When I first mentioned to my friends that I was trying out the Nuraphone headphones and gaming microphone setup, the overwhelming response I got was envy. “I heard the Nuraphone is supposed to be really good!” was the one comment that stood out to me, and I have to say, I did come into this review with high expectations after trying the Nuraloop earbuds.
What I did not expect was that the headphones actually have ear tips on the inside that fit into the ear like earbuds. It was a very weird experience putting them on the first time and trying to figure out how it worked.
Even though I was planning to use these as gaming headphones with my PC, you should take note that these need to be connected to a phone first for the initial set up. It’s almost the exact same sound profile calibration process as with the Nuraloop; you get a voice guiding you through the whole calibration but it’s automatic this time, and you get visual cues on the phone screen. Once it’s done, you get to test the difference between your calibrated sound profile and the “neutral” profile.
I’m not 100% sure if the automatic calibration resulted in my results looking quite different from my Nuraloop profile or if it’s a result of my hearing changing in just a few months, but it was surprisingly different. That’s not to say it sounds worse though, the sound quality is still just as good as I remember.
In fact, because it’s a pair of headphones, the bass response is actually stronger. With the addition of the Immersive Mode, Nura claims that it makes the listener feel as if they’re listening to a live performance. I did notice that turning the Immersion Mode all the way up did result in pretty boomy and overpowering bass in songs like Billie Eilish’s bad guy. Not everybody will enjoy it, but I found 50% to be a pretty good balance.
Aside from that though, I’d say the Nuraphones lived up to my expectations. The sound signature is relatively neutral and instrument separation is good. The soundstage is also surprisingly wide, but perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my brain keeps thinking I’m listening to earbuds, but it’s actually a pair of headphones.
I have to admit that these headphones aren’t the most comfortable for me. I have no issues with the over-ear aspect of it, in fact, the earcups are pretty good and allow my ears to not heat up. The painful aspect is the in-ear earbuds, which seem to be too big for my ear canals even when using the smallest silicon tips provided. As a result, my ear canals start hurting after about two hours of use, which was a bit of a problem when I was gaming with my friends. This seems to be a pretty uncommon experience though, with plenty of other people loving the fit of the headphones. Everybody’s ears are different, so I recommend trying new products out first before buying them.
There are two touch control surfaces on the sides of the headphones disguised as the Nura logo, which is definitely a nice, subtle touch. There are only tap and double-tap functionalities though, so you’ll have to decide which functions are most important to you so that you can configure them in the Nura app.
The Nuraphone itself is wireless and there’s a cable with a 3.5mm jack for wired listening, but Nura actually sells a Gaming Microphone separately or as a bundle with the headphones, meant to be used for gaming with the Nuraphone as the name suggests.
It’s a long wire with in-line volume control and mute button, as well as a microphone near the top of the plug. It plugs into the charging port, which, unfortunately, is a proprietary port. This also means you can’t use USB Type-C cables or whatever to charge; you’ll have to use the provided cable and god forbid you lose it since you’ll have to buy a new one.
Battery life is pretty decent with around 15 hours of playback time since I have ANC turned on, and the battery doesn’t seem to discharge when I’m using the headphones wired to my PC with the gaming microphone wire. That being said though, once the headphones are plugged into a computer, Bluetooth functionality shuts off and the touch buttons don’t work.
For gaming though, the Nuraphone is actually very good as well. I shouldn’t be so surprised since the sound quality was good, but being able to hear footsteps and audio cues in FPS games is definitely important, and the Nuraphone does it pretty well.
If you play more open-world RPG games though, it works okay as well, but you might want to use a pair of open-back headphones instead to get a wider soundstage.
I had a bit of an issue setting my headphones up to work with my PC because the cable actually requires a 3.5mm port that can support a microphone signal (or 4-pin TRRS). I didn’t have a port like that, and Nuraphone didn’t provide a splitter in the box so I had to dig around my room until I found one. After that though, the headphones worked perfectly with no problems at all.
What’s really nice is that the Gaming Microphone will work with consoles like the Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, Mac and even mobile. This means that if you get the Nuraphone and Gaming Microphone, you’re actually getting a headset that you can use for gaming as well as for music listening, Netflix and more.
I’ll be honest, the Nuraphone on its own is pretty pricey at S$598. It’s one of the more expensive headphones on the market, and the Gaming Microphone costs an additional S$75, so you’ll be looking at a S$673 audio setup, which isn’t cheap. In comparison, you could probably get a decent gaming headset at around S$200-300, and another pair of decent headphones for audio at around S$300.
But the truth is that you’ll have to switch between the headphones and headset if you want to move from listening to music to playing a game, and with the Nuraphone, it’s just so good at both that there’s no reason for you to get two separate products to do what a single one can.
So if you listen to music on your computer while working and you’re a gamer, the Nuraphone and Gaming Microphone might be a very good option to consider, both for excellent sound quality and convenience.
More information about the Nuraphone (S$598) and the Gaming Microphone (S$75) and purchase options can be found at the Singapore distributor’s store.