Nura Nuraphone Wireless Headphone – Review

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We’ve never seen a pair of headphones attempting so many fun things before. Nura ‘s debut pair of headphones, the Nuraphones, are finally available to purchase as a finished product after successfully funded on Kickstarter.

It would be an understatement to say these are a pair of headphones that are trying something new. Not only do they have a special design in-ear / over-ear, they also claim to be able to adapt their sound to the way you listen to music, and have a streamlined design without many of the typical buttons on wireless headphones.

Ultimately, for so much that they try, they succeed. The form factor worked far better than we expected, the sound personalization adds an interesting aspect, and the headphones give a high degree of sound quality in general.

Style and Functionality

When it comes to the hybrid design of the Nuraphones, there’s a lot to discuss. This is, after all, a pair of headphones that distinguishes itself almost deliberately from the prevailing wisdom surrounding most of its rivals. With their type factor this mentality is first apparent. Look at someone wearing them, and the Nuraphones seem to be a fairly ordinary over-ear headphone pair. They have a slightly featureless matte black plastic style that does not stand out in a crowd, though not necessarily bland looking. But take a look inside the headphones and you’ll notice a pair of earbuds suspended inside the wider ear cups right away. You’ll quickly become wary of this choice of design if you’re anything like us. After all, every pair of ears is shaped slightly differently, and it seems unlikely for these earbuds to suit any pair of ears within. But after both on ourselves and on a number of our colleagues in the office testing out the headphones, it seems these concerns were unfounded. The earbud part of the headphones just have enough flex in them to bend to your ears needs and the result is a surprisingly comfortable fit.

Their shape factor means you not only have an earbud sitting at the entrance to your ear canal, but also a pillow sitting over your whole ear. Effectively , this means that you have two physical walls, which means that noise from the outside world does not penetrate your ears. To be clear, the Nuraphones are not headphones that cancel noise, but their form factor absorbs high-frequency sounds (like office chatter) better than any other pair of headphones that we’ve ever used.

Unfortunately , the lack of active noise-cancelling means that you can always hear a lot of low-frequency background noise while using the headphones, which includes noise from train or air. Although the earbud sits perfectly in your ear when you wear the headphones correctly, their presence means that the Nuraphones are uncomfortable in any other way. Trust us when we say that with only one earcup on, you won’t want to wear these headphones.

Setup And Personalized Of Sound

The capacity to measure the sensitivity of your ears and adjust their sound so that you hear the full amount of information in your music is a key selling point of the Nuraphones. The theory goes that, at different intensity levels, different people’s ears hear different frequencies. The ears of certain people may be very sensitive to lower frequencies and less sensitive, or vice versa, to higher frequencies.

This sound profiling means these headphones are set up a little more involved than normal, making the normally optional headphone software an integral part of the experience. In reality, the setup seems very unreal. It will first determine that the headphones are securely fixed in your ears after telling the app that you want to set up a new profile, before playing a variety of frequencies into your ears.

This approach works by analyzing the subtle sounds produced by your ears when they hear personalized audio, according to Nura, using a process known as otoacoustic emission. You will have the option of listening to music both with and without the sound personalization effect added after the test has been completed. Unsurprisingly, the customized sound profile sounds much better than the ‘generic’ profile, but how bad the generic profile sounds is a little unusual.

After all, every other pair of headphones we’ve ever used was basically using a non-personalized ‘generic’ profile, and each of them sounds better than the Nuraphones’ generic profile configuration.

So it’s a little hard to figure out if the sound personalization technology is worth it at this point, but luckily the headphones allow you to set up a maximum of three different listener profiles. By making different members of the TechRadar office go through the setup process to create a sound profile, we checked this out. Then, as we flipped between different sound profiles, we made them listen to a song of their choice. Without asking them which two profiles they listened to, we asked which of them they preferred.

Overall , people appeared to favor their own profile tone, but that didn’t happen 100 percent of the time, indicating that the profile variations between two people might be very small. So it seems that sound profiling usually produces a better sound for individual listeners, but the difference may be hard to discern depending on how average your hearing is.

Active Noise Suppression

We were pleasantly surprised to find a host of new features in the latest G2 software update for the Nuraphones, which brings a lot of value to headphone owners at no extra cost.

In our original review, we never complained about the lack of noise cancelation, considering how extremely effective passive sound isolation was – that is, the passive capacity of the bluetooth headphones to protect your ears from general external noise. Passive Noise cancellation, on the other hand , refers to active sound emissions that, including whirring fans or droning aircraft engines, dampen consistent, low-frequency background noise.

Canceling noise now isn’t something you’re going to want to have all the time. Noise cancellation produces a noise to offset the background noise, and the ‘made noise’ of the Nuraphone is more audible than that of similarly priced rivals or the slightly cheaper Sony MDR 1000Xs.

Yet some successful noise-cancelling is better than zero on trains, in air-conditioned buildings and on flights. Since you don’t pay a penny extra for the luxury, and the headphones maintain their excellent sound insulation, the new update from the Nuraphones is a great addition. That said, it’s also a reminder that not all noise cancellation was generated equal, and that the Nuraphones’ real high point is still the passive noise isolation they had from the beginning.

In addition to noise cancellation, a new Social Mode actively lets background noise in, allowing you to talk to people while listening to tunes. The update also packs in a warning battery indicator, multipoint pairing and an on / off auto power feature – particularly useful when it comes to battery life saving.

Clever Charginging

The Nuraphones are the first pair of wireless noise canceling headphones we have seen that can directly charge from your phone. It works so well that we are shocked that more manufacturers of headphones don’t do it. Music passes directly over the cable when plugged in, and this requires a set of in-line controls. Then in principle your own profile of sound should sound superior to that of someone else. This appeared to bear out in reality, but 100 percent of the time, it didn’t exactly happen.

Our Verdict

The Nuraphones are trying to do something completely different with personalized sound, more than any other pair of headphones that we’ve reviewed. They have a fairly special hybrid in-ear / over-ear design, some neat audio personalization effects, and they even dispense with many of the extra buttons on standard headphones in favor of flipping on and off automatically. Although there are the basics, the headphones are often a little too smart for their own good, resulting in a user interface that may feel over-complicated.

Bose SoundSport Free

ProsCons
Rich, full-fledged soundLimited headphone controls
Excellent insulation from passive noiseShape factor can limit
Some fine EQ choicesA subtle advantage of sound personalization is

 

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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