The Nuraphone; Tailored Sound for your Ears

Review Category: 

Review: 

Hello everyone. I'm back with another review. You're probably thinking to yourself, my God Holden, how many headphones do you have? After I got this last week, I'll tell you all that I've gotten the headphones I use on a daily basis down to two, this one we're going to talk about today and my Sennheiser Ambeo Smart headset, which is still an excellent headset that I would recommend to anyone who wants to record in high-quality binaural audio and listen to music through a good headset made by a company with decades of experience in making audio equipment.
Now, onto the Nuraphone. First of all, I will tell you all this is an expensive headset. I won't even try to sugar coat it. If you decide you want to try this headset it's $399, but in this review I am including a link that you can use to get twenty percent off your order. Let me cover the things I don't like about this headset so that we can end with the positive and why even with the cons I'd still say buy this if you're an audio enthusiast looking for a terrific audio experience.
First of all, I don't like the fact that you have to control this headset with an app. The good part is, I can go into the app on my iPhone, which is for the most part very accessible, with just a few unlabeled buttons. From there I can switch between the hearing profiles, which we'll get to here in just a second, as well as turn on emersion mode, which brings out the low and bass frequencies in music, turn that on or off, as well as adjust how much emersion you want, from gentle to front row which, in my opinion, is a little bit much. I think one of the best parts about this headset is that when connected to a cable it remembers your settings. IN my experience most headsets which are meant to be used wirelessly can be wired in, but lose some of their sound if you do. Not so with this headset. I get the same sound whether I'm connected to my phone with Bluetooth or if I connect to my computer with the included USB cable. Maybe I should have included this first, and under any other set of circumstances I would, but I've reached out to Nura, the company that makes this headset, and they immediately got back to me and said this issue will be fixed with a firmware update. When you first get the headphones and connect them to your device using Bluetooth, they test your hearing by playing a range of different frequencies and using very sensitive microphones located in the headphones to find out which frequencies you specifically hear better and which ones you don't. Everyone hears sounds very differently. This is why some people like a certain sound, while another person can hear the same thing and not like it at all. Anyway, until this hearing profile test is complete you can't use the headphones, and what this means to us specifically as Voice-over users is that they are completely unusable until that hearing profile's been created. The good news is, if you have a Braille display or know another person who does, you're not out in the cold. I understand however that a Braille display is not something that everyone has and that was what I pointed out in my email. Within 24 hours, possibly less, the company got back to me and they apologized, as well as insuring me that with a firmware update Voice-over would be able to be used during the setup process, or the setup process would be changed in such a way as to make use of Voice-over unnecessary. As it is now, before the hearing test is run you have to enter your name and email address and answer whether you'd like to be emailed updates etc. After this process is completed however, you can set up additional hearing profiles as well as do everything else on your phone with no problem whatsoever. There aren't really any other cons that I can think of. Now, let's talk about the positives in this headset.
First of all, I actually like the design. Headphones overall have not really changed a whole lot in the last several decades. It's two pads you put on your ears connected by a wire to a device or possibly connected via Bluetooth that lets you hear privately without disturbing those around you. Some sound good, some sound awful but most are somewhere in-between in the middle. It depends on what you as a person are going for, whether it's sound, a certain look, or maybe it's the difference between a pair for the studio as opposed to something you can use while on a plane, but we all have a choice when it comes to the headphones that we as individuals want to use or in some cases be seen out and about in. I can tell you, the Nuraphone design is strange, but it makes so much sense. It's what the company calls Inovo. Let me explain. There's an over-ear component as well as an in-ear component. When you put the headphones on there are two earbuds that seal pretty well into your ears, as well as an over-ear part. The earbuds are responsible for driving highs and mid-range frequencies, while the over-ear drivers deal with bass. This is the kind of bass that can be felt. This is what I think the Skullcandy Crushers could have been like had Skullcandy been a little more revolutionary instead of just putting something in the hollow earcups that kicked the bass up a notch. Because the earbuds drive the mids and highs and the over-ear drivers take care of the bass, the sound doesn't muddy or distort at all. The insides of the earcups don't really get hot, because there's an air ventillation system that brings in cool air from the outside, and I've spent hours wearing these headphones with little to no discomfort.
When you hold them, they feel like they're made out of premium materials. No flimsy plastic here, these headphones are made out of aluminum and other materials that give them a nice feeling, and a good amount of weight so you feel sure that they were made for the long haul. As I said at the beginning, most of the functions of the headphones as far as the way they sound has to be adjusted through the app, but there are two touch buttons on the left and right earcups that can be configured through the app, and when connected over Bluetooth the buttons can do a variety of things, skip to next or previous track, play or pause music, answer and end phone calls, enable or disable emersion mode, as well as enable or disable the generic mode, as in, the headphones are not using your unique hearing profile. I will tell you, on generic mode, the sound is terrible. They sound very cheap, but it's definitely a comparison between your hearing profile and the generic headset. Now, to the sound, I'm not sure. The claim to fame on this headset is that it tailors the sound specifically for your ears. When creating your hearing profile at setup it plays tones in your ears and by doing so the headphones can tell which frequencies your ears respond to and which ones they don't. After that you can connect via Bluetooth or cable to any device and take your configured profile with you. The only thing that I can say is that I've fallen in love with my music all over again. I've had this headset for a little over a week now and I've had no desire to go near any of the other headsets I've had, my Blue Satellites, the Skullcandy Crushers or the Bose Qc-35's. When I'm at home I use this headset and when I'm out, I use the Sennheiser Ambeo. I don't want to use anything else, because no other headset puts out this much bass as well as excellent mids and highs with no distortion or muddy sound whatsoever. I can tell you that Nura, the company that makes this headset stands behind the Nuraphone and, if in 30 days you decide it's not for you you can send it back for a full refund in it's original packaging. For anyone here who is a true audio enthusiast, I say give these a try.

Update; Nuraphone, G2.
I knew I was giving my money to a great company. Back in March I got this headset and was blown away. Now, I'm blown away again. I just got this a little while ago, as in, today, but the new Nura update is out, and it's called Nuraphone G2. New features are active noise-cancelling, (not sure why they felt they needed this), with the headphones on and my music up, I can barely hear the outside world as it is. They have what they're calling"social mode" now, which is basically their version of Bose's Aware mode, Sennheiser's transparent hearing and some of the other companies who are putting out headphones now. We as blind folks can rejoice! The company has fixed the issue of Voice-over not working during setup. You can order these headphones with the confidence that you will have a totally accessible setup. The other feature that I can talk about now however is that you can now configure the touch-sensitive buttons on the side of the headphones. You can configure them so a single-tap performs one action, and double-tapping the button performs another one. . I had kind of a gripe about how terrible this headset was for taking phone calls. People complained that I sounded very muddy and that I wasn't coming in clear. This issue has now been fixed. I talked to my wife and my mother who've both assured me I sound good and clear.And there's one more thing. One of the problems with the Nuraphone was that it didn't audibly tell you the percentage of the battery before, and with this update, it does. If anyone here has the Bose QC-35's, you'll know when you turn them on that a voice says the percentage of the battery. Now the Nuraphone does this, and there's also a sound to let you know that it's charging.
Here's to the next big Nura update. So many companies have left us hanging before when they said they were going to bring their product to the next level, especially the startups who run out of money before they've accomplished what they set out to do, but I have good feelings about where this company is taking it's product.
Happy listening!

Devices Accessory Was Used With: 

iPhone

Rating: 

5 Stars

Disclaimer

The review on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this review.

26 Comments

#1 Wow. Interesting review...

Thanks for the review of this really interesting headset. Is this headset without a mic for taking phone calls? I don't get how the calibration works. Do yu have to make any kind of reaktion for the sounds you don't like, or how does the headset know what tones your ears don't like?

#2 In response to SLJ

As to how exactly it works, I have no idea. From what I can gather the sounds bounce around your inner ear canal and the sound of the headphones adjusts itself based on the readings that it takes from your ears. I may as well throw in an update; it's been a little over three months and I'm still super excited every time I put these headphones on. I've tested several, so most of the time the "hype" or "gimic" fades within a couple of weeks, but not this time. Even if I buy and test other headsets in the future I'm not prepared to sell this one to make room for others. This one goes everywhere I go.
I responded to your comments on my reviews in the order I received them in my email, so I'll address a few other things here. There is a microphone, and you can also buy a lightning connector for your iPhone or iPad, which also has a microphone, as well as a volume up, down, and another button for playing music, and skipping tracks. I'm hoping a future firmware update to the headphones will fix the microphone on the headset itself. The company put some things into the headset's hardware that isn't available in the firmware just yet, but I've been hearing rumors there's a big update slated for later on this year, and I'm hoping one of those is to make the microphone on the headset itself a little bit better. Also, this headset does not leak. Even when I turn up the immersion mode all the way, my wife can only hear it if she's not wrapped up in something herself and there's not a lot of other noise in the background. Even something as quiet as our air-conditioner masks it.

#3 Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your great reply.

#4 Nice update

Hi.
Thanks for the nice update on the review. So, did you bought a new headset, or is it the current headset which has got a software update?

#5 New software, same hardware

I'm sorry. I guess that would naturally be the next question you'd ask. No, the software was updated but the headphones are the same.

#6 Nuraphone Deal

Club AppleVis Member

Today is Amazon Prime Day. At this time for the next twelve hours or so, they are offering it for 25% off. It is now $299.00. In the US, it is 1:19 p.m. on July 17 as I type this. I believe the deal is good for the next 12 hours or so. Of note, you MUST be a Prime member to take advantage of this deal.

#7 The social mode

Hi.
Nice to hear that the software update brings so many new features.
I have a generel question about the social mode, both for this headset, for the Bose and other headsets which have this feature. Do you hear the sounds around you in mono or in stereo? I'm using headsets when traveling by buss and train, and sometimes I need to hear what happens around me, and especially when people are talking to me. Therefore, it's also quite important to hear what direction the sounds are coming from.

#8 RE: The Social Mode

Club AppleVis Member

If your phones are stereo phones, you'll hear in stereo. If they are not, you won't. However, if you have two working ears (and no insult to anyone is meant by that), then you'll hear out of both of them.

#9 Re: Social Mode

Particularly with the Nuraphone, the social mode is incredible. With it off or with ANC engaged, I can hear nothing. With that over-ear design as well as the earbuds nestling in my earholes lol, I can hear nothing. My wife had to tap my shoulder if she wants to speak to me. With social mode on, I feel the Nuraphone on my head, but I can hear clearly. I ran our trash down to the dumpster last night and heard everything around me, the occasional passing car as well as the scattering of crickets we get here in the city as well as the music I was listening to.

#10 Re The social mode

Wow, thanks for your replies. Sounds fantastic. Is that the same for all the headsets which supports such feature? I wander how it works? It might be as simple as a microphone on both earphone, which naturally gives the stereo sound. I was worried it would be in mono, so you couldn't hear where the sounds were coming from. That's really good to know that it's in stereo.

#11 re: the social mode

The headphones that have a feature like this often do use microphones located on the outer earcup somewhere. Some headphone models do a better job then others do. I'm not much on Bose's aware mode anymore. I personally think the Nuraphone's social mode, as well as the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart's transparent hearing do a much better job at letting in noise from the outside.

#12 They are cheaper but ...

Club AppleVis Member

The Pioneer Rays also have a pretty decent Hear-Through mode. I can't compare them with other models, but for this being my first pair of headphones with the aware mode feature, they do pretty good. However, I just ordered the Sennheiser Ambeo phones and will be able to compare tomorrow.

#13 so are these earphones pocket

so are these earphones pocket sized? as in say a jeans pocket, just curious I suspect not given that you say they have cups on them rather than being just in ear.

#14 re: pocket earphones

No, as far as size goes, these headphones are very bulky. If you want to carry these around comfortably you'll want to use a backpack or messenger bag of some sort.

#15 Question about the first set up process and getting a good seal

I have heard on other websites that do reviews for things that, the ear phones have an image on screen which let you know if your ear cups are sealed properly when you’re setting them up at first. Like if it’s not sealed correctly the profile will not work. No one seems to have run into this problem here so I’m wondering if it doesn’t really matter. Did anyone have to look at the screen to help you set them up. Thank you for the help and, these headphones sound amazing!

#16 The fit matters/

Hello.
When I set up my Nuraphones, I had to use my wife's Braille display. I really need to test this once and for all on the new update, but because I didn't have a hearing profile yet when the headphones arrived at my door, I couldn't listen to my phone through them. Voice-over didn't speak through them at all even when it was on, but I was able to use the Braille display to go through the setup process. The app tells you when you're not getting a good seal. It can be a bit painstaking to find just the right one, but after a bit of practice with it it becomes second nature to put these headphones on. I know you've seen me ranting about this headset, but I truly believe this is the next step. Why pay $1500 for a headset and another $2000 for an audiophile grade amp when I can pay a fraction of that for this setup?

#17 It's in the review now, but I'll post it here also

For new folks reading the main review they'll see it, but for those of you coming back to discuss the Nuraphone I performed a factory reset last night and was able to set up a new hearing profile with Voice-over right away. The one big issue I had with the Nuraphone is now gone. I updated the stars rating to a solid 5 and I now feel a thousand times better about this device then I already did.

#18 One more thing about the Nura customer experience+

Hello again everyone.
I had a problem with my Nuraphone. For whatever reason, it would seem that the pressure sensor which was used to let the headphones know to come on because they were sitting on your head got broken somehow. What would happen is, I'd put the headphones on, and after a couple of seconds they would go into sleep mode. I wrote to the tech support team right away and they got back to me very quickly. While most companies have you first send back the defective unit, which I wouldn't have minded doing, they sent me an email letting me know to watch for the invoice for my new Nuraphones and a separate email containing instructions on sending the old ones back. I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of a couple of weeks without my favorite headset, but now I don't need to worry about it for more than a couple of days.
All in all, I am satisfied.
It's very important for a new company to be good with their customers. After all, how can you build a good relationship if your customers don't think much of your customer service experience?

#19 More things to mention

Hi.
After having done some research, I realize that those headphones not just acts as an analog headset, but also as a USB headset if you connect it to the USB port on either a Mac or a Windows computer. Just, wow! That means: 1. You will keep your hearing profile. 2. The microphone will also work for voice chatting etc. when using it as a USB headset together with a computer. This is really amazing! So you actually have three kinds of connectivities: Bluetooth, USB and analog. Maybe a 4th kind of connection which is the same as USB by connecting it to the phone or tablet by one of the digital cables. I'm nearly speechless...
Then, to a bit of bad thing: I haven't bought the headset yet, but I have downloaded the app, just to see what it's like. I try to create an account by email, which doesn't seem to be possible when using VOiceover. I can't check or uncheck if I wanna receive news by email, and I can't check or uncheck the licens agreements either. I don't wanna sign in using Facebook or Twitter due to the security.
I will contact the company about this issue, since I have other things to talk about regarding to those awesome headphones. I'll let you know the status of the issue here on the forum.

#20 Wondering if this is recent

Hi Slj.When I got the Nura app I was able to set up a new account no problem. I'd contact them, they're very good about getting back in a timely manner. You can also ask on Twitter if you wish, their Twitter handle is @nurasound

#21 Their contact form is not accessible

Hi.
While trying to send a email to the support team, I noticed the contact form is not accessible. I can't choose my country and neither the topic. I have both tried with Safari and Google Crome. I wander how you do this?

#22 Contact Form

If I knew anything about how coding websites to be more accessible worked, I'd have suggested they do something about this. For right now, send an email to info@nuraphone.com

#23 Re: The contact form

Thanks a ton. Since I'm a web developer, I'll let them know how to make those fields accessible on the contact form as well.
Regarding the account creation: I have the newest version of the app. I choose to create an account using my email, not Facebook or Twitter, and I can't accept the licens agreements. It's interesting it works for you. I'm using an iPhone 7 latest IOS.

#24 Nura app

I have an iPhone 10, with the latest IOS also. I wouldn't think you'd need the headset to create an account. I had mine when I did.

#25 Re: The app

that's interesting if an iPhone 10 makes the difference. I have just wrote them a mail where I mentioned the issue along lots of other things, and I look very much forward to hear from them.

#26 NuraLoop prelorder and question about "social mode"

Hello,

You can pre-order the new Nura Loop from:
https://www.nuraphone.com/products/nuraloop

I have a question about the "social mode" for people who already own the NuraPhone. Does this function works good? I mean does it is the quality like monitoring a recording when wairing a binaural recording headphone? Can you use the headphone in one of this situations: "sitting on a train an hearing the anouncement of the stations, wairing the headphone and having a conversation with someone else, using the headphone with google maps and walking safe on the street?

Thanks