NuraTrue Pro cuts cords but no corners with CD-quality lossless audio over wireless

Last year I got the NuraTrue Headphones – an alternative to Apple Airpods that offer a unique “personalized sound” feature that uses proprietary technology to measure your ears to create a sound profile that matches exactly how you hear.

In response to Apple’s introduction of the AirPod Pro, Nura has introduced the NuraTrue Pro, an enhanced version of the NuraTrue packed with additional features and improved sound quality. The NuraTrue is still available for £199 / US$199, while the new Pros sell for $329 USD / £299 GBP / €359 EUR / $499 AUD. The NuraTrue Pros are: currently available on Kickstarter and will officially ship from October 2022. So, what do you get for your extra 100 notes? Well, quite a lot.

Build quality

Firstly, the build quality of the headphones and case has been improved. The earbuds now have a more premium looking silver rim, which I initially found to be harder to remove from the case than the originals – but the trick is to flip them over slightly with your thumb and then the finger of your other hand to take out. The case is also sturdier with the logo now embossed on the top.

Qi charging capability has been added to the case – so you can just leave it on a Qi charging pad to charge it. When you need to charge the case faster, the USB-C connection now charges almost twice as fast as before, which is handy.

CD quality without cables

The main story of the earbuds is that these are the first wireless headphones of any kind to offer true lossless audio. While all the major streaming services have switched to offer CD-quality audio, the only way to enjoy it on headphones was via a cable. However, with the arrival of Qualcomm aptX Lossless technology in the Qualcomm QCC5171 BT audio SoC, this is now possible.

There are two remarks to be made here. The first is that, on the other hand, you need a device that also has that chip (marketed as Snapdragon Sound technology). This will be seen in some upcoming high-end Android handsets, but there aren’t any at the moment, so these headphones are ahead of the game. If you’re an iPhone user, you’re out of luck. Apple uses the AAC codec instead of aptX, and I think Tim Cook is more likely to tap dance at the next Apple event than it is to pay Qualcomm for its technology. As an iPhone user, this meant I couldn’t test the lossless feature.

Note that this does not mean that there is no longer a demand for wired headphones. Hi-res audio, as in over 16-bit/44 Khz, is still not suitable for wireless transmission, so there is still room for technological improvement.

Even without lossless support for iPhone, the Pros still offer a sonic upgrade thanks to redesigned drivers designed to reduce distortion.

Improved microphones

You also get an improvement in the call quality of the microphone for phone calls thanks to four microphones on each side, and the use of bone conduction to boost the low frequencies for better audio. I tested this with the original NuraTrues and the person on the other end said the new Pros were noticeably clearer.

Further improvements come in noise cancellation, which uses improved algorithms to provide adaptive noise cancellation depending on your environment. This was slightly better in testing, so it’s a welcome upgrade, but the bigger Nuraphones were even better.

Spatial audio is the new buzzword in streaming with Apple Music and Amazon Music HD offering surround sound audio, either through Dolby Atmos or through Sony 360 audio. Apple’s AirPod Pro and AirPod Max headphones offer head tracking, so the music changes as you move your head. To keep up with the times, Nura has added a “Spatial audio” feature to the headphones, but it’s designed to work as an upgrade to stereo sources. Nura says that with native surround audio you should disable the Spatial Audio in the software. This isn’t useful and while you’re listening your content may switch formats between songs – it’s a shame it can’t automatically detect the content and turn itself on or off automatically. Maybe one at a time for a software update.

Spatial sound

The Spatial feature uses Dirac Live to change how sound reaches your ears, so instead of the usual headphone experience where each channel is routed directly into each ear, it changes the timing so sounds hit both ears as they would when you is listening to a stereo speaker. In action it’s not a stunning effect, but by turning it on and offering it repeatedly, I decided to leave it on – it added “space” to recordings making them sound more natural, with no significant ill effects.

The latest Bluetooth 5.3 is used here, bringing with it a useful feature: multipoint audio. This means you can connect two sources to your NureTrue Pro earphones at the same time. This is more than just being able to switch between headphones without having to pair them again. You can connect your phone and your laptop and the sound will switch between them. They don’t play music at the same time, but it does mean you can switch between phone and computer much more easily. You can play music from your phone and when you start playing something on your laptop it takes over. It’s bait.

A word must also be given to Nura’s special sauce – that is its ‘personalized sound’ signature. These are the only headphones on the market that, when first installed via the app, send our signals to your ears and measure how they respond to sound to create a personalized sound profile. The concept behind this is called otoacoustic emissions and it essentially tailors the sounds to the shape of your ear canals. It’s very good and is the main reason why the NuraTrue’s sound as good as they do. The NuraTrue Pro’s blurb claims to offer a ProEQ feature for manually adjusting the EQ settings, but this wasn’t yet in the app for my preview headphones. However, I wonder why it is necessary if the software algorithm is designed to do just that?

Sounds good

So how do the NuraTrue Pros sound? In one word excellent. There is a lot of detail in the sound. The bass is distinctive, the highs are clear and the mids are balanced. I still preferred the bigger sound of the Nuraphones, and other high-end over-ear headphones will do even better, but for wireless earbuds, this is almost audiophile quality in your pocket.

The Nuraphone Pro offers enough variety of earmolds and eartips to ensure a snug fit – (take your time to figure out the best option for you) and they didn’t come out of my ear even when I was active and on the running was. That said, I can’t argue that these are the most comfortable earbuds you’ll ever use. It could be because I have unusually small ear canals, but I could feel the hard plastic under the critters, especially in my right ear for some reason (I’ve tried both foam and earplugs), so I had to take them off after listening for a long time and massage my ears a little. That said, I’d rather listen to the NuraTrue’s Pro than any of the other earbuds I’ve listened to.

If you have a Snapdragon Sound-equipped device, you can get even more out of these devices, and once the ProEQ arrives, you can enhance (or ruin) the sound to your heart’s content. If your budget stays at £199 the originals are still a great option, but if you can expand to the NuraTrue Pro I would.

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