Tech review: Nuraphone a thumpy audio experience

Two main genres of headphones are in-ear and over-ear headphones. Some prefer in-ear headphones as they do not heat up the ears. But over-ear headphones cancel out noise better – handy for those long-haul flights.

The Nuraphone is both genres rolled into one.

From the outside, this pair of wireless headphones looks like over-ear headphones, with two ear cups connected by a stainless steel headband. But look inside the ear cups and you will see earbuds protruding out.

It makes for a strange experience, at least when I first put it on.

There are no visible buttons on the headphones – it automatically powers up when you wear it. There are two sets of drivers – a 15mm in-ear driver and a 40mm over-ear driver – in each ear cup.

The Nuraphone is able to customise a profile to match your hearing. It does this by playing a range of tones into your ears, and then measuring the very faint sound that your ears generate in response.

The returning sound wave contains information about how well you hear the tones. The Nuraphone’s built-in self-learning engine uses this information to create your hearing profile (up to three).

FOR

– Customised hearing profile

– Great bass with force feedback

– Comfortable

AGAINST

– Slightly pricey

– Proprietary charging cable

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $629

FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz to 20,000Hz

DRIVERS: 15mm in-ear drivers, 40mm over-ear drivers

CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

WEIGHT: 329g

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4.5/5

BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

OVERALL: 4/5

This process requires the Nura app (available for Android and iOS) and is a breeze to go through – just follow the on-screen instructions and it is done in about a minute.

The app allows you to listen using the neutral setting or your customised profile. The neutral setting sounds more muffled to me than a cheap $5 pair of in-ear headphones.

But once switched to the customised profile, the audio output is amazing. The mids and highs are sharp and distinct, thanks to the in-ear drivers. The over-ear drivers deliver a very solid and thumpy bass that actually vibrates – sort of like the force feedback effect in gaming devices – to provide plenty of feedback to the ears.

Essentially, it is trying to replicate the bass you feel during concerts. And you can adjust the amount of bass via the app.

Each ear cup has a touch-sensitive button, disguised as the Nuraphone logo. The app allows you to customise the buttons for volume control or playback.

Everything else is controlled by the app, including active noise cancellation (ANC) and the social mode. Switch on the social mode to listen to what’s going on around you. Handy when you are crossing the road.

Battery life is pretty good at around 15 to 20 hours of music playback.

On the downside, the headphones uses a proprietary USB charging cable instead of a micro-USB or USB-C cable. So don’t lose it.

The Nuraphone is slightly expensive compared to ANC over-ear headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose QuickComfort 35. But you don’t get the bass force feedback with these headphones.

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