Nuraphone hybrid headphones claim to deliver ‘sonic moulding’ for personalised sound
Nura claims to have broken new ground in headphone technology with the launch of the Nuraphone. “What we are doing has never been done before,” claimed Kyle Slater, Nura’s co-founder and CEO. “There has never been a product that can understand something about you and adapt – it makes a real difference to your music experience and that is why we do it.”
There are two key differences between the Nuraphone and other headphones. One is the personalisation that Slater mentions above, which he terms ‘sonic moulding’. As sound waves enter the ear they start a chain reaction that sends electrical impulses to the brain, but also sends a sound wave out of the ear. Encoded in this returning sound wave is a person’s unique hearing signature. It is technology that has been used for several decades for hearing screening of newborn babies.
“This is what we wanted to do from the start with the Nuraphone,” continued Slater. “We wanted to be able to understand the hearing system for an individual and then adapt the sound to match that.”
“It is very difficult to explain to someone how you hear. A trumpet sounds like a trumpet. But if you hear someone else’s version of that you notice a very big difference. What we like people to do is to listen to someone else’s profile and we find that they prefer theirs and the other person prefers theirs, so that is the proof it is not snake oil.”
The second innovation is called ‘inova’, intended to create an immersive musical experience. It combines the advantages of in-ear and over-ear listening devices. An in-ear section delivers the sonically moulded sound. The outer section delivers bass vibrations that are received through the skin. Slater commented: “Your brain puts the two together and increases your sense of connection with the music. It’s like that feeling you get when you listen to a band from the front of the stage and get totally soaked in the music.”
Another interesting aspect is the way Nura has tackled the issues of heat and sweat with over-ear headphones. Large pores would affect the acoustic properties, so the Nuraphone incorporates tiny one-way valves that, as the speaker vibrates, push air out of the top and draw it in through the bottom. Effectively, this means the sound of the music is ventilating the headphones.
E&T tried the Nuraphones out during a product demonstration. Combining in and over-ear headphones sounds like an awkward and uncomfortable configuration, but it is actually very comfortable. The sound profiling is both easy and interesting, particularly when it comes to comparing sound profiles of other people, it really does make a difference. Most importantly, the sound quality – in fact, the listening experience – is exceptional.