'Nuraphone' Adapts to Your Ears and Automatically Adjusts Music Playback for Better Quality Audio

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The Nura headphones were funded on Kickstarter last year, surpassing a $100,000 goal and earning around $1.8 million from backers who were interested in the device's personal music calibration abilities. Today, the company is officially launching the $399 "Nuraphone" to backers from the Kickstarter campaign and to any new buyer through its website, with a pair of headphones that use a self-learning engine to automatically adjust to your own "unique hearing" and ensure each song you listen to is the highest quality possible (via The Verge).

Nuraphone plays a range of tones into your ear, measuring a faint sound that your ear generates in response to the tones, and this process begins the calibration of the headphones to your own profile. The returning sound is "encoded" with data about how well you heard the noise that entered your ear, with the device's self-learning engine analyzing the information and creating a custom "hearing profile" with a unique color and shape. All of this happens in approximately 60 seconds.



Once your hearing profile is in shape, Nuraphone filters all music playback through your profile settings to "sonically mold" and adjust songs and deliver a greater degree of detail. Nura CEO Kyle Slater told The Verge that the Nuraphone is meant to "do for your ears what glasses do for your eyes."
Kyle Slater, Nura's CEO, compares what the Nuraphones do for your ears to what glasses do for your eyes. They're supposed to figure out which frequencies of sound you're good at and not so good at hearing, and then mess with the amplification so that you hear every song precisely how it was mixed. "We assume that we all hear the same," Slater says. "Hearing offers no point of comparison like vision does." Our hearing gradually degrades as we age (and listen to loud music...), so it's reasonable to think a lot of people could use this
Once connected to an iPhone or Android smartphone through Bluetooth (the headphones also support Lightning, USB-C, micro-USB, and 3.5mm analog cables), Nuraphone can begin playing and adjusting songs to your hearing profile. Nura has decided to use a proprietary charging cable, meaning to use any of these wired connections you'll have to buy extra accessories from the company (one USB cable is included in the box).


The headphone's design is that of an over-ear headphone mixed with in-ear buds, and on the outside there is a programmable touch panel for controlling features like playing and pausing songs.

A few sites have gotten to go hands-on and review Nuraphone, mostly coming to the consensus that Nura has taken a unique approach to designing headphones and providing a new user experience, but the first iteration of the product is still lacking. The Verge pointed out that someone with hearing issues could see great benefits from using Nuraphone, "but the end result isn't as revolutionary as the general idea."
But my initial impression is that the sound improvement isn't night and day over other pricey headphones. Maybe the difference would be larger for someone who Nura detected more hearing issues with -- though there's no way of telling whether Nura is doing a little or a lot for me. (I tried listening to high-pitched sounds that I can't or can barely hear, but Nura didn't seem to help me hear them substantially better.) I like the effect the headphones create when playing music, but the end result isn't as revolutionary as the general idea.
TechRadar mentioned that the fundamentals for a quality set of headphones are there, but the "benefits of sound personalization are subtle" and the user experience is sometimes "over complicated." Despite a few design quirks, Engadget called the headphones "impressive" and "polished," saying that that they will "likely only get better" through software updates.

Nuraphone is available to purchase today on Nura's website for $399, including a case for the headphones and a USB charging cable.

Article Link: 'Nuraphone' Adapts to Your Ears and Automatically Adjusts Music Playback for Better Quality Audio
 

jamesrick80

macrumors 68020
Sep 12, 2014
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Exactly like Adapt Sound on most flagship Samsung devices. But Samsung gave the ability to do this with any headphones or earphones.
 

whyamihere

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2008
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'nati
1) Proprietary charging on headphones??
2) Over the ear cans with in-earphones? Really? Seems like most people really only like one or the other, so they are seriously limiting their customer base by forcing both.
3) is that an iPhone 4/s with a lightning port??
EDIT: oh guess it is a 5s
 

Nunyabinez

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2010
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Provo, UT
Every time I hear the phrase "The way the artist intended it to sound" or "how it was mixed" in this case, I have to laugh.

As a former musician and studio engineer, I can tell you that the mixing process is one where many compromises are made so that "on average" it will sound balanced on the wide range of equipment that it will be listened to on.

These phrases assume that that an artist is expecting it to sound exactly one way. A majority of albums have been mixed on Yamaha NS-10s which are extremely flat, but horrible sounding. After we would get a mix the artist always wants to hear it on the huge monitors, which are not flat because they sound awesome.

I don't want a flat experience, I want something that makes the music sound good and punchy when I'm listening for enjoyment. Not a flat experience like I would have in front of a mixing console.
 
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whooleytoo

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Aug 2, 2002
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2) Over the ear cans with in-earphones? Really? Seems like most people really only like one or the other, so they are seriously limiting their customer base by forcing both.
Very weird design. Personally I hate any in-ear buds/phones; so am unlikely to try these.

Surely it'd be awkward even putting them on, you can't 'place' the bugs into your ear canal as the on-ear part surrounds it. Maybe the "in-ear" part just pushes up against the ear canal; the buds seem quite big so that might be the case.
 

BigSky20

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2007
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Be careful with pre-orders on a Kickstarter campaign.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/01/how-kanoa-landed-on-silicon-valleys-scrap-heap-of-failed-startups/

A bunch of people lost money on the Kanoa earbuds. Every company is different, but beware of delays. After the Kanoa experience, if a pre-order is ever delayed, I am going to request a refund ASAP. Some Companies are great at marketing and not great on the actual product. The Nura may be wonderful, but at least read the Kanoa story before pre-ordering.
 

Kreylix

macrumors newbie
Oct 4, 2017
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If these headphones were any good, there would be a nice thread about them on https://www.head-fi.org and there is not.

Do these get coverage just because they did a Kickstarter?

Why not cover the cool new headphones debuting at the CanJam portion of the RMAF this weekend? http://www.canjamglobal.com/rmaf2017

And if you want an awesome earphone/headphone that's very tuned for the iPhone, for the same $399, one great choice would be the iSine10. https://www.audeze.com/products/isine-series And, unbelievably, they're available in your local Apple Store!
 

bowman339

macrumors newbie
Nov 22, 2017
1
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If these headphones were any good, there would be a nice thread about them on https://www.head-fi.org and there is not.

Do these get coverage just because they did a Kickstarter?

Why not cover the cool new headphones debuting at the CanJam portion of the RMAF this weekend? http://www.canjamglobal.com/rmaf2017

And if you want an awesome earphone/headphone that's very tuned for the iPhone, for the same $399, one great choice would be the iSine10. https://www.audeze.com/products/isine-series And, unbelievably, they're available in your local Apple Store!
I got to try these last night. They were incredible. I was born with some hearing loss so for me the effect was profound hearing songs I've known for many years with the personalisation for my hearing profile. And a bit emotional. A friend who doesn't have my hearing issues and is a bit of an audiophile was also blown away by the quality.
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Exactly! My gf hates in-ears, and I hate over the ear cans (I get hot ears). Not sure they thought that one through.
Apparently they did. They incorporated some valve designed a 100 years ago. tesla valve i think they said. the vibration from the music drives the valves bringing air in from the bottom and expelling it from the top. no hot or sweaty ears. the in the ear part felt alright. there is some soft spring which pushes them gently into the ear canal. i only got 20 minutes with them but looking forward to more when a pair arrives.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,497
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Singapore
A review from a semi-audiophile (The Nura website wouldn't accept my longer review, so thought I'd paste it here for anybody weighing up options):

Having drummed and recorded professionally for over 20 years, it is often difficult to review headphones as you are stuck between what should sound "accurate" and what should sound "good", especially when considering the right set of headphones to cover all bases. I am not saying that these headphones are suitable for all walks of life, but I do wholeheartedly believe that the sound produced by these headphones is wonderful, and 'immersive' (for lack of better word).


Having tested a variety of my own personal library in terms of variations from low quality to high quality (mp3, up to 24 bit lossless), jazz to metal (etc), I can honestly say that the quality of sound from these headphones is the most diverse I have ever come across. Here are my thoughts:


Pros:

- Battery life seems well above par (advertised at 15-20 hours)

- Exposure to the sound of visceral canal is divine (aka, the feel and 'vibe' of your ears will absolutely be in pleasure, as advertised)

- Immersion mode, without a doubt, absolutely gives ultimate control to the music that you are listening to

- Can disable any and all features to hear the 'raw' sound coming out of the headphones (Not recommended, it sounds horrible!)

- Ability to engage and reduce "immersion" mode does help to provide static equaliser feedback, depending on individual tastes

- Audio responsiveness seems to comply with advertised amounts in terms of frequency. Lows are extremely responsive, and highs are not compromised even when lows are engaged (this is very refreshing after listening to IE's for so long)


Cons:

- Headphones are reliant only on connectivity to your mobile device for the emersive experience. If you want to connect to a home device or home amplifier, that is currently not an option (Watching a movie on my 4K TV, for example). They will still work, but without the software filters.

- Nura app is reliant on Internet connectivity, if you are in a plane or in Aeroplane/Flight mode, the app refuses to open, this can be annoying if you have not set one of the touch sensors to engage "immersion" mode

- Charging interface is proprietary and I must now carry an additional cable on my travels - I am surprised that this is not via USB-C or similar variant, in this day and age it seems rather backwards (and can't seem to find any information on the contrary)

- Fair amount of _loud_ outside noise means I must still make use of my IE's when at the studio (have yet to try on a flight)

- Most studio metal will sound fairly horrible due to post-EQ normilisation - I do not recommend if you are a metal aficionado

- Not recommended if you are using compressed (aka, MP3/Streamed/Etc) music, it really does highlight the loss of compression intrinsic from these codecs

- Audio will sometimes resume after taking off headphones

- Touch sensitivity of sensors (left and right) will be triggered through tactile feedback even though not intended (aka, accidentally pressing them)

- May be uncomfortable for those with smaller ears and/or larger piercings


Summary: I am extremely impressed with these headphones, I will recommend these to anybody who cares about the quality of music. You should not listen to these if you primarily only stream music online.


Recommend:

- Higher quality music (personally owned or otherwise) or lossless libraries


Not Recommend:

- Music streaming applications that compress music (much the same as you would not use video compression)


Sampled music after 2 days:

- Karnivool - (Genre: Hard Rock) (FLAC)

- Meg Myers (Genre: Alternate) (FLAC)

- Parkway Drive (Genre: Heavy Metal) (FLAC)

- Imagine Dragons (Genre: Alternative) (AAC)

- Claptone (Genre: Dance) (AAC)

- Breaking Benjamin (Genre: Rock) (AAC)

- Childish Japes (Genre: Alternative) (FLAC)

- Chipzel (Genre: Electronic) (AAC)

- Muse (Genre: Rock) (FLAC)

- Pertubator (Genre: EDM) (FLAC)

- Rhianna (Genre: Pop) (FLAC)

- Sikth (Genre: Metal) (MP3)

- The Pretty Reckless (Genre: Metal) (24 bit FLAC & AAC)

- Queens of the Stoneage (Genre: Alt. Rock) (24 bit FLAC & AAC)

- Halestorm (Genre: Hard rock) (24 bit FLAC and AAC)

Enjoy!