The Nura Nuraphone are unique headphones thanks to their hybrid design. The over-ear part of the headphones provides you with punchy bass, while the in-ear part is for the mid and treble ranges, which unfortunately sounds a bit sharp and piercing. They have a good app that lets you create different sound profiles based on their personalization process which scans and adjusts the sound of the headphones depending on how you hear. Unfortunately, we had issues testing these headphones and most of our sound review is based on our subjective evaluations. Our testing procedures couldn’t accurately measure the Nuraphone, and the results we got don’t seem to represent the experience of the user. You can read more about our procedures in this discussion thread.
The Nuraphone are rather uniquely designed headphones. They have the style of over-ears but also have an in-ear design inside their cups for the mid and treble ranges. Their fit is quite odd and feels weird at first, but those of us who tried them on got used to it pretty quickly. They are decently comfortable and very well-built headphones thanks to solid materials. They, unfortunately, can’t be stored easily since they don’t fold or swivel, and their case is rather bulky, although it protects the headphones well. On the upside, the Nuraphone have touch-sensitive controls that are easy to use, but you will only be able to map 4 commands inside the app, which is slightly limiting.
The Nuraphone are stylish headphones once on your head. They look like premium headphones with a metal finish and a sleek overall design. However, you do have visible wires coming out of the cups. Some people may also find their design a bit unconventional when they are not on your ears, since they have the protruding in-ear tips inside the cups. They only come in an all-black color scheme.
The Nuraphone are fairly comfortable headphones, but their fit feels a bit odd if you’re not used to it. The cups and headband are well-padded and comfortable, but some may feel that the in-ear fit mixed with the over-ear cups is weird. On the upside, the tips don’t enter too deep inside your ear canal. These headphones usually come with 3 additional tip sizes. However our unit didn't come with them, so we had to contact Nura Customer Support to get them. There are also a lot of online reports of customers having to do the same as they seem to be often out of stock. The headphones come with the biggest tip size.
The Nura headphones have two touch-sensitive surfaces where the logos are on the cups. Each logo can be touched to activate different controls which you need to set in the app. When connecting the headphones to the app, it doesn’t have any commands set up at first. You have many options, such as play/pause music and answer/hang up calls, enable/disable immersion, enable/disable social mode, track skipping and volume controls. You have single-tap and double-tap commands on each ear cup, making for a total of four different possible actions. Unfortunately, this means you can’t use all these options at the same time and you’ll have to choose which ones are the most useful for you. We scored these headphones with what we would use as mappable controls which are: call/music control, volume up, volume down, and forward track skipping.
Due to their over-ear design, the Nura headphones trap a decent amount of heat inside their ear cups. This makes a noticeable difference in temperature that you could notice, especially if you want to use them for sports. You are more than likely going to sweat more if you workout with them. However, note that our breathability rig may not completely represent how hot these headphones get due to their hybrid over/in-ear design.
The Nura headphones aren’t very portable. Their over-ear design is bulky and they also can’t be folded into a more compact format. The cups don’t swivel to lay flat. They might be a bit hard to put inside your bag, but on the upside, they do come with a case.
The Nuraphone case is great. It is sturdy and protects the headphones well against fall damage, scratches, and light water exposure. The case’s lid is shut by a magnetic strap that doesn’t open easily, which is nice. However, the size of the case is pretty big and takes noticeably more space than the Nuraphone by themselves.
The Nuraphone are very well-built headphones. Their headband is made from a full metal frame, which is flexible and sturdy. The cups and headband paddings are made from silicone. The cups feel dense enough to survive a few falls too. On the other hand, part of the cables linking the cups is apparent and could be the weak link of the build. Additionally, the cups don’t have a good range of motion, meaning that a lot of physical stress on the headphones could break them.
The Nura headphones are stable enough for casual listening sessions but might not be the best option for sports activities. They are decently tight on the head, but their overall fit is loose enough that head movement will make the headphones fall from your head.
We managed to measure the Nuraphone, but our current testing procedure doesn't accurately represent our subjective impressions of these headphones. While the graphs below can give a general idea of their sound profile, we listened to them ourselves and felt they sounded exciting with good bass but slightly sharp in the high frequencies. The following sound boxes will be written with this subjective impression in mind, rather than an interpretation of the test results as we usually do for the rest of the headphones we've reviewed.
You can find out a bit more about our testing procedure and the challenges we faced with the Nuraphone in this discussion thread. Note that we did use the personalization feature on our dummy head, but we can’t be entirely sure if the calibration did work properly with non-human ears.
The frequency response consistency of the Nuraphone is quite good thanks to their in-ear tips. On the other hand, there’s a bit of variation in the bass range since these frequencies are reproduced by the over-ear part of the headphones. Some people in the office found them to be bass-heavy while others disagreed. We couldn’t measure this accurately as we couldn't use human measurements for the bass range due to the in-ear tips. Overall, you shouldn’t have a problem with getting consistent audio reproduction with the Nuraphone for your personal use but might experience a different sound than others.
We feel that the bass performance of the Nuraphone is very good. The bass is being produced by the over-ear part of the headphones and adds a good amount of thump and rumble to the sound. They feel a bit more bass-heavy than what the graph shows, especially in low-bass. You can also adjust the “immersion mode” to mimic being closer to stage speakers, which results in more vibration in the bass. Also, note that the mismatch shown in the graph isn’t audible and is more than likely a flaw in our testing.
Some people in the office felt that they weren't as bass-heavy as others, which resulted in them finding the overall sound of the Nuraphone to be on the brighter side.
We feel the Nuraphone’s mid-range is also pretty good. Vocals and lead instruments feel accurately reproduced. However, due to the slightly overemphasized bass, they might feel a bit cluttered, especially if you boost up the immersion mode.
The graph of the treble range looks pretty accurate to what we heard. Vocals and instruments have a lot of detail and brightness and the higher frequencies like sibilants (S and T sounds) are very sharp and piercing. People in the office who didn’t hear as much bass found them to be on the bright side, while people who did get bass felt that their overall sound profile was hyped, without being too piercing.
The stereo imaging of the Nuraphone is good and we don’t trust the numbers we got in this test. We think they might be due to how we tested the Nuraphone or because the personalization algorithm doesn’t work well with dummy heads. Regardless, after subjective listening, we think they produce tight bass and a transparent treble. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit seemed well-matched in amplitude and frequency. This ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, footsteps) in the stereo image.
We found the soundstage of the Nuraphone to be quite decent. As the graph shows, there’s a decent amount of activation due to their unique design and the notch around the 10kHz creates a natural and fairly open-soundstage. However, their closed-back design doesn’t make them as open-sounding as critical listening open-backs.
The Nura headphones have good isolation performance. The unique design of these over-ear headphones with an earbud tip-like results in a very good isolation against work environment noises. However, they don’t quite do as well against lower frequency noises like engines, which means they won’t be the best option in public transit. These headphones also got a software update which added an ANC feature, but it doesn’t seem to be performing that well and practically isolates against the same amount of noise than with the ANC off.
The noise isolation performance of the Nuraphone is decent thanks to their design. While their ANC feature, which was added in a software update, doesn’t seem to be doing much, they passively isolate well against ambient noise since you have a mix of over-ears with an earbud tip. Even with their ANC on, they don’t do much against the low-end frequencies such as the deep rumble of a bus engine, which means they won’t be great for commuting. On the other hand, they do very well against work environment noise such as ambient chatter and an AC system.
Since the mid and treble ranges are coming out of the earbud tips, these headphones practically don’t leak. You can listen to them at high volumes without disturbing people surrounding you, even in fairly quiet environments.
The integrated microphone of the Nura Nuraphone is decent. People on the line with you will hear you clearly and your voice will be clear and fairly full-bodied in quiet and moderately loud environments. However, it might sound a bit muffled and slightly lacking in detail. In louder environments, like a subway station, the mic will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise.
Note: We had to test this microphone using a cell phone rather than our usual testing PC rig. The results may not be comparable with other headphones, but the results and recordings should still be relevant and similar to what a user can experience.
The Nuraphone’s integrated microphone has passable recording quality. Speech recorded and transmitted with this mic will sound fairly full-bodied and clear, but might sound a bit muffled and lacking in detail a bit.
The microphone of the Nuraphone is decent at noise handling. It will be able to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud situations like a busy street but won’t do as well in louder environments such as a subway station.
The Nura headphones have an excellent battery life and a great app. You’ll have enough battery for a few work days and won’t need to charge them often. Their app is also very useful as it's at the core of the Nuraphone experience. It’s used to personalize your sound profile with a series of hearing tests made by the headphones.
The Nura headphones have an excellent battery life with about 35 hours of continuous playback, with their ANC and personalization features enabled. This is quite surprising as Nura advertises them to have about 20 hours of battery life. This will last you a few work days without a problem and won’t need daily charging, which is great. They also only take about two hours and a half to fully charge, which isn’t too long considering the long battery life. They can also be used when charging via their USB cable.
The Nura App is practically a necessity when using the Nuraphone. This app is what you’ll use to personalize your profile. The app goes through a series of tests to try and figure out how your ears hear. It will then personalize your sound profile to match the targeted audio reproduction. You can have up to 3 different profiles. The “immersion mode” is for how much bass you want to have in the over-ear section of the headphones. You can also enable their ANC or talk-through mode and map their control scheme for each cup. While there are no room effects, playback control, or an actual EQ, the app is still a great tool that personalizes your experience with the Nuraphone.
The Nura Nuraphones are Bluetooth compatible headphones than can also be used wired via their USB charging cable. They can also be used with a proprietary analog audio cable, but you’ll need to purchase it directly from Nura, as it is not included in the box. On the upside, their wireless range is excellent, and you shouldn’t have any issues. However, their latency might be too high for watching video content without any sort of compensation from your device or app.
Update 08/30/2019: We confirmed the Nuraphone are Bluetooth 4.2 by contacting Nura.
The Nura headphones are Bluetooth-compatible. Unfortunately, they can’t be used with multiple devices simultaneously, which was expected due to their personalization features, and also can’t connect via NFC. On the upside, their pairing procedure is very easy.
The Nuraphone have about average latency for Bluetooth headphones, meaning that they might not be ideal for watching video content. However, you might not notice the delay since some devices and apps offer some sort of compensation. On the upside, they support the aptX and aptX HD codecs.
The Nura headphones can also be used wired via their USB charging cable. Via USB, they aren’t compatible on gaming consoles, but on the upside, you can purchase a proprietary analog audio cable from Nura, which will provide audio only, but is sold separately.
These headphones don’t have a dock.
The Nura Nuraphones are unique headphones thanks to their hybrid design of over-ears and in-ears. There are no other headphones that provide this design with an app that calibrates the headphones to your hearing, which is a great and unique experience. However, when it comes to active noise cancelling, which was rolled out in a software update, the Nuraphone don’t compete well against high-end models in the same price range. See our suggestions for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best critical listening headphones, and the best Bluetooth headphones.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are a better choice for everyday use than the Nura Nuraphone. Their ANC feature is one of the best we’ve tested so far and they are noticeably more comfortable too. You get access to more control commands thanks to their touch-sensitive surfaces, although they don’t respond well in freezing weather. You can also EQ them to your liking inside their app, but it won’t offer a personalization feature like the Nura’s app does. If you’re looking for headphones that are great overall and will be used during your commute, go for the XM3s. If you want a unique listening experience, go for the Nuraphone.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better mixed usage headphones than the Nura Nuraphone thanks to their great ANC feature. They are also one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve reviewed so far. The QC35 II sound a bit more neutral while the Nuraphone have a more exciting sound signature. On the other hand, the Nuraphone lasted a lot longer on a single charge in our battery drain test, and their personalization feature and hybrid design offer a unique listening experience.
The Beats Studio 3 Wireless will be a better mixed usage pair of headphones than the Nuraphone. The Beats Studio 3 are more comfortable and have better bass noise isolation, which is better suited for public transit. They also come with an audio cable and an in-line microphone, which the Nuraphone is lacking inside the box. On the other hand, the personalization feature of the Nuraphone is a unique experience that you can’t get on the Beats headphones and they also offer more battery life than the Studio 3.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless and the Nura Nuraphone are two good headphones but in very different ways. The PXC 550 will sound more neutral than the exciting-sounding Nuraphone. The PXC have a more traditional over-ear fit and are a bit more comfortable. On the other hand, their ANC feature isn’t great, and the passive isolation of the Nuraphone is better at blocking out noise, although their ANC is also pretty lackluster. However, the Nuraphone have a very unique app that lets you personalize the sound profile of the headphones to suit how you hear.
The Nuraphone are pretty decent for mixed usage. They have a unique listening experience, which can be experienced anywhere thanks to their Bluetooth design. They have an exciting sound profile which will be better suited for bass-heavy genres. On the other hand, their ANC isn’t the best, but the in-ear fit mixed with the over-ears passively isolates a decent amount of ambient noise, which makes them usable in public transit or at the office. However, these shouldn’t be worn during physical activity and unless you buy their audio cable, they won’t be ideal for watching TV and for gaming due to their latency.
Based on our subjective impressions, we feel the Nuraphone are a good option for neutral listening, although they won’t be the best option for a neutral sound. By listening to them, we think they have a hyped and exciting sound, with good bass, but slightly too sharp treble especially on already bright tracks. While their hybrid design of over-ears and in-ears might feel a bit weird at first, they aren’t uncomfortable for listening sessions. Also, their app that calibrates the headphones to your hearing is a nice experience that you can’t get with any other headphones.
Decent for commuting. These headphones’ ANC feature isn’t the best, but the mix of the over-ear and in-ear design does a decent job at blocking out ambient noise. However, they don’t do that well against lower frequencies and won’t be ideal for public transit. On the upside, they have very long battery life and will last you for the longest rides and trips.
Okay for sports, but shouldn’t be used for this. The Nuraphone aren’t the most stable headphones and shouldn’t be used for sports. They aren’t designed for this use as they are not portable, nor breathable.
Good for the office. We think that the Nuraphone have pretty good isolation performance in the mid and treble ranges, which are responsible for blocking out work environment noises like ambient chatter and the noise of an A/C system. They are also fairly comfortable, although they might feel weird at first due to their unique design. On the upside, they have a very long battery life and will last you a couple of work days without needing to recharge them.
Sub-par for gaming. These headphones shouldn’t be used wirelessly for gaming due to their latency issues. Also, their design might not be the most comfortable due to the in-ear fit. Their microphone performance also can’t compete against a good boom microphone from a gaming headset. On the upside, their audio quality is pretty good and if used via USB on a PC, you can eliminate the latency issues and have good audio reproduction.