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Runaway

Nura headphones reviewed

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I was in the second tranche of the Kickstarter project for Nuraphone and paid USD229 way back in May 2016.  After what seems like forever, I finally received my Nuraphone yesterday and set about putting it to the test.  

 

Where is the power button?  Oh, there isn't one.  It turns itself on when you out it on your head and a ghostly "Hello" sound in your ears.  The Nuraphone seems to be a combination of an IEM and overear - so double isolation.  Next, download the Nura app and create an account.  When the bluetooth is connected, it goes through the steps to create an ear profile - consisting in ensuring the headphone is properly sited and then staying still while they play some noises.  Then it is done.  The ear profile only works in bluetooth although the headphone comes with a jack for "normal" operation.  

 

I compared the Nura headphone against my Hifiman 500 and B&W P7, listening to Tidal on my iPhone - specifically Norah Jones' Don't Know Why (yeah, boring but I use this as a test for my hifi because I know it so well).  I always prefer the Hifiman even though its like wearing a brick on my head because it is laid back with a nice smooth yet detailed and spacious sound - hardly any grain.  In contrast, the P7 is a bit in your face - lots of details but sounded a bit more compressed and closed in.  First up, the Nura on the headphone jack (i.e. without the ear profile).  It sounds more like the P7 than the Hifiman but a bit smoother.  Nice details.  

 

Connected the Bluetooth and fired up the Nura app.  First, the generic profile.  Ok, I think this is a bit of a gimmick as it sounds horrible.  Tap on the ear profile and the music fell into place.  It is like between the P7 and the Hifiman - smooth but lots of details and imaging.  Maybe not as detailed as the P7 but because it is not as compressed, I seem to be able to hear more and enjoy the music.  There is also an Immersion setting where you go from "gentle" to "front row" but the latter setting merely sets the earpiece vibrating furiously against my ear.  So I set it to Normal.

 

Swapped back to the P7.  It does not sound a 100 miles away but definitely more in your face and details get a bit lost.  Back to the Hifiman. Interesting.  The Hifiman sounds muffled in comparison.  I guess thats why listening is so subjective  the mind automatically contrast with the last few minutes of listening.  

 

I did a second ear profile in comparison.  It came out slightly different to the first profile.  Not sure why (slightly different positioning, maybe).  The second profile sounded better than the first.  

 

In conclusion, the Nura is very nice even though there is no "WOW" moment.  Now that I have heard it, I would probably reach for it first before the Hifiman or the P7, although I won't chuck those away.  I spent last night going through familiar music on the Nura and hearing things I have not heard before - but that is usually the way with any new equipment.  

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Edited by Runaway

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Just listened to a pair today. For the price it's a nice and well built headphones. But I agree didn't have any wow moment when listening to it. One comment though not a good headphone for glasses wearer it break the seal which it need to sound its best

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I recently got a pair of these.

Build quality is lovely on these. They feel solid but not too heavy. It's a nice minimalist design too.

So... set up was relatively easy. The app is simple to use. The only issue I had was the app can sense if the phones aren't sitting on your ear correctly. They felt fine to me but after a bit of adjustment I was told they were sitting fine.

They are VERY comfortable and despite the odd design, you don't notice the in-ear sections actually sitting in your ear really. The squashy silicone cups are soft and easy on the ears.

Calibration took about 90 seconds for me... and I got my own profile. I was then played a song in 'generic' mode and given the opportunity to switch to 'personalised' mode.

There was a HUGE difference but, I think the generic mode is designed to sound awful. I've never had a pair of phones sound that bad.

The personalized mode goes to a different level though.

So, I tried them against my AKG K550's that I think are the best sounding phones I've ever had.

It's close.

The nura's are a different experience altogether but do sound as good if not better than the AKG's.

The big difference is in the way bass is transferred. Because the base doesn't go directly in your ear, but is transfered more through your skin, it's a unique experience.

I'm not a big fan of HUGE bass but the bass on these is different. It's more like a kick than a vibration... if that makes sense. It's almost as if the drum is against your ear and you're feeling the kick instead of hearing it.

Strangely though, this results in a warm sound that doesn't compromise treble at all. Compared to the AKG's it feels as if songs kick in sooner.

There's an immersion mode that accentuates this but you wouldn't want to have it above halfway as it feels like the phones are bouncing on your ears. I've got it set to about a quarter.

Now, I've only listened via my phone so far, over Bluetooth (the AKG's I had plugged in).

I was also using Amazon music at the best streaming setting.

I am going to try them with my Fiio DAC at some point too via a wired connection. I had to buy a wired connection lead extra (you just get a charging cable as standard.)

It's also annoying that my One Plus 3's graphic equalizer doesn't work with Bluetooth connections. I need to find an equalizer that does and also integrates Amazon music.

So, I'm pretty impressed so far... but not sure I'm £350 impressed.

The app could do with some more options. You can choose what the haptic buttons on each side of the phones does but options are limited so hopefully more will be introduced.

There's no charge light indicator so you don't know when they're fully charged. They actually turn on and off when you put them on your head and remove them.

Another thing I'd liked to have seen was a dust cover on the proprietary connection port. But it's pretty deeply recessed and I'm not going to be using these in a flour factory...

The case is nice too... a nice touch.

If you're thinking of getting these, the following personalised link gives 20% off... so might tempt someone...

nuraphone - Hear every note. Feel every beat | nura

Free shipping is available with this code:

welcomeship

There's also 50% off accessories with this code: 

nuraBacker.50 

You can't stack codes though.

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