No two individuals hear sound in exactly the same way. Yet when we attempt to create the best audio experience, it tends to be a “one sound suits all” scenario—at least until now. NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones seek to elevate your listening appreciation by delivering personalized audio unique to each individual listener.
Custom audio with NuraPhone
NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones are unlike just about any other headphones out there. This is because the primary feature of NuraPhone headphones is their ability to individually customize your experience. No two users will receive audio from these headphones in the exact same way.
Nuraphone accomplished this by analyzing your unique hearing patterns during the initial setup. This step takes only a few minutes, and requires the Nura app (available for both iOS and Android). Once the analysis completes, Nura saves your hearing profile permanently via the application.
The process itself is a bit like setting up a new surround sound system in your home theatre. With the headphones in place, the audio output will begin to fire out a series of bleeps and bloops that sound like a series of red alerts or droid conversations from your favourite sci-fi franchise. This lets NuraPhone measure the unique shape of your ears and the way you hear sound.
Colourful sound that caters to your individual hearing
The visual representation of your personal profile looks a bit like a hybrid ink blot/litmus test. After calibration, the Nura app invites users to compare the difference between the “neutral” audio and their own custom profile. In fact, users can toggle your profile on and off at any time. They can even set up multiple profiles for more than one listener.
The difference is staggering to say the least. It’s beyond easy to discern between the dull and somewhat lifeless sound of the default settings vs. the lush and ambient audio a personal profile delivers. Nura describes this sensation as “music in full colour”. It’s a difficult concept to imagine, but it makes sense when you experience it.
Putting NuraPhone’s personal audio to the test
Of course, it would be easy enough to simply bolster the audio from “poor” to “good” and mask it as the wonder of “personal audio”, so I put the NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones further to task. I decided to let my daughter create a second profile based on her personal hearing.
Sure enough, not only does the visual representation of her profile look totally different, it sounds different to. After comparing notes, it’s clear that not only are our profiles unique, but they do in fact suit us as well. When I use my daughter’s profile, that audio is notably less appealing to my personal hearing.
Immerse yourself with the NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones
The ability to toggle between neutral and custom hearing is neat, but listeners likely won’t want to do it regularly. There’s really no reason to deviate from the superior custom settings. However, NuraPhone wireless headphones have another useful feature that owners are more likely to engage with on a regular basis.
Users can user a sliding scale to set the depth of “Immersion Mode”. This mode means in part to simulate the feeling of listening to live music. It essentially kicks up the low end (bass) tones into overdrive.
It actually works quite well, and I find that music really does have more of a “live” quality as Immersion Mode scales upward. When listening to the new Smashing Pumpkins release, I find cranking this mode up gives a bass-heavy sound that certainly reminds me more of my times seeing them in person.
Essentially, playing with this feature also lets listeners decide whether they want the headphones to scale more towards high-end or low-end sound. The audio quality is fantastic regardless however. Personally I like to keep immersion at about 80% though—any higher and the silicon ear cups begin to pulse and vibrate.
Hybrid over-ear and in-ear design
In order to achieve their incredible sound, the NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones have a bit of a curious design. Despite being over-ear headphones, the inner portion of the silicon ear cup actually incorporates an in-ear component. For me, it feels a bit odd, and definitely takes some getting used to.
The headphones fit quite comfortably otherwise, although the don’t collapse or fold for easy stowing. If you’re looking for a handy storage solution however, Nura does offer this sleek and functional hard shell case. It contains a hand compartment for your charging cable and other wires as well.
Of course if you prefer, Nura does have an in-ear only option. You can ready my review of the Nura wireless in-ear headphones here. The in-ear model may be more ideal for active use, however I do notice that the noise-cancelling feature is much stronger in the over-ear NuraPhone headphones.
Limited physical features of the NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones
While I would grade the sound quality of the NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones as excellent, I find the hardware design less impressive. They fit comfortably to be sure (if you don’t mind the in-ear component), but the touch button interface is less than ideal.
First off, there is no battery light or power indicator on the headphones. To power them off, you simply remove them and place them down. Still, with no visual or physical cue, it’s frustrating not to have hard proof that the headphones are off and the power is not draining.
Secondly, the two touch buttons on the side have a total of four possible functions (either a single-tap or a double-tap on each). The good news is that you can program each input to do what you want via the app. The bad news is that only four options leaves you compromising between settings like volume up, volume down, mute, skip track, previous track, immersion on/off, noise cancelling on/off, and so on.
Finally, the buttons are so sensitive and protrude so far from the headset that I regularly hit them by accident. I can barely keep track of how many often I mean to simply adjust the ear cup on my head and accidentally mute my music instead.
NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones deliver incredible personalized audio
Personally I believe the NuraPhone wireless over-ear headphones offer one of the best listening experiences out there. I’m a big fan of Immersion Mode, and my unique listening profile really seems to deliver optimal audio. The overall sound quality is really outstanding.
My only qualm is with the physical design. The lack of power and battery indicators on the headphones themselves is baffling, and the buttons offer minimal options at one time and are much too easy to hit by accident. Of course, NuraPhones heavily tie themselves to the accompanying Nura app for functionality, and everything is much easier to control and monitor from there if you are the type to keep your smart device handy while listening.