ever tested. When showing the Nuraphone to friends and colleagues, they too were blown away with how impressive the noise cancellation was. The reason nuraphone‘s ANC is so good is that it actually works differently, with noise cancellation through the ear cup speakers, leaving the ear tip speakers to capture your music‘s detail.
As I mentioned previously though, the ‘social mode’ allows you to switch this mode off to allow external voices and sounds in rather than taking the headphones off.
In the Nura app, once everything is set up, there’s also an ‘Immersion Mode’ slider that goes from ‘low’ all the way up to ‘front row’ and, well, let’s just say, this is what makes the Nuraphone different to every other set of headphones I’ve tested. Read on below to find out what I mean.
After all the preparation using the custom app, audio tuning process and tweaking of the immersion mode, you’re finally ready to see what the Nuraphone is really capable of. As I mentioned above, when playing with the ‘Immersion Mode’ slider and listening to any bass-heavy track, pushing the slider all the way to ‘front row’ will create an incredible sensation of standing right next to a giant concert speaker with actually vibrations happening inside each earcup.
Now, you may think this would cause the bass to be completely over-powering and would drown out all other parts of the track but that’s where the Nuraphone’s unique design comes into play. With the internal earbuds positioned in your ear canals, the mids and highs of the track are still crystal clear whilst the lows are incredible rich and something you can actually feel.
It really is unlike anything I’ve experienced before when testing a pair of headphones, it’s that good. The only other audio experience I can compare it to is when I got a chance to check out the spine-shaking bass of Devialet’s Gold Phantom speaker with its 3000 watts of power.
Even with all this fantastic teeth-rattling bass and superb active noise cancellation, the battery life for the Nuraphone is really impressive coming in at around 20 hours. It may not be up there with the likes of Sony’s WH-1000XM3’s but it’s still impressive given how much these headphones can do.
Coming in at €399, the Nuraphone is definitely in the top end of the wireless headphones market in terms of price but with everything I’ve seen them do, I can easily say that they’re worth their price tag If you’re an audiophile and you want to hear your favourite tracks like you’ve never heard them before, the Nuraphone really is a set of headphones you have to check out.
I can safely say that any of the promo ‘reaction’ videos you may have seen online for these headphones are the real deal.
With their unique design and structure, comprehensive tuning algorithms and overall spectacular audio performance, the Nuraphone really is the best set of headphones I’ve ever tested, period.
You can learn more about the Nuraphone at nuraphone.com.
Keeping with all things Nura, we were also told that at CES earlier this month, they announced their brand new NuraLoop which is “the world’s first earphone to automatically learn and adapt to your unique hearing in an even more compact and mobile form.”
They’re said to include the following features:
- nurasound+ Move (personalised sound) — Personalised sound on the go with the world’s first earphones to automatically learn and adapt to your hearing
- TouchDial — Tap, double-tap or dial to perform seamless combinations of useful functions
- Active Noise Cancellation — Experience ANC created to give you the quietest listening experiences as you move through your day
- ‘Social Mode+’ — Hear conversations and your surroundings — with adjustable levels of awareness to suit any environment
- ‘+ move’ — Jump into any situation with a suite of features to compliment your lifestyle including extended battery life, water resistance, Bluetooth 5, and wireless or wired musical fidelity.
These are expected to arrive in Q2 and we can’t wait to test them out. Price is still TBC but we imagine them to be targeted at the premium earphones market with a price tag to match. We’ll be sure to keep you posted once we learn more about these new headphones.