The year is 2016 and four experts in the fields of engineering, acoustic, biology, hearing science and product delivery uploaded their new headphone technology Nura to Kickstarter. They set out to raise $100,000 to put towards gearing up for mass production. They raised $1.8 million.
The product has changed a bit since the Kickstarter campaign first launched. Nura added Bluetooth connectivity to their flagship headphones, alongside digital and analog audio connections for flexibility of audio routing. There’s active noise cancellation, social mode, multiple different offerings but the key focus of the product has stayed the same. Personalised sound.
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Utilising a technology innovation based on hearing research, Nura became the first (and only) widely produced headphone to adapt its frequency response to each person’s unique hearing profile. This is paired with two speaker drivers per ear which allow for low end to be played by a larger driver whilst the in ear component has less work to do and can generate clearer mid and high band frequencies.
The secret to what makes these headphones so special is the how the personalised hearing profile works. Nuraphones measure otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) which are naturally occurring reflections that vibrate our eardrums in response to heard sounds. Utilising very sensitive microphones, an audio signal is sent through your ear and the returning OAEs are measured inside the headphones.
After that, you’ll discover a colourful distinctive image that represents your hearing responses to certain frequencies. This is saved in the headphone and can be used with any other device to listen on, but with a personalised frequency response tailored to your ears needs. It may surprise you to know that people have different hearing capabilities between their left and right ears, which this adapts to.
For casual music listeners or avid audiophiles, Nura products will tune to your ears like nothing else out there can. Sure you could spend hours, days or even years tuning your listening headphones with EQ or utilising room correction software, but the immediacy of Nura’s range of products allows for people with no understanding of complex audio jargon to access a custom tuned sound for their ears only.
Even mixing and mastering engineers have praised its performance. Check out this video below with a range of Australian producers and music industry professionals showing their first responses to the technology.
In the context of audio monitoring, these headphones provide different, but tailored results to each individual user. If you’re in a band or production duo, listening to a bounced track on these (after listening to a few reference tracks of course) allows for an even playing field. With each person’s tailored sound profile, you’re able to account for differences in hearing and make sure you’re both listening to the same thing. No more arguing from your bandmate about the bass being too quiet when maybe it was their hearing differences compared to yours in the first place.
With its completely unique design and technology, the Nura products are in a league of their own. For the price point they are leagues ahead of their competition in regards to sound quality—after personalisation of course—which is a huge plus for getting an enhanced picture of your audio.
Utilising the immersion function—which increases bass response—allows for you to experience your music as you would at a festival or large club rig, more than just pushing the bass on your common pair of headphones. This is in part to their separate bass driver which is able to handle all those frequencies independently and provide another lens to view your creations, or others for that matter.
Alongside having inbuilt microphones for the tuning process, there’s also microphones for speech in built. These pose as a double threat, enabling active noise cancelling and allowing you to take calls on the device. As some other wireless headphones have done, there’s a social mode, which allows you to hear what’s happening in your environment at the tap of a button. The buttons are the outside knobs on the headphone which can be customised to a large range of features including the aforementioned social mode.
Currently Nura also have a few smaller form factor products that utilise the same personalised tuning system as the flagship Nuraphone. They’re all wireless earbuds, namely Nuraloop, Nuratrue and Nurabuds. All have microphones inbuilt to adjust the frequency response bar the Nurabuds which can still tune to your ears but lack the functionality to test your hearing on the device.
Immersing yourself in the world of Nura’s products isn’t going to fix your mixes, but it may provide a different angle to view your music through. With the personalised sound and immersion slider, there’s a lot to love about the Nura range and its ability to generate a vast soundstage.
With all the grand advancements in studio reference monitor calibration and environment emulation, Nura surely has a firm grasp on technology innovation in the consumer audio field, allowing anyone to hear balanced music regardless of what their individual ears hear.
Find out more about Nura headphones here.