From the plugs back to the headband, headphones have experienced something of a renaissance, of course in a modern, wireless guise - Bluetooth makes this possible. The smartphone thus becomes a multimedia control center that provides content. High-performance headphones, nowadays ideally flexible models that can be used on the go or at home - either in front of the TV or at the gaming area - must ensure good sound. The Bluetooth headphones from the manufacturer Nura want to revolutionize nothing less than the market.
In order for music and speech to reach the ears in good quality when enjoying mobile films, gaming and music, you need at least solid headphones. Or you can rely on one of the numerous luxury models advertised by different manufacturers. One project stands out in particular: Nuraphone. Financed by crowdfunding, the wireless Bluetooth headphones were initially aimed primarily at music and film lovers. In the meantime, a specially adapted gaming microphone has been brought onto the market, which makes the combination of the Nuraphone headphones and the Nuraphone Gaming Microphone an alternative for gamers.
The Nura: Headphones are one of those little crowdfunding success stories. In 2016, the designers raised more than 1,8 million US dollars through Kickstarter in order to realize their vision of innovative headphones. Vision because the nuraphone is more unusual than conventional headphones on several levels. Instead of making a distinction between in-ear, on-ear or over-ear, Nura relies on a combined in-ear and over-ear concept, i.e. offers the ears enclosing shells in which in-ear plugs are embedded. The concept of the makers: The headphones should offer the best possible sound experience and also automatically adapt to the individual hearing of the wearer.
The idea behind it came from an Australian ear, nose and throat doctor who had apparently had enough of bad sound. From the outer ear to the brain, the headphones from Nura use innovative sound technology to measure how the complaint setting must be made so that the wearer of the headphones benefits from the individual sound image.
Nuraphone combines in-ear and over-ear - and that with ANC
Admittedly, the investment of around 400 euros can be a deterrent for potential buyers. However, if you open the packaging of the Nuraphone, you will quickly notice that the workmanship alone justifies part of the high purchase price. Metal instead of plastic, weight instead of “lightweight”, soft rubber membrane instead of scratchy fabric surface.
The headphones sit securely on your head, but you can feel that too. This wireless luxury model from Nura is by no means a lightweight. You have to allow the headphones a few hours to get used to, because the high-tech you carry around with you can be represented in a number: the Nuraphone weighed around 330 grams, with the soft case it is almost 400 grams. And you want the latter Hardly do without when it comes to transport given the price. In stationary use at home, this “weight problem” is actually no longer a problem, because modern gaming headphones don't weigh much less.
Like the weight, you can feel the benefits of the Nuraphone immediately. The headphones are solidly made, robust and at the same time a declaration of love for the simple design of yore. Colorful flashing, flourishes or a hodgepodge of buttons are not found on these headphones. Elegant and simple, this is how you could describe the model succinctly but aptly. In any case, you cannot tell by looking at the Nuraphone that its innovation, maybe revolution? At most, a look into the headphone shell gives an idea that there is something special to be concealed behind the Bluetooth headset: an in-ear segment has been inserted into the over-ear part. There is a reason.
Technical specifications:Size: 190 x 170 x 88 mmWeight: 329gconnectivity: Bluetooth aptX HD, Universal Wired (Lightning, USB-C, micro-USB, analogue)Battery pack: Lithium Ion Battery, up to 20 hoursNoise suppression: Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) + dual passive isolationMaterial: Stainless aluminum shells, hypoallergenic siliconeLanguage: External microphones for calls
If the built-in plugs are firmly in the ears, the Nuraphone measures the user's hearing with the associated app. To set it up, you have to take a few minutes, go to a quiet place and follow the instructions of the computer voice. By the way, another operating advantage of the Nuraphone, albeit from the detail category: a voice - the language can be set - provides information about the battery charge level when the headphones are switched on.
During the calibration, various tones are played that generate reactions of the hearing, so-called otoacoustic emissions. From this, the app calculates “the perfect sound image” for those who have the nuraphone on their ears. Basically, this corresponds to the process known from equalizer settings. In the case of Nura's headphones, however, you don't have to lend a hand, but are accompanied by an automated process. This takes about two to three minutes, you can't go wrong: If the headphones don't sit properly on your ears, you will be notified and have to readjust.
Once the configuration is done, nothing stands in the way of listening pleasure. And “listening pleasure” can be understood literally, because what the Nuraphone produces as sounds is convincing. The highs are clear, voices understandable, the bass doesn't boom or roar, but carries the sound. This is supported by slight vibrations of the rubber coating. At this point, Nura allows the user to do something that is otherwise not possible with Nuraphone headphones: sound adjustments.
The intensity of the bass can be adjusted using the slider in the app. Overall, the sound is excellent and is at a level that corresponds to the purchase price of the Bluetooth headphones. Anyone who likes to listen to bass-heavy music or content with pronounced low tones often has to get used to it. The ear can separate the low frequencies as well as high and mid tones. This is partly due to the fact that the Nuraphone headphones bring the tones from the two different areas to the ear due to the combination of in-ear and over-ear: bass is generated in the over-ear shell, everything else comes from the earplugs . And it is precisely these that turn out to be a decisive factor at the level of detail.
On the one hand, the in- and over-ear combination means that the nuraphone headphones deliver a brilliant performance in terms of sound, on the other hand, anatomical differences can mean that some users find the headphones extremely comfortable, while others struggle with the comfort factor. The earplugs must sit firmly in the ears, you can sometimes feel this when you move. As a rule of thumb, the less or the more calmly you move, the more comfortable these headphones are. We had no problems with easy walks and trips with public transport. Jogging or cycling, on the other hand, are activities that should only be considered to a limited extent.
The headphones make up for the loss of comfort in terms of sound. The nuraphones bring the sound to the ears in a balanced and subtle way, slight deductions in the B-note have to be made for classical music - but other expensive headphones also have to struggle with this. Otherwise, instruments can be clearly distinguished. If you want to perceive a difference, you should not use the Nuraphone-internal comparison via app, but test a crisp rock song with Nuraphone and standard headphones one after the other. The headphones can also easily manage films or games. Distortions of the pitches are not audible, on the contrary: You can easily distinguish high and mid tones from one another.
Whether the ear measurement is the “game changer” that users expect from these headphones depends heavily on user behavior and the models previously used. The switch from cheap headphones to Nura's headband headphones from the luxury segment is astonishing. Anyone who already owns an expensive pair of headphones has to listen carefully in order to perceive differences. They actually exist, but whether this is due to the measurement technology, the equalizer or simply the innovative combination of in-ear and over-ear, everyone has to try to find out for themselves. In the end, it will probably not be possible to clarify this unequivocally. So what counts is what always counts with headphones: the question of the sound. And that's just right with Nuraphone.
Nuraphone: top battery performance!
The question of whether the cooling of the headphones through the Tesla valves works as well as it does or whether this is due to the material properties of the silicone cladding cannot be fully clarified - possibly both. In any case, the idea of the manufacturer Nura is that the small holes along the auricle have named Tesla valves that suck in cold air and thus cool the ears. Regardless of the magic behind it: The Nuraphone ensure a pleasant coolness when listening to music, watching films or playing games.
What is noticeable about the headphones due to the design: Even the passive noise suppression works well and suppresses ambient noise at a pleasant level. With activated active noise cancellation, so-called Active Noice Canceling (ANC), one is even more effectively sealed off from the outside world, even if not completely.
The nuraphones also offer a hearthrough feature. Ambient noise then penetrates to the ear using the microphones. As with other high-priced ANC models, the “Social Mode” that can be switched on is available and then loops through part of the outside noise: for example, announcements in the bus or train - practical, but now standard. In any case, it is good that Nura thought of the function. Annoying: Of all things, the otherwise flexibly assignable sensor buttons cannot be used to control ANC, this only works in the app settings.
Where the Nuraphone can boast is when it comes to battery performance. The wireless Bluetooth headphones should run for up to 20 hours with a full battery charge, but we did not quite reach the maximum value even with careful use of the “features: it was over at 18 hours. How long the battery lasts naturally depends on various factors: active ANC, ambient temperature, but also volume. With the latter, the nuraphones are comparatively tame. Even if it is harmful to the hearing, the volume cannot be turned up to unbearable levels, but this is possibly exactly what is wanted.
There are slight deductions at this point in terms of ease of use. A small LED bar would make it much easier to read the battery level. You can hear how much charge the battery still has in the computer voice or you can optionally check the app, but the latter only works if the headphones are not connected to the cable, as Bluetooth does not establish a connection. The result: Simply checking the charge level with the app does not work, you have to briefly connect the headphones.
Operation via the two sensor buttons on the left and right of the sliders, however, works without any problems. Two functions are available: tap and double tap. The assignment can be done easily via the app. Essential setting functions can be assigned to the buttons, such as increasing or decreasing the volume, activating or deactivating immersion mode or starting or pausing music. So every user can put the features that are essential for him on the keys. In our case, we relied on a trio of smartphone, Nura headphones and smartwatch to operate - everything can be conveniently controlled without even having to take the mobile phone out of your pocket: Excellent.
With Nura Microfone to a gaming headset
Nuraphone headphones have so far been used as gaming headsets with some cutbacks. Communication was possible through the built-in microphones, but nothing more. The mic quality was usable, but nothing more. Nura seems to have recognized this with regard to the target group of gamers. The result: a stand-alone gaming microphone, available separately, can be plugged into the Lightning socket, thus ensuring significantly improved voice quality from now on.
In fact, like a real gaming headset out of the Nuraphone, with which gamers no longer have to compromise on “real gaming headphones”. The advantages of the headphone part remain unchanged, the microphone is an optional accessory that fits perfectly into the basic design. Nura also relies on high processing quality for the microphone, which costs around 60 euros. The plug closes seamlessly with the intended - and without a single - socket below the right upper ear conch. The microphone is then plugged into the gaming PC, laptop or other end device via a jack plug that has a 3,5 mm input.
How clever this trick is can already be seen in the fact that you no longer have to switch to other headphone models when you sit down at the PC or console to play. The Bluetooth connection does not work while using Nura's wired gaming mic, but at the same time you don't have to do without the profile settings, because these are taken over by the app. The microphone doesn't have to hide behind the competition: speech is transmitted clearly, clearly and without delay.
Even if Nura did not focus on the group of gamers from the start, the makers were able to expand their target group with the release of the optional gaming microphone at the latest. Will this make the headphones ideal or even the best gaming headphones? This is still largely based on the personal taste of the user, because all the strengths of the Nura headphones (sound, bass, workmanship) but also their weaknesses (weight, getting used to or getting used to) are retained. The fact is: Nura also scores points in the gaming area with its excellent battery life.
In the real world, the gaming microphone proves to be a first-class extension of the already good headphones. In fact, the modular system has a big advantage in practice, because you can use the microphone, but you don't have to. If the mic is hanging on the ear cup, you can also fix it with the included safety clip - a useful gimmick! So the long cable proves to be a bit annoying. The connection measures almost two meters, and the average user will probably shut down a good part of it using a loop and cable clip so that one does not get tangled.
In the meantime, Nura has expanded its portfolio of available accessories and spare parts anyway. There are various adapters as well as earplugs or a hard case, which is a bit more robust than the enclosed soft case, but the latter fulfills its purpose more than adequately. In any case, the original model is no longer the only one that you can fall back on: If the over-ear version is too bulky for you, you can buy portable earplugs with the Nuraloop, which are probably much better suited for high-movement situations than the Nuraloop "big Brother".
What is immediately noticeable after connecting the microphone is the changing operation. If the Nuraphone headphones are connected via Bluetooth, you can fall back on the very practical sensor buttons to trigger previously defined commands. With the gaming microphone connected, this is no longer possible because of the lack of Bluetooth connectivity. This is not necessarily a shortcoming, because gamers are used to controlling the volume or mute function directly via the operating system or a remote control attached to the headset. This is exactly how it works with the “Nuraphone Gaming Headset” combo. You can set the sound louder or quieter using the remote attached to the cable.
Ultimately, the gaming microphone is really convincing in terms of voice quality. The transmitted speech sounds natural and clear. You can tell from the microphone that it has been individually tailored to the headphones and is not just any optional plug-on accessory.
Conclusion on the Nuraphone test
The Nuraphone combine two essential factors: innovation and minimalism. The latter is consistently implemented. Control elements, lights, bright colors or gimmicks are not found on the Nuraphone. Nura has chosen a design that can be described as simple and elegant. The construction and material are far more innovative and this is exactly where the wireless luxury headphones score. Somewhat harm in this price segment: A USB-C adapter should have been left, you have to buy it for around 20 euros extra if necessary. In addition to the headphones themselves, the scope of delivery includes a soft travel bag, an analog cable, the charging cable and earplugs in three sizes.
The combination of silicone and metal is convincing, is solid and therefore promises durability, but is unusually heavy on the head at first. Put on and immediately feel good, that's not how the Nuraphone headphones work - it takes a few hours to get used to the unusual design and the equally unusual wearing comfort. Perseverance is rewarded, however, because the Bluetooth headphones knock you through a crystal clear sound and not only throbbing, but also noticeable bass around your ears due to their design.
The idea of hearing measurement including a combination of in-ear and over-ear, use of the sensor buttons and linking with an app sounds like aloof space technology and nerd gimmick. In the end, however, the nuraphones simply deliver good sound - and that's what really counts when it comes to headphones. Gamers also benefit from this, because the crisp sound of action games or the orchestral music of high-class role-playing games has never been so noticeable. Thanks to the immersion mode, you can literally feel what is happening on the screen when something really happens. Because the Nuraphone can now also be upgraded to a real gaming headset, the alternative is actually available and not just theoretical. In addition, gaming sessions with active noise canceling offer a completely new level of playful immersion.
Nura has delivered with the unusual concept and offers music, film and gaming fans another option when it comes to looking for a suitable headphone model in the luxury segment. The Nuraphone headset is not perfect overall, but it offers near-perfect sound and some clever features. Only the “social mode” seems to need revision, one tends to take off the headphones to have a conversation instead of activating the mode.
Is the Nuraphone headset worth the purchase price? Users have to answer this question themselves. For their money, however, they undoubtedly get Bluetooth headphones with luxurious features, cool design and sound technology that do a lot more than you might think they would be. Even if the headphones are already terrific: It will be interesting to see what kind of sound technology Nura will bring to market in the future.
Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API