FirstLook: Nuraphone

FirstLook: Nuraphone

 

Product info

  • Company: Nuraphone
  • Dimensions: 190 x 170 x 88mm
  • Weight: 329g
  • Connectivity Bluetooth aptX HD, Universal Wired
  • Battery Lithium Ion, Up to 20 hours
  • Noise Isolation Dual passive
  • Color: Black
  • Price: $399
  • Website: nuraphone.com
Case and nuraphone.jpg
 
 

About:

The Nuraphone are unlike any headphones on the market today. Sounds in many cases are very subjective. What sounds good by one person may be considered bad by another. Kyle Slater, co-founder of Nura said: “We think the vast majority of people don't hear good sound.” Slater holds a Ph.D. in psychoacoustics and setup with a mission to create a pair of headphones that would deliver great objective sound to anyone wearing them.

Nuraphone works by plays a range of tones into the ear and then measures a very faint sound that your ear generates in response to these tones called the otoacoustic emission (OAE). This tiny signal originates in the cochlea and vibrates the eardrum, turning it into a speaker and playing the sound back out of your ear. Yes, our ears make a sound! This sound is about 10,000 times smaller than the sound that went in. It gathers and saves these reactions and creates your hearing profile molding your music so that it matches your hearing system and delivers all the detail of the music you love.

 

First Thoughts:

Going into this let's start by acknowledging I’ve been skeptical about this product. It’s based off new science to me which is intriguing but skeptical as well. The fact that your inner ear reacts differently to sound you like and don’t is a bit new to me. Upon unboxing you can tell the build, care, and quality of materials nails what you should expect at this price point and I am pleased with it. The fix and feel were comfortable but does take a little getting used to the feeling of wearing EarTips & Over the ear cups. By saying that the ear-tips are not meant to go in your ears like IEM but rather sit against it making a seal. These tips are removable for cleaning, but one size fits all. I do wish they had bigger sizes.

It took me almost 45min to get a reliable seal with two check marks in the app. I will say once you get a solid feel it will be easier to recreate because you now know what you're looking and feeling for. With all that said my colleague at work took minimal effort to get his seal, Whereas my wife made no effort. It brings me to believe the larger your ears, the more effort it may take you the first time around.

The iOS app is very polished for what it is and walks you through every step of setting up your Nuraphone.

My first experience with the sound was downright exhilarating. It is true what they are saying, and you can feel the music for sure. Clarity and a wide soundstage do seem to be preeminent. I am more excited now to run through my [speakers-test playlist.]

 

Features & Specs:

  • Sonic moulding
  • inova
  • Dual layer sound isolation
  • Deep immersion
  • Sound clarity
  • Wireless or wired connectivity

What’s included:

  • Nuraphone
  • USB change cable
  • Magnetic rubber cable container
  • Case with magnetic clasp

Perfect timing G2 Update:

During my review to my surprise Nura release a software/firmware update called “G2”. This update brings a couple of key features to the table. One of the most important ones is the active noise cancellation or ANC. One of the most significant problems with any ANC is the high-frequency “hiss” that produced when canceling out lower frequency rumbles.

Because the nuraphone already separates frequencies. The smaller earbuds deliver higher frequencies, like melodic sounds or vocals, directly into your ear canal while the larger cups provide bass through the skin around your ear.

Noise cancellation is just a matter of ensuring that low-frequency noise never gets delivered into your ears.

Social Mode is another feature that was added in the form of a button, allowing four external microphones to let voice frequencies in.

 

General Nuraphone update

  • Bluetooth AAC codec support
  • New orders come with extra ear tips: small and medium
  • Connect simultaneously phone and aptX HD device
  • Immersion mode improved, more clear bass, less distortion in highest settings
  • Improved "neutral" mode
  • Long hold of touch buttons do nothing, for less interferences when repositioning them

Nuraphone App update

  • New layout
  • New way of visualizing the profile-selection
  • See the current referral-code count
  • Change voice language (ENG, GER, ITA)
  • Removed button function to toggle personalized mode
  • Two minute pairing mode
  • Delete all paired devices
  • Delete profiles
  • Clickable battery level in the app
 

Final Thoughts: (after a week of use)

The Nuraphone’s has become a staple in benchmarks for me, and yet it's still untenable. Making it hard to compare to other headphones in the form of sound. However, it has forcing me to revise an grow the songs I use for testing. Primarily due to the clarity in the lows.

As some of you may know that I’m not a person that tweaks sounds. I want clean reference sound as it was intended. However, music should move you, and you should feel it deep inside. I think Nura has hit the nail on the head here with something new. A technology I may not entirely understand but never the less one I can feel with clarity to match.

Surely this is a company to keep an eye on

I’ve spent many hours exploring new music and old, and The Nuraphone felt comfortable even during the longest of sessions. You can tell a lot of thought and time went into choosing the right material lending to it being both comfortable and durable. You can tell even the case was thought through right down to leveraging magnetic clasps. However, my case did get beat up a bit, little dings and scratches but that's to be expected. 

Nura knocked out its Kickstarter campaign a ways back and has been out for a while, but flew under my radar. Due to a high price point and new technology people are hesitant to try them. I believe Nura, as it stands, is a product that more word of mouth. It needs to land in a big chain store where they can sell themselves when people listen to them for the first time.

 

Tips:

  1. During setup, Take your time to get that initial seal it's worth it. (some may get it right away while others may take some time)
  2. Are you using OSX? It may be good to know that the Apples current Operating system defaults to a codex that made to conserve power. ToGet the best quality out of your OSX Bluetooth. You may want to enable the AAC codex. There is a trick to force enable this through an apple developer tool. Check out this article
  3. The Nuraphone may only come with a charging cable. However, that same cable can be used with your Mac computer, however, buttons, and additional features do not.
 

Disappointments: (small nit-picking)

  • Volume when listening to movies
  • May take some people with bigger ears like myself to get a good fit.
  • Having an analog connection included would only seem right at this price point.
 

Photo Gallery

Nuraphone_Person2.jpg

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