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By Earl Coetzee

Digital Editor


Nuraphone review: Headphones that adapt to your unique hearing

After using them, all my other carefully curated headphones simply sound like cheap tin cans in comparison.


I really hate the Nuraphone headphones. See, when I first saw these headphones online, I assumed all the hype was simply due to the internet’s propensity for blowing things out of proportion.

I also assumed the Nuraphones’ ability to personalise a unique sound signature for each individual user was just another gimmick, of which there are plenty.

Well, was I wrong! Right out of the box, you can tell these are some high quality cans. If the R7,000 price tag didn’t already tell you so, these are some high LSM-bracket headphones.

Built from flexible and tough steel, with silicone for the softer bits, these headphones feel almost indestructible. You can bend them and throw them around (you shouldn’t, considering the price tag, but you can) without any ill-effects.

You’ll also notice that these look a little different from your average headphones, with both an in-ear bud and over-ear cup. But hold on. Both serve a purpose.

Picture: Nura

The in-ear part contains not only the speakers which deliver the sound into your ears, but also a number of very sensitive, tiny microphones. These microphones are what make the Nuraphones magical.

During setup, the Nuraphones fire a range of frequencies into your ear canal. While you hear a series of bleeps and bloops, the little bits and bobs inside your ears reflect some of the sounds back to the microphones.

The fancy term for this is otoacoustic emission, and the Nuraphones use these to determine which frequencies you hear best and which need a little boosting.

The result is a personalised sound signature, controlled from an app on your cell phone, which makes your average MP3 files sound like high fidelity audio, and your high fidelity audio files sound as if the artist is personally serenading you in your bedroom.

And then there are those chunky silicone earcups. They do more than just block out sound, but are also like having a pair of subwoofers right on your ears.

Picture: Nura

Using the personalisation and variable immersion mode, you can adjust the bass level, and these will have your hip-hop fans and EDM listeners experiencing multiple eargasms with the low-end sound pumped right into your skull, without distorting the music at all.

The Nuraphones also offer all the extras that you would expect from high-end headphones nowadays.

There is active noise cancelling, intuitive touch controls on each ear and a talk-through mode, which allows you to hear your surroundings without having to remove them.

They also have an incredible 20-hour battery life. After a few weeks using them my only real gripes are the weight (to be expected due to the solid construction) and their use of an annoying proprietary charging cable.

And that is my problem with these headphones. They are simply too close to perfect and after using them, all my other carefully curated headphones simply sound like cheap tin cans in comparison.

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