Review: NURATRUE — the only earbuds that custom-tune to the user’s personal hearing
Back in 2018, Nura successfully launched Australia’s largest Kickstarter campaign and subsequently released the Nuraphone — over-ear headphones with a unique audio technology that learns and adapts to the user’s hearing. Fast-forward three years later, and this month, the company introduces their version of wireless earbuds, with the same game-changing tech that sets the brand apart from all other earphone manufacturers in the market.
This is the NuraTrue:
ABOVE: NURATRUE EARBUDS BOX PACKAGING
ABOVE: THE NURATRUE EARBUDS CASE
ABOVE: NURATRUE EARBUDS IN THE CASE
ABOVE: THE NURATRUE EARBUDS HAVE A FLAT DISC DESIGN THAT ARE OF A GOOD SIZE; NOT TOO SMALL, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, EXTREMELY LIGHT
ABOVE: THE BACK OF THE NURATRUE EARBUDS
The earbuds come out of the case fully charged, and are easy to set up. It paired instantly with my iPhone through Bluetooth. The fit in the ear is comfortable, but I swopped out the silicone covers for the ones with the “wings” for a secure sports fit — I can wear these on a run and they won’t fall out at all.
ABOVE: INSIDE THE BOX, THERE ARE FOUR OTHER PAIRS OF EAR TIPS (INCLUDING ONE FOAM VERSION), A USB-A TO USB-C CHARGING CABLE FOR THE CASE, AND TWO WING ATTACHMENTS
Once in the ear, there’s an audio prompt to download the Nura app — which you’ll want to do because the customised sound is what this brand is all about.
ABOVE: THE NURA APP FROM THE APPLE APP STORE
Now here’s where it gets interesting; the app runs the user through a series of sounds to determine a hearing profile. When the earbuds play these tones, the ear generates a response to them and returns a sound wave that is picked up by sensitive microphones in the device. The Nura technology will then sonically shape the user’s music so that it matches the way the ear is hearing audio. Here’s an example of what it may look like:
This customised hearing profile tunes the music especially for the listener’s ear, and the underlying aim is for music to just sound better — and it really does. After setting up my personal sound profile, the difference in “Neutral” and “Personalised” mode is extremely obvious; toggling between the two settings are like hearing a cheap, tinny sound compared to audio that sounds like you’re sitting in a professional music studio. This is technology that you have to try for yourself to truly understand how good it is; but I wouldn’t recommend test sets during a time of COVID; so if you’re considering getting a new pair of earphones, I’d say jump right in and buy this model — it’s unlikely that you’ll regret it.
I love that this syncs as easily as Apple AirPods do; once I pop one side into my ear, it connects to my iPhone immediately. The fit is comfortable and secure (I use it with the “wings” attachment), the tap controls are intuitive and work well (you can configure commands for single and double taps on both sides), the size of the earbuds are just right — not terribly small and slippery that I’ll misplace them, but at the same time, still compact), even the case is compact, and of course, the audio quality is good. Bass is strong the way I like it, the mid-range is clear, and audio doesn’t crack even at the loudest setting.
The case doesn’t support wireless charging, it charges via a USB-C cable, but this isn’t a big deal for me. There’s an “Immersion Mode” that you can adjust in your personal sound profile; this setting is meant to make the music sound like you’re at a live concert and the music is right in front of you. Cranking the level of this up really just boosts the bass, blocks out more ambient noise, and really doesn’t add that much else to the overall sound quality. The loudest sound setting isn’t as loud as I’d like; some tracks play softer than others just by the nature of their age or how they were recorded, and for these, I’d prefer a higher volume. Finally, at $289, these are on the pricey side. In comparison, the Apple AirPods base model is $239, the new Huawei FreeBuds 4 is $198 (we just tried that too and it sounds really decent), and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro dropped in price to $189.
I recommend setting up your personal sound profile at least twice. The first time I set it up, I didn’t like my “personalised” sound and almost dismissed these earbuds as gimmicky. I set it up a second time and it gave me a sound that I actually think is very good and superior to the earbuds’ “neutral” setting. By the way, the NuraTrue’s Neutral setting is also very good on its own; so even if you don’t find a personalised sound that you like, just leave it on Neutral and enjoy.