Founded in 2015 Nura, based in Melbourne, Australia, specializes in developing headphones with advanced personalized sound tech. I had heard reports online about Nura’s product line, but until recently never had a chance to get my hands on any of them. Amazingly, the nice people at Nura sent over their NuraTrue Pro wireless earbuds so let’s give them a workout! (F.Y.I. I’m not actually going to work out)
The NuraTrue Pro wireless earbuds were highly anticipated after a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised $1.9 million from over 8,000 backers. Unlike many Kickstarters I’ve followed (and backed unfortunately), these are real, they have actually shipped and I have them here on my desk! Let’s open the box and see what’s inside.
Upon opening the small black and silver foiled small box, nestled in foam enclosure you’ll get a sleek matte-black charging case which can be charged wirelessly or with built in USB-C socket containing the NuraTrue Pro earbuds themselves, a USB-C charging cable, and different size ear tips and wing adjustments to ensure the perfect fit. I slipped mine in just as they came out of the box and they were fine for me. Maybe I have average ears?
The earbuds themselves are smartly understated in terms of design and are a circular format finished with matt and gloss black highlights with the Nura logo embedded in the surface. They sit neatly in the case held securely against the charging points by a magnetic snap beneath the magnetic lid which gives you confidence they wont escape unexpectedly. They come with Bluetooth 5.3 and the chipset supports multipoint pairing, so they can be connected to two input sources at one time.
As for battery life, which as someone who seems to have suffered the growing pains of the tech industry’s battery development, is really important to me. The NuraTrue Pro earbuds will last 8 hours without a charge which is way more than enough for me but if you feel that’s not enough for your next long flight you also have 24 hours of charge stored in the case itself! But remember using or disabling features on the earbuds will change the power usage so keep that in mind.
When you have them in your ears, you’ll be able to make adjustments, on the circular end of the earbuds. You can set up six functions in the app by single, double or triple tapping the capacitative surface.
So… Before you can get started with your NuraTrue Pro earbuds, there are a few steps you need to take. You’ll need to connect to them via Bluetooth, and importantly, download the Nura app (Which is available on IOS and Android). I was asked to install (what I assume is) a firmware update to the earbuds themselves before moving ahead, but I have no idea if everyone will have that step, and then run through a quick personalisation process. As a side note, as far as I understand, Nura was the first company to add active noise cancellation to a headphone via a software update, which means potentially more features/updates could come along in the future.
Now we get to what I believe is the true killer feature of these earbuds. The software/hardware combination can tailor the sound they produce to your individual ears! No, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill graphic equaliser slider and a vain hope for the best. This is a bespoke soundscape tailored just for you.
This involves the earbuds analysing your hearing, using a process involving Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). What are Otoacoustic emissions? I’m glad you asked. OAEs are incredibly faint sounds that are produced by your inner ear as a reaction to amplifying sound. The loudness of the OAE is different for every individual and by measuring the OAEs, Nura is able to understand which frequencies your ears are more or less sensitive to. All these measurements are then processed to build a totally bespoke hearing profile which is then stored in the app and sent to your NuraTrue Pro wireless earbuds. It sounds complex but practically though, it comes down to listening to a few beeps and boops and then it tells you it’s all done.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s a load of cool tech but what’s in it for me? Well it’s quite astounding really. On the app itself you have a basic profile that comes as a preset and that makes your music sound fairly ordinary if a bit flat. But switch to your newly created profile and the difference is wild. Everything sounds vibrant, detailed and well, exciting. You can also change the sound profile manually after it’s been created so you can adjust it precisely to your liking so if you like to fiddle with how your favourite song sounds, you can! Additionally there’s a neat slider with which you can adjust the “immersion mode” giving you bigger booming bass (or less). And if you have a family like mine that love to “borrow” devices, you’ll also be able to try out their profiles to see how they sound to you.
A feature I keep seeing shown off with other devices is ANC or Active Noise Canceling where the earbuds can cut all external ambient noise from the outside world. Activated by the on-ear touch controls, the NuraTrue Pro earbuds compete very well, actively utilizing the onboard 4 microphones to measure and cut out the volume of city life around you.
Staying with audio features we also have spatial audio powered by Dirac technology. This feature gives the user the impression that sound is separated in physical space around you as opposed to just being centered around your head as with traditional earphones/earbuds. It’s not the most advanced implementation of this concept and doesn’t actually use head tracking, but the effect works very well at separating elements in the music around you into “virtual spaces” bringing a nice new dimension to tracks you may have heard many times before.
And last but not least, is what Nura is touting as their flagship feature; CD quality lossless audio over bluetooth. In case you didn’t know, when you listen to your favourite tracks on any streaming platform or even mp3s or AAC file you’re not hearing the whole sound. They have been compressed and sliced up to be able to transmit them over the internet. If you then listen to them over the bluetooth then the sound is even more compressed to be able to be sent through Bluetooth’s tiny bandwidth.
The NuraTrue Pro uses Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless format to get around this limitation allowing you to stream 16-bit, 44.2kHz sound (CD qulity) to the earbuds with as little compromise as possible. This sounds like an amazing competitive advantage, but right now the iPhone doesn’t support that particular Qualcomm bluetooth codec so you’ll have to be running an Android handset with a Snapdragon 8+ processor to make use of this feature.
Personally I’m not an audiophile and I have an iPhone so the lossless audio is not really a game-changer for me. But the overall quality of sound that the NuraTrue Pro earbuds offer is astounding. The personalization is a deciding factor that no one else has and for me is reason enough to recommend these earbuds wholeheartedly. If you want as close to CD quality sound as it’s possible to get, and you have an android device it’s a no-brainer, go and buy some now!
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