Our first experience of Nura’s ‘personalising’ headphone tech came when we reviewed the rather excellent over-ear Nuraphone, and now the company has returned to Kickstarter with NuraTrue Pro, its second-generation wireless earbuds.
These offer a number of features that are designed to give them the edge over their numerous rivals. As before, there’s the personalised automatic sound profiling - you literally just have to sit there for it to do its thing - but listeners are now promised lossless audio, onboard spatial processing and improved adaptive noise cancellation, too.
The NuraTrue Pro uses Qualcomm’s aptX technology to deliver uncompressed, 16-bit/44.1kHz sound over Bluetooth. The downside, though, is that current phones don't have the Qualcomm QCC5171 BT audio SoC required to take advantage of this, so it's just a future-proofing feature at the moment. You do get backwards compatibility with previous versions of aptX, though.
The Spatial Audio mode is powered by Swedish company Dirac, and is designed to generate a more immersive, expanded soundstage from standard stereo content.
The adaptive noise cancellation, meanwhile, promises to be smart enough to adjust itself based on changes in earbud positioning, taking inputs from three noise-sensing microphones. It uses a combination of background sound analysis and “advanced digital signal processing techniques” to create an optimised listening experience.
Other highlights include support for Bluetooth 5.3, which enables you to connect multiple devices simultaneously (so you can take calls on one and listen to music on another, for example), and the option to use either earbud on its own. Call quality has been been prioritised, too - there are four microphones, while a bone conduction sensor picks up vibrations from the body to enable clearer speech.
Nura has also responded to user demand by including wireless charging in the NuraTrue Pro’s charging case. The buds can give you up to eight hours of playback on a single charge, with a further 24 hours supplied by a fully juiced-up case.
As you’d expect, the NuraTrue Pro has a companion app; this is used both to set up your personalised listening profile and manage features. You can customise the behaviour of the two touch buttons, for example.
We’ve been using a prototype of the NuraTrue Pro over the past few weeks and our first impressions are very positive. We like the circular design, which means that the buds fit snugly and sit pretty flush in your ears (different sizes of ear tip/wings are included so you can experiment and find the ones that work best for you), and the audio personalisation (which only has to be configured once per user) produced a sound that’s to our taste.
Nura says that, in the finished product, you’ll be able to tweak this manually via its ProEQ feature, though this isn’t yet available in our beta version of the app.
In terms of sound, the NuraTrue Pros really hit the spot, delivering excellent response across the frequency spectrum. The effects of the bass-boosting Immersion slider are subtle, which is probably for the best, and the Spatial Audio option does add a certain sense of space.
Obviously the effect here will vary depending on what kind of audio material is being played, but our experience is that it can have a habit of muddying things up a little - particularly in the bass - so it’s not an option we’d have on by default.
We’re happy to keep the noise-cancelling engaged, though - it does a decent job of minimising the rattle of the train on our morning commute.
We’re also pleased to report that the NuraTrue Pro has never failed to auto-connect to our Android device, and it hasn’t dropped the connection either.
The Nura app is clean and unfussy, though it would be nice to have easy access to the ‘Perfect Fit’ feature that lets you know if you’ve got the earbuds in properly during the sound personalisation process. It’s always nice to have the reassurance that you’re getting the best possible performance.
Set for release later this year, the NuraTrue Pro will retail for $329/£299/€359, though if you’re quick, you might be able to snag an ‘early bird’ set for $199 on the Kickstarter (opens in new tab) page.