1. JefroyK
    The first step to the future?
    Written by JefroyK
    Published Aug 13, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Incredible technology
    Immersion mode
    Very good isolation
    Really fun and addictive
    Price
    Cons - Works best with certain genre of music
    Sound sometimes a bit metallic
    Works best at lower volumes
    Internal amp could be more powerful
    Intoduction

    Nura is an Australian brand, created by Dragan Petrović and Luke Campbell, funded several years ago by kickstarter.

    My first experience wis the nuraphone was several months ago, during the Sound Days in Paris. A little soundproof booth was installed to test the headphone without being disturbed from the crowd. I thought at that moment that these headphones were really interesting and wanted to test them. Nuraphone was kind enough to send me a pair for review with all the cables available, which are a USB-A cable (included with the nuraphone for charging it), an analog cable (terminated with a 3,5mm jack), a lightning cable, a USB-C cable and a micro-USB one.

    Aspects and set up

    The Nuraphone comes in a little hard travel case, with a space to put 1 or 2 cables. The nuraphone looks like a normal over-ear headphones, with a mat black finish and silicone ear-cups, priced at 400$. Inside of the two ear cups, we can find two little sticks who go into the ear canal, like an IEM. The sticks delivers the mid and highs frequency and have the measure equipment, meanwhile the rest of the ear cup delivers the low frequencies.

    39089024_1337295839736839_1509565573002952704_n.jpg 39091691_866736550197803_6302493202662293504_n.jpg 39087726_2068513943463532_1660892092773171200_n.jpg 39099555_288446515040965_4902952768953647104_n.jpg 39101843_451799925303688_4081622797095272448_n.jpg 39102185_317371628823778_8842962071868932096_n.jpg 39094928_255631021740307_5044606837689679872_n.jpg

    To those who don’t know why these headphones are special, the principle is simple: « The nuraphone 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 ear drum, turning it into a speaker and playing sound back out of your ear. Encoded in the returning sound wave is information about how well you heard the sound that went in. The nuraphone uses an extremely sensitive microphone to detect this returning sound wave, and a self learning engine built into the nuraphone to create your profile. ». It creates your own unique profile to tailor the sound to your anatomy.

    The headphone can store up to 3 different profiles, and save your selected one in the headphone, so the tailor sound works all the time (with bluetooth connection, but also with the analog cable in which case an analog to digital converter works before the acoustic correction is applied, then re-converted to analog).

    It’s made with selected materials: stainless steel for the headband, aluminum and silicon for the rest. Only a small part of the silicon touches your skin which is great when it’s hot outside. Speaking of it, if we look closely, we can see little holes into the ear cups: the air can go in and out which create a cooling system (Dragan told me it’s actually several degrees colder into the ear cups than outside — tested when it’s 24°C outside).

    I was really excited when the box arrived at my door and I opened it immediately to try it. I searched for the on/off switch but there was nothing in there, no buttons, no nothing. After searching for 1 long minute, I decided to put it on my head to see how it feels with these sticks. Have you ever dreamed, like me, when you were a teenager (or else), to have a Jarvis like in Iron Man? Well, it’s kind of the same thing. The nuraphones turned on automatically and a lady began to talk to me, and explained what I had to do.

    I opened the app (you have to have a smartphone in order to configure the nuraphones) and launched the calibration. It took about one minute and all I had to do was to press the start button. At the end of the calibration, the app launched a demo music to test the tailored sound with two buttons: one to listen to the music with the « Generic » profile, and one with yours. I must say, the result was astonishing. It’s not a little difference, it’s not the night and day difference sellers wants you to believe when they want you to buy something more expensive than the one you wanted to buy. It’s a difference like it’s not the same sound anymore, it’s not the same music, it’s note the same headphones.

    Ok, that’s impressive, let’s click on continue. Now A little scroll bar appeared to adjust the « immersive mode ». It’s supposed to simulate a live concert: big and impactful bass that hit you on the face. What it does, to put it simply, it adds several db to the bass and enhance what the skin and bones can feel, with creates the impression that the nuraphones are vibrating. I’ll agree that’s not audiophile, that’s not for the purist, but oh boy, that’s fun and addictive!

    I save everything on the app, my name so I can identify my profile etc, and close the app to listen to my reference tracks, the ones I know perfectly and I listen to every time I try a new pair of headphones.

    39147804_228294391204479_5806019090896125952_n.jpg 39136576_298632987572690_3408115347478282240_n.jpg


    Sound test

    I began as always with « Hide In Your Shell » from the album Crime Of The Century by Supertramp (the remastered version) on Spotify, without immersive mode, to compare it to my other headphones. The sound was precise and articulate, more on the cold side than a warm sound, but not harsh or anything. The soundstage, not very wide compared to other headphones, was good as well was the depth. I like to listen to my music kind of loud, so i pushed the volume to the maximum. During certain moments, when all the band is playing together, we can hear a little bit of distortion, the nuraphones had trouble to keep up, the sound wasn’t as precise as before (when there was less instruments) and the sound was kind of metallic.

    I then listened to « Hard Headed Woman » from the album Tea For The Tillerman by Cat Stevens. The guitar was detailed, Cat’s voice realistic and the chorus arrived like they should do. The violin in the back were subtle but clear and beautiful. I enjoyed listing to this song with the nuraphone although when he began to sing louder, the same thing happened (metallic sound…), but it was a bit better, and enjoyable.

    On « The Weight » from Music From Big Pink by The Band, the voices are up front meanwhile the acoustic guitar is discrete and kind of shy. Although the voices could be a bit more natural, the song is somehow coherent and enjoyable. The drums are punchy but they don’t overcome the rest.

    Let’s skip some decades and go with « NaaNaaNaa » live by Cory Henry And The Funk Apostles. The organ is surprisingly good and alive. The bass guitar swing and the drums kick ass. My head is moving by itself while my foot is tapping on the floor. The highs are clear and present with a lot of details. Again, Cory Henry’s voice is a bit metallic and could be a bit warmer but the essential is here.

    I couldn’t liste to modern Hip-Hop/Rap/RnB without the immersive mode on. It creates a real intensity and punch to the music (you’ll have to adjust it, one setting is not optimal for all songs).

    I’m prepared to bet an arm and leg that no one can dislike the nuraphones with the immersive mode on listening to « Gangsta’s Paradise » by Coolio. The sound is deep and powerful, the chorus are huge, the highs clear and the signers/rappers voice are where and how they need to be. The big, punchy and vibrating bass is incredible, really percutant and immersive while everything else is audible clearly.

    « D.N.A » form DAMN by Kendrick Lamar never was more enjoyable. Punchy, strong and alive. Kendrick’s lyrics and energy take sense with this headphones (again, with the immersive mode).

    I then used the analog cable and connected the nuraphones to my Astell and Kern AK100 II. The overall sound quality just got better but the tactile commands don’t work when the nuraphones is connected with a cable (Dragan told me during our call that they made the choice to deactivate everything instead of activating only a fraction of the command’s functions). I used a lot my A&K, more than my phone, although Dragan told me the vast majority of the nuraphone’s users preferred the bluetooth connexion.

    I spent a lot of times with these headphones almost everywhere: at home, on the subway, walking on the streets, at work… and the isolation was so good it didn’t matter where I was. Once a friend came by my house for whatever reason he had to come. He was sitting next to me in the couch and I had the nuraphones working at maximum level (with the bluetooth connexion) and he didn’t hear a thing.

    The last software update added an even better isolation with an active isolation (thanks to the 6 mics inside the nuraphones) and a mode call « Social mode » which block certain frequencies and enhance others, so you can listen to music and hear if someone is talking to you.

    During my phone call with Dragan Petrović, he told me that Nura is doing well (tens of thousand nuraphones sold) and a lot of things are being develop (although it’s too early to know precisely what they are up to).

    Conclusion

    The nuraphones are unique: the technology inside is remarkable and very effective, addictive and can evolve through software updates. The bass is certainly, for me, the forte of these headphones which make some genre of music even better and alive. It may works better with some genre, but it’s an overall good pair of headphones, with an astonishing price/quality ratio. It’s for me not the most realistic or audiophile-like type of sound, but it’s the headphone I would take if I wanna have some fun.

    Tech Specs:

    - Dimensions:190 x 170 x 88 mm

    - Weight: 329g

    - Connectivity: Bluetooth aptX HD, Universal Wired (Lightning, USB-C, micro-USB, analog)

    - Battery: Lithium Ion Battery, Up to 20 hours

    - Noise Isolation: Dual passive (and now active with the update)

    - Materials: High grade stainless, aluminium cups, hypoallergenic silicon pads

    - Voice: External microphones for calls

    Sources:
    - iPhone SE with spotify
    - Astell & Kern AK100 II with flac files

    Headphones used as reference:
    - Sennheiser Momentum
    - Master & Dynamic MH40
    - Audeze EL-8C

    Materials and finitions: 8/10
    Sound Quality: 6,5/10
    Price/Quality ratio: 8/10

    Overall: 7/10
    1. DJ The Rocket
      That's a good looking head model in the pictures! I like the matte finish… this has given me the idea to get some matte spray paint and refinish my own ceramic head
      DJ The Rocket, Sep 17, 2018
    2. DJ The Rocket
      I can't wait until somebody pairs this kind of tech with real TOTL drivers, like one of Stax or Shure or Audeze's higher end models. The consensus seems to be the Nuraphone is excellent, but still aimed at consumers more than audiophiles.
      DJ The Rocket, Sep 17, 2018
  2. iems0nly
    Hear every note. Feel every beat.
    Written by iems0nly
    Published Feb 17, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Incredible sound – the best i’ve heard- Personalised to each one's hearing. Premium build. Aptx HD. Long lasting battery. Adjustable bass (immersion mode) is mind-blowing.
    Cons - Heavy. You are constrained to an upright position during use.
    Simple Man’s review – Nuraphone (399 USD)
    This is called simple man’s review because they are based on the sound of these earphones directly from my smartphone (HTC 10) using 320 Kbps mp3 tracks.
    No expensive gears nor lossless tracks,no EQ, and all that hi-fi stuff.


    Product Specs :
    Driver: Double dynamic, with one outer-larger driver for the woofer, and another for the in-ear component playing mid and high frequencies.
    Impedance:
    Nura responded, with apologies for the delay.
    Inner Ear = 17 ohms
    Outer Drivers = 45 ohms
    As the nuraphone has an in-built DAC, there is no need to connect to external amplifiers. While we provide an analogue input which means you can use an external DAC, we recommend that you use the digital interface for lossless audio

    Weight: 329 grams
    Battery: Lithium Ion – upto 20 hours (verified)
    Bluetooth: Aptx HD / AAC
    Materials: High grade stainless, aluminium cups, hypoallergenic silicon pads
    Cable: Universal Wired (Lightning, USB-C, micro-USB, analog) – Not included with headphones (I had to add an Analog cable for 20 dollars to my shopping basket when i ordered)

    Build & accessories– 4/5
    The headphones
    themselves look beautiful, and are super sturdy and heavy. They look unbreakable. The ear cups swivel a bit, but cannot be bent or turned outwards.
    The ear-cups are unlike your normal fair. These are not ear-pads but ear-cups. The ones used here are some next-gen stuff made of soft silicon like material. The good news is they are awesome. They are soft and comfortable although there is no cushion (for pushing). They cover my entire ears, provide a great seal, and it feels like they wouldn’t ever need replacing. If they ever do, i don’t know how one can replace them though (Nura doesn’t sell any spare ear pads as far as i know). There are also holes around the outer cups to circulate air inside and prevent hot ears.
    The headphone hard-case looks premium and has a magnetic belt to keep them securely fastened. This is worth 50-60 dollars by itself. Inside the case you have a very thoughtfully positioned magnetic silicon pouch thing to hold the charging cable. This is very useful as Nura employs a proprietary cable to connect to the headphones, and you can’t afford to misplace them. The hard case and the essential charging cable are the only accessories that come with the Nuraphones.
    Ear-tips and nozzle used are also strange. The nozzles are very oval, and the stock tips have wizard-sleeves. The provided tips also have a thin dust filter atop. The in-ear probe is held by rubber/silicon swivel interior (not exactly swivel) which allows movement of the in-ear bit. Attention to detail is amazing. All the vents/holes in the inside of the ear-cup are covered with dust protection mesh.
    No extra tips provided! This could be bad news if they don’t fit you (like me), and if you don’t have a plethora of spare tips. The proprietary connection and lack of extra tips cost them a point in this section.

    Check out the pics. The whole package is shipped in recyclable paperfoam

    1_Box_unopened.jpg 3_Box_open.jpg 4_box_side.jpg 4_storage_Case.jpg 5_headphones.jpg 8_Analog_cable.jpg 9_magnetic_charger_case.jpg Headphones_mesh.jpg IMAG1580.jpg IMAG1585.jpg


    Fit & Comfort– 3/5
    The in-ear part of the headphones refused to sit on my ear with the stock tips. It is absolutely essential to get a proper and secure fit because if you don’t, the unique profile created for you will be messed up, meaning- they will sound like crap. Luckily for me, the JVC spiral tips worked perfectly (i’m using the medium-large JVC tips).

    These were ordered (as a customer from their website) on 23rd December, and I received them by 28 Jan. I mention this because i believe these are the second iteration of the model. One of the “backers” had commented that the first batch which he received early in 2017 fit him perfectly well with stock tips whereas he could hardly get a fit with the second one which he received a couple of couple of months ago.

    I’ll talk more about the fit and creating the unique profile when talk about the Nura app in detail.

    Although the headphones are heavy, they are very comfortable to use while upright, even when you are walking. I walk with them everyday when i leave the house. The weight and comfort (lack of it) can start bothering you after an hour or so, but until then they are quite comfortable.The headband start sliding down when contacted freely by gravity- while lying down, or if you bend your neck downwards/upwards, the headband starts to slide. This is the only downslide :wink:

    Isolation & Sound leakage – 5/5
    No sound leakage at all. And sound isolation is simply amazing – Ety level.

    nura_design.jpg

    design_at_a_glance.jpg


    Nura App –
    Let’s talk about the app dependency. Without the Nura App, one basically cannot use these headphones. Also, it must be noted that the app works only when connected to the headphones via Bluetooth. When you are connected with the wire, the app does not open. Connecting to the app also means connecting to Nura server. This means you must have internet/mobile data ON.

    The first thing you essentially need to do is create your own unique hearing profile. Wear the headphones, get them connected, open the app, and follow the voice directions.
    hearing_profile.jpg

    When you are ready, you will be directed to adjust your earcups until it seals your ears properly.
    adjust your earcups.jpg

    So, you will know that they fit you properly when the earcups in this screen goes dark. I could never get these dark with the stock tips. I tried my JVC spirals and they fit me perfectly. Hurray!!

    Next, you will hear some strange sounds like from 8-bit video games for about a minute, and then your hearing profile is created.

    This is how the hearing profiles look, and this is what they mean.

    videotogif_2018.02.17_14.02.18.gif


    I created my hearing profile atleast a dozen times with various tips, and four out of five times they had the dips and peaks at the same places, only with slight differences in the amplitude – but no two were exactly the same. The colour codes were also similar most of the times. I’m not sure if the colours mean anything. Although i must say that a couple of times the profiles were way off-sounding and significantly different from the usual ones. So, i would say we need to do this ritual several times to be sure you got your best profile set up.

    This is my final hearing profile that i like the most.

    My_profile.jpg

    Generic vs Personalised
    The generic profile is so bad you can't listen to them. They sound terribly tinny, instrument separation is bad, bass is not adequate. I believe it's the setting with all the frequencies brought down in the EQ. And so, switching to the Personalised setting will obviously sound amazing in comparison. I believe you can leave the setting in Generic and apply your own EQ (I haven't tried) if that's your thing. The drivers are definitely responding to EQ in a big way.

    There are also a couple of other things the app is needed for. That is to setup the behaviour of the buttons on the earcups. You can tap on the buttons to do specific actions which are defined in the app. To use these buttons you need to be connected via Bluetooth. For some reason they don’t work when the wires are connected.

    nura_tap_options.jpg

    Once the profile is created, and once you’ve setup the amount of immersion you need, you don’t need the app.
    When you connect with wires, nuraphone will play using the last profile/immersion level used.

    immersion.jpg


    Sound –
    To put it very simply, Nura are the best sounding cans i’ve ever heard among all my headphones and IEMs. I can confidently say that this is the way music is meant to be heard (for me), and i’m sure everyone’s personal profile will satisfy them like mine does me. They are extremely detailed and at the same time so fun and musical in a way that i thought was really impossible. The best part about them is that the bass frequencies are played from the outer cup where the sound enters you through your skin, while the mids and highs go directly in via the in-ear probe. They can never overlap the mids the way all the other earphones do. With the immersion mode you can get them to basshead level, and still enjoy all the detail and clarity in the music. You can see that the warmth in the sound (when you increase the immersion) is created inside your ear as opposed to created by the tuning. It’s mind-blowing. Adjustable bass can also make sure this satisfies anyone that might want more bass than they need. Me, personally, i keep them at around 20-30% - where 100% (or Front Row) really rattles those ear cups. It’s an amazing experience and is worth 20 dollars by itself, even if for a few minutes.

    One thing to note though is that even when i get the Immersion mode to zero, or least bass, the basic bass quantity that my profile demands is still present. This means that if you think your hearing profile added more bass than you generally prefer, then you are at a loss and you can never get rid of this. Based on this, i think the only ones who may not enjoy these earphones are those who generally prefer anemic levels of bass or those who are overly bass shy. Or, those who forced their taste towards a treble tilted sound. Of course, you might still like them because of their innovative delivery of bass. But, you must try them to see where you stand. Nothing that an app EQ can fix anyway, i guess.

    I’m not doing the usual Bass-Mids-treble sections here because they are all just simply perfect. I can’t fault any of them. No part of the frequency is overdone, and none is left wanting- even a teeny bit. This can only mean that the drivers they are using are the best in the industry and that they respond to EQ in a fabulous way.

    Before we do some comparisons i must drop a word or two about Bluetooth here.
    I must warn that some of the lines written below can deeply offend audiophiles here. However, i can’t hold back.

    I’m so glad my HTC 10 upgraded to Oreo recently and since then i have AptX HD in my phone.
    I’ve used Nuraphone with the analog cable, USB, and with Bluetooth, and i can say honestly that my ears can find no difference in sound quality. If any, i would say AptX HD sounds slightly more exciting than wires. AptX HD adds a little amplication to the sound and maybe that’s why i prefer them to wired music. Nevertheless, I’m a fan and sometimes i’m using bluetooth adapters on my wired headphones as well.
    That said, i must admit that there is an occassonal click or two where the Bluetooth connection struggles a bit, especially near traffic lights, or when there is some physical interference. I also notice that the reception is better when the phone is in my jacket pocket compared to my jeans pocket. This mild inconvenience however doesn’t stop me from using Bluetooth because no-wires are super cool. Then again, i must admit that i find it awesome when there is absolutely no interruption in my music when i use the wires. Alas, there’s still a price you pay for everything. I would give wires another 2 years before they become truly useless and obsolete.

    Alrighty then! Now that i got this off my chest, let’s do some comparisons!

    Nura vs German Maestro 8.35D
    8.35D were my go-to cans during winters when i wanted to go out. These closed cans are close to neutral in their signature, have punchy sub bass, neutral mids, have realistic timbre and pack a great amount of detail.

    When i switch from GM 8.35D to Nura, i can see that bass i slightly more present in Nura and is punchier and tighter than 8.35D. The instrument separation is also visibly better than 8.35D. The 8.35Ds sound more cohesive and fluid where the details in Nura are more punctuated and better presented. 8.35Ds are definitely great, but Nura, being more fun and detailed, and a little more than twice the price, beats them easily.

    Nura vs ATH MSR7SE
    After being impressed by 8.35Ds, i wanted another, better, over ear cans and being a fan of ATH, i went for the Special Edition MSR7s. They have visibly more details (compared to 8.35Ds) and are great headphones. They both cost the same.

    When i switch from Nura to ATH MSR7SE, i can hear a little more emphasis in the upper-mid and high frequency in ATH. The vocals are also slightly lifted in ATH which gives it a shriller tone compared to more "correct" tone of the Nuras. I also notice that bass quality seems the same but Nura is punchier. When i play a bass heavy track, Nura gives me more bass, whereas the ATH keeps it a little tame. Nura seems to play the sound based on the tracks i choose. ATH splashes a little more details than the Nura in the higher frequencies. I feel these extra details need not be brought to my face, but ATH decides to throw it. It’s tough to pick a winner between these two. The Audio Technica is a great piece of work, but i would still choose Nura due to it’s adaptive personality which never fails to bring out what i think are the most important details in the music.

    Instrument positioning is great in both these headphones, maybe Nura is very slightly better, with more air between.

    Nura vs ATH CKR100
    The CKR100 is my favourite IEM., And these two cost the same.
    When I switch from Nura to CKR100, i feel that the soundstage gets a bit congested, and the instruments get closer to each other (Over ear vs In-ear). The separation is still great in CKR100. CKR100 bass sounds a bit loose comparatively. CKR100 sounds thicker and tends to get a bit lush - sometimes unnecessarily. Still ATH is tastefully tuned and it strikes the right balance between details and fun. Nura shows more separation/space between instruments resulting in a more immersive and enjoyable experience. Nura sounds more refined and "correct" in comparison.

    Comparison.jpg

    Isolation : Nura > 8.35D >= CKR100 > MSR7SE (due to a couple of vents)
    Comfort : 8.35D > MSR7SE > CKR100 = Nura (Both heavy and in-ear)
    Details : Nura >= MSR7SE > 8.35D = CKR100
    Bass : CKR100 > Nura > MSR7SE >= 8.35D
    Mids : Nura > CKR100 > MSR7SE = 8.35D

    Overall Rating of Nuraphone:

    Vocals 5/5
    Soundstage 5/5
    Instrument Separation 5/5
    Detail 5/5
    Timbre 5/5
    Comfort 3/5

    While we are here, let me also mention the simplicity and ease of use (after the initial setup) is what makes me pick Nura up every time i want to listen to music. As soon as you wear them, the headphones wake up automatically and welcomes you. And you can start playing your music with a single tap on the headphones. you don't need to connect a wire to your phones, and all that hassle. As soon as you remove them they turn themselves off, thus conserving battery. I'm able to go 2 full weeks without a recharge based on my usage. Plus, they sound incredile.

    Conclusion –
    I really don’t think i can get a better headphone/IEM experience than what Nura has given. It is both analytical and musical at the same time. Nura is like a chameleon that adapts to the song that is being played. I really hope Nura makes another one like this, which is lighter and more comfortable with re-usable standard parts, like a 3.5mm connector, and an app that uses our local memory to store profiles, etc, so that we won’t have to depend on the Nura server, and their availability.

    I would like to immensely thank my girlfriend for gifting me these awesome headphones. I’m the “audiophile” here, spending half a day on head-fi on a daily basis, and she got to know about these on FB and surprised the bejeesus out of my audiophile ass! Thanks, milov, and thank you, Nura! It really works!!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DJ The Rocket
      @Elzizo : he was referring to JVC Spiral Dots. They are the best sounding IEM tips in my opinion as well.
      DJ The Rocket, Sep 17, 2018
    3. DJ The Rocket
      @zorniki were you using the wired connection, or bluetooth? If bluetooth, reboot everything. If wired, you need amp
      DJ The Rocket, Sep 17, 2018
    4. iems0nly
      @zorniki I never faced a volume issue with the nuras. I have an Android Oreo phone which connects with AptX HD, and the volume is high (i can never get it to maximum). They have also upgraded their app, which now has NC and and extra capabilities for touch controls. I would suggest the upgrade, if not already done. Reboot, as Rocket suggested. Last resort - write to them, they get back quickly.
      iems0nly, Sep 19, 2018