We first became aware of the Australian manufacturer Nura in 2016 when they introduced Nuraphone headphones in a Kickstarter campaign and made it all the way to mass production (here’s our review). Besides their undoubtedly innovative technology, the product also impressed us with good sound quality. At just under a year old, the significantly more compact and cheaper in-ear version with a headband NuraLoop, can be used either via Bluetooth or via analogue cable. And now NuraTrue, the manufacturer’s first true-wireless headphones, are available.
…are comprehensive: these lightweight earphones feature personalised listening profiles, noise-cancelling, social mode and touch controls. The runtime is about six hours and can be fully recharged three times via the charging case’s battery capacity, which has a USB-C interface. For sports use, NuraTrue are IPX4 protected against splashes and sweat. NuraTrue work with Bluetooth 5, pair quickly and support SBC, AAC and aptX codecs.
In terms of construction, Nura rely on lightweight plastic housings. This, in combination with the ergonomically shaped driver unit and the included silicone fittings and wings, results in a comfortable and secure fit. Wearing NuraTrue did not cause me irritation even during a long listening session. The outer surfaces are quite large, while the flat design ensures that the touch-sensitive exterior is easy to reach. However, the right/left labels were a little too inconspicuous for me.
The touch functions of the left and right earpieces can be configured via the free Nura app (iOS, Android). You assign the commands for a list to single or double clicks on each side: playback and call handling, social and immersive bass mode, volume, track skipping and summoning the voice assistant. Unfortunately, the selection is reduced to four possible commands because volume control and track skipping require two options each. Other gestures such as longer presses or triple clicks are not used. You will definitely need a button for answering calls because otherwise, the call connects to your smartphone first.
Operation works well, as the touch surfaces react reliably. I had no problems with accidental triggers. There is also a configurable automatic feature for pausing the headphones automatically when you take them out of your ear (and playing again when you put them back in). It’s also possible to use them with an ear tip. The app’s default settings can also be used to deactivate noise-cancelling altogether, switch on an EU-compliant level limiter and activate a hi-gain mode that gives high-impedance headphones a boost.
Hearing profile and ANC
The app also guides the user through the creation of an individual listening profile, which takes about two minutes to set up. This is where the manufacturer clearly stands out from the competition. Instead of confirming the audibility of measurement tones manually (and with a high error rate), Nura determines the individual hearing ability with a wide range of signals based on so-called otoacoustic emissions within the ear and combines them into a complex compensatory filter. Otoacoustic emissions are “sounds” produced by the eardrum itself in response to incoming sound. Since these are many times quieter than incoming sound, extra sensitive microphones are built into NuraTrue to make the measurement. This technology is only found in Nura products and is a truly unique selling point (For more information: https://www.nuraphone.com/pages/how-it-works)..
You can manage up to three listening profiles in the app. The technology also checks the ideal fit of the headphones in order to achieve consistent results. Finally, it is possible to export hearing profiles by e-mail and share them online. However, these features only apply to the NuraBuds model, which is not available everywhere.
In the app itself, you can switch between music playback and social mode as well as between neutral and personalised playback via the user interface, and it also gives access to the adjustable immersive bass mode (see Sound).
Noise cancelling is either switched on or deactivated across the board. It is not adjustable in intensity and works quite discreetly but quite effectively because the signal-to-noise ratio is audibly improved. External noise is reduced, particularly in the low frequencies. Sounds, including driving noises and voices, are not completely suppressed. Not everyone likes the complete cut-off, but I would have preferred to be able to choose a more intensive level of noise cancelling. The social mode goes the other way, feeding outside noise into the signal path via the built-in external microphones and thus allowing better communication and perception of your surroundings. The level of the music is lowered. This works well and can be easily switched on and off via the touch function on the headphones.
Of course, as True-Wireless headphones, NuraTrue not only has to be impressive technically and functionally but also in terms of sound. A summary in advance: the latest Nura product delivers real listening pleasure, but I wouldn’t call them audiophile in terms of sound neutrality.
The first surprise was offered by the switch between neutral playback and listening profile, which provides a positive eureka moment. In contrast, the uncompensated reproduction of these headphones sounds soberingly dull and tinny. At this point, I have to say that the basic passive design of these headphones would fail our sound evaluation without the electronic correction, and that may be due to various factors, such as the built-in microphones.
The next step was to adjust the intensity of the immersive bass function according to taste. This is a kind of adjustable loudness function that is supposed to add something of a “physical experience” to the sound. And it certainly worked. The pressure was increased, but it also overshot the mark quite quickly. Although the effect achieved a pleasing bass pressure, it was at the expense of neutrality. Here it is important to avoid bass overemphasis. Be careful the other way round: all too quickly, the sound result became too flat when this control was set to a minimum, but this was mainly due to the lower level. For me, immersive bass values between 0 and 20 per cent ultimately worked best. However, if you have a preference for fat bass, you might want to crank up the turbo here.
The reproduction of low frequencies was generally warm and extended down into the low bass. Precision in this range was good and also replicated dynamics and decay. However, there was room for improvement regarding tonality tracking. At higher values for immersive bass, the mid and treble range was increasingly over-emphasised, which clashed with the detail resolution in these frequency bands. In the midrange, I was impressed equally by voices and single instruments. In pop and rock genres the NuraTrue feel particularly comfortable, while extreme metal didn’t always hit the right note (Exodus: Shovel Headed Kill Machine). In uncluttered productions and explicitly dynamic, accentuated passages (Whitney Houston: Until You Come Back), these headphones deliver a really good performance. Finally, in quiet environments, NuraTrue performs well with intimate acoustic recordings or classical orchestras thanks to noise cancelling. In general, however, I had the feeling that the sound quality requires a certain minimum level.
In the treble range, NuraTrue deliver numerous fine details and provide a pleasantly wide stereo panorama. Spatial information was also brought to light. They never sounded harsh, if anything they were a little too tame. Compared to more expensive products, there was also a lack of sparkle, but that is inherent in this price range.
Finally, I have to deduct one point for the voice quality during telephone calls. The person on the other end of the call was only heard quietly through these headphones.
Nura adds a pair of exciting True-Wireless headphones to the market with NuraTrue. Their ease of use is excellent, and the technology used in individual listening profiles based on otoacoustic measurements is unique. The adjustable bass experience was also impressive. Sound-wise, NuraTrue make a decent accessory for mobile use, but they are not really for the audiophile specialist. However, NuraTrue sound good, fit well and are a lot of fun in everyday use. I would describe the noise-cancelling function as adding practical value but not providing an incentive to purchase. For 229 euros, I give these headphones a firm endorsement.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable7.4 g each, case 37.1 g
- Cable length20 cm
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of silicone ear tips in different sizes
- 1 pair of foam attachments
- 2 pairs of wing tips
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- BT version: 5.0